That Dams Ride

The “Not a Race” Report by Sue Thomas

I had originally entered the 3 Dams as I had unfinished business from a couple of years ago when I entered but then pulled out before the event. Then I changed to the 5 Dams event the day before, after being inspired by the distances being ridden daily by the riders in the Indian Pacific Wheel Race, and as a tribute to fallen rider Mike Hall.

Dam one – Mundaring Weir

The 5 Dams riders rolled out at 6 am from Curtin University in groups of around 20 riders, leaving every 30 seconds. I joined up with a group containing Belle and Stephen, who Monica had put me in touch with the night before. I stayed with this group until we hit Greenmount Hill, where we began to string out as people climbed at different speeds.

We rolled through Mundaring and turned at the lights to head down to the weir. It was here that I began to feel the first twinges of fatigue in my legs. Hmm – I’ve only done 40k – shut up legs, you still have a long way to go. What followed was a nice 7k descent to Mundaring Weir which had my legs feeling good again. A quick stop, refill the bottles, eat a banana, go to the port-a-loo, then I was back on my bike and heading up the hill. My group had all split up by now, so I rode on my own but there were always other riders around, and the faster 3 Dams riders were coming past me now too.

Two and three – Churchman’s Brook and Wungong dams

The next checkpoint was Churchman’s Brook at 84k. The 3 Dams riders had turned off earlier, so there were fewer riders around me now as I climbed the hilly road up to Churchman’s Brook. A quick stop here to refuel, then off again up an even steeper climb. I am so glad that my new bike has such low gearing. I would really have struggled with my old bike, as many around me did.

It was only another 10k to the lunch stop at Wungong Dam, which was 93k into the course. Here we had a choice of filled rolls and banana cake. I ate a cheese and salad roll, and put some cake in my bag for later as I wasn’t that hungry. Another big climb took us up to the dam wall which we then cycled across. This was pretty cool and I stopped for a selfie. More climbing to get out of the dam, whilst the 3 Dams riders came whizzing down the hill on their way into Wungong. It was starting to become hard work by now, and I made sure to eat and drink regularly. I also took an Endurolyte tablet every hour to boost my electrolytes and ward off cramping. I broke the ride into manageable sections between check points, rather than thinking about how far I still had to go. It was only another 17k to the next check point.

There’s always time for one more dam selfie!

Canning Dam – four down but not yet half way!

Next up was Canning Dam, at the 110k mark. To get there we turned onto Albany Highway for a short stretch of a kilometre or two, then turned onto the road to Canning Dam. This road was in poor condition, and was the bumpiest, bone jarring ride ever. As with the other dams, there was a long descent down to the dam, and a long climb back out. Here they served up Winners bars, and I ate one and put one in my pocket for later. I climbed the bumpy road back out towards Albany Highway, feeling the fatigue mounting throughout my body. There were many 3 Dams riders around me on this road, and they too seemed to be suffering in the heat on this awful, bumpy, hilly road. At the junction with Albany Highway, the 3 Dams riders turned right to head back towards Perth, whilst the 5 Dams riders were directed left, to ride 15km along Albany Highway to the Jarrahdale turnoff. This was the section I was dreading the most as I don’t like riding on busy roads, and the memory of Mike Hall’s accident was still fresh in my mind. I hugged the edge of the road as much as possible, gripping the handlebars tightly whenever a vehicle flew past. That 15km couldn’t go by fast enough for my liking, and eventually the turn off to Jarrahdale came into view and I thankfully turned right off the highway. I stopped and had a little stretch here as my lower back was beginning to ache.

Serpentine and doing fine

This section through Jarrahdale and on to Serpentine Dam was probably the toughest for me as it was hot with little breeze and I was beyond tired by this time. Riders were very strung out and at times there was no one else within sight. It crossed my mind more than once that I could call someone to come pick me up when I reached Serpentine Dam if I felt I couldn’t go on. Eventually I reached the dam at 154km and tried to force down some pasta but I was too tired to eat much even though I knew I had to eat to give me the energy to continue. I looked at my phone and had to chuckle when I saw there was no service. I had no choice now but to keep riding. I took a Nurofen and a No Doz tablet, downed a bottle of electrolyte, and set off for the final stretch home.

