Swim 26:08 (4th)
Bike 2:23:38 (2nd)
Run 1:16:28 (1st)
Melissa Rollison 55 (and an Aussie flag). This is what I see when I rack my bike in T1 Sunday morning. I've got my own bike rack with my name on it. How cool is that? Usually we just rack by our number.
I'm putting on my wetsuit. All the cameras are on Mirinda Carfrae. She's also trying to get into her wetty, with cameras in her face. Spectators taking photos. I guess she’s used to this, she's a champion. The current World Ironman Champion.
We're treading water between the two buoys, waiting for the deep water start. The commentator is counting us down. 5,4,3,2,1…GO! "Be aggressive Mel, start hard, stay with them, get on their feet" I keep repeating to myself. I know I need a good swim in this race. I'm up against some tough competitors. I can't give away too much time in the swim. The swim course is straight up and straight back. Surely this means I shouldn't have directional issues this time, the river isn't that wide. It’s also very shallow. At one point I followed the cue of the other girls and was even dolphin diving for what seemed like a good 50m. I see the swim finish, my feet touch the ground, I grab for my wetty strap and start pulling it off. As I'm running to my bike I hear the commentator say "and here's Melissa Rollison in 4th, three girls are 2minutes up the road". No way! Oh my god, 4th, me, are you sure??? Only two minutes down on the leaders...does this mean Mirinda is behind me? Wow! I start fumbling around trying to get my wetty off. I can't get it off. It's stuck like glue to my ankles. I try jumping on it, pulling it, yanking it, I fall over (I sure hope the photographers weren't capturing this) and dig my fingers in and eventually get the thing off. Even trying to get the wetty into the plastic bag seemed like a mission. The race starts and finishes at different points so I HAD to get it in the bag and tie it up otherwise I may not get it all back at the other end.
I get 'Buddy' (my bike) out of transition and onto the road and try to relax and settle into a good pace. That's not happening on this course. Out of the saddle, in the saddle, out of the saddle, climbing, winding, bumping all over the road. What a bike course. It was definitely an interesting one. The hills were good, the windy roads were fun but the road surface was in a pretty bad state. If I finish this bike course with two working wheels that'll be awesome :-)
I hardly even looked at my Garmin, my speed was all over the place and besides I was too focussed on looking out for potholes and weaving over the road to find the best surface.
It wasn't until almost 75km that I caught two out of the three girls ahead of me. So that left just Leanda up ahead. 10km to go, almost there. I've only had 3 out of my 5 gels. With such a technical and bumpy course I found it hard to eat and drink. I better get another one in before I start the run. I don't like taking in gels on the run. I carry one, just in case I need it but very rarely do I use it. I rip it off my bike where I have them taped, take a mouthful then I see a massive bump in the road, there's no avoiding this one, it goes right across the road. I hold on to my bars with the gel in my hand... Bang! The gel covers my hand. I’ve just run out of water and the gel is drying fast, my hand is sticking to my handlebars. This stuff dries like glue!
Rack my bike, chuck on my Nikes, and I'm off running. I get into a comfortable pace then hit my watch to start clicking the miles. 5:37, a little fast, 6 flat, perfect, 6:02, I take the lead, 6:00, 5:44, 5:54, the course has some nice hills, 5:54, 5:52, 5:55, my stomach starts to churn, argghh... 6:00, ok the churning stomach has passed. I pass a pro man "damn, I've officially been chicked" he says as I run past. 5:57... 1mile to go... I think it's mine. I'm feeling great, the spectators on the side of the road start getting thicker,
they’re all cheering... I see the finish chute. I look around and enjoy the experience. I cross the line 4:09 flat. Course record by over 6minutes. Plus run record. My Homestay host, Barbara, who was volunteering puts a finishers medal around my neck.
What an amazing feeling! Up against some of the best in the world... And I won! I'm so happy. But how was my swim?? Did you see my swim? I still can't get over my swim :-)
"You've got a big target on your head now" the commentator says to me after I cross the line.
Barbara and Pat Ryan
Thanks again to all my sponsors, supporters, manager, partner. I wouldn't be here without you!
Barabra and Pat Ryan from Santa Rosa were my lovely Homestay hosts this trip and what a fantastic couple they are. My trip ran so smoothly thanks to all their help. And thank you very much Barbara for the wonderful photos.
Scody. Avanti. Connectel. Compressport. Rudy Project. Continental. Nike. SiS. WRCC. Ifeelgood24/7. Aquashop. Rideoz. Cadence