this one was different. instead of the normal swim - bike - run and your done format this was swim - bike - run and then do it over two or three times - your choice. so being a 200m swim, 10k bike and 2k run i thought three times would be a bit of a challenge with excellent transition practice and a nice warm up to my first olympic distance at Point Walter in three weeks. i totally loved it. it was fun and felt kinda raw and natural. very stripped back like the beginnings of this sport when you just showed up with your speedos, bike and a pair of runners. but in the age of technology and gaining an edge most people (including me) then decided what they could and couldn't live without and that was interesting. the other crucial factor was location. i couldn't imagine doing this anywhere else other than at the beach - it gave it that adventure feel. the day was beautiful, the water warm and the wind average. the swim started in deep water and was 200m straight down, left around a buoy with a run up a sand hill and down into transition. the guy who runs these events likes to save money which is cool because i love his courses and we would have a very short season without him. he saves on the transition mats and for this he only had one. so your swim started from the end of your run and included that transition and the run up the sand hill, 200m down the beach and then into the water for the swim before running back up the sand hill and into transition again - only stopping when you ran over the mat with your bike. the bike only included your transition to run. so while we got the three split times the swim included more than just being in the water.
for me i always just wear a tri top and shorts so then you are good to go for the whole event. i was surprised how many people were seen changing outfits. in the 70's they were still swimming at the olympics without goggles (legends) but for me this piece of equipment was essential. to save time you could just keep them around your neck. the one mistake i made was to only wear a swim cap for the first leg. i have long hair so i was distracted by it and made sighting frustrating. next time i will have three fresh caps and will put one on while running to the swim start. but if you sport a buzz cut then you can throw the cap away. i am happy to say that although it was announced as a wetsuit swim no one bothered. the other factor here is being wet alot and having grubby feet alot. you could add water to clean your feet in transition and if you have sensitive skin then glide up or throw some talc around. i decided to do my weekly clean after the event and not worry about the beach sand and grass. if i had gone one more circuit i think glide would have been in order. on a personal note a 200m is not a good swim for me. i am a negative split swimmer and this distance doesn't give me enough time to find my rhythm and i didn't swim over people like i normally do. so note to self to practice sprints. also peeing while swimming is an art that i haven't quite mastered.
i do love riding my bike. this course was flat and fast with a couple of turn arounds and a bit of a headwind by the time the third leg started. i have tri bike shoes but clipped in and out each time. this decision depends on how good you are at doing the leaping fly thingy. i was wary that each time you were a little more tired, still wet and care should be taken. if you drink/eat alot and want to save on weight then keep your supplies in transition and switch them over. for the bike legs i was only 22 seconds slower from the first circuit to the last. only other bit of equipment added here was the mandatory helmet and my sunnies.
this was straight out and back on a path with a few very small beach hills. and this was the only leg that was not distorted with transition times. again applying the k.i.s.s. principal (keep it simple stupid) i opted for just my runners and my cap. sunnies already on which are crucial for me as i am short sighted and hate contacts. the race number (belt) only had to go on for the last run leg but it was funny to see how many of these were floating around at the beginning of the first swim. beware any areas in your shoes that can cause blisters. i wear socks for 5k and above but not for this. personally this is my weak leg and i have been trying so i was happy to see that my third run was my best by 20 secs. very positive leading up to the point walter o.d.
in summary i had a great day out. i even managed to race with a couple of guys and while i kept getting ahead in the swim and bike they would catch me in the run. until the end when only one did. and i swear every time i came into transition from the bike this girl was sitting on the ground putting or pulling something on or off. if she had been organised she would have been miles ahead of me. so if you get a chance to do one of these then i recommend keeping it simple. and bring back the speedos.