Nepean Triathlon 2005
Swim 0:19:22 337 (overall) 35 (category)
Cycle 1:05:01 398 (overall) 42 (category)
Run 0:54:33 443 (overall) 49 (category)
There were 70 in my age group.
This was my 11th Nepean Triathlon and the first since 1995. Triathlons, besides the obvious, are quite a different experience to just running. I started the run and just felt really good pushing along after a good ride and swim. It is good for the self esteem and wellbeing. There is no better feeling than finishing each leg safely and making it through the next one.
I came to Penrith on Saturday because I was not sure of where to go and picked up the race kit. My previous 10 events were in the Nepean River and I just wanted to make sure I knew where to park and where to go. The timing was good because I dropped Nick to cricket at Ashfield drove out to Penrith and back and even got back in time to see him bat. How good was that? I arrived at 5:30am the on race day and pulled up next to Spud and we went to the transition area and met a few more cool runners. I finally met Pod Runner for the first time. I could see ion the distance they were setting up the Hornsby Tri Club tent.
With a good wetsuit now the swim leg is my favourite. I could probably push harder but I just enjoy the swim. I take my time and just cruise it out. On this course I lined up the lane markers for the rowing and followed the rope under the water between each buoy. Just before the race, in the water, I shook hands with one of the competitors who has done all 24 odd Nepean Triathlons. We were speaking about the 1987 event when the water was freezing because the day before the let some water out of Waragamba Dam and the water came from the bottom and it was freezingâ€¦.like really cold. I used to live and train in Bowral pool and lakes near Bargo in those days. I commented how I have seen league footballers at the race in the past and realised I guy I thought I knew was in fact Robbie Oâ€™Davis the past Newcastle and Queensland player
I got to the ramp in 18:00 minutes which for me is a very good time and I was pleased that no one from the group behind had caught me (well I donâ€™t think so) and there were still a fair free green swim capped swimmers behind me. I expected to enter the transition area from the bottom of the transition area. We had to run up to the top of the hill and then down to the bikes. It is always a relief to get to your bike and not have a flat tyre!
I am no where near as fast on the transition as I was 10-20 years ago. Looking at my official time it was 19:30 minutes, which is about right, by the time I got to the transition mats. I got the wetsuit off quite well, helmet on, top on and spare tube in the back of the shirt but I had trouble with the shoes. Eventually I got to the mounting area for the bike ride at 22 minutes. So I spent a full 4 minutes in transition.
I had not been over the cycle leg but expected it to be fast. I have been slowly getting used to the tri bars and this is the first event I have used them in. I must admit that they do make a difference. Before long I was cycling at 33-35km per hour and thought â€œdonâ€™t go to hardâ€� but it felt wrong to slow down. I rationalised that I never train in a flat area and I was still spinning normally and my legs felt fine so I kept it up.
I am still not used to the gears. I should have been on the lower chain wheel for more of the ride but I just cannot keep the cadence up and keep the speed. So there is a lot more to do on this front. For example on the turn out to the road when leaving the regatta I lost pace as I was in a high gear up the slight slope to the gate.
Once outside the Regatta Centre we went right for a few km and turned around and went past the Regatta Centre and out for a few more km and back and did it all again. I was looking for all the competitors that are normally in front of me in runs. This is what I mean by tris being different, especially those with wave starts and the older 45-55 competitors starting earlier. A couple of Striders and Strider singlets went by. I mainly saw Spud. We essentially saw each other 4 times on the course at roughly the same place each time. It was pretty clear that we were on a similar cycle pace. He seemed to be about 1.2km behind me as I measured from the turnaround to when I saw him and doubled it. He seemed to have a good swim and was faster in the transitions. He started in the group 2:30 behind me. The only other competitor I saw was Steve Lennox. He had had a faster swim than me and I passed him at about 27-28 km we were in the ame wave.
