If you told me on Thursday that the Devonport triathlon was going to be turned into a duathlon and changed from a world championship selection race to what seemed to be just a friendly hit out before Geelong, I would have been upset to say the least. On Friday this was the news I received as we touched down in Devonport Tasmania. There seemed to be a lot of confusion about the race the night before, I was having dinner with friend and competitor Jack Hickey and in a space of one hour we must have had 6 phone calls with people saying the event is a selection race and then others saying it was not, in the end I think we just decided it doesn’t really matter we are here now so we will just race the best we can.
We got to the race about one and a half hours before the start, we had a good warm up and the team was ready to go. The race distance was 5k/20k/2.5k and with a few runners being able to run a sub 15 minute 5k the pace should be on from the start. The race started off very fast but soon died off to a steady to almost aerobic pace as no one really wanted to push the pace in the strong winds, I saw this as a chance to see how everyone was feeling so I increased the speed a little bit and had a small gap, this gave me confidence that I was feeling the best in the run.
As the run finished I was 1st into transition but only by about 3 seconds with 12 people within 5 seconds of each other. I jumped straight onto the bike and sprinted for a good 400m at this time we turn into a street with a 300m steep climb. When I looked back there were 3 people, Jack Hickey, Braden Ludlow and a Tasmanian local. We attacked the hill and got a lead on the group of 10 which I believe was the major factor in the race. We were hooking around the 5km laps, dropping the Tasmanian it was NSW domination. 1st lap we put 40 seconds into the pack, then we had 1 min 20 then 1 min 50 and it got up to 2 mins before a short 2.5 km run off this hard bike ride. Hickey attacked the last hill having a nice 30 second lead on Ludlow and myself, and by this time the race for medals was between the three NSW boys. I set off with cramps in the calves (everybody had the same!) and knew I had a fair bit to make up. I was continually reminding myself of little things my coach Peter Mauro would be saying, I caught jack with 1.25 km to go and we ran together for 400m before I pulled away. I won the race which made it 2 wins from 2 races in the Australian junior series. This gave me a lot of belief I can now win Geelong and gain a world championship selection as I still see the swim as my best discipline.
Winning the Race was amazing but to have your two best friends on the podium next to you wearing the triathlon NSW trisuit, that’s something I will never forget. It was a race where three boys put an individual win aside and focus on getting a big lead on the bike so the team could succeed. There were a lot of celebrations that night, just ask Mick Ludlow.