Sunday, November 20, 2011

bunberri classic od race report 2011

this was a great day out and i had an awesome time.  i was a little worried with my training and recovery / repair time and i did not feel like i was fresh and full of beans.  i felt under done and under prepared.  this was going to be my second race at the olympic distance.  i was very concerned about the swim and everyone was having a great fun telling me shark stories.  my plan was to swim fast. 

i drove down to bunbury late saturday and had a terrible nights sleep.  kept waking up all the time and even when i may have been asleep it felt like i was awake.  i really cannot complain about the bed as it was mine and i gave it to the folks so i could sleep in it when i visited.  it is just way too soft and i paid for it on the bike. 

it was so nice only having a 15 minute drive to an event.  weather was going to be great although the wind was a bit fresh.  dad came down to watch and this course is perfect for the spectator.  you can walk down and watch the swim or move up to the boardwalk and get a birds eye view.  the bike course is six laps so you see everyone ride by on a regular basis and the run is two laps.  

i was amazed that i felt good before the swim.  none of the usual i think i want to throw up vibe.  got my wetsuit on and headed down to the beach.  it is about a 300m walk.  had a chat to dad and then moved off as i was in the third wave.  had a bit of a warm up and the water was murky and a little chilly.  the girls looked like serious competitors - probably having a last hit out before busselton ironman.  it was a waist deep start and i started at the back.  damn it was a fast start.  the front girls just took off.  this was one of my better starts and first back in the open water since may.  i still struggled to breathe and took a few moments trying to relax and float for a few seconds.  i made a real effort to breathe out strong but no matter how hard it was still quite shallow.  it was quite choppy on the way out to the first buoy and then easier back in for the first lap.  by the time i turned for the second lap i was breathing fine and trying to find someone to draught off but i kept swimming past them or they were terrible at keeping things straight.  i saw one girl turn at the middle buoy and it would have been quite a swim to get back on track.  during the last section i targeted people and picked them off.  i was really enjoying things.  raced out of the water, yelled out to dad and had a nice chat with a girl during the long run back over to transition. 

struggle to get the wetsuit off.  onto the bike course for six laps with a headwind on the way out and with the wind or a cross wind on the way back in.  i dont think my legs are fresh after cape to cape and riding 90k every weekend prior probably did not help either.  but i thought i would just put my head down and pedal.  i could feel that my lower back was going to be a problem and i hoped that it would hang on until after the bike.  during the last lap it was incredibly painful and i kept trying to stretch it out and telling myself to htfu and it would be okay once i got off the bike.

so i am on my third lap and heading into wind.  i come up next to a person i knew and just as i got my wheel in front two other riders come up as well as the officials on their motorbike.  they call my number and one of the two riders for drafting.  i was shocked and really didnt understand whether i was getting a warning or a penalty.  i had no idea what the other two riders had been doing and had not heard them behind me.  we had just turned a corner 20 metres back.  i thought that perhaps i had got a warning for taking too long to pass the guy next to me (who did not move back at all and i have to mention is good mates with the official who pinged me).  i was not happy at all.  i do not draft and do not like it when i see people doing it.  if i took too long to pass then fair enough.   i probably did not have the legs to do it quickly enough into the headwind and that could have been my mistake.   but i was not drafting.  when i tell people it feels like i am trying to convince people i am innocent but no one believes me.  your honour - really i didnt do it !!

this really upset me.  i slowed down and i lost time and then i did not know if i had a penalty or a warning.   for a moment i thought my race was over.  strangely after the incident i never had anyone around me again and i never past anyone either.  it was very quiet and lonely and my back was killing me and i was still fretting about what to do.  some more officials came by - different ones and i had a chat to them.  confirmed that i serve the penalty at the end of the bike.  more time lost.  at the end i stop at the dismount area and the official starts my two minute penalty.  i had a chat to her about the rules and even though i asked it ended up being longer than 2 minutes.  she told me that one guy gets caught all the time and he just figures it into his race time.  so wrong.  anyway this is a lesson learnt to be aware of your surroundings at all times.  you might be doing the right thing but it will not always look like that.

so finally onto the run and this is a nice course.  a 5k loop around the inlet and the scenery changes quite a bit.  i enjoyed running over the wooden walk way.  first lap people were still out there finishing up their second lap so it wasnt quite so lonely.  as i came around for my second lap saw dad and yelled out.  the legs felt good and i was on track to run the 10k under 60 minutes.   i slowed down a bit at the 6k mark but picked it up and came in at 57.42.  i was very happy with this.  i even ran past three people and no one ran past me.  for awhile i thought i was dead fucking last but as it turns out there were quite a few people behind me.