I rode past Karnet Prison Farm, but they were all inside. I enjoyed the fast descent down to South West Highway. OK, I was on the brakes most of the way down the hill to keep my speed in check, but it was a nice relief to not have to pedal for a few kilometres. A short 100m or so along the highway, then we turned right and onto some quiet back roads which were flat and enabled me to ride along at a decent speed. I had been worried all day about making the 6pm cut off, and was very happy to be able to get my average speed up again and try to hold it there.

The familiar freeway

The painkillers and caffeine seemed to be doing their job as I maintained a good speed all the way down Karnup Rd to the freeway where I happily joined the cycle path. To my pleasant surprise, I met two of my friends who had been tracking my progress online and had ridden out to meet me on their bikes. We rode together for a while, enjoying a slight tailwind on the cycle path towards the city. At the 200km mark I stopped at the Freeway aid station, refilled my bottles and ate a killer python to keep my energy up. Steve told me that at this pace I would likely finish around 5.30pm. I was relieved to hear this and kept the pace going. My friends peeled off at the servo and I rode the rest of the way by myself, my spirits having been lifted by their company.

The kilometres ticked by, I crossed Mt Henry bridge and onto the path beside the river. I knew we had to ride across the pedestrian bridge to get over the freeway, but I wasn’t looking forward to this as I knew my legs had had it and it would be a struggle. Soon the bridge came into view and as I started up it I noticed a bike coming across the top towards me. It came down around the corkscrew bend on my side forcing me into the railing. I clung to the railing as my legs cramped, and I was stuck – unable to lift my leg off my bike due to cramps. After a few moments I started crab walking the rest of the way up the bridge, then sat on and rode down the other side.

Thankfully the cramps stayed away for the rest of the way back along the cycle path to Curtin University. I crossed the finish line and looked at my watch – it was 5.30pm, just as Steve had predicted. My friend Karen was there to congratulate me as I pried my tired body off my bike. I had done it. 5 Dams, 240km, over 2500m of elevation, in 10hrs 18mins. Box ticked – Mission accomplished.

Job done!

How slow do you go?

photo credit: rainydayrunner.com

I’m sure that athletes get as sick of coaches telling them to slow down in their easy sessions as we coaches are of saying it.  Why is there such an issue with what is fundamentally a pretty simple message?  Here’s my take on the situation.

The message

The first part of the problem is directly attributable to the coach and their ability to communicate.  If the athlete doesn’t understand what the coach is asking they can’t be expected to execute the instruction.  It’s one of the reasons why really good coaches are so few and far between, you not only need to have the technical expertise but you need to be a master communicator.

Where an athlete has quantifiable metrics that they can use while training (e.g. pace, power and heart rate) the message should be exact.  “This is an easy run, hold between 5:50 and 6:30/km” might be the instruction and, hopefully, the groundwork has already been done to give the athlete the skills to execute the session correctly.

Other descriptions may relate to physiological feedback such as breathing rate but in my experience using perceived exertion for these easy efforts is futile, athletes ALWAYS get it wrong.  If your coach isn’t already giving you precise instructions you need to take responsibility to ask, any coach worth their salt will appreciate that you care enough about following their plan to ask.

This isn’t work

The second part of the equation is directly down to the athlete’s mindset, easy is just too damn easy.  A well executed easy session shouldn’t feel like work at all, you can almost finish feeling as fresh as you started.  I can’t count the number of times that I’ve been told “I don’t think I can even run that slow” after setting a pace.

Both novice and experienced athletes struggle to come to grips with the fact that something that feels so easy could do any good.  We’ve all had drilled into us the ethos of “no pain, no gain” and “hard work pays off.”  Now I could go into all of the effects these low effort workouts have (and I have many times before) but most of you would remain unconvinced and head out and do the next session too hard again.  Instead I’d like to illustrate with an example of a top level marathoner Yuki Kawauchi.

Yuki has a marathon PB of 2:08 and a half marathon best of 1:02, making his threshold pace somewhere just under 3:00/km.  So what do you think his “easy” pace would be for his long runs?  3:30/km?  4:00/km?  Not even close.  Yuki Kawauchi runs his five weekly long runs (typically 20km) at 5:00/km pace!  This is the equivalent of someone who runs a 50minute 10km race doing their easy sessions at 8:18/km pace.

