I have the results online at
svana.org. (also race reports from
This year Bruce had agreed to do all three runs again with me so that was cool as he was brilliant last year. Alan Lloyd said he was more interested in doing some non swim legs or using the day for non triple tri stuff in preparation for other events so I started looking for a swimmer. Ben Crabb and Sam Reinhardt suggested Shanyn Sparreboom who works with them at treasury and does some Bilbys training sessions from time to time. Ben was successful in convincing Shanyn to join my team for the event and we were set to do the triple tri in the mixed three person category.
The triple triathlon is always a fun day out, I expected this year to be no different, though when I mentioned who was on my team to various and sundry people the reaction was often, Shanyn is an amazing swimmer you should have a really fast team. I began to wonder if I was fast enough to keep up with my two team mates. Oh well what does it matter we were doing the event to have some fun. Last year I chose the team name "Not So Soft" from the Ani Difranco song and album of the same name, this year due to the team changing a name change was due also, this time around I chose the Ani song "32 Flavours". Not So Soft seemed to suit the event, and I decided 32 Flavours also suited due to the variety of people, disciplines and areas in Canberra the race covered.
The team, consisting of Bruce Luckham doing three runs, Shanyn Sparreboom doing three swims and Steven Hanley doing three mtb legs met at registration on Saturday afternoon to go over the game plan. Basically we sat around over coffee and talked about how much fun the race is, my sister Jane had agreed to support the team on the day so she was there to meet the team also, Jane sat there shaking her head in wonder at how crazy we all are. Sunday morning and I hopped on my bike at 5:35am to ride over to Belconnen and see Shanyn start the swim. I arrive as the 3 person team swimmers are standing on the beach about to start. I yelled "Have Fun!" to Shanyn and stepped back to cheer them on. Once the swimmers were on their way I made my way over to the swim finish and chatted with the others waiting there. Graeme Allbon was first onto the bike, followed by Adrian Sheppard and then David Osmond, Shanyn was right behind Davo's swimmer so I was 4th on the bike this definitely was a fast start. After this I kept Davo in sight for a while, even catching him and cheering him on at the gutter we rode up from bitumen to dirt above Bruce (he was unable to ride up it). I subsequently kept Davo pretty much in sight until push bike hill, at the base of this he was already 50 metres or so up the first straight steep section, at this point I knew he would get away.
I settled in to pushing my bike up the first steep section then hopped back on to ride most of the rest of the way up to the bitumen. On the way up the bitumen Davo was on his way down so I had already lost about 4 minutes on him. I saw a few other solos here such as Alina and Jeremy. I was climbing at about 10 KM an hour on the two steeper sections, this is slower than my 12 or 13 KMH on the road bike when doing repeats of black mountain, but I was not surprised, push bike hill takes it out of you. I decided to run the 1.9" Maxxis Larson TT tyres for this event, very thin and thus fast on hard pack and bitumen, however somewhat sketchy on corners and rough terrain off road. On the descent of black mountain I was unable to ride as fast as I normally do down the rocky terrain so the tyres were indeed slower, I was at this point still not sure if the tyres would be a net gain or loss throughout the day. I was most surprised to hear someone approach from behind and need to overtake during the rocky technical descent. I don't like to brag but I am a fairly good mtb rider, it was pretty surprising that someone would catch me on a technical descent in the triple tri when I was near the front of the field.
As we turned left onto the fire road the guy came past me, I did not recognise him so hoped he was the first 9 person team rider through, I later found out he was from the three person mixed team that beat us. Above CSIRO I passed Alina and cheered her on hoping she would make it through the day as the only female solo entrant. I passed a few other solos and then started the climb toward the saddle between black and little black. Gary Scheld passed me on this climb and cheered me on, I should not feel bad about him passing me, the lead team of 9 rider, he did the fastest leg 1 bike split of the day and his team won over all in 8h14m (the first time in around 6 years a team of 9 has beaten a team of 3 in the over all category, mostly I imagine because the best athletes usually want to do more than only one leg in the event)
Around little black, down to Belconnen drive, up onto the single track around Bruce ridge, alas shortened due to the GDE crap, across to O'Connor ridge, at the gate onto Dryandra st Julie was there cheering us on and helped me with my bike over the gate. Down and across Ginnenderra drive, up onto Lyneham ridge, fortunately the conditions were almost perfect this year so rather than trying to peddle through deep clay here we could cruise along at a good pace through to the bike path section. At this point I realised I was probably on target for a reasonable time, it looked like I would get in to transition just after 8am. Our prediction was that I would do 1h45m for this leg, with Shanyn tagging me at 6:21am that meant on target would have us transitioning at ~ 8:06 looking at my time I was 3 or 4 minutes ahead of that. Once I had crossed the federal highway I settled in to a higher pace to maintain this target and big ringed it all the way through on up to Antill st for the transition, I got there at 8:03am according to my watch, pleased with the performance, and surprising Bruce who had not been quite ready (this was ~ 12 minutes faster than last year, the mud last year really slowed me down a lot).
