The Woolgollga Triathlon Festival was the location of my first ever triathlon experience two years ago. I cant say it was a good one, more a comedy of errors, but it is where I caught the bug for this exhilarating sport.
I returned in 2015 with a few more races under my belt and was the first local over the line in terrible race conditions, wind, rain, cold frozen hands and feet!
This year I decided to take the family up and camp at Woolgoolga for a few days prior to the event as it is held at the end of the school holidays. We stayed at Woolgoolga Beach Holiday Park a stones throw from the beach.
Saturday was a magic day and the kids enjoyed swimming at the beach, in the pool, the skatepark and fish and chips for lunch before we headed to the reserve to complete the Woopi Tri Fest Fun Run.
Both kids had great races with Kayne taking out third male and Jorja placing 20th overall. Its such a great community event and acts as a fundraiser for the community.
Saturday afternoon was still and serene, we watched the sun set on the beach looking forward to a perfect day of racing.
Around 9pm as we settled in for the night the tent started to shake, and shake some more until it was violently whipping about waking us and the kids up repeatedly throughout the night. Come 5am the rain had added to the mix and it looked like a repeat of last year was on the cards.
I reluctantly crawled out of my sleeping bag and plodded over to transition in the rain. After setting up transition and addressing the usual tyre malfunctions (thanks for the tube Adam and MG for the tech support!) I headed to the beach with the kids to await the start gun.
The water was beautiful, very clean and warmer than I had expected. I soon realised that a winter of swimming in the pool had made me totally forget about the need to sight when swimming in the ocean. I was steered back on course by water safety and was happy to reach the sand again for the run back to transition.
Heading out on the bike I really wanted to have a good crack of the ride. Though the roads were still wet the rain had eased off and the wind wasn’t as bad as it had been during the night. I was trying to keep an even gap between myself and training partner Jules who had made it out of the water in front of me. The ride went ok and I felt 150% more confident than I had riding the same course the year before.
The killer in this race is the headland you run up straight off the bike. The views are magnificent but its long and steep! Leah was manning the drink station on the way up and called out that there were five girls in front of me. I pushed up the hill hoping I could run a few of them down.
The relief of running back down the headland is quickly surpassed by the knowledge that you have to run through the sand. Coach Andy told me I was 3rd and 44sec off second as I passed him and plodded along the beach.
The Woopi Tri run is defiantly a cross country circuit with lots of interesting twists and turns and a variety of running surfaces. I finally caught up with Jules well into the run and knew there was one more girl to try and chase down. Heading to the high school though to turn to head back to town I was passed by the lady winning and knew I wouldn’t be catching her!
I ended up with a 2nd place which was a total surprise and got to share the podium with Jules (well husband Mick anyway as Jules had to rush off to work – don’t know how she does it!). The bonus of prize money and an eight week training package with RETRO added to what is already a fantastic event that will no doubt grow in numbers.
Find out more about Woopi Tri Fest here.