Forster Ultimate Triathlon (2km swim, 120km Bike, 20km Run) - Nathan McKelligott
Race Date: October 7th Results: 2012
Having never raced the old Forster Ironman course, the new Forster ultimate triathlon was a race that I was keen to do so I could race on the old ironman course and get a good appreciation for all those old ironman stories I’ve heard from people who have raced in Forster. It is also a well placed early season race to work out the cobwebs and get the fires burning for the upcoming triathlon season!
My off season was a really good off season this year where I had a good rest, and then built up some solid running form with a nice little run focus throughout August and September which I wanted to use to my benefit in triathlons.
Unfortunately though the last 3-4 weeks leading into the race life just got in the way, with a family wedding to organise, family staying with us and work ramping up, and all of this lead to a decline in my fitness from what it was late Sept.
With this in mind my focus for the race had turned from an A race to just to relax and enjoy the day, the course and use it to build some fitness again.
On race morning we woke to gusting southerly winds which were going to make the race pretty challenging. Then by the time the race was due to start the winds consistently gusting and already making the water choppy for the swim.
Very little swimming over the past month or so meant that I wasn't planning on going too hard, just try and get through comfortably. Some testing over winter has shown me that the difference in my swimming speed from swimming hard to swimming controlled and comfortable is not much so no point in busting myself early in the day. I positioned myself to side the of the field to try and keep clear of the fighting for the start and when I looked around I happened to be among the pro's and race favourites which was a good thing because I knew they would clear out and drop me quickly, hopefully giving me some clear water.
Upon leaving the swim there were still a lot of bikes left so I was pleased to have exited the water in a pretty good position. A time of 33 mins was about what I had hoped for and placed me 20th in age group, which is ok for me for my least favored leg.
Onto the bike and time to fight the winds and reel in the swimmers. The bike was a 2 lap course from Forster south towards Blueys beach and straight into the teeth of the southerly.
Right from the start we had to work for our speed but I was able to pass quite a lot of people, which is common for me. By comparison the swim is a weak leg and I spend much of the rest of the races catching up.
By now the wind was very strong and gusting from all directions and it felt like no matter which direction we went we were always fighting into it. However the long straight just outside Forster did give a chance to ride with it and a quick look at my GPS I saw I was doing 59km/hr just cruising along!
The second lap was one tough slog, so I ditched my water bottles and any excess, except for the bottle between my aero bars and tried to stay as aero as possible and hide from the wind. By the end of the 120km I had enough of fighting the winds as it was a tough ride on bumpy roads where you had to work hard for every km, there was no chance to let up at all!
When I jumped off the bike I immediately cramped up in my hamstrings and quads, which was a concern, my relaxed attitude to nutrition might have cost me. Normally I have a strict plan which I follow but I decided to rely on the aid stations and keep it to a minimum this time.
My plan was to run the 20km in 80 min or just under if possible so I headed out holding 3:45-50 pace which felt a little tough but just manageable. I held this for about 6k's when the race leader passed me on his last lap so I tried to run with him for a while, but after about a km at about 3:35 pace I crumbled!
Then at about 8km the past month of excessive rich food, drinking and poor training came crashing down on me!
I had done the first 10km in about 44 min which meant my goal was out, and the way I felt I just needed to get to the finish. The last 10km were very tough, and after battling the wind for nearly 5hrs I was hurting badly. Luckily there were two sections through town and I was able to break it down mentally into small chunks and just get through each chunk one at a time. On the bike I had passed the 3rd placed women and I could see that she was catching me over the last 5km so this gave me some motivation to try and hang on without being caught, which I was able to do, only just though. The last 3 aid stations I gulped down big mouthfuls of coke and just rode the sugar high as long as I could to the finish.
The finish line was a most welcome site and I had counted down the last 3km more than I have in any ironman, or perhaps I just forget how much they hurt too! But I was totally spent and glad that it was over, my disjointed training had dropped my fitness level but thankfully my endurance base helped me to get through.
So in the washup I finished 34th overall and 10th in my age group in a time of 5hr 24 min and I'm happy that I have now raced on the old ironman course.
.....post script ...... Two days after the race and boy I am feeling beaten up! :)