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Wed, 23 Mar 2011
I rocked up to compete in the Jindabyne Multisport Classic as a solo athlete for the fourth year in a row. This is probably my favourite race on the calendar, a gorgeous area to race through, really fun legs and a good attitude out on the course from everyone there.
In the lead up this year I have been unable to do much training from January 10 until the race day, with an injury and illness keeping me away from exercising much for 3 months I was definitely a bit underdone for the race.
All along I had ben hoping there would be a really strong solo field again, with the likes of Alex, David, Julie, Randall, Gary Rolfe, Aaron, Lee, Gary Rake, Ben Rattray all competing as solos. However for various reasons the only solos I knew who were competing ended up being Aaron, Lee and myself.
At the start line I was not looking forward to the swims, most years I have had a few months of doing at least 2 or 3 swims a week, this time I had swum twice since January 3rd and maybe 8 times since this race in March the previous year. I defintiely have to stay in the pool and put some serious time in to my swimming if I ever want to do this event really well.
1 Solo Female and 5 solo Men were at the start line, all of us obviously hoping to complete the day and have fun. Race start was 6:45am so we got going and I gave everyone entertainment or a cringe when I immediately went off in the wrong direction sighting on the wrong saddle in the distance while everyone else swam toward the first bouy. This was definitely a theme for me, going all over the place in the swims, in the end I lost 10 minutes or more to Aaron each time we did a swim through the day.
The first kayak following the swim is always a good leg to get settled in to the day and get used to the continuous moverment all day. This year my friend Kerrie (ENM as Gramps calls her, I think Awesome Nurse Muir is more accurate) had once again sepped up to the role of support crew for me, thanks to her for being an absolutely awesome support crew again this year, organised and keeping me moving well all day. She had me through al the transitions smoothly and encouraged me to keep going well.
Lee was unlucky enough to fall out of his kayak in this leg and I passed him there, the SES boats were both in the final 800 metres of the kayak so had not seen him fall out, I yelled at one of them to go have a look, in the end Lee said a fisherman helped him get to shore to empty the boat before continuing on. On to the run, which has less climbing and stays closer to the lake than the old first run I was soon passed by Sal and a few other fast runners on teams (I was already well behind the really fast teams due to my pathetic swimming)
The first run leg is still quite technical and a lot of fun, and it leads in to what in my opinion is the best leg of the day, the first mtb leg is rearkably technical and suits me down to a tee, if only it were 30 km long rather than 8km. There had been a lot of track work done on the trails here and the return leg of this ride toward transition had been improved a lot, easier and shorter but a heck of a lot of fun. I saw Aaron at the shared section of track so he already had a 15 minute lead on me here, due to my complete lack of preparation I expected this theme to continue for the rest of the day, he was racing well for a first time soloist here.
On into the second swim, the worst leg of the day (2.5km of swimming) I labored through that getting passed by a whole lot more teams and caught again by Sharon the solo female, however into the paddle I was able to move fairly fast again. Through the paddle I headed out on the second mtb leg, hoping to get some food down, a problem with my water meant I could not get much down for the leg however still felt pretty good on the whole. I saw Aaron again now with around a 23 minute lead on me.
Through the day I was fairly close to the teams Desciples of Ming the Merciless and Followers of Ming the Merciless, some of the children of the team members are those I coach mtb skills every week and they were cheering me through every transition all day which was awesome support from them and lifted my spirits. I got on to the long run feeling alright, stopped for my normal toilet visit at the thredbo river picnic ground to ligten my load for the climb and headed on up the hill.
During the climb two women from teams caught me up and Lee also managed to catch up, I picked my pace up a bit to stay near them, Lee however had not bought any water or food on this leg and suffered mightily for it, so ended up dropping off the pace ocne we hit the waterfall at the top. I thanked the women for their company as I had to stop to stretch out cramps near the end of the leg and then ran in toward the transition for the long bike leg.
Most years this leg is one of the most spectacular parts of the race, up into alpine grass lands near the Gungarlin river, however due to the river being too full and boggy terrain near it they had to change the leg to a ride up the road from Sawpit to Charlotte Pass before a car shuttle down to the lake again at Creel bay. This changed the dynamic of the race a lot, I appreciated the rest in the car and sitting at the swim start for an hour, however I missed the lovely long mtb leg. I was able to eat some solid food again and watched Aaron do his swim leg before I started. Some friends lined up someone to kayak next to me for this swim to keep me going straight, thanks to Tara and Michael for all of that.
The last few years the final kayak has been very windy, almost a case of surfing or crossing large waves for much of the 9.5km paddle. I borrowed Mark's surf ski for this leg rather than my Time Bandit, it was still windy up near Charlotte Pass so I assumed it would be windy ont he lake. As it turns out this is the calmest I have seen the water in years at this time of day, however better safe than sorry, I completed this leg in around an hour and only had the 5.5km run to finish off the day. I got moving and immediately felt my core muscles in pain with the jarring of running. Amazingly my legs felt fine but I could not pick up the pace due to the pain from the final paddle and swim in my core muscles.
Still I had at least 30 minutes on Lee in third and knew Aaron would already be finished so I settled in and tried to finish as fast as I could without too much jarring. Just as I neared the finish, Zoe, Declan and all the other kids that had been cheering me on saw me and rode and ran in next to me to the finish which was another awesome show of support from them. Finished in just under 12 hours, or just under 11 if you take off the hour enforced stop before the final swim.
Thanks to Kerrie for being awesome and supporting me, thanks to everyone who helped Kerrie out through the day. Thanks to Aaron and Lee for the race and thanks to Prachar and the rest of the Sri Chinmoy race team for this event, such a lovely course and such a fun day out. Easier and prettier than triple tri and less swimming, all good things.
Good to see a strong performance from Sharon the solo woman coming in around 15 minutes behind Lee too.
You should all put this race on your calendar nex year, it will be the weekend before the 6 foot track marathon and probably not clash with Huskisson or the Willo MTB race either. Fun to be had up in Jindabyne in early march 2012.