|Lucky to have a corner spot on the bike rack - plenty of space to set up!|
I probably got a bit too relaxed and was still warming up when the announcer was calling out for all remaining participants to get to the start. But I got there in time with no dramas. When the horn blowed, the usual push and shove took place but it cleared after a couple of minutes as there probably about 30 or so participants in the wave. Water was extremely clear and just gorgeous. You could see schools of fish swimming underneath you. The swim course is shaped like a hook, swim most of it with the tide and a short u-turn back to shore. Then run back the remaining distance to transition. We were told that the swim distance would be 1350m instead of the standard 1500m, with a 400m run back to transition. I thought fair enough, the time to run 400m roughly makes up for the 150m. But it seemed the turnaround buoy was placed a bit too early and it was just under 1km when we finished the swim. I actually looked back just to make sure I didn't miss a turn. But the run back was a bit longer, about 700m. The organizers gave the option of putting shoes on after the swim, but most including myself were running barefoot. My time when I got to transition was 17:40. About 4 minutes quicker than last year's full swim.
Goggles and cap off. Brief wipe of the feet, socks on, helmet on and bike off. It wasn't too crowded at the bike mount line so I was able to hop on it without worrying of knocking someone over. It was then when I felt some tightness around my waist. You muppet! You forgot to remove your swimskin... AGAIN!
|All savings from the reduced drag swimming with a swimskin probably lost ten folds by having it flapping on the bike!|
4 laps of 10km on an L shaped course. Small incline in the middle, about 100m elevation in total. Sharp turn at the start of each lap which I still nervously brake and go wide around. Probably lose about 10 seconds each time I do it. But I am definitely more confident this time round going low on the aerobars even when there's a sudden gusts of wind coming from the coast. Maybe it has something to do with the disc, stabilizing the bike. It wasn't too windy but you do feel it especially when you had to work against it in some sections. The first couple of laps were pretty crowded with some of the sprint participants still on course. It was a non drafting race but in these situations, it's near impossible not to draft unintentionally. It wasn't until the final lap where I felt that I could actually ride on my own without having to overtake or being overtaken. Road surface was fair but there are a few small pot holes you had to look out for. While I felt I was riding strong and consistently, I didn't have enough speed in me to really hammer all the way. I clocked just under 1:08 for the bike split, about 1.5 minutes quicker than last year. Average speed of just over 35kph and average power of just over 180 watts. Official time had me doing 1:09:56 including both transitions.
Shoes on and everything else - sunglasses, visor and race bib on the go. Wait, I forgot something - remove the swimskin! Turned around and tried removing it while I already had my shoes on. One side came out fine, the other I had to kick the shoe off and quickly put it back on after. Tossed the swimskin and hopefully it landed right back on my spot.
|The run, my favourite part!|
I'm glad I took that time to get the swimskin off. While it wasn't hot to start with, it was getting hot on the run and my legs would have overheated. The run course is two laps, with a short but steep incline just after coming out of transition, followed by a fast downhill. The rest of the course is mostly flat and partly shaded. Mostly on concrete and footpaths, a bit of wooden boardwalk, a bit of grass with a very small section running on sand covered by carpet. The run is always my favourite part and that's where I usually make most of my gains. This time last year, I wasn't run fit as well so I knew I could improve on last year's time even more - after making some mental deductions for the shortened swim. My legs were probably still running on the cycling cadence and I clocked 4:04 for the first km. Thereafter it settled in the range of 4:15 to 4:25. I wasn't running as fast as I did for Robina tri in October but I kinda expected it based on my training. The great thing about doing an Olympic distance after all this Ironman training, is even though I was hurting, I knew there wasn't long more to go. Finally got to the finish line with a 42:36 run split and overall finish time of 2:10:13.
I finished 6th in my age group and I later found out that it was the Queensland State Championship (ironically held just across the border in New South Wales) and I was actually the first Tri Qld member in my age group! Probably with all the qualifying races held around this time (Mooloolaba last week and Wollongong this same weekend) for the World Championship later in Gold Coast in September, the field must have watered down a bit. But... I left early and missed the rare chance of standing on top of the podium. Will have to arrange to get my State Champion medal some other way.
|The race organizers put on a great event!|
Overall I'm pretty happy with my result. Adding another 5-6 minutes for the shortened swim would still give me a PB of 2-3 minutes. It was a fun outing too, being able to catch up with some tri minded friends before and after the race. I'll definitely do this race again if the timing is right. Things are shaping up well for IM Port Macquarie in 7 weeks time. One more build to go before the taper. Can't wait!