by shumster on Mon Nov 17, 2008 3:14 pm
Got a bit of spare time (students doing test) so thought I'd write up report of my first proper triathlon - the Olympic distance.
Day started, well, not so good. Wanted to check tire pressure and make sure both were OK (although I had pumped them up the night before). Using a valve extender on my new aero wheels...tried to pull off the pump head and the valve extender came off too, with most of the tube valve attached as well! Thankfully didn't seem to be leaking air, so crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.
Get to setting up in the transition area, no real problems here. Lucky enough to see Kent who assures me that the valve will be OK.
Head down to the pier (35-39AG), step on something sharp...probably a stone, with no real damage, but not exactly the perfect start. Jump in - water is OK, but dirty isn't it? Whilst treading water, waiting for the start, I picked up a plastic bag and a few drinking straws! Deliberately started at the back of the pack, as I wanted to give myself some clear water to swim in, but after counting to 5 after the hooter went, I found I was a bit faster than those in front - subsequently I got a few feet in the face, which knocked my goggles off - I was later to find that I had lost my left contact lens. Also got dunked by someone as I was turning to breath, so inhaled a bit of sea water - still trying to cough it up today. I thought the outward loop was a lot longer than the inward loop, and I think that was down to the current, which kept pushing me toward the pier whilst waiting for the start.
Having not swum in open water for a while, forgot how tough it can be and was pretty tired right at the beginning - maybe due to lack of warm up, trouble breathing with sea water in my lungs - but it got better on the inward section and the 2nd lap went OK, although I veered off course coming back toward the pier and had to be redirected toward the 2nd last buoy.
Get pulled out at the pier and start the looooong run back to the TA - that's when I realised I'd lost a contact lens. Luckily I had packed a spare the night before but wasted a bit of time in T1. Other than that, it went uneventfully, although slightly disheartening to see so few bikes left! Make my way out to the bike mounting point, try to power up, only to find my chain had come off the front ring! Luckily not a huge problem and I was quickly back on my two wheels.
Bike segment pretty uneventful, save for my bottle cage snapping apart on my second turn on Cheung Tung road (2nd time it's broken Kent!). Managed to do the three loops within the alloted time and head back in to T2, with another long run from the dismount point. Funny thing is, I get pinged for drafting (or, I think, allowing someone to draft behind me) on our return to Inspiration Lake, after the course was closed and when most of us were the back of the pack! If the draft marshalls had done their job properly, then there would have been more opportunities to penalise along Cheung Tung Road, where I was passed by masses of bikers all drafting behind each other.
Start the run, again without fuss and again it went without major incident. It was on the bike leg that I experienced what I really enjoy about the sport - the sportsmanship and camaraderie between athletes. I passed and was passed by one individual, and he started urging me on as he passed me, and I would do the same when I passed him. He caught up with me just before the turn off toward the finish and was really pushing me to finish with him - unfortunately my legs were spent and he finished 20m ahead. Shook hands and went our separate ways. But it's that spirit that I really appreciate.
In terms of time, of course, with all the nerves of my first triathlon, I forgot to press the start button on my watch till the end of the swim(!) but I would estimate about 3:15 - at least I now have a goal to which to approach my next triathlon.
Get home, exhausted and dehydrated, my neck and shoulders today feel like I've been playing rugby (which was my old sport) and my legs are starting to stiffen up. Not to mention I think I have a severely bruised heel, perhaps from all the barefoot running in the TA. But it's my wife's birthday today, so it's time to "HTFU" and smile.
The feeling I had after I had finished was a bit of a "that's it?" But now I have had time to relive it in my head, I really enjoyed, not just the physical challenge of getting to the finish line, but the mental challenge of never giving up and stopping (I really felt like sticking my hand up during the swim), but also the friendliness of all the triathletes there on Sunday. We might have fought each other during the swim, but from there it was smiles and shouts of encouragement to all. Fantastic.
Will I do it again? My wife will hate me saying this, but YES. Will try for 70.3 Singapore or China, depending on work, and take it from there.
Hope you enjoyed this. Would love to meet the rest of the Sonic team soon, perhaps in Singapore or China.