Santa is a Triathlete

I really think Santa Claus is a triathlete. He shows all the signs, to my way of thinking:

  • He is a bit obsessive compulsive – he’s making a list, he’s checking it twice
  • He gives instructions to the kids at the Aid Station about his intended nutrition plan – look at those regular small intakes of biscuits and milk when he is running around on Christmas Eve
  • He favours a two piece race suits because the one piece shows off his belly too much

But in all seriousness, triathletes can perhaps learn something from his race preparation.

Santa is well prepared.
He knows his A race and focusses on getting everything prepared well in advance. No nasty surprises when it comes time for action!

Santa is part of a club
He involves other people in his race prep (the elves) but ultimately he knows he is completely responsible for the result.

Santa keeps it simple
He knows we live in an “information overload” world, but he only listens to reliable sources of information, so that he can either class each kid as “naughty” or “nice”. There is beauty in simplicity, and so if it is good enough for the big fella, then perhaps we triathletes can simplify our outcomes to focus on only 2, or at the most 3 goals (Santa Claus says 2 goals, Warren Buffet says 3 goals but both are very successful gentlemen).

Come race day we are then able to have a clear mind for what we DO want (those 2 or 3 very clear goals) and drop everything that has a DONT want attached to it. Those goals work nicely if we have numbers (time, pace, power) associated with them.

With thorough preparation, clear and specific goals brings a freedom from anxiety and clutter in our minds, so that we can allow ourselves to perform to the best of our ability (and in so doing, most likely enjoy our race day).

Merry Christmas, and thanks to Santa for the mentorship in being a triathlete.

Contributed by Ian Hainsworth – club secretary, Ironman veteran and all-round nice guy.

Ian H on his fifth Busselton Ironman


Ian and Shane (pretending it’s all fun and games)

Busselton 2015 was the last race I had completed, and for those of us who can’t forget, it was a nausea inducing swim with lots of athletes pulled from the water (followed by a ride and run that were sabotaged by the nausea the swim caused!).

I left home for Busso 2017 early (3.30am) on Thursday morning so I could get to Busselton in time for the first practice swim. Just like other athletes, I did small chunks of training over the next 48 hours, just enough to remind my body that it may well be enjoying the reduced workload now, but there was pain to come in a couple of days!

Sunday morning, and I made sure I got to transition early. Tyres, gear, bidons, nutrition all checked and in position. I headed back home, to have a cup of coffee with my wife and get changed, so she could drop me off as close to transition as possible (my legs had enough work to do that day, walking a couple of km to transition wasn’t in my plans for a quick race day).

As I walked down the street, I would like to think I looked relaxed, confident and race ready (…I didn’t). A lady walking next to me laughed and told me you wont be needing that, will you? (pointing at my wetsuit, I think). I laughed with her and assured her that I was pretty attached to that wetsuit and no way was I getting out of the damn thing until I got back into T1 from the swim. She then laughed again and told me there was a shark sighting and the swim had been cancelled.

Great, no swim? How the hell am I supposed to figure out just where my swim had progressed to without swimming? Like every other athlete, I meandered aimlessly around like Browns’ cows until we were told to get on the beach and we would run to transition and begin the bike leg.

I then committed the sin of sitting on the beach (in full sun) until an hour later when I managed to start the race. I was pretty pissed off (probably mostly at the shark I guess) but unfortunately also over-heated. I usually manage to take about 10km into the bike to warm up, before I can feel my hands and feet after a longer swim. No problems today in getting warm!

However, my attitude was really the problem. I am a bit of a slow thinker, and despite having an hour to re-adjust my expectations, I hadn’t used my time wisely. So I really meandered along for the first 60km, wanting to pretty much give up and go home. That also meant I wasn’t paying attention to water going in (or more importantly over the top of me to cool off) and nutrition plan was a bit uncertain too as I hadn’t had the swim to burn off some calories.

I may have mentioned I am a bit of a slow thinker. After 60km I was realising that it was pretty hot out there, and I was getting a headache and my pace was not what it was supposed to be. Couldn’t be the wind (there wasn’t any) and certainly wasn’t the bike’s fault.

So, I took in some more nutrition (more on that later…!) and pushed the pedals with a bit more intention. That seemed to work nicely and pace picked up. But ……….. so did the heat.

