Tuesday, 9 July 2013
This is the eleventy-millionth part of a doodlysquillion part race report. Scroll down to part one if you can be arsed...or don't... whatever..
So. Firstly - here's a lesson for young graphic designers - don't forsake function for style. This is my race number:
Yep, so I was number.. um.... 7 no 1, then 6, no hang on 5. Then 1 or 4? 154 ? Yep number 154. Actually I knew my number pretty well by the end of the race as the volunteers had no chance of reading the numbers for themselves so you had to yell it out each time through the transition.
But overall the event was pretty good - it's the perfect length for me. Apart from the race numbers it seemed to be a slicker production than last year in lots of ways so I really hope it does grows to the extent that the organisers would like it to - it's certainly a great area for it. The organisers and volunteers were nice and it had a nice atmosphere about it.
Also we all got an Ice Breaker t-shirt as part of registration but my size was gone by the time we arrived late so I got one for Jon instead which he is happy with.
So what happened to Jenny? Well it turned out I was 4:30 faster on the paddle (and she said she had some issues at the first buoy which would have accounted for a couple of those) but then I actually managed to cycle 2mins 30 secs faster than her which is surprising. That meant I had almost seven minutes up my sleeve going into the run and she pulled back three of them. Thus I finished 4 minutes ahead.
And Rowena Fry - the super MTBer? Well she was 11 minutes slower than me on the paddle, 20 minutes faster on the bike, then she proved her all-around-athleteness by backing it up with a blistering run 9 minutes faster than me and from what I can tell from the results, close to the fastest female run time of the day. Impressive. But I never thought I'd be in her class anyway - and as I'm not in her category either I'm happy to just be impressed by her abilities.
And me? Well I'm delighted I did it. I'm not awesome or anything and I'm first to admit the women's field was pretty small (but I can't control that) but I achieved my twin goals of finishing and being the first solo woman off the water. I also surprised myself with a respectable run leg and I'm going to give myself marks for avoiding almost certain doom at the hands of TRAAACKKKK guy by being on my game at that particular point.
Would I do it again? I'm not sure, but if I was ever going to do another event solo this would certainly be the one. In the meantime I'm going to concentrate on my paddling (for our family team) and just enjoying my mountain biking and the occasional run.
That's a cool ice axe themed trophy I'm holding. Unfortunately it's perpetual so whilst my name will be on it, I don't get to keep it!
This is part 5 of a gad zillion part race report of the Icebreaker Multisport Race. Scroll down (and down, and down..) to get to part one.
As I arrived Jon grabbed my muddy bike and said calmly… "so… Rowena is 10 minutes ahead, you miiiighhht not need to worry tooooooo much about catching her…" Ha! Well that explained that little mystery - she'd made up all the lead I had from the paddle, AND put 10 minutes into me and clearly come past me soooo fast that she couldn't be seen by the naked eye. huh. Actually she has short hair and a narrow frame so I recon to my sweat clouded eyes she would have looked like every other fast guy out there - it turned out she had the 8th fastest mtb time overall and that includes the hot-shot male riders who had come down from the mainland for the race. Ok - so that was all good - I didn't have to wonder about that anymore. It did still leave the question of what had happened to Jenny Enderby - by rights she should have come past me as well but Jon hadn't seen her yet. So it was just going to be a matter of pulling on my running shoes and hoping for the best.
Now the last time I did any sort of racing transition from bike to run was back in 1994 when my brother Paul and I did a few triathlons around Melbourne. Now kids, in 1994 the way you entered these events was by chiselling your name into the entry tablet, attaching a carrier pigeon, stuffing it into a bottle and throwing it out to sea. So it had been a while…
Once I reached the top I decided that it all was in my hands now, and no-one was going to overtake me from this point. I love a bit of downhill so I dialled up the pace as much as I could (about 1/10th of a notch!) and set about finishing this thing. Across one road, around the fire trail and I had just a few hundred metres to go on the sealed road down the hill.. but just as I approached the line I heard thundering footsteps coming up behind me.. - no just kidding ! It was all smooth sailing from there across the finish line - yaaaaaay!!! 2nd female overall, 1st in masters and one score settled. yay!!!!!
