I was excited to head over to South Korea to race in Challenge Jeju. Training has been going well since the World Championship so I was confident of having a good result. After a day traveling to the race which incorporated 3 flights I arrived on the Wednesday before the race to settle in to do some light training and experience the Korean culture. James Lee and the challenge crew made us feel very welcome and helped us out with anything we needed.
The Jeju island for a race location is amazing and I cant wait to come back to race again and experience more of what the island has to offer. There wasn’t a large pro field racing but still a quality field and I was determined to have a good race come Sunday morning.
Race morning we were meet with warmish conditions with some wind around but the conditions were generally ideal. The swim course was a 2 lap triangular course but with the tide out it resulted in about half the swim being a mixture of duck diving and wading. Living around the surf all my life this played into my hands. I was more than comfortable duck diving large distances and I had a small lead out of the water.
The bike course was two large 40km loops with a decent climb each lap. My plan from the start of the bike was to ride to the watts I thought I could hold throughout the entire bike leg. At around 15km mark I couldn’t see anyone behind me so I was able to focus on riding my own race. The road surface was one of the best I have ever ridden on so staying in the aero position was very easy throughout the whole ride (except up the climb). Being a 2 lap course with no u-turns I had no idea how much lead I had during the whole ride but was weary of the quality of the athletes behind me so I kept my head down and headed back to T2.
Out onto the run, I was still feeling in control and was confident of holding the lead until the finish line. I knew I had at least 1min 30secs lead because no one had come into T2 by the time I had left Apart from that I had no idea who or how far people were behind. The run was 10kms out and back with a loop around a historic village to finish. With no idea where anyone was I started the run conservatively and just focused on finding a comfortable rhythm until the turn around so I could see where everyone was. After the u-turn I saw Carlos Quinchara and Luke Bell running well around 2mins back. I was feeling comfortable on the way out but as we turned and had the tail wind it started to get very hot. I struggled quite a lot with 9km to 5km to go and spent a fair bit of time walking the aid stations to make sure I took in as much water and fuel as possible. I was starting to worry that the boys behind me might be starting to catch me but with 4kms to go I started to feel better again and with the realisation that I still had a lead over 2nd and I was confident that I could win the event.
I crossed the line a couple of minutes in front of Luke and further few minutes back to Carlos. I was tired and hot but very happy with the result.
My coach Pete and I had a plan to race my own race and try take out the win. We ticked both of those boxes. Next on the race calendar is a few short distance no drafting races at the end of October including Nepean and Noosa which I’m looking forward to compared to slug feast of racing 4 hours. I will then defend my Western Sydney 70.3 title in late November. As always I can’t thank my sponsors enough who provide me with the best gear possible, without it none of this would be possible. Click here to check out the gear I use to race and train.