Sunday, November 22, 2009

Drought-breaker Dave and the would-be triathlon

A mate of mine called David Hansen (Super Sprint Promotions) has been running triathlons in Melbourne for over 20-years. In that time he has organised hundreds of events including triathlons, runs, bike rides and even the Olympic Games Triathlon in Sydney. He really knows how to put on a show and his events are normally sold-out.

In the last couple of years, though, his season-opening race has become better known for something else. Today - as last year - the swim was cancelled because of a Noah's Flood rain storm that hit Melbourne before, during and after the race (my rain gauge overflowed at 50mm). Throw in a reasonable dose of wind and it was quite an apocalyptic scene.

Which makes it all the more amazing that about 1500 folks braved the conditions to turn up and race. I had been looking forward to the swim (NOT!) and so wasn't too upset when it was replaced with a 1.5k run. My age group was off 41-mins after the gun so I had to wait around a bit till we got underway.

Run 1.5k
This run was more a token to break up the field a bit before we got on the bike than anything else. About 300m in there was an enormous water crossing which you could either ford for a few steps or leap up onto an uneven bluestone wall and run along. I rekindled my childhood and took to the wall. After a little more than six and a half minutes it was back to my bike.

Bike 20k
The ride has always been my favourite leg of a triathlon, but generally not my best one (hmm, strange that). And whilst I have spent most of this year focussing on improving my run it has been the cycling that has given way. So much so that it was only today that my yearly cycling distance outstripped my running distance.

The ride at this race is a two-lap affair. It is dead flat with only wind - and rain - to contend with. My cycle computer had given up the ghost in the rain so I had only a passing notion of how well I was going. But I felt good and in control despite the conditions. That said, a few folks blew by me like I was standing still. Sheesh!!

Happy to get off the bike in just over 37min for an average speed of just over 32kph (20mph). Not quick by normal standards but a good yardstick of my current condition.

Run 5k
I was really looking forward to this bit. Though I've not done much for a month I thought I was still in reasonable nick to run a fast 5k. Again, tough conditions with a headwind on the way out and my feet already soaking wet from the ride. Then, to make it worse, a torrential downpour on the return leg.

Funniest thing was the aid station attendants asking me if I wanted any water - as if I didn't have enough!!! Had a great run in any case and no-one passed me whilst I cruised by a lot of folks. Went through the (slightly long) 5k in 21.37min (4.14m/k pace) so my fastest triathlon 5k in about six years. Very happy.

As if it had not rained enough during the event, after the race it came down in biblical proportions. I was lucky enough to be 'rescued' by my long-suffering-and-very-understanding-wife, complete with two kids, and this saved me a miserable ride home. At least I feel as though I did some decent training today!


  1. Well done. The 5K pace suggests that the marathon training has given you a very solid level of fitness for running

  2. Great job out there! Ha, that sounds like the ideal "triathlon" to me! An almost guarantee of no swim? Yes, please! :)

  3. well done, I can't imagine how bad the wind was. also, are you a little sad you didn't get to swim?

  4. nice job! i am with you on the swim. something about lose of control on my part. working on it, though!


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