so even with my bike problems i managed to come in under three hours at 2.59.28 - just !!  my swim time was 35.27 and includes the 300m run to transition and T1.  i take too long in transition so my swim was probably close to being under 30 minutes.  the official bike time is 1.26.18 and includes my penalty and T2.  my garmin tells me my bike moving time was 1.19.12  and total time 1.22.22.  so my penalty was 3 minutes and not 2 as required.  there were five in my age group and i came fifth.  90 seconds behind fourth and 9 minutes down on third.  i can take comfort that if this did not happen my bike result would have been encouraging.

i am extremely stoked with my results.  i think it has more to do with just where i am at.  to be able to race at this distance and be comfortable - who would have ever imagined that !  and this was a fun race regardless of my penalty.   i am now taking this week off.  the only training session will be with mr swim smooth on saturday.  i am really enjoying the break too.  i have to attack the garden this weekend.  then it will be two weeks of solid training, a taper week and then the first race of the TriSeries events.  whoo hoo bring it on !!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

being happy when you dont have it all

while i try to keep this blog about triathlon and any associated/related events i  believe that triathlon is a lifestyle and not a hobby so life will overlap.  i promise that this particular post is triathlon related but there are some steps to be taken to get to the point.

a few things lately have combined to make me start thinking over some serious topics.  to name a few - my parents are getting old, my job really sucks and i have recently spoken with friends i have known for a very long time. 

i have realised (and accepted) that there are a number of things in life that i will never have or experience.  i will never have a family.  this is incredibly sad but i will not let it define my life.  i will never talk about it.  what is the point ?  talking about it will never change it.  i do not want to be one of those women who are eternally sad and never move on from the disappointments in life. 

i will never have that flash car or a great big home in an expensive suburb.  what i do have is mine and i have worked hard to achieve it.  i earn a reasonable income and i did that through hard work and sacrifice.  i have never relied on anyone else.  i could sell my house and buy an apartment in subiaco and then have better options for working in the city.  my life would change completely.  but then i wouldnt get to share my life with my molly dog and casey girl.  i would be incredibly self-centred and selfish. 

my friends i have spoken to recently are older than me - 5-10 years and are now moving into retirement or reduced working hours. they talk about travelling around australia or the trips they have planned overseas.  retirement has not even occurred to me and i feel like my life is just starting.  i will probably never be able to afford the type of trips they have planned but i think travel is for the young and i have been lucky enough to do my fair share.  and fuck it - i had huge fun.  you cannot have that sort of fun with a middle age spread butt.  it is hard to explain but when you are young the possibilities are endless and nothing is off limits.  getting older you think more about comfort and food.  i am eternally grateful i travelled young.

when it comes down to it life has to be about experiences.  you cant take it with you.  i now try and put all my resources into life experiences rather than collecting objects that in the end will just be sold off or thrown away as part of my estate. i dont get photos printed anymore.  i have all i need at home and i do not want one more thing i have to dust.  i need all my money so i can buy those life experiences - travel to and enter races, swim the busselton jetty (which i have entered) or be part of a biking adventure.  those things you can take with you.  i want to have completed my bucket list.

all this could change if i won lotto.  i have heard you need to buy a ticket and maybe i will do that.  then i could buy that big old house and travel to china and adopt a million kids.  in the meantime i will stick with what i cannot afford and have sold my soul to the devil to own.  i am completely aware that this will not make me any faster.  training will make me faster.  but i do have a tri suit to match and i am going to look smoking hot.  seriously -  if i was a guy i would have one major hard on.  i am going to be eating noodles for the next month but what an experience.

she will be all mine.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

which is the best photo ?

i usually do not like photos of myself.  most of the time i just dont look the same in photos as i do in person.  triathlon and event photos can be pot luck.  mountain bike photos are difficult and most of the time they set themselves up at a difficult spot and i really dont want a picture of myself pushing the bike.  however i think these photos are excellent and not just because i happen to look okay for once.  they have been taken by someone who has given it more thought and skill than the normal weekend hack photographer.  i really want to get these printed and was thinking of perhaps getting a decent size one.  however for different reasons i cannot make up my mind which one i like the most so since the voting gadget did not work leave a comment and let me know your choice !

