Mooloolaba itself is (normally) a quiet ocean-side spot about an hour north of Brisbane (where I live), on the (aptly named) Sunshine Coast. It’s a great spot with cafes and an esplanade along the ocean and a great patrolled beach which boasts the toilet with the best view in our part of the world (the loo with a view).
Now as a friend has written, celebrate your firsts. Well, Mooloolaba this year brought about quite a few firsts for me; it was my first olympic tri, first time racing on the new bike, first time on the course at Mooloolaba, first penalty and first real injury.
The goal for me on this one was to get across the line. I had a nominal goal of wanting to break 2:40, but I really just wanted to get it done.
Aside from adding 200m to the swim course-the swim was largely uneventful. I did find it a bit tough to find much open water, but I felt good, and probably could have gone harder.
The swim was moved from the normal beach/surf swim to the nearby canals—which was good, because the surf was pounding. However, this also meant there was 800m run—on road—from the swim to transition.
Some of the more experienced (read smarter) amongst us were prepared for this change in course. They brought a spare pair of shoes so they didn’t have to do the run barefoot.
Others of us have learned and will bring some runners for this next time.
The bike was challenging—I’ve recently bought (read stole) a Cervelo P2—and I love it, and I was really keen to get out on the course as so much of the course is flat and I wanted to take full advantage of being able to get down on the aero bars.
Getting out to that flat stretch means there’s a few hills—nothing dramatic, but you certainly feel them. Once we got out to the relative flat of the Sunny Coast highway, we were greeted by a decent headwind—so I spent a lot of time trying to get down to get out of the wind.
Like the swim, there wasn’t a lot of room out on the bike course. On top of this, because my swim is by far my weakest discipline, I end up trying to catch up a lot on the ride and run. During one of these attempts (to pass) I had a faster rider come up behind me and ask me to move left—which I did, however, this brought me two or three meters off the wheel of the rider in front of me—at this point one of the marshals came along side and pinged me for ‘drafting’. Despite my most eloquent attempts to convince her otherwise, I had to serve a three minute penalty at the turnaround point.
I spent the three minutes rehydrating, getting some nutrition down and then made the best of the tailwind to try and make up my penalty time. All up, I got home on the bike in just under 1hr 15.
The run is my favourite leg (no pun intended). I love to run. So regardless of the length, I’m always happy to get out of transition and get out on the course. Now, maybe it was the extra effort I had put in on the ride, maybe it was the damage I did to my feet on the sprint from the swim to T1 or maybe it was just me on the day, but I found the course to be really tough.
For those who haven’t done the run at Mooloolaba, it goes out along the esplanade—up a hill—down through to Alexandria Headlands for a turnaround, then ¾ back (up the hill) towards transition for another turnaround, back towards the headlands to the turnaround point and then the full distance back (up the hill again) to the finish.
It’s a tough course and it chewed me up and spat me out. It was hot (30c), and I took water at just about every station to douse myself to try (in vain) to stay cool.
All said and done, it was a good day. I finished in 2hrs 47. I damaged some tendons in my legs and had to take a couple of weeks off from training—but I got it done.