FORMER Kinross Wolaroi School triathlete Tamsyn Moana-Veale might be a New Zealand native, yet racing in the land of the long white cloud is something which has provided her with the biggest challenges of her sporting career.
So last week when Auckland hosted the opening round of the 2014 World Triathlon Series, Moana-Veale was nervous.
In the end she managed to finish the race in 37th place as her troubles with racing in New Zealand continued.
Still, while she was further behind overall winner Jodie Stimpson than she would have liked and struggled through her bike and run legs, Moana-Veale was able to find some positives.
She was solid in the opening 1.5km swim leg, being the 10th out of the water, and did find some moments of joy on a cycle course that held plenty of demons for her.
“I lasted in the front pack for far longer than junior worlds in 2012 - to the top of the first big hill - and I wasn’t terrified of the course. Epic win for me!,” Moana-Veale said of the cycle leg.
“I won’t say I enjoyed the course, but in last few laps I had brief and fleeting moments of enjoyment whilst cornering and descending.
“The negative? Everything else. I was hurting and I panicked, believing I wouldn’t be able to ride the entire 40 kilometres. Ridiculous considering I had ridden an average of 80 kilometres a day for a fortnight only a couple of weeks ago. I was worried about the last hill whilst climbing the first.”
Moana-Veale rates a 2012 World Junior Championship event in Auckland as “the worst performance I have ever put together in a race”, so she was nervous heading into last week’s International Triathlon Union event.
Yet, she had enjoyed a good preparation and was confident of returning a solid performance.
“To say I was nervous going into this race is an understatement. I had already started getting butterflies a week out from race day; my first race of the season, first Olympic distance race of the season, second ever WTS [World Triathlon Series] and it was in Auckland. I have a bad history in Auckland,” she said.
“But this year, circumstances were completely different, and I couldn’t have asked for better preparation on the bike.”
Lining up for the swim leg flanked by two rivals who excel in the water - Lucy Hall and Carolina Routier - gave Moana-Veale confidence.
She stuck with that duo and emerged from the water in the lead pack after a 19 minutes, 56 seconds split.
“I love the front. Why don’t I swim here all the time? It is literally a different world to mid or back of the pack,” she said.-
“I came out of the water in the top 10- a massive improvement on nearly last at my first WTS in Stockholm.”
However, from there Moana-Veale fell off the pace as she found the 40km ride tough. She went from top 10 to having just three competitors behind her with a 1:16.47 split.
The 10km run leg - one in which she normally excels - proved tough as well. She covered the distance in 41:07.
While Moana-Veale’s final time of 2:19.22 was well off the pace of Great Britain’s Stimpson (2:08.34), she is still looking forward to her next challenge.
“It was a very, very long day on the bike and it didn’t get better on the run. Flat and blergh,” she said.
“And after all that, I can’t wait to race a WTS again. I don’t know when my next one will be and I’ll have to prove I deserve another start, so my next opportunity to do so will be at Chengdu World Cup in a month’s time.”