Power Station Triathlon at South Fremantle... 1km swim, 30km bike, 6km run. After having been able to do some reasonably impressive times at training for the past one week, I was pretty confident to improve on last year's timing of 1:43.52.
This year's race was held on a Saturday, rather than a Sunday. Reason - not too sure, apart from the organizers wanting to be able to enjoy a Sunday off.
Darling and myself arrived at the venue at 6.20am for the bike check-in and race bib collection. I had my expired Oatmeal Raisin Powerbar, did some last minute stretches and toilet visit. It was pretty cold, so wetsuits were allowed. Darn! But it's okay, I need to practise swimming open water without wetsuit for Langkawi Ironman anyway.
The swim was a straight line course along the beach. So we had to walk 1km out from the transition. Poor Li-Ann had to trot all the way with me to catch me starting and walk back after that!
I was tempted to do some warm-up swims but decided against it. The water seemed too cold and I didn't want to shiver while waiting for the start, which was about 20 minutes late.
The cold water and the delayed start made me feel wanting to pass water again... but it was too far from the toilet and too near to the start to be walking back. Hence, I did the most juvenile thing by passing water in the sea! Had to make sure no one was near me.
The swim was pretty alright. The water became warmer as we moved outwards away from the shore. I am happy to say that my navigation has improved, but then again, it is a straight line swim! There were no stings this time round, unlike the minor ones I had last year and the massive one the year before. Maybe it's the smell I am emanating from peeing in my suit!
I must say that although swimming is my best discipline, I don't enjoy it very much. I can't see how much into the course I am, or how far more to go. I can't judge my timing unless I stop swimming. We made a left turn and the last buoy. I touched the shore at 14:38.
A 250m run into transition, this is where I struggled a bit. Having done the last triathlon in May, which is the Half Ironman, I have forgotten the sequence of things I had to do. I somehow removed my bike from the racks before putting on my helmet. So I had to balance the bike while I struggled to fit my helmet on. Mounting the bike was a near disaster. I had trouble slipping my feet into the bike shoes, which were already fixed on the pedals. Looks like last week's transition practice was a waste of time! Total T1 time was 4:34.
I nearly had several accidents while I was swerving left and right while strapping on my bike shoes. The course had changed from last year. There were a lot more U-turns this time round. I wanted so badly to catch up the time loss in transition (as I now had a fast and sexy Ah Rui with me!) but slowing down for the U-turns made it almost impossible (my amateur cycling skills do not allow me to do fancy turns and swings without pressing the brakes). There was also a stretch of uneven gravel road that we had to pass. Good thing that not many suffered tyre punctures from the sharp stones.
I'm pretty happy that I'm starting to overtake others on the bike course now. And not just those who appeared like novices - a biased assessment made by looking how fancy their bikes and apparel are! Like for example, this guy below who has a Felt tri bike and wore the same Orca tri suit as I did.
Bike time was about an hour (average 30kph). My cyclecomputer stuffed up after I packed up, so I couldn't quite tell the exact time. Coming into transition, again I did not apply anything from my practice sessions. I just couldn't dismount without coming to a complete halt. Good thing I was still able to slip out of the bike shoes without tumbling over!
I also struggled a bit with fitting into my running shoes. Having the orthotics in them made the shoes tighter. But my legs felt good, so I was able to start my run strongly. I was quite surprised by this, as I usually feel tightness in the quads when wearing this Orca suit. The curse has been broken!
The sun was pretty bright but it wasn't too hot. I packed two expired Powergels on my race belt but didn't feel the need to consume them. I didn't stop at any of the water stations on the run course either. Even during the bike leg, I drank Powerade a couple of times, only towards the end of the course.
The run course was 3 laps, the first which I did in 9:02. I knew I would not be able to beat last year's overall time due to the time lost in the bike and transitions. But my first run lap was about 30 seconds quicker than last year. In fact, so were the second and third laps, 8:54 and 8:51 respectively! My total run time was 26:47, a full 2 minutes quicker than last year!
I finished in 1:46.04, more than 2 minutes slower than last year, 6/10 in my age group, 39/77 overall. But this year's winning time was 1:28.40, more than 7 minutes slower than last year's winning time. So I guess I have done pretty well in comparison!
Looking forward to the Great Bike Ride in two weeks time!