Tuesday, 16 December 2014

TRINSW Sprint Series Race 1

Back up to Kurnell, NSW last weekend for one of my favourite races of the season, mainly because it is close to home but it is at a great location and is always a well run event. Race 1 was also a qualifying race for Sprint Distance World Championships in 2015 so I was expecting some tough competition turn up.  I have been flat out racing the past few weeks and this would be my last one for a while so was keen to make the most of it and have a good hit out.

It is always an early start out there, 4am wake up to ensure I arrive round 0530am for rego and to get a sufficient warm up done for a 7am race start. The course was a 750m bay swim (beach start), 20k cycle quite hilly at the start but flattens out for the last 15k and a 5k cross country run, U30 males were 4th wave off around 0715am. Bike racked and it was time for warm up, short run and was in the water well before race start for a good pre race swim. I had been in there for around 15min and it was right on race time and course was still not set out, standing on the beach waiting and waiting,
I hopped in for another swim. Race start ended up being delayed by over 30min but finally we were off and racing. Gotta love beach starts, running on water a body length ahead of the rest of the field
Pictured furthest away from camera
I lead the U30 swim for start to finish and had a decent gap on the rest of the competition, coming into T1 the run up the bank was congested and decided to take to the grass and found myself falling in a ditch, luckily I didn't twist anything and was back up running into T1. The bike mount is a bit tricky as it's on a hill and as I watch people falling up ahead I ran my bike 100m or so up to the flat to mount. Feet in shoes straight away as there was another punchy hill just ahead, these little hills continued for the fist 5k before I was out of the National Park and on the main road.
I had kept my lead until about 8k in the bike when Douglas came past me at what looked to be like car speed and he was gone in the next minute. Although I felt pretty flat on the bike I still managed to post 2nd fastest time overall. Onto the run now still placed 2nd and about 50sec down on Douglas I heard, although my form felt alright I knew I was running slow and this went on for the first 3.5k. It wasn't until the last lap I felt like I was at my speed but by then the race was over and settled for 2nd overall.
Another good race at Kurnell, happy to come away with second behind strong competition. That finishes up racing for a while until the New Year, time to get some solid back to back weeks of training done and maybe the odd ocean swim.


Thursday, 11 December 2014

Summer time, race time

Summer is upon us with hot days but it has bought with it a week of back to back storms every afternoon. The summer season also means it is racing time here in Australia and I have wasted no time in getting amongst the ocean swims and variants to triathlons. Over the past few weeks I have completed in the Coogee Island Swim, 3 Points Challenge and Bondi to Bronte swim, all which have been perfect days for the events. I am back in the full swing of training now and everything has been going well, I have had a bit of a knee niggle while swimming the past week but it hasn't stopped me from chuckin the pull buoy in for the session.

First up was the Coogee Island swim back on the 23rd of November, this was the first time I had done this race and was keen to get up there and have a crack after hearing friends talk about it. I decided to enter both the 1km and 2.4km swims and use the 1k as a warm up, even the 1k race had a pretty stacked field with some quality surf club swimmers, a German national and Aus Olympian.
Jumped in for a quick warm up and the water temp was perfect for racing, sitting around 22-23°C, was only in for about 10mins before I was lined up on the sand ready for race start.
Off to a quick start down the sloped sand hill, dove into the water and was up among the front guys, it wasn't long until the big guys put on the pace and left me behind to sit on my brothers feet, he has been swimming strong and keeps a straight line in the open water so if I could stick with him I'd be happy. After about 300m we had caught the waves that had started in front and it was a battle trying to swim through them all whilst trying to stay on feet, a couple of times and had lost him and going around a swimmer a different way I ended up with a blue bottle wrapped around my ear, it was only on for about 10sec but I could feel the instant pain, luckily the pain disappeared as my adrenaline was running. I just managed to sit on until the last 100m when he put on a break coming into the beach and let him go as I still had another 2.4k to swim after this. Ended up finishing 7th overall and 3rd in 20-29. After I crossed the line the pain returned and not just to my ear but the whole side of my head, I got some ice and sat down. My neck muscles kept cramping and I was shaking uncontrollably, I was thinking this was it for the day knowing I only had another 30min before the 2.4k race start. Finally the ice numbed most of the pain and I decided to race.
Again the field was pretty strong with most of the top guys from the 1k swim, the race was a 2.4k loop around Wedding Cake Island, the north wind was starting to pick up and it was getting pretty choppy out the back. The race was on and another clean start put me in the front pack, it was all out for the first couple of hundred meters then it eased right off having around 9 guys swimming in the pack. I was sitting comfortably in the middle for the first km or so but started drifting out the back and was constantly on and off the back for the next 750m until we rounded the last can at the island before heading in and the pace was on and I was put into no-mans land coming all the way into the beach, ended up losing a minute on the pack but still finished up 7th overall.

