Natalie Van Coevorden is an Australian representative in Triathlon, having competed on the world stage since she left high school in 2010. The 24-year-old was born in Campbelltown, NSW and now splits her residence between Wollongong, NSW and Vitoria Gasteiz, Spain for training purposes. Van Coevorden has set her sights on representing Australia in the Commonwealth and Olympic Games and is training and competing relentlessly to achieve her goal.
Leading into Yokohama, I was training down in Canberra apart of a sleep high/sleep low carbohydrate study based out of the Australian Institute of Sport. It gave me an interesting insight into my daily nutrition and how to fuel pre/post session. More than anything I realised how mentally ingrained certain habits are e.g. fueling post session. Although we were a part of this study, we incorporated normal training and specific Yokohama sessions. Being based out of Canberra, I am very grateful for the use of the world class facilities and the amazing training grounds Canberra has to offer. It is the best place I have trained and I look forward to going back hopefully in the future to make the most of it. With a month in Canberra, I gained consistency in our weekly training which gave me a great indicator of my form and the opportunity to go into Yokohama with a positive mentality looking towards the race.
My last time in Yokohama was in 2013 which felt like yesterday when I landed into the land of the rising sun. Unfortunately, the sun decided not to rise for us on race day and the rain started to pour down. I know a lot of people lose sight of processes when the heavens decide to open up and I know that myself when I crashed here in 2013 on slippery white lines. I decided to stay out of the water for warm up and keep warm. Most people lined up to the right on the pontoon and I followed the trend. I always know when the pace is on, when we are in single file but to be honest, I actually couldn’t see a thing because my goggles fogged up. I dove back in for the 2nd lap and found myself sitting on Flora Duffy feet for the rest of the swim. I exited the water in 6th position and the only thought going through my head was “that’s your race right there”.
After you jump on your bike, those first few km’s are the critical moments to get on or get left in no man’s land. I didn’t have my feet in my shoes for ages but I got on good wheels and found myself in a small chase group behind the two leaders. The roads were wet and Yokohama is known for its love of zebra crossings on every corner. I was constantly reciting the basics in my head of pressure on your outside foot, break going into corner; not around and looking through the corner. Our group was constantly changing throughout the ride with people hitting in the deck on the same corner on the new part of the course. I was lucky that I found myself in a good position every time to have enough time to react and get around the chaos. I was actually so happy to finish the 9 lap course upright and I felt like I had this weight lifted off my shoulders.
In Canberra, we did three performance trials where we did a specific ergo session and a run off the bike on the track. Although this session was by far the hardest, it was perfect stimulation for the race ahead and I enjoyed pushing myself. I knew we had a pretty decent time gap to the big group behind us but this never means the race is over. I wanted to run strong and keep my form under fatigue. The girls went out fast but I kept to myself and wanted to do my best work in the back end of my race. I lost of one of my gels in the race so I didn’t know if my nutrition was going to affect me. I kept ticking away and by the third lap I had caught three girls in front of me. The u turn on the run course was a good chance to see where people were. After just hitting my final lap, I got over taken by three girls from the group behind us but with not much running to go, I knew I had it in me to have a solid end result. I kept pushing all the way to the line for a sprint finish for 10th place. It’s been a long time coming but I am excited to put the hard work on show and have a consistent race. This definitely makes me hungry for more and I am looking forward to the races to come.CLICK HERE for a full wrap up of results.