TreX Port Stephens with Tom Fisher
Port Stephens, 21 September 2019
Race morning was pretty windy, and the swell was up. This meant a tough swim. I would have to focus on my entries and exits where critical time could be made up through timing the waves. After a short jog and some dynamic stretches, I suited up and made my way down to the swim start. The starting music began and they started to call us one by one to the line. This is one of my favourite parts of racing; it really gets the adrenalin going and the mind focused on the race.
The gun went off and I made a pretty good start out through the breakers. I was struggling to hold the lead pack so I dropped back and drafted someone knowing I needed to save myself for what was going to be a tough 1km swim.
After taking in a few mouthfuls of saltwater and getting knocked around a bit by the swell I finally finished the swim. I managed to catch another competitor in the long 300m run to T1 where after a quick assessment of transition I knew I was sitting in 5th. The bike course proved to be pretty quick as it was mainly fire trail and gravel roads. This was a bit of a disappointment to me as I enjoy the technical single track which can give me an advantage over my other competitors. The legs felt a bit tired after the tough swim but I focused on maintaining my cadence and powering over the hills, allowed me to maintain my position of 5th
After a pretty quick T2, I was onto my run leg. The legs were feeling quite fatigued by this stage and it was really starting to warm up. I decided to back it off a tad and focus on getting comfortable, as I knew there was a lot of tough sand running ahead. Finally, after 3km of steep undulating sand running I came across the first drink station. After another 3km of draining sand running and rock hopping came to the final 2km on the beach which was tough due to the high tide forcing me to either run in the shallow water or the soft sand. Running through the water seemed to end up being the easiest option!
I finally crossed the line in 5th place; I was a tad dehydrated as I’d not anticipated it to be quite so warm
Overall, I am pretty happy with my result of 5th, as I went into it to see where I sat being the first time racing open elites. Of course, I would have preferred a faster swim, obviously I need to get out in the ocean a bit more, try some training in rough swells. Overall it was great fun, and definitely one of the hardest courses I’ve raced. The road trip was fun too! See you at Bendigo in November.
Riviera Triathlon Club at ITU World Championships
Gold Coast, Queensland – Sunday 16th September 2018
Over 5,000 triathletes descended on Queensland’s sunny Gold Coast from 12th to 16th September for the International Triathlon Union (ITU) 2018 Triathlon World Championships. Bairnsdale was well represented, with professional triathlete Charlotte McShane placing 19th in the Elite Women category and Alexandra Keith placing 6th in the 30-34 year female Standard distance category.
The event marks the finale of the 2018 international triathlon season, with competitors from all over the world making the trek to the Gold Coast to watch their heroes compete in the final race of the professional season. Amateurs too had their opportunity to claim glory, representing their country in the ‘Sprint’ or ‘Standard’ distance races. Sprint distance competitors completed a 750m swim, 20km bike and 5km run course, while the Standard distance course consisted of a 1.5km swim, 40km ride and finally a 10km run.
Amateur triathletes could not have asked for better weather for their events – clear days with air temperatures around 24°C and water temperature 21°C. Unfortunately for the professionals strong winds came up for their afternoon races, creating difficult conditions for fast racing.
In the women’s elite race, Bairnsdale professional Charlotte McShane was in the second chasing pack coming out of the water, then worked hard to get herself into the lead pack by the end of the bike leg. Unfortunately she couldn’t hold this position through the run but still finished in a very respectable 19th place. Her race was won in a sprint finish by Aussie gun Ashleigh Gentle, who saw off strong challenges during the run leg from world championship winner Vicky Holland (UK) and runner-up Katie Zaferes (USA). This result boosted Ashleigh’s standing in the world championship to 6th place. The next best Australian was Natalie Van Coevorden, who placed 17th in the race and 11th in the world championship.
The men’s elite race was just as exciting, although no Australians made it on to the podium. An early breakaway on the bike by Norwegian Kristian Blummenfelt wasn’t enough to stay ahead of the world champions on the run leg. Frenchman Vincent Luis finished in first place, just ahead of world champion Mario Mola (Spain) who successfully defended his world title and becomes the first man to hold the world title for 3 successive years. Australian Jake Birtwhistle placed 7th in the after a strong finish on the run leg. This ensured Jake finished the season in 3rd position in the world championship. The next best Australian was Aaron Royle, who placed 22nd in the race and 17th in the world championship.
