Geelong Camp! Racing in Victoria

Part 2 of my overly long account of training down in Geelong. So far it had been a pretty big week and I’ve had a nice, deep massage. How do you finish that off? A race? How about two? Toby had sent me details of a couple of races and who am I to argue. Early Saturday morning we rode up to the North Shore region of Geelong. A horrible industrial area with weird smells. The ideal setting for the Australian Masters Games Triathlon. Whatever Toby may claim, this is not as big or grand an event as the name implies!

The ride over had let both of us know our legs would not be doing much today. It almost seems wrong to describe what followed as racing. The field was pretty small and the race low key. Given my performance I’m kind of glad of that. The swim was uneventful apart from the opportunities to pet the local wildlife as a shoal of jellyfish floated by. The 3 lap bike course took in all the sights of the North Shore and some interesting petroleum smells too. Winds were again an issue as was fatigue and heavily massaged legs. However much I would have liked to I was not going above Ironman pace for this Olympic distance race. The run could potentially be pleasant, but for the nasty decaying smell at one end and the views of factories. The tired legs that turned it into more of a plod didn’t help either! Despite all of this Toby won overall and I got 3rd in our age group and a nice bronze medal to show for it! With a personal worst olympic time I’m not too proud though.

A planned ride up to Melbourne was vetoed without any argument. Instead we took the coach that was standing in for the trains that weekend (just like home!) We were heading back up to Melbourne to stay near to Sunday’s race with some of Toby’s friends. It may not be that glamorous, but I love the travel and meeting people I get to do these days. Spending a night somewhere new on a different mattress on a different floor (without ants) was all part of the fun of the race weekend. It proved to be a nice relaxed afternoon and evening which by now I really needed. It wasn’t like I’d done much that day, but I felt exhausted.

Another early start to ride the 10K to the race start in Altona. Sunday’s race was a club sprint tri. Low key though I think with more competitors than the Aussie Masters! I didn’t feel great riding there, but by this stage it was more about surviving an hour of racing. Weather was awful first thing – windy, cold and wet. It didn’t look like this would be much fun! Whilst we waited in the relative warmth of the club house one of the buoys was blown from the beach across the street right into the window. Really, the weather didn’t look good at all! As I had done the previous day I declared I’d be wearing my long sleeve cycle jersey for the bike. Just like the day before I never did as competing seems to warm me up.

Once everything was in place we waded out into the sea with the other competitors. The beach is shallow so it was a good 50m out before you were deep enough. Conditions were pretty rough, but at least the water wasn’t too cold. The swim was a matter of surviving through the battering the waves gave you. I don’t think I did so badly really. As I swam into shore people started to stand, I put off joining them till my hands touched the sand below. Even then I had 50m of aquajogging to do to get in. Watching many of us coming into shore I don’t think you’d consider it a race.

Transition was entertaining. Toby was already out on the bike and his friend Greer managed to come in after me and leave before me. Partly because I was confusing myself over which shoe went on which foot! What can I say I was tired! I had it right first time to! Having worked through the complex shoe issue I got out on the bike back into the wind. Today I couldn’t even manage Ironman pace for a sprint. That 18km of cycling dragged by and holding my place in the field was hard enough let alone catching people.

Second transition involved no shoe confusion though still remained slow. Out onto the run and the legs felt heavy, but I tried to push harder. I actually took some places back! The last 2km were hell as I made myself up the pace again. This involved passing a few people whilst pretending I was just cruising along all the time hoping they’d not stick with me! Apparently my run time was 18:20, 5 seconds slower than the previous weekend’s 5K race. Not sure what was going on there, I think I should have worked harder last week. Race over in a slightly embarrassing time, but at least it was all done.

The planned ride home was vetoed again! No complaints, instead we impressively packed 3 bikes and 3 people into Greer’s car and headed off for coffee. After a far easier journey home than expected I ended up facing the toughest endurance event of the entire week – a trip to the cinema. I would not recommend the film Bride Wars to anyone, nobody should ever have to see it. Ever. I’m not going to say anything more about that one.

To finish off my trip Monday was an easy day. I was knackered so really had no choice. Going to swim squad in the morning I pretty much died halfway through the session. When a tumble turn becomes a handstand twice in a row you know you’re not really in it! The rest of the day involved lazing about, watching TV, sushi and another painful massage! This time my shoulders were the focus, I’m still feeling it today!

That was Geelong. Tuesday I had one final squad swim which went marginally better than Monday. A final coffee and then the trip back to the Coast. My cab ride back home was entertaining, once again a lovely, chatty female cab driver. Things became a bit awkward when she started telling me how the economic crisis was predicted in the bible, and about the conspiracy behind the US president. I preferred when she talked about her younger years travelling the world as a singer. I was reminded of a comment in Geelong about Queenslanders being a bit nuts (for some of the people they voted into office). Certainly there’s a lot of eccentricity up here!

Really enjoyed my time down there. Met some great people and got a very solid training week in. It was fun racing like that over the weekend. Far from my best, fatigued and in pain, but yeah I enjoyed it. The seeds of a crazy idea for the future have been put in my head – racing a half and full Ironman race over a single weekend. Is there anywhere that’s possible without too much logistical difficulties? I’ve started searching. For now I just have a couple more weeks training and then taper for Port to worry about.