This time I was ambitious and set a goal of 50 minutes. The event had moved to another location a few more kilometres round the waterfront. This meant that the bike course was two loops of a 5k circuit, and that the second run was ever so slightly undulating. I decided I'd push for a sub-5 minute pace on the run, but knew I'd easily average over 24kmph on the bike, which would give me a little additional cushioning. The two transitions would eat up some time due to the fact I needed to change shoes and didn't have Yanks laces on my running shoes.
Of course everything hinged on the weather. Saturday, the day of registration, was completely calm and sunny. Sunday was overcast and by the time we got out on the bike course there was enough of a headwind to be a nuisance. So how did it go?
One of the things I wanted to make sure I did this time was a warm up. I knew I wanted to start out fast and I had to warm up to do that. I got to the start extremely early, parking a short walk away. It was coolish but I decided I could get away with my event t-shirt and arm warmers with my trishorts. I checked on my bike then had a little bit of a jog around. I did some drills and finished up with a few short sprints up the first bit of Rata St. At transition I was set up next to a woman who I knew does the Scorching Triathlons. She's very tall, slender and athletic so I decided if I could I would try to stick with her. Unfortunately when we were lining up the marshalls put her wave behind me.
I entered the race late so was one of the last to start. My number was 411 and we were started in waves of 50 one minute apart. I stood at the front and when the starting gun went I just went for it. Duck had asked me earlier that week if I'd ever gone so hard in an event I just couldn't go any more. Of course I never had so I had it in my head that I should at least try, just for a change. If I failed I'd be the only one who knew.
I maintained a sub-5 pace for most of the first run, which really pleased me. I had to run on the road for most of it to get around everyone I was overtaking, but thankfully the road was closed and no one was out on their bike at that point. About a kilometre into the run my Scorching Tri rabbit went flying past me and, as hard as I planned on going, I knew there was no way I could follow. That woman was fast! However she was the only person to overtake me on the first run.
I lost time in transition undoing my laces but it gave me a little time to catch my breath before the bike. I'd tied my timing chip round my ankle with some ribbon so at least didn't need to worry about that. I wasn't sure whether they'd have timing mats at transition but it turned out that they didn't, so in the end it wouldn't have mattered if I hadn't transferred the chip to my cycling shoes, but it was one less thing to think about.
Before long i was out on the bike. I didn't look to see what my bike average was but it was of course easily over 24kmph. Even with the headwind on the way out to Balaena Bay (which was disappointingly strong) didn't slow me that much, and I was sitting on well over 30 with a tail wind. No one overtook me and I think I would have gone faster if there had been someone to chase. Instead I just got down on the drops and concentrated on my cadence (and not running over the photographer standing in the middle of the road on the corner).
The two lap bike leg was a PITA as it meant three turn arounds and I had to go really slowly to account for all the other cyclists (many of whom were beginners and not very confident). The slow turns really affected my average speed. When I got back to transition the marshalls failed to point us towards the entrance back in. One said to go straight ahead and I thought 'huh, that's odd' but thought perhaps we had to cycle a little bit further and turn around again but when I set out he then yelled out after me so I had to turn around and go back again. I was extremely frustrated and suggested a little brusquely that the marshalls might actually want to marshall. It was nice to get into transition though and to see it still full of bikes! My Scorching Tri rabbit was the only bike nearby which was gone when I got back.
The last 1.5k included the tiniest little bit of a hill, but I really felt it. I just had to keep repeating '1.5k, you can do anything for 1.5k'. The turnaround came very soon but I soon realised that was because we had to run round the back of Cog Park on the gravel path so going back was a lot longer. I tried really hard to keep myself motivated to go hard, but I just couldn't, even as I saw my 50 minute goal ticking by. Mind you, when I looked down at the Garmin I was still not far off target pace so I guess I can't have been that bad.
So that was that. I did the event in just under 52 minutes, and I call that a success, especially given time lost in transition and due to the bike stuff up. Although the results weren't sent out by placing a rough count indicated that I was somewhere around 20th, which I will take. It's probably the highest placing I'll ever get.
Given that my car was parked so close I went back there, dropped off my helmet and shoes and picked up some warm clothes then stood at the finish line cheering people in. I grabbed my bike out of transition before prize giving because it was by far the nicest bike there and no one was checking that the people taking bikes out were actually their owners. The prize giving was thankfully short. There were some great prizes and some slightly dud ones (Powerbands!) but I didn't win any of them. I went home still feeling fresh, like I could have done a longer event. Hamish cooked pancakes and then I spent the rest of the day just keeping warm and hanging out.
That's enough for one post. Coming up next - Pip goes crazy in the Wairarapa, otherwise known as Pip cycles 110k on her own and barely manages to not get lost.