An amazing effort from everyone who raced and a great weekend spent with some wonderful people. Bring on the next one!
BY LINDSAY ANDERSON
It’s a Sunday morning and the alarm goes off at 5am. Fortunately I’m sharing a house with five other WTC triathletes, so I don’t have to worry about being quiet. We’re only staying 500m from the start so after our pre-race meal, it’s a pretty relaxed journey to transition to register and set up.
There’s a strong WTC contingent competing today, with 13 of us lining up for the Classic distance triathlon. This is a new distance on Elite Energy’s calendar and consists of a 2km swim, 60km cycle and 15km run. For a few of us, including myself, this is our first attempt at a longer distance triathlon.
It’s a perfect morning for racing and whilst there are definitely a few nerves, having so many other club members around helps to calm them down.
Swim - 2kms
The swim is a 2 lap rectangular course and as we all head onto the beach for the start, the chatter amongst the competitors goes strangely quiet… The normally FLAT Callala Beach is experiencing 4-5 foot waves which are dumping 5 meters from the beach. With such a big shore break I’m wondering at this point if they’ve confused our event with a surf carnival!
I steel my nerves and when the hooter sounds for my start, I race into the water trying to time my entry between wave sets. I make it through the first couple of meters with no problems and then I realize I’m a few feet short of the next wave and get pounded by the water. Goggles fall off, I get a mouthful of seawater and I’m a little shocked at the force of the wave - perfect start to the swim leg! I re-adjust the goggles, focus on getting through the next lull between sets and make it through to clear water. Unfortunately, some of my fellow competitors didn’t even make it this far. Now that I’m clear of the waves, I settle into my stroke and enjoy the calm of the deeper water. As I’m swimming though, I feel something brush my fingers every couple of strokes but I can‘t see anything in the water. I try very hard not to panic at the thought of what this could be….
One lap in and the buoys seem to be a looong way apart. I continue on my second lap and focus on just completing one section at a time. Coming round the last buoy on the final lap I’m very happy to be heading back into shore. This has been a BIG swim and when I finally make land I’m very relieved. I head up the beach to transition and overhear the announcer comment on all the jelly fish in the water. Light bulb goes off - eeewww!!
The bike - 60kms
Heading out of T1 and mounting my bike I hear “Go Lindsay!” and think, I know that voice…. Turns out coach Andy Kean and family and fellow club member Bryan Rollins have driven down from Sydney that morning to come and cheer us on - now that’s what I call support! Such a nice surprise and a great energy boost to start the next leg.
The course is two loops out and back on an undulating, but reasonable road surface. We’d been reminded at the start that no drafting was allowed and a twelve, yes you read that right, TWELVE bike gap was required on the course (must be some secret drafting advantage I’m clearly not aware of). Not to worry though, as the course kept everyone pretty honest and the field was nicely spread out. The ride was pretty uneventful but filled with lots of cheers of encouragement amongst the WTC competitors.
The run - 15kms
This is normally my favourite leg of a triathlon…..
Again, this is a two lap leg and I come out of transition and feel the heat straight away, so I know this is going to be tough. Within 2kms the course surprises us with what I can only describe as dirt bike moguls which we have to run through for about 200 meters. Let’s just say that if I had been on two wheels they would have been fun!
I seem to be running ok the first few kms, but I start to deteriorate rather quickly and I also need the loo. Not wanting to draw any attention to myself, I keep my eye out for a suitable location and duck into the bush only to be tooted at by a passing car!
Back on the course and my body is not coping well. I start to feel slightly ill and I end up stopping at every water station worried that I’m not hydrated enough. My pace has drastically slowed and the final nail in my run leg comes around the 12.5km mark when my ITB gives up completely. I end up walking the rest of the way and manage a shuffle the last few hundred meters to finally cross the finish line. Not quite the race I planned, but still a huge personal achievement.
Fortunately, there were some fantastic results from other club members on the day with three firsts in their respective age groups for Emma Just, Phoebe Fear and Darrin Jones. Special mention has to go to Emma for also finishing third overall in the females. Other great performances were Sharyn Nicols, second in her age group and John Moore and Claudia Nicholson fourth in their respective age groups.
As with any event, the post-race catch up is a great opportunity to share experiences and enjoy a guilt free indulgence or two. It can also reveal some cracking stories and anecdotes and the winning one from Callala……that swim of 2kms which felt really long, well it was, 3km long in fact!!! An amazing effort from everyone who raced and a great weekend spent with some wonderful people. Bring on the next one!
THANK YOU TO BRYAN ROLLINS FOR THE ABOVE IMAGES.
