The First Long Course World Champs for Australia
I've been anticipating last Sunday's Long Distance Triathlon World Champs
for 2 years, since race organiser Nick Munting lodged his bid with the
International Triathlon Union. The event lived up to my highest
expectations, in terms of tight organisation, wonderful camaraderie, perfect
weather, marvellous competition and terrific support from the Canberra
The 300m swim from the beach to the deep water start allowed us to get used
to the 17 degree temperature in the glassy water of Lake Burley Griffin.
The 2 lap course was easy to navigate, though the wave of under 40 years men
just 3 minutes behind my wave took no time to charge through the slow old
blokes. A 350m run from the swim exit to my bike gave me time to dry off
and warm up, and then I was onto the best part of the day: a challenging 4
lap course though Coppins Crossing. As a result of a particularly thorough
briefing from chief technical officer, Canberra's Jane Seaborn, competitors
generally obeyed the rules, particularly relating to drafting and blocking.
As the day wore on the wind picked up to make the final gentle climb up
William Hovell Drive a lot harder than the first. It was a relief to turn
onto the Cotter Road for the final time after finishing the hills. My bike
chain dropped twice in the final 10km causing irritating stops.
By T2 the large crowd was cheering the race winner in his final kilometres,
and the atmosphere was great for all competitors. I felt terrific and went
out hard on the first lap, keen to catch blokes in my age group in front of
me if I could. I had a good idea of the competitors to beat and watched
carefully to identify them. By the second lap many runners were slowing
down significantly, suffering after the hard ride and in the 29 degree heat
of the early afternoon. The vocal support from the Canberra triathlon
community was inspiring, but by lap 3 I started suffering from my hard pace
and the heat. Up the hill near the National Museum everyone around me was
walking but I shortened my stride and kept running. Nausea swept over me
and every muscle in my body ached over the final couple of kilometres.
I was able to smile as I crossed the finish line with the announcer calling
my name and place in my age group. The woman who crossed behind me burst
into tears as she finished. For the rest of the day I could only sit and
drink. Sensibly the presentations were at lunchtime on Monday, by which
time most competitors had recovered. The highlight for me was TACT member
Ken Murtagh's gold medal in the M65-69 age group and special award for
completing the event after major problems with his bike.
Thanks to all the volunteers and supporters who spent many hours in the heat
to make it a great event.
See ya in a couple of weeks.