To say that I was feeling the pressure at my first Warringah Triathlon Club Race was an understatement. Having dropped half the deposit for a house on the Bower for the Uber to get to the start line, it quickly became clear how competitive the race would be. The international field was stacked with a who’s who of triathletes from the Northern Beaches. George “Two Guns” Davis, Patrick from Cork, Alex Buhlman representing the USA, Johan “The French Champion” Lequien to name a few, but the real danger man was Roy Gibbs, an ex open-side flanker from Cheshire who is an absolute greyhound once he’s on dry land.
Race conditions were ideal, mid 20s, clear sky and not a breath of wind. Club President and stalwart of WTC, David Wiles was kind enough to walk me down to the start at Collins Beach, and explain the layout of the course. The long walk down from transition added to the excitement, as I quickly realised the race would be swim, run, bike, run. Due to COVID restrictions, the race start was in waves of two, which suited me fine. Having recently arrived from New Zealand I felt privileged to race again, the level of organisation was fantastic, the club and committee should be proud to have organised such a well-run event.
Being aware of Roy’s clear threat I made the tactical decision to start one wave behind him and his girlfriend Helen. Thanks to my 8 millimeter wetsuit and at least 20 dolphin dives between the beach and buoy one I managed to pass Roy at the start of the second lap of the swim, this proved to be no more than false hope though as my narrow lead quickly evaporated on the 2.8km hill climb to T2 (bike transition).
As I left T2 I could see Roy in the distance and was in close proximity to the French Champion. For those who are yet to do the latest bike course, I can only describe it as technical, the mixture of speed bumps tight corners and sharp rises reminded me of Paris Roubaix, which clearly played into the French Champion’s hands, on the first lap at the bottom of the hill on the first lap I lost my chain and the French Champion dropped me like a bad habit. In reality my main focus on the bike was to stay in one piece.
After completing the 7 laps on the bike I came into transition with the French Champion and could see Roy already on his way out; to catch him was clearly going to take something miraculous! In hindsight my first kilometer at 3 minutes 40 seconds was clearly confusing ambition with ability, while I managed to pass the French Champion on the first hill, after two km in it was clear that Roy had the win sewn up. I quickly slowed down at the start of the second lap, and well and truly managed to positive split the run, ie I was way slower on the second half of the run
I would like to thank all of the volunteers and Race Director Deana Waters for putting on a fantastic event, we were even given our race splits at the finish line with a QR code, which is a first for me.
Having recently arrived from Auckland New Zealand, I was sad to say goodbye to my other club North Harbour Triathlon Club, however in the short time I have been in Sydney I have very much enjoyed training and racing with WTC, we are a great club, bring on Club Champs in May, let’s get it on!