Sunday’s weather turned out a lot cooler than the unseasonable heat experienced yesterday here in Tasmania. The conditions not dissimilar to New Zealand – which clearly worked in the Relay team’s favour. Being a much shorter distance than a sprint – 300metre swim, 7.5 km bike followed by a 1.5 km run meant that every triathlete, whether still suffering from lactic build-up from yesterday or not – were giving it their absolute all and it showed.
New Zealand Team 1 grabbed the gold medal in the 2019 Devonport OTU Sprint Triathlon Mixed Relay Oceania Championship, but it was not without incident. Nicole Van Der Kaay, Tayler Reid, Ainsley Thorpe and Hayden Wilde added to their medal haul in the Mixed Relay after Reid and Van Der Kaay were both part of the Commonwealth Games team that won bronze, with Team 1 Australia finishing in second, New Zealand Team 111, in third place.
The first leg saw Sophie Chase from Team USA hand off first to Clayton Hutchins with a 30 second lead from Tamsyn Moana-Veale who tagged Matthew Roberts (Team 1 AUS) and Van Der Kaay who led out of the swim was next, back to send Tayler Reid (Team 1 NZ) on his way.
“We were trying to see what was happening with the Kiwis and hopefully get them to work and interestingly enough, they all chased each other down so they did our job for us. I just kind of showed up at the front when I needed to,” said Moana-Veale.
Disaster struck for yesterday’s Oceania/Under 23 Champion Reid in T1, when he was unable to unzip his wetsuit, to the shock of everyone he decided to not let the team down so finished the bike and run in it and dubbed “the wetsuit man” by the MC.
“That was a bloody nightmare that race, it was fun though I think I provided a lot of entertainment so that’s why I chose not to take the wettie off ‘because I thought that’d be more entertaining for everyone,” joked Reid.
Matthew Roberts (AUS) who finished second to Reid yesterday took advantage of his wardrobe malfunction, charging into the lead on the bike from a chase group that included Hutchins, Reid, Kye Wylde (Team 111 AUS) and Dylan McCullough. Roberts handed Kerry Morris, (in her first taste of ITU racing), a 20 second lead at the changeover.
“It’s always hard backing up, but that’s the idea of doing the relays – it’s hard, tough and fast racing and I’m happy with my team. I have a great bunch of athletes around me, so I know that if I put in a little bit extra that they will as well” said Roberts.
It was yesterday’s bronze medallist Ainsley Thorpe who closed the gap to Morris after the swim and first out onto the bike. Morris closely followed with Mary Alex England (Team 1 USA) next onto the bike leg.
It was Thorpe who showed her class and a clean pair of heels on the run to quickly put time into Morris and coming back for the final changeover, which gave Hayden Wilde a healthy lead.
Ryan Fisher (AUS) who had the fastest run yesterday to finish fifth was next into the water after tagging Morris. He made quick work of erasing a good chunk of Wilde’s lead after the swim, but the Kiwi was first out onto the bike and held that slight advantage at T2. Wilde sat out yesterday’s race after a concussion at the Super League Triathlon last weekend in Singapore. The fresh legs may have proved the difference as he sped out onto the final 1.5km run, Fisher unable to close the gap and Team 1 New Zealand taking the Oceania title and all-important points.
“I just didn’t have the legs to go with him (Hayden Wilde, NZ) in that initial part, so he ended up riding by himself and I ended up riding behind him by myself, but I did what I could and all credit to him, he had a good leg” said Ryan Fisher.
The win an important one for New Zealand who are currently sitting seventh in the world rankings and needed the points to help their qualification for Tokyo.
Hayden Wilde stated “it felt really good and I tried not to do too many peaks on the bike and then on the run I had a good lead, so I went out on the first 500 (metres) pretty hard.
“Even though Tayler, his wetsuit didn’t come off, he sacrificed it and actually smashed it and kept us in the game pretty much so big ups to the whole team as well” said Wilde.