Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Racing in the Queen city - Triathlon Nationals race report

WOW what a fantastic day to be playing in the big smoke. Great sun, not too hot and no much wind. It was a recipe for fast racing.
This was my return after 2 years of not racing (for some reason or other) in the standard distance event. I never loved the distance because it was not short enough to play to my advantage as a swim-runner, but it was not long enough to play to my advantage as a consistent runner. Anyway, the opportunity came to go and do it and I was determined to enjoy it.
First tri ever... 
The swim was a breeze, no major inconveniences for most of the leg. Because they send us in waves, we cought some of the slower guys from previous waves. In any case, I was nowhere near where I traditionally fare in these races, so I had a good time swimming protected by the big middle pack. The water temperature was good to swim with no wetsuit, but that would have meant a further 2 min of my time given away and I was not prepared to do that. At the end of the day, it is national champs and one has to deliver.
There was a looooooong transition to the bike and I made it slower by putting a pair of socks. There’s two reasons for that, firstly, I was wearing my mate’s shoes and didn’t want any blisters or bleeding ruining them. Secondly, I was going to wear socks for the run anyway, so might as well put them on now and make a shorter T2. The bike was a 3 lap course mainly flat with one climb at the top of Queen Street. The climb was short enough and greatly compensated by a 1.5 km downhill section from the top of the golden mile to the Ferry building. That was the highlight of my race… doing 60k plus at full throttle on the busiest street of Auckland was an experience to repeat. In races like these, I am usually passed by a dozen plus others. This time I managed to hang on and even pass some people myself. I was thoroughly impressed by the performance of my lended bike. An old aluminium P3 that flew through the flats and ripped through the asphalt. Unfortunately I hadn’t had my ceremonial Nutella on Bagel brekkie, and I was banking on some gels to bring the extra energy. But I lost them somewhere. I realised only when I went to grab one after the first lap of the bike.
T2 was fast and I was feeling good… although not flash-like due to the lack of caffeine and sugars. I ran at a steady pace with the idea of unleashing the beast in the last 2km.
But there was no beast, my run time was over 39 minutes, a good 10% over what I would consider my top runs. I was passed by a couple, but passed a few myself, so all in all I went up on the run too (4th fastest in the category) and finished in a respectable 2:14 and change. The best was yet to come, though.
On reflection I came to two very encouraging conclusions. First, I had a lot of fun and enjoyed the short distance like I hadn’t done before. Secondly, I was fairly competitive without specific training and virtually no swimming. So, there is not only potential for a more competitive performance, there’s potential for lots of fun doing many more races next season. And who knows… maybe even a world championships trips is not too far out of the way. 
That brings an end to the season of multisport, I think. It's now time to go into hibernation mode and start a good block of endurance and strength training. 

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