Congratulations to all our athletes who braved the cold this morning to take on the West Head course!
Results are now available at the following link:
This month WTC and Manly Cycle Club offered a 1,2 or 3 lap option and having chosen the 3 lap course along with a dozen other mostly WTC members the pressure was on not to keep the volunteers from their Sunday breakfast arrangements. To assist chief organiser Deanna Waters slotted me in as “first off the ramp” at first light. The strategy was to take it easy on the first lap and try to even split each lap. I thought that may be more difficult than it might otherwise have been as my legs were telling me that I had struggled at Husky Ultimate the previous weekend. Fortunately conditions were ideal and you can’t help but appreciate what a beautiful place West Head is to ride a bike early in the morning. As usual some great performances were put in by WTC with president David Wiles going sub 2 hours for the 3 lap course. Mathilde Batailler was strong throughout for a 2hour 17mins.
In the 2 lap course Francesco Puccini went 1hour18 narrowly beating Chris Cleland and the evergreen Pete Walker. In the 1 lap dash Tony Barbers posted 38.21 and Caroline Chappell went 51.35. A special note for Johan Lequien who did the 3 lap course and who I passed powering along Forest Way on his way home after the event.
As usual great support was evident between club members on the course . Special thanks to Deanna Waters , David Wiles and the committee for organising the event and to all the smiling WTC volunteers at check in.
How many people are racing? Swim Exit, no swell help, push, get up, Run! That way up? ⛰ Like a lost ball in the high weeds. Found bike, lovin’ COVID Social Distance. Wettie stuck, Can’t take my Leg out. Massive tracker! Run out - smile for the Camera! [Check out photo ☝️] tho HR is high like a Fake Witness under testimony. Visor on? Did I said Humidity before? Fogged up. Smell the course. 2nd lap traffic jam. Cutting’ inside like Valentino Rossi. Hurts as F. Don’t give up the ship! Ingest Nutrition. Café Veloz — feeling like Diego D10S Maradona. Picture: Washing machine spinning = husky roads. Port Mac is an ice field next to it. Swapping empty bottle at station. Bargain! I’ll hold to this one - tight. Run off. 3:34’ pace. Way out of zone. Forgotten shades. Sunshine blindness - fast looking face. Wyn Republic Suits are everywhere! Feeling part of something. Warringah tri colours are the best (Boca Juniors ⚽️) 2nd Lap. Where’s JK? Hopping his okay. X big unit after us. Surges. I flounded. Colonial statue legs. Pain. 1 more lap. It’s Coke o’ clock. Aid St. drive thru — Maccas cup feels like... Nostril,mouth, ear -> cola ingested. Teen Red beard sticky as blue tac. Noted, shave for next. Anxiety is onsets as momentary run stride 4 stride with 5th place Pro W. I smite her! Kudos. Last K Determination. Coach sighted. Power up. Endless K. Erin filming, Julez screaming. Double pow up! Rufo pulling Cata. Olivia kicking tummy. Myself sprinting as fast as 125L out the Spit Bridge. Face planted finish line 🏁 glory
This was my first ever triathlon and I was extremely nervous and excited days leading up to the event. I was worried about every possible thing imaginable and unimaginable. From being lost, not finding the transition point, not finding parking spots, not knowing what to do at the transitions or even how to set up etc… the list goes on. This nervous excitement had me staying up all night to only get 2.5hrs of sleep because I decided to leave an hour earlier then I had to. But to my luck the 1 hour of less sleep I could have got did not go waste as I managed to secure a parking spot right next the transition point. First win of the day.
After attempting to nap in my car for 30 minutes waiting forthe awesome WTC volunteers to set up the transition station I cluelessly hung my bike and laid my towel looking around to see how others had done it only to see lines of naked railings as no one else had arrived. Luckily after 5 minutes of looking like I was stranded in no man’s land I bumped into David Wiles who graciously showed me the ropes on the essentials of how to set up and what to do when transitioning. I was extremely grateful for David’s helping hand, for in that moment, there was a sigh of relief as the nerves calmed knowing my transition set up was all good to go. Second win of the day.
