It’s been a long season. I think at the end of the season most of us have had enough, but everyone can find one more race in them for NSW Club Champs held in beautiful Forster.
The crew from Coffs Tri Club made the road trip down the coast looking to defend our 2015 Country Club title. Forster turned it on this year with spectacular weather.
Due to the number of participants and the road closures this race starts in the afternoon. My wave start kicking off at 1.25pm. It was a blistering hot day so I took the chance to hydrate well before the race.
On a massive sugar high I chatted uncontrollably to anyone who would listen (mostly about the fact it was a wetsuit optional race) until I finally crashed for a nana nap at about 12noon.
Probably not the best way to psych up for a race, peaked way to early with the sugar/caffeine hit!
Heading to the race start I was feeling a bit nervous and tired but a quick dip in the beautiful waters soon revived me. I got into a good spot and flung myself into the water as the gun went, promptly losing my googles. I wanted to try and stay with the front pack of girls so I swam without my googles to the first buoy before stopping to place them back on my head.
I usually enjoy the swim, thought I’m not one of the fastest swimmers and love a good ocean swim. This time however things were not going well. I felt like I was suffocating. I figured that it was because I had gone out quite hard, but passing the first turn I felt no better. It was the only time I have ever seriously considered stopping in a race, I totally freaked out.
I slowed a bit to try and recover my breathing and by the second turn I knew I was heading back to shore so just tried to keep it together. I have never, ever been so glad to reach the beach!
Running up the sand I left the horror of the swim behind me and looked ahead to the bike. I really wanted to make a good go of it and try not to let the other girls get too much of a lead.
Hoping on the bike out of T1 I got a nice firm pinch on the ass from Mark, who had got a flat and ended up starting the bike with me. He flew past me and the challenge was set to see if I could catch him on the run.
It was a hot day and I had swallowed a lot of salt water in the swim so I tried to get some fluids in while attacking the hills and corners of the very technical bike course. I found it very frustrating as I get nervous on the corners and kept braking, which would give the other girls a few hundred meters start before I’d have to start wheeling them in again. Saying that, I quite enjoyed the ride and felt like I had put in a solid effort.
Coming out of T2 a few of the Coffs Crew assured me that Mark was only a minute up on me and encouraged me to chase him down. It was getting seriously hot though by this time and though I set out at a blistering pace I wasn’t sure I could maintain it.
I decided to break the race down into 8 x 1km races and this strategy seemed to work. Part of the run is over a narrow footbridge which gave a magic view of the river but meant that I constantly had to adjust my pace. I saw Mark up ahead on the last 1km and though I was hurting and starting to cramp up I forced myself to push through until the end, promising myself that as soon as I crossed the line id just stop.
Crossing the finish line I heard the announcer say id got 4th in my age group and I found a shady spot to collapse. I didn’t quite catch Mark but it was good to have the challenge to keep me going.
This was probably the race I have mentally struggled the most with this year. I felt bitterly disappointed when I finished and looked at my time. My bike split wasn’t what I had hoped and the swim was slow, the run could have been faster, I certainly picked my race to pieces!
Once the after race celebrations started though I perked up and Marks words of encouragement made me see I had actually raced ok. The after party is the highlight of the weekend and we had a great time dancing the night away.
The best part of Club Champs is that you are racing as a team. Each individuals points are added up to get a team total. Coffs Tri Club were runners up in the Country Clubs this year and fifth club overall, a great effort for our club!