It was so great to be back at the venue again. I raced there in 2005 and 2006 and the course has only changed slightly since the World Cup in 2006.
Both races were accompanied by beautiful weather, though a bit hot, with really clear air which was just about the best anyone could have hoped for.
The women's race was interesting. No one really took the swim out, so there were 4 women sitting across the front of the field for most of the swim. This kept the field together and created a fairly large front group on the bike. Most of the key names were in this group, so it was pretty evident that it would be a run race for the medals. However, as soon as they hit the run, Emma Snowsill took off and never looked back. It was not even a race. I really have to give her credit because she ran her own race. She basically said "I'm going to run the fastest 10k I can. If you want to come with me, go ahead, but I'm not about to wait for you." Her strategy worked and it was quite incredible to watch her basically float through the 10k. (I'm sure it didn't feel like a float to her, but it certainly looked like one.) The women chasing her were definitely struggling a lot more. Some people took it out hard and tried to hold on... this didn't work so well... and others seemed to pick their way through the ranks bit by bit. In the end, the finish was quite spread out and it became obvious by about 5k who would claim what medal. I wanted to be out there racing so badly, but more than that it fired me up to make the team and be a contender for 2012.
The men's race was a bit more interesting. The swim stayed close, again, as no one really wanted to do the work. This lead to an even more massive group on the bike. Though attacks were made throughout, they didn't really work and the ones who tried to go seemed to be fried afterwards. One attack late in the day did stick and those men had a slight lead into the run, but only because the main field wasn't worried about them running away with the race. The charge on the run came in the form of a decent size pack which slowly was broken apart lap by lap. The heat was certainly playing a role. But, with the bullseye on his back, it seemed that everyone was simply out there to beat Javier and then once they cracked him it would be a dog fight for the medals. It was a fun dog fight to watch!
Jarrod had a very solid race. He had a good swim and found his way into the lead group on the bike. He stayed at the back for basically the whole ride and came off in about 45th. This put him at a disadvantage starting the run as he lost about 20 seconds to the leaders through transition. He slowly moved his way up and finished in 18th place. His goal was to be top 20, so he was quite pleased. It was a learning experience for him and I know he is really excited for the next Olympic cycle. I was happy to be able to be there, to watch him race, since way back in the day, in 2004, the journey started as the two of us with our crazy dreams.