Sunday, March 9, 2014

Sufferfest Race Report

Last weekend saw a road trip to Warrnambool for the Sufferfest race weekend. There were some 5 different events, Kids, Sprint Enduro Sprint, Olympic and Long Course. Last year Andy, another TA team member raced this race and I loved the idea of racing here and it was an idea of a weekend with Ellie was nice. Ellie and I drove down Friday, Warrnambool is around 3 ½ hours away from Melbourne. After the drive down and seeing two customer for my company we found the Hotel and setup base camp. Andy and his family where driving down Friday night, but Luisita another TA team mate had driven down Friday as well. Ellie, Luisita and I meet up for dinner at a local pub and we spoke about riding the bike course on the Saturday morning before Ellie raced Saturday afternoon. From Transition there is a little hill that we wanted to try, while the hill looked huge from the bottom when you started the climb and got to the top it was no worse than others I have ridden on, it felt like a 4% grade. Coming down however was a little more interesting, as the hill opens out you can feel the wind blowing through the cutting I could feel my front wheel getting caught in the cross winds like a sail. In packing the gear for the weekend I also took my factory wheels as well as my race wheels. Sunday morning I would need to make a call on which wheels to race on.

After completing the part of the ride course we rode the run course right down to the turnaround point which was right near our Hotel. At this point Ellie and I went back to the Hotel and Luisita headed back to the starting area. After a shower we headed off for some sightseeing and breakfast and checked out one of the biggest breakwaters I have ever seen. If you look at the photos they do not do it justice nor do the pictures of the waves that come in, but as Warrnambool is right on the South West coast of Victoria, so it goes all the ocean waves.

On the Breakwater

Breakwater at the point

After a feed we walked back the long way to the Hotel chilled out until it was time for Ellie to get ready for her race. We headed down to the Transition area watched the kids race and then Ellie went into transition and got herself ready to race. Ellie’s race went off without a hitch and she had fun, being her first race back since losing her appendix. During this time I collected my race kit for the following day and nice long sleeve jumper for the event. After Ellie had finished and we collected her bike we went back to the Hotel and chilled out before the Pasta Dinner and Q&A with Luke Bell. Around 6 we headed down to the dinner area and joined the other TA Teams and few others we knew through the Melbourne Tri Scene chatted, and then Eat followed by Q&A with Luke. It was certainly different and I enjoyed the atmosphere the night wrapped up just before 8:30; Ellie and I basically went to bed after a little of pre-race preping.

Ellie Post Race in the Ice Bath
4:50am Alarm sounds, and out of bed I got. I had some breakfast followed by a shower and then changed into my Trisuit and checked the Tyres on the bike before we headed off to the Transition area. When we arrived I found a park just up from the Transition area and headed into the Transition area to setup. I racked my bike had my area setup ready to go when Luisita turned up in transition and was directly next to me on the other side of the rack we headed out to the start of the swim leg listened to the race briefing and watched the Long Course guys go off before we got into our Wetsuits and went in for the warm up swim.

Transition Area

Swim Leg look towards the Start/Finish from the Bridge
The river was not clear, but not cold nor any current either. Before too long it was time to line up for our event. The horn sounded and off we went, out to the first buoy then down under the bridge which felt weird as the bridge was very close to the top of my swim stroke. At the turn buoys I felt strong and good back up stream under the bridge again before coming into the swim finish area up the stairs into transition. I got my wetsuit fair quickly on with the helmet and out of transition with my bike. You head out over the bridge to the turn around and then up the hill. Hill felt ok then out to T and along out a little, turn around repeat the other way. Basically the bike course is a T. I came back towards transition on the first lap feeling good at the bridge and turn around had to head up the hill for the 2nd time. This time it hurt but once at the top I felt quick and completed the lap, I came back into Transition and  stuffed up the dismount – no bigger just got it wrong.

From the Bridge/Turn around point back up towards the hill
Heading out for a spin
I racked my bike, on with the runners, grab my visor and headed out on the run, felt good until the first hill which was 1.5km uphill with 4% grade. It hurt but I pushed on during the climb, towards the top I saw Sally, one of the Technical Officials who was out on the bike checking out the run course. I made a quick joke about ensuring she had her helmet on correctly.  I pushed on during the run, running fast when I could and paced myself on the hills. Every 2km was an aid station I grabbed water mainly to cool myself down. At the turn around point, at the breakwater I felt good, this race was the longest run since breaking my toe. As I came back towards the finish I could feel my legs burning as I hit the hills again, but at the top it’s a downhill run to the finish line.

At the finish line

Ellie and I post race

My finish time was 2hr 55m and 05s. – I am happy with this time as it was my fast race back and that the course was very technical (aka Hilly)

Bring on the final few races of the season.

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