Tag Archives: triathlon

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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Cottesloe Success!

My family and friends have a tradition of doing the “Tri-It” distance as Cottesloe, and we’ve had a few medals so far, because the more serious competitors are all doing the full Sprint Distance. This year, once again there was a pro in the 20-29, but now that I’ve moved into the 30-39 category, I was wondering how strong the field would be. Well here’s the answer: Cottesloe

Race report will come, but in summary: I came out of the water in 5th in my age group, passed 3 or 4 people in transition (not sure which age group) with the flying leap bike mount while they were trying to clip in. Then I passed two groups on the bike, and then a few more individuals, and I was only overtaken by people doing the Sprint Distance. One the run, I wasn’t passed by anyone doing the Tri It distance, and passed a handful of people who were. I was passed with 50m to go, but did a sprint finish to pass him, though I think he was doing the full Sprint Distance anyway. Unfortunately the Tri-It cometitors didn’t get run splits, due to the placement of the bike racks away from transition, I would like to have known if I had the fastest run split of, or if I passed all 5 on the bike.

Busselton Standard Distance 2015

Busselton Olympic 2015

The Olympic (Standard) Distance event this year was all the way down at Busselton – quite a long drive for a race that will only take between 2 and 3 hours, but is a great course, and the location for the Half and Full Ironman races in December and May each year respectively.

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Swim (1.5km; 34:41; Pace: 2:18min/km) Place: 48 / 52

The swim leg was in the Geographe Marina – around the boat parking areas and waterside homes, rather than the iconic Busselton Jetty (a few KM down the coast) where the Ironman and Ironman 70.3 are held.

The swim conditions were simply ideal, pretty low waves, nice and warm water, and production from any currents because it was in the marina.

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Bike (40km; 1:21:23; Speed: 29.5km/h) Place: 41 / 52

We knew from waiting around at the start line it was going to be windy on the bike, and these expectations were confirmed the second you pushed your first pedal stroke. The wind was north easterly, meaning the two main outward sections were diagonally into the breeze, the first outward sections was a bit more cross breeze, the second outward section was almost straight into the headwind. I passed a few people on the headwind sections, as I managed to pedal strongly in the aero position, and the tail wind sections were simply great! Flying at 37-40km/h made you feel like a pro cyclist. I had two Gels on the bike, and for drink I had one hydrolyte (electrolytes only, no carbs) and one water.

Run (10km; 57:41; Pace: 5:46min/km) Place: 46 / 52

I had hoped for a 5:20min/km pace run and managed to hold that pace for the first 3km, but then it became apparent this was not going to be sustainable, so I slowed to 5:45 and 6 min pace. Ankles and lower calves were very fatigued at this point.

I had a Winners’ Energy Gel just before the 5km aid station and felt this helped a bit. It was a struggle through to the finish, but I beat last years’ run time by nearly 3 mins.

Overall (2:57:26; Place 45 / 52)

I was happy with the sub 3 overall, but really wanted a sub 55 run, and was aiming for a 30min swim rather than 35. Bike was very close to 30km/h, and on a less windy day I’m confident I could have hit that target.

It was a nice race in a nice location, and a precursor to the 70.3 in May!

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Telstra Tri Series 2014/15 – Race #2: Armadale – Champion Lakes

I wasn’t surpised to receive the email during the week leading up to the event letting the athletes know that the swim leg would be cancelled for this event due to poor water quality. Having raced there last year in the murky conditions it was only a matter of time until a swim would be cancelled, especially with the consistent hot weather leading up to the event.

A view over the lake we wouldn't be swimming in due to water quality issues
A view over the lake we wouldn’t be swimming in due to water quality issues

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Run #1 (2.5km [2.4]; 11:00; Pace: 4:34min/km) Place: 36 / 54

Given there was no swim leg, I wore cycling socks with my running shoes. This had the added advantage of being able to put the ankle timing chip over the sock which made it a little more comfortable. The start format was a time trial start, which athletes heading off every 5 seconds, in numerical order of bib number. For the first run I set off at a reasonably quick pace as I wanted to maintain the gaps initially so as not to get in anyone’s way or find myself having to pass or be passed. However as I was expecting I set off to fast, averaging 3:30min pace for the first 200m, I slowed down 4:40 up the bridge, but sped up to 3:30 again on the downhill. For the rest of the first km I slowed down a bit so the first split was 4:18, and maintained the pace to end up with 4:35min/km. I was pretty happy with the speed, but slightly worried I took the first run a little to fast.

