Saturday evening after putting the boys in bed, I check over my bike, pumped the tires up and prepared my back for the race. The kids slept well so that meant I did too!
I got up just after 6am on Sunday, ate some hot oatmeal, drank some water, got dressed in my tri-suit and cycled to the race start in the beach park about 5km away.
I set up my transition, drank gu brew and then bumped into a friend from work. We went for body marking together then wandered over to the beach to see if we could spot any of our male colleagues in the earlier swim waves. While we were watching, about 10 minutes before my wave was due to start I ate one caffeinated gel, finished my 750ml water and did a little warm up. I realised after a little while that the race starts were quite a long way behind schedule – about 15 minutes which meant I was actually a little cold (!) by the time I started!
I drafted well once I had found someone during the second lap but the current was really strong. We were swimming two laps of a triangle shaped course, with the second side of the triangle for each lap head on into the current. It was fine while swimming, but the times (when we saw them at the end) were very slow.
On the bike, there was one drinks station. We did 6 laps, so it should have been fine. Except this particular water stand was worse than nothing. There were a few small plastic cups on a table, with nobody handing them off. Nobody could get water, but people tried and crashed more often than you’d expect in a race that size. There were two crashes at that stupid drinks station. One of the crashes involved three guys and looked really quite serious, the other one person just crashed into the table. I grabbed at the cups a couple of times because I only took one bottle full on my bike with me… just assumed there would be some on the course – doh! Twice I got *some* but at my first attempt I just knocked a load of cups off of the table, despite slowing considerably. Each time I went past calling “Water! Water please! Water please!” and holding my hand out from about 100m away. They just stared at me… Perhaps that’s why I found the run so hard… dehydration?
At the next race I am going to leave an emergency bottle in transition in case I don't get enough on the bike.
Transition was very empty when I ran in with my bike, which was nice because it meant that most others were still on their bikes! I found the run really hard – harder than the 21km in Cebu - I think because I was dehydrated from the bike... or I could have just "thought" I was dehydrated from the bike so found it hard mentally. I overtook one girl in the first 1km of the run, then saw no other girls on the course at all... On the run, the drinks stations were marginally better, but still lacking. The drinks stands were too small and understaffed. Often there was nothing available as we ran past, or there were jams.
Another thing that was surprising about the run was that there was nothing for cooling. There were no sponge stations, no showers and I only saw one jug being tipped over a head, but I think it was meant for drinking. Some of the waves would have ended up running in the heat of the day, so I would have though help for cooling would have been something quite obvious for the organisers.
I had no idea how I had done when I finished. Nobody, including the MC, said anything as I crossed the line, so I just assumed that I hadn’t placed. Leo and the boys had come with the bike and trailer and were waiting for me at the finish line, which was lovely. We played for a while, got some drinks and waited for the results announcements. I was third woman so I got a bronze medal, a goody bag with some vouchers and a promise of 3 crates of pokka sports water. After the presentation we all cycled home together.