Luke Harrop Sprint Tri 2014

1:06:55 – Swim 13:57, Bike 35:25, Run 17:33

Almost a podium. ALMOST!

I ended up 4th place in my Age Group, only 12 seconds off 3rd. That’s pretty darned exciting for me because I’ve never podiumed in any race, ever.

Ironically, I had no idea where I’d finished and thought I’d be in my usual 10th-20th range. We just happened to catch some of the presentations while the kids were getting their hotdogs, and when they announced the 40-44 podium, I recognised the 3rd place-getter as one of the guys I’d been closing in on during the run.  I ran 3 minutes faster than him and was closing fast, but was unable to catch him before the end. With hundreds of people on the multi-lap run course, and no category letters on the athletes, he was just another target to chase. Little did I realise that he was the podium! C’est la vie.

I had a pretty good race. My two previous sprint distance triathlons were 1:10 and 1:11, so 1:06 was easily a PB. Last time I raced here I punctured. There was no puncture this time, but the race didn’t all go to plan!

Swim – 750m in 13:57 –  31st/71 in AG

My usual starting position is in the middle of the field, near the back. I tried something a little different this time. I watched a club-mate, Warwick, in the wave before me. He swims similar times to me. He started on the left, with noone in front and one guy behind, and made it cleanly around the left-hand turn buoy about 100m away. So I positioned myself left. BUT, I turned to look back just before the gun and there were 5 rows of guys behind me. Whoops! My Age Group was a lot bigger.

I went hard to the first buoy and rounded it OK. 100m further we turned left again at a 2nd buoy. This was messy but I was still well-placed.  I was expecting the pace to drop off now as people settled into a rhythm, but it didn’t. I’d gone out very hard and was still breathing every 2nd stroke and was unable to lower my HR which felt waaaay too high. I tried to slow down but immediately people started swimming up my legs, and coming round both sides of me, boxing me in. I was simply unable to get my breath back.

So I took the Emergency Exit. I made a sharp LH turn, straight over the legs of the guy next to me, and straight out the side. Then I floated on my back for a bit to get my breath back. Ahhh. After that I was able to settle into a steady 3-2-3 breathing pattern and find some feet. My goggles were leaking slightly and the tint was too dark, but nothing to worry about. I switched it up to 3-2-2-3 near the end and was starting to feel positive again. The Garmin read 970m which agreed with others’, so perhaps it was slightly long.

I hit the sand running hard and feeling good. I really need to practice a crowded swim start and regaining my breath while swimming after 200m at full speed!

Bike – 20km in 35:25 (includes T1 and T2) – 6th/71 in AG

T1 was 1:52 and T2 was 1:36, so actual ride time was 32:03 at 37.9km/hr and 256W (260 normalised). My pre-race target was 260-270W. 

Straight out of transition, my shoe started spinning around on the pedal, clipped the ground, and fell off. Bugger! I had to run back and put it on, which cost me 10sec (arghh!). I really need to try tying the pedal to the chain stay with a rubber band next time.

I rode pretty hard. There was a tailwind heading north and I made a lot of time on people here as I tried to keep my power up.  Going south there was a head-wind where, in hindsight, I perhaps didn’t push hard enough. Power-wise, 256W is on par with about 29:40 around Barrier Reef, where I‘d ridden 273W and 260W in the build-up. My HR was a few beats higher which is no surprise after swimming first.

Several club-mates, who I know are at a similar level to me, went 1 minute quicker than me. I felt I went pretty hard but I guess I need to turn myself inside out for that extra minute!?! The published bike times do include T1 and T2, so they might have picked up some time there. But 1 min? That’s 15W for me, and that’s the difference between being ready to run, and ready to lie down!

Drafting was a bit of an issue. For slower riders, it would be hard not to draft. Riders were 3-4 wide at points. Personally, I only had one guy pass me so opportunities to cheat were very limited. Several times I passed guys who latched on. This really bugs me! Once I wildly signalled to the draft-busters going the other way and complained loudly. That guy seemed to get the hint!

Run – 5km in 17:33 – 1st/71 in AG

Yet another short run course sees me achieve my all time run PB in a triathlon! I measured it at 4.7km so this is equivalent to about 18:30 for 5km.

My run was awesome. I felt great. I flew out of transition but then eased off so I didn’t get a stitch (as happened here in 2012 when I hit the first hill going too hard), and then I built nicely. I certainly could have found 12 seconds, if only I knew! My run km splits were: 3:53, 3:47, 3:47, 3:36, 3:29 (pace). I never felt out of breath and possibly had another couple of even faster kms in me. The GC marathon pace training – fast 10km runs at 4min/km and below – have been really effective.

Tris by position

Overall I’m really pleased with this race. It was my best overall placing, along with my best run and best ride; my swim was typical. It’s been almost a year since my last triathlon and I’ve hit the ground running. Give me another 20 years and a podium spot will be mine, for sure!

Happy SPTC clubbies

Happy SPTC clubbies


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