Whist on holiday at Huskisson on Jervis Bay last November, I was lucky enough to be in town when the “Husky Triathlon” was staged. In fact the run leg went right past our caravan site, and I backtracked into town to see what was going on. I was surprised to see “ordinary looking people” of all ages and sizes lining up in the shorter versions of the event. “I’d love to do that someday” went through my mind.
We moved on for the rest of our shakedown trip as I reported in my blog at the time, but the thought kept nagging until we returned home……and I found the 5 Race Gatoraide Tri Series, a prestigious event on the Tri Calender for the elite and serious athletes, but with shorter version races for others seeking the challenge of this discipline.
So by Christmas I had enrolled at Watermarc for swimming training, borrowed one of my son’s road bikes, and set out a rough program to increase my all-round fitness. Training on my own was a little tedious, but I persisted steadily, and after recovering from Christmas indulgences, I ENTERED!
Fast track to 4.30am last Sunday, and Denise and I were off to Elwood. It was warm, but pouring with rain, and blowing a gale……….great conditions for a triathlon we thought as we headed down. By 6am there was a real buzz of anticipation at the venue, with competitors and spectators everywhere, confirming final registration, having race numbers painted on thighs, calves, and arms, racking bikes at their stations, and carefully laying out gear for the changeovers. The change over between legs involves a maize of alleyways, so a walk-through was prudent, to avoid panic at race time. I must confess that this is more nervous than I have ever been before.
The pre-race briefing was at 7am on the beach, but you could barely hear the loud speaker for the howling wind and the crashing waves. The first wave left at 7.10am, and the M50+ second last at 7.20am. There were about 20 blokes in this, by far the smallest wave. I had a quick glance noting one maybe 60 and the rest early 50’s. The last bloke in the mirror was the good looking 65 year old!!!!!!!!!!! The swell plus the chop created by the howling South-
Westerly wind meant that visibility below the water was nil, and above restricted to the odd smaller wave – you just couldn’t see where the turning buoys were! Neither could you see fellow competitors, so most soldiered on being smashed by the waves and other competitors for most of the journey. The rescue boat had a big day, with many unable to cope with the conditions. Being near the tail of the field, and in probably one of the slower groups did have the advantage of space between competitors which occurred for all 3 legs of the journey.
The run up the beach and back to the changeover compound was several hundred metres of sand and a maize of alleyways. There to greet me was soaking shorts and cleated bike shoes with a puddle in each. Who cares, I am already wet, and the worst is over…..I thought.
The run out to the bike mount line was smooth, as was the mount and the cleating on – no spills for BasOMNI. The ride was punctuated by pouring rain, blustery S-Westerly wind, and slippery road surface, but this was my best leg, averaging just under 30km/hr for the out & back journey. Not so lucky for others, with quite a few competitors returning on foot with their bikes, and worse still a few on the roadside nursing wounds from spills. Believe me, I do know how they felt. The dismount also went quickly and smoothly, as did the run back to the compound to change shoes. I felt good, especially when passing slower competitors from waves starting ahead of mine.
The run leg was out and back right along the foreshore, and the wind was really annoying, as was the uncomfortable feeling from blisters on my feet from wet shoes put on in haste. Apart from my own determination, the encouragement from all the volunteers, marshalls, and spectators on the course meant I was always going to finish.
My wife Denise and I have travelled this journey together, and she was nearly as tired, and certainly as wet as I was at the end of the event as she had hurried all around the venue to take photos, a selection of which I have included in the post. I also want to acknowledge the encouragement from many of my OMNI friends for this event, and for Nick’s additional invaluable contribution as “Editor in Chief”.
I may appear to have indulged myself a little in writing this post, and it is difficult to describe the jubilation of finishing such a gruelling event, but the inspiration for me was the inscription on my finishing medal from the Medibank 10km run October 13, 2013, which reads “ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE”.
We are of in our van March 12 for several months in W.A., and I hope to resume my Traveller’s Blog while away.