day one - thru the bushes

day three - action jeni

day four - geographe bay

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

cape to cape mtb western australia 2011

i survived, i conquered and i loved every painful minute.  and this report is a bit overdue !  it was four days of amazing trails, beautiful scenery and great people.  the margaret river region is in lonely planets top ten regions and i was reminded why.  my parents had a house on molloy island and we spent most of our holidays down there.  i had forgotten how lucky we were - didnt realise it at the time though - teenagers.

spring and the wildflowers were amazing !
this isnt going to be a race report because it wasnt a race.  it can be if you want it to be.  the elites race it for money and the yellow jersey.  but for most people it is just the personal challenge and i like that.  i decided that the first three days would be for the experience and with the final stage more suited to my road skills and endurance i would try and give that a serious effort - hoping i still had the legs !    

the event was  well organised.  the volunteers were brilliant (i am going to run out of descriptive words so sorry about that).  the supporters who came along - cheered and encouraged everybody - and drove to the various vantage points were awesome.  the trails were so well marked there was no chance of getting lost.  on the trail everyone watched out for each other and people did not hesitate to stop and give assistance.  there were some cowboys but if you positioned yourself at the start then they would be chasing the elites and not near you. 

the timing was basic.  everyone had the same start time but you got logged in at the finish.  since i always started at the front of the back of the pack i gave up five minutes everyday.  on stage four i pushed forward and had a better start.  so my time versus my garmin always has a difference.  i also never stopped my garmin.  so when i took time out to get food, take photos or when i crashed (this is not an official crash since it wasnt my fault) it is the variance between actual time and moving time.

my bike went great.  the chain came off on the third day and i started having trouble with it being slightly out of sync when in the lowest granny gears.  i dropt it in to the avanti guys after the ride and for $30 they were meant to fix it.  started off the next day great but then went back to how it was.  at least the chain stayed on and no break.  i had my tyres quite spongy the first three days.  with hard surfaces on the last day i pumped up both tyres - the back quite hard and the front a bit softer.  it worked a treat.  each day they had washing facilities that you could use and the line moved pretty quick.  i would have preferred to use my gear and wondered if the squirt lube they gave you was the issue with my chain.

my accommodation was okay.  next time i am going to get something a little more up market.  but margaret river was perfectly central and the main boxes were ticked.  i had a washing machine for filthy bike gear, a kitchenette for food prep and a very comfortable bed.  a spa bath would be awesome.

one thing with mountain biking is the hunger.  you need good solid food - especially after or you can turn FERAL.  i ate huge.  i think i trimmed down a bit but only dropt a kilo.  my butt attracted some attention so maybe there was more going on ?  details later.  pizza, burgers, chicken, sausage sizzles, red bull (it did give me wings) and banana sustagen shakes got me through.  this was the only area that i had a problem event wise - details later.  another thing is the dirt.  i have never been quite that dirty.  everyone would finish the days ride with a unibrow of dirt and grubby legs.  i looked like i had really thick mascara as well and crap all over my face. 

everyday i caught the bus back to the start.  i was thinking that the event would be easier if you had a support crew to drive you around but then you would not get to meet all the fantastic people i got to meet while waiting for the bus to leave or during the trip.  it was slow in the double decker bus but it was fun and part of the whole experience.  you never had to wait too long and i dont think any of us were in a rush to be anywhere else - unless it involved food !

for the four days there were 541 riders - somedays there were more and some less but 541 completed the full four days.  i came in at 479.  last year i rode maybe half a dozen times before dwellingup.  this year i probably had ten training rides along with the kalamunda race from hell and dwellingup again.  based on this level of experience and it being an event and not a race i am stoked.  as a female you can enter in the open category or masters.  i was in masters and 26 girls finished the four days.  the most in one day was 39.  the open category had 31 girls.  so from 541 riders only 57 were female. 

my camera is a very cheap one so the photos are average.  if i get some spare cash i really, really want a gopro camera.  i have included some youtube clips and my garmin links.

stage one - cape leeuwin to hamelin bay 39.86km

cape leeuwin lighthouse - the start
at the start the race director gave us a serious warning about the number of snakes that had been seen on the course and advised no petting.  i hate snakes but figured there would be alot of people riding in front of me scaring them off.  after a traditional aboriginal welcome the cape to cape for 2011 was underway.  