Now I’m not advocating that our athletes run quite that slow compared to their threshold, I think Yuki is a bit of an extreme example, but the principle still holds.  Your easy sessions need to be ridiculously easy, trust me you will reap the rewards in better aerobic fitness, reduced injury and better recovery.

What about me?

So if you’re not coached how do you know what your “slow” is?  With cycling it’s tough, unless you have a power meter you really only have heart rate as a reliable indicator and even that is quite variable depending on many factors that are not part of your training.  With running though I strongly advocate the use of pace, either by treadmill (boring and often inaccurate), a known course and stopwatch (again boring) or a GPS based device.

To get your right pace for any session I recommend the use of the calculator at this page with a recent race result (parkrun is perfect.)  Simply enter your time, hit the calculate button and find your training paces.  Be disciplined and execute these on training day and I can guarantee you will be setting new PBs throughout next season.

Train smarter, not harder.

Coach Trav

Kit Orders Now Open

Final posterKit pink final

Taking kit orders now!

Perth Hills Tri Club are very pleased to announce that we are now accepting orders for our racing, training and casual kit.

Watch for new announcements on our website and facebook page as we add other new kit items as they are developed by our friends at 17 Hours.

How to order

To do so please download this PDF file, make your selection and email your order to orders@perthhillstri.org.au.  We will then be in touch to confirm your requirements and organise payment (cash or credit card both welcome.)

Sizing charts and instructions based on body measurements are in the PDF file but if you have any questions please contact us. WE HIGHLY RECOMMEND TRYING ON THE KIT FIRST TO ENSURE SIZING IS CORRECT. Orders will close on the 20th February subject to minimum orders being reached. This is to allow us to meet the current high demand for orders.

Please note that you will need to be a member to take advantage of members prices. Non members are also invited to buy kit but they will be charged a non-member premium.. Another great excuse to sign up as a member now!

Lessons from a five year old – find your why

Start on January 1

We’re a day into 2017 and if you’re like many people the new year’s resolutions that you made on the stroke of midnight have already made it obvious that they were perhaps not as well thought out as they should have been.  Whether it was to quit something, take something new up, eat better, lose weight, train harder, hit a tough goal or achieve a new mindset you’ve now had time to think about the reality of the work it will take and perhaps there are second thoughts.

Of course if you need help with the “how” of meeting these resolutions there is no shortage of advice at this time of year.  From businesses targeting people with your aim (notice the step up in ads from weight loss companies, gyms, PTs and coaches?) to magazine and internet articles on goal getting (SMART/SMARTER goal anyone?) you can waste a lot of time and potentially money chasing something that is little more than a dream.  The same resolution you had at this time last year and will probably be using next year too.  Why is it so hard?

The reality is that most people set themselves up for failure long before they even define their goals, let alone formulate a plan to achieve them.  All worthwhile goals, as new year’s resolutions surely are, take perseverance to accomplish and that needs sustained motivation.  But that won’t be a problem will it, because this year we really, really want to do it…don’t we?  Maybe not.

For those that have gone through the fun of raising a child we all know that there’s one word that we dread.  One simple word that can cause endless frustration and throw our thought process into turmoil and a five year old just loves it.  The conversation normally goes something like this:

“Why?”

“Because of…”

“But why?”

“Because…”

“But why?”

“Because I said so.”

“But why?”

“Grrrrrrrrr!!!”

When  it comes to setting goals and resolutions we need be to more like a five year old.  Don’t stop with the thing you think you want.  Ask yourself why and you’ll often come up with the reason behind the goal.  Keep asking until you find the root of what you really want.  Sometimes it leads you in unexpected directions, away from your original thought, but it will always provide you with your true desire and thereby the motivation you need to achieve it.

Happy new year everyone.  Here’s hoping that 2017 brings you everything you desire.

Coach Trav

Sports Nutrition Seminar – 10th of November 7pm

catalystlogo

Perth Hills Triathlon Club is very proud to be bringing one of Western Australia’s premier sports nutrition experts David Bryant to the hills region to help you maximise your racing and training performance through his tried-and-tested dietary advice.  This session will be specifically targeting the needs of triathletes but will also be suitable for those single-sport athletes wanting to improve their knowledge.

