My time in Perth has been great so far. Done lots of downwinds, had a team BBQ, tasted the local beer, and am fnally understanding the Aussies when they speak;) It’s a whole other English over here!
Team Nelo has been super organised, with Nigel and Jimmy being super managers, making sure we are well prepared. The race is really well run, with Dean and Yanda and their whole team putting on a fantastic event.
We got all our ski’s taken to the ferry and loaded up the day before for the trip over to Rottnest Island. After a good breakfast we boarded the ferry to get over there for the start. The wind wasn’t blowing quite as much as I would have liked, but it was still blowing. The main factor was the heat, as we went over at 1030, and were only starting at 1345, in the heat of the day but also hopefully the windiest part.
The women were due to start 15 minutes before the men. I was hoping to have a real stormer and try not let them catch me, and be the first person across the line… Would have been classic to see the reaction from the crowd. Bernadette and Lauren tore off toward the Hotspot (at 1000m it was more of a “Longspot”). I managed to hang onto their wash, and then about 200m before the buoy that marked the Hotspot, I kicked and managed to overtake them and take (my first ever) hotspot! Then we turned left and headed across the bay, with a side chop and some small runs. Luckily we had a lead boat showing the way, as I had no idea where I was going. I opened up a small 100m lead, from Krystal Smith. 11km along, and we could finally turn around the shipping lane marker buoy and head straight toward Sorrento Beach, and the finish, with the wind right at your back. I managed to string together a few great runs, and open up the lead somewhat.
I was now in the front, whereas usually the leading men are in front of me. I had put a GPS marker point in my Garmin before the start, so I just followed the dial. My line felt ok, and about a kilometer from the finish, Bruce Taylor passed me on my left, with Tim Jacobs on my right. Such tight racing and I was stoked that Tim got the sprint up the beach.
I was pretty happy with my race. I would have loved just a little bit more wind, and I really need to work on my concentration. Just under 2 hours is a long time to stay focused on one thing! Below is a photo of my awesome Nelo ski with the lumo yellow nose!
I came in about 4 minutes ahead of ironwoman Krystal Smith, with young Lauren Smith in 3rd. Team Nelo had a good day out with wins in both the male and female hotspots, and the men’s and women’s winners. I will try post the a link to the super cool video Bernadette made (she came in 5th).
On Sunday we did the Finn Kayaks Relay event. I teamed up with Tim, and we managed to just beat Kirsty and Zane Holmes (thanks to Tim, I was a bit useless on Sunday). Andre and I paddled down from the halfway mark to the Sorrento, to round off a great weekend of downwind paddling.
I am sticking in Perth for another week, staying with ex South Africans Tanya and James Mangold. There are 2 more races around here, so I will post some more news soon.
Thanks to Andre from Nelo for getting me over here to Perth. I have always wanted to do this race, and it doesn’t disappoint!!
All the category winners received this “doctors” coat!