My nutrition bars were chocolate/peanut flavour. Not my choice, that was all they had left in the required brand (amazing how few brands are made that work for a Coelic like me). It is pretty obvious to you already that having chocolate covered bars in your back pocket when it is REALLY hot is going to be messy. It became obvious to me as well, at about that time, and I think I looked a bit like Augustus Gloop (Charlie and Chocolate Factory). It also became obvious to me just how few places there are that you can wipe chocolate covered hands when you are out on a bike course……….. (Hint: DON’T wipe them on your shorts if your club favours really light coloured kit……).

By time I came past turnaround for first lap I was determined to negative split the bike, figuring that I had mucked around so much on the first lap there was no way I could fail to do better. I had noticed that the athletes heading back out of town on the second lap had this strained look on their face and weren’t really enjoying themselves. I found out why.

I was pretty damn hot at that stage, and with another 15km or so to go to an aid station I couldn’t just pour water all over myself. So, I had to grit my teeth and settle for pedalling like Grandma Duck and keep conservative pace until I got the next aid station and then grabbed as many water bottles as I could, shoving them down my top and into bottle holders.

I felt a bit better after using 4 bidons of water over myself over about a 5km distance, and woke up enough to notice there was quite a few athletes just sitting on side of road. No obvious mechanical, and whilst some of these athletes probably DID have irretrievable mechanical issues with their bike, I suspect some also just completely overheated and their bodies demanded an end to the torment.

I rode past an athlete who had been knocked unconscious off her bike and was surrounded by 7 other riders (I was told later she had been knocked off by a kangaroo jumping out of bush – not sure whether to believe that story but I guess there is no proof to the contrary).

I then realised I was feeling worse and my head was getting worse and generally feeling a bit average. Those chocolate bars weren’t getting any easier to eat either, and after the first 6 gels have gone down, I definitely DON’T look forward to swallowing more gels.

So, I had to humbly accept my fate and push at a quite average effort back to town. I was hoping that the athlete tracker on website had crashed (it usually does) and nobody would know about my ride ( I was told later that my mother-in-law kept asking “Is Ian still out on the bike? Why is he taking so long?”. This didn’t make me feel any better).

I got off the bike and went into the tent to change. Nobody feels sensational after 180km on a bike, but I usually look forward to the run. I wasn’t convinced however I could run (turns out that was prophetic). I hobbled out with my best athletic run (looking a bit like Quasimodo) and saw a friendly face at the fence. Craig told me “It is really hot here”. Yeah, thanks mate, you should try it out in the farmlands of Busselton. He also told me that a breeze was due to come in an hour, which made me feel HEAPS better (also turns out he was lying and the breeze never came).

The run on IM can be a very humbling experience. It is often slow, always painful and involves various changes in mindset (“thank God I am running now” through to the thoughts of “this doesn’t seem quite right” through to “I am pretty sure that they have moved that aid station and it is a lot further than it was last lap”).

I don’t want to bore you with the details, but the run was humbling. I haven’t ever suffered cramps on a run before, so it was a new experience to have first my left calf decide it had enough of the insult (at 15km mark) and then right calf at about 20km mark.

Seeing my wife and daughter each lap was brilliant. They are wonderful people and incredibly supportive of my efforts. Seeing the wolf pack in their tent was also massively positive and they were very kind to me and told me I was running well (I wasn’t, and if you don’t believe me have a look at the race photos).

It was also inspirational to see Shane catch up to me on the run (he had suffered cramps out on the bike) and give it it his absolute all in a brilliant IM debut race. Travis offered me a beer, which I accepted (before reflecting 5km later that beer contains gluten so that wasn’t smart for a Coeliac. I may have mentioned before that I am a bit of a slow thinker…….)

As usual, finishing an IM race is brilliant. Truly brilliant. All those hours of the demons in your head (telling you to stop the pain by just laying down for a while) have been condensed into a few moments of pure victory – the mind has triumphed over the body.

Walking back to the car I was regaled by the stories of a gentleman who had also raced (but far more swiftly than I did) and how he found conditions really difficult and had to stop a few times on the bike to get some ice to cool down – I felt sorry for him until he told me he finished in 8 hrs 50 mins.

Ironman is a great leveller. It brings out the best of human spirit, the capacity to suffer and yet endure. The ability to have self doubt, and yet encourage and support others around you to succeed in their quest at the same time as you perhaps face failure in your own.

IM Busselton Race Report 2017

Gallery

The wolf pack had an amazing day at Busselton Ironman and 70.3. Monica got a 3rd in her age group, Ian did his fifth Busso IM and these awesome athletes completed their first event: Justine T, Jason D, Moana M, Monica B and Shane M.


