Cottesloe 2015 – Super Sprint Distance

Cottesloe 2015

This race came in the middle of three consecutive weekends of racing. Coming a week after the Busselton Standard (Olympic) Distance race, I was confident I was in shape, but I wasn’t sure how mush speed I had in me, as the lead up was focused around endurance for the race last week.

My friends and family have a tradition of entering the ‘Tri-it’ distance (Super Sprint) which is 300m, 12km, and 3km (though last year it was ‘10km’ bike, which was really closer to 8km – two laps of the bike).

This year due to injury, travel and other commitments, only my youngest brother and I were able to enter. My other brother came first (on the day) last year (2014) in 20-29 age group, after second place the year before. He was relegated to second place last year due to the Pro athlete competing in his race losing his ankle timing chip. Seems odd a pro would be competing in this distance with a proper Sprint also available at this event, but I think it was due to him competing in the Busselton Jetty Swim the following day.

Our circle of friends has had quite some success in this event – in 2014: first and second in the women’s 20-29, 1st, 2nd and 4th in the mens 2014 (adjusted to 2nd, 3rd and 5th on revised results – I came 8th). 2013 1st, 2nd and third in the mens 20-29.

This year I had moved by to 30-39, so I was hopeful of getting a podium, but you never know who decides to do the shorter distance. I suspect the top 60% of the Sprint field would have won this race if they decided to enter.

Swim (Official 300m; 9:32 – all the swim results are very slow, I think they had the race start time wrong. Actual: 340m; 7:25; Pace: 2:10/100m) Place 5 / 8

It was a wetsuit legal swim, but non of the ‘Tri-It’ distance competitors were wearing them, so I decided not to be the odd one out. All of the male age groups started together so it was difficult to tell where you were in your age group. The swim started from a different part of Cottesloe (200m south of where we usually start) so the long sea grass was a bit off-putting. It was a deep water start, so we didn’t have to worry about the uneven surface running into the water like previous years. The swim went well, I felt I was in the middle of the pack most of the way. As this race is typically for less experience triathletes, I think the swim abilities are proportionally weaker.

Reviewing the results I was 5th out of the water in my age group, which I was happy with.

Bike (12km; 25:03; Speed 28.9km/h) Place – Unavailable due to the placement of the timing mats, short distance athletes would have to go out of their way 20m to go over the mat, so they were told not to. The fastest split of the short distance was 28:13 for the athlete who came 4th, as he went over the mate by mistake. My split was 3 minutes faster, so my guess is I had a top 3 bike split)

One of the other things I noticed was due the more inexperience triathletes (though there were definitely a few serious ones, well based on the number of expensive TT bikes in this ‘beginner’s’ event) was that the competitors were well reheard at transition. I passed four people when I was jumping on to to do the flying leap bike mount, and never saw them again. I suspect a few of these would have been in my category.

The bike leg is nice and flat except for a side street hill that you get sent up once every 4km lap. (The full sprint guys had to do the hill 5 times!) It’s a very steep climb, I did the first one out of the saddle, but it fatigued me too much, so I did the remaining two climb seated in a low gear.

I passed a large group of athletes twice, and picked off a number of individual riders from various waves, but also apparently once in my wave. Due to timing mat placement competitors in our race didn’t get bike split times, so I wont know how many I passed. I was only overtaken by athletes very obviously in the full Sprint trip – based on their race number and bike value.

Run (3.3km; 16:01; Pace: 4:51min/km) Place: due to timing mats splits weren’t available. The best split in my age group from a competitor who went 20metres further to get to the other transition entrance and went over a split was 18:48, but that includes transition. Of the people that only got a combined bike+run split, I was the fastest by 4 minutes over the person who came 2nd overall, who also had a combined split. So for Bike and Run I would have had the fastest split out of all 8 in the age group.

I had a few brick sessions where I had run 4:20 pace or faster getting off the bike, but the bike sessions never matched the intensity of the race.

I was hoping for something like a 4:30 pace run split, but I knew this was clearly not achievable as soon as I started the run. I settled into a pace I felt I could maintain (4:50 pace) and kept an eye out for anyone from my category to see if I needed to accelerate to stay in touch. On the outward part of the run, I checked if anyone that passed me turned at the 1.5km mark, but they all continued past it, so I know I was only passed by people doing the 5km run of the full Sprint distance. On the way back I was passed by a few who I recalled seeing going past that mark also so wasn’t too worried, but with 400m to go someone passed me who I was pretty sure was doing the short distance, but I couldn’t tell his age group, but I was feeling OK, so I pushed hard to stay within 20m, and then with 100m to go behind the club house I started a full sprint and passed him a few metres before the line.

Overall 53:46 (Actual: 51:52) Place 1 / 8

I was worried when they announced 3rd place and then 2nd, as I was hoping for a podium, but then I was thrilled to hear my name for first place. I’m under no illusions that the majority of the 30-39 field would have beaten me if they were doing this distance, but you can only beat the people that are there, so I was glad to have improved on this race year on year again.

Comparing to this race in 2013, I improved by 6 minutes from 57:51 to 51:52. in 2014 it only had a two loop bike course, so it isn’t directly comparable. My 2014 was 42:25, adding an addition 10:10 based on my average per-lap bike time would make it 52:35, but the swim was shorter that year also.

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