City of Perth Olympic Distance triathlon... 1.5km swim, 40km bike, 10km run. Here's the course map.
I could barely sleep the night before. Not sure whether it was the excitement or the hot weather. Kept tossing and turning... and woke up way before my alarm time at 5am.
Got to the race venue, Langley Park at 6.30am. Since my bike was already checked in, I needed to find a closer parking spot as I had to walk to the transition area. Brought along my bike pump to add more air to the tyres (more for my comfort really... I pumped them full the day before). Removed the plastic bags from the monitor, seat and pedals... it was forecasted to rain overnight... but that didn't happen.
I met my divisional partner too. He's in the relay... doing the swim and the bike legs... his son would do the run.
After setting up my transition, I downed a bar of Cookies N' Cream Performance with a bottle of Gatorade.
Did my usual stretches and listened to the briefing which started at about 7.15am.
My age group was in the first wave. There was no countdown but the announcer did give us 1 minute warning before the start. I forgotten how MURKY Swan River is. I could barely see my hands. I also felt some squishy jelly fish like creatures. But there were no stings.
I started going off course a bit... until I realised that everyone else was far on my right. But once I got back into course, I was happy to overtake everyone... ONE BY ONE... until there were only about 5 swimmers ahead of me (to what I can see anyway, the top swimmers must have been far ahead). This year's swim was better than last year... as last year, there was a part where the water was too shallow and we had to wade across.
Came up from the water... checked my watch... AND WAS I DISAPPOINTED! 24:43... far beyond my target of 22:30 and this was the first time I wore my watch during the swim too. It had to be longer than 1500m... I keep telling myself.
I struggled a bit with putting on the helmet... somehow the straps couldn't clip. Took about 1 minute plus. But had not much difficulty mounting onto the bike and fitting into the clip shoes.
Bike 4 laps
We were told that the bike distance was slightly longer. Haiya... how to make proper comparison with last year like that... swim also longer...
Anyway, was REALLY feeling the efficiency of the clip shoes. I was happy to see that there were only a few cyclists in front of me... and they all seem very pro too. But it wasn't long before those who were behind me in the swim, started overtaking me... ONE BY ONE.
There was a bit of wind assistance going down. I was averaging about 35kph to 40kph. Coming back with the headwind, I was still able to hold it just under 30kph. It took me slightly under 19 minutes for each lap.
Upon the finishing, I was able to remove the right foot from the clip shoe but struggled a bit with the left foot. Luckily, no big drama or EMBARRASSING falling incidents. Bike stats were 41.98km in 1:21.30 (including transition) average of 31.6 kph. Was quite happy with this as I clocked the same time with 2kms less last year.
But coming into the transition area, I COULDN'T FIND MY BIKE SPOT! The bikes were arranged so closely, so I missed my vacant spot (which didn't seem very vacant). I went down the row and up again. Lost another minute there. Good thing I didn't have any difficulties fitting in my run shoes.
Run 3 laps
I looked at my watch... total time so far was 1:46.11. Sigh... unless I do a 42 minute 10km run, I won't be able to equal my last year's timing, LET ALONE BEAT IT! And the jelly legs started to kick in... must be from all the hard hammering against the wind on the bike.
Downed a Strawberry Banana Powergel. Suddenly felt that I had extra power... could sprint a bit...
1st lap done in 14:19. I thought if I kept around 14 minutes for each lap, I could equal my last year's time after all!
But I started feeling some tightness around my quads on the 2nd lap. Slowed down a bit. Came in at 15:49... also, the 1st lap was shorter as it was right out of the transition.
I downed another Strawberry Banana Powergel to give me the extra boost... but the tightness got so strong... BOTH MY LEGS STARTED TO CRAMP... I thought that was the end of it...
I massaged my legs for about 10 seconds and hop-jogged a bit. I was able to shuffle slowly... I told myself, I would not DNF!
The second half of the 3rd lap... I no longer felt the pain and was able to pick up the pace. Came in at 17:08... giving overall run time of 47:15.
I went straight to the massage benches. The guy was pretty gentle on my quads, wasn't really unbearable but nevertheless effective.
I also heard an announcement calling for my partner to get to the registration counter. And next thing I saw was an ambulance and him looking worried, close by. Must be his son, I hope he's okay. The heat can be really punishing sometimes... even to the best of athletes.
The elite races started at 11am. I watched a bit of it but the weather was getting really hot, 36 degrees. I also decided not to wait for the prize presentation despite having a chance of winning some good draw prizes. I had lunch appointment with SLBs in Fremantle anyway... fish N' chips, yum!
The official results are out. My overall time was 2:33.28. Positioned 232 out of 431 participants. I guess I can't complain as even the winning times were 3 minutes slower than last year. And overall, my ranking is still the same as last year. For last year's report, click *here*.
For full results, please click *here*
Just a few things to to take away from this experience...
To improve on my transition... try to stay calm and don't kan cheong...
To avoid cramps... I wonder why I got cramps. Was it due to wearing a new tri suit which was too tight around the legs? Was it due to the lack of sleep? Was it due to the hot weather? Whichever it is, looks like I need to do more BRICK training to get my legs more accustomed to running after a hard bike ride. Looks like eating bananas 3-4 days up to the race is not enough.