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I really should race more often

22 August 2012 No Comment

This year I’ll only be doing three races, Hell of the West in February, Yeppoon 70.3 in August and Hawaii in October. They’re spaced out well enough for me to be able to forget a few important things to prepare. I have become pretty casual about them, don’t have any pre-race nerves and tend to look at them as little holidays.

Last weekend I made a few mistakes. After 25yrs of racing triathlons, I have made a few rookie mistakes which just should not have happened.

Last Thursday, I fitted a new tyre to my race bike. I left the tyre levers in my “bike tool box”, not in the spares container on the bike. I didn’t discover this until the first lap of the bike at Yeppoon. In the early days I checked everything at least three times and ticked them off my list. I’ll have to start another list.

As I packed my bag for the trip, on the Friday morning 10min before we left, I grabbed a Cycos cycle jersey for our group session on Saturday morning, and threw my race knicks in the bag. As I threw a few clothes into the bag, I thought i’ll have to get my race singlet out of my sports gear draw. Something must have distracted me because it just didn’t happen. I did a quick mental check, goggles, wetsuit, run shoes, bike shoes, helmet and race belt, all there.

We drove up to Yeppoon, normally not a bad road trip but the last year or so have been pretty wet and the roads are in need of repair. There’s roadworks being done on at least fifteen different parts of the highway. So that’s about fifteen “stop and go men” along the way. We were held up a bit but we do get to talk a lot more on a trip like this than we would any other weekend. Sandy was not all that happy about leaving her more comfortable car at home, but I like my truck, and it does have the bike racks on it.

We arrived about an hour later than expected but had a good trip, with a running commentry on road conditions in a continuous text message conversation with Jimmy C and Susan Casey, who were about an hour ahead of us. We arranged to meet for dinner at the restraurant about a kilometer south of Yeppoon towship. We’ve eaten there each year and the quality is always good.

On Saturday morning we always meet the group for a swim, bike and run “mini workout” at about 8am. When I dug out my gear for the workout I discovered I had bought Sandy’s cycle jersey, not my own. I didn’t have my race singlet. In fact all I had to wear was a small jersey to train and race in. It was too tight around the shoulders to wear under my wetsuit and swim in. But I’d make it work.

On race morning everything fell into place, I did get a kilometer down the road and have to go back and get my drink bottles, but that was no problem, lucky Sandy asked me if I had them. My plan was to put the cycle jersey on after the swim and wear it for the rest of the day. The day before was a beautiful morning, the water was like glass. No wind, no waves. We had three Cycos doing their first half Ironman race, two of them had no rough water experience. On race morning a breeze had blown up and the water was choppy. Not too bad if you’re experienced in rough water but a bit scary for the girls.

I had a good solid swim, I have been doing a bit lately, Hawaii is only eight weeks away. In the transition area I tried to pull a small jersey over a wet body. I had to get a volunteer to help me pull it down. All good so far.

On the first lap of the bike I picked up a puncture. In 25yrs of racing triathlons I have had only one other puncture, so I was just about due for another one. No problems it doesn’t take long to change a flat. I tipped out my kit and found no levers. I fiddled around for a while trying to get it off with out using levers. Looking for someone I knew to come past. After a few minutes the bike mechanics arrived. That was lucky, I was their first customer for the day.

I was going in about ten minutes from getting the flat. I was experimenting with a new additive to my Endura, it’s an Ethical Nutrients product called Rehydrate, basically a mineral mixture. It’s given me good legs in workouts I have practiced it in. I had a good strong ride. No more tyre problems and good legs right to the end.

I did expect to struggle a bit early in the run, but the legs were OK. The zipper on my little pouch on my fuel belt broke, but I managed to keep the gels etc in there OK. Another thing to add to my list for Hawaii. I had a good run. Strong legs and good turnover rate all the way. I finished as though I could easily have done another lap on the run. A good sign for Hawaii in eight weeks.

Our three first time Half Ironman athletes did well. Tom did 4.24 in his first one. Paula and Sarah thanked me for all the character building experiences I’ve given them over the past 8-10 weeks. They were thoroughly hardened and ready for anything Yeppoon could throw at them. I did talk about giant octopusses all the way up the beach but that didn’t stop them from smashing it. They had the biggest smiles at the presentations, I’d say they’ll have a few sleep ins and be back for more character building.

I have had to learn a few things for the second time. I will be preparing a check list for my trip to Hawaii in October. My race result was satisfying, I was 15min faster than the previous year, the longer Hawaii workouts have conditioned me well. I ended up with second in my category, a new guy turned up and took the win. I’m in the last year of this category so I look forward to my next birthday.

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