Thursday, December 15, 2011

Race 3 - A new perspective

Race 3 of the QLD Gatorade Series was run and won (by some) on Sunday. It was from a new vantage point for me; the sidelines. I found something tougher than making the decision to rest my calf and not race - standing as a spectator watching what would have been my wave take off! That being said I quickly embraced the opportunity to soak up the day from a new position (see the YouTube video I put together to see what I mean) and I have to say, bravo to everyone involved. From the athletes, to the volunteers, to the officials, everybody was on their 'A-game' with enthusiasm, smiles and support. Even the sun came out to play! It is also worth noting that from registration to numbering, to getting into transition, USM seems to have the blueprint for Raby Bay sorted out. A nice change compared to some of the reports I have heard about the race down in Canberra on the same weekend, which sounds like it was absolute chaos.

From a spectators point of view, Raby Bay seems to tick quite a few boxes. You can see the swim start, get close enough to 'high five' your mates as they run up the swim exit and into transition, then have enough time to scoot across and watch them mount (or attempt to mount) their bike and head out onto the bike course. Also, with a 4 lap ride for the full distance you get ample opportunity to watch everyone spin around the round-a-bout as they come back towards transition and then out again. Again, you can position yourself to see them dismount and run into transition, then yell out some encouragement as they grunt (usually grunt, or groan, sometimes squeezing out a smile!) their way out of T2 and onto the run. A bit of exercise for the spectator to move around to the run course, see everyone come in and out on their first lap, then duck around near the huge inflatable Mizuno shoe and watch them stagger / stumble / sprint across the finish line. So close you can taste the action sometimes! Not that I recommend licking the athletes as they move past. Finally, not only do you get front row seats for all the action, but you also get access to some great deals. On Sunday the Active Stride tent had some shoes at half price, plus all those last minute things that get forgotten (like race belts - I think I have about 5 at home because I would forget to pack them and need to get a new one on the day. Much better than pinning your suit I think!). 

I can't deny that I kept a close eye on the 30-34 year category action. The top guys were lining up (minus one or two) and again while I wanted to be out there I made the most of watching it all unfold from the sidelines. First port of call was the swim exit. Superfish Josh (J.Santacaterina) was no surprise as the first up the ramp and into transition, a place he held onto (just) coming off the bike and onto the run. He had a full minute clear of the 2nd fastest swim, with the rest of the top guys coming out of the water in another 30 - 45 seconds. Interestingly, the top 3 place getters were 5th, 9th and 22nd in the swim leg. This tells me that while a good swim is important, as long as I am within a 2 minutes of the lead I am still in it. It also reinforces that if I can get out of the water with the top couple of guys, the race is mine for the taking. 

Out onto the bike course and I had the opportunity to watch the top guys spin around the round-a-bout 3 times. Both BD (B.Dalrympie, 1st in race 1 and 3rd in race 2) and Ricardo (R.Barbosa, 2nd in race 1 and race 2) made huge gains on the bike, with BD hot on Josh's heals coming out of T2 (transition '2': from bike to run) and Ricardo 31 seconds back. Ryan Emmerson also sizzled the bike course with the 3rd fastest ride of the day (finishing our race in 4th place). Some really solid riding with the top few guys, which shows that is the place to take control of our category at the moment. 

That being said, a blistering run by Paul Jamison (16:57 for the 5km which was 34 seconds faster than the second fastest run split) moved him from well back in the field to 3rd place at the end of the day. A man to watch out for! I've gotta have at least 34 seconds up my sleeve when I jump off my bike, otherwise I am in trouble! BD quickly took control of the run (and race) and was able to hold off for his second victory of the season. Ricardo put in a strong effort to take 2nd, with Paul in 3rd. 

I have to say, Mr Abs himself, BD, looked the goods from start to finish. I was really impressed with the way he seemed to be in control of the day from the get-go, complete with fast transitions and solid performances in all three disciplines. With 2 wins from 3 races, he is the guy to beat at the moment. Maybe not the Alistair Brownlee of our category yet  as he is beatable - but perhaps the Gomez or Kahlefeldt ; ) I am really looking forward to toeing the line with him and the other guys at Robina in January for the club champs. With a bit of rest I'm sure my calf will be ready to rock n' roll. 

Enjoy the break guys and gals, I will put together some ideas soon for attacking the Christmas season and making it work around the puddings and pavlovas. 


  1. Like you say, a good swim certainly isn't everything. I got back into triathlon this year and seem to find myself near the front of the 30-34 men's category every race after the swim. But by the end of the bike I'm somewhere down near the bottom of the field (if not last, then 2nd-3rd last). It's pretty impressive to see you guys out front blast past on the bike. You probably train a lot harder than me too though :)

  2. It's funny how we all view the world though, as I am always really impressed and in awe of the guys who can kill-it in the swim! Also, I had a bit of a read of your blog and it sounds like you have had to overcome a few obstacles to get where you are. Well done, a bit of focus and determination goes a long way.

  3. I reckon we all have obstacles to overcome :) . But yeah, focus and determination are pretty handy tools.

    By the look of your race schedule here on your blog I won't be swimming past you this season because I aren't doing the Gatorade or Mooloolaba races this season. That also means you won't get to fly past me on the bike. *massive friendly grin*.

    I'll be wearing a yellow vest at all or most of those races though so see you out on the course. Am enjoying your blog heaps. (Andrew)