Friday, 6 April 2018

March Update~ Mooloolabas Magical Moment Motivates!

 March, what did I say- it would be a busy one & it sure did provide some exciting racing!! With my best performance to date & favourite race memory, Mooloolaba World Cup, It still puts one huge smile on my face & gives me goosebumps thinking back to that race & moments shared with my mum & dad, coach, triathlon Australia staff & friends! You beauty! 

But Back to the start…
 I headed to the Sunshine Coast at the start of this month for which would be three weeks on the road full of racing! Starting with Mooloolaba World Cup, followed by the Gold Coast Triathlon Australia Mixed Relay invitational event & then New Plymouth World Cup across the ditch in our friendly neighbour NZ!
 I was thrilled with how my early season training and racing had been coming along and was excited to see what I could do at Mooloolaba in a deeper world class field! 

 Being the only World Cup on home soil it's exciting to race with the crowd behind you all the way! I was super excited & proud to have my mum & dad up for the race to watch, something that's getting rarer as the World Series circuit races stretch more frequently & further abroad!

  The tropical cyclone in far North Queensland was drowning the sunshine” state in rain all week & dishing up some decent swell! I was excited, I love a true tough race & Mooloolaba was already providing a tough course with the hill every lap on both the ride & run, along with the coastal course leaving everyone well exposed to the strong on shore winds & then add in the big dumping swell & very strong inshore sweep! It sure was going to be interesting! 

  Having come a tantalising 4th last year on this course, I was more than ready to give it a red hot crack, I wasn't going to come 4th again if I could help it! I got off to a great start with years of surf Life Saving coming in very handy to use my surf skill knowledge to my advantage, breaking well clear of the race behind & exiting with a near 30 second lead! But after nearly 1 lap out in the wind & hills solo returning to transition, racing through the unique Mooloolaba esplanade & race expo tents, I decided to sit up & wait to be caught by the front bike pack and work within the bunch!

This was a tactical move, I didn't want to burn all my matches on the bike solo only to be caught near the end of the 20km ride as I have done in past races. Working within our front pack of 8, it was frustrating at times with some girls working hard even turns & others sitting up at the back and saving themselves for the run. But with 8 different athletes & 8 different race strategies, it's not always going to be smooth even work out there! 

Continuing to focus in on nailing the little things I came into transition leading our front pack. I could hear the crowd yelling & cheering & got off to a quick clean start on the run! 

The weather gods were kind to us and turned on a warm sunny day in the end. 
I was feeling great, we practice in training & racing that no matter how we feel - good or bad, crappy or great, that we set those feelings aside and always Race good regardless of how our body might be feeling. But it's still awesome to hop off that bike & be feeling really ready to go. I set off up the hill taking the lead & wanted to push myself early & test myself & the other top girls around me! This worked to my favour as the top pack off the bike began to split early on that first lap, with Kirsten kasper hot on my shoulder! 

Heading into lap 2 & 3 I only felt better & really confident in myself to stick out this foot battle, it was an awesome feeling! Likewise i not only had my mum & dad out on course but a whole bunch of close family & friends who speared me on all the way towards the end of that 5km! As I approached the far turn at the top of the hill on the last lap I could see I had broken away clear of Kirsten and it was all downhill from here, knowing how stellar Kirsten's sprint finishes are i kept the pressure on but was able to soak up some high fives, cheers, congratulations & the looks on my parents faces as I crossed that finish line, taking the tape & winning my first World Cup! 

It was like a dream, that's exactly what we work so hard for & to have my team around me to embrace the achievement was magic! Some happy tears there for sure! Standing on my first World Cup podium, getting to sing the Australian National anthem with a home crowd of Aussies, and of course a proper champagne showers! It was epic! Super motivating to chase that feeling now into the rest of this big season ahead!!

Straight back into athlete life as I headed to Lennox head in Northern NSW the next morning for a weeks camp with the Wollongong wizards! I love exploring new places and I've never been to Lennox so it was really enjoyable to train on some new trails & stretches of road, and of course trying some new coffee stops! My favourite ride being my trip to byron bay with a lighthouse lookout & lunch stop, and my long run along the coast from Lennox to Ballina! 

We headed Back Nth as a group to the Gold Coast where Ash Gentle & Charlotte McShane would finish their commonwealth games preparation here in Miami on the Gold Coast. And with just under 4 weeks to the games Triathlon Australia set up a great initiative with the inaugural Mixed Team Relay Invitational! We all were really looking forward to giving it some in the fast, furious & exciting super sprint 300m/8km/1.6km teams event! Held at Runaway Bay with some strong international teams racing! I was in the Aussie team 1 alongside Matt Hauser, Amber Pate & Steve McKenna. 

