Coogee Olympic Distance

Posted on Posted in Triathlon Racing
c3 Chris Evans (aka Mr Stack), takes us through his olympic distance race at Coogee, WA. The 2015/2016 season for me has been an exercise in reassessing goals and expectations. Following on from a less than perfect race at Ironman WA in December, it took me a while to re-gain the motivation to train and race again. When this finally did come around again in the new year, I was hit with injury, illness and a sub-optimal belly full of South African meat after an indulgent Christmas break. All things combined I didn’t get to race again until Fremantle Tri at the end of March, and whilst this was a good hit out, the short distance was not enough preparation for Busso 70.3 in May, so I figured it was time to pay the Olympic Distance another visit at Coogee. The Olympic distance is one of my favourite distances, but one that I have never really raced before. All previous outings at this distance were in the UK with the aim of completing, not competing. After a lazy day on the Saturday watching the Gold Coast ITU race, with Helen Jenkins finally ending Gwen Jorgensen’s unbelievable unbeaten run, and Jonny Brownlee toughing it out to get a podium, despite fainting over the line, I was rightly so comparing myself to my fellow elite British Triathletes and full of optimism and positivity going into the race. I arrived at Coogee early, luckily, as the ‘best car park’ as described in the race guide was somewhere in the outer suburbs of Bunbury, and after what seemed like a 4 hour walk, I arrived at transition to find Steve, Matt and Martin, who also fell for the parking advice! c4We all got racked up and headed down to the jetty for the swim start, here was the signature, long and confusing race briefing, where the relatively simple swim course of a rectangle somehow managed to be described in a way that had everyone asking for clarification. Unfortunately with just a few seconds to go there was no time for this and we were left to navigate the course as we saw best. Now usually I don’t have to worry about swim navigation, but recent advances in jet suit technology have placed me a little closer to the front of the field. In the flat water, I made it out to the turn around buoy in good time, and turned 180° as described at the briefing, then after swimming what seemed like 100m back towards the Jetty I spotted another buoy which would form a rectangle, as described in the race guide. I decided I would swim back and head around this additional buoy, I didn’t want to cheat. It turned out the rest of the wave behind (other than all of the F4L crew it must be said who were all well behaved) decided to ignore this additional buoy and head straight back. After battling back through the wave I came out in just under 20minutes, not bad, although it turned out it was shorter than 1500m, even with the detour. Much debate after the race did not clear up what the correct swim course was, so who knows if it was the right decision to turn back. Hopefully Busso will be a bit clearer! c5A quick transition later (4th fastest... what has got into me!!) and we are out on the bike for 8 laps of the 5km course. The bike course was good fun, a nice steady climb out of transition allowed for plenty of overtaking, followed by a fast run back from the turnaround. All the F4L Triathlon Coaching Team were in the zone, and plenty of shouts of encouragement were being thrown around as we passed at the turnarounds. The bike went well, I pushed a bit hard in places after being overtaken by a young whipper snipper in my age group, and the legs were feeling it, but overall I was happy, came in in 1:06, closely followed by Matt, Steve and Martin, all doing great rides. A slightly slower transition later (I have soft feet and need socks for the run) and we were out on a 2 lap run course. The course had 2 switchbacks so gave a good opportunity to see the competition. I realised early on that there were a few very fast athletes in my age group that were a good half a lap ahead, and I calculated I was about 5th on the course. My run recently has been a weakness after returning from injury, so I told myself to take it steady and save some for the second lap. About half a lap in I was overtaken, but saw the guy ahead of me slow slightly closing the gap. I decided to make a move at the final turn around and kicked up the pace as I tried to casually pass him! Mistake! I got around the next bend and both legs cramped up! Disaster. Luckily he didn’t see this, I managed to shake it off like T (sic: an avid Taylor Swift fan is our Chris). Swizzle and finished up holding position. I finished 5th across the line (dropped down a few places after wave times were calculated) with a run of 41:16, which although I didn’t feel great, it happened to be a 10k PB so mustn’t grumble. Steve and Matt crossed the line very shortly after, skipping together hand in hand down the finish line and Martin not far behind. The timing and distance made for an ideal hit out pre-busso, and this was reflected in a strong field. As a result there was to be no usual F4L podium domination, but the race gave everyone a great practice and confidence boost in the lead up to the 70.3 in May. It was a good fun race, and a good closed road bike course, so well worth the short trip down. Thanks to the support crew as usual for the early start and cheering from the sidelines, and thanks to Yuna for the snaps! To stay up to date with the F4L Triathlon Coaching Team and receive other coaching offers and news find us on social media FB icon   instagram icon   twitter icon Looking to kick start your training: check out our coached training programs here
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