Sunday, March 13, 2011

Tri Series Wellington - race repot -

Wellington is the venue for the standard distance Nationals, It has been like this for the past 5 or 6 years, and being located in the middle of the two islands there is an element of fairness to it in regards to access from all tri clubs and tri fans to get their butts in gear for the event.  The race organization is always top notch and I said before that I love the city so much that I cannot say anything bad about Welly. 
We are lucky enough to race in the waterfront and port area, that means an early start so vehicle and marine traffic can be disrupted as little as possible. This is a minor inconvenience for the athletes, as it is not quite daylight yet, and we get pretty dark race starts. 
Preparation for this race has been solid, with a few very interesting workouts, I knew I was in top shape 8 days before the race, and the tapper week was welcome as a final sharpening up. 

The Swim and T1 (22.38)
My swim exit from 2years ago
funny that I exited the water in same times
The swim is a deep water start, we walk to a pontoon in a marina a swim a counter-clockwise box. Deep water starts are a different animal and you have to make the most of your explosive speed trying to get the body in motion and up to race speed in those first 20 odd seconds. There is no momentumm from a previous run or dolphin dives. I am very methodical on this front, and ducked under the cover of the top swimmers of our age group. I expected to be on their feet the whole time. Someone else had different plans for me, as I was swam over and across twice in the first 150m. I had decided to stay right and a large pack was swimming to my left. Our little pack of 6 kept swimming at a good pace and 50m from the first buoy a few guys veered right and I styed in clean water in a straight line to the turn. I managed to turn OK and catch the large pack in the front. It was an easier swim until the second buoy and then smaller groups started to spread out. I was in a group of 4 and we worked together until the last 200m when someone sprinted and I didn't follow. At two points in the swim I thought I've seen my mates Martin and Carl passing me, but it turned out not to be them. I exited the water in good shape, yet a bit high on the heart rate. T1 was a flash, I had arm warmers on from the swim and the wetsuit left off pretty well, I think I even passed a couple of guys. There was three or four bikes out of our rack, so pretty happy to be on the top of the age group swimmers.

The bike and T2 (1.07.33)

My bike is always trouble, but I am a very hard worker and was waiting for moderate improvements in this area. To support that objective I got myself a pair of racing wheels (zipps 404's) from Elite Race Rentals. If you're in NZ and need to buy speed, go and visit their website, great prices and great service. Anyway, I thought I'd buy myself a couple of minutes of with these babies. And what difference do they make, I felt I was on a formula 1 bike. The perfect rolling of the wheels, the sound of them cutting through the wind, it all helps you go faster. Anyway, I left T1 and was having a bit of trouble to get my heart rate up and I wasnt doing much speed for the first 3-5 km. I'm always passed by a couple of dozen people, but this time it was only three or four, and then my mate Carl, flew past. I got my arse in gear and I was on a mission. There was this man in an road-cone-orange race suit a good couple of 100m ahead of me, and it looked like we were doing same kind of speeds. I got him as my carrot and worked for about 7km to catch and pass him. Once I passed him another guy from my age group passed me and we kind of stayed in touch for the next 10km, (i'd pass him on the flat head winds, he'd pass me on the little hills). At the turnaround mark I knew I was in the top 25 or 30 of the whole field. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the big bunch with the top guys of my age group was only 2min ahead. I made the decision then to do whatever I could on the bike not to loose more time on them. As I turned around I saw my other mate, Martin about 45 secs behind. That was my second mission, not let Martin catch me and if I was passed hang on to him with all I had. 
I passed the the other age group guy and picked a couple of hundred meters on him, and that was the last person I passed. A guy in a road bike cought me and it looked like he was in a mission too. I made sure I was on the draft legal distance and stayed behind him for a few km. I passed him at thr 35km mark and didn't look back. As I approached T2 I did two little mistakes. #1 was to try to get my armwarmers off while I was riding on the aero bars. I should have been on my brake hoods and it would have been soo much easier. #2 was to take my shoes off too soon, which ended up in me losing a bit of time on the last km. T2 was fast but I should have not worried about taking the armwarmers for there, and do it while I was running. 

The run (35.51)
Valen running 2 years ago (note
The tired head and arms)
As  I ran off T2 I saw Martin getting ready and cheered him. I know him and I run pretty much the same times (he's slightly better off the bike, but only 5 to 10 seconds on 5km), so that gave me a good way to monitor progress. I explained the run in my previous post, nice and flat, not a lot of turns. I tought I've packed my running legs, and I did. But I should have packed the best-shape-of-my-life running legs, and I sadly didn't. I had the expectation that I'd run sub-34 for this race and to do that I knew that each 2.5km  needed to be 8.30 or less. I got to the first turn on 8.53 and feeling good, I pushed a bit harder and got to the halfway mark in 17.45. Not too far, and really pumped, i kept pushing but I couldn't get any faster (a bi of wind, maybe?). By now most of the field was on the course I came across many mates and gave them a bit of cheer and high fives. I passed about 6 people on the first lap and another 6 on the second. When I did the last turn at the 7.5km mark I went as hard as I could, there was two guys at about 150m and I said to myself that it would be a shame if they turned out to beat me and be on the same age group. I passed the first one with 1km to go and the second one with 400m to go. Then I took a deep breath and went with all my might. I crossed the line really happy to had given my all. It turned out that the last guy I passed was on my age group.
The balance

Overall is good, but I will have a more detailed balance in tomorow's post. 
stay tuned, 


  1. GOOD REPORT. Lets here the out come please.

  2. excellent RR !

    you capture and report each session of the race really well. Great bike, great everything!