Moments after the finish.
Monday, 8 July 2013
This is the fourth part of a one squillion part race report of the Icebreaker event. If you have enough strength in your hand, scroll down to read the report from the beginning.
So the other bit of the race I'd been worried about, was the mountain bike. In fact I'd worried so much about it that I'd taken myself to Launceston a few weeks earlier to ride around the course a couple of times (and run around the running course). The proposed MTB course was technical but actually quite fun and not even too hilly which was good news for me. In fact it was probably ideal - the only un-ideal part about it was just how long it was going to take me to ride two laps what with it being my slowest leg and all.
This is part 3 of a million part write-up of the Icebreaker race. Scroll down to start at part one.
I'm traditionally not good at race starts. The field is generally 90% (or more) guys and I find that I don't have same power to accelerate off the line so I feel like I'm going backwards to the rest of the bunch's forward movement. This wouldn't be so bad except it's important to try to hang onto the wash of the faster boats, as they'll drag you along with them if you can keep up - letting them get a gap on you off the line is not ideal. Handily though, a few weeks earlier at one of my evening paddle group sessions we'd been practising a lot of starts. So I'd improved a bit at least.
So by the time 2 minutes to go had been announced, I had joined the group of boats waiting on about the 2nd row of the starting line. If there's one thing I have learnt from racing, it's that 2 minutes to go doesn't mean two minutes to go so it's good to be ready early.. When 30 seconds to go was announced, Jordy, a fast paddler who was next to me on the start line, took one hand off his paddle to start his garmin watch. Less than a second later the starter yelled GO, and the wash from the frenzy of paddles and boats in front promptly tipped him out into the freezing waters of the lake. Oops - bad start. He was back in his boat and paddling pretty quickly though, unlike the chump who thought two minutes meant two minutes and had gone to do a little warm-up loop. woops.
Just cruising up to the startline - I'm up towards the top of this photo to the left..
Anyway - finally we were off. After all this training - and I'm the first to admit it was sporadic, haphazard and unstructured, but it was training nethertheless - I'd been paddling on cold dark mornings, locked my bike up on my way to work and run up trugannini track, and I'd cycled home on cold dark evenings when I was exhausted. So I was more than ready to have this race get underway!
Heading towards the first turning buoy I suddenly felt all the nervous tension that I hadn't felt before the race due to our late arrival wash though my body. I suddenly felt like I needed to spew but I just kept paddling though it and the nausea sort of faded away. I found some clear water and got around the buoy smoothly which was great as I'd also joined the back of some paddlers I knew it would be good to try to hang on to. So everything was going just fine - it was just a matter of focussing on the boat in front of me an making sure I stayed right on it's tail. 1/4 of the way though the two lap course we had to do a 180 degree turn - I've got a sneaky little take-the-inside line manoeuvre which has worked well for me before so while the others around me took a wider line I cut the buoy tight and picked up two places, settling in behind a paddler who had beaten me by a few minutes at the Huon race a few weeks ago. 10 or so minutes later and back at the very first turning buoy again I was having some middle-of-the-race struggles which meant I lost the tail of the boat in front and I found myself alone in no-mans land. I tried to focus on technique to keep things going but by the time I was back at 180 degree turn buoy I was probably 10 or so seconds behind that group. Unfortunately from there we had a slight headwind for the last 1/4 of the race so I felt like I was dropping back even more, but just as I was feeling frustrated some boats caught me from behind - which was actually really good as I hopped onto the back of them and we slowly made up some ground on the group of boats in front. By the time we arrived back at the beach there wasn't much between us and with my excellent boat handler Jon waiting for me and taking my boat, I actually started running to the transition zone before the guys who'd arrived just before me - yay!
approaching the finish..
