Belgian teammate Marten Van Riel reminded me of a term I haven’t heard since university: “the rustbuster”. The rustbuster - as the phrase was employed by my previous coaches - is used to describe the first race of the season that probably didn’t live up to your full potential, perhaps, in part, because it's been a while since your last competition and it's time brush up on those racing skills. As my first triathlon of the season, here are a few things I was reminded of while ‘busting my rust’ at the New Plymouth World Cup.
From the exit of the water until jumping on the bike this part is fast and furious. A few seconds lost here can cost minutes in the race. It is important to go into ‘information absorption mode’. I need to locate my bike and focus on making precise, fluid movements to take off my wetsuit, cap, goggles, etc., while also trying to pay attention to who's around me, where I am situated in the group and avoid the other girls moving in and out of their transition. (If you've ever played Super Mario, transition is a bit like trying to avoid all the piranha plants, goombas and other obstacles, while collecting as many the coins, or in our case seconds, as possible.)
Going into second transition also becomes very tactical as women jockey for a lead position and try to pick the ideal moment to undo the scratch and slip out of their shoes before the dismount line. Overly cautious and wanting to stay out of trouble I came into T2 virtually last in my group. Lesson learned: be aggressive until the end.
All in all, although I hoped for a better start to the season, it was a reasonable rustbuster with several positive key-learning points and only a very sore, but thankfully not torn, calf muscle. I am really looking forward to racing again and in the meantime just focusing on recovery. Both Belgian teammates Sofie Hooghe and Marten Van Riel put in great performances finishing a very nice 15th and 13th place respectively.
Now off to Auckland for what is sure to be a hilly and fast World Triathlon Series. For Belgians Sofie Hooghe, Marten Van Riel and myself the action gets started this Sunday March 28 at 12:50 local time for the women and 4:40 pm for the men. You can find race results here or follow the race live.
Thanks for reading and for the continued support!