Our new local tri-club runs a series of tri/duathlons during summer. Phil had done a duathlon with them earlier in the season, and we decided both to go along for a spot of racing on Wednesday, after day 3 in New Job. Since I'm "training" for my 3:9:3 in Rotorua next weekend, I decided to stick with the 600/8/2 event, instead of toughing it out and doing 600/16/4. Yep- I've gone from Half IM to lazy cabbage in two short monhts!
We arrived at the race site with a few minutes to spare, registered, and leaned our bikes up against the fence for transition. Then Phil prepared to run, while the other swimmers and I marched 600m down the river to start the swim.
I decided to go wetsuitless as I quite frankly hate my wetsuit and am not convinced that the benefits it gives me outweigh the extra T1 time in a super short race. It was wonderful swimming along and actually feel the water, although I had to keep trying not to think about the pollution Mr I Prosecute the Effluent Dischargers kept moaning about... The river felt clear and fresh and was definitely warm enough to swim without insulation.
Swimming 600m downstream in the Waikato river is not quite the same as swimming 600m across Blue Lake, or doing ten long laps of the Parnell Baths, and the finish arrived before I knew it. Literally- one moment I was following merrily along, then three strokes later I looked up, realised I'd gone too far, and had to swim awkwardly back upstream to get to the beach. No idea of time, as I was data free...
T1 involved a massive run up a decent enough sized hill, so it took for bloody ever, but there were still plenty of bikes left when I got out. I couldn't be stuffed piddling about with the garmin, so I just went for it. I passed a couple of ladies early on, then leapfrogged with a few big rugby players on hybrids for awhile (how embarrassing!!!) It's a mostly flat course, with a couple of wee "power up" hills, and one slightly longer hill that I actually had to move into climbing mode for. The main complicating factor is a right hand turn onto a busy-ish road near the beginning, but I was lucky, and squeaked through with someone else. The 8k course went on for slightly longer than I expected, since I had no concept of time or distance, but before too long I was back in T1 with just one other bike...
Even though I knew most people wouldn't be doing the super mini distance, I felt a little odd arriving back in transition without anyone around, and was sure someone would come over and shout at me for missing some loop or other. But they didn't, so I slid my shoes on and hit the run, again, without bothering to put the Garmin on.
I knew the run was a simple out and back along the river trail. Easy. So I took off at a reasonable clip, planning to knock out a fast k, then suffer back! Only the turnaround never came. I was 90% certain I was headed in the right direction, but there was no-one out there, and I felt utterly isolated and confused. It was hard to keep running hard with that massive mental blockage in my mind, but I kept it up, darting my head around for signs that I was on the right track. Before too long, I passed the swim entrance, which I knew was about 600m, so I kept heading along, knowing I was around half way. But, ages and ages later, I still hadn't seen anything, so I ran another 400 steps, and called it quits. I turned around, and started walking, then jogging home. As I jogged, I eventually saw people coming the other way, and realised I had been going the right way, but I had no idea whether I'd passed the turnaround or not, so I was already gunning for a DNF, so I kept up the jog, feeling utterly daft whenever anyone gave me an arm pump or a congratulatory greeting. Finally, after what seemed like forever, I was back at the transition area, where I slowed to a walk, and headed to the race director, away from the finish line. As I headed up the final stretch, the young girl who must have been ahead of me the whole time passed me to take out the baby-tri race, which suggests that:
- I hadn't actually hit the 2k turnaround, as I hadn't seen her before, and I assume she was the owner of the hybrid
- I could have taken her 12-year old self out if I'd kept running and chased her down!
What a mucking fuppet!
Despite the mishaps, it was a fantastic race. I'll be back again in a fortnight, and I won't pansy out and do the baby race, so I'll have some company!