Yarrawonga-Mulwala OD Race Report – Ben Shepherd
I hadn’t had much time to think about the race. Noting that there was no open field, the professional athletes were racing in the age groups. This meant that I was already a little more relaxed going in as I had no aspirations of winning. I simply went in to the race looking to race smart and hard in the conditions.
Unlike every other race, the event started in the afternoon. This gave me a lot of time to think, drink coffee, and think again. Dangerous. I definitely prefer racing in the morning, but all in all a good learning experience.
One of the best things I did was showing up to transition early. I managed to secure an excellent spot right by the entry to T1, allowing me to see my bike right out of the water. Unlike every other race it was not a ‘select your spot’ deal, but rather an alternating, 7-to-a-rack deal where we were ordered where to go. If you were late, you got lost in a rack, making it nigh on impossible to spot your bike. Once I had the bike racked, I went off to find an early lunch and grab a quick nap in the car.
A two lap swim (boo), fresh water (yay), murky as anything (boo). The field appeared super aggressive at the start with a lot of shouldering and nudging even before the buzzer went off. I was pushed out of the way by a dude about three times my size, which was a bit offputting. It did give me a good target to chase though.
When the buzzer went off, I experienced the most brutal swim start I have ever seen. Punching, kicking, pushing, I even saw someone have their head held underwater. It left a really bitter taste in my mouth as to how aggro these competitors were. Still, I focused on keeping good form and trying to find fast feet to hold.
Once the field cleared out a little bit, I started to see some clear water and some fast feet ahead. Keeping a thought on form and technique, I powered on a little bit and managed to grab hold of a trail of bubbles. Turns out that trail was being created by Nathan Shearer, a newly turned pro who won the 25-29AG at Kona last year. Once we entered the relative calm of the lagoon, we bounded up the ramp to T1 and continued with the rest of the race.
All in all, I swam a 22:30 – or spot on 1:30/100m. Not bad considering the start, the visibility and the fact that it was a freshwater swim which is traditionally slower. Even better was the fact that I left the water feeling very fresh and relaxed – I have never done that before, which to me means a whole lotta progress. Positive signs.
Positives: Finding (and holding) feet the whole way. Consistent power, felt like I still had something in the tank when I left the swim. Surged when required.
Negatives: Allowing myself to get beaten up at the start, getting frustrated by the washing machine effect, focusing my anger on the guy who pushed me out of the way before the gun – more control needed here
Not a lot to say here. Bike was nice and easy to spot. Ran to it whilst unzipping the wetsuit. Goggles and cap off, wrenched the wetsuit down the rest of the way. Helmet on, grabbed bike, turned bike computer on while running.
Huge transition layout meant I had to run a long way with the bike. This wasn’t too bad because it gave my HR a chance to settle down as I made my way to the exit. Mounting the bike was a bit poor – right foot went in well, but shoe came unclipped when trying to get the left foot in. A bit more practice needed here but not a whole lot of damage done to the race clock here.
Bottom line: Transition needs work!
Oh boy. This is where it gets fun. Two lap course around the bay. For the first 6km, I had a tailwind or a cross/tailwind. I was holding low 200’s on the power meter, and sailing at 46+ km/h. Happy days. Then as the course went around the corner, it became more of a crosswind, then a cross/headwind. Struggletown! I watched my average speed play jump rope with 40km/h, then watch it dip significantly as I made the turn and powered into the headwind to return. My average speed was about 39.2 by the time I had finished the first lap. I picked up the power for the second lap – as planned – but the wind seemed to have picked up as well. I surged for a bit at 300W to try and make up some time, but then race experience spoke to me and I accepted that my final return leg was going to be a bit slow. I retained a NP of 255W, and an average speed of 38.6km/h, giving me a 1:02:06 bike. There were a few moments during the ride that I was passed by someone punching out significant watts, but for the first time (ever), I accepted it, didn’t go outside the plan, and put faith in my run to catch them. It wasn’t quite the ride I wanted (sub-1 is the goal), but all in all I am happy that I rode intelligently given the conditions.
Positives: Consistency, intelligence, and lack of ego.
Negatives: Rough mount of the bike, went too easy on the way out, could probably have pushed a bit harder on the way back in too. Need to find another 20+ watts in my opinion.
