Its official .. training over a Perth winter is the worst ! Well, at least the winter we have just had anyway. In my relatively short triathlon “career” I have successfully managed to rest up over the winter month’s, mainly thanks to work that used to have me O/S for most of August each year. This year however was different, a change in roles at work, and qualifying for the 70.3 World Champs last November (at Mandurah 70.3) meant that my winter month’s this year were going to be spent in the freezing cold, and pouring rain as I ran, swam and rode myself to some fitness for the big event. After racing Cairns IM in June, it took a few weeks for my soul to return to my body, however Guy’s “new” program focus on running yourself into submission quickly snapped me back into reality. I won’t lie, the training was hard, and at most times very lonely, but thankfully my GK buddies helped out when they could to share some of the enjoyment at bike interval’s and my swim sessions with swim buddy Super Ruth made it as enjoyable as it could be.
Race day T–2: The bright sunshine that welcomed me on my first day at the Sunshine coast made those few months of hard training seem a distant memory. After a quick breakfast and letting Pinky out of her box, it was out for a quick ride of “The Hill” (an 18 deg short sharp section of the bike course) with Lisa and Ruth to make sure there were no surprises on race day. The rest of day was spent catching up with the family that had travelled from afar to support, and also a late night dash to the airport to collect Janine and Jack who had stayed a day longer in Perth.
Race day T-1 : The full GK crew had all assembled and it was out for the traditional bike, run, swim with the crew to prepare ourselves for race day. Time then for bike and gear check in (which threw me a bit for a 70.3 – I think my body started to reject me briefly thinking I was making it do another IM …) and home to rest before the big day.
Race Day : Up early to find a beautiful day as forecast. Janine and Lucy joined me for the 2K walk to transition, made all the less enjoyable by having to go up and over the run course hill which I would end up doing about 8 times that day … Transition was a buzz, with 3000+ competitors, and not a dodgy bike to be seen. I had a bit of time before my wave start, so off to the beach to watch Guy tear out in the lead pack from his swim, and good luck hugs to Ruth and Lisa and it was time to don the wetsuit and enter the holding pen. The good thing about racing in the 40-44 AG is there are always the most qualifying spots for the World’s at races due to so many competitors … the bad thing with this though it ,means that on race day though you have the largest group to contend with – 269 in total to be exact. The swim start was chaotic, it normally is, but this was the worst I have had. For what felt like the first 10 minutes, I was going nowhere as every stroke into the water ended up on someone’s back instead. Finally it thinned out, probably because I was at the back of the field … which was a bit disappointing as my swim had really been coming on in the last few months, but I was used to making my move on the bike so was no different this time. Swim 33:55
Bike – normally it is a 90K solo TT for me as I move my way through the field, however at a WC event – everyone can ride ! I found a group of about 15 riders to push me along and work with, especially on the out an back highway section. After 40K you start to hit the undulating sections, which allowed me to pull away from that group and continue to find new groups to work through. My bike power had been a worry for me leading into the race, as my constant fatigue from the run training had impacted my power, but Kate and Guy had promised it would be there on race day, which it was, and Pinky and I pushed as hard as we could until the end. Bike 2:23
Run – the sun was bright and the day was getting warmer, but the legs felt strong off the bike and before I knew it I had nearly completed the first lap and was back at the run course hill. My legs let me know that I had been pushing pretty hard at this stage after the up and over and back in short succession on that hill .. but after easing back for a K they were right to go again so time to finish the run off. I had extra motivation knowing that one of the top guys form my AG’s from WA was only just ahead, which let me continue to keep pushing ahead and holding the fatigue monsters at bay until I had passed him and the finish line was in site. A quick pep talk form Guy on the last hill, and sharing he had managed 18th which is just awesome was enough to carry me to the line to finish off what had been a pretty challenging course. Time to grab the medal and towel, and then headed straight out to see my incredible support crew, led by my beautiful and supportive wife. Run 1:30 Total 4:35
The day was not complete until all the GK athletes had crossed that line and achieved the goal of competing at a World Championship event, so it was a slow walk back along the run course to our hotel to cheer then all on. Not only was it a tough course, it is easy to forget that your are competing against some of the best AG’s in the world, so time and the position you finished is less relevant, just making the start and finish line was the achievement in itself. The entire experience will be a lifelong memory, and made all those subzero rides in King’s Park worth it.
J ) - Brad Kaye