Bill H on the 70.3 run


Jean F looking cool as a cucumber



Carley R
Busso 70.3 IM was an interesting start. I had started the swim 500m in and found myself turned back to shore with a shark who came to checkout the action. The ride and run were hot! By far my favorite was finishing, coming back and cheering our amazing IM athletes home. It was so much fun at the PHTC tent. Thanks everyone!!


Jason D
It was my first time competing in a half ironman and second ever triathlon (power station tri the weekend before was my first). I did a lot of the training myself and came up with my own program. I tried to get to as many swims with PHTC as I could when I wasn’t working. I felt confident leading into Busso that I would make it to the end. I made it almost half way around the swim before being pulled from the water. I loved the ride course along the coast and into the tuart forrest and was feeling really good out of T2. The first lap of the run I set a PB over 12km before I started to fade with sore legs and the heat picking up. I was really happy with my time (4h44m) and exceeded all expectations. I have now signed up for the May event as I feel I have unfinished business after the swim was cut short.


Ian H did his fifth Busso IM


Roz H completed her 4th 70.3 like a champ – finishing the run with some leg pain but pushed through.

 
Kellie M on the run of her second 70.3


Mike F looking like he’s enjoying the run

  
Moana M
If there is an Iconic swim in Australia, it is Busso, so to have that taken away was disappointing but the right call to make. I struggle with the swim. It has never been my strongest leg of any triathlon. And yet my name means the Ocean.. go figure! I had trained consistently over 6 months and have managed to pull off a swimming fitness that took out my running fitness. I will never know now how well I would have done in the swim. WA needs to do something about making the ocean safe again.

Moving on a flat bike course is great in an OD or Sprint but for 6.5 hrs it was brutal, constantly pedalling with no respite. Wind picked up in the 2nd lap, the heat was intense. Heat rose from the ground and my feet underneath were burning. I had developed small blisters which hurt when pedalling. My pace slowed but managed to get off the bike in 6hrs 45 mins.

I went out on the run with great intentions but knew that was a pipe dream. Demons were at play. I threw up 3 times – Endura electrolytes stomach could not take it. I ended doing a marathon run on Coke and water. The soles of my feet were killing me. The demon resurfaced and was telling me, you are not going to make the cut off time. Support offered to me came in the form of Club alley, my cousin Lou, Coach Trav, Kingsley and Yanti and would you believe it a childhood friend with Yanti I hadn’t seen in 40 yrs.

On the last lap my body was struggling and shutting down. I pushed through, got rid of the demons and ran/shuffled through to hit the IM carpet and call it – Job Done – I am an Ironman! I am walking a bit funny the day after but the medal, finishers towel & t-shirt were worth it. Do I see myself doing another Ironman? Of course – I have unfinished business. A jetty swim.  Maybe a crack at Ironman NZ – no sharks or bushfires! Thank you IM Busso for the experience!

  
Monica B – 3rd in her age group!
My journey to Ironman Busselton was an unplanned adventure. This time last year I thought it might be fun to do a triathlon.  I met some amazing people at Armadale swimming pool who thought I could, supported and sometimes gently pushed me towards the finish line. I am so honoured to a part of this diverse group of wonderful people who are fantastic role models for all of our families.

 
Peta W
It was hot, horrible and relentless. Getting that one done was more satisfying than the one I did injured in 2015. Just because there was no swim did not make it easier. In many ways it made it harder. Not warmed up, too fresh were some of the comments. All I can say is it hurt… when I wanted to quit, I just wanted to get back to the club tent because I knew they would help me keep going. I have no idea of my times.  I finished near the bottom of my age group but based on state numbers 20% failed to finish in my age group so I will take my finish and be proud. Thanks to our supporters, you got me through!


Shane M doing his first IM


Matt F looking strong on the run


Justine T
Cried and then got my smile on – 2nd time no swim for me at Busso – damn sharks. Nailed a new PB on the bike. Died in the run – too hot. The team was amazing support!


IM fun and our terrific volunteers and support crew

Athlete Profile – Alex B

Name: Alex
Nickname: Blommers
How long have you been doing tri?: 3 months
How did you get into tri?: I wanted a new challange so joined the club
How many bikes do you have?: Two – a Giant roadie and a newly purchased Felt TT bike
What do you want to achieve this season?: To get through the season completing all the races i have signed up for and be ready for the half in May (fingers crossed)

Wolves fire up at power station

Gallery

The Power Station Triathlon was a fast, fun event with a few members from the Perth Hills Triathlon Club competing. A late change during the week to the transition area meant the swim course was altered, the bike course had a new start and finish and the run was reversed. This didn’t deter the three wolves who were pumped and ready to go.