Claire Keeling is a newly appointed WTC committee member who is fairly new to the triathlon scene, taking up the sport after being bored of competing in running races. This year she has raced the Port Stephens Olympic Tri, Club Champs, Husky Long Course and just recently the Callala Beach Classic - and has her eyes on Cairns Ironman next year!
Claire's trip to experience the Hawaii Ironman as a supporter and see our very own WTC Legend Geoff Thorsen cross the finish line is one of her most memorable triathlon experiences to date. Here we throw few questions at her to get to know more about her triathlon life.
Name: Claire Keeling
How long WTC member ? 2yrs
Why triathlon? I used to be a runner, did half marathons mostly but got a bit bored of just running so decided to mix it up a bit and add in the other 2 disciplines
Goals for 2013/2014 season: Cairns Ironman is the big goal although the thought does terrify me a little so we shall see!
How do you juggle training & work/life? It is difficult sometimes but you just have to be super organised and get used to getting up early!
Most memorable tri experience to date: Volunteering at Hawaii Ironman world champs in Kona. Such an amazing experience to volunteer and see what goes on in the background. We also got the best spot on the pier to watch the swim, we were in transition during the race also and finished volunteering in time to watch and support those we knew who were racing. Most amazing and inspirational moment was walking with Thorso to the finish chute after he has been ill for a week and probably shouldn’t have raced. You could have put a 10 ton truck in his way and he would have found a way to get around it! Nothing was stopping him getting to that finish line.
Long term tri ambitions: An Ironman
Hobbies outside of triathlon: I don’t have time for any other hobbies! I used to play tennis and golf before triathlons but haven’t touched a golf club or tennis racquet in 2yrs!
Favourite triathlon race course/location: Husky, just the vibe up there for that race is brilliant
Hero/oes: Chrissie Wellington and our very own Bec Hoschke.....that woman is made of steel!
Favourite motto: Slow is smooth and smooth is fast......I get all nervous and faff in transition so Bec H gave me this motto to repeat when Im in transition and it works a treat!
Tips/Inspiriation for other triathletes: If you believe in yourself you can do it. If you’d have told me 3 yrs ago I would be able to swim 2km I would have laughed at you! I avoided triathlon for years because of the swim but you don’t know until you try. If you are having any doubts, just give it go before giving up!
"If you believe in yourself you can do it."
Fourth in male pairs overall in a mountain bike series has WTC triathletes Chris Harmer and Matt Tonkin thinking they might quite like racing endurance of a different type!
BY CHRIS HARMER
Whilst many club members were doing battle up at Challenge Forster, myself and Matt Tonkin took on a different type of endurance challenge in Orange….the final round of the SRAM Chocolate Foot Single Track Mind mountain bike endurance series. Having competed in four of the five rounds this year we were sitting in 4th on the series pointscore with a chance of sneaking onto the final podium!
The format of these races is very simple….do as many laps as you can within the seven hour time limit. The 8km course in the Kinross State Forest was perfectly suited to me; plenty of climbing coupled with open flowing singletrack and a ridiculously fast 1km downhill run into the transition area (which provided plenty of entertainment with everyone pushing extra-hard through the transition area and inevitably crashing in front of 100 people). The first 2km of each lap were brutal, winding uphill before a few kilometres of undulating terrain and then the downhill run to the transition area. The mad rush at the start saw us set into 7th on the first lap and spent the rest of the day swapping between 7th and 8th place. After 7hrs, 13 laps and 104 km of chewing dust we eventually ended up in 8th place. The 2400m of elevation gain over the course of the race meant that this was the slowest race of the series (that amount of gain in that distance on a road bike isn’t too nasty, but it is when you’re lugging 13kg of mountain bike up a dusty trail!), but it was by far the most enjoyable.
The other teams in our category brought their A-game to the final round, so we ended up in 4th out of 70 male pairs for the series....not bad for a pair of hack triathletes! I can’t recommend these races highly enough for anyone who is interested in mountain biking and wants to do something a bit different every now and then. The Chocolate Foot team (who are Northern Beaches locals) always put on a great event, and the strict “No dickheads policy” always ensures that it is a thoroughly enjoyable day out on course. Team WTC will definitely be back next year!
"I loved the race and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to others"
BY TRAVIS BOTTOMLEY
This race is a fairly new one on the Australian calendar with 2013 being only the second running of the race. I arrived the day before the race to find Mandurah a very nice little town approximately 70km easy drive south of Perth. It is set on a series of canals similar to those you would find on the Gold Coast. The transition area is on the banks of Mandjar Bay.
