Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Shepparton Half Ironman

Well, 19 weeks of training came down to one day, I don't think I've ever worked this hard for anything ever before. The organizers did a fantastic job putting together this race, everything seemed to run perfect. It took me 5hrs 39 minutes to finish, pretty much bang on the time I had set in my head that I wanted to achieve.

Registration and various vendors selling fun stuff.

The biggest stress on Saturday was making sure my bike number was on straight.

After the bike was checked over by an official I was able to bring it into the bike compound. The bikes are left over night in the compound, once it goes in you can't take it out until the end of the race the next day...

Looking over the lake, mentally swimming it....

Cari standing in the lake, mentally wishing she was shopping... I have to thank Cari for putting up with a lot of crap over the last few months. Most of my bike training was in our living room on a fluid trainer. Nothing beats a nosy, stinky husband spending hours spinning on a bike with a movie turned up really loud so he can hear it over the noise of the trainer. Or him waking up at 6am on weekend mornings and heading out for long rides or runs then coming home dead tired and cranky. Love you babe!

Looking over the bike compound 5:30 Sunday morning. Woke up at 4am, ate, and relaxed. Got my stuff together then woke Cari up. I slept surprisingly well. The temp was just hitting 20 degrees at 5 am, and was calling for a high of 37 :(

At 5:30am they opened the bike compound so you could set up your transition area. It was pretty cool seeing all the pros getting ready, they each had their own way of doing things. The bike compound is only open for 1 hour, after which everyone is kicked out.

The great thing about a lake swim is the fact that its so calm, unlike an ocean swim which can get really rough. The average temp leading up to the race was about 36 degrees, which meant the lake was unusually warm. The morning of the race the water temp was over 25 degrees making it a mandatory non wet suit swim. This has a big impact on swim times, swimming with a wet suit makes you more buoyant, which reduces drag.

The swim was a deep water start, meaning when the race started you are already in the lake treading water. We had to walk around the lake to the starting area. Each age category was given a specific color swim cap, each color had a different start time. Pros went first at 7am, my category started at 7:06am. The swim was 1.9km long and consisted of 1.5 laps of the lake. This is by far my weakest area, add on top of that being surrounded by hundreds of other people all trying to go in the same direction, it can get pretty rough. My goggles fogged up bad, to the point where I could no longer sight the buoys. Several times I had to slow down and fill my goggles with water to clear them. The tried and true methods of keeping my goggles fog free failed (spit and toothpaste). Other than that the swim was great, I felt good at the end and it took just over 41 minutes to complete. My goal was to do it in under 45 minutes, so I was very happy with the time.

Everyone gathered at the starting area for the swim.

After the 1.9km swim you exit the lake and run about 100m to the bike compound, where you hurriedly get everything you need for the bike ride together, grab your bike, run out of the compound and start your ride. My transition time was less then 3 minutes which I was really happy with. In the above pic I'm returning from the bike leg of the race. Cycling is my strongest area, add on top of that a flat course and only a slight breeze made for an awesome ride. The bike leg is 90km long and is split into 3, 30km loops. Each loop passed the transition area where all the crowd is waiting to cheer you on. During the ride some of the pros passed me. I was happily cruising along at almost 40km an hour when 7 or 8 of the pros passed me like a group of cruise missiles, I could hear the whoosh whoosh whoosh of their full carbon rear wheels before they passed me. When the last pro went by I dropped the hammer and hung onto his wheel (well 3 bike lengths behind him, drafting is illegal) for a couple of minutes. Their ability to hold such a pace is mind blowing. I soon dropped back knowing that I would soon explode if I kept that pace. The 90km cycle took me just under 2hrs 50min, my average speed was around 32-33km an hour.

With the ride finished I made my way back into the bike compound, found my spot, racked my bike and got my running shoes on.

Getting into my running gear.

With the bike racked and my running shoes on I made my way out of the compound and start the 21km run. At this point the temperature was reaching 35 degrees. Saying the run was hard is an understatement. I've run that distance many times, but in that heat it was pure hell. In the end it took me 2hrs 9min to finish the run, this was the only part of the race I was a little disappointed with, but considering the temps during the run I'm just happy I finished.

Go Canada!

Crossing the finish line, sun burnt, chafed, and blistered but feeling good.

Having a dip after the race to cool down.

So what now?
For starters, I'm taking 2 weeks off from any form of exercise. Cari leaves for Canada this Saturday and I'll be heading to Byron Bay, meeting up with 5 friends to do nothing but relax for 4 days. So excited!
When I get back I'd like to find a good triathlon club to join, nothing is better then training with other like minded people, so far I've been going at it pretty much on my own, armed only with a training program that I downloaded off the net.
I'm going to enter the Geelong half Ironman which is on Feb 7th 2010. In December I'll do my first sprint triathlon, (500m swim, 20km cycle and 5km run) that will be held just down the street near St. Kilda.

Pending any work issues, I'd like to do a full IronMan next December in Perth. That's not yet a commitment, but I'm taking steps now to see if I can make it happen.

Steve (half a man) Dickinson


Skate said...

Fantastic story and a brilliant achievement. Well done Sir, well done.

Visible Voice said...

Congrats dude! Great job... really makes me want a bike.

Mariana said...

Congratulatiosn Steve!!
That was an amazing race :)

Clotilde said...

Good job Steve!

For your Sprint, the transition times are crucial because everything is so much shorter. That's where you can get tips from the pros if you join a club. Great idea.

For the fog, when the spit does work (did you try licking with your tongue and not rinsing?), maybe because of the heat+your sweat, I would try Cat Crap. They sell it for motorcycle visors but I bet you it would work for goggles.

Good luck with the program!

Anonymous said...

Great Job Steve !! Your dedication and commitment is impressive.
You should be proud of your achievement ! Congratulations Steve !!

The next marathon to watch is Kathy and Cari at Frenchy’s in Nova Scotia...

Joe Chrysler