In the amateur races, Bairnsdale resident & Riviera Triathlon Club triathlete Alexandra Keith placed 6th out of 71 finishers in the 30-34 year female Standard distance category. While Alexandra felt that she didn’t have her best race on the day, the large contingent of her family and friends who made the journey to watch her race were all extremely happy with her result. This follows Alexandra’s bronze medal in the equivalent event in September 2017 (in Rotterdam, the Netherlands), 1st place in the 2018 Australian Championship race in Mooloolaba, QLD in March 2018 and 1st place at the Victorian qualifying event in Yarrawonga in October 2017. To cap it all off, during her journey home Alexandra found time to win her first Cross-Triathlon held at Fingal Bay, Port Stephens on Saturday 22nd September. This TrexTriathlon event consisted of a 1km ocean swim, 25km mountain bike ride and 8km trail/beach run.
Alexandra is now looking forward to a huge summer of triathlon, with major events including Yarrawonga in October, an adventure race in January and the Australian championships in March. Alexandra will also be setting the pace at Riviera Triathlon Club’s local events, including the weekly short course triathlons held at the BARC in Bairnsdale on Wednesday evenings from late October until April. These “Mini-Tris” are the perfect event for kids and adults to learn about the sport of triathlon and refine their triathlon skills in a fun and supportive environment. More details on Riviera Triathlon Club, including event details and dates, can be found at www.rivieratriclub.com.au.
Off-Road Action at Blores Hill - Riviera Triathlon Club was well represented at the Peak Adventure Trek Carnegie Winter Series Race 3, held at Blores Hill and Lake Glenmaggie on Sunday 4th August.
Peak Adventure hosted the third and final event of the Trek Carnegie Winter Series at Sandy Point Park on Sunday 4th August. Serious adventure racers opted for the long course triathlon, consisting of an 8km kayak/SUP paddle, followed by a 14km mountain bike ride and an 8km trail run. A short course ‘sprint’ triathlon was also on offer, consisting of a 2km paddle, 10km bike and 3km trail run. For those not so keen on paddling in the cold weather, the duathlon was the sport of choice. Long course (2km run, 14km bike, 8km run) and ‘sprint’ (1km run, 10km bike, 3km run) were the duathlon options available.
Riviera Triathlon Club was well represented, with Tim Boote and Rodney Smith competing in the long course triathlon while Tom Fisher, Toby Smith, Alexandra Keith & David Kinsey competed in the long course duathlon.
Rodney Smith got off to a flying start on the paddle leg, only to have a lack of recent kayak training see him capsize twice into the freezing water. Tim Boote led the pack around the first lap, having some difficulty identifying the turning markers with nobody in front to show him the way. Once out of their boats, Rodney & Tim headed into Blores Hill Mountain Bike Park for the bike leg, flying around a dry and well-marked track with relatively few technical obstacles. The final leg was a tough trail run along the edge of the lake, alternating between soft sand, loose gravel, fallen trees and stretches of sharp rocky outcrops. Tim raced away to finish first in this event, however Rodney still hadn’t emerged from the bike leg when the event presentation commenced. Toby Smith went back to search for his brother, and found him repairing the second of two flat tyres he had experienced on the course. Unfortunately, just one of those hard luck days for Rodney ‘Rocket’ Smith.
The duathlon competitors had a slightly easier day, starting the race with a shorter 2km trail run around the lake. Tom Fisher sprinted away from the pack, while the remaining athletes tried to negotiate an optimal path between the water’s edge and the sandy bank. Tom was well in front heading into the 14km mountain bike leg, and only extended his lead further as the race continued. As a current Australian Cross Triathlon Champion, Tom’s mountain bike skills are exceptional. In second position Toby Smith was being careful not to scratch his new mountain bike, while Alexandra Keith led the women and David Kinsey brought up the tail. These positions remained the same for the second, longer 8km run leg, with no athlete able to gain a significant advantage across the sand, mud, gravel and rock course.
Everyone was happy to cross the finish line and cheer their fellow competitors’ home, while indulging in the hot soup and chocolate brownies kindly provided by the race organisers, Peak Adventure. Race prizes also involved chocolate, with Alexandra Keith winning the female long course duathlon as a hard-earned birthday present. Tom Fisher (male long course duathlon) and Tim Boote (male long course triathlon) also brought home wins for Riviera Triathlon Club, with Toby Smith picking up second place in the male long course duathlon.