After following the first Super League Triathlon event in Hamilton Island, Australia in March that was men’s only, I was hoping that I would get an invite when the female field was added and I was thrilled when it came through. The Super League Jersey event lived up to the hype!
SLT kept us busy before the races. We had visits with the local kids tri club, schools, and we also had a fun excursion to do tourist activities in Jersey – I got to go stand up paddleboarding for the first time! I think the activities, particularly with the kids, were a great opportunity. So often, races go into a place and don’t really do much in the community besides provide age group races. I think it sometimes breeds animosity towards events, especially coupled with road closures and other inconveniences. I hope more races will follow suit and find ways to give back to the community! I heard that 20 new kids signed up to join the local triathlon club over the weekend alone. It was great to interact with the local triathlon community and hopefully help positively influence participation in the sport!
The first day of racing was the triple mix – a unique format meant to showcase who is the best at swimming, biking, and running regardless of the order. The triple mix format comprised of: 300m swim, 5km bike, 2km run, 10 minute break, 2km run, 5km bike, 300m swim, 10 minute break, and the same distances as bike, swim, and run. After the first round, each athlete started the next round in a pursuit-style format, in a time back from the first finisher equivalent to the gap from the prior round. Athletes were removed from the race if they fell 90s behind at any point. Due to the formats of racing, even though the water was 16.7 degrees C (62 F) wetsuits were not allowed. I was worried going into the event that I would freeze, but it ended up being not too bad after the initial shock!
With such a short distance to the first buoy, the mass swim start was brutal! I came out mid pack and was able to tuck into a long line of athletes. I finished the first round in fourth and only had a 4s gap to the front. It was during the run of the first stage that I realized how tactical the triple mix would be. I ran the next stage with the leaders while still trying to conserve as much energy as possible. Two of the women split off the front pretty quickly and I was riding decently until my handlebars came loose and started wiggling around. I’m not entirely sure what happened, as I had been riding my bike around all week and had zero problems or wiggle until midway through the round. Maybe the bumps and vibrations from the cobbles took a toll. I think managing to ride my bike in the rest of the way in without crashing on the technical course is one of my most impressive moments! Running down to the swim, I informed race staff that I needed the mechanic and they had my bike fixed for me by the time I finished the round! I finished the round in 3rd, but with a substantial gap to the front two. On the final round, I used the middle swim and the run at the end to maintain my position in third for the day. I was surprised by how well I performed at this format!
When I woke up on Day 2, I couldn’t believe I had to race again! While I felt encouraged by my result in the triple mix, I was sore and admittedly not excited about the wet and cooler weather, which made the cobble course treacherous. The eliminator format consisted of three rounds of 300m swim, 5km bike, and 2km run. All athletes started round one and the slowest 10 were eliminated before the next round. After round two, an additional five were eliminated before the final round.
While each round was challenging, the first round was particularly tough. I got beat up on the swim and struggled a bit on the wet bike course. Lots of women crashed out on the first round and the sound of carbon hitting the ground in every direction wasn’t exactly confidence inspiring. I did what I needed to do to get through to the next round. I ended up between packs in round two, but still made it through to the next round. I got on fast feet on the swim in round three and finally didn’t get beat up around the buoys! I was riding full on and stayed on the front pack for four laps before finally getting dropped off on the fifth. I was riding at max capacity and getting around the wet corners as best as I could, which seemed to get harder and harder the more fatigued I got. Not too big of a gap opened up and even though I was hurting I was determined to run myself up to the podium. I caught runners 2-4 with about 900m to go and put in a surge to gap them. I ran as hard as I could to the finish and was thrilled to finish second behind fellow American Katie Zaferes! SLT Jersey was a huge challenge for me, especially given the many turns on the bike course, and I’m really proud to have risen to the occasion.
Thanks to my family, Ian, Paulo + The Triathlon Squad, my friends, USA Triathlon, fortynine Group, ROKA Sports, Team Psycho, and the New York Athletic Club for your support. Also a huge thank you to Super League Triathlon for putting on a fantastic event! My next race will be the Tongyeong World Cup in South Korea on October 28!