Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Get some Hamo in ya!!!
So I'm back from a unbelievable 5 days of relaxation on Hamilton Island, which unfortunately included just over an hour of a brutal brutal anaerobic workout in the form of a Triathlon. Just kidding, it was awesome...so read on.
Hamilton Island is one of those ultimate holiday destinations, almost of folklore. It was my first time here. It's too bad I was actually there for a Triathlon! I got to the island on the Wednesday, with the race being on Sunday. I actually spoke to last years winner Courtney Atkinson, and he told me the race was why he actually wasn't there....
so go figure that one out :)
So the events kicked off with a 2km ocean swim at Whitehaven beach on Friday. I was pretty nervous for this; 1) because I have forgotten how to do swim races, 2) because there were actually really sick swimmers there, notably former 25km open water world champ Brendan Capell (don't actually quote me on that result, all I know he is a sick swimmer). The course was just 1km down, one km back. This was not as boring as it sounds, Whitehaven is truly one of the most spectacular beaches in the world. I got stuck in no mans land at about 500m though after I was spat out by the swimmers, I still swam relatively well though, and managed to come home in 5th. I'm even more happy to say I was the first over the line without a cheat suit, with old fashioned sluggoes my preference of the day. Dely Carr was flying around the beach in a chopper taking some shots, so if they ever surface anywhere then I'll be sure to post them up. On that subject, why are there never ANY race photos anywhere when there are so many photographers around? I'd like an answer to that in the comments below please photography industry.
Anyway here's some shots of the boat ride there, and the only one I have from the beach (thanks to aforementioned non-existent event galleries)
Okay so a bit more relaxation later, and then some more relaxation in between the relaxation, and the next thing I knew I was up at 4:30 for a 6am race start. Who does that?????? This race was super fun, and one of those things that just puts a big smile on your face when your done. Kimoi Niwata (3 time Japanese Olympian) said in her acceptance speech for 2nd place that the race actually reminded her that Triathlon is fun, and I think that is pretty special. I have already posted the video of the race, so have a look at that if you haven't. I'll say it again, but this is easily the most brutal course I have ever done, and all impertinence aside, one of the hardest courses in the world.
So the race was a really small and exclusive field of 170 age groupers, and only a few elites. Walton, Gemmell and a young downunderladturnedIrishman Ben Shaw were on the start at one stage, but all dropped out. So the race was essentially down to sparring partner/full time pest Ryan Fisher. I couldn't shake the young lad on the swim and couldn't dispose of him on the bike. The course was one of those ones where it is so hard that's its impossible to get away because in the end the intensity makes it more even. The only flat section on the bike was a sick spin down the islands airport runway, but this was met with a big head wind so it wasn't any reprieve at all. The run was where the race would be decided, and Ryan and I ran together for about 2km before I smacked a downhill way too fast, and then got dropped by Ryan when I realised I was dead at the bottom. I kept the pressure on him though, and came back at him the last 2km, and finally met him on an insanely steep gravel downhill section topped off with stairs to jump at the bottom. The scariest thing about running with Ryan again was knowing the race was going to come down to a sprint down the 300m finish chute on soft sand. Running in soft sand with shoes, with dead legs and no energy is always going to be about as successful and easy as trying to run on the water when you were a kid in your back yard pool. We stayed even the whole way until about 50m to go there was a runoff ditch in the sand. I fell in the bottom of it and Ryan edged 1m ahead, and it stayed like this to the finish. The media guy should be fired for missing this sprint, it was probably the most quintessential moment in Triathlon :p But as I said it was all smiles once we finished. In the women, Ash won her race, with Kiomi 2nd and Ironman fiend Belinda Granger 3rd.
Me and Hamo aren't done yet, and I still have more blogging to do in the coming days.
In the meantime, keep an eye out for the website, because this event will be bigger and better next year, and I encourage everyone to get involved!