“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