i knew we had a couple of big hills in the first 10k and they did not disappoint and i always forget what goes up must come down and there were some pretty scary downhills.  as expected the countryside was just beautiful and we rode through a variety of forest trails, salt bush tracks, beach and limestone outcroppings.

as expected i was crap on the technical stuff but rode past people on the uphill and flats.  some guys gave me some pointers and i really started to try and put them to practice.  deepdene beach was a 1.5k walk pushing your bike.  it was unrideable.  a couple of guys stripped down to their shorts and went for a swim.  it was tempting.  near the salt bushes the track narrowed and you really didnt know what what was coming and it was downhill.  a guy hit a rock and came off.  damaged his hip and the paramedics had to climb in and carry him out. 
cape leeuwin

this felt like a compact course that had everything.  similar to the dwellingup course.  by the time i got to the finish at hamelin bay i was still coming to terms with the ride.  i really had not expected the first day to be so tough.  it was a hot day and starting late i did not hang around at hamelin bay afterwards but got on the bus as soon as i had washed the bike and eaten.

nutrition -
3 gels, 1 powerbar ride bar, 1 shotz chocmint bar and 2 litres water with 2 nunns.

stats - 532 riders.  official time 3.26.11 garmin time 3.22.21.  masters 17/33.

sun was in the wrong position but you can still see the trail of people

stage two - hamelin bay to xanadu winery 62.42km

another warm day and a long ride ahead.  both day 2 and day 3 were a bit bunched at the start but it didnt take long for everyone to spread out.  we headed straight into boranup forest and this was truly beautiful.  it was single track but the most fun and enjoyable single track i have ever ridden.  it was a  very narrow trail surrounded by trees - almost encased as you rode through it.  after this i started thinking better thoughts about single track.  the massive karri trees  are just amazing.    

after boranup forest it was fantastic back trails that were hard but fun to ride.  hills to climb, soft trails to really get some speed up and race through.  sometimes you really felt like a kid just out tearing up the tracks.  some sections were really exposed and the sun was hot.  this was probably the hardest day - being  long and having  every type of track.  as we worked our way through the back trails we came across four water crossings.  three you could ride across but one you had to carry your bike and walk through.  the cool water actually felt great on your feet.

as we got closer to the finish the track became easier and very open.  the sun was shining and the wind had picked up.  i knew i was getting close as i rode through the leeuwin estate winery.  this is probably one of the most famous and most beautiful.  just about every well known musical artist has played at this venue.  i started passing quite a few people and we were not done with the hills either.  the approach to xanadu made it feel like you were never going to get there.  the ride from the entrance must be 2k at least but i was zooming along and finished hard.

my future bottles of wine at leeuwin estate

finishing at xanadu was friggin brilliant.  they had the BEST food.  margaret river burgers and spanish paella.  it was a good price and easy to get.  i will never forget that burger.  it was a different story at the night function but i was back at my base eating a large pizza and in bed by 8.30 pm.  great day but felt a bit dehydrated.  i dont think i was putting in enough electrolytes with my water so had a bit of a sun headache.

nutrition - 4 gels, 1 powerbar ride bar and 2 litres water with 2 nunns.

stats - 536 riders. official time 4.42.41 garmin time 4.39.56  masters 21/34.

