6 spontaneous weeks later and I am finally on my way back to Cardiff! It all kicked off with Singapore for the SL grand finale. Coming from not so sunny Wales I knew it was going to be a sweat box from the moment I stepped off the plane. To round up the weekend it was an unforgettable experience for both good and bad reasons. Good because it was nice to see the form from a solid winters block come through in the swim and bike and probably having my best performance in any of the other series round. Bad because it rapidly went tits up when the sun fried me and turned my day 1 upside down after I barely made it conscious over the finish line. All a learning curb for sure.
I then jetted off over to Australia where I was supposed to be racing the following weekend in Tasmania, Devonport for the conti cup. Plans changed nearer the time and unfortunately I didn’t end up racing but going over to train for a week with the Bond Uni squad on the Gold Coast. It only took 2hrs before the squad persuaded me to stay in Oz to heat prepare for Bali qualifiers in 3 weeks’ time. I can firmly say I wasn’t hard to persuade…
Luckily coach Andy from the NTPCW was regularly updating my training peaks and I was slotting in with Waldo’s team as and when it suited both sides. This meant I could maintain that squad environment and still have some solid athletes pushing me in the lead up to Bali. I was staying with good friend and super-fast Aussie Junior Lockie Jones who was also set to race Bali. We both decided to race Mooloolaba opens as a good prep race one week out from Bali. We had both planned to break off the front in the swim/bike and see what happened on the run. Luckily we did a good job of this and finessed the race plan perfectly with Lockie taking the W and myself cleaning up in his wake with 2nd. This lead us into Bali qualifiers with confidence and high hopes of retrieving a golden ticket.
Bali…. Interesting place to say the least. In true Super League fashion we were staying in the luxury Ayodya Resort in Nusa Dua. The course was a tight 970m technical circuit that looped around the resort. The formats consisted of the equalizer (run TT) and enduro.
Day 1 was always going to be a graft with the run being my weakness. The short explosive 1.7k run TT kicked off in the morning. I held 2:50/k pace which personally I think wasn’t half bad but clearly nothing on the mad dogs upfront with the winner clocking in nearly 27 seconds quicker than me!! It was safe to say I had my work cut out in the afternoon with stage 2. I hit it hard with nothing to lose. I managed to make up 10 positions across the race and slide myself into the top 10. I put this down to cornering on the bike like possessed cat and pretty much taking every risk under the Balinese sun. Despite this, this was not the results I had come for but I needed to remain as positive as possible leading into day 2.
With stage 2 being a success in day one’s equalizer event I went into this race with confidence. I knew I had the swim/bike capabilities to be at the sharp end of the race and it was just a case of executing the perfect race plan. The start line had 35 solid athlete all eager for a championship slots. The gun went and got it real nasty real quick. I can honestly say this was THE roughest swim I have ever been a part of. I got dunked and held down for no more than 5-6 seconds but it felt like an eternity. I never thought I’d lose my life to this sport but in this moment I begun to think otherwise. Once I had re-surfaced with a HR of 300BPM+ the front group was gone and my day was over! I managed to get round to the second swim before race director Thomo got his magical yellow flag out and pulled me from the race.
Reflections from the weekend are although I feel I completely underperformed and was disappointed with result I can still take positives from certain areas and I will learn from the negatives. No one can physically perform well all time and it’s how you deal with disappointment from a bad race that will define what kind of athlete you are in the future.
I’m now heading back to Cardiff to re-join the NTPCW guys and girls to commence my last block before heading into the race season.
A massive thank you to everyone who has made this trip possible. A special shout out to the Jones family for housing me for the period I was in the gold coast but a very special shout out to Lockie who somehow managed to last 5 weeks of living with me 24/7 without killing me even if he wanted to!
Until next time…