Photos: World Triathlon

On the one hand, the Kiwi anchor was gutted that her T2 snafu, where she momentarily racked her bike in a section flagged for Australia, cost New Zealand a 10-second “equipment” penalty.

It was a carbon-copy of one of the two penalties the Cantabrian incurred at the Oceania Relay Championship in Taupo earlier this year, another frustrating case of mistaken flag and matching shoe identity in the hustle and bustle of the fight.

“I got confused with the flag and it was the same shoes. Different [Australian] girl but the same shoes as mine again,” Roderick said ruefully after France had comfortably edged GBR for gold with Norway third.

In Taupo, Roderick got lucky, helping the NZL B team win the Continental title despite the two 10 second stop-go penalties. It helped that the NZL A team suffered a flat tyre in Taupo but there were no such get-out-of-jail-free cards in England’s blustery North-East, the Kiwi quartet eventually finishing 15 seconds adrift of Norway.

Whether a clean transition would have given Roderick enough of a buffer on the decisive 1700m run to hold off Norwegian anchor Solveig Løvseth is a moot point.

That’s where the 21-year-old ultimately ended up, after a clever cooling off period that was.

“At the time I was very frustrated with myself just for making that silly mistake but I’ve had a wee think to myself and in hindsight, I know that that isn’t what cost us the podium,” Roderick said.

“I’m actually proud of my efforts for my first one…”

Roderick had every reason to be pleased with the majority of her anchor leg after a dramatic day for Team NZL that had started with Dylan McCullough being ruled out with food poisoning.

Kiwi No.1 Hayden Wilde proved a super sub, sensationally following strong lead-out Tayler Reid and Ainsley Thorpe by making up 21 seconds and seven places with another trademark bike-run combo to tag Roderick with the lead.

“Obviously the first three team members put me into an incredible position and Hayden tagged me over in first which was such a surreal position to be in, especially since that was my first World Series race [relay].

“I was obviously extremely nervous and I was feeling quite a bit of the pressure but I just swam as fast as I could. I tried to get on Cassandre’ Beaugrand’s feet, just missed them, but I had a good transition and got on the GB girl’s wheel and we rode up to [French anchor] Cassandre and there was just three of us rolling around for the second lap. The bike course was super windy so I was just trying to tuck in and play if safe.

“Then coming into transition, I just made a silly mistake and put my bike and helmet in the Australian’s fourth leg spot, but I quickly saw what I’d done and I grabbed my helmet and my bike and removed it back to mine [the Team NZL ‘D’ parking slot] but unfortunately we still received a penalty for it.

“I didn’t know at the time but the first lap of the run I was feeling good and strong and then one of the coaches told me you’ve got a penalty to serve so, yeah, unfortunately got passed [by Løvseth] on the last straight leading into the transition but I knew I had to stop for a penalty anyway.

“But super proud of the team for all their hard work today and fourth for my first MTR, I’m pretty happy with.”

New Zealand too can be proud of their start to the second Olympic qualification period for Mixed Relay, the fourth following second at the World Triathlon Relay Championship in Hamburg a fortnight ago.

The beauty of hindsight also means Roderick knows all she could do is learn from the experience and vow to never again mix up the New Zealand and Australia flags, and perhaps select a different coloured shoe herewith.

“I was so nervous, especially after how well the team did in Hamburg and all of them have raced so much together but I’m really grateful the team’s given me the opportunity to try me out so that I can also have the chance to develop too,” Roderick said.

Developing Roderick is and quickly so. Her 28th placing in Saturday’s individual sprint was a career best WTCS result, a level she didn’t think she’d even be racing this year.

But after replacing the unavailable Olivia Thornbury at WTCS Montreal in late June, Roderick hasn’t looked back. She was 34th in Canada, 41st in Hamburg, a key member of the U23 team that claimed relay bronze in Germany and just before that captured Africa Premier Cup Larache in Morocco.

“Even January, just training, I didn’t think I’d be doing any of this, I thought I’d just be doing Continental Cups and now in three weeks’ time, I’m racing in the Olympic test event. That’s just crazy to me, so surreal, so I’m just trying to soak it all up and just taking the experiences and the learnings as I go.”

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