Registration began. People had started arriving. People were queuing up and with that my nerves did to. I trudged my way down to the back and tepidly joined the line. I registered, got the timing tag, wrapped it around my right ankle, then my left and back to my right, then back again to my left. The indecisiveness and state of fluster was prominent and very visible. The excitement was still there. It was just smothered under a blanket of nervousness. The emotions received a pick me up when I received some free WTC first timer merchandise from Simon Horrocks who also gave me the most amazing pep talk before I made my way down to Collins beach. Simon’s pep talk was exactly what I needed in that moment as he made me realise that everyone is nervous even those who have done tons of triathlons and that all I needed to do was focus on enjoying the experience. Third win of the day.
I was making my way down to the starting line. The long walk to the beach and the friends I made along the way filled me with excitement. Everyone was smiling. Everyone was happy. Everyone was so warm and welcoming. That energy, the community and the culture perpetuating from the WTC members was contagious and addictive. I already knew by that point that I was going to come back for more. Fourth win of the day.
The race began. My feet touched the water and I jumped right in. The heart rate was high and the joy was immeasurable. The nerves were gone. The swim was beautiful. I loved every second of it even though I am not a great one and its my biggest weakness. Despite that I exited the water to hear thephotographer say “That was an excellent swim. Well done!”.He unknowingly filled me with confidence – a testament to the fact that small acts of kindness go a long way. I began my run up to the transition station. My legs felt weird and calves were cramping. I decided to walk for a bit as another racer said “Come on mate, you got this!”. It was moments like thisand seeing Brooke with the “Go Vidit” sign and Doug, Gabriel, Mah, Simon, David, Grace and the many other amazing friends I had just made cheer me on throughout the race that made it an experience I’ll never forget. Fifth win of the day.
Crossing the finish line! Sixth win of the day.
This time I made sure to jump in the water and warm up for a 100m or so, just to let my heart rate come back down and to loosen the arms. As the event was sold out, we were set off in pairs to ease the congestion. This worked well and we lined up slowest first. Not really knowing where to start I headed off about 10 pairs back. Unlike last time I started slowly, got my breathing right and found my rhythm, I gained a bit of momentum and really got my head down for the second lap. I really enjoyed it this time, the conditions couldn’t have been better. I got to T1 relaxed and quickly got my trainers and “Christmas socks” on and ran through the bush to the start of the 1km hill climb up to the main road. I’ve always been a fan of hills and made up some places on the way. This was the first real test for my ankle, and although it hurt, it felt stable and I could push on. Once I reached the main road and it levelled out, I began to push the pace and before long had reached T2.
I put on my helmet and road shoes and pushed the bike onto the course. With the staggered times it was impossible to know your position in the race, so it became a time trial and a race against the clock. 9 short laps and it’s easy to lose count, so I kept checking my watch’s lap distance for reference. Today the course was fast out with a slight headwind on the return. It was getting busier on the course, with everybody dressed up in their Xmass gear. On the last lap I began to mentally prepare myself for the last run. Still being new to the triathlon/duathlon world, I remember all the mistakes I made in the first few, like tying my laces instead of using elastic laces, running through transition in my cycling shoes, instead of leaving them on the bike, all tips from friends, but it’s the small things that make all the difference, and make transition a lot smoother and less stressful. I pulled on my trainers and I was away again, 5km’s to go!
I always tend to be able to ramp up the running so I’m getting faster as each km goes by in a short race. I still managed this today and felt good during the first lap. As I began the second lap, I could feel the strain in my breathing, but my legs felt good. I felt great, and once I rounded the roundabout for the last time, I knew it was only going to be a couple of km’s to the finish. Once my watch beeped to signal 4km, I upped the pace once more, knowing I was nearly home. Around the cones for the last turnaround, and I started to sprint. Faster and faster, less than 100m to go, I could see the finish. I crossed the line totally spent, a feeling of relief and great satisfaction that it’s over, and you’ve given it everything and left it all out on the course! It’s funny you always feel relieved, but not long after feel you could do it all over again, even though moments before, you thought you were going to die, but that’s racing I guess.
