So it turns out that I found my hammer again. I took great joy in embracing its vigor whilst refamiliarising myself with is lustful curves for a majority of the race, until I dropped it. I tried to bend down and pick up my beloved implement, but a bout of rigor mortis ensured my tool remained beyond a stiff arms length away. As macabre as that may sound, seeing as though rigor mortis is truly brutal, it's kind of what my body felt like during the run. But I'm happy to say that my mind was on another level above my battered body, and I can honestly say I'm content with my performance on the weekend. Give me a little more time, and I'm quite confident I will be able to finish the job tantamount to compadre Jimmy Seear. On that note, Jimmy may not have won, but he was the true hero of the race.
Firstly, I was relieved the swim was in the surf this year, as I feel the river swim drained the life and atmosphere from the race last year. With this in mind, I was keen to attack it from the start. I made it to the front of the pack quickly, and gave someone a gentle nudge out of the way, letting them know I wanted the feet of the leader. I soon moved up to the lead after the first buoy, and had a go at trying to string things out. I'm actually lucky I was able to navigate back to the beach, but my line of swimming was probably akin to something like the blade of a saw. The setting sun was not so benevolent upon my eyes, and the only way I could see where I was going was by every so often sighting the lead kayakers paddle making a silhouette against the sun. Dylan McNeice, who is a great swimmer, got me on the waves in and took the swim prime holding the lead into transition.
Based on last years break on the same course, the first few laps was where the break I was looking for was going to happen. Jimmy, Josh Maeder and myself tried hard to make a gap, but we were swallowed up within a lap. I think most were unexpecting it, including myself, but this is where things got fun! I actually never knew we were caught, and I was still pushing the pace on the front when everyone decided to sit and rest. After Jimmy rolled through, I looked back and we had made 100m within about 30 seconds. We both knew this was where we had to go and dug for something special to consolidate our lead. As we saw the gap growing each lap, we got more excited and increasingly determined to blow the chasers out to a huge gap.
The bike however wasn't without incident! If some people on the course heard or saw some not so desirable gestures from me, I can explain! Each lap heading into transition, there is a fast chicane on a little decline which put us down into the expo tent before popping us out at the u-turn on the roundabout. I took the lead down the hill and peeled off just after this section to let Jimmy take a turn. The lead film crew on the bike saw Jimmy roll the the right as I swung to the left, so I assume they were trying to get some pictures of him. He backed off and hit his brakes right infront of me, and pushed me into the barrier. I was grinding along the barrier getting flattened so I had to completely stop and go around him on the other side. Jimmy had to sit up and wait for me, and I caught the remarks of the commentator when I rolled through. It was kind of embrassing knowing they thought I was stinging off the back!
So onto the run, I soon found I just didn't have the legs. It was amazing though, with everyone cheering just as hard for me each lap even though I had lost my lead. Running through to the finish line was truly euphoric with everyone yelling for me, and in hindsight, it has only made me more determined to get out there next time and finish the job! So thanks everyone who threw a cheer my way, it helped more than you think.
Bring on Sydney!