Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Mentone Open Water Swim Race Report

Couple of Saturday’s ago I completed my first Open Water Swim race of the season. I have ridden, driven and run past the Mentone Life SavingClub more times that I can recall. I have also swam there with Ellie many times, the countless times I have seen their open water swim notice; so it was familiar waters and why not do the event. This year there are so many events on that they are doubling open on the same day or the day after. This was a perfect opportunity to get a long distance swim in before the season became very busy. To top it off it was a perfect chance to test our my new 2xu Project X Wetsuit.

When we showed up to rego the wind was blowing hard from the South West and the Bay was very lumpy, after registering and walking down to the turnaround point the wind had claim down and so had the bay. It was going to be a hard effort down the bay to the turnaround buoys.

View from on top of  Mentone LSC

Finish line area and white caps on the bay

Ready to go in my new 2xu Project X2 Wetsuit
I put on my wetsuit got into the water and did my warm up swim out to the start line, which was a deep water start. You could feel the push up the bay, so some work was going to be needed going down the bay. All swim competitors headed in to listen to the race briefing which is where I bumped into Stephen and fellow Tri Alliance Member who had just shown up at the last minute who was also doing the 2km Event.

We all headed out to the start buoys and waited for the horn to sound and off we went, the standard washing machine of bodies as we headed down the bay. I lost count of the number of people who swam over, into and kicked me. I managed to find some clear water and push on to the turn buoy and headed back towards to the finish line. Coming back was far easier than going as the push was back up the bay. I found the last buoy and headed into the beach and short run up the sand to the finish line.

Stephen and I after the race
My time, 40m 24s. A few days later I swam a 2km loop at Half Moon Bay in 37m and 26s in very flat conditions clearly the difference in conditions shows in the times.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Belated Noosa 2013 Race Report

Approximately 5 weeks or so ago I race Noosa Tri for the 2nd year I loved the event and registered as soon as the race entries opened.

On the Monday before Ellie and I spent a few hours packing up bikes, then packing suitcases before heading out to the Airport  to Sunny Noosa. Last Year was a little bit of effort on my own with 3 bags (1 x Suitcase, 1 x Bike and Back Pack) This year it was two of us so double everything.

Bikes Packed

Virgin where pretty good with the bags and everything with checked in. When we left Melbourne it was around 16c Cold and  overcast. Walking off the plane the first thing that hit was the heat. As soon as I got into the Terminal off with the jumper  - Ahhh Tshirt Weather. After collecting our bags and finding the transfer bus we headed off for the 45 minute bus ride up to  Noosa. We arrived at our Hotel (The Outrigger Noosa) did a little bit of unpack changing into shorts and then headed down to  the main street for a late lunch and then a walk to the Supermarket for some supplies then back to the Apartment to unpack and put together 2 bikes.

That evening we spent down at the local Life Saving Club for Dinner followed and an earlier night after a long day of travel  and everything, during the night I heard the rain come down and it was heavy. The next morning we woke to sunshine warm weather - ahhhh paradise. We headed out on our bikes to ride part of the bike course basically out and up Garmin hill then back into town. It was good to be out on a bike without lots of layers of clothes. First ride over we headed out to check out the scene of Noosa get some coffee and see the sites. That afternoon was the first of the our Clubs planned training a swim over the swim course in the canal. The water was warm and salty as, this was Ellie's first Open Water Swim without a wetsuit but as she was doing a part of the Team event it was important for her to learn this course. With our first Open Water Swim of Noosa done we both felt ok with the swim. We then head back changed and down to the Life Saving Club for another meal with some of the Melbourne TA Crew.

View from the Coaches House towards the swim start

Thursday morning saw us up earlier for the Team Ride over the bike course. The Melbourne Crew was split up into 3 groups - Advance, Intermediate and Beginners. We all rode the bike course right out to the turn point and back in. I felt good to re-ride the bike course. The rest of Thursday was to ourselves until late in the day a light group run.

TA Melbourne Crew Ride

Friday morning again back on the bikes, instead of riding the bike course with the TA crew we headed out for a long ride, we headed out down south towards the Airport (some 25km away) at the turn around Ellie split the sidewall of her tyre and we change the tube but blew that out. The 2nd time around we didn't pump the tyre up all the way and headed back towards Noosa. On the way back we stop at Coolum at a local bike shop got a new tyre and we filled back to normal tyre pressure and then headed back to the apartment. After a shower and a feed we headed down the Expo to check out what was on show along with picking up some spare tubes from for Ellie. Later that that afternoon we meet the rest of the TA Melbourne crew for a Swim over the course followed by a Race Briefing from our Head Coach Ollie. After the Briefing we headed back to the expo to collect my race kit, this year we got a towel and bag, much better than the retro 80's back pack from last year.

