what a great year for aussie ironman. first we claim the double header at kona and today the two winners at ironman western australia - courtney ogden and kate bevilaqua - are both from western australia. home grown winners.
i drove down to my folks place late saturday afternoon. they live in bunbury which is 30 minutes from busselton. last year i was in transition so this year i decided to be part of a bike course aid station and i was assigned to the barnard park aid station - about 500 metres out from transition. another bonus was that this station would not open until the riders came back in from their first lap so we had time to watch the swim start. last year it was really hot - around 35 degrees. while cooler this time it was a little humid and the sticky aussie flies were around. it rained for a short while and we heard the wind was at cross purposes out on the course.
this year they changed the course around. transition moved further into town and with it the finish line. this proved a popular choice. instead of swimming out to the end of the jetty and turning right this year they started on the other side and turned left at the end. i love watching the start of the swim. i also think this swim course would have to be one of the best and most challenging in the world. you have to swim 2km directly out to sea and while it may be calm at the start further out you get the swell and it gets very, very deep. in february you can do the busselton jetty swim as a stand alone event.
|the swim - dive in, swim straight out to end of jetty, turn left and swim back to shore.|
what is so hard about that !
|your best friends|
|the pros start|
prior to the swim start all the competitors cheered and put their hands together for the volunteers. this was wonderful and continued on for the whole day. without the competitors my day would have sucked. sadly i was at an aid station that is run every year by the same people. two of which turned out to be my cousin and her husband however this made no difference. not only myself but any other newbie were certainly not made to feel very welcome. there were a couple of very bossy people who were at cross purposes and we got told off for the most minor things. it was very disappointing. i finally lost it with one and told her to get a fucking grip on it. we were not there to ruin a competitors day.
i was working with two other newbies at the banana table. we had to cut them up, give them a slit and then hand them over as the rider passed. at the end of the day i was dirty, sunburnt and my shoulder ached from having my arm in the air holding a banana. you had to run with the rider and some were moving fast. i liked the ones that slowed down. however my highlight was my super fast handover to patrick vernay and then kate bevilaqua. they do not slow down at all but at least they know exactly what they want. we didnt lose too many bananas and we did not assist in taking a rider out. the table up from us was cola bidons. bossy boots had young girls working it and one gave a very awkward and lazy handover to a competitor who was moving fast. this caused him to lose direction, he veared off, lost control and directly hit the aid station table, flew head first over the top of it and a girl who was sitting there. i was certain his bike and race was over. it was a terrible feeling. he got up and retrieved his felt bike. the wheel was okay. it must have gone under the table and the impact was taken by the stem. he hobbled over to the shade, changed his tube, patched his knee and was back on the road within half an hour. i dont know if he eventually made it but i hope so. they took the girl off drinks. the other weird thing was the set up of shade shelters out in the middle of nowhere that were never used.
|the banana table|
|cola table that was hit by a competitor|
my day had started at 4am so by 1pm i was knackered. it had really slowed down so i headed off. i was glad to get away and i will not be volunteering there again. body marking the men will be more suitable. i walked over to transtition and took some more photos and walked back along the run course. one runner thanked me for my efforts and that made my day. the competitors were truly wonderful and some of them extremely funny. one guy asked for a hamburger every time he came past the banana table. another decided he would only speak with a jamacian accent. forgot to mention we also had the naughty corner (penalty box) across from us and it was very busy all day. one girl rode past crying her eyes out. i dont know why. anyway i loved being a part of it and took some great tips away for what to do and what not to do on the bike ! btw - kate bevilaqua's finish is a classic brave and desperate crawl. guts and determination. she did make it back later in the night to welcome in the final finishers too !.
|team bikes in front|
|miroslav vrastil - pro|