David is an Accredited Practising Dietitian and Sports Dietitian with Catalyst Dietitian.  He is currently working with WAIS world class athletes to improve their dietetic skills and has helped hundreds of his clients achieve their sport-specific, weight loss and dietary goals without resorting to extremes.  You can find out more about what David has to offer by clicking his logo above but this is what some of our current members have to say about him:

“When I went to David I weighed around 94 kilograms which isn’t huge for someone as tall as me but there was a fair amount of useless fat in that.  I had been to other dietitians before with some short term success but regaining the weight when I lost motivation to continue their prescribed regime.  David worked around my goals, lifestyle, likes and dislikes to provide me with the tools that I needed to lose 10kg and keep it off in the two years since.  He also helped me develop a race nutrition plan that has worked to help me set new personal best times at all distances up to Ironman.  I would highly recommend David’s for anyone looking to make positive changes to their sport through diet.”  –  Travis Bentley

“David was able to individualise my pre-race & race nutrition in order to satisfy my sensitive stomach and ensure that I was in top condition & running as quickly at the end of the race as I was swimming at the beginning! Diet & nutrition should never be the reason that you don’t do well in a race and since I have been working with David I’ve never had to worry! ”  –  Peta Woodland

“When I started out with triathlon I had no idea about endurance based nutrition especially in regard to daily nutrition required to sustain daily training.  All my previous experience had been with high protein low carb nutrition required to sustain 3-4 strength workouts a week.  After a couple of months triathlon training I hit the wall.  David showed me how to balance my nutrition for endurance training and to maintain race weight using everyday seasonal fresh food.  His knowledge and understanding of triathlon training and it’s impact on the body is excellent.  I highly recommend him.”  –  Mike Burns

Topics covered in the hour long seminar will include:

  • Body composition
  • Daily nutrition to support training and recovery
  • Nutrient density and diet quality
  • Race preparation and taper
  • Fuelling on race day

The nutrition session will be held at Hillside Farm Education Centre at Lot 41 Hayward, Martin (Gosnells.)  Follow the signs on arrival.

Entry is $10 including provision of healthy snacks, however as part of our members benefit program all Perth Hills members secure FREE ENTRY if they RSVP by email before the 6th of November.  All others please pay cash at the door.

RSVP by email to seminars@perthhillstri.org.au

Show Us Your Kit

show-us-your-kit

Ever wished you could be a model with people throwing cash and gifts your way for doing nothing but looking amazing?  Well now you can!

Triathlon WA has just launched its Show Us Your Kit competition and it’s your opportunity to demonstrate the undeniable fact that Perth Hills Tri Club has the best looking kit in WA, if not the world.  As well as winning a Fly6 rear light and camera if your photo is chosen as the winning image you will also get $200 cash and the club a further $300.  How good is that!!!

To enter all you have to do is:

  • Follow Triathlon WA on Instagram (@triathlonwa)
  • Share a photo to Instagram showing off your club kit
  • Include the hashtag #showusyourkit2016 and tag Triathlon WA using @triathlonwa

Terms and conditions

  1. The Show Us Your Kit competition is being run by Triathlon Western Australia (TWA).
  2. Entries for the Show Us Your Kit competition open on the 20th October and close at 5pm on the 17th The winning individual and winning club will be announced on the 21st November.
  3. The competition is open to all current TWA members and triathlon clubs affiliated with TWA.
  4. To enter the Show Us Your Kit competition individuals need to follow Triathlon WA on Instagram (@triathlonwa), share a photo to Instagram that shows off their club kit, include the hashtag #showusyourkit2016 and tag Triathlon WA using @triathlonwa.
  5. Chance plays no part in determining the winner. An independent panel will assess all competition entries on creativity and originality.
  6. The individual who submitted the winning entry will be awarded a Fly6 rear LED light with built in HD camera, RRP $199, and $200 cash (total value $399). The affiliated club that the winner belongs to will also be awarded a prize of $300 cash.  The total value of the prize pool is $699.
  7. The Show Us Your Kit competition is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by or associated with Instagram.

Training Changes

Spring has really sprung, though somebody seems to have neglected to tell whoever controls the temperature gauge!  In spite of the cool weather the return of daylight to hours that we might have forgotten existed over winter has brought athletes out in droves.  It has also brought with it an influx of new members with enthusiasm and varying levels of ability.

We would like to congratulate Peta Woodland on becoming the first registered Development Coach (TA Level 1) at Perth Hills Tri Club.  This allows her to provide her coaching services not only in a club environment but also in a personal capacity and offers our club a great deal more flexibility in the delivery of coached sessions.  It is our aim to develop more coaches within the club in the near future.

