***many thanks to Lynette Warn for this race report ***
After Thursdays storm and a lot of triathletes’ prayers, Fridays weather was great. All hopes were high for a great day of racing for Saturday.
Unfortunately at 4am the curtains were opened and the palm trees revealed that the wind was back.
Oh well it was going to be the same for us all. Hasan and I decided to take a taxi to the start so we wouldn’t have to head back to the congested T1 area after the race. We had already dropped off one of our cars at T2 the night before and had done a little recon of the run course.
The atmosphere as always at a T1, was the usual mix of nervousness and excitement. There were the usual cues at the porto loos and everyone busy pumping up tires and psyching themselves up for what was to be an epic day. Thanks to Adventure HQ for their assistance with my value and the cable tie for my aero bottle holder as I had taken note of David’s advice at the briefing on losing bottles over the Judder bars, (kiwi for speed bumps) on the bike course. An accurate description of bottles flying off of which I saw within only minutes of the start of the bike course.
Back to the start; A bit of confusion amongst the athletes about the swim course direction, as most had expected the buoys and ropes to have been moved. The RACE ME director briefed the athletes of the slight change in direction just up to the first big white buoy. I wasn’t worried as the change was to only go to the left of the first big white and to the right of the others. As each wave was released we could see the conditions were a wee bit choppy. The females wave was at 6:45 and we were started on time. The water temp was great but the wind had caused a chop in the water. I’m an average swimmer and saw the fast girls disappear pretty quickly. After a short while of swimming trying to site and find feet to draft off I suddenly hit something. Oops I hit a rope. I looked up to see if I was off course but seemed to be ok so continued on. My garmin showed that I was definitely on course when I checked it after the race. I didn’t get any scrapes or scratches from the ropes, but saw the evidence of it on others later on. Oouch!!
It was one of those races when the buoy you are heading for seems to take forever to get to. As I turned at the last buoy facing north and heading to the short leg, boom!!! The waves seemed to have increased. As I tried to site I timed it so wrong and got a massive mouthful of salty water. It was a matter of timing to site the buoy as you had to be on top of the wave to see it. Heading back we were more sheltered with the new Island which was much more pleasant.
As I exited the water I looked up at the timing clock and was so disappointed at the time. Super slow compared to my other halves. Oh well, forget the swim and get on with the transition. I decided to wear a cycle top over my tri suit for sun protection and to hold an extra bottle of my nutrition. I had kept my shoes on my bike so I can run better with the bike to the bike mount line. As I started out I hadn’t notice there were judder bars even prior to getting onto the road and it was a bit of luck I didn’t crap off with only one foot in the shoe and one on top. The RACE ME organizers had done a great job of traffic control for the most of the race course. I tried to thank as many people as I could along the way.
I along with everyone else was disappointed that we didn’t have a tail wind for the stick but surely we’d get it a bit later on, right? Nah!!! Like Kona it seemed to change and there was a head wind wherever we went. So that’s what I kept in my mind. Just like Kona, so keep your head down and cadence high. At 40km I was in a lot of discomfort and had a numb left foot and my knee was hurting. Again all you can do is adjust and keep going so I took my left foot out of the shoe and rode the rest of the way with only one foot in a shoe. I had noticed my power was down. I just put it down to the wind. You know it’s windy when sand is being blown sideways across the track and stinging the legs.
I like others, saw a few cheats and yelled at them to stop but they did their own thing. I also saw a guy holding his name/number in his hand that was having his own support throughout the bike course. The 4WD just drove beside the course stopping once in awhile to hand him coconut juice and anything else he wanted. Doh!!!Hiding you name didn’t help as you know we can still read your number on your bike number 128. You can only do what is right yourself and not control others, so cheats will always cheat.
The last few kms of the bike was magic as finally we got our tailwind. I actually think I yelled wee with excitment!!!
Into T2 and time for the run. I thought I’d do ok as I had kept my cadence high during the ride to save the legs for the run. I knew a few would be pushing too hard in the strong head winds. The run started out ok, but I was in desperate need of a pit stop in a loo as I had kept well hydrated on the bike. Paulo Costo came by and cheered me on, on his mountain bike (as an official). I asked him where the loos were as no one at the previous aide stations knew. As Paulo had a phone he used it to communicate with the other officials and found out there were currently none on the course as they hadn’t been delivered yet due to issues with the delivery truck. Oh well I was rather desperate so had to dash into a hidden bush. On attempt to zip up my one piece tri suit (with zipper to the front) arrhhh!! it broke. I tried to fix it for so long and was nearly in tears as I hadn’t worn any support underneath as the tri suit was tight enough not to need to. I thought I’d have to just walk back to the start point and my car to change. But once I exited the bush just around the corner was another aide station and there was my angel Caroline Labouchere. I explained my dilemma to her and asked for her Race Me volunteers top to cover up with. As I was still holding the front of the tri suit shut, she had to dress me which must have been hilarious to see. I’m amazed she didn’t hesitate one bit to help especially because I was asking her to take her top off in the UAE. There was still about another 3kms to go to the turnaround point. I decided to attempt to continue the run. I had to try to run with my arms high to cover up my unsupported parts which was embarrassing and uncomfortable. At the next aide station I forgot the effects and poured a bit of water over my head to cool me down. Doh!!! It’s a white top you twit. I continued on hoping not to see anyone with a camera. I made it back to the turnaround point and exited the course to get my bra from the car. Once changed, I tucked the rest of the tri suit in and re entered the course. So the rest of the run was me trying to gain back a bit of time I had lost in all the drama with my wardrobe malfunction. I crossed the finish line happy to be done. It was a hot run and an honest course.
The volunteers at the aide stations were so good and always had a smile and words of encouragement. Thank you.
At the end I got to share me silly stories with others at the finish area. I love this part hearing each others experiences. I really didn’t know how I’d done and was surprised to have still won my age group race.
We had not brought any food with us for afterwards as we had expected finishers food. But there was none. Disappointed we had purchased Pringles and juice at the store as that was all they had left to buy. About 30mins later they got some bananas delivered to the finish line so that was great.
Back to the bike and my unusual issue with my left knee and foot and having to ride 50km with only one foot in the shoe. On arrival home I noticed the seat post had dropped and the mystery was solved. They must have been big judder bars lol. Next race tighten things up. Thanks RACE ME another successful race accomplished.