Sunday, February 17, 2013

Race Report: Huskisson Long Course Triathlon with VIDEO

Short Version: 4:24:22, 10th m25-29, 129th Overall (1400-odd competitors)

Long Version: Every race, I learn a lot. That being said, I am still quite an inexperienced athlete (certainly as far as long course racing is concerned). Ironman Melbourne (no less than 5 weeks away!) is the A-Race for early 2013. Huskisson LC, being only 5 weeks prior to the big dance, meant that having a really good rest beforehand would not be possible. Despite wanting to race well, I would have to 'train through it'. In essence, this would mean a near-normal training week would precede Husky, with a few tweaks, such as cutting out a tempo run and shifting a day forward in the cycle in order to get a full rest day on Saturday. In the end, I gave myself a few easy days on Thursday and Friday, and a complete day of rest on Saturday. I did feel quite well rested and ready to go.  It would be only my second long course race (meaning IM Melbourne is to be only my third!) and the first which would be a "B-Race".

Pre Race: With the roads closed at 6:30, I wanted to get to Huskisson early. We were out of bed at 5am and in the car 40 minutes later, coffee in hand. We got there and set ourselves up on the beach with our picnic breakfast of porridge to watch the first waves go off. The Pro men began at 6:30am, some 2 hours and 20-odd minutes before my wave which was the second last. After a bit of spectating and finishing my coffee, it was time to get into the transition to set up, before it re-closed at 8am. Once everything was set in the transition, and a visit to the can was out of the way, we had time to relax a bit and wait for my eventual start at 8:50am.

2km swim: 31:31. Despite having all the time in the world, I managed to almost miss my start. I had my wetty  half-on, and was sitting around with Audrey and my parents near the transition. I wandered down to the beach only to jump in the water to have a warm up and a piddle. It was then, standing ankle deep in the water that I heard the announcer say 'Next wave, men under 30 and Clydesdales'. Shit. I got to the start line OK, but didn't get a chance to warm up.
We were off and the first few hundred metres was quick as we headed out to the first can. We ran into a lot of folks doing their second lap and, at times, it was a little messy, forcing us to go around a lot of folks. It was easy going for the first lap, but by the second, my goggles had fogged up pretty badly which led to the poor decision of just following some random guys feet as we headed out into the sun again. Mistake. I ended up swimming 50-100m towards the right of the first buoy and had to stop to clear my goggles before restarting. I swam 'angry' for the rest of the second lap and felt like I was moving through a lot of the other swimmers, which was a nice feeling.

T1: 1:59. Small run up to transition was uneventful and I made it to my bike. It took my a little bit to get my wetty off. I must trim the ankles.

83km Bike: 2:26:32. This was the difference between me and the top-5 in my AG. I have the slowest split in the Top-15. On the first lap, things were good and I biked steadily. I did drop my nutrition bottle and had to stop to get off my bike and walk up the road to get it, costing me a minute or so, maybe. Once settled, I thought the second lap would be a bit quicker. Not so. I slowed, in fact. Not because of a lack of effort, or trying, I just didn't have the power. The third lap was a bit better and I was able to pick things up a little. Disappointing. I think it was simply a question of not having an ideal lead up to the race in terms of rest resulting in being flat on race day. All that being said, it was a really fun course with lots of rolling hills. Despite being a touch crowded on the first and second laps with stragglers from the first batch of waves, the TO's did a good job in pinging those who drafted.

T2: 2:00. Socks are slow, but I didn't want to risk blisters with a few important weeks to go.

20km run: 1:22:18. I felt good on the first lap and held a steady pace. There were lots of folks out on the course, including Macca and Paul Ambrose hamming it up with the crowd, and it made for some quick-footed moves around some of the slower runners. I was feeling strong until about 16kms when I started to develop a few nasty stomach cramps. I think I overdid it at an earlier aid station. I stopped to walk and massage them out a couple of times. In the end, I was able to pick it up to a decent clip and finish well.

I'm happy, in hindsight, with the race. I swam well, I cycled OK on tired legs, and ran strongly. I have learnt a lot and now I'm really counting down to Melbourne!

Thanks a lot to supporters and Elite Energy for another great weekend.

Husky Triathlon 2013 from Steve Crossman on Vimeo.

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