On the Saturday we headed down the team tent for our standard Saturday pre race day training. Sarah too pics of everyone as a promo shot then followed by a Team shot of everyone from Melbourne and Queensland, before we broke up into different groups.
My Bike Promo Shot

Ellie's Bike Promo Shot 
Vic & Qld Group Shot

We did the ride over the run course, followed by a short run off the bike. After the session we headed back to the apartment where I prepared my bike ready for the race, race number on, remove all unwanted gear such as lights. For lunch we headed down to the main street of Noosa to catch up with some friends from Brisbane, Rebecca and Brian. They too were racing and was good to catch up. Later that afternoon we took my bike down to the transition area, after racking the bike and dropping some air out of the tyres we took it easy before meeting Ellie's Dad and his partner for dinner followed by and early night.

Transition Area - Where is my Bike again?

Sunday - Race Day!

I didn't sleep well Saturday night, I sometimes don't before a big race, I got up had some breakie then headed down to transition to check the bike, put water, feed bag, air in the tyres, etc and get ready to race. The transition area had to be cleared out by 6am but as my wave start was not until 8:18 we went back to the apartment for a bit for a shower and change into my Trisuit. As Ellie was meeting the rest of her team at 7:30 we headed down to the team tent, Ellie went off to check out her bit while I went and watched some of the racing. Just a bit before 8 I started to put on sun cream, getting my Garmin ready before I started to walk over to the swim start, the weather was hot, around 28c. Once I made my way in the start area I jumped into the canal and did a warm up swim and see watch the tide was doing, it was not longer before our wave was called up and off we went. The swim felt strong and I held my own. During the second half of the swim I managed to catch up on other people from previous waves and in turn I had people from the next wave catch me.

I exited the water run into transition dropped my swim cap and goggles put on my helmet and sunglasses grabbed the bike and  headed out of transition. After getting over the mount line I jump on my ride and headed out on the bike course. I felt great on the bike I hit Garmin hill got out of aero and started the climb up, at the end of the hill we hit the highway and headed out to the turn around, back in aero I was heating up the sun was warm. I took the water bottle out from the frame and poured some water over my head to keep me cool. My race plan was to drink every 15mins and eat every 30mins. After turning around and heading back into town I could feel the head winds, it was nice to have some wind to cool me down. When I came to the back of  Garmin hill I took my time down the hill not speeding down it. The last thing I wanted to do was to come off the bike at speed. I have heard of people come off and not in a good way. I headed back into Noosa feeling good, little sore in the back and feeling hot.

Swim over

Once I got back to transition I jumped off the bike and run back into transition racked my bike took off my helmet I heard from the side lines someone yelling go, it turned out to be Rebecca. I put on socks and my shoes, grabbed my visor and headed out on the run. It was hard going I was cooking and I looked for water at every aid station to cool me down and sipping a little. During the run I had the need to pee. Every step hurt more and more. around the 6km mark I came across a Portaloo and I made quick use of it before rejoining the run. During the courts I had and aid station worker tip a whole jug of water over me, it was perfect to cool me down but the only downside was now my socks and shoes  where soaked. Oh well. I kept on running trying to push through the hurt I passed the team tent and up to the finishing line. After finishing I enjoyed a shower under a plan old garden hose followed by getting some fluids and food into me.

Heading back into Noosa


I headed back to the team tent took off my totally wet shoes and socks and put on my thongs followed by taking the top apart of my Trisuit and putting on a T-Shirt. I grabbed a beer and snag from the BBQ and enjoyed the race talking to others who had finished and cheer those on who where only a few hundred meters from finishing.

Ellie had been catching up with her Dad and his Partner I hugged her and told her that I had just taken 2 mins off last years time. She was so proud of me and then I ask how her swim went. While happy with the swim she wished she did better, but later on after reviewing data and been told that the Pros where 5mins slower than last year due to the tide and the wind over all she was happy, but I have told her I will help her improve her Open water Swimming.

Ellie finishing her swim

After cheering the crew home we head back to transition to grab my gear and then headed back to the apartment for a shower. As per last year I had a beer while having a shower. After getting out of the shower I could see that I was little burnt, on well the sun cream didn't work too well! On with the After Sun followed my a clean T Shirt and my recovery tights followed by another beer and hit the bed for a while. Ellie went off for a run and I fall asleep with the TV on having a beer.

Recovery Time

Sunday night we went out to the TA After Party followed by a walk along Hastings St enjoying the party life.

TA After Party

Monday we slept in and we spent the next few days enjoying the local sites and the food. It was nice to have some downtime after racing with each other with our a time table to live by.
Ellie waiting for Coffee and Food.

The Final Race time, it was 2hr 56mins just over 2mins off last year's race time. While Geelong still is my PB, I improved on last year Noosa time by 2mins in a 5mins slower course. I am happy with that. Thanks goes to the Coaches, my Trainers and Recovery peeps, my Training buddies and most of all Ellie to her support.

So the final question am I racing Noosa 2014? Here is the answer!

Yes I am.

In other news I finally got my Level 1 Tri Coaching accreditation which means I now am certified Triathlon Coach, next two things to complete is Technical Official and Spin Class Level 2