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Race Report – Vic Harbour March 2012

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By Sean Smee

With an impending overseas trip, and being in the midst of moving house, the Victor Harbour triathlon hadn’t quite featured in my thoughts as much as an upcoming race normally does. This was probably an advantage, as I was quite relaxed in the lead up to the race. The relaxed vibe flowed into the weekend, as my partner Harriet and I stayed in an awesome beach house overlooking the ocean with a bunch of our Melbourne Triathlon Club mates.

Race day arrived, and with a very civilised wave start time of 9.47am it was quite refreshing to not have to engage in any pre-dawn shenanigans – I didn’t even set an alarm! The swim setting was a clean saltwater lagoon, passing by the front yards and small jetties of the carefully planned waterfront real estate. I made a tactical error by lining up out to the side behind a couple of super-fish (Stephane Vander Bruggen and Adam Cashmore) – who I had no hope of catching a ride with. In hindsight it would have been much better to position myself back in the pack, as I was quickly isolated on the fringes. That wasn’t to be a lasting problem however, as being the last wave of the day to set off, we were soon picking up the back half of several of the preceding waves. Navigation from this point became the primary challenge, with at least five decent smacks to the face as I wove my way towards the much anticipated beach.

The bike leg was most notable for a significant hill that had to be tackled twice on each of two laps. Whilst I was pretty happy with my efforts on the ascent, I was certainly shown up by a couple of fellow competitors on the winding descents as they buzzed past me in aero seemingly without a care in the world (I meanwhile was sitting up and braking!). Despite this, I seemed to be making up ground – or at least holding my deficit – to a couple of my age-group rivals who I could monitor at the turn-arounds.

I entered the run leg (relatively) confident I could make up the ground on the fellas in my age group that I had recognised on the bike. As a result I tried to resist the urge to surge too hard from the start, and focussed instead on keeping a high cadence, and using the water at the aid stations to cool down regularly over a running surface that was growing steadily hotter. By about the three kilometre mark I had reeled in the couple of blokes I knew were ahead of me. However, starting from behind as I usually do as a result of my weaker swim, I find it incredibly difficult to work out exactly where I am positioned. To this end I pushed on, using the many friends I saw out on course as visual cues to keep picking up the step rate. Crossing the line I was pleased to have managed a PB, even if it was a measly 37 seconds off my long term goal of breaking through the 2 hour barrier. Having to jet off pretty soon after the race, it was only about 3 hours later when friend texted that I learnt I had taken the win!

It was awesome to learn that I shared the podium with fellow Melbourne Triathlon Club member Mark Duncan who is becoming ominously strong. A special mention must also go out to fellow Pure Sport team member Adam Cashmore, who I know was disappointed with his race, but still was good enough for third after having a baby girl 4 weeks ago and getting virtually zero sleep since (big congrats to Kelly by the way!). Finally a big shout out to my MTC mates for all the company and support in the lead-up and out on course, to the Pure Sport team for the ongoing support, to CBD cycles for continuing to help me out with all things 2 wheeled, and to the coaching staff at Fluid Movements for mapping out the plan.

Best wishes to all for the rest of the triathlon season!