So one part of the race I'd been fretting about late at night, was the run up the hill from the lake to the transition area. It was steep, and slippery with frost, and I had to do it in paddling gear. Last year I just tagged Jon at the bottom and he ran himself to the top and jumped onto his bike. This time the rules had changed so all paddlers (including the solo competitors of course) had to run up the hill. I was afraid I'd embarrass myself by having to walk it, but I surprised myself by managing to keep up to slow jogging pace while discarding my life jacket and rash vest as I went. By the time I got to the transition zone I was buggered (of course) but amused by the sight of Jon already being there. Yep, the same Jon who I left to carry my boat to shore, had then sprinted up and arrived ahead of me. That made me laugh. Especially as it turned out he'd also had time to collect up my discarded life jacket, rashie and paddle on the way. He hadn't just paddled for the better part of an hour of course.
Looking down the hill we had to run up. Jett is on the right with my paddle, Jon is carrying my boat to the left, and the other Jett we know is in blue.. one photo two Jetts!
So it was on with my socks, cycling shoes, helmet, camelback, glasses, gloves and I was away... slowly..
How did the other girls go? Well I was 2nd female off the water - Georgia Laird, a talented young paddler from the North West was racing as part of an all girls team and beat me in by a three minutes. Apart from that all I knew was that the last time I'd spotted Jenny was at the first 180 degree turn - I could see at that point that she was at least 3 minutes behind me then. Rowena Fry, the likely overall winner of the event and former world cup MTB rider was no-where to be seen so I assumed I had quite a few minutes on her. I would need it..
This is part 2 of an as yet unknown number of parts race report. If you haven't read part 1 yet then scroll down to my earlier post.
In 2010 (I told you we were going back there), my st(uffed)ankle was having a bit of a remission and I was able to do a reasonable amount of running training for the Easter 3 days orienteering event in Canberra. The overall results are determined by the cumulative times of the 3 days of racing and I went into the final day with a lead of about 5 minutes on the speedy Jenny Enderby. Despite the fact that she was running significantly faster than me, she'd made some mistakes in the previous 2 days and I'd navigated faultlessly to that point (unusual for me!). I still remember lying in bed after day 2 with a feeling that things might not all go my way the next day but nethertheless I was going to give it everything and I still had 5 minutes up my sleeve..
So day 3, the forest was significantly thicker than the previous days and I made a bit of a dodgy route choice through it on the first control which would have lost me a little bit of time. To add to my woes my stankle was starting to hurt on each step and my shoe was falling apart. Then on the way to the forth control I made a larger error and lost 2 or 3 minutes. There was nothing I could do from that point but keep trying and hope for the best - the rest of my run was ok - not flawless - I'd definitely reached the limit of my fitness as well as I felt so sloooowww as I ran through the spectator point.. Jenny on the other hand had started ahead of me and with her steely determination had gone out like a bat out of hell and had a great race..
So the end result? Jenny won by 18 seconds. Ouch! Ultimately I was the master of my own demise on this race but nethertheless the result stung! Jenny and her husband are regular nice friendly people but she is fiercely competitive when it comes to racing - she'll be the first person to ask you your time as you come across a finish line! Anyway - I still won a cool towel for coming second overall (the prizes were the same for 1st, 2nd and 3rd - yay!) and I love it - but often when I use it I am reminded of my less than fantastic run on Day 3.
So….roll on to earlier this week when I read on the Tas Endurance web site that "exceptional competitors" Jenny and her husband (who are both sponsored by Thule) were coming over from NSW to do the Icebreaker. Jenny is around my age and as I mentioned significantly faster than me running and probably also on a mountian bike - I think she's a world ranked triathlete in her age group as well. So my heart sunk as up until then I was figuring the "womens masters" category was pretty open.
So I knew she was entered so I had been able to mentally prepare for it, but she didn't know I was entered until she saw me at the start line. The other thing she didn't know was my secret skill.. paddling....
