Background, Course, Duties
In 2014 I conceived the idea to hold the Hatt Rd Duathlon. The event which followed the old World Cup Duathlon distance would be a challenge but one I believed would suit the Alice Springs Triathlon Club 70.3 athletes heading to Sydney and prepare them and test their preparation. We also held a shorter distance, an enticer and reversed the distance in preparation for those competing in the Alice Springs Masters Games. We had 22 athletes on that day with warm temperatures and was the first Duathlon held on Hatt Rd. Fiona and I were the Race Directors for this first year and were so excited to see smiles among all our athletes but what I really wanted to do was be out there racing with them!
Fast forward one year and I was hesitant to hold the event again but was encouraged to put it on from the request of some of last years athletes. I also thought it would be a good race for those heading to 70.3 Sydney, for my crew’s Ironman Western Australia race preparation, and to also provide a venue that is very unique and open to everyone. After all, the run goes into Kyunba Park where you run past an aboriginal artwork on the edge of sacred ancient grounds all while dealing with a sandy footpath and rocky road for half the course that would leave my shin sore for the next day. The bike, while not perfectly flat has some gentle rollers and is and out and back with no turns and few cars.
As race organizer, I got the event sanctioned, found race directors, and volunteers. received 4 donated polos from the Rec Association for the winners, bought C02 & Tubes as 2 spot prizes from Smith St Velo, picked up the food with Fiona, set up the trailer with Jonesy and Kate, and bought 40 Powerade bottles for all the athletes. The day before Fiona and I ran the 5K course in the heat to get an official distance (which was Spot ON) and verify the course. Fiona also set up the registration and worked our new RaceSplitter timing system which she setup with all the athletes. While I crave this action and knowing how to put on a race on with my extensive race experience over the last 7 years, it doesn’t exactly let you focus on your own race. But, everyone’s satisfaction made me really happy and proud of the success of the event.
My goals for this race were 1) Win, 2) Break 1 hour on the bike, 3) Break 2 hours for the total time, I achieved one of those goals. The long course consisted of a 10K run, 40K ride, 5K run. I was coming off Base 3 – Recovery week where I had taken my training hours down from 31 to 15; I felt like I had all the time in the world. Friday night we went out for a pasta dinner and saw Everest, Saturday we did a 4x1K swim, met up with a crew of ppl to talk triathlon (Kate, Steve, Lynn, Pete, Karen, Tammi, Kate, O’s, & Fiona) then headed to do the 5K run course and mark it, set up the trailer, and was on the bike from 7:30pm-8:25pm to get in my 55minute ride to hit my hours for the week. Our vegetarian dinner was Broccoli with leftover pasta and steamed dumplings as an appetizer.
I put the aero-jacket on my rear wheel, nair on the legs, shaved, and Fiona cut my hair to go into race-mode. I knew what I wanted to achieve but didn’t know what to expect. What I had viewed as my biggest competition in Ben Bruce and Shane Cadan, two of the fastest runners in town made me feel like I had a real race on so I wasn’t going to take anything for granted. Ben and I had bantered the prior night. I gave him respect to his run, he returned it with the bike. And even though I’m on a $12K TT, and they were on roadies, it doesn’t matter. You should respect your competition because it ain’t over till you cross that line. I had no chance at running with these boys. In my last race against them I set a PB in the half marathon of 1:28 while Ben beat me by 4:40 and Shane easily past me for the 5K where he made it look effortless. I even told Ben I thought that he could beat me by 1 minute but that I thought it would be close. My race plan was to run my own 10K while going hard and being consistent, getting on the TT and going as hard as I could for 1 hour, then finish strong with the 5K and not stopping. I woke at 5:30AM ate a Coles Bakery Muffin and Redbull. 30minutes before the race I had ARO caffeinated supplement and 1 package of Clif Shot Bloks.
My warm up consisted of running 250m to the bathroom to make sure it was vacant of all athletes, then 250m back. We toed the line at 8:05, said my blessing, Go. Ben and
Shane took off as I expected. Fiona was also there and moving on me. 13 yr old Jordyn Kindness was also ahead of me as was one other bloke and Jamie Lyons. I held my own passing Jordyn and the other guy remaining consistent in my effort and running a 6:20 first mile. We turned into Kyunba park, and at the turn around I was about 40 seconds off the leaders. I continued to monitor Shane & Ben and by the 5K they had around a minute on me. I continued to stick with it and past Ben Bruce around the 3/4 mark while Shane now 1:40 up. I knew Ben had a tough MTB ride the day prior, I can’t imagine he had gone out so hard and that I got in his head, he’s way tougher than that. Fi had said he heard he couldn’t breath well. But I think he regrouped and pulled it together quite well; he’s finish in 2nd place. My splits were 6:25, 6:50, 6:47, 6:43, 6:53, 6:42, so quite consistent and HR of 150 was right at Zone 4, and just below Threshold. Looking back, this was good, but clearly I was fatigued. I held this pace for 26.2 miles in the Alice Springs Marathon on HR of 138. It was warmer on Hatt Rd but yikes, no good.