Another long run back in which allowed time to get the head together. When I arrived, I noticed someone had knocked my visor and glasses around, so I scrambled to grab them. Shoes on smoothly, race number on, visor and sunnies on, locked and loaded. Another long run out, but everyone faced that. I left feeling pretty calm, thinking I was in around 10th or so position (but in reality had NFI).
‘Run Smart, run within yourself’ was my mantra as I set out. I didn’t want to burn my matches too early like I had done in Townsville, and I needed to keep the pedal down for the whole 10km. The run was another 2 laps, a small climb up and over a bridge between Vic/NSW, and part gravel/part bitumen surface, which was quite tight in some places. Not my favourite run course, but not the worst by far. I kept an eye on the heart rate, as I didn’t want to blow up on this one like I did at Townsville. Surprisingly, with a comfortable HR of 165, I was able to hold a 3:47 for my first KM. This trend continued, holding around 3:50 or better for the first 5km. Then the wind picked up and I slowed slightly. My last 5km averaged out to be about 3:55, with my slowest going 4:01 – into wind and up the bridge. No negative split, but definitely a solid improvement compared to my last race. My official run time was 37:07, but the course was 300m short – so I’d probably be around the 38 minute mark. Still, a good day out. Good signs included not needing to smash water into myself like I did at TVL, and feeling relatively comfortable apart from a bit of shoulder pain at about the 5km point. Manageable but uncomfortable.
The best part? I passed the guy who shoved me out of the way with about 3km to go. Vindicated. Happy days.
Positives: Consistency, aerobic fitness, and no need for excess hydration.
Negatives: No negative split, noticing the soreness in the shoulders.
Summary: A 2:05:32 isn’t a bad effort. There is plenty of room to grow, but plenty to be happy about. Third in the AG (won by a pro), which from my count puts me at 45 out of a possible 50 points so far. The quest for ITU world champs is alive and well.
Looking forward to Robina in January with a bit of time to grow.
What Message do we Pedal?
I recently wrote about the chain reaction that led to me participating in triathlons, and the opportunity to represent Australia at the Para-triathlon sprint World Championships in Rotterdam on the weekend. I learnt many lessons from the race – one being that it is important to know, “what message we pedal.”
A message that was pedalled to me ten months ago was that it would be “impossible” to be selected to represent Australia at the 2017 Para-Triathlon World Championships. I of course didn’t back-pedal from these comments, but just put the foot down and got on with our goal of qualifying for the 2017 World Championships.
I increased my training cadence across swimming, cycling, and running, creating an internal message of, what if? My teams’ support and commitment to cranking up this output achieved good results in our performances over the next eight months, and selection for the 2017 World Championships. The earlier “impossible” messages which were being pedalled had gone a complete circle, and were derailed.
Our arrival into Rotterdam was met with very cold, wet and windy conditions. The first training session on the bike and run course was a good opportunity to experience the many sections of cobble stones and many corners on the bike course.
Our only opportunity for a swim session was in a 25m open air pool, and with the water temperature at 16 degrees, and air temperature 12 degrees, it was a mental and physical challenge. I reminded myself of the many 5:00am swim sessions I had completed during winter, at my local swimming pool (Yeronga), when the air temperature was six degrees.
The swim and bike course familiarisation was held in horrific weather conditions the day before the race. I had many internal messages being pedalled through my thoughts, as I swam through the angry chop of waves. Our cycle over the bike course in cold drenching rain magnified the many sections of cobblestones, and sharp corners we would have to negotiate throughout the course.
The morning of race day, I was pedalling many thoughts, the unpleasant weather conditions, our race plan and processes, equipment checks and transition set up, race registration, pre-race energy intake, toilet, and race warm up. The very cold and wet conditions delayed the race start by an hour, which increased the speed of the messages that were being pedalled through my thoughts.
The only thought I had while walking to the jetty for the start of the triathlon was how I would feel for the first five seconds of the race. I blocked out any thoughts of the rain, wind, and cold water. Our start of the race was an explosion of energy with the single thought of getting to the front. After the first 5 seconds, I refocused my thoughts onto each swim stroke, my body position in the water, and tension on the swim tether, with my guide, Dmitri. I had no room for any thoughts on how far we had gone, or where my other competitors were in the water, as these would only be distractions.