“Christmas” hats off to Warringah Triathlon and all the members for giving up their free time and making these events great for all us competitors.
Despite the weather, my brief interaction with Deanna in the rain pumped me up – she was so excited and having someone that passionate about the club, the sport and female participation, reminded me of how much of a team event this weekend was going to be.
Having not slept a wink (mainly because my partner Fred kindly kept me informed throughout the night that he couldn’t sleep), I woke up bleary eyed with a stomach of knots. I suspected the ocean would be stormy and dreaded the swim. I only learnt how to swim freestyle a year ago, with a base knowledge of “knowing how to not drown” with thanks to England’s state schooling system in combination with my parent’s Sri Lankan teachings that the ocean was dangerous and to be avoided.
The feeling of team spirit at the start line had already begun, with the crew of Warringah ladies posing for photos (as we do best). Laura pointed out the last buoy and I originally thought she was joking - it looked so far away I could barely see it. I steeled myself as the intimidating waves built in front of me.
I lined up for my age group start, and the race was away! Full of adrenaline, I stumbled with vigour through the sand to the water suddenly thinking “do you know what, I can do this!” A great wave of positivity washed over me, and then BAM, an actual wave hit me. And then again, and then again, this time with my goggles and hat coming off. Reminder to myself: next time, learn how to duck dive. I persevered and eventually got past the waves but struggled with my goggles and hat that were not on properly. I eventually managed some kind of rhythm and tried to think of happy thoughts when I looked up and couldn’t see the buoy having swum off course. No matter, I will get to the end soon enough! In the words of a wise blue fish, just keep swimming. Hooray, the beach was in front of me and I gleefully scrambled out of the ocean running away from it thinking the worst was over and I could finally enjoy the rest of the triathlon!
Hopping over stones to transition, I excitedly trotted to the start of the bike course, clambered on and pushed off. One day I will learn how to do the flying start, but for now I was pleased that I located my bike and got my wetsuit off without too much drama. The bike course was tricky; the hills were tough, and the turns were tight, but I absolutely loved every second of it. I had tried my best to increase my cycling over winter and hang on to the Tuesday / Thursday WTC rides, and I could feel the improvement. What I loved most was the support from the women from all clubs – I stuck with a few women throughout and we would pass each other at different points on the course cheering each other on each time. The cohesive atmosphere of female athletes supporting female athletes was remarkable and so much fun.
Heading into the run course, I bounded off knowing this was by far my best leg. It was hot but oh man, the view of that water shimmering under the Aussie sun was spectacular. I enjoyed the fact the course was two laps, it meant I was constantly passing Warringah women all of whom were smashing it, high fiving (in a covid-safe fashion…) and cheering each other on. The encouragement from the Warringah volunteers also made me feel like a Rockstar. There was so much Warringah kit I briefly queried if the other clubs had got lost on the run. I turned the corner to the finish line seeing Fred and Ben shouting for me. I boosted my legs into a sprint finish and triumphantly ended with a few elegant retches in a quiet corner.
The remainder of the weekend was excellent; full of ice cream, brunch, drinks and a celebratory dinner with the club after being declared the division 1 winners!
What a weekend! I was so proud of myself for finishing the swim and facing up to some deep-rooted fears of the ocean and her toothy inhabitants. I was also buzzing from the display of incredible female athleticism and support. Thank you to the Warringah Triathlon Club for such a great experience. I can’t wait for the next one.
We were greeted by a wet and cold morning in Penrith, certainly not my preferred race conditions. To ensure I didn’t make the same mistake as last year, I made sure to choose my transition spot wisely and spread my bright yellow towel out like a honing beacon. One positive about Covid-19 meant my transition spot was extremely spacious!
Before I knew it, everyone was lining up to get into the water and shivering due to the non-wetsuit swim. My swim started at a frantic pace as I was determined to follow fast feet. This newly adopted strategy did not pay off as I ended up swallowing way too much water while at the same time enduring a number of hefty blows from all sides. I knew I had to get out of the situation so I swam to the side where I had to make a quick vomdrop due to all the water I had swallowed, and ended up getting rid of half my English muffin which exited my body in projectile fashion!
