Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Nepean Triathlon 2016 Race Report

Nepean Triathlon is Australia’s oldest. In 2016 the race celebrated its 35th anniversary, it was my second appearance at the same venue.

The race marked exactly one year since I had decided it was time to get a coach and, thus, had been under the tutelage of Nathan Miller. I thought it would be a perfect reference point of any gains I might have made in that time.

I tuned up for the event a week earlier with a spin around at the local Illawarra Triathlon Club race. This was done on tired legs after a long ride and run combination the day before.

It was a brisk morning with temperatures hovering close to single digits; thankfully the water was slightly warmer. The swim was a wetsuit affair and I set off in the tenth wave, what seemed an eternity after the pro’s had left.

I felt good during the swim, with a lot of miles in the arms I churned through the 1km with minimal interference and managed to find a few sets of feet along the way.

I was a little shocked at how slow the time had been but, in hindsight, I was about where I expected to be in the field and the time was more a reflection of conditions on the day.

Early on in the bike leg
The swim isn’t my strong point so I was keen to press on during the bike and run. I was in and out of T1 as quickly as possible. The results show that I made up 11 places there alone.

The 30km out-and-back ride presented a bit of a challenge, but only for half of the ride. A solid wind had whipped up, thankfully it was a tailwind on the way out and had me feeling like Sir Bradley Wiggins, whizzing past earlier waves with a minimum of fuss.

Then I reached the turnaround.

The breeze slapped you in the face like a disgruntled wife after you’ve rocked up home at 4am after just going down the pub for one beer. The figure of Bradley Wiggins was quickly replaced by a 4yo trying to ride up Bulli Pass.

I focused on staying aero and keeping the power on and still steadily made progress through the field. I jumped off the bike with a time three minutes faster than a year earlier and I had made up a further nine places.

I couldn’t wait to get onto the run, easily my favourite leg. That in itself was an indication of how things had changed in a year, 12-months earlier I was dreading it.

During the first lap of the run
I immediately found a good rhythm and a comfortable heart rate, that happy medium between not having a go and completely blowing up. I was happy when I saw the pace that I was running and did all that I could to hold it for 10km.

I crossed the line with the third best 10km I have ran and easily my best off a bike. I’d made up another nine placed to finish 21st of 97 in my age-group. A year earlier I had finished 62nd and gone eight minutes slower.

One of the big take-aways for me is that consistency and hard work, along with a good program and advice, will give you great scope for improvement.

There is still a long way to go but I am very happy with how far I have come.

Now it’s onto Challenge Shepparton in mid November where I’ll make my half-distance debut, I can’t wait.

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