Alpine Ascent Long Course
Triple A- Australian Alpine Ascent Triathlon
3km swim, 113km ride, 22km run
Jindabyne 10 March 2018
Triple A- Australian Alpine Ascent was always going to be a challenging yet rewarding event. It had the added stress of being self-crewed and for anyone who knows my partner Joe (who is Fijian) he is a very supportive guy although as with any Fijian man, he runs on strict “FIJI TIME”. To compliment Joe’s Fiji time we also had Kelera; Joe’s 10 year old who loves triathlon and anything triathlon although at times can be pretty absent minded and quite unfocused on the task at hand. This was my crew team!!! EEK! You can see my worry now!
My build into Triple A was very different to usual events as it was my first big event being coached by Nathan Miller-Project M Team. The biggest difference was not just smacking out endless Kms running and riding every weekend for 12 weeks straight. Everything had a purpose and direction. Trust me there were still full on weeks of double run days, huge ride days, and multiple hill repeats both running and riding. I felt ready by the time Husky Triathlon rolled around with two weeks to go!
We arrived in Jindabyne Thursday before the Saturday race. I was amazed with the beauty and the lake! It was beautiful.
Friday morning I woke up to do my pre-race ride and it was a brisk 5 degrees. Bbbbrrr, Lucky I packed all my winter ride gear, and I wore it all! This gave me a good indication of what it was ganna be like getting out of the water the next morning! Cold! I spent most of Friday chilling and trying to relax and get all the gear ready for the crewing escapade. Friday night we had race briefing and a lot of requirements for mandatory gear were downgraded as the weather was meant to be glorious the next day. Yay!! Friday night was an early one once all the preparation was done.
Saturday morning! 4.45am wake up to make sure breakfast was digested and Kelera was awake and ready to crew for the day. My mum had also ended up making the last minute decision to come and watch me. Her first time ever watching me in triathlon and she chooses Triple A.
We arrived at transition still pitch black and greeted by the awesome EE crew, a comment from Emmo being “you’re a little quieter than yesterday” haha . I set up transition and it was a lot warmer than yesterday with it being 11 degrees and much warmer in the water. I still prepped transition with all the woollies as I didn’t know what to expect on the bike. The field was very small only 20 males and 6 females… yep I’m just that tough.
10 minutes to race start and I go to do my tri-suit up and the zipper breaks! Aaargh.. I held my cool, just trying to work out the best solution. People offered different things but I’m sure you know what it’s like, you just want your own gear. I would be fine in the swim as I had a wettie on, and the ride would be fine; although I would just be doing Janet Jackson style and abit more free feeling. The best I could come up with was to get Joe to go back to the accommodation and get my run clothes and ill change in T2. I had to forget about it and move on!
The swim! 3 lap course. It was warm, murky and definitely not salt. Through the swim I had no one around me and I felt like I was last in the water, I could see people swimming in all different directions and was wondering if I was really sighting that bad? I hoped out of the swim and was asking how cold it really was so I could decide what to put on as I felt warm from the water. Joe and Mum both saying no it’s warming up; I still decided long fingered gloves and vest as memories of yesterday morning where still fresh in my mind.
Out on the bike I realised almost instantly I had too many clothes on. I took the gloves off and put them in the back of my vest, as soon as I see the crew I’ll be dumping the vest also. We had an out and back to Dead horse gap past Thredbo, I knew after this out and back I was half way through the ride in Kms… but definitely not in time. This out and back was pretty uneventful, saw the crew lots but didn’t need to stop for much just one refill of infinite that was a quick stopover not much chat. There was a lot of road kill of snakes, baby dear and lizards and that was keeping my mind occupied on pretty dead (excuse the pun) road. It took me 2hrs20min to reach dead horse gap and I was like WOW this is going to be a long day. What I hadn’t realised was how much climbing I had done on the way out, because the ride back in to Jindabyne felt like mostly downhill, and for someone who usually hates descents I was loving them today!