Note to self, “next time try eat your breakfast all at once, instead of trying to combine both of the GPS Guru’s strategies and keep your mouth closed while following fast feet”. After composing myself and continuing the swim with a new wide route strategy, I got into a rhythm and was soon approaching the end of the swim. I finished the swim in a time of 17:32 and felt great as I ran out of the water and up into the transition area. T1 felt like a blur, and all I can remember is that I was suddenly on my bike racing alongside the lake.
Going around the first corner I had to slow down for another vomdrop; this time it was only water and I felt relieved that the last bit of the Nepean lake was out of my body!
The rain was still coming down, making for tricky bike conditions. I enjoyed how the bike course was 3 fast loops as it allowed for a bit of cheering and trying to get in some quick banter along the way! I drank quite a bit of Powerade/water mix on the bike and had one gel. I finished my bike leg in a time of 53:40, an improvement from last year, which I was particularly happy with considering the conditions. All those brick sessions trying my best to hang onto my coach, Nic Ward’s, wheel had paid off. I was feeling extremely grateful for all the time she has spent helping me improve on the bike.
As I entered T2, I knew this was the moment I could finally put last year’s rookie error to bed. With a steel minded focus thinking of all the advice I had received from Nic since last years debacle, I breezed through the transition, achieving a T2 PB, “Whoo hooo!”
The run seemed to fly by and before I knew it, I was on the second lap with the finish line ahead of me, feeling strong and grateful to be doing the sport I love surrounded by some amazing friends. I finished the run in a time of 45:36, which was another improvement from last year and good enough to earn me a podium finish. I owe this improvement to my incredible, supportive and all-round superwoman coach, Nic!
Overall, despite the conditions it was a great morning out and I left the Regatta Centre feeling fully redeemed. Thank you to Ward Coaching and Warringah Triathlon Club for all the help and support along the way. I feel honoured and extremely blessed to be part of such an incredible community.
2:30am start didn’t go down that well, I was on the road just after 3. Returned 5 minutes later to get my licence in case they asked for it (Event Rego, not Police....I drive like Miss Daisy). Halfway stop to hoover up some Overnight Oats and half a bottle of UCan and I arrived in Morpeth at 530.
The swim is in the Hunter and there was a beautiful mist hovering over it as I arrived into transition to get myself prepped. Gotta say I love the COVID rules - only 4 bikes per rack and we could leave all our bags in transition...plus a bucket to put my wetsuit in post-swim. I positioned myself next to the big tree so it’d be easy to find my bike. The pre-race warm-up run got ditched given I didn’t bring spare runners, but the yellow and pink Warringah striped t-shirt was spotted by @Anna Elliot and we had a quick chat instead.
The mist had cleared so I decided to go for the clear goggles rather than tinted as it was looking cloudy. Race error number one: the sun came out just before the start and, as we headed east down the river, I couldn’t see anything and almost swam into a barge on the riverbank. Fortunately I had some feet to follow and even when he did get away, the Swimmer clearly didn’t know which colour buoy to turn at so waited for me anyway. We hit the turn boy and my 10-minute watch alert still hadn’t gone off so I knew the tide must have been running fast. Lost a spot navigating the turn buoy to the guy tapping my feet so back to 3rd. Sat on the Tapper’s feet on the return trip and I arrived at the boat ramp at the back of our small group of 3, leaving the Swimmer and the Tapper to fight for swim line honours. Swim split was 23 minutes something.
