Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Challenge Shepparton - The "Event" Report

So my first long course event for this season was done and dusted on Sunday 16th November. Challenge Shepparton (half iron-distance) on a new course in Shepparton, VIC.

I signed up for this event early this year and used it as an incentive to get back into training from my leave. I had about 6 weeks to train for this event after an 8 week long service leave holiday and 3 more weeks of non-training due to a bike crash.

We did a short ride, run and swim on Saturday and checked in our bikes around lunch. I made my way back to the cabin to rest my legs and had a good nap. I tend to nap the day before. I find that as I don't have enough sleep the night before a race, I figured I can be "rested" if I nap the day before. It also kills the nerves too which is a bonus.

I am sure the 1300+ competitors were awake during the storms the night before the event. I was woken up at about 1am in the morning due to the loud noises the torrential rain made around the cabin. I was so grateful that we were in a cabin compared to poor souls who pitched tents in the caravan park.

I had my alarm set at 3:40 and again at 4am. First things first, put on my tri-suit, timing band on my ankles, had breakfast of a peanut butter banana sandwich (literally, cut banana in half, apply peanut butter, close banana), applied numbering tattoos on arms, legs and packed up my hydration into my bags. I left the caravan park at 4:45 and got to the lake around 4:50am. I stood around with about a dozen or so other competitors for a few minutes before they opened up transition at 5am.

I haven't set up a transition since February of this year. It felt weird having all your things lined up and ready to go instead of stuffing them into transition bags. Due to the rain, I folded my towels in a way that it covered my gear from being (too) wet. I decided to wear socks for the run as I wanted to be as comfortable as I could and I haven't been training sans socks for over 12 months. It took me about 20min to get ready and walked through the expo. Luckily one of the pop-up tri shops was opened so I purchased some arm warmers and went back into transition and had them ready.

I walked back to the TA Taj and saw that plenty of tri clubs had their tents blown over. One even had their tent into the lake. I wet-suited up around 6:15am and waited around for the start. The elites were supposed to go off at 6:30 but was delayed by 10min as they needed to clear the roads. Waiting around for the start was worse due to the freezing conditions and the non-stop rain. Once we were in the water, it was a relief as the lake was actually warm.

The siren blew and off we went. I must have not pressed the right button on my Garmin. No swim recorded and I stuffed up my multisport-button-pressing-thing. The swim felt long and I had a few issues with direction. Turning around the buoys almost at 360 angle made it hard for me to get my bearings right. The last part of the swim where you headed towards swim exit I got a bit lost.

Swim - 41:08 (36/40).

Once I got out of my wettie and put on my usual cycling gear - helmet, shoes, I had to put on my arm warmers too. So grateful for being able to purchase those early that morning! My wheels were rubbing against my brakes which annoyed me so I had to stop and adjust them before I mounted the bike.

The bike leg was an out and back with a little detour through a small town. The direction of the bike route meant that you would hit a head wind going south but will be riding with the tail wind back into Shepp. The roads were very very bumpy. Plenty of nutrition and accessories were found along the way. Plenty of canisters on the roads from the bumps and plenty of drink cages and hydration systems were also strewn on the road. It was hard to pick a line to best place yourself as you don't want to "hog the road". My wrist, arms and back ached from the bumps and still do now 3 days after the event.

Riding into the headwind is not my favourite thing to do. I need to work on my strength more and be able to ride in the large chain ring without compromising my legs. It's a balancing act between spinning out at a high cadence, small chain ring and not going very fast versus riding in the large chain ring, slower cadence but going at a higher speed. Something I will need to work on over the next few weeks. Riding into the head wind was very demoralising. Hundreds of people rode past me. I was only able to ride past about 10. Another thing I need to work on is the sharp U turns - I had to unclip out of the pedal. Lacking bike skills big time.

Riding with the tail wind was amazing. On the second lap back into Shepp, I was riding on the hardest gear for about 20km all the way. It felt great and I was powering past people who seemed to have lost concentration/motivation/energy. I made myself concentrate on my strokes and played a little game of "left leg, right leg".

Bike - 3:25:30 (37/40)

I really enjoyed the run. Maybe because I drank coke on the course and that really changed my perception on a huge level. I actually had to stop off at the toilets on the first lap as I thought I had shat my pants. I didn't want to be that person. Luckily, what I was "feeling" was just paw-paw ointment I applied early in the morning to prevent chaffing and not poo! I timed myself to consume gel at a point on the course and that worked out well. I walked through all the aid stations and had coke and water. I had two salt tablets on course too. My feet cramped twice on the run, once around the 2km mark and once again around the 19km mark.

I walked probably around 50m in total and only through aid stations and up some of the inclines of the course (albeit very very small inclines). I felt good on the run. I would put this towards the amount of caffeine consumed.

Run - 2:14:08 (36/40)

Overall, my position was 35/40 for Females 30-34 with a total time of 6:26:51. This was my last race in this age category as I will be in 35-39 for Challenge Melbourne.

Considering the lack of training I did before this event, I am actually very happy about my results. I am happy that I have come out of it relatively injury free apart from being sore - quads, back and wrists. My nutrition was bang-on, maybe need to increase the hydration part as I only consumed about 600ml of my hydration over 90km. I am not a huge sweater and I still went to the bathroom on course.

Things to note/improve/fix:
  • Secure my gel flask on my top tube better. I had it strapped over an old head band with zip ties but due to the shape of the top tube and the rain, the flask rotated around the top tube during the ride. I also chaffed along my thigh from my legs rubbing against the head-band material. I need to visit Clark Rubber to buy some neoprene.
  • Work on my intensity! I found myself getting into a "relaxed" mode during the swim and need to get faster. Need to do more strength work on the bike and interval running to get some speed up. 
  • Continue with Lady Bombs ride on Thursday morning - my favourite session.
  • Book in more massages. I had my pre race massage on Friday and again on the Monday. I haven't had a massage since May as I feel like a bit of a hack for not doing much training. Massages help with muscle recovery and prevents injuries.
My goal is to ultimately finish a half-iron-distance race under 6 hours - this can only be done if I can increase my average speed on the bike to ride 90km under 3 hours and run 21.1km under 2 hours. As long as I keep the swim < 40min and transition < 10min in total, I should get there one day.

For now, it's a few days rest. I have a trail run on the 29th Nov and the next event is on the 1st Feb (Challenge Melbourne).

No comments:

Post a Comment