Club champs 2019, Orange NSW.
This was Jay and my second attempt at Club Champs. The thought of racing for 2 hours instead of 5 hours was quite appealing as we hadn't raced short course in over a year. Two days prior to the race it was announced that the swim leg was cancelled. Apparently the water quality was so bad it led to the hospitalisation of few of the locals who raced their local meet the week prior.
Lies, damn lies and statistics: The 1km swim leg was substituted for a 4km run. This distance was chosen as the average swim time was around 20 minutes and the average run pace was around 5min/km. Two sounds rung out around the state; the swimmers were crying and the runners were rejoicing. This was to be my first triathlon in 4 months after an achilles strain in November. You can guess which camp I was in.
We lined up on a burnt out paddock adjacent the dam for our first leg. The starting siren whooped and 57 grey-haired middle-aged athletes shot off. The pace was hectic quick. I checked my watch after a minute and realised I was being an idiot. Settle boy, settle. I dropped it back to a firm effort and watched the others peel past me. It was in these first 2 laps that I discovered something new in triathlon, some athletes just stink. The pre-race ritual of "no need to shower this morning because the swim-leg will sort that out" came to full effect. One guy in particular wasn't great on hills, so I'd pass him only to have his odour shoved in my face on the downhill. I could hardly wait to get onto the bike.
Clipping into transition to hop on the bike without a swim was another new experience. The cooling effect of wet trisuit wasn't there. This made for a very warm first push on the bike. Ahh the bike, finally I was in control. Head down, grip and rip. I quickly passed a swath of riders including Pepe le Peew. It was an out and back course that was uphill all the way out. Watch your watts on the way out and hammer your speed on the way back. The crosswind was so strong I road downhill tacking into it because of the discwheel on the back. I was sailing this course and it was a fun 30k of well sealed bitumen.
I returned to transition only to find someone had substituted my legs with boiled kranskies. Running off the bike is never my forte. The gains I made on the bike quickly evaporated as the field returned to the 4x2km loop track. Oh well, run your own race Ben. Coach's instruction for the run leg was one word "build". Every 2km I put in an extra kick and lit more matches. I red lined my HR for the last kilometre and sprinted down the chute. Whilst this effort didn't pick up a single place, it demonstrated one amazing thing. I could run pain free. This was my victory.
Thankyou Coach Miller for all your training and advice.