Sunday, 7 July 2013
This story actually starts at 5:20am on Saturday morning. That sounds like a long time before the race but as Part II of this story is going to start in 2010, you can think yourselves lucky for the brevity of this entry. Anyway - at 5.20 am on Saturday Jon got up to go for a 2 hour run so he could be back in time to be picked up at 8am and taken to Campbell Town (1/2 way between Hobart and Launceston) for a Toastmasters thing.
You can sort of see from this selfie he took that a) it's dark, b) it looks cold and c) there is a lot of snow on the mountain in the background. In actual fact it was absolutely pissing down with rain for at least 1 hour of Jon's run - but as he's trying to squeeze in 18 hours of training this week he isn't letting a bit of torrential rain put him off! And yes that is a beanie/cap combo matched to a buff. A lot of fashion crimes go unreported in Kingston, but not this one.
Anyway - he completed his run, hung his wet stuff out to dry on the airer (leaving a note for me to pack it later) and was ready to go when his lift arrived.
In the meantime, apart from being rudely awoken by Jon's torrential rain, I had a busy but slightly less hectic and mostly dry day as I packed all my gear, the kids gear, food gear, the bike and boat onto the roof (in between the squalls of rain and gale force winds). I also took the kids to the library to get some books for the journey, and finished preparations for Sunday Night Family Dinner which was going to be held at our house. We were ready to go just before 2pm. The last few things I packed were Jon's now-dry running clothes, and my paddle which I only just remembered - phew!
Sooo. We picked up Jon as planned, continued on to Launceston and checked into the Commodore Regent motel (motto: we mend our cracked windows with gaffer tape). Jon raced out for another 45 minute run (I kid you not) and when he got back we went out to a really cool pasta cafe/restaurant which reminded us both of our favourite Sydney place Bar Italia. It wasn't as good but it was on the right track.
Back at the Commodore Regent (alternative motto: don't look too closely at the 'renovations') Jon was planning on getting up early so he was fussing around getting all his gear ready and he couldn't find one of his running gloves (he had one full pair, but needs to wear two pairs on the cold mornings i.e. sub-zero) which I claimed that I had packed for him earlier in the day. After searching his bag, then the car, then his bag, then the car again he gave up and went to bed (after helpfully suggesting I ball them together next time). I was sure I had packed them but I began to wonder if they had maybe fallen out on the way to the car. Anyway - there wasn't anything to be done so we just went to bed. I was worried I wouldn't be able to sleep due to fretting about the race and sure enough I did have some trouble, every time my thoughts turned to the race I felt waves of nerves wash right through my body and I felt weak and my heart rate would go up, it was quite amazing how much my emotional reaction was affecting me physically. Anyway I forced myself to think of other things and finally went to sleep and only woke when Jon's alarm went off at 5.50am and Jon went off for another two hour(!) run - during which he had to suffer with one cold hand.
Once he was back we all had breakfast and packed up. During this process Jon lifted his bag up and discovered his other (missing) glove, which had been lurking on the floor all the time - huh so I HAD packed them! We loaded the kids into the car and were ready to go at exactly the time we'd planned (9.15am). As I went to the toilet one last time (nerves were setting in) I heard the sound of a car not starting. My hopes that it was the car parked next to us were dashed as I emerged to see Jon on the phone to the RACT. Dang!
So while we waited I quickly realised that there was absolutely nothing I could do - a cab or lift to the event wouldn't help as the first leg was a paddle - I needed my boat - so it was just a matter of waiting and hoping the RACT didn't have too big a queue of breakdowns to attend to! My fate being taken out of my hands was actually quite relaxing - my nerves settled down and I was totally calm. We just watched Dance Academy with the kids. I was idly wondering to myself at what point I wouldn't start and I decided that if we were more than 15 minutes after the start-gun I'd give up, but any earlier, I'd give it a crack cos I'd catch some people 15 minutes ahead of me for sure.
Anyway at 10am the guy arrived, re-charged the flat battery and left us with the car going at 10:15. The reason for the flat battery? Someone left the light in the very back of the car on.. hmmmm... the person looking for their glove maybe??? hmmmm....
