After a rollercoaster ride over the past 18 months, Chelsea Sodaro had plenty of reasons to smile when she crossed the finish line at IRONMAN 70.3 Tasmania on Sunday.
The 2022 IRONMAN World Champion, who has been open about her struggles in the aftermath of Kona, finally got her first win since Hawaii in Hobart last weekend.
Now, she says, it’s full steam ahead and after rediscovering her joy for racing, the 34-year-old looks to be finding her feet just in time for the start of the T100 Triathlon World Tour.
“It was a blast”
Entering transition after the swim in third, Sodaro worked her way through the field on the bike in Hobart and once there, didn’t look back as she went on to take a comfortable victory.
Full of praise for the supporters out on course, Sodaro said the entire race was a great experience, despite the swim conditions proving to be more challenging than she had originally anticipated.
“I feel awesome, I had the best time out there, the community here has been super welcoming to me, I was just really thrilled by the crowd support and the support from the other athletes in the race, it was a blast.
“My swim start wasn’t awesome actually, it was a little choppier than I expected and eventually I got on Grace’s [Thek] feet and tried to just stay composed and relax, that’s not my favourite conditions, but I got out of the water and realised that we weren’t too far back from the leaders.
“I’ve been working really hard on my bike this off season so I wanted to race really well and ride my bike well and I think I did that. That may have been the first time ever that I’ve come off the bike in first, that was definitely a step in the right direction and whenever I get on the run I’m just ready to go to work.
“I went out pretty hard on the first lap and I had the pleasure of running close to the men’s leader for a while and I was really impressed with his sportsmanship and grit and I had a lot of fun which I don’t always have.”
A great experience in Oceania
Having spent a considerable amount of time before the race in New Zealand training with coach Dr Dan Plews, Sodaro said after a hard season last year it was great to start 2024 anew in a totally different environment.
“It’s been awesome to be here, I’ve loved being in Tasmania and this is actually my first win since Kona of 2022 so it feels like a bit of a monkey off my back and a great way to start the IRONMAN season.
“It’s a super positive start to my season this year, I’ve loved being in this hemisphere, being out of the snow in Nevada where I live so I’m really trying to enjoy the process this year.
“Last year was tough for me, a lot of ups and downs and I lost some of the joy in my racing so it’s exciting to be finding that again.”