All through the cycle I felt I was going too fast but the legs felt good. And I thought I would keep it up even if it meant I trashed my legs because I knew I would be run down in the run. So I made the goal not to be caught on the bike. It is good how you can do this in a triathlon. As far as I know I did manage to hold everyone I knew off. After a while I was confident I would do under an hour for the 30km which is really good for me. So every now and then I held it at 33km per hour, though on the second lap I found my self pushing 37km an hour at times. It got a bit hard mentally in the second half of the ride because some riders would fly by me and I could see on their calves, where the ages were written on our legs, they were younger. They were the front riders and gee they were fast. When I looked at the times the winner did 12 minutes for the swim, 48 minutes for the cycle and 30 odd minutes for the run for a total of 1:36â€¦WOW.
I finished they cycle in 1hour and 30 seconds on a long course (33km). Once again the transition time for this leg had my time 1:05 so by the time I put on my shoes and socks and ran into and out of the transition area I had used up 4 minutes. It is a bit hard to track times in tri as there are no markers but I knew the rowing course was 2km long and it had markers. I have always found the transition to the ride fine. And I always like the feeling of running straight after the ride. I just feel like a real athlete. On the other side of the rowing course Spud caught me between 1 and 2 km. He had a good ride finish and another fast transition. He quickly disappeared into the distance. You know how I said I transition to the run well. Well I forgot to mention that I do slow down a bit and I did at about 2-3 km when my chest started to hurt and my breathing got laboured. The mind made the body run a bit faster than it should have. At this point Steve Lennox passed me again and asked if I was okay. I slowed up a bit and felt a bit better at the end of the straight and on the way back I spotted some drinks in the distance and decided to have a gel.
I have forgotten to mention my nutrition strategy. On the cycle I started to eat a power bar at 15km and continued to do so at 20km and 25 km in the cycle. I am sure my energy levels would have dropped off earlier without these nibbles. Anyway I had a gel and washed it down with a drink. That got me through to the end of the race. I cannot believe I used to do this and other longer events on a water bottle that would run out on the cycle. At this point PodRunner and Highway man passed me and a few more Striders.
Soon after I was feeling a lot better and I noted that on the first lap I was less than 30 minutes for 5km. I had started the run at 1:24 so I felt I was on 5:30 pace which is my normal training pace. Now I started to use the metre markers of the cycling course and was able to track the 500m and 1000m sections and I was on about 5:10 pace and felt alright. I did this along the stadium side on the other side and back on the stadium side. I was finishing the first lap and the leaders were finishing. I felt a lot stronger on the second lap and fewer people were passing me suggesting that a lot of the runners passing me on the first lap were actually runners on their second lap. Boof who started in the last wave passed me on the second lap. Except for that little patch at 2-3km the run was good and I finished it in 54:30 which is pleasing but I know I can work to get this time down. My total time was 2:18.
It is a perfect distance for me. I finished feeling fine and with petrol in the tank. The times are comparable to my times from 10-20 years ago even if the course is different. My swimming is definitely better. My cycling is a bit slower but the groups were so big in the old days that drafting was inevitable and I am not sure how much of those times I could have done by myself. One year in the 1980s I did the 40km in an hour!!
As for my running I knew I was completely underdone. For those who donâ€™t know I did 6 foot track race and Canberra marathon this year and spent the next 6 months not running. In fact it was this injury that brought me back to triathlons because I remembered I never got injured when I trained for tris. In addition, after last Sundayâ€™s training ride I skidded on my cycling shoes in the bread shop after the ride and rolled my right foot which I have had to rest all week.
Anyway the foot held up well and I am running out of excuses for not entering the Canberra Half Ironman on the 11 December. When I mentioned to Highwayman I was undecided he correctly suggested that I have made the investment (bike and wetsuit) and my fitness levels are continually peaking. It would be a pity to let it drop off. In addition there is a good spacing between Port Macquarie Half Iron man which I did, Canberra and Jervis Bay in February.