Club champs and my first triathlon: recap.
I didn’t sleep the night before. Not because I was out partying or because I was dreaming of sharks. Nope. I was panicking about how big those hills would be on the bike leg and wondering if anyone would notice me skip a leg. For me, riding my bike is the biggest challenge of a triathlon. But it turns out I didn’t need to worry at all.
When my family dropped me off near transition, I was amazed how many smiling faces were out there and how helpful everyone was. I had been told club champs was a very social event but I was overwhelmed by the friendliness. My nerves calmed down quickly and I started looking forward to the race. For me club champs became a learning experience because it was my first ever triathlon event…. And I had a lot to learn.
Lesson 1: a fear of sharks does NOT make you swim faster! The water was beautiful, clear and a lot warmer than I expected. The organisers did a great job spreading out the swimmers and the course was relatively clear. But no matter how great the conditions and how confident I was going prior to the swim, once I was in the water I just couldn’t catch my breath or get into a good rhythm. It took most of my swim to reassure myself that Jaws was not approaching and the swim was as safe as I had been told. Next time I will focus more on enjoying the swim and making the most of my time in the water.
Lesson 2: listen to people when they tell you to practice taking off your wetsuit before your first race! I had imagined a super quick transition that would barely affect my time. In reality, I spent 5 minutes rolling around on the ground, grappling with my wetsuit and laughing at myself. I also gave some officials a giggle too 😊
Lesson 3: there is no shame walking your bike up a hill….. six times. I knew I was going into the bike leg completely underprepared. Not only do I have no idea how to fix a puncture, I also have actively avoided hills on most of my bike rides. I had some great advice from club members on changing gears before getting to the bottom of a climb and building up speed on a downhill. But I found putting this into practice without training was harder than I realised. It is a skill I am now working on for my next triathlon.
Lesson 4: No matter how tired and sore you are, Powerade, some friendly smiles and music at the turn-around point in the last leg will give you the energy you need to finish. Sometimes this is all you need to remind yourself to enjoy your time on the course. Going into the event I was very worried I would be too slow to finish the course. But club champs really is a very inclusive event and once I was racing, the support on course from our club was more than enough to get me through.
Lesson 5: Being part of a club really is a great way to train, experience a triathlon and connect with people. The club champs dinner was my family’s first large social event since covid started. It was such a fun night and definitely the highlight of the weekend for us. Thank you to everyone that made this such a special weekend. There must have been a lot of planning, time and effort that went into making this happen and I am very grateful for those that made it happen. We can’t wait to be back again next year!