Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Tre-x Off Road Triathlon
March 9th 2008
Someone decided to make triathlon fun.

(1st Female), 2hrs 18 minutes.

Imagine you’re about to do a triathlon. You’ve got your goggles, your bike and your running shoes, you’re setting them all up in a transition zone, but something’s different, you’re in the forest.

So what’s different? You rack your bike (you need one of those ones with bobbly tyres), you bring a towel (because the ground is leaf litter) and you might choose to bring an older pair of running shoes if it’s been raining.

The off road element makes the whole race heaps more fun. Suddenly the bike isn’t just about saving something for the run, it’s about going as fast as you can where you can, enjoying the hills, chatting to other riders and getting better with each lap as the course gets more familiar.

Even the run, which I always see as the assessment element of a triathlon, was made more of an adventure and an experience. In this race we ran around the lake, and whilst there was one hill that made the legs shudder a bit, there were sections of the run you just couldn’t help but enjoy.

The bush setting, the mountain biking, the festival type mode, all make this a wonderful way to spend a morning, push yourself or train.
AYUP 12 hour Dusk to Dawn Mountain Bike Race
March 2nd 2008
Two Wheels Promotions

(2nd Female Solo)

I blame the adventure racers!

Triathlon, mountain biking…adventuring racing. I’ve never done an adventure race or a 24 hour but that hasn’t stopped what “they” do, influencing what I do.

I thought Ironman was kind of it, as hard as it gets and as long and overwhelming as the challenge becomes. I trained so hard for my first Ironman just to survive it and now I discover that it is just one of many adventures that someone has conjured up, and someone else has decided to follow. What they do destroyed all the nice neat boundaries I had around what I thought was possible. I guess this is how I ended up sitting on my bicycle at 7pm getting ready to ride all through the night.

I don’t really know what happened to the night. I can say I went, around and around and around that track because someone counted me doing so twenty times. If you asked me I’d probably guess half that number. I don’t know if it is fatigue or darkness that hides the memories.

In comparison to a day 12 hour, I’d say it is cooler and a bit more of an adventure. It makes you search deep for things to keep your mind and body active, carefully timing a cup of coffee or a bit more coke. It’s a bit more social that a day race in some ways. Everyone’s looking for distractions and whilst the course gets kind of bare in those early morning hours, anyone you do come across is grateful for a chat. You get to sleep in which is a nice novelty before a race.

The real challenges of night racing, as I could see it, were faced by the support. I just don’t think I could stay awake all night if I wasn’t peddling, and I just don’t think I could drag myself out of bed every half hour to organise a drink bottle. Jeff and Al were my support and they didn’t get an easy customer. I’d done better than last time in that I didn’t forget to bring all the food I’d prepared but I hadn’t got it organised. Despite this they managed to concoct some superb beverages (my favourite was water, coke and blueberry juice), hand me easter eggs (no one can complain about that), and deliver my tuna and coriander sandwiches at just the right moments.

The course was great. After doing one lap I thought to myself that there really wasn’t one part of the loop I didn’t like, and there were many parts I liked a lot. The start, finish area comes just after a fun down hill at Kooralbyn so we always enter in good spirits.

I’d been riding harder since about 4am when I found out Alex was not so far ahead of me. I put what I could into those next few laps, trying to concentrate on nutrition to ensure I kept going. The sun crept up and more people came out on the track again. I expected to feel refreshed by the light but I started to worry more on my descents and felt the tiredness. With two laps to go, I was just trying to keep going. I gave a few pretty despondent looks at my support crew who were offering me extravagant platters of lollies, sandwiches, juice, coke, fruit and easter eggs! The easter eggs seemed to be the preferred option at that time of the day. On the second last lap, I slowed right down and tried to hit survival mode. I stayed there for a little while and decided it just feels too uncoordinated on a mountain bike. I’m much better off peddling at a decent rate to keep steady on the climbs. So I enjoyed waking up the last bit of determination I had to use in those last two laps. And I enjoyed meeting Alex at the finish, I’d heard a lot about her.