Katey feeling right at home
IRONMAN 70.3 Sunshine Coast winner Katey Gibb doesn’t like cycling near traffic and there’s a good reason why.
The 30-year-old lost her partner in 2014, when he was hit by a drunk driver while riding home from work in Perth.
Brynt McSwain’s death re-ignited debate about road safety for cyclists, particularly in Western Australia, and Katey battles demons every time she gets on her bike for a training ride.
“I have (thought about giving it up) and I still get very nervous riding on the roads so I only ride once a week on the road and the rest I do on an indoor bike,” she said.
“I never ride by myself, I’m always riding with someone else just because I’m not confident. Riding on a race day is different because the roads are closed, (but) it’s always in the back of my mind.”
Katey moved to Buderim in December, with fiance Barry Oelofsen.
“I didn’t want to be in Perth any more ... moving here was to restart my life a little bit,” she said.
She said the Sunshine Coast provided a safer environment for her.
“I’m not overly confident riding in traffic because of my past history with cyclists and cars so moving here (enables me) to be able to train where there’s not much traffic and it’s laid-back, which is pretty good,” she said.
“Queensland’s got that 1m rule which they don’t have in WA and it makes a difference. You get cases where people cut it a bit close but compared to WA, because there is a law in place, it makes it a little bit better.”
In April, the State Government enforced a law requiring at least 1m between vehicles and cyclists.
Showing new-found confidence on Sunday, the talented endurance athlete was closely followed by Michelle Gailey through the swim leg of the race, but Katey’s pure pedal power left competitors in her wake.
After a solid run, Katey crossed the finish first at Mooloolaba in a time of 4hrs29mins03secs, more than three minutes ahead of second-placed Hannah Wells from New Zealand.
Katey hadn’t raced since May and achieved the milestone after recovering from a knee injury.
“I wasn’t too confident going in because I haven’t raced in a while but coming out with a win you’ve always got to be happy,” she said.
“When you haven’t raced in a while you feel a bit rusty and although I’ve been doing it a long time you get a bit nervous that you might mess up, but it all worked out.”
Katey was pleased to break from the chasers during the 90km bike leg, but was surprised with the gap she had managed to achieve.
“Biking used to be my weakness and now it’s turned into my strength,” she said,
“When I’m out front like that I start to self doubt a little bit and when I got to the turnaround and no one was there I thought I’d done something wrong.
“But I’ve started to learn to just focus on myself and really push on the bike to give me that advantage on the run and it works out really well.
“I love it (here). You guys don’t really have a winter or the winter is dry which is perfect for training and I can do consistent training for the last 16 weeks without being interrupted by the weather.”
Katey’s coach Cameron Watt was ecstatic to see her cross the line with the win.
“She was quite nervous coming into this,” he said.
“Training was going really well and I think when you’re training really well that expectation to execute it on race day when it counts mounts.
“She was feeling that expectation for sure leading into this race but she delivered tenfold and she took control of this race really early on the bike and didn’t look back.”
Michelle Gailey crossed third with fellow Buderim athlete Annelise Jefferies finishing fourth.
Buderim’s Katey Gibb on her way to winning Ironman 70.3 Sunshine Coast.
Kirra Seidel had a tough day out among the pro women.
Damien Collins on the run.
Jamie Ison completes the ride
Peter Andrews cools off.