One Day to Go – New Zealand Day 6
Sunday 21st October – Crikey, is it really Sunday already, that means tomorrow is race day – Time for the panic and nerves to start kicking in. I still hadn’t slept properly and was waking up at 1am, which gave me plenty of time to lie in bed, worrying about the race ahead. There was nothing I could do now though, I’d done the training, I’d put in the work and I was here in Auckland, just a few last minute things to do and tomorrow it would be time to perform.
We started the day with breakfast in the hotel and then a walk across Auckland CBD to the Jucy Camper Van place. We had been told to go to see if they could store my bike box for me once the race was over and we were touring around New Zealand. They couldn’t, so that was a bit of a wasted trip.
After lunch it was then time for the Mens Elite Race. We had grandstand tickets for this, so took up our places in the pouring rain in the grandstand. It was a shame the weather was so bad, the driving rain, wet roads and strong winds weren’t ideal for the competitors, but if they are anything like me they just ignore that once they get going. The conditions however were terrible for the spectators which meant that the grandstand wasn’t full to capacity because many people took up strategic viewing points elsewhere around the course where there was some cover from the pouring rain. We should have done the same really, but instead sat in the grandstand trying to stay as warm and dry as possible whilst wielding cameras and those noisy inflatable clapper things!
The athletes filed out, we were of course cheering for Jonny Brownlee and the other GB athletes, but there were plenty of people from other nations in the stands too. The race was off, we couldn’t see the swim from the grandstand but we did of course have a great view of it on the big screen right in front of us. Jonny Brownlee was out at the front with Varga as they came into transition and out onto the wet and rainy bike course. The rain was now lashing down and there were a few crashes on the slippery roads. We were getting soaked though and in the end gave up half way through the race and headed back to the hotel to get warm and dry and watch the race on the TV. Jonny Brownlee ended up coming 2nd to Javier Gomez, but that was enough for him to clinch the World Title.
It would be my turn to race tomorrow, lets hope the weather improves a little and that I’m ready for it. Straight after the Elite race I had to head back down to the harbour to rack my bike in the transition area, have my race kit and bike checked by officials and to be body numbered. I was one of the first in the transition area, and what a transition area it was. It was huge, with endless numbered racks for bikes, colour coded bits of carpet and a concrete floor. This was my first chance to see the entry and exit points for the transition and it was clear that T1 and T2 were going to play a large part in the race. It was easily 500m from the swim exit point, up the gantry onto the dockside, along the dockside and into transition. It was then a long run to my bike racking area followed by another long run to the bike mount line. The same was true for T2, another 500m or so into and out of transition. That would essentially add a full kilometre of running onto the event, and barefoot running at that.
I left my bike in the transition area, had my number written on my arms and category letter (H) on my leg and headed back to the hotel. This was it, the final preparations had begun and tomorrow morning I’d be racing. We all headed off to my parents hotel in a taxi for a dinner of roast chicken, risotto and salad before going to bed for an early night.