Melissa Hauschildt taking another triathlon title - Photo Credit: Eyes Wide Open Images
After having to pull out of the Auckland 70.3 after a bike crash caused more damage than first thought, Melissa Hauschildt has bounced back in the only way she know how. Coming from behind after the swim, dominating on the bike and a run usually like no one else in the game got her the win today in the Urban Geelong Long Course.
Hauschildt was looking for a good confidence builder after Auckland and she got it. Geelong was not originally in her plans but after the crash in Auckland and with Abu Dhabi only three weeks away a 21km race run off the bike was needed to see how her hip would hold up. Her manager Phil Stoneman suggested Geelong and about a week and a half ago. In addition this race went to plan with a good swim, fast bike and start the run in the lead.
Although things did not get off to a good start after a false start in the swim. The athletes ‘thought’ they heard a siren and took off in to the water. They were called back then Hauschildt found she was swamped by age grouper males as they pushed in for the second start and she got mixed up with them. “After getting shoved around a fair bit and falling over slow moving age groupers at the swim start I managed to catch up with Michelle Gailey, Wu, Raynolds and some others and got out with them. In the end I was happy with my swim. I would have been a bit faster if the start went more smoothly. Tenille Hoogland is staying with me for a couple of months so I have been swimming a lot with her which is really helping me. Although today’s time didn’t reflect the gains I have made.”
Out on to the bike and Hauschildt hammered it as only she knows how. She had a lot of work to do with Anna Cleaver and Emma Moffatt almost four minutes up the road. “I took the lead at about 55km. I kept pushing hard to give myself a buffer in the run. With Emma Moffatt racing I didn’t know quite what to expect. I wanted to run at 3:45-3:50 pace. I started well on the runand was holding 3:45 but Moffy was getting closer and closer and at one stage was 9seconds behind me. I kept thinking she would blow because surely she couldn’t run that fast then finally she backed off.”
Both Hoogiland and Hauschildt are in full training for Abu Dhabi so did not back off last week for Geelong. “We did some very big training last week. Abu Dhabi is my goal race and Geelong was an important hit out with what went wrong in Auckland.”
One thing we noticed was Mel had a noticeably quicker T1. “In Auckland I did a photo shoot for Blueseventy and mentioned that I had issues getting out of my wetsuit in T1 so they cut some off the bottom of the legs for me. This helped significantly. My wetsuit just fell off.”
Abu Dhabi is in three weeks. Last year Hauschildt rolled her ankle at Falls Creek after she won the Australian Long Course triathlon title there at the Supersprint 2XU Long Course which was three weeks before Abu Dhabi. “This year I have a a slight hip soreness after Auckland but I am running much better than last year. “I am really looking forward to Abu Dhabi this year. It is a race that suits me. I was disappointed to not be able to run my best last year. I am really looking forward to this race and can’t wait to get over their.”
Third placed Anna Cleaver also came back from a disappointing race at Auckland. After having a solid build up she damaged her foot the day before the race. For Cleaver racing against full time professional triathletes is a challenge. “After a 10 year break from the sport when I focused on my career after university I am still working on building a base and getting things right. Currently my swimming is taking a backseat to my bike riding and running. I need to get them back to where I know I can get them.”
The former New Zealand record holder, age group and national title holder specialised in distance freestyle swimming. The fact that her swimming is taking a backseat must be worrying for the opposition as she is the one of the fastest female triathlon swimmers in the game at this stage. Cleaver was also a competitive runner as a teenager and is working on bringing that back to where she knows she can get it.
Since moving back to Australia late last year Cleaver has been working full time in the hefty world of mergers and acquisitions while somehow trying to fit in enough training to be competitive with the likes of Hauschildt and Moffatt. Her result was solid and would have been quicker without a somewhat extended time in T2 (2mins+ compared to Moffatt’s 11 seconds).
Ironman is Cleaver’s long term goal but for now it is about getting the basics sorted.
Speaking of full time workers another great effort by Matilda Raynolds with a 5th overall. Raynolds raced out at the Orange triseries a week ago and took the win and is working hard on the run. Having not come from a running background there is a lot of catching up to do against these fields.