Sunday, November 9, 2014

when things dont go to plan - a 70.3 race report

i dont know why but nothing is going to plan for me.  i have to stop myself from indulging in a pity party because i know there are people who have bigger problems and i really should just suck it up. maybe it is because i am on my own that it always feels harder or maybe it is because not one thing is going well. training has sucked, molly dog is gone and work is very bad.  

no taper and lots of fatigue in the legs.  another 70.3 as a training day which i am in two minds to never do again.  there was nothing controlled about yesterday and besides the swim there was nothing relaxed about it.  i dropt my bike off on saturday and had not been feeling great.  i felt like i was getting a cold or flu.  it was early so the bike was going to be sitting out in the sun and as i walked into transition they told me to let some air out of my tyres.  my bike shop guy says this makes no difference but i did it anyway.  i never pump up my tyres in the morning.  i always do it at night so then if there is an issue i will know in the morning.   being an awa or all world athlete had the first big bonus.  i had priority check in and did not have to line up for 30 minutes.  i drove back to perth, got my gear organised and was in bed pretty early.

i left home at 4.15 am which was early enough but i seemed to be rushed all morning.  i saw daniel (who i had given a lift with his bike the day before) and then caught up with pip which was awesome.  i felt unorganised getting my stuff set out and i pumped up the tyres and at this point i think i put one pump too many in the back tyre.  headed off for the swim and did not not feel great.  i was not relaxed at all and the swim pretty much sucked.  i couldnt breathe very well and it took to the last 500 metres to feel normal.  lucky it is current assisted and i got out in just over 33 minutes.  

my goal for this race was to not piss fart around in transition and other than finishing this was one of the few goals i achieved for the day.  T1 was 4 minutes and T2 was 3 minutes.  this is lightening fast for me.  but as i got out of T1 i realised my back tyre was totally flat.  FUCK.  i moved my bike off to a grassed area and started getting things done.  as i was just out of T1 ALL the technical officials were there and lined up all ready to go out on the bikes.  i got the back wheel off and the old tube out and new tube in.  one of the technical officials came over and said the mechanic was out on the course but was heading back and explained that they could not help.  i said fine as i knew that you cannot receive outside assistance.  so i go to use my canister to put air in the tyre and the adapter will not grip the valve and while i am trying to do this the air goes out but not in the tyre.  i get my second canister out and the adapter will not pierce it.  so i am fucked unless i can get a pump.  the technical official comes over and i tell her i need a pump and she calls again for the mechanic.  then three officials are standing there all with pumps but they explain to me that they cannot help.   finally a mechanic runs over and he grabs my wheel and uses his pump to pump the tyre up.  he then puts the wheel back on the bike while i hold the bike and i am on my way.  the technical officials are there the whole time.  total time lost is about 27 minutes.

i rode harder than i would have liked but i was lucky the wind wasnt too bad and my legs felt okay. daniel rode up behind me with his dumb golf ball sperm helmet on.  i thought he was going to keep going past me but he and another guy slowed down and i went past and dropt him.  made it back to T2 without any further incident and i was quickly out on the run.  

by this stage it was hot.  my legs felt okay but i was just tired.  i didnt know how i was going to get through 21k and i was worried that i was so far behind everyone.  so i ran from aid station to aid station.  i found that after walking through them and gathering my ice and water that my legs felt refreshed and i was good to go to the next aid station.  it was hot, the flies were terrible, i was covered in crusted salt from the swim and things were started to rub raw in a few places.  people either looked good or looked terrible.  daniel was walking whenever i saw him.  pip looked fabulous and had an awesome day coming in third place in 45-49 age group.  YAH pip !  

i saw one of the girls from swim squad walking and i walked with her for a bit.  it was her birthday and i hope i gave her some positive vibes but i wanted to get it done so i headed off for the last lap.  coming back in there were some pretty miserable people heading out on the last lap.  as i came over the bridge i increased the pace and saw a couple of girls ahead of me that i usually come in before and even though they are not in my age group i decided i was going to run past them.  it nearly killed me but i got there.  run time was 2.26 and finish time was 6.20.  not too shabby considering.

but just as i crossed the finish line an official came up to me and confirmed who i was and asked if i had problems on the bike.  i said yes i had a flat and he then claimed i had received outside assistance and should be DQ'd.  i immediately got very upset.  after everything i had been through i was just a fucking mess.  i explained to him what had happened and how many technical officials had been standing around observing and had directed me in what i should be doing.  he claimed that the mechanic had provided outside assistance and if not for that i would not have finished and it was an unfair advantage.  i have since looked at the rules as i understood that you could receive assistance from the course mechanic (otherwise why have them ?!!).  the athlete guide states that you must not receive outside assistance from anyone other than race personnel and if you do will result in a DQ.  so i went and looked at triathlon australia race rules and it basically states the same thing.  i think the rule he was trying to use was that i received an unfair advantage.  what i explained to him was that i did exactly as i was directed by his officials and the bike course mechanic (who should have also been made aware of the rules).  people have since told me that the mechanic can give you the pump but you must pump the tyre up yourself.  he can give you spare parts but you must put them on the bike etc.  this is not made clear in any of the rules.  so it is very confusing when they say you can receive outside assistance from race personnel or officials.  in the end he couldnt DQ me because his own officials fucked up although he did say it is my responsibility to know the rules and i agree. however i think the rules should be a lot clearer and not generalised in that you gained an unfair advantage (as that could be applied to a number of situations) and list what type of assistance you can receive from race officials.  this was a horrible experience and one in which i was made to feel like i cheated.  i was told that i would not be allowed to take a roll-down spot to the 70.3 world championships.  i said that was fine as i had no intention of doing that anyway.  my friend daniel who was slower than me on the bike and run and finished with 6.07 and ranked 88 in his age group did manage to score a roll-down to austria and he took it.  next year when the worlds are on the sunshine coast i dont think he will get so lucky.   

so i chatted to a few people and recovered from my drama with officialdom.  it was stinking hot and i just wanted to go home.  it was a long drive back and i was starving.  walked straight in the house and scoffed down the left over pasta cold.  i then got into an ice bath and ate a white magnum.  after that i ordered pizza and it was the best pizza ever.  now today i am a bit sun burnt and a little tired but have some things i need to take away from yesterday.  mainly that no matter how long you have been in this sport you can never be complacent and you are responsible for everything that happens.

now onto busselton.  i am too tired to read over this so i hope it makes sense.