Perth Hills Tri Club has always been about helping to grow the sport in the hills, foothills and associated regions and for that reason people new to the sport or wanting to “try before you buy” have always been welcomed at training sessions as if they were regulars.  That will not change.  However with limited resources (and particularly coaches) this has sometimes meant that our full fee paying training and racing members have been subsidising others or not receiving their fair share of resources.  It would be unfair of the club to let this continue so changes have to be made.

From this Saturday, the first of October, the committee has decided that anyone attending training who is not a registered training and racing member of Perth Hills Tri Club will pay a flat rate $5 fee for all sessions.  Attendees who are members of other tri clubs and PHTC social members will also be subject to this fee.  This money will go towards running costs, the purchase of equipment and other member benefits.  All coaching is still provided on a volunteer basis.

If you wish to avoid these fees and save some money in the long-run simply go to the club membership page and sign up as an adult or junior member (NB: non-member session fees still apply for social members.)  If you are already a training/competing member of another club you will only be charged for the PHTC club fee, currently $45 for adults and less for juniors as set out on the membership page.  As you can see, this is fantastic value.  Alternately you can get a one-off trial membership that will exempt you for 14 days only through TWA here.

Finally when you look below at our October training calendar you will see some big changes.  There are some new sessions and some moved in terms of location and/or time.  There are now three opportunities to swim with the club every week.  Open water swims, trail runs and brick sessions all return to the calendar also.  As always we welcome feedback from our members with respect to the training calendar, individual sessions and all other aspects of the club.

 

The training calendar can be found here.

Announcing the new Club Champion award

We are pleased to announce that we will be presenting a club champion trophy this year (amongst other awards) and we’d like to let you know how it will work.

Firstly you need to be a full racing/training member of Perth Hills Tri Club.  Each MULTISPORT official race during the financial year will have points up for grabs! These points will be based on the position that you finish and the number of starters in your category. We will be promoting the races run by other tri clubs to help keep these viable and these races will also contribute to Perth Hills Tri club points in the TWA Club Challenge so you will receive bonus points for any of the club run races listed below.  If you send us a photo from the race wearing club kit you will also receive bonus points.

The point system will be calculated as follows:

Points = Category size – Position + 1

Club race bonus = + 10

Club kit = + 2

e.g. come 5th in a club run race with 40 in your category but not wearing club kit = (40-5)+1+10+0 = 46 points

 

We should be able to keep track of the main races in the calendar but we may need some help to make sure we get it all right.  We have an excel document that does all the calculations for us but it isn’t going to be able to do it’s magic if it doesn’t know that you raced and as volunteers we won’t be able to check every results list.  You will need to notify us of a race and send us a link to the results if possible within a month of the race to get those points added to the tally.  Of course, much of the time we will already be aware of those results but best you check and then we know we have it right!  At the end of the season there will be no adjustments made if you have missed points because we weren’t notified.

Send your results to clubchamp@perthhills.tri.org.au

Happy Racing and good luck!!

 

Club run races eligible for bonus points are:

ClubRaces2016

 

 

Club Swim Sessions starting June 12th

Oasis pool

Announcement

Due to popular request Perth Hills Tri Club is very pleased to announce that we will be commencing club run swim sessions this Sunday the 12th of June.  These Sunday sessions will be held at Belmont Oasis starting at 3pm with two 50m lanes for our exclusive use and guided by one of our senior members.  All levels of ability are encouraged to come and join in.  The centre’s cafe has already been trialed and found to be satisfactory for post-swim coffee and conversation.

Starting on the 22nd of June PHTC will be adding a Wednesday 7:00pm session at Swan Park Recreation Centre for those unable to make the Sunday and those who would like a second swim session.

Session Fee

The aim of Perth Hills Tri Club is to encourage participation and bring the benefits of endurance sport to a wider audience, therefore we will always keep costs to our members to a minimum.  To assist in recovering our lane hire costs there will be a fee of $3 for each participant paid to the club representative, pool entry is payable as usual.

Support Your Club

These sessions have been created at your request and are being put on for your benefit by our volunteers.  If they are not adequately supported they will not continue in the longer term so please stand by the people working hard to make this a fantastic club to be involved with.