>I'm a wimp.
:-) Well I was stupid and went to Torquay. I couldn't help myself, first
ultra distance in this state, and it looked so much fun. No I didn't
compete, but I did have several friends involved (with an 8 in 9 finish
rate no less !) (The first time I had ever seen one, and I was pretty
fired along by watching them go...)
>I had planned to go to Torquay (in Victoria, Australia) to watch and support
>some friends competing in the inaugural Ultra Triathlon on the 10th of
>April '94. This was an Ironman distance event (3.8km/180km/42.2km) along the
>picturesque western coast in Victoria. The run turnaround was at Bells Beach,
>the legendary Easter Surf Carnival venue.
Well all Paul says is true, so see the previous post for a critique on
Melbourne (and surrounds) "lovely" weather....
Well I was one of those silly hard working volunteers... down at the
Bells beach turn around, giving the surfers an alternative target to hit
(instead of the runners).
The course comprised of an out and back swim course, a three lap 60km
cycle loop along the particularly picturesque ocean roads (but as
anyone will tell you, isn't that what race promoters always say :-) )
and a two lap run course.
From the spectators perspective, the looped course was fantastic, with the
ability to cheer the competitors on multiple times through the various
stages and from speaking to competitors after the race (and during too
:-)) they loved the opportunity to be encouraged by the spectators
multiple times in addition to seeing (and hearing) their fellow
competitors many times through the course.
Well (from a very poor memory) there were about 80 individuals and
35 teams, a poor(ish) turnout, but given the a) conditions, b) fact
that this was the first time the event had ever run, we can excuse
this.. (and promptly did so)
The Swim course was, err, confusing to say the least, and a number of
competitors ended up off course, with many a potential protest
forming... (I dont remember the times, sorry, that will be a feature of
this report, me not remembering the times or people) but the first group
of pros were out in the low 40's, a large clump were out around the
60-70m mark (plenty of swim drafting being practised there) and well
many others were out at many other times... :-}
Well the cycle leg was quickly underway and the main straight
(back into the finish/transition zones) had a *** little head wind.
At any rate there was a clear leader through the cycle course (and I
really wish I could remember his name) who was leading Robin Tullett
(the eventual winner) by about 16-17m.
About this time I headed down to my post so I didn't get to see the
drama of the day as (whatever-his-name) pulled out at the start of the
run and Robin became the clear leader of the day.
Well down at the 1/4, 3/4 run point (the 10km turn around at Bells
Beach, and yes everyone, it is a great place to surf) The surf was
running and the beach was pretty busy, (with surfers and sightseers
as well as spectators (and aid station people, and marshalls, and so
(Personally I think putting the turn around there at one of th busiest
tourist spots around the place was not a clever move, but what the heck.)
Well the teams had taken a clear lead over the individuals by this
stage, and it was after what seemed like half of the teams were through
before the first individual was sighted.
There was plenty of cheering on and encouragement from the spectators,
marshalls, aid station people and so on. As well as words of
encouragement from various surfers, most of whom considered the Tri'ers
to be mad (although looking at the swell that day, I have some doubts
about the surfers' state of mind.)
The comment of the race came from Robin Tullett when he passed me and
said "I can't belive I am leading this thing", by around 15m he made it
seem to be easy. (hah !)
Well the race was all over before I got back to the finish line
(relieved of doing point duty, and cheer leadering and explaining the
order of a triathlon to the incidental spectators :-) ) I watched the
first women over the line (yep, you guessed it can't remember her name
either). Although I do remember Rebecca Goodwin was third over the
line, and that was even after making a slight mistake and getting lost
(on the second lap of the run course no less !), won an award for being
the youngest compitetor and was part ofthe Australian team (group?) at
Hawaii last year.
At any rate sometime about here the weather decided to get *** and as
more than three quarters of the field were still out, the wet weather
gear came out in force.
(Oh, another advantage of the looped course, you could find a dry spot,
and still be able to see your favorite competitors for one or more laps
of the course)
Well the weather got worse, and still more brave and hardy soles made it
to the finish, then it started to get dark (okay I skipped a few hours,
but I know you can fill them in) and by now each of the competitors had
their own support vehicle to ensure they didn't get lost, blown away, or
The last competitors were home between 15 and 16 hours (there was no
"sweep them off the road" cut off time, although the race referee and
medical staff took a bit to satisfy that each competitor should go on.)
