Peoples Tri Race 4 Mission Bay
Race Reports, March 19, 2018
A great example of race preparation and execution from club member Dave Metcalfe.
Heading into the unofficial club champs (and my final tri for the season) I was a little unsure as to how my fitness levels would hold up. Going into this race, the build up had been a bit mixed and I definitely felt that I wasn't in my best shape. The season so far had been mixed; a couple of forgettable races (Tin-man and Corsair classic) but my result at Kinloch secured me a World Champs slot (only just, 12th spot). So for me Mission Bay was about going out and seeing how far I could push myself to come away with a result that I'd be happy with, before having a decent break and beginning the build up to Gold Coast. A quick look at the results for my last couple of standard distance races at Mission Bay (2:09 in 2016 and 2:18 in 2017) and I decided if I could get close to 2:10 then I would be happy, but to get there the race would have to go well.
As always the day started with me having to rouse my number one supporter (Bee) from bed and her having to miss (yet another) Sunday morning sleep in, but with a cup a coffee in hand we were soon on our way down to Mission Bay - Neil Millar can't believe that she still does this as Kirsty has long given up on Neil and Triathlon.
The race conditions looked good with only a gentle swell rolling in, not much wind and now we are heading into Autumn, slightly cooler temperatures, which meant racing would be fast. I racked my bike up next to Chris W. knowing that he was doing the sprint and therefore we wouldn't be tripping over each other coming into transition.
As it was the unofficial club champs I'd quickly scoped out the competition. Luckily for me most of the competition in my age group had opted to race the sprint so it only meant a few people to keep an eye for during the race. In my age group that meant Jaro and that meant I had to build a lead in the swim and (hopefully) bike to make sure that he wouldn't run past me. I also had Mel Burke from work racing and knew that she would be charging in the lead up to her racing Ironman Australia. Luckily for me she was swimming non-wetsuit, so I thought I'd be out the water ahead of her, so it was a matter of holding on as long as possible.
I got into the water 10 minutes before the race to start to get a bit of warm up. The race starts at People's tri are always a bit frantic and you end sprinting out quickly and then having to try and recover a bit before getting beaten up going around the first buoy. There's nothing worse than getting bashed about and swallowing a bit of water when your lungs are trying to suck in as much oxygen as they can.
After the crash and bash of heading around buoy one I quickly got into the groove; holding back a little and concentrating on staying in a draft and maintaining good form. Heading into T1 I felt like I had a good swim which meant I was well positioned to be able to make the most of any stronger riders and bunches coming from behind (and hoping Jaro and Mel weren't one of them) and therefore any drafting opportunities.
The bike started well with me quickly getting into the draft of a couple of riders and then hanging on while they powered away at the front. The pace that we were going along at meant it was only a matter of time before I blew and was spat out the back. I took a couple of turns at the front but that involved burning a couple of matches but I also hid in the draft as much as possible.
Luckily for me it wasn't until the start of lap 4 that a gap opened up that I couldn't close, so I made the decision not to try to work to get on the back as I was ready to blow and my legs were burning. I settled in on my aero bars, got the heart rate back under control and put my head down. At this point I was wondering how far back my chasers were and whether I'd have enough left in my somewhat jelly legs to stay ahead of them.
T2 was quick and I headed out on the run; I quickly realised that I was having a bit of trouble with my breathing so made the decision to walk to get it back under control - 20 seconds later I was back running and quickly settled into a pace I felt I could hold for the 10km. At the turn arounds I could see that I had built enough of lead over Jaro and Mel and that I could hold them off if I could maintain pace. Coming back on the 2nd lap the gap had started to shrink up, so I had to push to try and maintain my pace; at this point the heart rate was starting to rise and the legs now felt like they had lead in them.
I crossed the line in 2:10 and change so was pretty pleased that I had hit the target that I had set myself, finishing 7th spot in my age group, one spot ahead of Jaro and less than a minute ahead of Mel. The only thing that I felt disappointed about was not being able to hold on for the last lap on the bike. If I had that would have put me in the hunt for finishing as high as 4th but there will always be something to work on and more racing.
It was great to see such a great turn out from the NHTC crew for the unofficial club champs and also to see some great results; a number of medals and some PBs. Also a big thanks to the NHTC crew who helped out the post-race BBQ (Grant, Vincent, Aimee, Jane and Paul).
The weekly club newsletter summarized all the club results, you can subscribe to keep up to date regular happenings - Ed.