Fern Davies – Update 7

The Tri SA team in Canberra.

The Tri SA team in Canberra.

These past few months can only be described as very busy with exams, school ending, training, local and national races, Christmas/New Year, my grandmother arriving from the UK and trying to fit in a social life. It’s been difficult to find time to sit down and reflect on the races I have competed in during this time.

It’s interesting how athletes plan their race and visualize how it should proceed, however, sometimes whilst competing the plan doesn’t always work which to some degree is what happened to me in Canberra during the first round of the Scody National Junior Triathlon Championships.

Although the race had its highlights it also included areas where I realized I need to definitely improve prior and during future competitions. Firstly, the course in Canberra was rather technical with the bike course having seven U turns on a flat and up/down course meaning that it was fast and unpredictable especially in a draft legal race.

Approaching the fourth U turn in Canberra.

Approaching the fourth U turn in Canberra.

It was also interesting to realize how people’s comments can affect your thought process about a race. Many people were sharing negative remarks about the course, saying how dangerous it was and discussing how many crashes there had been in the Youth races. Unfortunately, I listened and this got me so anxious and instead of focusing on my race; I was focusing on how I might crash during the bike component. This has taught me to not listen to people’s negativity and be optimistic and focus on my own race instead of everyone else’s.

The swim in Canberra went well, coming out of the water in 10th position I was able to get on to a good bike pack however, the bike leg taught me many things. The first lesson learnt was in relation to transitions; before Canberra I thought my transitions onto and off of the bike was good as I could complete them fast. However, I have now learnt that mounting my bike can be done quicker by changing the position of my cleats allowing my feet to slide into my shoes straight away. This enables me to get going quickly without the struggle of finding my shoes.

Practicing tight U turns in preparation for Robina with the Fuse Crew.

Practicing tight U turns in preparation for Robina with the Fuse Crew.

I also realized that my dismounts could also be carried out more safely. The way I was dismounting previously caused me to wobble which could cause other athletes and myself to collide. Following Canberra my transition methods have been changed to make the mount faster and the dismount safer.

As mentioned previously the bike course had many 180 degree U turns. For future races I learnt that these can be improved with more lean required allowing the turns to be faster which can be done by loading up the outside leg; if my U turns are faster then I won’t need to work extra hard to catch up any ground lost.

After the bike course it was onto the run, I got into transition in the chase pack which had become a big group and I was one of the quickest out of T2 however, the run was definitely not my strength in this race which normally it would be. Unfortunately, I ran it slower than most 5kms I’ve completed in a triathlon. Therefore, after Canberra and before the second race of the National Junior Series in Queensland I have been focusing on improving my run and running off the bike with tired legs. Hopefully this practise will help in Robina!

Hard run session completed on a hot Thursday morning in Henley.

Hard run session completed on a hot Thursday morning in Henley.

Between Canberra and Robina I had one race in South Australia which was the Sam White Memorial Aquathlon. I was racing in the Open elite females so nerves were definitely there. Surprisingly I found the aquathlon harder than most triathlons especially with the component of running on the sand. It was a very tough race but I was lucky enough to take out the win in absolutely perfect conditions. This was great preparation for the next National race as I’m feeling more confident with my run. It was great to see so many athletes racing and everyone who raced deserves recognition because it was so hard! The spectators were also great and the crowd that gathered was awesome and encouraging! I can’t wait to compete next year and see if I can get a new personal best on the course.

ATC athlete Dan and me before the Aquathlon race.

ATC athlete Dan and me before the Aquathlon race.

Robina is just around the corner and I’m hoping that the new learning experiences gained in Canberra can be utilized to make my race more efficient (although it’s going to be interesting with 47 entries so far)!

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