I contained my thoughts to tiny pieces of the triathlon, going from the swim to the transition area, to the cycle, to the second transition, and then onto the run. Each internal message had to be clear on what I had to focus on, at that moment of the triathlon.
We placed ninth overall, and I was the third totally blind athlete competitor, which was a great result at a World Championships after only 20 months in the sport.
The internal messages in triathlons are very different to my past pursuits as a Paralympic distance runner. While the intensity, energy output and goal of winning are the same, our internal communications are structured and pedalled with a different cadence.
Byron Bay Triathlon
Byron Bay put on another great weekend with many of the Tri Nation team making a weekend of it. One of our biggest celebrations was watching our latest beginner course graduates finish their first triathlon. Competing in the Tempta Tri we had Alex Munoz, Fabrice Turpin, Lakis Zeniou, Brooke Brown, Heidi Walker, Renee Williams and Caitriona Murray. With many smiles all round and medals to boot it was a great way to finish off the six weeks.
On the podium we had Sue Meehan, Stella Foley and Paul Dodd all winning their age groups with Paul 2nd overall in the Olympic Distance. Both Sue and Stella had fantastic races to give them a confidence boost heading into Cairns Ironman in less than 4 weeks.
Congratulations also to Geoff Miller for his first podium and first place in the Sprint event and Catherine Sharpe winning her age group in the Sprint.
Many Tri Nation members were following long time member Tim Franklin as he competed at Ultraman Australia in the weekend. An Ultraman is a 3 day event consisting of a 10km swim, 421km of cycling and an 84km run. Tim set a new course record of 2 hours 35 minutes for the swim on day 1, was placed 2nd after the conclusion of the cycling on day 2 and finished up 2nd overall with a 7 hour 24 minutes double marathon.
Congratulations Tim, an outstanding effort and just reward for the many hours of training you have put in this year.
With four weeks to go the Cairns team are now in their hardest week of their campaign. This weekend is their last big brick session with a swim, bike and run at Suttons Beach in Redcliffe.
Post Cairns the training will ease back a bit as our focus turns more towards maintaining our fitness over winter, taking time out to work on your weakness or just to enjoy staying fit and healthy.
With Cairns the last long course race for a while the weekend sessions will change to alternate fortnights of group rides and brick sessions at Healthstream. The next group ride is the weekend before Cairns on the 4th of June.
With numbers reducing overall in the pool as people start swimming less often the only change to the winter timetable will be the Wednesday evening swim will take a break from the 1st June. This is only a short term break over winter and the session will be back in August/September.
End of Season Party
This year our End of Season party will be held at the Regatta Hotel on Saturday 18th June. The evening will include a 2 course dinner, drinks, awards, prizes and celebrations and we would love for your partners to join you for the evening.
Tickets are $90 including drinks and $60 for dinner and non-alcoholic drinks. Tickets can be paid for via direct deposit into account:
BSB 014 696
Account 2114 76308
The Scody shop is open until 5pm today for running t-shirts and singlets. All Triathlon Queensland members will have received a $25 voucher from Scody which you can use in the online store.
We’ll open the shop again in early August for kit orders for the new season.
We also have the following kit and sizes currently in stock:
Hoodie – Medium only – $30
Visors – $25
Trucker Caps – $20
Swim Caps – $5
Triathlon Jersey – Med/Large – $100 Triathlon Knicks – Large only – $100 Tri Suit One Piece – Med/Large -$170
Cycling Jersey Race Fit – Large – $125
Cycling Bib and Brace – Large only – $125
Ladies: Tri Suit One Piece – Sizes 8 – $170
Tri Suit Lamina One Piece – Sizes 8 and 10 – $190
Cycling Jersey Relaxed Fit – Size 10 – $110
Cycling Bib and Brace – Size 10 – $125
Noosa Training Camp
The Noosa Triathlon training camp is booked in for the weekend of the 10th and 11th of September. The camp will start in Brisbane on the Friday morning and finish in Noosa at lunchtime on the Sunday.
Lock the date into your diary now. Full details will be released in June/July.
New Member Profile
Each month we will profile one of our new members to introduce them to the squad. This month is Hailey Cutts. Hailey moved from the Gold Coast at the end of last year and is currently training towards the Noosa Triathlon.
Hailey often attends the windtrainer and run sessions as well as the Wednesday night swim.