Shanyn arrived a few minutes after transition, we waited around for a bit for Ben to transition to Pete for the long run and to see Rachel hand over to Judi for Julie's team. Ben had apparently asked Julie at the gate where she helped me, Where's Steve, hoping he could catch me as Aaron had last year, Julie just shook her head and said he had no chance. Unless I had mechanicals this year Julie was probably right, I started the bike 4 minutes ahead of Ben and did the leg 2 minutes faster, Richard Bontjer was not so lucky, ahead of Ben on the way up black mountain he suffered broken spokes and a small OTB due to locked back wheel when they broke and lost 5 or more minutes due to that. At this point Shanyn had until 9:30am at the latest to be at the next transition waiting for Bruce, fearing the difficulty involved in getting into a wet wetsuit and wanting to ensure no problems with the transition we all headed off, Shanyn to the next transition and I to go home, eat some breakfast and pack a backpack of stuff for Jane to carry around, then head over to the run to swim transition.
Bruce came in about 9:40am which is when we expected him and Shanyn headed off, everyone was having fun, the weather was perfect, looked like it was going to be a good day. I headed on over to the next transition at the Ferry Terminal, when I got there I learned the leading three teams had already transitioned, obviously they were well out in front, Stuart and Trevor finished transition and got underway a bit before Shanyn finished the swim, so I had them to chase down during the leg, Shanyn finished the swim with a great time of 44 minutes and I settled into the bike track section over to the cork oaks. The route this year went up Dairy Farmers a slightly more arduous way than previous years, at about this point I saw Trevor in front of me, I did not try to catch him quickly as that was bound to wear me out. I eventually caught up to him after the pipeline trail and Coppins crossing. Just before Coppins crossing Richard Palmer and Kate Roper were stopped at the gate cheering us on and offering spare tubes or similar if I needed them. Thanks guys, fortunately I had no mechanicals at that point, and in the end lasted all day with no mechanicals.
Before the race Bruce said his big aim in the race was to make sure we beat Trevor Fairhurst, ignoring the fact the Trevor was solo, Bruce said he didn't care what we did so long as we beat Trevor. As I passed Trevor on the climb up to Bluetts I told him of this, he initially said Bruce who? It took me some explaining for him to remember Bruce from Bilbys run sessions, probably an example of how sore and focused on the race Trevor was at this point more than anything else. Once I passed Trevor and was on my way up the steep part of Bluetts, I saw another rider ahead of me, wearing a Bilbys jersey I guessed this was Stuey, I was still a fair way back from him so it would be a while before I caught him. I wondered at the time if it would be fair to catch him and then tell anyone else I had passed Stuart Bardsley on a bike. Considering it was likely the only time in my life that would happen. I never did get past Stu on the leg, I decided to back off the speed a bit on the climb up Stromlo to avoid cramps, Stu after the race told me he had looked over his shoulder a few times on this leg saw me coming, as I was wearing a dark jersey he thought I was Trevor and thus he put a bit more pace on to stay ahead.
Last year on this leg due to the mud and severe cramps I was a lot slower than expected and put in a time of 2h34m, this year I was hoping for around 2 hours, but to be conservative I had predicted 2h15m when our team made our time predictions. By the time I got onto Cooleman ridge I realised I was on track for under 2 hours, I wondered at the time if I should try getting my mobile phone out of my pocket to warn my team I was a lot earlier than expected when I was about 10 minutes away. I decided not to, all should be cool I though. When I got to transition Bruce was pretty much ready so we did not lose time here, Jane was not ready, sitting up on the bank waiting she thought she would still have 5 or so minutes before the earliest I would arrive, when, 1h55m after seeing me last, Jane saw a rider that looked kind of purple coming down the bike path it was a bit of a surprise.