Into T1 and it turns out there were 2 big trees. Ran down the wrong aisle, but fortunately it was only one aisle out and I was able to easily duck under the rail thanks to COVID spacing. Shoes clipped on the bike and even without elastic bands, I managed the mount without embarrassing myself too much. The Tapper was out and gone quick and the Swimmer looked like he might be in T1 for a while, so was heading out solo. Got up to speed and then struggled to put my shoes on, doing so in a similar speed to my 7-year old trying to tie her shoe laces. The bike is a 2-lap course with 2x 180 degree turns per lap, half a dozen corners and a few smallish hills. There’s just enough of a tailwind at the start on the way out of town for your to think you’re riding really well, until you hit the 180 turn around the 5k mark and your speed drops 5-10kph. Even having experienced the same thing last year, I was sucked into believing again. Plan was to try and ride around 90% of FTP as long as my heart rate stayed steady. With there being 3 events (Sprint, Olympic and Long) all running concurrently, I started to make my way past a steady stream of everything from disc wheels to mountain bikes. At the turn I saw the Tapper not far ahead and tracked him down over the next 5k. As I went passed, he checked to confirm which race I was doing, and whilst the thought crossed my mind of telling him I was just out for a Sunday coffee ride, I fessed up and it was on! At that point it dawned on me that I was actually leading a race for the first time (Friday Night Aquathon aside) since doing a 1k time trial at Enfield Harriers when I was 12. The Tapper stayed in touch and, as the rain started, we swapped turns on the remaining 15k. For the record, I was closer to 85% than 90% of FTP but it felt about right and my split was 1hr5.
Bit slow getting my socks on (but better than blisters) and out onto the run. 4-lap course on gravel with a few giant puddles to negotiate. Aim was to run 4 flat per k. The Tapper was off again and judging by his early pace, I wasn’t going to be catching him unless he slowed down. First k 4:05. Athlete 190, who was probably 2 decades younger, flew past doing mid 3’s. Assumed he must be in my race given I was 189. So guessing I’m in 3rd now and I won’t be seeing him again til the finish. 2nd k had to stop to get a stone out of my shoe; 4:25. 3rd k 4:20 and my lower back is stiff...maybe that warm-up run would have been a good idea. Settled into 4:10-4:25 over the next two laps as a few speedy Trisuits flew past me as I moved back to Completing rather than Competing. Heart Rate felt relatively easy, but the rest of the body and the mind didn’t want to push on. Saw Anna on my last lap and, after some mutual encouragement, I started calculating what I needed to run to go sub-2:15. Figured I should be sweet unless the course was long. Picked up the pace to 4 flat for the last k just in case. The 10k alert went off on my watch and I’m not home. Crap, it’s long...now I have to sprint and hope!
Squeezed across the line 18 seconds under and glad it was over. Beats me why anyone would enjoy these short-course races. Usually the bike is a weakness and the run is a strength, but definitely the reverse today. I actually really enjoyed pushing on the ride. Anyway, it turns out the Speedy Trisuits were all in the Long course, competing for spots at Worlds, and I got the last spot on the overall podium behind Athlete 190 and the Tapper. In true COVID style, the post-race medal presentation involved going to the registration tent to pick up your commemorative plaque still in it’s cardboard box. I celebrated with an extra large cappuccino and a drive to Woy Woy markets to see Melinda Wheatley and the kids. The kids weren’t particularly impressed with my achievements, but they left plenty of leftovers at lunch, so all-in-all it was a good day. And I can always rely on Strava for some kudos.
Special thanks to Nic and Bern and the team Ward Coaching for their help, expertise and encouragement over the last few months. And to Melinda Wheatley for letting me have nearly half the morning outdoor training slots most weeks, a trainer in the mancave and cooking triathlete-sized meals every night.
A last minute decision to take on the Elite Energy Little Husky Tri, saw me book a dodgy motel in Nowra where I was greeted with a certain herbal smoky smell upon check in and not much sleep due to the paper thin walls and the interesting characters/conversations in the surrounding rooms. I was more than happy for an early morning wakeup, coffee and to get down to the race early.
First post COVID race and what else would 2020 throw up but horrible and testing conditions. Torrential rain, 50 km/h wind gusts and 15 degrees!! A different experience with social distancing, masks, hand sanitiser at check-ins and transitions, no pre-race briefings and a spaced out transition area being a great positive considering the mess that my transition always is. This left me with a huge fear of going the wrong way on the swim course or getting lost somewhere on the bike
Considering the wind, the ocean was relatively calm providing a welcome change. Visibility wasn’t great due to all the rain but that’s probably for the better considering all the shark sightings of late. I came out of the water in a time of 24:48 by far a PB for me, feeling stoked and up the hill into T1 out of the wetsuit and trying all the tricks as shown by Bern and Nicole from Ward Coaching.