Last weekend I headed up to North Curl Curl for the 3 Points Challenge which I competed in last year and finished 3rd. I was keen to go for the win this year hoping that the course would be back to normal (300m swim/1500m run/300m swim/100m run/400m swim/2500m run) after having the huge surf conditions last year. I arrived to find a perfect day with a 1-2ft swell rolling in, looks like it was going to be a good race. With a 10am race start I sat back and watched my brother race the 2.4k Ocean swim which he placed 3rd in behind two solid swimmers. Warmed up with a bit of run course recon and got in the water for about 5mins before race start. A few decent guys were lined up including some triathletes and 2nd place from the event last year, looking like it was going to be a hard race.
We were underway and my start was pretty awful, lost a bit of ground and a couple of gun swimmers got away early. Came out of the water in 3rd and could see 1st had a huge gap, quick T1 and I was off hunting them down, I picked off 2nd in the first 500m and was bridging the gap to first. By T2 I had caught first but he was a strong swimmer and ended up putting time into me again in the swim which was full of rips and felt a lot longer than 300m. Back into transition and he wasn't far off, with a lot of stair in this section I made up time and past him about half way to take the lead. Shoes off and in for the last swim, dove in and I was shattered, my legs were not functioning and it was only my arms dragging me through the water, he caught me after 300m and passed me just as we exited. Quick T3 and I was back in the lead ready to bring it home, the stairs back up to the top wrecked my legs but it was all downhill from here... not quite. With a 400m sand run to finish off I had two guys not far off and I was hurting, unsure whether they were going to attack I put my head down and sprinted for the line to take the win. Huge thanks to North Curl Curl SLSC and event sponsors for holding such a great race, will be back next year for sure

Next was the Bondi to Bronte ocean swim the day after, I couldn't say which muscles hurt but my whole body ached. I had done this last year and enjoyed it so I thought I might as well do it again, another awesome day but the water felt a lot colder than the day before maybe under 20°C?? I entered the Elite category so I would get to swim with a quality field a be the first wave off for the day rather than swimming through everyone. Elites was stacked full of quality swimmers including last years winner.
It was a beach start and there was some solid shore dumps coming through Bondi and right as we started one came through a broke the field up withing the first 10m. I could say I half got through it, wasn't out the front but didn't get slammed by it. The front guys got away as soon as they were in the water and I was sitting in a pack with 8 other swimmers, this didn't change until the last 200-300m coming into Bronte when they picked up the pace, I had nothing and had to just watch them get further ahead. The were a few waves at Bronte and I was hoping to catch one in but I had come in at the worst time and missed all waves, having to stroke right until I hit the sand. Ended up 14th overall, pretty happy considering how I felt from the day before.
So stoked to have Zoggs brand supporting me, the Zoggs Ultra Predator Polarised has been my goggle of choice for all 3 events. Didn't let me down once with fogginess, leakages or anything else. No other goggle comes close for open water events and the Zoggs Watson Toggs is great for training and racing.

No rest now though, I am racing the 1st round of the Sydney Sprint Triathlon Series at Kurnell this weekend which is an Age-Group World Qualifying race so there could be some strong competition here at this local event. Stayed tuned...

Thanks http://www.nickfletcherphotography.com/ for the photos, some great shots of the 3 Points Challenge