Now with Bruce away we had around 55 minutes before the next transition, we parked at Tuggeranong park at the exact same time as Shanyn and warned her we were ahead of expectations and that he was likely to have about 15 minutes to prepare at this point. I refilled all my water bottles and camel back with sports drink and water and waited for Bruce. Steve Bradford who was running for Richard and Alan's team came in pretty quickly, ahead of Bruce, maybe it is the bright orange shoes that help him run fast, I notice Julie Quinn has bright orange shoes also, and Dave Baldwin has bright blue shoes and did a 74 minute final run on the red hill run leg later in the day. Alan got in the water and then Bruce ran in and tagged Shanyn, Bruce was happy to have done the same time as last year as the run was about 1.2 KM longer than last year. I now had less than 15 minutes to get over to the next transition and be ready to go.
Shanyn appeared right behind Alan Vogt at the end of the swim in another blinding time of 13 minutes. Having had not time to stretch or anything I hopped on the bike and used the 6 KM of bike path at the start of this leg to settle into the bike again and warm up. Taking it slowly I guessed Richard would now have about 3 minutes on me by the time I got to the dirt up onto Farrar ridge, so I was surprised to catch and pass him on the rocky up hill here, Richard said he had hit a flat spot and just couldn't find energy to get a move on. At the bottom of the descent of Wanniassa trig Kate Roper and Andrew Thomas were there cheering us on which was good, I guess they expected Richard Palmer through pretty soon. On the fire roads toward Isaacs ridge Richard Bontjer caught up and passed me once more, obviously rested enough to go fast again after the short descent off Wanniassa trig. I grabbed a gel from the course marshals and once onto the climb up Isaacs was glad to have it for a bit of a kick to try to get up the goat track faster. Alas it did not help a lot and Richard got away from me well and truly on the goat track climb, I was passed by two teams on this walk, the second of whom was Richard Palmer, who had indeed been close.
Now out of the top over all 10 with those two teams having passed us I got to the top of the climb and settled in to get the leg over with as fast as I could. Unlike previous years when once at the top of Sheaffe trig the rest of the ride is downhill to the tunnels under Hindmarsh drive, due to the construction of East Omalley the end of the leg has been changed and there is some semi bush bashing navigation to get to the tunnels, not all flat, probably adding a few minutes to the leg time. Anyway I tucked in and rode along the fire roads towards the top of Omalley at a good place, dropped down and managed not to get too lost, rode through the tunnels and tagged Bruce for the final leg of the race.
I waited around to see Julie and Ben finish the leg handing over to Judi and Aaron respectively. Ben was in a bit of pain suffering from some cramps on the leg, probably glad to be finished as was I. Jane and I drove over to the finish to see Bruce run in. The predicted time was 1h5m which would bring him in at about 4pm, Shanyn was waiting when we got there, we were too far back to have any hope of catching the first placed mixed team, and Bruce was unlikely to be passed by the third placed team so when Bruce was a few minutes later than expected we did not worry. At 4:11pm Bruce ran in to finish our triple tri in 10h11m, over an hour faster than last year all up.
This year we placed 2nd in the mixed three category and 11th in the over all classification. Shanyn, Bruce and I all had fun and were most pleased with our performance. Shanyn set the fastest female swim times all day, and was 6th fastest overall on two of the swims, and 12th overall in the 2nd swim. Bruce ran pretty good leg times and kept the team up ahead. My first two legs were both good, my third leg could have been better but we did not lose out too badly with it. Anyway as is the norm I am already looking forward to the event next year.
Other good performances on the day were Stuart, Trevor and Dave taking out the top three in solo men for the Bilbys, Julie, Rachel and Judi smashing the course record for womens three person teams by over an hour finishing in 10h26m and on the whole the Bilbys once again having a hoard of competitors out there on the course.
Big thankyous to the organisers, Prachar and his Sri Chinmoy Marathon team put on an incredible event year after year in the triple tri. Also thanks to whoever it was that arranged the perfect weather and conditions all day <g>. Oh and thanks to my team mates Shanyn and Bruce with whom I simply had to try and keep up all day.