So – this is going to be a fairly short one. Mostly because it’s now 5 days since the race and I have another event in 2 days. And there is very little in the way of photographic evidence!
If you want a detailed, hopefully entertaining read complete with pictures, read last year’s report here.
If you want a brief account of how I really don’t like Olympic distance and should stick to sprint, read on…
Here’s the thing. I’ve done quite a few half marathons and quite enjoy that distance. Marathons, not so much. Double the distance = double the fun? Um, not quite.
I’m still relatively new when it comes to the sport of triathlon. This was my 4th – started out with a Tinman in 2017, did the Sprint distance at Victor last year, and most recently tackled the half Murray Man in November. And I really loved Murray Man!
My long term goal was to do the full Murray Man in 2020 (given that I have the best excuse ever not to do it this year – a little event you may have heard of called the New York Marathon.)
So I figured it was time to step up to the Olympic distance. Double the distance. A nice 1500m swim to kick it off, a slightly hilly 40k on the bike, and a double parkrun to finish.
I’d done a fair bit of open water swimming over summer. All of it in the very lake we’d be swimming in. Mostly MUCH more than 1500m (I got over 3000m once or twice). In contrast I’d only swim in the local pool once. Twice, tops. I hate swimming laps!
Obvs, being a runner, the running side was pretty much taken care of.
After Murray Man, I didn’t get on the bike again for 3 months. That gave me one whole month to remember how to ride. AND, more importantly, get on and off.
I did 5 rides close to home. My previous favourite cycling training ground, Victoria Park, had been appropriated for a car race. Still, VP is pancake flat, and the Victor bike course has some hills (unlike Murray Man!) so actually I was better off riding where I had to use a few gears.
I started out with a nice easy 15k and built up to 35k the week before the race. Definitely a few more rides would have helped, and next time I’d want to actually ride the bike course prior to the day, but this would have to do!
Oh and I forgot to mention it was my birthday on the day of the race. Birthday on a Sunday and there’s an event on? Why, it would be rude not to!
The day arrived and I was all packed and ready. Last weekend it had been very hot and the lake was at a temperature that would have seen wetsuits banned. This particular day it was borderline. I would wear the wetsuit if it was legal. Just in case, I HAD swim the swim course last weekend without the wetty.
On arrival it was confirmed. wetsuits legal except for Open competitors. That was not me. In fact, the term ‘competitor’ hardly applied!
Next to my bike I had 2 Clif bars. I put 2 bottles of Gatorade on the bike even though I knew I was unlikely to be game enough to try to drink on the ride! (Getting the bottle out was ok, it was getting it back in that I wasn’t so sure about!) Why I put a bottle in the back cage, which I have NEVER attempted to use, I’ll never know!)
I almost managed to ‘suit up’ all by myself – while standing on the beach trying to pull some contortionism moves, a guy saw my struggle and ended up helping me. I CAN do it myself, I swear!
I also remembered to put ‘Squirrels Nut Butter’ on the back of my neck to prevent chafing. Happy to report it worked!
My modest goal was to finish not last in my age group. as it turned out I was one of 22 in my category.
This was MUCH harder and longer than I had anticipated!
As always I started near the back of my wave. Unlike at Murray Man I remembered how to put my head in the water right from the start.
I went through phases of forgetting I was in a race and just cruising. Then a later wave of guys would start passing me and I’d remember where I was!
After what seemed like an eternity (33.47, slower than I would have expected but I was consciously conserving energy) I finally reached the shore in 19th place in my age group. Nearly last, but not last!
Just under 4 minutes sounds like a long transition but when you consider that included a 2 minute barefoot run from the beach to the bike…
And it only took me 20 seconds to get the wetty off so that totally vindicates my decision to wear it.
It was a bit rushed though – I didn’t dry myself or clean the dirt off my feet, and I SHOULD have had something eat or at least take a Clif bar with me…
Strangely, like Murray Man, this was my best leg. Looking at my Sprint times and doubling them, this was the only leg on which my time was less than double my Sprint time.
No doubt the fact I’d finally had my bike fit done in the past year made a big difference there!
As usual, I was a bit wobbly getting on the bike but did it!
I had forgotten to put on my race bib – we were supposed to be wearing it for the bike and for the run but I didn’t remember until I was riding behind people who were wearing theirs… no way was I going back though!
I was relatively comfortable on the bike, I did actually manage to overtake a few people along the way (having to decide whether to sit more than 10m behind them or overtake them – I didn’t really want to overtake too early on but if I kept getting closer than 10m I would have to)
In my age group I was 21/22 on the bike so theoretically my worst leg but actually felt like the best!
It was a double out and back course – elevation profile like devil horns. The ‘back’ felt harder than the ‘out’ – more long climbs but then there was a nice downhill bit that I could just coast. I probably could have gone faster but I was thinking of the run – need to save some legs!
Towards the end of the first lap something didn’t feel or sound quite right. Then I looked down and saw the problem – my back bottle cage had come loose and was flapping in the breeze! So every time my left leg went around it would collect the bottle! I couldn’t really do anything about it – I didn’t bring any tools and didn’t want to stop anyway. At one point I managed to shove the bottle with my leg so it was at least sitting upright and it looked like it might stay there but it was a bit precarious!
Eventually, early on the second lap it flipped around again and eventually fell off, bottle and all! Well that solved the problem! As I said earlier, I have no idea why I put a bottle in there anyway!
I didn’t end up drinking anything during the bike leg anyway – I did think about it a few times but I wasn’t quite game to reach down. And if I dropped the one bottle I had left, I’d be left with nothing…
Happy to report, another successful dismount! Not earth shattering but I’m calling it a win.
This was another long transition – this time 2:28, the main issue here was that I swapped my bike shoes for running shoes and there was something in my shoe so I had to take it off and startagain. No way was I running 10km with something in my shoe! The elastic laces definitely helped! Luckily this time I remembered the race bib otherwise I WOULD have had to go back for it!
I grabbed a Clif bar and put it in my pocket but would only use this if I was reduced to walking – most likely I’d be enjoying this AFTER the finish! And I grabbed my one bottle of Gatorade!
I forgot to take my gloves off but that didn’t really matter as it was useful to have something to wipe the snot away other than my lovely Mekong trisuit!
10K. Long and slow. Humid! I ran the whole thing but felt like I was running through wet sand. I stopped at the drink stations. I eventually managed to sneak in under 55 minutes (5:30 pace) which on its own would be quite slow for me but surprisingly I was ranked 11/22 in the run – top 50%, woohoo! (I did pass quite a lot of people on the run – no great surprises there!)
Like last year, I found the run disorientating – lots of turns, no idea what direction I was going!
At the finish line (and boy was I happy to see that!) the MC announced it was my birthday! That was a nice touch! ‘Great way to celebrate’ he said. Hmm, I wasn’t so sure, but now it was over, sure, it was a great way to celebrate!THOUGHTS
I didn’t find this one as enjoyable as Murray Man – maybe it was the long swim that took more out of me than I’d expected – the bike and run were similar distances but this one for some reason felt a lot harder! Also maybe driving down on the day didn’t help!
I’m glad to have completed an Olympic distance but I’m now having second thoughts about my long term goal of completing a 70.3 – on the plus side, the swim is only slightly longer than Olympic but the 90km bike and the 21.1km run – that’s gonna take some doing! Do I really want to put myself through that? I’m not so sure…
I definitely enjoyed the Sprint distance better and plan to do that one next year! I really love the event and the course is challenging but doable, this was just a bit too long for me.
Half the distance = double the fun! Sounds good to me!