By Kent Gray/Triathlon.kiwi
For a refreshlingly honest measure of how thoroughly cruel triathlon can be sometimes, kindly refer to Nicole van der Kaay’s social media feed in the wake of her frustrating 48th place finish at the World Triathlon Championship Series finale in Abu Dhabi overnight.
New Zealand’s highest-ranked female has highlighted just how brutal the sport can be with her usual post-race reflections on Instagram, a picture or two telling a thousand untold words along with those she shared.
“I’ve never had to stop and walk out of unbearable pain in a race before… but there’s a first for everything!” van der Kaay wrote of the stomach issues that derailed her race, no doubt due to the high 30 degree Celsius temperature on Yas Island.
It was doubly cruel as van der Kaay, fresh from a season-best fifth at Super League Neom, had prepped so well in the company of former U23 world champion Charlotte McShane during a near month-long training block on the Gold Coast.
“Super gutted this happened today, I invested a lot, and had the best block of training behind me since April. I was pumped to give it gas on the run!”
That never eventuated, her 10km a fast weekend warrior-esque 40:23, well off Flora Duffy’s race-clinching split of 32:27 and more than four minutes slower than Kiwi team-mate Ainsley Thorpe who battled to 25th place.
“Nothing different in prep, just sometimes maybe good, sometimes maybe shit,” van der Kaay continued.
“Thanks to those who encouraged me out there. I really didn’t think I’d make it to the end. Onwards.”
Typically, van der Kaay found a smile for an update post later featuring partner Tayler Reid relaxing in a pool ahead of the men’s race tonight (from 11.50pm on Sky Sport 1/Channel 051).
“Shit day for me. Stomach issues. Time to be support crew.”
At least Reid and Kiwi No..1 Hayden Wilde, the latter nervously on the cusp of being crowned world champion, can’t say they don’t know what is in store.