So #NoosaTri35 came and went in 2017 just like that! If you missed it, you must live under a rock! It flooded the social media post for at least a whole week and probably still is to be honest! I absolutely love this weekend and event, it holds a special little place in my heart! Not entirely sure why, maybe the memories of holidaying here as a teenager and racing with my club back then. As a squad back in the 90’s we had people racing in the pro field and lots of competitive age grouper’s as well as plenty of people making up the numbers (like I have always done)!
Noosa comes alive for this event, its electric, the atmosphere is like no other triathlon I have ever done. Ok, let me clarify, Ironman is next level for the athlete experience, but Noosa has it covered for entertainment, environment and whole family participation.
Noosa Triathlon number 35 is a little more special for me, because this year I became a Noosa Legend! I have previously completed 10 (now 11) Noosa triathlon’s over the past 22 years and I joined a reasonable small club! Perhaps the biggest highlight for me is obtaining my legends race number:
Before I go on any further about how I got to become a Noosa legend, here is a spoiler alert my official result for 2017 can be found here:
Lets look back over those 11 Noosa triathlon’s, it started way back in 1995 for me, fresh outta high school. I had a big layoff of 12 years from 2000 to 2012 and then a steady run through to this year! As you can see from the following results, its taken me a few years to get back to a competitive time and I’m still not close to my early race times. Maybe next year I will edge even closer to those early race times!
So let’s have a look at this years race and what I got up to over the weekend. We arrived in Noosa on Friday night, a lot later than I had anticipated almost 7:00pm. With registration closing at 7, it was a made dash into the village area to register with minutes, maybe seconds to spare before they closed! We then headed to pick up our keys and headed to our accommodation! We ordered the kids a couple of pizza and set about unpacking and settling in for the weekend. The girls were both super excited because Saturday is all about the SuperKids triathlon. They both did super well, Ella is very well versed at setting up and navigating her transition area. This meant I was able to help Miah who put on a good front but isn’t as confident. Miah is our dancer, but when given the opportunity loves a little swim, bike, run fun! I think the following photos really paint the picture better than any of my words:
I was one super proud dad. We then headed back into Noosa, where I had a few jobs to do, like racking my bike and confirming I had been registered in the correct wave start. While reviewing all my race kit, I had noticed some of my details appeared wrong and I was shown in the age group wave, despite registering and confirming with Ironman that I would like to take advantage of the ‘Legends’ wave start! Crisis was quickly averted and I had racked my bike! Racking very close to fellow Starfish athlete Cameron Wills, who was doing his first Noosa triathlon.
Finally out of the sun and time to chill and relax until tomorrow when the heat is really turned up and its race day! But first we got to set up the club tent on the footpath and watch ‘Super Saturday’ from right in front of our accommodation! Super Saturday consists of an elite men’s and women’s crit bike race a 5km bolt and the Legends triathlon (which is a pretty funny novelty triathlon complete by legends of all sports and television)! It’s a pretty nice way to relax and allow the afternoon pass by, while waiting for Sunday to arrive.
Finally its race day! This is what we have come for. Sunday morning start about 4am, with a quick shower, tattoo application, breakfast and off to transition by 5am. Our unit is buzzing with athletes early! We open our door up as the base for almost everyone I knew racing, the only down fall to Noosa is access can be super painful if you’re not staying in the heart of the actions! We had open racers, legends and age grouper’s all preparing to give there all in what is going to be a hot and hard day’s race!
I thought my transition setup was methodical and a process I could very rarely get wrong, but this year proved that even a 22 year veteran of the sport can still make mistakes, more on this to follow. I pumped my rear tire up (as I was racked by my handlebars over night), then clipped my shoes onto the pedals, checked the right gear ration had been chosen, then spun the bike around to rack by the seat. I then setup my hydration drink bottle (profile design – aerolink) and started chatting to a couple of fellow athletes about the weather, super bikes and how amazing the experience was here at Noosa. I loaned my pump to a fellow teammate and continued to layout my towel, running shoes, calf sleeves, number belt, helmet, sunglasses and socks! I stood back and went through the transitions in my head, from swim, cap & goggles down, helmet & glasses on then out onto the bike! Back in from the bike, helmet off, cap on, socks, calf sleeves on, shoes, ties laces, grab number belt and head out on the run. All simple enough and I was happy and confident I had set up as appropriate! Time for a coffee and stretch back at the unit!