Nethertheless, apologies accepted, at 10:15am we were on the road. We arrived at 10:30, nosing past the throng assembled for the briefing and with some help from Ian my paddling buddy started getting my gear sorted. We really just had time to put my stuff in the transition zone and put the boat on the water - no time to be nervous but just time for a photo before the start!
Oh - and the weather was clear and cold - no sign of rain, but the MTB course had changed due to the rain they'd had during the week - the first half of each loop was no longer on the cool new technical trails I'd trained on, but instead on fire trails which basically went steeply down, then back up in stages. Oh well.
Here's a cool photo Zali took of her and Jett examining a piece of ice with a pebble stuck in it that they picked up from the side of the lake..
Stay tuned for part II .....
Wednesday, 3 July 2013
So I actually wasn't nervous about the Icebreaker until I came across this photo (of last year's race) just then. If I had a heart rate monitor on I recon I would find that it has doubled in the last few minutes. Of course my heart can't keep this up until Sunday so let's hope it settles down again or I'll be in hospital on the weekend, not at Trevallyn Dam in Launceston preparing myself for a 9k paddle, 18k mtb and 9k run.
Apart from an impending heart attack the other problem with my pre-race nerves is that they make me need to go to the toilet.. endlessly. To the point of having to join the queue for the toilet the moment I emerge from my latest trip to the toilet. It makes it hard to actually get my gear all sorted in time for the start.
In fact the only race in recent times where I haven't felt this way was the Cape to Cape Mtb race in WA. For some reason I remember feeling completely relaxed and at ease before the race. I wish I knew why! Maybe it was because it wasn't a team thing (there's always extra pressure with a team thing) - but having said that I also get really nervous before the 50k individual mountain bike races so that can't have been it. Mystery.
A few weeks ago I took myself to Launceston to check out the MTB course for the upcoming Icebreaker Multisport race that I am doing solo this weekend.
While I was there I stayed at The Auldington. The Auldington is nothing particularly special but I like it for two reasons.
1. It used to be a convent and it has a cool conventy staircase:
2. I like the fact that it has bucket loads of original artwork all over the walls in the hallways and rooms - and it all seems to be done by the one person: 'Vicki'. It makes me laugh and I like it!
The other place in Tasmania that I would stay at based on the quality of their staircase alone is the Empire Hotel in Queenstown. It has some crazy history which I can't remember but I really like it:
I do feel obliged to say that the quality of the rooms at The Empire does in no way match the quality of the staircase. It is cheap and quirky though!
Wednesday, 19 December 2012
Rain wasn't part of the plan but it wasn't too heavy so it wasn't too bad. After a breakfast of scrambled eggs and fruit (to make up for a dinner - and lunch actually - of cheese and crackers), I headed to Trevallyn to sus out the trails with a view to riding the Icebreaker this year.
The signage at Trevallyn (and Kate Reid for that matter) has improved heaps recently, so it was nice to match the vague race description with the sign board. I made a few mistakes but I'm pretty confident I got around the race course for last year. What was obvious though is that there is a lot of trail building going on, so it's unlikely the course will be the same (hmm fire trails versus sweeping berms - I know what I'd prefer to ride!). Anyway - for now I was confined to the fire trails with a few little bits of single track thrown in. It was nice but I was a little weary and so after an hour or so I loaded up the bike and headed back to...
Kate Reid Reserve! As I'd spent the night dreaming about that one awesome section of trail.. (it's that zig-zaggy yellow one on the map below)
Kate Reid has something for everyone. My favourite obstacles at the moment are bumpy log ones (as I have fond memories of taking the 'A' Line a few times and going over similar but bigger obstacles like these at the Cape to Cape and thus skipping past the conga line of nervous nellies in front of me - bearing in mind I was mid pack of course - I'm sure most of the (other 500) people in front of me had no problems with the 'A' line (the 'B' line is the slower route around obstacles - where it exists). So things like these I like:
And things like these I don't mind -hmm that rock thing is harder than it looks - last time it took me 3 or 4 goes to get over it, now I can just get up a bit of speed and it's done! yay!
