FROM the first bike session Lucy Bowden knew there was work ahead.
Hanging onto the wheel of local young guns like Jake Hynes, Ryan Marsh and veteran Matthew Wolstencroft in the Sunshine Coast Tri Academy squad, the 26-year-old South Australian had a baptism of fire.
“They were so fast,” she said. “Coming from Mount Barker in the Adelaide Hills I had done a lot of training by myself. And racing in Adelaide there wasn’t as much competition, so I had a false sense of security.
“I can give the boys a good run for their money now – Matt on the other hand he produces some serious vomit sessions but he’s such a good asset to have to try and chase down.”
Bowden decided to take the leap and move to the Sunshine State and pursue her triathlon dreams more than a year ago.
She’s hoping one of them will come true on Sunday morning with a strong performance at the Mooloolaba Triathlon.
Bowden is chasing points to earn qualification for September’s Olympic-distance and sprint-distance world age group championships at the Gold Coast.
She has been in strong form, winning her category at the Olympic-distance race during October at Robina with an effort of 2:11:38 (23:23, 1:02:22, 45:53).
That was followed by sprint-distance races, where she was third at Kawana with a 1:09:14 (13:55, 34:57, 20:22), before achieving another win again at Robina on December 8 with a 1:19:10 (13:37, 42:52, 22:40), followed by victory at Caloundra in 1:04:04 (10:27, 32:45, 20:51).
Another strong Olympic-distance qualifying event was staged at Robina in January where Bowden secured another win, going slightly faster than three months earlier with a 2:11:21 (22:01, 1:05:13, 44:06).
At last month’s Gold Coast event, which was reduced to a duathlon 2.5km run/20km cycle/2.5km run due to water quality issues, Bowden finished fourth with 1:01:50 (8:45, 31:35, 19:10).
There are double points up for grabs on Sunday, which has led to a sell-out individual event.
Bowden hopes a top five position will seal her spot on the Australian team. If successful, she will then turn her attention back to 70.3 racing, where she is also hopeful of reaching the 2019 world championship to be staged at Nice, France.
Working part-time at Harvey Norman in small appliances and also studying creative industries at the University of the Sunshine Coast, the fine Queensland weather and rapid improvement could see her spend longer than her initial two-year time frame in the Sunshine State.
Bowden is a relative newcomer to triathlon, having spent much of her younger years involved with horse riding.
A life-threatening fall rocked her confidence, and, after returning, she fell again which caused a major shoulder injury.
That spelled the end for her equine career, and it was her cyclist cousin who got her on the bike.
After encouragement from gym friends to attempt the tri-sport, she was immediately hooked and has never looked back.
IN FORM: Buderim's Lucy Bowden is hunting a good result at Mooloolaba to gain qualification for the age group world championships.