Triathlon Race Report: Kingscliff March 2017
After a month off training post-Tweed Coast Enduro, I came into the Kingscliff Triathlon with no real race expectations other than to try and have a good time. While I’d more or less kept up my cycling, my swimming training was non-existent. I had good reason though as the hole I’ve currently got in my eardrum is prone to infection and considering I’m having ear surgery in mid-April, I wanted to keep the risk of infection as low as possible.
With that in mind, I knew I wouldn’t swim well but I figured I could still make it through considering I swam nearly two kilometres just a month before and into the tide and still survived. Running wise, I was still nowhere near where I wanted to be but had up volume slightly since starting to run commute home around five kilometres two to three times a week.
So anyway, with all my excuses out the way, here’s a race report from Kingy March 2017 edition.
This is my fourth Kingy triathlon, all of which have been done at sprint distance. I mostly love doing the sprint at Kingy as the wave times are early, the course is usually pretty fast despite a bit of a hilly run, and Kingscliff is just a great town to do triathlon in. I usually make a bit of a long weekend of it with my partner and a few friends and I usually see a load of running and triathlon friends down from Brisbane around the place as well.
My wave time is a nice and early 7:48 daylight savings time, but I get word that the tide would turn at 7:38, meaning we wouldn’t really get a tide assisted swim — something the Kingscliff marketing material would have you believe would occur.
I’ve been whinging for a bit now that these so call ‘tide assisted’ triathlons are more often than not tide-assisted, and true to form, the sprint distance wave I started in was essentially in to the tide once again, at least at the start. I did note that the second half of the swim got noticeably easier.
I walked down with Warren who was also in my wave time and ran into Andy for Cool Running who was doing his first Kingy triathlon and we had a bit of a chat. But we were quickly into the water and with little warning, the swim was off.
The instructions were stay to the right of the buoys which made it quite easy to swim down the middle of Cudgen Creek. As a result I basically swam on my own the whole time, swimming right down the middle and avoiding the washing machine erupting to my left. It may have meant I missed out on the drafting effect of the pack, but at least I wasn’t copping elbows in the face.
One annoying thing with knowing you have a hole in your eardrum (which I have roughly packed up with some cheap off the shelf earplugs) is that it really impacts your stroke and rotation. I must look like I’m half drowning at the moment as I’m unconsciously trying to avoid water rushing into my eardrum and into my middle ear. It’s very annoying and now I’m pretty glad I’m getting the surgery as I don’t think I could handle swimming leading up to the events I have planned in the latter half of 2017.
Anyway, as I was coming into the last 50 metres of the swim I could spot Andy from CR resplendent in my old intraining tri suit just exiting the swim so I figured he had a fairly good swim. Mine was OK (relative to my own swimming ability) — and official time says I did 0:19:12, category 21/24 — so not last! This was about 6 minutes faster than my swim last November at the same venue.
I was once again on the road bike, this time with no aero bars, figuring I’d just ride in the drops. Probably a bit silly that I didn’t reset my saddle back to non-aero bar position as I quickly found that my triceps began to ache from swimming when riding in the drops. But whatever, I knew I’d been training fairly consistently on the bike anyway and I knew I could maintain around 34.5kph while riding in a non-aero position on the flat — which is pretty much what I did.
Warren was having a good day and had a decent swim as he was probably about 1.5K ahead of me on the bike. Given that my running has been pretty rubbish later, I basically knew he was going to beat me to the finish even if he jogged. This one was going to Warren in our friendly social triathlon competition. Andy maybe was about 500–800 metres in front of me but he was going hard, but that’s probably too much ground to make up in a flattish bike course unless I rode completely on the limit. Also, I shouldn’t think of these things as ‘races’. J
The bike was fun and fast and always plenty of room to manoeuvre around. I get the impression people really like the bike course at Kingy and you just get a very chilled vibe. Anyway, my bike including transitions (which were slow considering I had to dry my feet really well — more on that in a second) was 40:59 (11th in category and slower than last time). My bike split on Strava was actually 35:03 (34.3km/h) meaning I spent like 6 minutes transitioning…ARGH!
I forgot my god-damned socks! This really annoyed me as I’m pretty reliant on socks to prevent chafing and blisters in the run and I usually put them on in the first transition and go from there. While I decided to take a chance on not getting blisters — sure enough I got them about 3k into the run. Must have a backup plan next time. Part of why my transitions were so long was because I needed to get the feet as dry as possible to try minimise blisters…which ended up failing in the end anyway. Frustration.
I felt I took it fairly easy on the run, just trying to settle in to a rhythm and actually I felt quite good despite not going anywhere near as fast as I’ve run at Kingy before. The first hill does lend itself to taking it easy, but after that it’s fairly flat, though the route is very twisty and some don’t like it. I’ve done it quite a few times now so I’m not super bothered.
Warren was up ahead, perhaps about 500–800 metres ahead of me in the run and cruising in a fairly casual and un-triathlon like Primal Scream t-shirt and Meredith trucker cap, much to my amusement. He yelled out ‘If you catch me, it’s because I’ve stopped to wait for you’. Cheeky bastard. Andy was just behind him looking very strong on the run. A few South Bank tri club members were also out and about and I tried to give them an encouraging ‘GO SOUTH BANK’. Steve from the club gave me a big yell of encouragement as I headed back towards the start/finish.
I was feeling quite good up until 2 kilometres to go, when I became aware of increasing pain in my heels. Yup — god-damned blisters on the inside of the heels — and the pain, while not deliberating, just became annoying and I wasn’t running with a natural gait. As I came into the finishing sprint, I ran down a guy crossing over the first timing map and stupidly thought I’d finished…when the actual finish was about 10 metres away! Ha, rookie error.
Run was 25:17 which was slightly faster than last time and I’m fairly happy considering. I probably would have gone sub 25 if not for the expanding sacs of burning fluid now attached to my heels.
In the end…
…I did 1:25:29, about ten minutes slower than my PB at Kingy but about 6 minutes faster than last November due to a faster swim. My other times were pretty much the exact same but that’s OK considering I was doing it for a bit a fun and also because we also had a heap of beers the night before.
Saw a whole bunch of old Intraining tri members around including Catrin and Cynthia which was cool, and had a great weekend away just chilling out in the great place that is Kingscliff.
Anyway, that’s the last triathlon of this season. I now begin preparations for the Sunny Coast 70.3 in September. This means no alcohol, some serious training and a big effort to drop 10–15kg. I did it before so can do it again….but this time my training will be a lot more run focused than last time.
Thanks for reading…if you made it this far!