The triathlon festival held out at Pegasus Bay on 19th December was a fantastic day. With around 400 competitors and a range of races that catered for all levels including children, beginner, intermediate and elite triathletes this certainly was one event I couldn't miss out on...
Only recently returned from 2 weeks in Denmark at temperatures well below 0 degrees I had 4 days to acclimatise and also recover from jet lag. I did manage to get a few swim sessions and running sessions done while away but my fitness levels were not great. Still this would be my first race in New Zealand and not far from my home town, so I couldn't say no. The day before the race temperatures soared to the mid 30s and I had visions of the Barcelona Half Challenge where we had high temperatures and I got heat stroke (managed to finish that race though). Luckily on the day the temperature was cool and perfect for racing.
I cycled out to the race and set up in transition, talking to some of my fellow competitors. Everyone seemed to be donning their wetsuits even though the water was warm enough to swim without one. So it looked like I was going to have to wait a while longer to do my first non-wetsuit triathlon. Having entered in the Pegasus Classic I was in the first wave so we were the first event of the day. Beach start and a short run into the water and then the chaos of an open water swim began. Settling into a good rhythm I managed to get a draft off a few people but my swimming was sluggish and well below my best. Still I was racing and loving it. Out of the water and a short run to the transition area. This is where the fun began; I didn’t quite get my foot out of my wetsuit and did a sort of wetsuit dance nearly tripping over myself as I tried to kick my foot out again. At least I didn’t hit my head on the bar holding my bike up like I did in the Dublin City Triathlon one year! Helmet on, out of transition and then there is the jump on the bike and then fumbling my feet into the bike shoes as I cycle away. The bike course was a fast 3 laps and was very enjoyable, a good surface and some great marshalling keep it safe on the unclosed roads. Keeping my cadence up and my legs pumping I flew around the course. Some of the other races had started so there were a few people starting on their first lap as I was about to finish my last. So it was feet out of the shoes and then off the bike, and into transition. No drama this time so a quick transition and out on to the run course. Unfortunately I had strained my hamstring training in Denmark so I knew my run was going to be slow (well that’s my excuse anyway!). I focused on keeping a good tempo and maintained that throughout the two laps around the lake. Felt good but knew I couldn't push myself like I normally would, it was very difficult to resist chasing anyone that passed me. Finished the race (without a sprint finish) and was happy with my overall performance.
A job well done by the race organisers, they really put on a great event. There were plenty of supporters and sponsors there selling products and you could even buy a fresh coffee! Congratulations to all the athletes that finished the Try a Triathlon race for beginners, perhaps I can tempt you to join our boot camp and learn some valuable techniques and build your fitness?? Anyone that braved the rain and waited for the Elite race was in for a treat as Tony Dodds and Andrea Hewitt showed everyone how to race. A definite race for next season’s calendar.