The Journey to Worlds pretty much began early on 2014 when dad (Steve Smith) found out Worlds would be in Adelaide. So we set about planning to get in the team. To qualify we traveled to Adelaide in October (2014) for the National Duathlon Champs. We made this decision purely on the fact that it was double points meaning we’d have extra chance on top of the points we already received at the Champion Lakes Duathlon (2014) to qualify for World Duathlon Champs.
So the training began for the lead up to Nationals. We trained hard through the winter and soon enough we arrived in Adelaide for our qualifier. From what I can remember my race was average. Wasn’t anything special but the times were ok. Although my placing in the race wasn’t too flash I was still fairly confident about making the Australian team due to a high placing at Champion Lakes. Soon after that the process began for applying to be selected and of course a little while after that we got the email confirming my spot. I was to race in the 16-19 age group in the sprint distance (thankfully I turned 16 ten days prior!!). And again the training ramped up, as well as training for worlds i was also training for a half marathon which was to be held in august 2015. After suffering badly from shin splints I decided to opt out of the half marathon. On the lead up i was training about 8 times a week since i had stopped swim training completely. I was working 10hrs a week at my job as well as going to school. Champion lakes came around and i was more nervous than anything. This was the race that was going to showcase my athleticism and see how well i was actually coming along. Not that i could make a difference in the two weeks before worlds but it would set me a benchmark to hit in Adelaide. Champion Lakes was a nice and flat course, to be honest its quite boring. The bike course was enjoyable and it was my best leg of the day. Feeling quite content with my race, i continued prepping for Adelaide. Dad wasn’t happy with his race as he had strained both calf’s and a quad in the lead up which had affected his preparation.
Wednesday came around and next minute we were on our way to Adelaide (dad, mum and I). After arriving in Adelaide at 9:30 their time, it was about 10 when we got to the hotel and was about 12 when i got to sleep after dad had assembled both our bikes. Next morning we woke up at 7:20 to do some recon of the bike course. Along the bike course about 3/4 into the lap is the hill (about the same gradient and length as Swanson) for sprint you go up it twice, for standard 4 times. After a run off the bike we went to check in and receive race packs. Later that night was the parade of nations, where all the nations paraded on a 1.2k walk around the race venue. Friday morning was team Australia Breakfast where we received a small briefing on the obvious rules. The rest of Friday was relaxing… Saturday morning was spent watching the elites and pros in draft legal and bike check in for age groupers. After feeling happy our bikes were safely in transition we left to buy pasta to have carbs in the form of spag bol. 😀
Sunday morning came around and i was feeling quite excited, my first World Championship race was just about to start in just over an hour and i was ecstatic. Dad on the other hand was nervous but excited as well, my only nerves that hit was the count down from ten that i could hear the officials whispering to the side of me. The horn sounded and as always we start out sprinting at a ridiculous 3.20 pace, of course that dials back pretty quick. The 5k was a lot harder than i thought, mentally and physically. It was hot, sunny and the course was a bit up and down with a few trail sections. Running into T1 was a relief, i was hot and exhausted but i was glad to be going out onto the bike. The bike was windy and it only got windier. The hill on the bike course is definitely harder after a 5k run but i made it to the top twice. My bike wasn’t as fast as i hoped it could’ve been but it was still fine. The last 2.5k of my run was comfy. I ran with what i had left and passed one girl in my age group about 700m in. I came across the line 15th in Sprint Distance. Dads race started off great for the first 2k… Due to start times and me finishing the sprint distance, mum and i only reached dad once he was on his 3rd last lap of the bike. Watching him run into T2 limping was a bit upsetting. He’d been struggling with his calf so i don’t think he was surprised but to have it basically blow up 2k into a 55k race but he carried on because the one thing we both promised was to finish the race no matter what went wrong. As dad ran the last 5k we made it to the finish line to watch him run down the shoot waving the Australian flag. Dad came across the line 44th in Standard Distance. To be honest i was just aiming not to come last, i wasn’t holding out for a podium or anything and dad wasn’t either. Post race was eating as much food as i could fit in my mouth. The flight home was enjoyable but lying on my bed for the first time in 5 days was glorious. Couldn’t have made it this far without Stuart Denton my awesome coach, my awesome dad and wonderful mum.
Thanks for the support!