stage three - xanadu winery to colonial brewery 51.34k

i honestly expected day three to be the hardest but
it  probably had the best trails and the most fun. 
we were a bit bunched at the start but the tracks
started off amazing and only got better.  the scenery was just stunning.  narrow trails, soft forest floors, winding descents, tough hill climbs.  my legs and butt were feeling okay and i was really getting confident on the bike and having some awesome fun.  that was until i came off my bike.  i was climbing a hill when i felt a push from behind and a guy had put his hand on my butt and gave me a push as they do in tour de france or any road race.  and that is fine when you are aware of it and are on a predictable track. 
we had a bit of a laugh and the guy moved on.  i was a bit annoyed because i dont need help climbing but never thought anything else.  i stopped to take this pic and sneak off for a pee break.  then i was again climbing a hill - not really difficult but in a section that had a changing surface.  sand, gravel etc.  i was really enjoying myself and thinking how well i was doing when from nowhere this guy is behind me again and grabbing my butt to give me a push but instead manages to tangle our bikes and pull me over onto his bike.  so i landed quite hard and had flashes of broken bones and triathlon season ending injuries come into my brain.
my leg hurt bad.  especially my left knee.  quite a few people stopped and everyone was great.  i paid out on the guy.  i think a few people who saw it paid out on him.  i felt bad for him afterwards but it was a really stupid thing to do and he knew it.  the pain eased off and after checking the bike for scratches i was ready to get going again.  it wasnt until later i realised i had two sizeable bruises on my left leg, my left knee was quite swollen, my right shin was bruised, my wrist and neck hurt and i had pulled my right arm.  i did manage to get some ice on the knee and shin later.  ouch.  this is what happens when you have a great butt.
i did have some nurofen plus and maybe that helped but i felt okay and once i settled back down i had the best day ever.  the weather was cooler and the course just friggin brilliant.  the pines track was the best single track, the most fun and i just LOVED it.  it was beautiful.  so peaceful and quiet and the lillies were stunning.  i get why everyone raves about this place.  the rest of the tracks leading into the colonial  brewery were winding and mostly soft.  i was even jumping logs and stuff and  really hooning along.  there were a couple of big hills towards the end and i was do my thing and coming home strong and passing people along the way.  i had a red bull and it gave me friggin wings.

the only complaint i have from the whole four days was the lack of readily available food at the colonial brewery.  i have to mention they did get rave reviews for the evening function but the support to riders at the end of the race sucked.  i have mentioned just how hungry you get and i was on the verge of turning feral and rugby tackling someone for their pizza.  the venue is beautiful but they did not have any extra food vans and you could only order from the menu - gourmet menu.  $20 for a medium pizza or $26 for a steak burger.  so vilma and i line up with our unibrow dirty faces, grubby legs, no shoes and camel baks still in place.  in front and behind us in the line are some very well dressed ladies who couldnt make up their friggin minds and  i was not happy.  after 20 mins we then find out that it would take at least an hour before the food was going to be ready to eat.  fuck that.  i ate a sportsbar and all my emergency snake supply and luckily had a pack of puresport recovery drink mix.  i had finally got signed up for a massage.  due to the amount of people you are only allowed 15 minutes.  10 minutes in and the last bus decides to leave. as it turns out i wouldnt have got my pizza anyway.

nutrition - 4 gels, 1 powerbar ride bar, 2.5 litres water with 4 nunns and a red bull.

stats - 585 riders. official time 4.19.47 garmin time 4.18.34  masters 23/38.

stage four - colonial brewery to dunsborough 68.83k

yesterday i increased my water and electrolyte intake and it worked.  i did not feel dehydrated at all and i also bought along another red bull for another set of wings.  today was long and i was going to really push it and no photos unless it was extraordinary.  the tracks were hard and open and we travelled through private properties and back trails.  i passed quite a few people and i knew i was further up the pack than in previous days.  by the time we got close to dunsborough my legs were rooted and my butt aching.  i was really starting to feel it.  my hands as well.  four days with a death grip was starting to hurt my left hand especially.  i need to learn to relax my grip.  then came the last 5k through meelup park.  this was extremely technical and on gravel.  it would have been very easy to have a major spill - especially considering just how tired i was.  but i took my time and made it over jumps and around logs that i never imagined doing before.  i was exhausted, hot and i really wanted to get to the finish line.  you finally come out of the park and down through a grassed oval to the end of four days of fantastic riding and awesome surroundings.  and the best sausage sizzle supplied by the ladies and gents of the dunsborough country club.  i ate two and they hardly touched the sides going down.

nutrition - 5 gels, 1 powerbar ride bar, 2.5 litres water with 4 nunns and a red bull.

stats - 501 riders. official time 3.57.31 garmin time 3.56.17 masters 17/39. total official time 16.26.10.  4.24.07 behind the leader of female masters.  8.02.58 behind overall leader.

this is an extremely long blog and was just as much an endurance effort as the race itself.  but i loved every minute of it all and really hope that i am able to go back next year and do it all over again.  it did take me awhile to recover - not just from the four days riding but the crash was harder on me than i first thought and i struggled with intense pain in my left hand for two nights.  my hand would go numb with no feeling in my fingertips and terrible pain.  the only thing that helped was getting up and walking around.   since then i have been back on the road bike for a couple of  long rides, in the pool doing my thing and back up and running.  now to focus on triathlon.  i have my first race in 2 weeks !!