The swim is a point to point swim in the canals and on this occasion it was tide assisted which helped with some fast times. Due to the narrow nature of the course the wave starts were divided up so that each group had no more than 100 starters. This meant that my age group(40-44) was split into two starts. The swim was one of the more interesting and enjoyable ones I have done. I felt good in the water and was able to exit in 29mins probably about 3min faster than I would have expected in a non tide assisted swim.
The bike comprises 2 x 45km laps with the course mostly flat with some gentle undulations but it can be subject to being wind effected.This year we were treated with a fairly solid head wind on the outward section of each lap. The wave starts tended to spread the field out and so there was very little drafting. After taking about 10km to properly settle in I was happy with how I rode on the day posting a 2h 32min ride time moving me from 70th up to 39th out of the 200 in my AG. It might have been nice to have one more aid station on the bike with the temperature steadily rising on the day, as it does at this time of year in WA, it is easy to get a little dehydrated in the dry windy conditions.
The run first heads across the Mary Street bridge and up Mandurah Terrace past the finish area before returning across the bay past transition and along the bay for two laps. There is a small hill of sorts half way through each lap but nothing to be too concerned with. I felt quite strong on the run with the first 13-15km done at a fairly consistent pace. I felt that I suffered a little in the last few km's I think due to the heat, as it was well over 30 degrees by now. I managed to clock a respectable 1h 42min for an over all time of 4h 51min to finish 25th in my AG. I was really pleased with my overall result and how I raced on the day.
The finish area is located across the bay from transition in the park on Mandurah terrace right near the local restaurant strip and near a big playground if you have the kids with you spectating on the day. There are plenty of accommodation options near the race location and supermarkets etc to pick up those last minute supplies. Overall I loved the race and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to others or have another crack myself one day!
“if triathlon was easy then everyone would be doing it.”
BY RYAN LONSDALE
As I’ve heard many times before “if triathlon was easy then everyone would be doing it.” Well, this weekend was a perfect example of this.
Arriving late in Forster on the Friday night, my family of 3 drove across the bridge into town remembering back to that famous day last April when Warringah reclaimed the Club Champs… what a day (and night) it was, the best 2 points this family has ever earned! More noticeable though were the empty streets, with few signs of life as all those participating the next day were fast asleep.
The beachfront the next day was a stark contrast to the night before. The sprint and enticer events were well underway, while the long course athletes were busying themselves with a good hearty breakfast and final race preparations. The sunshine was a relief after watching the race day forecasts all week but the locals were quietly confident that the afternoon weather patterns would violently change.
Arriving down at the check-in area at Forster keys, there were plenty of familiar club faces decked out in the ‘Warringah blue’ and looking forward to the hours ahead. Coach Andy was delivering his final good luck pep talk while those in the early legs of the teams event were giving instructions on where to get the ice for the esky.
The Challenge Family were back in Australia and it was the first time that many of us had experienced this team. After a quick race briefing and the official Challenge song, the white caps of the pros were off. As the following waves rolled out the clouds were rolling in, and the odds of rain were in the locals’ favour. The swim was smooth and easy to navigate; many Garmins had the length as a couple of yards short, but the quicker times could have been due to the fast-changing current?!
Once out on the bike it was onto the roads where many believe triathlon was born in Australia through the National Ironman. I’ve since read that legendary names such as Scott, Welch, McCormack, Thorsen, Smith and Bottomley have also ridden these roads in the past. The first lap was comfortable with the exception of local traffic queues and some potholes.
Exiting main beach to head south for the second time, the sky had now changed to a dark black mess of cloud. Within minutes the southerly headwind had picked up and my helmet was being pounded with bullet-like raindrops. While you can’t control the conditions I silently loved the hard work and adventure that I was in.
So much so, that I was surprised to be interrupted by an official on a motorbike with a yellow card. Drafting you say? Who, me?
With a gusty tail wind and a temper to match I decided to race angry for the first time ever and the result was pleasing. Pulling into the penalty box I was greeted by another ‘cheat’ then promptly asked for my name and the charge handed out by the officials. There was no use making up a story, we were all drenched and honestly it was nothing they hadn’t heard before. It was, after all, my first time in the sin bin.
The familiar run and the number of WTC supporters and athletes really made it feel like club champs again. Despite the rain, a group of Warringah locals created their own ‘corridor of noise’ on course for their club mates, complete with cheers, beers and high fives. All drowned runners kept up their spirits, and our local female pro went zooming past in first place with 1 lap to go, oblivious to my cheers of encouragement. Mother nature decided to give one last drenching during the final lap. Puddles became floods and grassy paths became mud trenches, but the WTC athletes soldiered on regardless.
