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.
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