RACE REPORT – Maraitai Beach (Near Auckland – New Zealand) TRIATHLON
26th February 2017 – By Graham Plews.
It’s only February and this is my second race report of the year! This time the race was at Maraitai Beach, just down the east coast from Auckland. It’s another fabulous location to relax and enjoy the sea, sun and sand with the family and when we arrived on the Saturday that’s just what many Auckland folk had decided to do. My number one supporter (Rhonda) and I were again able to camp very close to the transition area overlooking the sea and surrounding islands so no complaints on that front! I did the Olympic Distance race, which again was the longest race on offer. The weather conditions were perfect again with the heat building nicely through the morning.
My race was the second to get underway at the respectable time of 8.05, five minutes after the much shorter ‘Try-a-Tri’ race. The swim was a mass start for all age-groups (see photo) and consisted of three laps with two beach exits between the laps to wave to supporters as competitors run round a buoy in the shallows. You can imagine the mayhem as the whole field negotiated the first buoy! My swim time for the 1500m swim of 25.33 suggests the course was very short!!
I enjoyed the swim but the real fun started again when I jumped on the bike and set off in pursuit of the faster swimmers. Somewhat unusually this race was ‘draft-legal’, great fun but hardly plays to my strengths. A few large packs had formed in front and as I tried to chase them down managed to scoop up a good number of faster swimmers but slower riders who weren’t very keen on sharing the load at the front and when they tried the pace dropped anyway! The out-and-back 40Km two lap bike course followed the coast road then turned in land to a turn point at the quarter distance point. Despite a few undulations the course was fast and aided (or hindered!) by the legal drafting resulted in a respectable cycle time of 1.14.59 with an average speed on 20mph.
The run course was out-and-back and consisted of three laps. It must be one of the most beautiful run courses on the planet as it followed the coast again, this time in the opposite direction to the bike course. Aided by Ibuprofen (!) I managed a reasonable run split for an oldie of 47.07 contributing to a good overall race result as I won the ten age 60-69 age group by exactly 19mins.
60 – 69 M
1. 404 Graham Plews 00:25:33 2. 01:14:59 1 00:47:07 1 02:27:39
2. 371 Ross Kidd 00:22:35 1. 01:27:40 2 00:56:26 3 02:46:39
3. 341 Barry Belin 00:25:56 3. 01:28:37 3 00:52:58 2 02:47:30