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Hell of the West 2013 – a race report

6 February 2013 One Comment

For the past four months I have been looking forward to this race for a couple of reasons. First one, I believe this to be the best race on the Queensland calendar. The race committee have always strived to do a better job each year. Any feedback they get is evaluated and often implemented by the next year. They work tirelessly to put on the best race they can possibly organise.

Second reason for my excitment, my granddaughter Karlie had raced the Gold Coast Half Marathon last July, had lost a few kilos and got the fitness bug. She mentioned she had an interest in doing a triathlon and asked which one would be good for her first. Most people go for a very small race as their first one. I suggested the Hell of the West in Goondiwindi because it would be a big scary goal, which would cause her to stretch herself. You don’t grow to your potential unless pressure is involved.

Many of her friends told her she was crazy doing one of the states toughest races as her first triathlon. That made her more determined. I assured her she’d manage it OK as long as she did the long tough weekend workouts. At nineteen there are many distractions, she missed a few sessions, but I believed she’d done enough to handle the race OK. Often she would train in the squad, then go straight to her casual landscaping job and work all day manually, before coming home and going to work as a waitress till late. I’m not surprised that she didn’t make it to training next morning a few times.

My third reason to be excited about this years race was the fact that I had won my age group there for the previous nineteen years in a row, I wanted a full set of twenty category wins in the same race. I feel privelaged to have managed to stay healthy and motivated for long enough to collect twenty race finishes. Twenty consecutive wins is a dream come true.

The Hell of the West is known for the hot sun and the long boring ride back from the turnaround on the bike into the headwind. This years conditions were mild by Goondiwindi standards. Still hot and breezy but it could have been worse. When I registered, I looked up the competitor list. Karlie had no other competitors in the under twenty age group, and I had two others in my category. I recognised one name but the other guy was a stranger. I thought I’m not going to waste any energy looking out for the stranger. I’m just going to swim as hard as I can, ride as hard as I can, and then get off and run as hard as I can manage all the way to the end. If the other guy is going to beat me he’s going to have to hurt as much as I’m prepared to.

As the day unfolded we got to see lots of our mates out there, some in front of us, some behind. Our club, East Coast Cycos had thirty-two competitors racing. We had started with the biggest number at thirty-eight but a few were unable to make it due to the recent floods. The “Red Dogs” beat us by one or two in the count, but we did have many more placegetters in our camp.

At the presentations we had the opportunity to check times and positions. Karlie had obviously won her category, but it seemed a little hollow until we checked other categories. Her time would have won the 20-24, and placed her third in the 24-29. That made her feel a lot better. She completed the race really well finishing with a strong run. She’s keen to get back to training now for her next event in Kingscliffe in about five weeks.

When I looked up the results in my category, I didn’t need to hurt that much because I won by more than fifty minutes. In fact I did need to hurt that much because I enjoy being able to still smash myself like that. Although the last couple of days I have been struggling. I woke up Monday morning feeling like I had fought Mike Tyson.

Karlie is keen to get back into it, we’ll both have a full recovery week before I start building up for the Port MacQuarie Ironman in May, and Karlie continues her development work with Kingscliffe as the next event.


One Comment »

  • Barry Shimmin-Clarke said:

    The word Great is misused in sport. Some player has a couple of good games and somebody says “He is a great player”.

    20 years in a row for 20 age group wins at the same event makes you one of the True Greats of our sport Allan.

    It has been an honour and pleasure watching you nurture Karlie to her wonderful performance at the HOTW.

    Congratulations to the Pitman clan on a fantastic race. Your pride in your effort and Karlie’s performance was there for all to see. On behalf of the club you have built, well done coach.

    Maybe you will get the “Keys to Gundy” when you turn 21 next year AP?

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