We were once again lucky to have a couple of Human Powered Racing athletes representing Canada at the ITU Age Group World Championship on the Gold Coast of Australia. Shane Russell (a transplanted Australian racing for his adopted home) raced the Sprint Distance race on a compromised calf while his partner Barb Rober raced the Standard Distance race. With this finish, Barb will have now raced an ITU World Championship Triathlon at every distance (Sprint – Chicago, Long Distance – Penticton, Standard – Gold Goast)
Here is Barb’s recap of her most recent success.
It was very exciting that the last triathlon I compete in (for a little while at least) was where my passion for triathlon all began, in Australia! They sure know how to put on a great event! I still consider my first Olympic distance here in Noosa in 2012 as my favourite race so far. And the Gold Coast did not disappoint!
I had an ideal race and conditions. That’s right, no flats, no crashes, no getting bullied in the swim, no issues at transition with wetsuit removal, no issues finding my bike rack location, my bike mount and dismount were super smooth, and my early race start time meant I escaped the worst of the winds as they picked up throughout the morning. The ocean was calm, the outside temperature was about 22C and there was even a bit of cloud cover for the run.
I thoroughly enjoyed the entire race. The swim was very civil. I had a couple girls around me the whole time and we were all very close together, but it was never aggressive. I was calm and relaxed and honestly thought I was closer to the front pack than it turned out. I love ocean swims, especially ones that are calm and tide assisted ;). The run to my bike through transition seemed long after the movement of the ocean and the quick change from horizontal to vertical, but I tried to run hard and make up some time.
I found my bike quickly, removed my wetsuit and was out on the bike course with a smooth transition. It took a little while to get into a rhythm. There was a little technical section early on and it was a bit crowded at first but soon it seemed like I was all on my own. I noticed that quite a few in my age group had passed me on the bike but I just tried to keep my focus. To be honest the bike was a huge blur. It was a fun, fast and flat course. The wind picked up a bit for the second lap so at the turn around I was into the wind. I tried to push a bit harder knowing that the return to transition would be easier with a tail wind. Before I knew it, I was dismounting and into transition. I found my bike rack location quickly and was off on the run.
The run was two laps of a flat 5km course. Apparently I was enjoying the race so much that I didn’t want it to end… Instead of my goal of 4min/km I was running about 4:30min/km! I held a very consistent pace until the last km where I sprinted as fast as I could and gained a few positions in my age group. It was all over so quickly!
It was so nice to hear the cheers of friends, family and strangers throughout the course and to know that there were people back home following along and cheering for me. I am proud of all the hard work I put in throughout the year to prepare for this race. I am so grateful to have had the chance to race representing my country and teammates at such a beautiful location as the Gold Coast.
First of all, I would like to thank Shane who was up late the night before my race preparing his rear wheel and working out the logistics for the swap over in the morning. You see, the winds were forecasted to increase throughout race morning and the call was made at 8:30pm that Disc Wheels were not allowed. All bikes were racked in transition at this point, and I was almost asleep. He came in and said “I don’t want to worry you, but disc wheels are not allowed. I have emailed Team Canada to see if I can help you in the morning or if there will be bike mechanic support available.” We decided to get up a bit earlier to make sure we had extra time for the swap over and I was able to relax and go to sleep knowing that he was taking care of it. In the morning we were there early enough that I did not have to wait long for the bike mechanic to do the swap and adjust my brakes. Crises averted! Shane has also been so patient and supportive throughout the year, so thank you Shane!
Thanks to my coach Mike and teammates at Human Powered Racing for inspiring and challenging me every day to be better. You are all so amazing. And to my first triathlon coach Cath and Vision Tri Club teammates, thanks for letting us tag along to some of the training sessions leading up to this race. You are all such amazing people and athletes.
Thanks to all my family, friends, and coworkers for their support and understanding with planning and flexibility around my training schedule throughout the year so I could chase my goals.
And last but not least, thank you to my local sponsors who kept my mind and body healthy throughout the year.
- One Yoga Victoria is an amazing community studio with fantastic teachers, classes, and workshops.
- Jamie and Shay at Synergy Health Centre are very professional and are amazing at what they do – they helped keep my body maintained and injury free throughout the year.
- Fawn Whiting Physiotherapy and Pilates helped with strengthening my core and keeping my body injury free as well as providing advice and encouragement as a local professional triathlete