I was in the ‘Legends’ wave which had a reasonably early start time of 6:44, I left the unit at 6:20, in hindsight a touch late, leaving very little time to get wet/warmup! Ohh well, straight into the marshaling area and ready to rock my 11th Noosa Triathlon! The conditions were near Perfect, water visibility amazing and temperature was perfect! Standing next to competitor 102 (the only athlete to have done all 35 Noosa triathlon’s, officially the first and only real Legend among us – IMHO). The gun went and we were away, I had lined up on the left side of the field Swimming directly to the first marker buoy, I found clean water fast and actually led the wave all the way. Rounding the first turn buoy it was amazing to be able to see the rope from the buoy all the way to the bottom, crystal clear water! I had started catching the waves in front of us and enjoyed working my way through the field. Rounding the last turn it was a short swim to the beach, unfortunately no waves so I had to swim all the way in! Hands touching the sand, time to stand up and hit transition. It’s a pretty long run to T1 and I weaved my way through more competitor to my bike! I finished the swim in a respectable 23:35, still room for improvement, but solid none the less.
T1 is and always has been pretty quick for me, so cap & goggles down, helmet on and out on the bike course. It’s simple and a basic methodical process. Passing the mount line I leapt onto my bike very quickly realizing something was wrong, very wrong! A front wheel flat?!?! WTF, but it’s not totally flat, I start trying to figure out what to do, options flying through my head a million miles an hour. It’s a slow leak, I pumped it at 5:15 this morning (or so I had thought) it’s now 7:15, if I just gas it (using a CO2 canister), I should get through the 1 hour bike! So quick stop, right in front of my adoring family & friends, cheering their hearts out, I let the remaining air out of my front tire and re-gassed it, now riding on a wing and a prayer, hoping I could get through! I was now angry, back on the bike and riding hard, up Garmin Hill, setting a new PR (check my Strava data below) out to be turnaround. Now time for the crazy down hill back into Noosa, riding at over 75km/hr is insane, but so much fun, perspective when people ride right pass my on the decent riding even fast than me, CRAZY! Finishing the bike course in an official time of 1:03:27, filthy with myself for the delays early, think what could have been!
Hitting T2, safe and sound, this is always a little slower transition for me, even more so this time given I was attempting to put on my calf sleeves. Socks first then slide the sleeve over the top and pull up to the knee into position, SUCCESS, 1 on and the other just as easily! Shoes on, laces up and let’s run. This was my first run in 8 days, forced rest to allow the lower leg (calf injury) time to heal.
Now this was going to be a test, short stride length and high cadence was the focus and order of the day! It worked great, I got through the run unscathed and injury free in a super time of 44 minutes, feeling amazing. Running past the 6km mark I finally allowed myself the luxury of checking my overall time on my watch, this is always a risk, it could go either way, confidence boosting or sapping. It gave me the boost I needed to finish strong, running well past the unit enjoying the cheers from my family and friends onto the finish stopping the clock at 2:16:56! Nearly 4:30 fast than my previous best on this course!
To say I was surprised with my result is a mild understatement! I am elated, I can finally after 5/6 years of training feel as though I am racing at a level I feel competent, capable and really enjoying every moment! To bank a 4 min 30 second PB on this course in near perfect racing conditions is always very satisfying. I am still learning and every race presents a different set of circumstance or environment that I need to navigate to get to the finish line. But that is life. Finding a way to be the best person, the best athlete I can be on that race day is what all the training is for! So here are the links to my data:
Finally a big thank you to my amazing wife & family, who have let me build a lifestyle where ‘I GET TO DO THIS’! Congratulations to all the fellow competitors that raced and finished the Noosa Triathlon in 2017. I hope our paths continue to cross well into the future and we may all still be racing for decades to come! Special mention to some close friends, Eamonn Ring (EDP) for picking up 3rd in his age group, Emily Donker for also finishing 3rd in the Open Women’s, fellow starfish competitors Cameron Wills, Chris Gilmore, Dave Smith and Kathleen Smith. Also to the Starfish raffle winners Anna Smyth and Jason Curry. All banking amazing performances in some very hot trying conditions over the weekend!
If you ever have any questions please reach out, I’m only a message away.
If you’re not active at the moment & need some inspiration, follow me on Strava, Instagram and like my facebook page and let’s get back out there swim, bike or running. Make sure you subscribe so you never miss a blog post from me! The biggest regret we can have in life is to not TRI!
Till next time build consistency, keep smiling and live to Tri!