Cycle (20km [20.8]; 40:58; Speed: 30.4km/h) Place: 43 / 54

I could tell it was going to be a windy cycle, given the headwind on the return section of the out and back initial run. However, it was really only one quarter of the more-or-less rectangular course where you felt the strong headwind. The ‘back straight’ was actually a nice long stretch of tailwind so I got my average for that section up over 35km/h to compensate for the slow section. Not a lot else to report except I felt that the flatter course suited my training, rather than the more hilly courses at Left Bank and Hillarys. I finished the bike with 30.4km/h average, finally beating the 30km/h average in a race.

Run #2 (5km [4.9]; 24:35; 5:01min/km) 36 / 54

Running out of T2 I didn’t feel too bad – I think on the whole the initial run is less exhausting than a swim leg. I set out trying to maintain 5min/km pace, and not getting tempted into running the first km too hard. The first 2 splits were 5:04 and 5:08, I tried to pick up the pace a bit in kms 3 and 4, but they ended up being 5:10 and 5:11. I had been focusing on cadence in training drills, and tried to keep the cadence at 180 during the run, but it drifted to 176 and 174, as I just could quite it the right turnover rhythm. For the final km I pushed a lot hard, increasing stride distance having given up on cadence leaving it at 174. The pace for the final 900m, was 4:30, including a final sprint that had me only 1 second slower over the final 100m sprint Strava segment that I’m still equal 3rd overall. I ended the run leg utterly exhausted averaging 5:01min/km, which I was pretty happy with.

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Overall 1:19:41 38 / 54

I was very happy with the overall age group placing I managed to get this time, however, many of the more ‘serious’ triathletes did not attend due to it being a long drive to an event with no swim. However, you can only beat the people who are there, and with a bike over 30km/h and a second run leg at 5:01, I’m confident I got the best out of myself.

The Open Race was exciting to watch afterwards, and there were some sprint finishes for podium places.

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Afterwards I spotted this awesome orange Giant Propel – definitely the brightest bike this season.

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Then I enjoyed a recovery coffee and bagel at The Roastery.

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Left Bank Triathlon 21 Nov 2014 – First of the season

The alarm went bright and early for the drive down to the Left Bank Triathlon near Fremantle. I had all my gear packed by the front door to make it easier to load into the car and get away. Even so, I was running a little late.

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I got to transition about 10 mins from the official closing time, dropped my bike and bag there, and got my race number sorted out. These triathlons are less strict about cutoff times, so I had a chance to get my gear setup, and look around to see if wet suits were a popular option. There were about 20% or 30% of athletes wearing them so I thought it would be a good time to give mine a race debut. I had only swum in it the first time the day before, in a brief open water practice swim at my local beach.

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Swim  (500m; Time: 7:45; Pace 1:34/100m)

Being my first we suit race, I didn’t know what to expect, but I did know to expect not to worry about the very cold water – and indeed I didn’t I was nice and relaxed as the others were talking about how cold the water was (at this race last year I remember it being pretty cold). We swam in the opposite direction to last year as the tide and current were different.

Once the race started I got into my swimming stroke rhythm quickly, with the wet suit not hindering rotation or movement in the shoulders at all – it felt great. I found myself catching and bumping into feed in front of me, so the suit must have been helping.

The swim seemed to be finished very quickly – it was only 400m (my Garmin says 500m), so I already knew the wetsuit helped with my speed, as well as the fact we were swimming with the current.

I did notice at T1 I was a little light-headed getting out of suit, however, I wasn’t too concerned as this had happened the day before when I got out of the suit at the end of my practice swim. I think my body needs a few more swims to adjust to the compression on my chest to regulate blood flow when I remove the suit. I just made sure not to push too hard running out of T1 so I wouldn’t loose balance or anything, but the light-heartedness had already stopped by the time I had unracked my bike.

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Bike (18.7km; Time: 39:27; Speed: 28.6km/h)

This was my first race with the Serfas Portal Photochromatic lense sunglasses, Specialized S-Works Evade helmet, and S-Works Trivent carbon shoes. I had no problems with any of the gear, the shoes were more comfortable in the race than they had been in training, probably becuase I kept nice even power, and didn’t have any of the huge power intervals that strain the part of the shoe at the heel where you can feel the wire tugging on your achilles.

As soon as I set off on the bike I could tell my HR was high – and the Garmin confirmed it. I tried to set off at a steady pace but there is a significant climb almost immediately. I stayed seated and used the second-easiest gear to get up it, and then settled into the rhythm. On the flats I felt like I was going well, quite efficiently, and passing the people I would expect to pass. I took better advantage of the downhill section than quite a few people, and I noticed they passed me back on the hill climb. I changed places with one person three out of the four laps. I really struggled with the climb each time, losing several places each time it came around.

My average speed was in fact slower than last year, which was disappointing, but the course was a bit shorter (more than 1km shorter than last year), and they had removed the distance from either end of the main flat section, so the average elevation gain per KM was increased. A small consolation – I really expected to be able to push out an average over 30km/h.