I knew the worst was come, everyone had warned me and tried to explain it to me. I had mentally prepared for the worst. The climb to Charlottes Pass was about to begin. I was mainly relying on Infinit nutrition for all my nutrition needs on the bike, I had coke and Red Bull for later as I love something fizzy and cold late in long rides. As I started the climb I was so incredibly hot, it was like a sauna, I had trained plenty in the heat I am not sure why I found it so hard to handle. At the 85km mark I was trying to hold coke off to the 90km mark. But each km was taking so long to tick over that I ended up breaking at 87kms. The crew had to choose wisely where to pull over so I would be able to start again. I smashed the coke down and when my crew drove past me I yelled “woo hoo, I feel amazing again!” At this point in the climb it was a slow grind, again the thing that was taking my mind off it was the bones on the side of the road and wondering what animal it came from. Even at 90kms I thought I was close but then I would realise how slow I am going and actually how long it would take to click over the last 23kms. I even changed my watch from kms to just read elevation. I wasn’t so much hurting it was just really quiet and felt like I was out for a tough Sunday long ride. I asked my crew to stop often as It was just good seeing them. I only had one more coke, and over the whole ride would have stopped for less than 5 minutes total. It was a welcome sight to see Perisher, so close to Charlottes pass and you could actually see the roads where not just winding hills. I still felt good and could hold 36kms on the flats, and was blocking out the “how am I ganna run” thoughts. Before I knew it I had hit 111kms and realised Joe had to get T2 to set up my run gear. I yelled out to him to get to T2! The traffic controller pointed me down into Charlottes pass Village.. a steep concrete road descent.
The staff down at the village hadn’t realised Joe was part of a crew team (not sure how they missed the big orange sticker saying Triple A support team plastered on the glass of the car??) so when I got to transition they were not even out of the car yet!! I racked my bike and could see them heading over. I had Joe hold a towel up around me to enable me to change into my run gear. This was it, time to say good bye to my AWESOME crew to go run up Kosciuszko all by myself. A crew selfie and I was on my way.
I walked up the steep incline out of the village as it was fairly steep and didn’t wanna waste energy at the beginning of the run, I had enough to go! The first 5km of the run ticked over nicely, no walking required and was in awe of the beauty of where I was. I even took a live Instagram video and posted it! There were still runners out from the trail running events and I saw some people I knew that was an absolute god sent. You guys know who you are, and you made my day! It was when the run started to incline it became really tough, I tried different run walk methods, I just couldn’t get in a groove, I felt alone and like it was never ending, you could see the climb ahead. Very discouraging. Most other triathletes had a crew member on a mountain bike, at this point I wish I did. It was a lonely climb to the top. One other female participant was around me at this point and her crew member on his mountain bike semi-adopted me. We reached the summit together and took selfies and tried to enjoy it although also both knew we had to make the descent to the bottom. The EE crew at the top were also fantastic and a welcome sight. I had made a pack with myself as I had walked so much up that I had to run the whole way down… and I did it! You could never get much pace up (well I don’t do pace anyway) because of the rocky slippery surface but at least I was running! The way down was amazing, hearing the kms beep on my watch was amazing, with 5kms to go I felt it was just a parkrun away! I had done it! And made cut-off!
Heading down the steep concrete descent into the village I was getting emotional, but I held it together. I knew Joe, Kelera and Mum where waiting at the finish line in an awesome location. Kelera was waiting to run over the finish line with me! What a way to end a top day! It was a great sight to see, the crew who had supported me all day waiting to see me finish! Took me 10hrs 22minutes! What a day! Nothing could compare to it. It was hotter than expected and just as tough.
This would not have been possible without the awesome crew, I could not thank them enough, I have heard stories about their day and I’m glad I was out of the car not in it! Triathlon may normally be an individual sport, but not in this case. I would vouch on it I have more photos and go pro footage than any other athlete out there! They are my paparazzi and my drive.
The amazing Elite Energy Crew that makes these stupid events possible!
And of course Nathan Miller getting me to the start and finish line, I hope I did you proud.
I would definitely go back, although I would want Joe to train up to do the mountain bike with me up Mount Kosciuszko, I found that part the toughest as you are really out there alone.