This one won't be as long as my Kona Race Report... The race was only 1/2 the distance.
After being first across the line in 2011, I thought that I would throw my hat into the "open" category for 2012.
Seeing a good dozen or so male "open" entrants was going to enable me to just gauge where I am at.
And No, I don't have ambition to take a pro licence! However, if I think that I am in good shape I might do another "open" level race.
Seeing Matty White (triathlete, not cyclist) on the list meant that the rest of us were really racing for 2nd unless something went wrong on race day for him.
The race morning was rather eventful, getting to the race at 7.20am for registration and transition closing at 7.30am meant for a frantic start. The main cause of this was due to the temperature forecast for 39 deg and me pumping in 3-4 bidons of Shotz Electrolytes on the 2.5hr drive there from my best mates house. So, yes the morning started at about 4.30am.
Getting everything set up, with the help of Carla, Paul, Sam & Isla, I was done by about 7.32am. The next 20min were about getting relaxed ready for the start.
I was excited to have a good race, not to make up for Kona, but to see if I could "hold my own" in "open" company.
I had also heard that a swim start for the "open" is easier as you can find someone's feet to sit on from the start and there is less hustle and bustle.
That was my plan, find Kev Fergusson (2nd O/A 2011, 1st Open 2011) and try to sit on his feet as I was sure that if I worked to this plan, I could be able to run him down earlier than last year.
After a short warm up, getting the HR going again, I was ready. The countdown was on and I was in the perfect position for me. As the horn sounded, we were off. I had the perfect sit, behind Kev and another guy (think his name was Phil, I will call him that for now!!)
After about 300 odd metres, Phil started to swim me off course, unsure if this was a plan or just bad navigation. I tried to bridge the gap across to Kev, however I had lost his toes. Phil was a far superior swimmer to me and he left me for dead. I was back solo and with my arms and lungs screaming at me, my initial thought was it is going to be a long day. I settled back into a rhythm and was soon passed by some other "open" category male and females and then some age groupers came swimming by (Yes, swimming is my weak leg).
The rest of the swim was uneventful and seeing 30min + change as I hit the beach, I wasn't that disappointed from what training I had done since Kona on my swim.
The weirdest thing about the swim... With a couple of days in a row above 30 deg, it was still a wetsuit swim and the water was cold.
Getting into T1, I saw most of the "open" bikes had gone and thought that I have a lot of work to do.
Onto the bike and noticing that sun was out in full force. My main goal was to have a solid ride and see if I could bridge the gap to Kev. Carla let me know that I was 3min behind him. Being a 4 lap course, it was easy to see the field. I was passing a/g after a/g and then a few of the "open" athletes. By the time the 3rd lap was starting I was in 5th overall and 3rd "open". My legs felt heavy and the heat was taking its toll on me. The hot dry wind meant that the fluid intake felt like it was just being sucked out of my body. I vomited a lot on the bike (becoming a regular thing) and also squirted electrolytes on me as I thought it was water, sticky situation!
Getting back into T2, I knew that I had given up another 3min to Kev on the bike (Meanwhile Matty White was a long way up the road on the run). A 6min lead to run down over 20k was always going to be tough, esp after Kev was fresh and I was unsure how much carry over fatigue I had in my legs from Kona.
Heading out onto the run I was in 2 minds, do I try to run him down or do I try just to hang onto 3rd? I decided to have a crack for the first 10k's and see what my position was and then reassess. The temperature was hot and staying hydrated was another key.
After the first 10k I had caught 2 1/2 min on Kev and when the course changed to run a short lap (2 big and 2 small laps) Kev, ran the big lap by mistake which meant that he ran an extra 500m or so. The call came out that I was then only 2min down on him with 4k to go. Was going to be tough. Did I want to defeat a guy who accidentally ran too far, or could I even catch him??
I decided that if I tried to run him down, that I would battle to get to the end, so I played it safe and protected 3rd which by then I was informed that I was over 10min ahead of 4th (talking open category).
Getting to the end was a massive relief and knowing that I finished 3rd "open" was very satisfying also. I was 4th across the line behind Matty White, Kev Ferguson & Derik Cross (30-34 a/g).
Once official results are posted, I will add them here.
Next race Shepparton, back to age group racing where I belong!!