By Brendan Sexton www.brendansexton.com.au
Have you ever felt an old sensation that you had not felt for a long period of time and had almost forgotten what it did actually feel like? Have you ever experienced this long lost awareness with an extremely pleasant and free sensation and when it occurs it is as if no time had passed since you last felt this way â€“ as though life always was this smooth, free and weightless?Â I was lucky enough to experience this sensation yesterday and for me it came in the form of running during the Mooloolaba World Cup. I will add that this feeling was brief and unfortunately did not last through to the finish lineâ€¦ far from it. But it was a breath of invincibility that I haven’t felt for almost 2 years and I am thrilled to know that the invincible Brendan is in here somewhereâ€¦ he’s just a bit shyer than he used to be. And it wasn’t just the initial 400m out of T2 that left me content with my return to my favorite race location:
Due to surf that was deemed â€˜dangerous’ (for the apparent elite of the sport, I won’t go on about it) in the usual swim location we were relocated to a still water canal nearby. A deep-water start is not normally my cup of tea but with great focus on certain aspect of my swim lately, including starts, I was able to take relatively strong and establish a front end position throughout the 750m. I was surprised to find I was within contact with the gun swimmers as transition blurred by.
Initially I simply tried to keep my front wheel as close to the next guys back wheel in the long, flashing, single stream of bikes snaked along the Mooloolaba esplanade before the road widened and we began the short climb out of the shops & cafes. By kilometer 5 of the total 20 most of the field, more than 50, had gathered into one big group. Four laps of accelerating, jostling for position, chasing wheels and avoiding the less technically able had everyone on edge. I was savvy (and a smidge lucky) enough to grab a good position into transition.
Bike racked and shoes on nice and smooth, I prepared myself for the usual hustle for position in the opening charge onto the run. Turns out I was really smooth and I hit the run first and clear of second. I decided I was going to make the most of this. I used the adrenaline that had already accumulated in combination with the roaring crowd lining the side of the race lane. And there it was, I was invincible again! I’d felt it before and most strongly in past Mooloolaba races. I was back! 300meters, I couldn’t feel anyone on my shoulder, I had a gap. 400m, I could sense someone gaining closer behind. 420m, the uphill slope that began the short climb to the first of 4 U-turns I felt the change in gradient. 430m, one guy comes around me. 432m, a second overtaking. Both are continuing at the pace I was holding on the flat, I am not. I get to the turnaround and the two leaders already have a gap. Long story short I lose another six places in the subsequent three and a half laps to hang on for 9thÂ position across the line. It was Mario Mola (Spain) and Richard Murray (Sth Africa) who were my initial captors who went on (along with Swiss Sven Riederer) to fill the podium.photo 1
Obviously there are focus points for improvement as I surge forward into 2014. However, with what I was able to put together yesterday I now have absolute confidence that the improvement that is required to achieve what I’ve set out to achieve is well within my mortal capabilities. And it is only this knowledge along with the will to achieve that is required transform the things that happen in my head everyday into actual occurrences.
It’s a quick turnaround now before heading to New Plymouth in New Zealand’s Taranaki for World Cup no.2 next weekend. Another stocked field, another chance to test against the best.
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