Intrepid CTC members Fiona Christian & Andy Lynex recently travelled to Tasmania, along with their bikes. The plan was initially to enjoy some early season long rides to try and get into some sort of shape after a winter of mostly turbo training in the UK.
Midway into their holiday, cycling in the beautiful Freycinet National Park, they came across an advert highlighting a local triathlon taking place on their last day in the area, the Coles Bay Triathlon – such a coincidence! There was a middle distance and a sprint….so they opted for the sprint, Fiona defends her decision saying, ‘we had no kit, we hadn’t been out riding more than 60km all winter and it was 30 degrees heat’.
They managed to register just one hour before registrations closed and discovered they were the only international athletes taking part. So they cobbled together some race kit and arrived at the event with plenty of time for the race briefing and transition.
Racing in Tasmania is slightly different to Yorkshire
Pre-race, the focus is mainly on applying sufficient sunscreen and insect repellent rather than ensuring you’ve got arm-warmers and a rain jacket. Hunting for any race nutrition in rural Tassie proved impossible with the advice being to ‘stick to a Mars bar’. (which they did and is all very well until you find it has melted in transition and makes for a messy, sweaty mess). Fiona & Andy were surprised to find the Australian triathletes pretty much all wore wetsuits. Having debated her race outfit, Fiona briefly considered her swimming costume (in the manner of the Aussie pros) so was surprised to see so many in wetsuits for a sprint in water which was 18 degrees. The 500m sea swim was probably the best introduction to sea swimming that is possible – perfectly clear water, no fish or jellies, swimming closely to the shore with a direct line to the finish making for easy visibility. Andy completed the swim with Fiona directly behind him (unintentional drafting…) and the lack of websuit made for a swift transition for both.
A 20km out and back undulating ride followed by a 5.5km run completed the event. A great race which was more about the taking part and experiencing a race in Tasmania than the result. Although, having said that, Andy claimed 10th overall and the fourth fastest run split in the event. Fiona was 13th lady (although she says if she could run, she’d have been 6th – not quite sure how she worked out the stats on that though). The bike leg was in a beautiful national park and the run was along perhaps the most pristine beach in the world at Coles Bay. A grand day out!
The pair are now trying to decide on their ‘A’ race for 2016. Watch this space for more race reports!