Racing in the heats on Saturday with the Finals on Sunday, I kicked off our team starting first on the Saturday heat, battling it out in the swim & bike with friendly racing rival Kirsten Kasper & fellow Aussie Dani Defrancesco, before it came to a head to head sprint for the tag with just 200m left on the run I came in second to the touch behind Kirsten's kick! I'm the heat our team finished strong in 2nd behind the USA team with a terrific all round effort & secured ourselves a spot straight into the Sunday A final!


Sundays A final was a quality show, with the top teams all there it was epic racing to be apart of! Our team decided to switch it up & have myself go 3rd & Matt Hauser, Comm Games bound, in 4th to bring it home! We both had the opportunity to have some fun & chase solo from behind, some solid TT work & we came from the back to move up into 4th, with Matt nearly earning us a step on the podium. It was a really exciting weekend of racing to be apart of a team within what is generally such an individual sport! It’s terrific & you can't help but yell & scream for your teammates as you chase after them around the course with the lead swapping & changing as the relay progresses, such an excellent addition to this years 2018 Commonwealth games and secured for Tokyo 2020. 

Congratulations to Team Nth America (Mix of the USA & Canada) for the win, followed by Team USA in 2nd and Aussie Team 3 with Ash Gentle, Gillian Backhouse, Ryan Bailie and Dan Coleman taking the bronze! 

We packed up our bikes that afternoon at race site & those of us bound for the next World Cup in NZ headed on the train Nth to Brisbane. Flying out at 6am the next day it would be a not so gracious 3.15am wake up Monday morning to make our way across the ditch, hello coffee! A delay & missed connection in Auckland saw us sourcing out some cookie time & a wifi network at Auckland before arriving into New Plymouth later that night, unfortunately for me, my bike decided to spend the night in Auckland, oh the joys of travel! 

We were lucky to get to spend a week in New Plymouth in the lead up to The World Cup event on that coming Sunday. It's rare you get so long in a place to settle in pre race, I was stoked as I really love NZ, the people are just so caring & welcoming into their community and really invite you in as one of their own. Not to mention the country side landscapes are breathtaking with snow capped mount Taranaki on one side & the shores of the pacific ocean on the other! New Plymouth is certainly not short of a of host of great cafes with awesome coffee and food, it's an all round win win for us Triathlete with the perfect training location literally at the doorstep! 

Come the weekend I had well & truly settled in & was relaxed and pumped to get going again racing!! The course was another real tough one & I was excited to rip in!! With a cooler wetsuit harbour swim, a technical & hilly bike it was going to be testing with 4 laps of a 5km loop, each with a hard 1km climb within the loop, before a mostly flat 5km run to finish! 

Unfortunately the only thing NZ didn't make picture perfect was the weather this week, hiding New Plymouth’s Guardian Mount Taranaki from us & bringing in some heavy rains & scary storms throughout the week. 

As race Day Sunday came along, with us elite women kicking off at midday it looked like the sun would be out… but it wasn't to be today let me tell you I quickly found the slippery wet ground later… Oh Emma! 

Kicking off with a great start & lead in the swim, leading around the course before exiting the water with Kasper & Summer Cook onto the bike, there was a big front pack establishing early on the first lap and some athletes just off the back out of the water fought hard over that initial stage to get onto the pack! Lap 1 the rain started to come down and by the middle of the bike the rain had come down quite heavy, leaving the roads wet and slick with some of those fast descents from the uphill climb, and some sharp corners & rail way line crossings! 

By the end of lap 3 it looked like our continued efforts to try split the front pack or at least put those hanging on at the back under pressure appeared to have worked well as I thought we had a gap coming down the hill, getting a little carried away and over excitied I was too busy thinking ahead, and with my mind up the road I came into one of the ports slick grave laid corners a little too fast, breaked too late & hit the white line, sliding straight out, flesh gliding on cement as I hit the deck hard. 

Ouch! Bouncing nearly straight back up I was hoping to get on the back of the pack as they came past but with a bit of Shakey legs I missed clipping in & getting back on by a few seconds and it cost me the front bunch, with 1 lap to go, battling my way into transition 2 and out onto a long 5km run, with a bleeding hip, shoulder & elbow & possibly the worst- my new lucky Australian trisuit from Mooloolaba ripped! Battling on and keeping my cool to the end, my run didn't fall apart and I finished what I saw as a respectable 16th for a tough day out! It takes a lot more than that for me to throw in the towel! 