The course consisted of a 750m swim, 23km ride and a 4km run. The swim was made easier as almost all of it was with the current. The ride was made up of five laps with a lot of tight turns and a couple of railway crossings. The run was two laps along the windy coastal path. A very flat course meant the hills were not calling today.

Jason was at his first ever triathlon and thought it would be a good idea to see what it was all about before racing in the 70.3 at Busselton next week. He was 3rd fastest out of the water, held his own on the bike and finished 7th in his category.

James thought it was a fun and friendly event and a good way to start off the season. He was only a few seconds behind Jason on the swim and ride but smashed out a 16:50 4km run to finish in a time of 1:13:57. A nice way to stretch out the legs before resting up for the Mandurah Interclubs the following day.

Abdul came into the event thinking he would take it easy as he was also racing at Interclubs on Sunday. He started off by coming out of the water 13th in a time of 15:15. He enjoyed the tight turns on the bike course but was missing the hills and almost lost count of how many laps he had done. A solid run gave him a total time of 1:22:46.

A great day was had by all with another event done for the season but with plenty more to come.

Athlete Profile – Carley R

How long been in tri: 3 years with hopefully lots more to come!

How did you get into tri: I had done a few fun runs and was reading an email about the Sunsmart Womens Tri. I thought, ‘what a cool event and look everyone gets a medal – I want one (ha ha) I’ll give it a go. I entered the short distance tri with very limited swimming and biking I had an absolute blast. I got the medal and haven’t looked back.

How many bikes do you have: 2 bikes, a lovely road bike and my favourite bike Shirley the Shiv time trail bike.

What do you want to achieve this season: To have fun and enjoy the events and training with a great club and friends. Oh and to build to hopefully ironman distance next year and to get around 5.45 for a 70.3 ironman.

Athlete Profile – Mark D

Nickname: Doc (because my initials are M.D.)
How long have you been in tri?: 3 years
How did you get into tri?: My cousin was doing them and I decided to have a go at one and have been hooked ever since.
How many bikes do you have?: 4
What do you want to achieve this season?: To complete the half ironman in May next year.

Ian says Hola from Spain

PHTC wolf, Ian, recently spent some time in Spain for a once in a lifetime experience watching the La Vuelta, cycling some crazy Spanish hills and watching the Aragon MotoGP. Here, he shares his experience and some photos for us all to enjoy. 

Hola wolf pack,

I’m writing this from my hotel room and that crazy castle looking thing is the view from my window.  I’m on the last leg of my trip and it’s Friday morning 1:30am in a little town called Zaragoza.

So far the trip has been truly amazing. I have seen some incredible things, and tested my self on some unfathomable climbs.

The cycling culture here has to be experienced to explain it properly. There are climbs for road and mountain bike further than you can imagine. And trails too run as far as your stubbie little legs will take you.

Never once was I yelled or tooted at, only clapped and cheered on.

I’m a little sad the trip is almost over, but really looking forward to getting home to my little family and my business. It’s crazy how only from afar do you realise how lucky you are to have amazing friends and family in your life.

I will leave you with my passing thoughts.

Do you really need that new shinny TT bike that will shave 40 seconds off your time? Or before you click yes to your next Ironman consider this – either of those will easily get you a ticket to Europe.

Take the time to see the world, you are worth it.Take the challenge to scale a mythical climb on a bike, you never know there may be a new you at the top waiting.

You will never know if you don’t take the chance.

See the world one pedal stroke at a time.

Ian

 

Novice Program Launch

In August 2017 the Club welcomed triathlon veteran and coach Rob ‘Slim’ Wiles into the wolf pack and he was keen to get straight into it and start a novice program.

Slim has competed in triathlon for 24 years including representing Australia in the world long course championships twice. He has coached novice programs for five years and helped 150 athletes break into the sport. He is also a triathlon technical official with 20 years experience.

“I love teaching novices and current triathletes to see them improving themselves and helping people get over their own fears and insecurities,” said Slim.

“Anyone can have a go at triathlon, I once coached a lady in her late 50’s and she hadn’t ridden a bike in over 40 years.

“The novice course will teach budding athletes the core swim, bike and run skills to build their fitness levels and help them reach their triathlon goals while having fun.

“I like triathlon because of the friendship and support of the entire triathlon community and the Perth Hills Triathlon Club members are an awesome bunch.”

The Club novice program commences on October 7 and runs for 10 weeks.  For more information head to our Novice Program page.

 

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!