Well, normally I am the one in charge of flights and getting everything organised for our travel to races! And most of the time, it is all pretty good! But I must admit….I definitely stuffed up this time! The money we saved by taking the cheaper flight options was not worth the pain we went through getting there, how it affected us while we were in Taiwan and getting home! Lesson learnt!
Just 4 days earlier it took us 2 days to travel back from the USA to Perth, midnight Wednesday night we were boarding another flight bound for Taiwan and a 70.3 event we had been thinking of doing for years!
An overnighter (Even after swearing to myself years ago I would avoid overnighters if I was racing as they take too much out of me!) and we were landing in Borneo, Kota Kinabalu! After only a couple of hours sleep on the plane we had over 5 hours at this very modern airport, completely covered with tiles and no one around! We found the most comfortable chairs we could, used our carry on as pillows and actually got a couple more hours in before people started arriving! Next stop was Hong Kong and another 4 hours before the short 70min flight to Taiwan! But unfortunately it didn’t end there, a nearly 2 hour drive and we were finally at our destination and very grateful to be there! We were in bed before midnight and the beds were amazing!!
Friday morning, 7.30am we were up, unpacking our bikes, getting some breakfast in, and trying to get our heads around the fact we had a Half Ironman to do in 24 hours!
8.30am was the Ceepo Bike ride on part of the course with the man himself “Joe Tanaka” and Belinda, Justin, Guy and I! It felt good to be doing some exercise after all the travel and great to catch up with everyone again!
The fun continued with a photo shoot for Ceepo, then it was time to register and get ourselves organised before an autograph signing, Pro Press Conference and Race Briefing!
Everyone registered for Taiwan 70.3 was able to enjoy a dinner the night before at the host hotel and after filling ourselves up on the delicious food, Guy and I were in bed by 7.30pm! There was no such problems sleeping the night before a race, I was exhausted and was sound asleep within minutes!
4am wake up and onto the bus by 4.30am….no problems! There was a bit of light rain but we didn’t think too much of it! But as we got closer and closer to the transition area it got heavier and heavier. When we eventually arrived transition was totally flooded and there was no way we were getting off the bus! We just sat there for about 30mins contemplating what we were going to do! Eventually we put our wetsuits on in the bus and made our way to our bikes to get organised.
Unfortunately a short time later we found out the swim had been cancelled due to dangerous surf conditions. It was now to be a Duathlon….6km Run/90km Cycle/21.1km Run…Oh no…I think this is going to hurt even more now!
Wetsuit off….a short run warm up and the Pro’s were off!
Belinda set a cracking pace to start off with and I felt on the edge right from the start, after the uphill turnaround Michelle took control and I was able to stay with her except for the last 500m where I needed to catch my breath again and prepare myself for the 90km Cycle ahead!
I was excited to be on my speedy Ceepo and within 5km had made up the time on Michelle and Belinda had joined us! I was in great company! We climbed the first and only really major ascent, and made the turn to come down. The rain had continued on and off but we were used to it now! I saw what I thought was just a big puddle but in fact it was also a large pot hole in the road! As I went through I heard a massive crack! At first I thought I had damaged my frame, but after pulling over to the side of the road was relieved to find the frame was okay but I did have a flat back tyre! As I watched the rest of the women’s Pro field go by and was chatting with the volunteer in the rain, I thought “Oh well, race over!” but I became pretty frustrated soon after that, I had not come all this way not to finish!! I had Pit Stop for a reason….this had better work!!
And thankfully it did!
I was back on the bike, and although I knew the damage was done, I was still determined to go for it and see what I could do! I felt good for the remainder of the bike and towards the end of the 2nd lap had been able to bridge the gap to a couple of the girls in front of me and we entered transition together! Belinda and Michelle had dominated the bike and were far ahead!
The beginning of the run was definitely not pleasant, straight up for nearly 3km’s, I had already run 6km Hard, when you don’t train for a Duathlon…..wow it hurts! I did my best just to settle into what I would call “a comfortable being uncomfortable” pace! I was not going to blow…but I was working hard enough to feel on the edge! Being a point to point run I had no idea what was going on in front of me but did notice I had put some time into the girls running behind and was now in third. Just keep pushing, this will be a great way to salvage what could have been a DNF. So I did! With aid stations every 2.5km they were my goals. At the 16km mark I had my first glimpse of Belinda and had an internal battle in my head! You are already pushing hard, how much is left?? But she is just there, you can finish 2nd rather than 3rd! You have to do this, you have to go for it! Once I caught Belinda we had a quick chat, then I had to go…and hold onto the momentum for the last few km’s.
I was excited to hear Guy had finished 2nd as well as soon as I crossed the line and despite everything, we had been able to put together reasonable days!
It wasn’t over yet though…..after eating, we collected our bikes, gave them a good clean, packed them up, attended the awards dinner and presentations…then it was straight to bed before our 3.30am wake up call on Sunday!! 23 hours later we were back in our own beds in Perth early Monday morning!
I must admit it has taken a while to recover from the weekend, but we are both extremely glad we went and look forward to doing it again next year! I will just make sure I arrange better flights and we arrive a day earlier!
To my sponsors and supporters it has been a very busy but successful year! Thank you for making this all possible! CEEPO, Rolf Prima Wheels, Challenge Tyres, SRAM, Quarq, Profile Design, ISM, blueseventy, Novatron, Ryders Eveywear, GU, %110 Play Harder, Super Ruth Chang, Computrainer, Rock Tape, Churchill Cycles Perth, Tri-town Boise and Swish Design.