On the bike was when we really got to know how great the conditions were. At this point I was regretting my decision to take off my wetsuit and goggles as they would have been pretty handy on the bike in these conditions. The few turns out of town had all riders going extremely slow because of water across the road and into the wind. The road out was completely flooded at some points and on the second lap there were plenty of people whose races were over, walking their bikes back into town with their tail between their legs. Thankfully I made it back with no mechanicals. The course was 2 laps where we travelled through town and out to Falls Creek via Woolamia. I’m unable to comment on the beauty of the course due to pure concentration with head down bum up just trying to stay on the bike. Bike time coming in at 1hr15mins, which I was happy with considering to conditions.
Into T2 I struggled to unclip my helmet and gave myself a good talking to for not having elastic laces as I couldn’t tie my shoelaces due to frozen fingers. In the end we got there and out onto the run course
The run I could imagine on a nice day would be absolutely stunning and even in the rain was still beautiful. Off we went heading south towards Vincentia on an out and back course travelling past some beautiful blue beaches via the coastal path, which in places were completely covered in water, where running through you would be up to your ankles in water. After training for Ironman all year it was tough to get the legs moving fast off the bike. I was quite disappointed with the overall run time however I did manage to negative split for the first time as a positive with run time coming in at 42:25.
My first Husky tri will definitely not be one I forget anytime soon. There is some unfinished business there as I would really like to experience the event with some great weather and enjoy a few post-race cold ones in the pub with my fellow competitors. Overall my main goal was to break 2hr30mins and I clocked in at 2hr 27mins so I could walk away happy. It was so great to be back racing and I already cant wait for the next one… and hopefully a drier one. Thanks to Warringah Triathlon Club and Ward Coaching for all the support.
I was glad to have been given a 7:20am race start for the 20km (1 lap) race (other crazies did the 40km!) so not too early a morning start. With a plan to meet at Terrey Hills shops to ride to the start line, as my sense of direction can't be relied upon (thanks Logan!) it was a good warm-up for what was to come.
Helpful volunteers directed me to sign in and it was lovely to see some familiar faces. Rolling up to the start line, with a few tummy nerves, and a quick look at the electronic sign board with the numbers ticking closer to my start time, and before you knew it Deanna gave me the countdown and 'Go!'. A quick click into my pedals and I was off.
It was lovely riding through the National Park, although my eyes were concentrating mostly on the tarmac in front ... and the hills ... can't recall any mention of those hills in the 'Athlete’s Guide' and the map of the course looked completely flat, very deceiving. But for every ‘up’ there is a ‘down’, the positive of all those hills! Hearing the friendly cheers from cyclists going by encouraging me along gave me that extra motivation to keep going ~ that's Warringah Tri Club for you, surely got to be the friendliest club, not just the best.
Comforting seeing so many cyclists on the road, even if they were passing me by at great speeds, so I knew at least I was headed in the right direction. Reaching the halfway turn around point, was relief but a sense of dread that I had another 10km to go, with legs burning I started to regret having done the crit race at Heffron yesterday. At this point my 2 main thoughts were that everyone else here is probably feeling it and in the same boat, and more importantly, that I better get a job quick smart as this looks like a pricey sport with some of the get-up of my fellow racers.
Finding a steady cruising pace and telling myself to just keep it up to the end became my goal, with a little thanks to my brother for playing ‘The Power’ by Snap! in the car on the way here, as it was stuck in my mind as I hit home down the straight to the finish line.
Thank goodness it’s done … now looking forward to seeing you all at the next one! If you haven’t yet given one a go, sign up and give it a try - I bet you’ll then be back for more. A big thanks to WTC and MWCC for putting this event on and all the volunteers that made it happen.