Before putting on my shoes I had to shake my new lodger out. It seems whilst staying in the house a family of frogs had moved into my belongings and on race morning a huge frog had secured himself in the dank dark, cavity of my bike shoe. YES I know my shoes are smelly – tell me something I don’t know! Anyway I didn’t mind as once I ousted him I told the others it is supposed to be good luck and I would need all the luck I could muster!
We left the house at 5.45am to get to bike check-in for 6am. Other riders were on the road out as we left and there was an eerie silence. Dark, no chatter, no drafting, eh up this sounds like a Wednesday morning ride! Except it wasn’t. Once at the transition area the place was a-buzz of activity. My little old ticker started doing major flips and somersaults that could probably have gotten me into the GB gymnastics squad!
When I racked George I didn’t realize you were supposed to go odds and evens to create more space. My Neighbours kindly informed me of this, probably whilst looking at my expensive bike and aero helmet thinking amateur, got all the mod cons and she doesn’t know what she is doing! Did I give a shit? NO. I even admitted I only started riding last year and this was my first year in Tri. They couldn’t keep the smiles off their faces at that point!!!
Went off for numbering and then before we knew it, it was time to get the boat over to the start line. Once on board, that eerie silence returned coupled with a feeling of impending doom, it was like a boat load of prisoners being sent to the guilotine, not a boat load of fit individuals about to participate in one of the most well-organized fun triathlons on the yearly calendar.
We met up with Carmen and Ivie and John on the beach, they snapped photos and gave out good wishes, I tried to stay calm but really at this point I was not doing well. I went off on my own for a dip, collected my thoughts and then went and stood in the pen. Sam wished me good luck as we stood waiting for the gun. Just as well my goggles were on otherwise he would have seen me tearing up!!! YES I was emotional, on tenterhooks and basically just trying to keep it all together and focus in the job in hand. I walked away and stood on my own. Ivie actually got a few pictures of me at this point and I think they perfectly show how I go into my own little world. Thanks Ivie.
The SWIM – 0:38:07
The first Litmus test of my swim, I had spoken to Coach Vinnie at the carbo loading about my reservations regarding how to approach this. "Stay left, hang back a bit, and get them in the bike," he said. I probably didn’t stay as left as I should have but as each race has passed I have noticed I panic less and less about been knocked about. I felt strong in the swim and sighted ok. Exiting going up the mound and ducking into the lake was not pleasant and there was a traffic jam on entry. Once swimming I took probably the straightest line I have taken all year. It was that straight that as I kept sighting the sailboat. Yup, there it is, stroke , stroke, look up, yup there it is and repeat and repeat until I looked up and was about to hit the bloody thing smack centre – opps. I could have swum underneath (haha) but decided to go left and round!
On approaching the finish of the swim the algae and slimy weeds were everywhere. I kept swimming as long as I could whilst stroking through the muck. When I finally exited up the ramp I probably resembled some sort of green sea monster. DID I CARE? NO. Did I stay and wash it off under the shower like all the other wusses? Do you really need to ask that question? I actually finished the race with seaweed still attached and stones inside my suit – don’t mind the seaweed but how the stones got there I do not know!
T1: Into transition and out again. It is never going to be great until I sort out the shoes on pedals thing. So let’s leave it at that for now.
The BIKE – 1:42:47
The hills are all done and dusted by kilometer14. My dilemma was, do I take it easy out and up to the hills making sure the legs have plenty of power?, OR, do I warm up a bit and then just get in my stride and go and not think about it?? Hmmmn, well once I got on to the road George stayed in the small chain ring for all of 2minutes. I didn’t kill my legs at all, on the contrary I am so used to pushing big gears now and having a slower turn over I just don’t think about it. This style allows you to naturally go faster on the flats and rolling stuff. When I got to the hills I dropped the ring went into the smallest gear and over took a bunch of women and fit looking guys. It was fantastic, I am pleased to report NO ONE overtook me except for the last k coming into transition where I start to slow down and think about the next leg.
I lost a whole bottle of hydration on one nasty bump that someone with a load speaker was supposed to be warning us about it. He though was having a nice chat and forgot to warn me. Over the bump and out pops my Gatorade in my nice hammer drinks bottle! This was at K 15 or 16. Luckily it was a cool day and already very well hydrated I knew if I just kept calm I would be picking up two replacements in less than 10minutes. At the time I wondered if the mishap was going to be the start of some nasty bad luck to come but I am pleased to report it wasn’t. The bike leg went beautifully. Coach Vinnie sought me out on the airport road with motivational shouts, (thank YOU). I loved it, the road was fast and I felt fast. And my legs felt fresh as a daisy. My heart rate was the lowest it has ever been when pushing hard and my cadence was very low….Avg 79!!!! It worked for me.
The RUN – 0:54:07
As mentioned already the weather was very kind to the athletes. The heat doesn’t really bother me; searing heat would slow me down but not as badly as others. I saw Simon, Sam and Randy on the run. And only Sam I thought was in chasing distance. Covering mixed terrain of tarmac, trail and a golf course the run was scenic but personally not something my legs enjoyed. I DO NOT like running on grass. The first one k stung a fair bit but once into my stride I realized after so many weeks of running with no knowledge of distance that I was punching out a pretty good pace. On target for 51mins at the half way point I have no clue where I slowed. As I say – not liking the grass. I overtook one more lady in my group on the run – did not realize this at the time until coach Vinnie informed me after crossing the line.Results:
Simon’s race, an amazing blinder: 3:01:05 as Swim 0:33:43, (1:34) Bike 1:35:37, (1:13) Run 0:48:59
The all too familiar Simon Cross post race finish pose - is he an attention seeker or did he TRI-HARD!
Randy’s race, absolutely fantastic – I could not catch him today: 3.15:46 as Swim 0:30:36, (2:03) Bike 1:45:35, (1:19) Run 0:56:15
Sam’s race, blitzed his field and took his 4th LPT title in 3:16:33 as Swim 0:35:16, (2:00) Bike 1:42:11, (1:38) Run 0:55:30
Bee’s Race, always with a BIG smile on her face as 3:56:45 as Swim 0:53:26, (3:09) Bike 1:55:44, (3:07) Run 1:01:22
BIG THANKS to everyone who yelled out my name and cheered for me. I know I don't acknowledge it on the race but I do hear you and it helps! Thanks also to Ironguides and Coach Vinnie for his support over the weekend. Didn't get his picture but he is real and his instructions DO WORK! Also to TBB for sorting George out and teamTBB for there ongoing support. Cheers, GUYS. 80days to GO.