Lizzie Bunckenberg is an accomplished multi-sporter and recently picked up a silver in the women’s 20-24 age group at the World Cross Tri championships in the Snowy Mountains.  It was great spending a bit of time with the Lizzie and her sister Kathryn during race week as they are so friendly and enthusiastic about being active and adventurous. I caught up with Lizzie to find out more about how she prepared for the race and how it unfolded.  She shares some good messages about not over thinking things and just getting out there and enjoying it.

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RS: Apart from the Xterra qualifier, have you done any cross tris like this before?

LB: No, not any cross tris but the odd multi-sport race.

RS: What parts of your training helped you the most on the day?

LB: The PnP mountain bike races, good opportunity to practice riding single track fast.

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RS: What was your thinking going into the race – any particular focuses, process or otherwise for the event as a whole or particular sections?

LB: Going into the race I really had no idea about what to expect. I knew the mountain bike would be hard as it was majority single trail and I don’t have the best skills, also with it being flat no rest for the legs. We had gone around the course the day before so it would be familiar but certainly didn’t really know it until the last laps.  My plan was to go have some fun while gain experience and have a solid race.

RS: What went well during the event?

LB: The second lap of the bike, it was a lot better than the first. I was certainly more relaxed and was able to concentrate on riding the trails. The last two laps of the run I felt good and enjoyed the course.

RS: Is there anything you would do differently another time? – training wise, general prep or race execution?

LB: The swim and lap one of bike. I had a shocking swim, including getting confused with the cans and directions that were giving to me. Next time I just need to concentrate on what the instructions were at the start and focus on the task not mistakes made or the pressure from people.

RS: From the splits it looks like the lead changed around during the race and it was very close at the end of the run – what was going through your mind in the final lap?

LB: On to the final lap I knew I was first Kiwi as I passed two that had passed me on the bike. I had lost count on the amount of Australians that had passed so didn’t know where I was overall or in age group. Until about 1500m to go someone said  was 90 secs down on the leader, I picked up the pace knowing that It wouldn’t be long enough but wanted to close the gap. I was already pretty happy just to be in the top 10.

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RS: What did you enjoy most about the event?

LB: The course was definitely a highlight, the bike and run (I reckon NZ can find cleaner lakes to swim in). It was definitely an accurate description of off road running! I also liked that it was well supported from NZ and across the world, it shows that multi-sport and cross tris are going to continue to grow as a sport. The NZ team was incredibly supportive of each other and it was great to get to know everyone. Another highlight was racing the mixed-team relay and NZ finishing 2nd and 4th.

RS: What’s next for you over the Summer months and beyond?

LB: Just keep doing what I enjoy, but I’ll start doing more kayaking as that has been neglected over the winter. I will do a few tris over the summer and multi-sport mid next year. Maybe head overseas for another cross tri next year.

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Lizzie and Kathryn were also featured in on the triathlon.org news page during race week – http://www.triathlon.org/news/article/age_group_women_headline_day_one_at_cross_tri_world_championships