Sometimes we have to live & learn the hard way, this was one of those times as I coped some fair banter & one stiff trip home on the plane flight the next day- cuts, bruises and impact soreness!! 

Lucky for me, the racing calendar had tied itself in so well with the real world this year, arriving home in time for Easter & a long weekend away with the family to our second home at Seal Rocks, staying at our absolute favourite- Sugarloaf Lighthouse, again sorry not really sorry for all the Instagram spam, the place is just too incredible!! Soaking up some quality family time at home” by the ocean, in the Autumn sun, with an Easter bunny chocolate visit & able to just get back to the basics and refresh for a few days! It was just what the body & mind needed after what has been a really pleasing & exciting start to the years racing with still so much more to give!! 

I cant wait to see what the rest of the year holds in stall for racing, training, hard work, travel, adventures and a whole lot of fun along the way I'm sure! 

Bring it on! I am ready! 

Thanks for the read & checking in, until next months update check my social feed for some pictures in the meantime-
Insta: @emmajeffcoat 
FB: Emma Jeffcoat Professional Triathlete page. 

Cheers legends! 

Saturday, 24 February 2018

February Blog Update- Oceania & Aussie Elite Champ & one happy athlete!

Hey A Team!

Wow this month’s been full on, packed with exciting domestic season racing, new race locations, consistent hard work in the training athlete office & of course a bit of adventure squished inbetween!

Kicking off this months racing and my 2018 triathlon season with the Oceania Cup in Glenelg, the pristine seaside town of Adelaide, in South Australia! I couldn't think of a prettier place to start my years racing, with perfect blue skies & warm weather, crystal clear blue water with our accommodation right on the beach front making for some epic sunsets, plus coastal runs & rides!!

We competed on the Saturday afternoon for the Elite women Oceania Cup over the sprint distance and then backed up Sunday morning for the Oceania Championships Mixed Team Relay Event, which is run over the fast super sprint format of 300m swim, 6km ride and 1.6km run.

Saturdays racing was very hot, not just the competition but the weather too! With us Elite women the last race of the day at 2.45pm, incentive to run quick for the ice bath waiting at the end! I loved getting back in the ocean racing from a beach run start into the 750m swim, just like old times in Surf Life Saving, having actually raced down here in Glenelg at the 2012 World Surf Life Saving Championshusp! Taking on the choppy conditions to try and out swim the BIG fish that South Australia is so well known for... ekkk!

Exiting the water ahead & with a gap on the field I took my oppourtunity and (literally) ran with it (well rode haha) Head down, butt up as I took on the 6 lap course with a few tricky & tight sections! With the wind up there was no protection out there solo & it took its toll over the 18km as I hit it hard to try & race away, but just didn't have it this time around to hold off the large & strong chasing pack behind which caught with only 2km to go!! This pack held some quick quality competition, so we dismounted & headed out into one hot & flat footrace!!!

A pack of 6 soon emerged and we entered a solid run battle, including the likes of Andrea Hewitt, Charlotte Mcshane, Gillian Backhouse, Nicole van der Kay & myself! I stuck for the first 2.5km but dropped off for the bell lap & didn't have the legs to stick it out for an exciting sprint finish which saw NZ legend Andrea take the win over fellow Aussie Char mate McShane on the line!

Straight to the ice bath, recovery work & a nice afternoon ocean swim to get the body ready for tomorrow's super sprint Oceania Mixed Team Relay championship title event! Plus a little pizza to help refuel...

Sunday was an early start, kicking off at 7.30am for the new & very exciting triathlon team event, seeing the Aussies take on the Kiwi's! I was proud to be kicking off our number 1 Aussie team to start the relay from the gun, as each member competes in the mini triathlon before tagging the next, always running girl-boy- girl- boy to the finish! 

Playing to my strengths from the previous day I hit it hard swim- bike from the get go and was again able to get a gap on the remaining field, this time having learnt from Saturdays racing on course I was smarter & able to play the game to stay away on the bike and gain time for our Aussie team, running ahead but knowing full well that every second counted for my team, tagging Brandon Copeland in second with a 45 second lead, I was really happy with my performance for the team in my first real go at the Mixed Team Relay format, plenty more of this to come that’s for sure!

