Sunday, February 28, 2010

Corporate Triathlon 2010

Over 5000 corporate types took part in the annual triathlon here in Melbourne today and I took my place among them, pulling on my Telstra shirt with a couple of colleagues, Kylie and Derek, over the 400m swim/10km cycle/4km run course.

5000 bikes in the transition area

The weather was decidedly ordinary for the last day of summer with a cool, windy 17 deg's (62F) persisting for the morning. With so many bikes to get into the compound the organiser gets you to do it the day before so race morning is rather sedate with not much to do except get ready to race. Which in my case means sit back for a couple of hours until it is my turn to go.

The format for the event is each member of the team completes the whole race before passing a timing band to the next team member who does the whole race and the third person does the same before crossing the finish line. Our team set out with modest goals - enjoy the day, don't get injured ... and do whatever it takes to beat the other teams from our company!

Paul, Kylie and Derek before the race

The first team member starts as part of a designated "wave" of about 100 leaving on 2-minute intervals. We were off 28 minutes so had plenty of time to get nervous before getting underway. Suffice to say after two hours I was more than ready to get started.

Of course (!) by the time I began it was 10am and the wind had really picked up; bringing with it a large chop on the ocean and some ugly waves too. Regular readers of my blog will know my last race ended in ignominy with an untimely ride in the boat after a jellyfish-encounter. You can imagine my horror when I read a few days back about nasty bluebottle jellyfish being spotted close to Melbourne (they normally are 'up north' in warmer waters). I was less than impressed.

Early indications on this swim were good, though, no jellyfish to be seen. That said, I was closing my eyes a fair bit so maybe they were there! The rough conditions played havoc with the field and I spent a lot of time dodging slower (petrified?) swimmers as they came to grips with the unpleasant water conditions. I exited the water in just over seven minutes. Woo! Hoo! Now for the fun bits.

Being such a large race the run through to transition is "elongated" to say the least. There is all of 800m worth of running from water exit to the start of the bike leg. Add a 300m run from the team handover point down to the water and another 300m+ in bike to run transition and you have 1.4km of running without even stepping onto the run course!

The bike leg at this race is always interesting. There are bikes - and people - of all sorts. Which, translated, means at any point along the course there is likely to be a rider of dubious athleticism and woeful bike skills blocking the road. Makes for a fun time if you are going head down on your tri bars at 40kph! Of course, back into the wind 40kph became 30kph and reality struck. Back into transition and onto the run.

After a week off with my latest crazy back ailment that renders me barely able to walk and definitely unable to run I was a bit nervous about the final leg. Needn't have worried, though. It did not bother me at all and I ran really well, recording 16.25min for 3.8km (4.19m/k).  Very pleased with that, the best I've had in ages.

Let's see how I pull up tomorrow!


  1. V nice! I like the idea of a tri like this, where everyone does all the legs. Glad for no jellyfish encounters!

  2. Next thing you'll be saying cane toads have been spotted in Melbourne!

    Sounds like a fun event. 5000 bikes! Love the idea of a 1.4k run through transition. How did your team go?


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