I suspect the Trainer Road 40km TT plan I am doing will be of better benefit on flatter courses with more even power output. I’ve not really done any hill training, or simulated hill training on the trainer. Note to self: specificity of training is very important!

Run (4.36km; Time: 21:33; Pace: 4:56/km)

My goal was sub 5min per Km pace. I knew to expect the hills, so I didn’t worry too much about having to drop back to 5:45 pace for the climbs, as I know I can pick up that time quite easily running down hill. All my training runs are over undulating terrain here near the coast so I was relatively well prepared for the hilly course.

Heading out for the first flat section before the hill at 5:00 pace, it all felt under control, so I backed it off a little up the hill, and was 20sec down by the time I got the the 1km mark (each lap is 2km). I planned to regain all of that time by the time I reached the lap turn around, and indeed I got pretty close at the end of the hill, and used the flat section to pick up the final second or two, before setting back down to 5:00 on the dot for the first part of lap top. I let myself fall the same 20sec behind heading up hill, but pushed it a bit harder down the hill so I had regained all the time before the final flat section.

I pushed the final 400m, and a sprint for the last 50m where I passed 4 people, including 2 in the finishing chute (one was in my age group!). I ended up with a 4:57 average. I found racing with the Garmin Virtual Partner set to 5min pace, made things a bit simpler than worrying about more complicated data screens.

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Nutrition

Having listened to a lot about low-carb, high-fat diets, and general sports diet information (mainly Fitter Radio) I decided just to go with some sports drink on the bike, and no gels or anything else. It was completely fine. I picked up some Bindi sports drink to try as it’s more natural than things like Gatorade, and tastes a lot nicer, so I’ll be trying that in my next race which is a longer (750m / 25km / 6 km). I might put a gell on the bike, just in case, but I don’t think I’ll need it.

Overall

Overall I was happy with the result – winter training kept things improving, except the bike. For swimming I had done 9 swims between 600m and 1.2km in the 4 weeks leading up, and I’d only done one brick session. The wet suit made a big different to my swim placing.

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Telstra Triathlon Series 2012/13 Race #4 – Rockingham Triathlon

After a bit of a drive down to Rockingham (a southern coastal suburb in Perth), it was pretty clear to see it was simply ideal swim conditions while I was pushing my bike over to transition to set up. The ocean was flat, without even a hint of waves, and the water was crystal clear for quite some way out – well past the marker buoys. This was going to be more like a salty pool swim rather than a typical ocean swim.

Third triathlon in 3 weekends so I was hoping I’d be in pretty decent shape for this one. I’d had a relatively solid week with a 10km run on Monday, a Wednesday bike, a hard lunch run followed by a bike interval and brick run in the Thursday evening, rest Friday and Sat.

The weather was nice, though the easterly indicated it was going to get a little warmer later on.

Swim (750m [Actual 800m]; Time: 18:34; Pace: 2:16/100m – Place 62/67)

The swim conditions stayed idea and we set off into the clear, still water. As usual, I quickly found my self in the slower 25% of the field, swimming along consistently, but not too speedily. The run to transition was OK, though we crossed over the run course and the early waves were already running so that was a little tricky. I managed to avoid a collision.

Bike (20km [Actual 18.6km]; Time: 38:41; Speed: 28.7km/h – Place 65/67)

The bike course was nice and flat, but had significant headwind sections, and a bit of rough surface in places. The headwind defeated me and I didn’t get close to my target 30km/h. The course was about 1.5km short of the official 20km, so people ended up with better split times than they were expecting.

Run (5km [4.9]; Time: 24:56; Pace: 5:03min/km)

It was my 5km debut for the bright green Saucony Mirage 2 – I’d used them in the 3km run for Cottesloe the week before, but this was the first race 5km I was using them for. They were very comfortable sockless for the 5km, but I think the sizing is slightly bigger than standard. They definitely feel nice firm for racing – giving you that extra pop in your step when you are running 5min/km or quicker.

Rockingham 2014

For the run I tried as hard as possible to run to target pace, and was more or less on track, but the fourth kilometre I lost the pace – splits were 4:47 (too fast), 4:59, 5:08, 5:32, but I pulled it back quite a lot for a 4:45 pace final km. The course was slightly short, so I ended up with a faster than 5min pace official result, but 5:03min pace on my watch. Happy with the run, but with better pacing I could have cracked 5min pace more clearly.

Overall 1:24:15 (Place 63/67)

It was a fun event, and came away feeling happy that I’d put everything on the line, nothing left in the tank after this one. Happy with my run pace and hoping to get under 5min/km at Hillarys #2 in April – the last triathlon for the season but over a month away. I was hoping to be further up my age category, but alas, I think everyone else was training at least as hard as I was!