Monthy Race Report by Tamsyn Moana-Veale
To say I was nervous going into this race is an understatement, I had already started getting butterflies a week out from race day; my first race of the season, first Olympic distance race of the season, second ever WTS and, it was in Auckland. I have a bad history in Auckland, I love the city and am incredibly lucky to have the support of the whanau, but in 2012, it was the site of the worst performance I have ever put together in a race. But this year, circumstances were completely different, and I couldn’t have asked for better preparation on the bike, yet it was the leg I had the least confidence in and in the end that affected my race significantly.
Race morning finally dawned and I felt surprisingly calm, still very nervous but in control and ready to race. Onto the pontoon and I was positioned between two of the best swimmers in the sport; Lucy Hall and Carolina Routier. Hell. Yeah. BEEEEEP – the horn sounded and I didn’t even have to think, I just put my head down and swam hard.
You can see what’s going on around you in a series of fugitive glances to either side and I saw there were already girls falling behind, but Routier and Hall were staying next to me. “What’s going on? Am I keeping up? OMG OMG OMG. Stay here. GOGOGOGOGOGO”. Up to the first turn buoy and I could see I was still near the front, but I knew I would have to fight to hold my position. I was gearing up to fend off grabbing hands, body slams and feet to the face and… I got nothing. Zip.
I love the front. Why don’t I swim here all the time? It is literally a different world to mid or back of the pack. Everyone is more concerned about finding the best way forward, which in a radical new thought pattern- doesn’t involve wasting energy fighting to swim in the exact same spot as 10 other people. From there it was “easy”. I say easy when what I mean was it was hard. Really hard. But it was easy to go hard and I was in a place where I knew if I needed to, I could cover attacks or bridge gaps. I came out of the water in the top 10- a massive improvement on nearly last at my first WTS in Stockholm.
I would have been pretty happy if the race ended there. It didn’t. The positives? I lasted in the front pack for far longer than Junior Worlds in 2012- to the top of the first big hill. And I wasn’t terrified of the course. Epic win for me! I won’t say I enjoyed the course, but in last few laps I had brief and fleeting moments of enjoyment whilst cornering and descending. The negative? Everything else. I was hurting and I panicked, believing I wouldn’t be able to ride the entire 40km. Ridiculous considering I had ridden an average of 80km a day for a fortnight, only a couple of weeks ago. I was worried about the last hill whilst climbing the first. It was a very, very long day on the bike and it didn’t get better on the run. Flat and blergh.
And after all that… I can’t wait to race a WTS again! I don’t know when my next one will be and I’ll have to prove I deserve another start, so my next opportunity to do so will be at Chengdu World Cup in a month’s time. Look forward to it ?