The relay sure didn't disappoint with a strong NZ team coming back over the remaining 3 legs with Brandon, Charlotte Mcshane & Ryan Bailey giving it to them but in the end it wasn't enough to hold off the Kiwi's from taking the gold! Watch out, next time it's ours guys! Jokes aside, its always great racing against our friendly rivals from over the ditch!

Straight home, family dinner & back to 5am swim squad Monday morning! No rest for the wicked, active recovery and resetting the body quickly so I can get tapping away again with some real quality training & racing later in the week! With my favourite FriYay night cycle Crit racing at Hart at the Manly Warringah cycling club, taking on the boys in B grade! Followed by the very special and memorable Richie Walker Aquathon on Saturday down in Cronulla!

This event is one I'll always support when I can, an annual race in memory of Richie Walker, a son & talented Triathlete lost far too soon & a very active reminder to get your heart health checked, no mater how fit, healthy or young you pass yourself off to be!! The event is such great awareness & support for Australia's heart foundation!!

 I was pleased to have a strong hit out here after a busy weeks training to take the Aussie Aquathon Open win over the 1km bayside ocean swim & 5km true hilly cross country run! A perfect opportunity to practice what I've been working so hard on at training under pressure in racing!! Thankyou to Richie's parents for having me back and a chance to give back! Congratulations to training partner Nathan Breen for taking out the Men’s field.

Straight back into another hard weeks "work" in the athlete office while balancing all my favourite things and people into my week, which believe me - can be quite the art!! People often ask how I fit so much into a day, but I feel like if you enjoy something enough you find the time to make it work & fit with you for the week or the day! That said, a 4:30am start each day does help to give me more time than most, my 21 grams local & favourite coffee is a great creature comfort along with the old lunch time “nanna” nap and a very full diary calendar to keep track and organised with my time! I do love my double ride days where I get to ride my bike & my four legged child, Cherokee my quarter horse!

My third weekend of February saw me heading very far south to our island friend of Tasmania to contest and hopefully back up my win last year for the Oceania Elite Sprint Championship title! This was my fifth trip down to Devonport, one of my calendar favourites!! Devonport has always been kind to me, it's familiar & I love the town hot spots, the tough course & race it proves each year! 

Devonport didn’t disappoint this year either, with a stronger field than has previously heading south it was great to have some quality racing over the 750m chilly Tasman Sea ocean swim, a tough 20km ride with 4 laps up North street hill (some of you that have been reading my blog the last few years would remember this one from the 3 years previous, this year the race was a sprint -20km ride, not Olympic- 40km ride, so we only battled half the amount, it almost seemed easy haha) and onto the 5km flat & fast run along the ocean swept streets!

Team NSW & HPT have stayed the past 5 times at the same homely B&B – Dannebrog & it really makes a big difference returning to a place that’s familiar, you get to really know the town, where to swim, ride & run, where the best cafés are, where to book dinner & find coffee, along with getting to know all the local characters, it’s a part of the travel involved with racing that I love!!

Arriving mid afternoon on Thursday meant I had time to settle in pre-race, get my prep work done and relax, mum & I even snuck in for a movie afternoon off the feet! Racing early Saturday morning for a refreshing change, with us Elite women kicking it off at 7.30am sharp, with the sun barely peeking through, it was cold & chilly both in the water (17.5 degrees) and out! Lining up for another beach start, running into the water, unfortunately no surf making its way into Devonport Bluff (on the very odd chance) but still, I’ll happily take an ocean swim any day!

Making our way around the course, I could feel a tapping on the feet at about halfway & wasn’t surprised to see it was fellow NSW training & racing buddy Nat VC on my feet as we exited the water with a small gap on the chasing field behind! We got straight onto the bike, hustling to make work of this small lead we had, both of us on the same page which was great! It was heads down bums up for the first 5km to hammer it and extend the lead out to around 35 seconds, being a course that doubles back on itself we could see our lead extending, reward for our effort and efficient pulling of turns together, by 10km we had about 50 seconds and the lead extended out to 1:20 by the end of the 20km ride! Although a tough course with the hill & strong winds regardless it was great to have Nat their to share the work, after riding the 40km cycle leg solo the previous 2 years in a breakaway off the front.

Running into transition with the support on course & cheers form my number 1 supporter Supa Jeffcoat who had been cheering absolutely everyone on from the start, as she ALWAYS says to me before I race ,whatever the event- “have fun & race safe” - that’s all she’s after! 😊

Heading out onto the run leg with a solid gap over the field it was looking to be down to a footrace between us 2 having taken the race away from the other strong & quick ladies in the field! I was really pleased with how my legs felt heading out and was comfortable to settle into a rhythm and just slightly get the edge over Nat in lap 1 but equally knowing Nat would be hot on my heels till the end so I had to push it all the way to the finish!! With a definite smile creeping onto my face with about 1km to go as I realised I was going to get to take the tape, earn myself a second Oceania Elite Championship Title & have the chance to celebrate the win with Mum & Mick my coach with them waiting across the finish line! 

