Last week I competed in the Balmoral Triathlon Club Sprint race. I joined the triathlon club about 4 years ago when I first moved to Australia. My wife and I thought it would be a good idea to get involved in the local exercise community and meet some new people. Over 4 years on and the club is like our family. As an athlete, coach and committee member of BTC much of my Australian life has developed as a part of this club. It was apparent to me that after my first triathlon race in Australia 4 years prior, it was time I had another crack at the BTC club race.
After a few years of long course triathlon racing I am trying to claw back some of my pace with some varied training and shorter racing early on in the season. These club races are an ideal opportunity for a little test and to soak up the awesome club atmosphere displayed by the participants and volunteers.
My BTC race mornings usually start at 5am at Balmoral Beach with the other committee members getting all the race equipment from our club house onto a truck and down to Chowder Bay. These type of races rely solely on club volunteers and sponsors to set up and run the event. It takes a lot of work to activate efficiently and safely and the committee does an amazing job each season across the 4 races. I'm often tasked the job of 'shark bait', or more specifically setting up the swim course on the lifesaving board before the sun comes up. It was nice this time just to leisurely head to the start with Dani (who was also racing) and Ethan. I had a few athletes I coach racing, so it was an opportune time to wander around transition and check everyone was relaxed and ready to race.
The Race: Not your average triathlon course!
400m swim at Obelisk beach (a nudie beach) with a mountainous stair climb to transition, 15km bike of Chowder Bay Road (5x3km laps including 5 speed humps and multiple potholes) and 4km cross country run .
I did a solid swim warm up before the race briefing, including an attempt at a few fly strokes. I knew my body was going to get a shock with the speed of racing this distance and that new club member, Quentin is an absolute fish and would be off in the distance and soon as the horn went. I started out fairly hard and equipped with my Xterra Vengeance wettie and Nimblewear racesuit I was moving well, but some way behind the leader. After some hyper ventilation, and a slightly short course I exited the water 2nd, with a hefty deficit to 1st. As I climbed the mountain to transition I already saw 1st place jumping on his bike ready to go.
I was super excited to be riding my box fresh Giant Trinity. The new bike is amazing and highly developed from the previous model, which was already a fast bike. I knew the course layout was not going to be ideal to test the bike, but I knew this was where I needed to make my time on the rest of the field. Although bunny hopping multiple speed humps to avoid crowding other, newer athletes while they navigated the speed humps I managed to take the lead by the end of the second lap of the bike and kept extending on the final 3. I finished the 15km with a solid lead going into the run.
I was planning to go out pretty solid for the run, first to test out how I was feeling, but also as I'd had a calf problem a couple of week ago and reoccurring achilles issues and I wanted to see after some consistent training if it was going to be an issue for future racing this season. Although not at a blistering pace, I felt pretty good physically and managed to hold a steady enough pace to take the win.
It was great to be part of this event as a participant again. It goes to show how important the committee and volunteers are in a community club to get these races going smoothly and safely. Also as a participant it makes me appreciate how little words of encouragement from volunteers goes such a long way -we often forget how much time and dedication goes into this side of racing.
A special mention to the club participants, we had a number of first timers to our triathlon event and some doing their first ever race. It's great to see experienced and novice performers all enjoying and sharing similar experiences within the one event. A reason why Balmoral Triathlon Club is so awesome!
As always, the support of so many amazing people allows me to keep striving to improve and perform well. Thanks Energy Link Coaching, Giant Sydney, Titan Performance Group, Xterra Australia, Square One Physio, Tokyowheel, Vision PT Mosman, SiS Australia, Lululemon Mosman and my wife Dani (who competed in her first triathlon after the birth of Ethan, getting on the podium).
For results and an impartial run down check out the triathlon club race report.