So, now after 9pm at night and the last competitors were finally getting
Well as Paul mentioned, unusual casualties of the day included the first
aid tent (almost blown to Antarctica) and in addition to (?most?)
competitors, several spectators suffering from hypothermia (and seeming
worse off than the loved ones, they had come along to cheer.)
All in all a pretty inspiring event, and IMHO, if you can't join 'em
then come and help, thats fun too.
(maybe I'll do it in '96 how about it Paul ?)
I am just going to fill in the boxes of the women I know about...
>The Forster Ironman Triathlon took place yesterday (17th April). Forster is
> Mens: 1 Pauli Kiuru (Fin) 8:21:13 Who else??
> 2 Bruce Thomas (Oz) 8:29:38
> 3 P. Kropko (Hungary) 8:34:50
> 1 S Ryan (NZ) 9:24:17
2 L McAlister (Can) 9:29:30
3 P Johnson (US) 9:36:??
>I think 2nd & third in the womens were from Canada & the US, I'm sorry I can't
>remember, all the paper has is the above. Kiuru's time was about 15 mins
>slower than the fastest for the Forster course, which was also set by him.
>As for me - I piked out of doing the Portarlington tri yesterday. my excuse is
>that I'm too busy. It turned out to be quite a lovely day. Trust me to miss
>out on it. Now it's preparation for the duathlon season, the first event being
>on the 8th of May. Six to go until the World's in Tassie. Hmm... dream on ..
Now, I wouldn't call Paul a slack bum, 'cause he is a busy lad, but he
did miss a beautiful day (25degC top) with a wonderfully blustery wind
and a choppy sea.
Now, I did compete (err, make that complete) at Portarlington.
A lovely little 800m/26km/8km jaunt. It is regularly voted as the most
popular race of the season (it is also the traditional last race of the
season, a coincidence ? You be the judge.)
Well I did it in under two hours (forgot to a) look at the clock, b)
look at my watch, c) ask someone) which for me, was pretty marvelous.
(it was my longest race, well this is my first season after all, and
with seven races down, I am seriously ***ed :-) )
Well the day started off for the organizers, like all days should (?)
Hell and confusion, it turned out the local surf club hired to support
the event, had not turned up. Bit of a problem, as the buoys were not
set out, and there was no in water support crew, Uhoh.
Well after a half hour delay, still no surf club, but the Coast Guard
had turned up, and offered assistance. (well this was going to be an
Then race briefing, because of a lack of surfers, the race directors
decided it would be a good idea to tell everyone of the new course (it
was the way they kept calling for volunteers from the audience with formal
life saving training that really put some off ;-) ...)
Okay, well the course is typically a box, around a pier/breakwater, well
without any markers in the water, we were told, swim close to the pier
and just follow the line around the pier until the end of the break
water then swim for the beach. This had the (undesirable for me, I'm a
fairly strong swimmer, and this is the point in the race I get to feel
good... :) ) effect of shortening the course by about 250m
Only one slight problem, the seas were pretty heavy (.5-1m (1.5-3")) and
the possibility of being washed into the pier was quite real.
At any rate, after what seemed like the longest wade/dolphin in history
(about 150-200m worth) I swam about twenty metres wide, and still
managed to get ahead of my pack (well in the top 20 in my pack, dont
About this time I got got by a trap for young players, I typically wear
ear plugs and lost one in the surfey conditions. As a result I was pretty
punch drunk by the time I got out of the water (ear=balance centre for
those with little physiology) and was a touch dizzy, anyhow made it to
the bike rack and figured I was away....
After what seemed like an eternity I got shoes on, (glasses too),
helmet, and un-racked and ran for the ride zone. Out from the transition
area is a !cute! little hill that seems to be about one in two... so
plenty of (unprepared) people dropping gears and powering up the hill.
Of course now we could appreciate the lovely scenic views of the beach
and surrounding district (what is it with Race promoters, were they all
reject Real Estate agents ?) Actually the cycle was a blast, the first
two thirds wind along flat beach roads making for some fast efforts for
those that forget about the last third (evil cackle) of the cycle
course. Then with the last
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