Anyway as I was saying, I don't mind obstacles like that particularly when you are rewarded with this..
And a whole lot of other fun as well. I have to say it was really hard taking those photos as I really didn't want to stop!
So after spending another hour or so at Kate Reid I dragged my weary bones up the hill for the 5th time in 2 days and loaded up and hauled south. I have to declare my overnight trip a success! 4 rides, 5.5 hours of riding, no injuries or accidents. Oh and I saw another echidna - thus proving my echidna plague theory (watch out balloons)..
Tuesday, 18 December 2012
This week I had originally planned to go to Binalong Bay and visit Clare for some more riding and relaxing at her place, but she's inconveniently decamped to LA so that plan went out the window. But that's ok - I'm great at plans. My new plan was to come to Launceston, ride Kate Reid Reserve in the morning, then head on over to Stubbs Road (outside of Ulverston) for an afternoon ride. Stay the night in Launceston then check out the Trevallyn Icebreaker course the next morning before driving home.
So here I am and so far everything is actually going to plan - I had a great 2 hour ride in the morning on fun fun fun tracks at Kate Reid Reserve. I really like KR Reserve, it suits my technical ability perfectly - there are lots of rock obstacles but generally they are get-overable and there's fun smooth riding with maybe little drop-offs and things in between. They've extended my favourite trail 'The Berm Trail' and it now swoops down the hill in the most fun of ways - so I ended up riding down it three times as well as doing some other loops. yay. After riding in the morning I knew that whatever else happened (barring injury of course) the trip would have been worth while! Speaking of injury, I rounded a corner just as a giant echidna (I'm sure they are in plague proportions at the moment - watch out insects!) wandered into the middle of the narrow trail in front of me. Luckily we avoided each other as I think a crash would have been quite painful for us both!
After a brief lunch of cheese and crackers and checking my work email in my hotel room I headed towards Ulverstone. It was a bit of a longer drive out there than I remembered (80 or so minutes) but I guess that just meant more recovery time! The hill known as Stubbs Road has lots of shortish trails, no maps (cos it's technically private land) and they are all a bit more 'raw' than the ones at Kate Reid. It was fun though although I have to admit I did a little clock watching as my legs were a bit tired from the morning! I was wondering how long I would have to ride for to make the drive worthwhile - and I decided I'd have to ride for the equivalent length of the drive there - i.e. 80 minutes. Which I did achieve, doing the loops I know there twice. I avoided injury again when I met a fast moving rider going in the other direction but we both managed to stop in time. He was a local and told me that the big switchback trail I was on is actually normally ridden the other way (oops). He also offered to show me some more of the trails but I was buggered so I just headed back to the car.
After a small detour in Devonport to check out the beach and get some petrol I headed back to the Country Club and had a swim, spa and sauna - nice hey! I should mention that I did ask some other friends if they wanted to come too but they all claim to have actual 'jobs' so were unable to. I also asked Jon but he said his wife was going away so he had to look after the kids. oh well!
The one part of the plan which hasn't come together is the photo taking part - I took some on my mobile but Facebook has swallowed them so that's a bugger. I'll revert to my regular camera tomorrow I recon.
Monday, 10 December 2012
Since returning from the Cape to Cape I've been struggling with training. In fact the only training I've been consistently doing has been for some sort of yet-to-be-defined eating competition but let me tell you, when it is defined, I will be ready!
So I've been needing a new challenge and I've been thinking about various options. I think I've come up with the answer for my major event of the year. At the moment our general race calendar looks like this:
So the big thing is that this year I'll give my first ever individual multisport race a go - so if the event is held for the 2nd time ever I'll enter the IceBreaker all by myself. It will be the first proper multisport thing I've done since I did some triathlons in the 90s so it will be a big deal.
I've chosen the IceBreaker for a number of reasons:
The only drawback of the Icebreaker is that it's slap bang in the middle of winter. Oh well.