IRONMAN Cairns, Crowley Back Home and Looking for Redemption

Friday 07 June 2019
Brisbane’s Sarah Crowley has always treated Cairns as her home race and as much as she delighted in winning the Cairns Airport IRONMAN Asia-Pacific Championship in 2017, she was devastated last year when injury forced her to spoil unbroken record that had seen her compete in Cairns since 2012.

Early in 2018 Sarah had a sacral stress fracture that she puts down to combination of being too keen coming back after time off, doing too much too soon and the added pressure of renovating her home. Basically, she just had too much going on in her life.

“Stress is not just training stress. You are not sleeping or eating right, life gets in the way and you don’t notice it happening. Then your body doesn’t heal properly and it doesn’t take much, so there were a few factors.”

“Everything was going okay but the day before IRONMAN 70.3 Busselton, I tripped and fell on my ribs and damaged the cartilage. As it was, I was already fighting a battle to be fit, but when that happened, I had really no chance. I wasn’t recovering well enough from training to load up and do the work required for a full IRONMAN.”

“I have always raced in Cairns and I have either raced the half or the full every year, except last year. So, it was a pretty hard decision not to go up there for sure. It was really last minute not to do it and really upsetting.”

As a result, Sarah is itching to get back on her home turf and on a course that she knows suits her style of racing.

“This year I have started back pretty slowly and did the Hell of the West in the second week back in training and that went pretty well. Then I went to IRONMAN 70.3 Taiwan and had a really good bike there and won that by more than eight minutes. Then I went to IRONMAN 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship, Vietnam and that went really well, although I wasn’t happy with my bike there. I had an okay swim but as a group we just gave too much time away to Holly Lawrence, losing two minutes in the last 30km. Which was a bit frustrating.”

“I am happy with where my training is now and I am excited to see where my bike is at. I have come a long way since I won in Cairns in 2017 and that was really early days for me in terms of my progression. We have come up a few levels since then, so I am keen to see where the bike is, but my swim has also improved in the last 12 months. While there might be one or two swimmers off the front, now I am always near the front, which is whole different dynamic for me. A couple of years ago I would be three minutes behind so that has been a big change.”

“Cairns is a biker’s course, so I am keen to see how I go. The whole race is set up on the bike. You tend not to lose time on the run because it is flat and easy. The plan is to be there on the swim and work away on the bike. What I like about Cairns is the brutality of the back end of the ride, it can be nasty when you turn inland to come home into a headwind. The conditions just rip people apart and that is what I want. If you ride 38kmh into that and everyone dies and rides 34 kmh you can make up serious time in that one spot because it hurts.”

“And how good is the run? Especially along the main drag with all the cafes and restaurants that is real cool. I love that. The support doesn’t really drop off anywhere,” she said.

With her Kona ticket ‘punched’ Sarah arrives in Cairns, fit, healthy, relaxed and ready to race on her own terms.

“I am heading to Cairns because I want to win a regional title and because I love Cairns, not for any other reason. Winning the IRONMAN South American Championship I got my Kona slot, I don’t have that pressure. So, coming to Cairns is more like redemption, I am racing for more than just the race.”

“I noticed in South America there is a massive difference when people are racing to win the race, as opposed to racing to get a slot to Kona. I was racing to win the race and got a Kona slot because I won but other people were doing the maths and counting spots. That changes the way you race. I think you should go there thinking it is a regional title and I want to win a title, then you have a fall back position. Otherwise you are setting your expectations too low.”

“If you don’t have stress you get a better flow in your race. There is no stress at all for me, I am there to have fun and enjoy going back to a race that I really love. I will race to win the race and won’t be focusing on anyone in particular. I will be racing to my plan without panic,” she declared.

MALE PRO:
1 Currie Braden NZL (NEW ZEALAND)
2 Bozzone Terenzo NZL (NEW ZEALAND)
3 Van Berkel Tim AUS (AUSTRALIA)
4 Phillips Mike NZL (NEW ZEALAND)
5 Burton Matt AUS (AUSTRALIA)
6 Dellow David AUS (AUSTRALIA)
7 Bell Luke AUS (AUSTRALIA)
8 Vinhal Thiago BRA (BRAZIL)
9 Amorelli Igor BRA (BRAZIL)
10 Kappler Blake AUS (AUSTRALIA)
11 Foot Alister AUS (AUSTRALIA)
12 Harvey Jarrod AUS (AUSTRALIA)
14 Wendemuth Justin AUS (AUSTRALIA)

FEMALE PRO:
20 Adam Teresa NZL (NEW ZEALAND)
21 Crowley Sarah AUS (AUSTRALIA)
22 True Sarah USA (UNITED STATES)
23 Sali Kaisa FIN (FINLAND)
24 Liepold Kristin DEU (GERMANY)
25 Withrow Kelsey USA (UNITED STATES)
26 Burke Melanie NZL (NEW ZEALAND)
27 Mitchell Jessica AUS (AUSTRALIA)
29 Lane Chloe AUS (AUSTRALIA)
31 Sansome Kierra AUS (AUSTRALIA)
32 Visser Els NLD (NETHERLANDS)
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