Peter Loveridge is knuckling down for a hard winter of training as he prepares for a double World Triathlon Championships assault.
Loveridge will compete in both the sprint and standard distance events after following up his sprint national triumph with gold in the 35-39 years division at the recent National Standard Distance Triathlon at Mooloolaba.
“It was a pleasant surprise,” Loveridge admitted.
“I was hoping I’d be competitive. To actually get the two wins, I didn’t think that would actually happen the way the first half of the season had gone.”
He hadn’t won a race leading into the sprint nationals on the Gold Coast.
Backing up two weeks later in his more favoured standard distance Loveridge almost didn’t make it to the starting line.
He and partner Kelly Watson were six hours into the eight hour trip north when they learnt son Jimmy had been admitted to hospital.
After talking to Loveridge’s mother, who was with Jimmy, they decided to press on.
“We made the decision if he deteriorated further, there was no question we’d go back,” Loveridge said.
“On Friday night I didn’t even unpack the car properly. I left the race gear in the car.”
Fortunately he improved and was discharged on Saturday, and with “24 hours of decent health” behind him Loveridge and Watson made the decision to race.
Loveridge was happy with how he executed his race, the large numbers throwing up an added hurdle. With over 200 starters the field was sent in three waves, three minutes apart.
Starting with a 1.5km swim, Loveridge produced his best swim of the season.
“I felt good in the water. The conditions had been pretty rough the day before but I was prepared for that,” he said.
“The bike was tough. It was very fast but the wind made it tough. I probably started to feel the pinch towards the end of the leg.”
The run was then “push push push”. While Loveridge was leading his wave, he was conscious he had a third of the field behind him and estimated that he had some ground to make up on the first wave frontrunners.
“It was a matter of gutsing out the run,” he said.
Able to see the competitor he was “99 per cent sure” was leading the race, half-way through the 10km run Loveridge calculated the difference between them was still more than three minutes, but it was getting closer.
One of his strongest legs, Loveridge was able to take some time off him.
“There was about 49 seconds in it in the end,” he said.
It will be his fourth World Championships for the standard (formerly Olympic) distance.
“I’ve got a lot of work to do over the winter to maintain and get the fitness right and to be honest improve a bit,” he said.
Loveridge said his original plan was just the Olympic distance but he is now looking forward to having the opportunity to race twice.
Battling a cold Watson finished seventh in the female 35-39, while John Hickey was third in the 60-64 years division and wife Donna was fourth in the 55-59 years.
“They were just too good for me. They just outran me,” John Hickey said.
The result though guaranteed him a spot on the Australian team for the Worlds, which will be held on the Gold Coast.
Watson is also in a pretty good position to qualify after winning the standard distance race for her age division at Wollongong on the weekend.