Certainly a pretty special moment for any athlete & one I loved being able to soak up and enjoy as I ran towards the finish with a few high fives and plenty of course cheers on route!

With Nat following closely  behind and Charlotte McShane rounding out the podium it was one of those awesome days, smiling away on the podium & “cheers”-ing to the girls with a nice bottle of Tasmania’s Sparkling wine (which Mum helped me enjoy a glass of later) It was straight to athlete business as usual with press/ media work before anti-doping control testing, taken away into a downstairs locker room waiting to pass a sample, the real athlete life right their with the celebration party of 1 going off… not!!

Mum & I pre planned to stay the night of the race in Tassie still so we could finally make our way down to Cradle Mountain! One of the state & Australia’s well known natural beauties & a bucket list sight I’ve been wanting to get down to see the last few trips! Enjoying an afternoon road trip & exploration adventure up at Cradle Mountain, choosing the half day hike around Dove lake at the highest car accessible point of Cradle mountain. Although the weather wasn’t playing too nice it was pretty spectacular, a lot of fun, well worth the trip & a great recovery walk! (no worries coach haha)

Sounding like a broken record, it was straight home Sunday, back & settled in to kick back into another busy weeks training & activities bright & early Monday morning! By Thursday it was bike cleaning & suitcase packing  time for the last race of the month on the Gold Coast, heading up for the memorable Luke Harrop Triathlon event, which hosted this years Australian Elite National Sprint Championship Event. 

The pressing cyclone far north meant the sunshine state was not dishing up its usual beautiful weather, and instead I was welcomed to rain and storms, and with this heavy rain flooding in the Australian Elite Sprint Championships was turned into a Duathlon- 2.5km run, 20km cycle & 5km run, because the water quality measured at over 200x the passable level of cleanliness considered okay to swim in, gross!

That's racing, as athletes we need to be adaptable to whatever the conditions, everyone is in the same boat & although I certainly would have preferred a swim you've just got to take it as it is & get on with the racing!!

Kicking off bright and early at 6.15am for the Elite women Aussie Tri Champs, the weather was playing nice & my reverse psychology of buying an umbrella worked wonders to stop the rain haha.

I was wanting to take the first 2.5km run out strong and put the field under pressure to try and string out the upcoming bike pack, and if you haven't noticed yet it's my only style of racing that I know, old school Aussie- hard from the gun. The field broke up as hoped & a front pack of 6 emerged on the run, & with a smooth first transition I got a little gap on the field and went for it solo off the front on the bike!

Onto the 20km ride the race was as per usual from here & I settled down onto the aero bars, pushing to stay away from the chase pack behind. At the first 5km turn I got a look back at the gap & was comfortable here & continued to work! By 10km the pack of 7 chasers weren't too far away so I made the move to ease up and join the bunch, rolling strong turns we all worked well as a front bunch to keep the pace there!

Heading off onto the second run with a hard 5km ahead! Having U/23 Katinka right with me heading out to the first 1.25km turn, she was doing a great job at keeping me honest, as were the chasing girls on our heels! I decided to test the waters and put down a surge before the turn and got the gap I was after to pull away in the lead. The girls behind certainly kept me running hard, pushing all the way to the finish with some strong runners there!

I was thrilled to take the tape for a second weekend in a row & take the Australian Elite Sprint title after winning the Oceania Elite title the weekend prior! A special double & a real positive sign for where I'm at & moving forward! Bring it ALL on!! (Preferably triathlon over duathlons in future though please & thanks!)

Certainly HAPPY DAYS, and soaking it up now because there’s plenty more hard racing to come!!

It was terrific to have my coach Mick & his family clan thereon the Gold Coast to watch with their homemade "go Emma" signs in Green & Gold which was awesome!

The true athlete life, straight to media & anti-doping control, packing Bikes, checking out of the hotel, running back to presentation & cheering on all the age groupers before hustling to the airport to make my flight home!!

A HUGE Thanks to my brilliant team of sponsors & support crew around me allowing me to go out & do what I love, chase the dream & rip in every day!! 
You beauty, you guys rock!

Guess what, March is just as busy team so stay tuned!!

Thanks for the read!