As I came into T1, Shane was leading by 2:03, as I had expected. Fiona was 33s ahead of me and I wiped out Jamies 10s lead in T1.
Out on the bike, I quickly caught Fiona and then found Shane less than 5 minutes in. The legs felt weird having run 10K first. Something I don’t know if I’ve ever done. I realized it would be 10-15minutes before I fell into a rhythm. I was at the turnaround in 15minutes. Great. I hit the 20K in about 29:56. Ok. By this time the power kept falling but the speed remained fluctuation between 35KPH – 46KPH. I remained aero for the full 10K’s on my new carbon fiber seat post I found through a bike shop in Las Vegas and bike fit from Smith St Velo but the legs didn’t feel powerful. My intensity was far lower than I would expect but I had run the 10KM prior. I gave all my competitors the thumbs up and Kirrily Whitehead was taking amazing action shots all day long! And I love this side profile shot so thank you Kirrily!!! On the final return I hit a bump/pot hole and thought oh shit, I better not have a flat. Thankfully I continued going without any issues. On the bike I had 1 package of Clif ShotBloks & 1 bottle of Gatorade. In T2 I took a mouthful of Gatorade. The power in 10K or 15min pieces fell from 280, 271, 276, and 254. The 254 was what I held for 5 hours in Ironman Australia, clearly I wasn’t having a very good day when analyzing these metrics. On a positive note, I held 83% IF which is still technically above the pace I expect to hold in Busso. But man, I have serious work to put in. At the end of the day, I was tired and slept like crap most of the week.
On the 5K run, I immediately felt cramping in my core. I knew this was from a lack of salt as the white crustiness was appearing on my skin and tri suit already. I knew it would go away eventually; it didn’t feel as severe as Ironman Cairns in 2012. The legs felt OK but I stayed focused. Brian Heath and Darryl gave water and through it on my back which was awesome. I had seen Fiona this point who was 1.25 back on the bike & run and in 2nd place. As it turned out, she was my biggest competition finishing only 6:20 behind me. Based on her time, I believe she could go very close to 5 hours on the bike in Busso. I continued moving, made the turn, hit hatt rd, passed Fi, Ben, and Shane wishing them well. I crossed the line, winner. Splits on the run were 6:58, 7:07, 6:58, and 6:20 for the kick on HR of 141. So the HR fell and obviously pace followed but this pace & HR was much more in-line with the marathon. Maybe race-nerves had the best of me on the 10K.
As in any Alice Race, 70.3, or Ironman, you see athletes of all sizes and abilities on all types of bikes. Today was no exception. There were smiles all around and everyone seemed to have an amazing time and that is really the reason I put this race on again with major help from the 9 volunteers. Once complete, I had Endurox R4 Recovery drink, Coke, and some cookies. I cheered in all the athletes, talked with the newcomers, and got the results organized with Kelley and Megan. All the volunteers were amazing and all the athletes had a blast. We had a 68% increase in participation rate with only 3 returning from the prior year and more than half of these were non-members and first-timers. And they all made me work hard and stay focused; to take it easy and roll in for the win would just be disrespectful to them and a waste of my time. Some shout outs too: 10K winner Shane in 39:46, Max Yeffer for 2.5K in 9:57, Fiona in 1:06:59 for the 40K only 19 seconds behind Matty Whithead with 2nd place on the bike, Shane with a 20:49 5K after the 10K/40K, 1st Short Female and 3rd overall to Jordyn Kindness, records set by 3 athletes returning to the same course, and the long course records broken by the Coyles.
I take this race knowing that I need to continue focusing on the run by running at race pace and HR that falls into Zone 2, riding at Goal race pace via intervals on the long ride, and continued strength training.
Next Race: November 1st Sprint Triathlon
Rest of the Day
After getting home and unloading the car it was 4 hours on the trainer. It was very difficult after the race but we had to get it done. 2 hours in though, the power and HR really picked up and it is quite obvious for a very good reason.
Ironman NBC Videos. We couldn’t find the IM World Champion 2014, Wtf? But we watched the 2009 video, even though I watched it on the treadmill at Anytime Fitness last week. We were inspired by the woman who couldn’t run after a stroke but finished, a 79yr old who had done 20 Konas and finished, a man who had a heart transplant, a man with no legs and only had glute muscles, 2 navy commanders who trained on a submarine and a destroyer, and the woman who battled back from breast cancer. These are my motivational moments; they nearly bring me to tears and continues to display to me, why I so love this sport.