I was asked to race in Tasmania as part of Team latitude which is run by my good mate Guy Besley last month and I had no hesitation in saying yes as I have never been to Tassie before. Team Latitide is a concept whereby our main focus is to support local grassroots triathlon and give back to the sport where we all came from. We raced the Port Douglas Long Course in September as part of the team which involved Mitch Anderson, Tim Berkel, Dan Robins, Adam Gordon and a few others, I managed to win that race in a sprint finish with Tim Berkel so I was hopeful of doing the same in Tassie.
My last race before Coles Bay was a success in some ways by winning the Albany Long Course race early January but unfortunately being disqualified after crossing the line first, taking that in to account I was still looking at going 2 from 2 to start the year off. Upon arriving in Hobart I was totally prepared for a wild, windy and cold couple of days on the coast, but I was pleasantly surprised by warm and somewhat tropical weather (yes I did say tropical and Tasmania in the same sentence).
The Race setting in Coles Bay is probably as close to perfect as one could possibly imagine, with picturesque surroundings, crystal blue waters and white sands lining the coast around the region which is located about an hour and half drive from Hobart. The roads are hilly and by no means easy in terms of riding, and after driving these roads I held no doubt that this race would be a tough one. Last years winner and local hero James Hodge was not racing after competing in Geelong the week before, but my work would be cut out with fellow Team Latitude member and Sydney local Michael Murphy, Adam Gordon, Dan Robins and some Tassie locals.
The race started on the beach in Coles Bay with a 2 lap journey in the crystal waters of the bay where I exited the water in 3rd behind Murphy and a local athlete. After having a week in Thailand on a holiday the week before this event and not having touched my bike I wasn’t at all hopeful of a strong bike leg, so my main objective was to stay in touch and unleash a solid run. I managed to ride with a strong Tassie local Hayden Armstrong and caught Murphy at the 20km mark. I was utilising this race as a form finder with the main goal of Ironman Melbourne next month so this type of training and hard riding was crucial.
I hit T2 with Murphy and Armstrong after a solid bike ride and hit the run with the idea of maintaining a consistent pace throughout the 21km run, the run leg at Coles Bay was 16km of sand running which certainly added to the toughness of this event, but in saying that I really enjoyed the challenge as I gradually pulled away from Murphy half way through the first lap.
I held the lead for the whole 21km and crossed the line about 3 minutes ahead of Murph making it a Team Latitude one, two!
This race is certainly one that I will come back and race again, as the scenery and beauty of the place is unsurpassed, the only unfortunate thing was that I could only take it in during a 4 hr half ironman!
A big thanks again to the organisation who facilitated our team to come down and also guy Besley who works tirelessly in organising an unorganised bunch of athletes! This was certainly a weekend I will not forget in a hurry.