Its now gone 6 months since my Wrist surgery, I’ve been back in my kayak for around two months now, so just enough time to get some kayak training in before the Second edition on the Salmon Run. However as it turns out the conditions for the race this time around were less than ideal, and my prep wasn’t all that great either. Unfortunately there was a howling Nor-wester blowing across the plains, and although we were starting early in the day this meant that the paddle ended up being cancelled….
The race was still going to go ahead however with us (multisporters) put into the Duathlon category. As expected in the wind it was going to be a full on bunch ride, especially with a now quite large group of Multi-sporters and Duathletes. The bunch quickly sorted itself out and it was pretty hard going to begin with along the first straight into the wind. No one as too keen to spend much time up front and on more than one occasion in the first few minutes I found myself a bit stranded at the front. I eventually ran out of steam a bit and must have been going so slow that someone felt they needed to take over and I all to willingly drifted to the back with my tail between my legs. I was still recovering towards the back of the bunch when we rounded the first corner, unfortunately the guy directly in front of me didn’t anticipate a split happening and I all too quickly found myself behind the eightball and losing the bunch.
I sprinted hard to try and catch hoping someone would come with me. I gained some ground but just couldn’t bridge that final few meters as it got eternally tougher. With that bunch my hopes faded a bit. I was now in for a long battle in the wind without much help. Eventually two guys did arrive, but having given it a good push moments earlier, my legs just had nothing in them. The downwind straight provided a little bit of recovery, but I still had to keep pushing hard, utilising the now tailwind to minimise the gap ahead….which wasn’t working all that well.
Back into the wind I found myself again in the front of my small bunch. I had recovered a bit and was now starting to feel my strength coming through. The other guys obviously didnt have much else to give as when we hit the back straight and the tailwind again we had one fall off the back. Into the home straight, and the wind had decided to change right then, so what was a nice headwind out was now a stiff headwind back! Some days you just cant win!
Cancelling the paddle had meant that the bike to run transition place had changed, so mentally I wasnt prepared as well as I could have been. Anyhow being an Orienteer, where you sometimes never know whats waiting for you I adapted well and was out and running before I knew it. Unfortuantely the couple of solid efforts on the bike I had to endure had left their mark on my running capacity. The initial bunch was well out of sight so it was just me all by myself for a long while. I found a good rhythm, a little slow but had a great time suffering round.
I was looking forward to our obstacle course around the pony club, here I could also catch a glimpse of those guys in front and see if they were within reach. But much to my dismay they had cancelled that too. Oh well…. and oh crap now I have even shorter distance to make up. Eventually I was gaining and I could see two guys in front. I figured it was too late by now, but as we rounded the next few corners I could actually see myself starting to claw back heaps of distance. In the last 300m, there happened to be a bend with a bit of gravel on it and as I skipped across it, it made a little bit of noise, just enough for Sam to look back and see me bearing down on him. Fortunately for him it was just enough distance under a bit of a sprint to hold me off as I closed within 10 seconds of 4th and 3 of 5th place to finish 6th.
I was happy that I had redeemed myself a little bit on the run a obviously quite gutted and a bit disappointed, not to have followed up last years race with another good performance. Apart from that it was good to have a challenging day out racing round, hopefully Ill be back next year with a kayak and a point to prove!