Once again, I find myself in the race that started it all for me. The Corporate Triathlon was my first ever triathlon event, some years ago. This is my second attempt at one of the most prestigious race locations in Australia. It is not often that you get to swim with the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge as the view.
The Sydney Corporate Triathlon wasn’t in my yearly racing plan, I was asked to join the Stanley & Williamson team a few weeks before race date to be part of a mix team. Then a few days out from the race I was asked if I wanted to take the first wave start “CEO Wave”, this is apparently the super serious one that people race to win. At the time I was still unwell with a chest infection and still on antibiotics, but I decided to go for it anyway.
On race morning it was a busy sight of corporate, business people dressed in fitness gear for a change. Bike compound closes at 6:50AM then swim start at 7:30AM, the swim is a 300m swim, I knew it would be a bit longer as Farm Cove currently have the an Opera stage set up in the water and we have to swim around it. I didn’t position myself at the very front of the swim start as I didn’t want to push hard with a chest infection. It was a bit of a battle in the water as soon as we start, I was feeling ok so I started swimming a bit harder but I was boxed in with some other slower swimmers, I didn’t want to be rude as I don’t know what executive of what company I could be swimming over or getting my foot in the face so I pulled back and did a loop around a few people before jumping out of the water with not many people in front.
Out of the water I was in a chase game straight away, I yelled to one of the volunteer “HOW MANY IN FRONT”, “FIVE”. Ok, game on for me, five in front, I’m doing better than I hoped so enough with being sick, I’m pushing it today. I powered up the hill from the water then over the man made scaffolding stairs and into the bike compound, I have to say the first transition is a bit long but good for me as I am stronger at running this season. Before I got to my bike I have run down three others and then by the time I exit the bike compound I was riding in the lead. This was the first time in my racing experience that I get to ride behind a lead motorbike. My glory moment didn’t last long, I knew that I didn’t have the legs for the bike this season and my chest was starting to burn a little, a guy in a TT bike came flying past. Oh, I forgot to mention that I was racing in my training/commuting bike, I still had my rear light, reflector and a bell (fully legal with NSW law). Some moments later another guy came past me on the bike again, I told myself “It’s OK, you can still see them”. I didn’t do a very good bike dismount, got my bike shoes a bit tangled with the road but I had the legs to carry the bike and run with bike to rack it back before continuing my hot pursuit.
Now the best part of my race, the run, I knew that with two guys ahead, within sight, I can close that gap but how long will it take? I didn’t even have time to think about touching my Garmin to change the tracking from swim to bike then bike to run, this race was too short and too close. I must have been starting the run on west of Andrew Boy Charlton pool around 4 minutes/Km as the first part of the run is a slight uphill. I know this track well, it is my daily training ground, just before the hill levels out at the Art Gallery NSW, I pulled back one place and now in second, chasing for first. The next guy was running hard and looked to be about 400 meters ahead of me. I know that after we do a 180 degree turnaround at the end of Art Gallery Rd, it is all flat to the Art Gallery then mostly downhill from there. I kicked into my top gear, from feel, I must be running about 3:30 minutes/Km before passing the lead runner, I didn’t ease up as I passed him, kicking in harder just to make sure I stayed ahead, by now it was the downhill section going down towards the ABC pool. The run course finishes at Mrs Macquarie's Chair and I know it is an uphill finish, one last moment before the last uphill, I looked back and didn’t see anyone behind, the only person in front is the lead bicycle who have been so helpful at clearing the way for me. Before I knew it, my hands were holding the finishing ribbon and that was the end of my race.
I was really happy with the outcome given I have a chest infection, going into the race I was not expecting anything more than top ten. I got a bit worried when I saw some super bikes in the morning, a few Cervelos P series and some deep section carbon wheels, if the bike leg had been longer I would have been in trouble, the course was in my favour with a long transition from swim to bike and my knowledge of the local run tack took me to the end of the line. Thanks to Quang at Stanley & Williamson for entrusting me with their “CEO Wave” entry.
Also Lissy competed in this event as her first triathlon, see her post here