Crossing the finishing line, as always, was a great feeling, especially when handed a Challenge Family beer mug filled to the brim. How good is that? My time exceeded any expectations even when considering the battle through the conditions. Some of the PB’s and experiences of the WTC warriors was sensational to hear, awesome work!! While the athletes had a tough day out a special mention must go to the tremendous supporters, they rallied right to the end. Especially Emma and 2 year old Lucy – running in and out of torrential rain is no easy feat. Thanks for spending another few hours on the sideline cheering me on.
See you all at the next race - Ryan
FOR MORE IMAGES OF ALL THE WTC CHALLENGE CREW SEE THE WTC GROUP FACEBOOK ALBUM
If you’re thinking “should I do the Sunshine Coast 70.3 in 2014” I would say yes and recommend that you’re online when registrations open as it’s likely to sell out quickly.
BY JOHN MOORE
On September 15th Ironman Asia Pacific and USM Events ran the inaugural Sunshine Coast 70.3 and I (along with a contingent of Warringah Triathlon Club members) was lucky enough to experience a professionally run event on a safe / fun course in a great location for a long weekend. Hats off to the organisers I can’t imagine how much planning and effort went into running an inaugural event as big as this without a hitch.
It was all action in Mooloolaba on Saturday as I bumped into a few WTC members around the expo and at check in, everyone seemed exited and perhaps a little anxious about the wind and afternoon swell / waves on the swim course.
On race morning we awoke to a calm day and after an easy check in and transition setup the usual congregation at the swim start commenced with plenty of room for a warm up swim down the beach.
The swim course was great, being an ocean swim it offered an opportunity for the stronger swimmers to get ahead, however was calm enough not to put the weaker swimmers into difficulty.
Through T1 and onto the bike and it didn’t take long to realise this was going to be a fast ride! The ride is flat, there wasn’t much wind and the roads on the course are so smooth, it was a pleasure to be out in the middle of it.
Coming out of T2 knowing the half marathon was next and this is what it is all about! I caught the start of Pete’s victory interview – thinking “well, he is done and I only have 21km’s to run” I set off. The run leg was a challenge, a little wind, a small hill on lap one, which magically turned into a mountain on lap two! Yet before I knew it I was all done, sitting in the recovery area, ice on my hammy, Ironman towel over my shoulders, wide eyed after drinking about 10 cups of cola straight after the race, I thought “well that hurt”. Do I really want to do it again….. This was my fifth long course triathlon and for the first ever the answer was yes, I do want to do that again.
Chatting with Scott Fraser after the race, there was one thing that we both agreed upon was that the structured training programs that Andy Kean had Scott on and Lee Wallace for mine really made a huge difference to our days, later over a few beers we agreed that the best program in the world is useless without the huge amount of hard work that we put in. The next morning I realised that of late I have neglected my hangover training…..
If you’re thinking “should I do the Sunshine Coast 70.3 in 2014” I would say yes and recommend that you’re online when registrations open as it’s likely to sell out quickly.
SCOTT FRASER talks about his first 70.3 experience:
The Sunshine Ironman 70.3 was my first long course tri and I found it to be really fun! I actually really enjoyed it. Sure I was pushing myself and felt the pain but that's why I do it. I had a smile on my face nearly all of the time! It was a fast course proven by Pete Jacobs time of 3:39:00. It was also quiet hot which came into effect on the 2nd lap of the run.
But if it was not for Andy, the coaches and the Club I don't think I would have enjoyed it. The clubs 12 week training program gave me the confidence to take on a 70.3. I was able to approach the race having a really good understanding of what times I could do comfortably and what I could push harder. The program build experience even though I had never gone that distance.
You also make great friends that I now consider not only as great training partners but friends that I will support through there training and race just as they did for me.
GILL DEAR talks about her second Ironman 70.3 experience:
"Sunshine 70.3 was my second half ironman, and a completely different experience to my first in Auckland in January. For Auckland, my preparation was full of injuries and I had an awesome race day, and for Sunshine, my preparation couldn't have been better, but race day was plagued with health issues! But I absolutely loved the training, which was made all the better by having a great group of friends to train with....especially at 5.30am on those dark, cold, windy, winter mornings at the pool. Think I'll choose a summer race next time!
LISA MCLEAN talks about her exeperience as a spectator to husband, PETER MCLEAN
"Mooloolaba is the perfect triathlon race location and a great spectator course - perfect to take family too! The race hub and expo is on the beachfront with a strip of shops and restaurants behind and a variety of accommodation options all the way along this road and nearby. Once you are there, you don't need a car, unless you want to venture further afield to other beaches (or all the way to Noosa) if you are planning a holiday around the event. We didn't get great weather every day but it's pretty warm being Queensland. There is a walking/cycle track along the beachfront, great park and of course a beautiful beach - what else could you want!"