Keep your eye out for her at training. We’re sure she would love a friendly hello!
Beginner Tri Tip
What races are suitable for beginners?
The Queensland Tri Series is one of the best triathlon series in Australia and have distances suitable for everyone. They have just released their dates for the new season starting at Raby Bay on the 25th of September.
Check out their full event calendar online at www.qldtriseries.com.au
Upcoming races until the end of July that Tri Nation will be at are:
- Cairns Ironman & 70.3 – 12th June
- Gold Coast Marathon Festival – 2nd/3rd July
Monthly Prize Draw
Starting this month we will now have a monthly prize draw for all our current training members. The winners for May are:
* $50 Shoes Feet Gear voucher – Garry Notridge
* Massage with Gerrard Gosens – Greg Epps
* Mizuno running shoes – Cassie Matcham
To claim your prize just send us an email and we’ll arrange.
We are now getting towards the end of the season with races becoming less regular over the weekends. In the past month we have seen athletes compete at Mooloolaba Triathlon, Kingscliff Triathlon, Gold Coast Luke Harrop Memorial Triathlon and Putrajaya 70.3.
Congratulations to squad members Garry Notridge, Ornaith Hanna and Caren Biddulph who completed their first Olympic Distance Triathlon at Mooloolaba. Both Ornaith and Caren completed our beginners course in October so it was great to see them out there racing.
The girls were leading the results list at Mooloolaba with Jocelyn Hutton and Stella Foley both placing 3rd in the 25-29 and 30-34 categories. Training is going well as both Jocelyn and Stella prepare for long course events Busselton 70.3 and Cairns Ironman respectively.
Gold Coast Triathlon
The Gold Coast Triathlon is becoming one of the must do events on the calendar. It is a great weekend away with the Elite Triathletes racing on the Saturday and many squad members making a weekend of it.
It was great to see new members Brenda Lincez, Megan Lincez and Nicole Murphy complete their first Sprint distance tri at the Gold Coast. All three have been regular faces at training completing their beginner’s course at Raby Bay in February.
Congratulations to Geoff Holt for his 2nd place in the 60-64 category.
We recently had Chris Bailey racing at Putrajaya 70.3. Chris’ goal was to qualify for the Sunshine Coast 70.3 World Champs in September and after missing out on an entry to Cairns and other race dates not working around injury struggles and family commitments this was Chris’ only shot. On race day Putrajaya delivered the hottest conditions that Chris has ever raced in but his 4:34 gave him 3rd place in the 40-44 age group, 7th age grouper overall and a conveted spot to the World Champs.
With two key races left in the season for many athletes in the squad – Byron Bay Triathlon on May 7th and Cairns IM/70.3 on June 12th there will still be a high level of intensity in the sessions before it backs off a bit over winter.
Our new training timetable is working well with the Thursday morning cycling proving to be a popular session and Friday morning running starting to build up.
End of Season Party
This year our End of Season party will be held at the Regatta Hotel on Saturday 18th June. The evening will include dinner, drinks, awards, prizes and celebrations and we would love for your partners to join you for the evening.
Tickets will be available to purchase next month, so just save the date and look forward to a great night out.
New Coach – Kristin Muir
We are excited to announce that long time member Kristin Muir will be joining our coaching team. Kristin has already started helping Brad with the latest beginner’s group on Friday mornings and then will be teaming up with Mark to assist him with on-road cycling and run sessions.
Kristin has a lot to offer the squad with many years coaching hockey as well as having completed 3 Ironman events and multiple other triathlons.
Cairns Training Camp
We have one spot left on our training camp in Noosa over the Anzac Day long weekend. These camps are a great excuse to get away for the weekend and in Noosa we are spoilt for choice with training venues and cycling routes.
Full details of the camp are online on our website. If you are interested in coming along then reply to this email to grab the last spot.
Beginner Triathlon Tip
What swimming fins should I buy?
For beginner swimmers we recommend starting with the long fins. These will provide you with the most forward propulsion whilst lifting your hips higher in the water.
Those that are already capable of swimming 2-3km in the open water comfortably may receive more training benefit from the shorter variety which will help strengthen hamstrings and glutes.
Upcoming races until the end of June that Tri Nation will be at are:
- Byron Bay Triathlon – 7th May
- Cairns Ironman & 70.3 – 12th June