Monday, March 21, 2011

AVIVA Singapore 70.3


At transition before the race

This is my usual blog on training and is doubling as my race report for the Singapore 70.3. I had decided to do the race as part of my preparation for Lanzarote given the date of the Spore 70.3 and the fact that I would not be racing the Busselton Half  this year. Congratulations to all the North Coasters who raced the Spore 70.3 (AL, Phil and Richard), Kevin Siah from Perth for an awesome finish and swim time despite the conditions , Enrico for the strong run finish ( will catch up in Lanza and your relaxed pace is my fast) .

It was a whirlwind 5 days as I finished off my training week , had a full work schedule and then flew to Singapore on Friday afternoon.

On Friday morning I did a swim session although it was suppose to be a rest day. It was a good session of 2.8km with a warm up of 700m and some 300 m of drills and then 1400m of 4x 100s at various paces which we did 3.5 sets of.

Had breakfast with some of the guys and then it was off to Singapore after spending the morning at the office. It was a little stressful getting my gear packed and ready and worrying about the bike getting there is one piece. The bike case arrived but one of the wheels was broken . so much for my homemade bike box but the bike was OK

I was staying at my wife's aunts place and managed to catch a taxi there arriving late in the evening. Got the bike set up and the next morning I did a 30 minute ride with some efforts and then a short 12 minute run. Felt comfortable and rested. The rest of the day was spent at Suntec Convention centre for the race briefing (remind me why do I need to attend these) All race directors say the same thing. The usual threats about drafting and the only new information was the WTC rules on wearing a speedsuit. Not relevant to me as I was racing in my new North Coast outfit.

I got my race pack. Not much by way of goodies this time round. The expo was rather small and the race briefing for the latecomers were held in a small room and there were lots of people who had arrived for the race the day before.I missed the Carbo dinner on Friday  as well. which would have been a good time to catch up with friends I knew who would be racing.

I didn't manage to see anyone I knew. Got back to the house to retrieve the bike and got a lift to East Coast to hand in the bike in transition. There was a long queue to get the timing chip . It was wet and there had been a thunderstorm. Got the chip and headed to the nearest taxi stand and chatted with an American living in Singapore doing his first Half. Did try and convince him to give the full Ironman distance a go. But the enjoyment out of the race is directly proportional to the effort put into training.

Had a quiet evening before the race and had to get up at 5am to catch a taxi to transition which was at East Coast Park in Singapore near the airport.Got to T1 at about 6.30am and as expected there was lots of activity.The sky was clear so it looked like we were in for a dry and hot day.

It had been raining regularly in the afternoons so there was the threat of rain during the course of the day. I got my gear set up and managed to borrow a bicycle pump . I had used my canisters to inflate my wheels on Saturday and they were not fully inflated. I was relying on my own nutrition which was carbo shotz and Gatorade.The course nutrition was 100plus and Pepsi  on the run.

As the race unfolded there were mistakes I made that did cost me time. Rookie mistakes but I was a little cavalier about this race. I had come off a previous hard Saturdays ride and the training did not taper till Thursday  ( i had done just under 40 km for the week and with Sundays run it was over 60kms ) although I skipped the ride session and did a run at lunchtime in the Perth heat but the legs were pretty good and I felt quite comfortable.

Mistake one in preparation I did not test everything thoroughly and whilst I had worn my new tri shorts for the bike ride on Saturday I had not used the top. My aero bottle was another issue and my bike computer magnet.It just shows that something can and does go wrong on race day.

I was ready an hour before the race and got my street gear and bag to the main tent early.It had my race number on but I got handed a ticket to collect the bag after the race with a totally new number. The suggestion was to staple it to my race number .Well  my race number was attached to my race belt in T1 . I slipped it into my back pocket of my top .It was last seen floating away in the South China Sea.

I sat on the beach waiting for the final race briefing but there was none. I spotted Kate Bevilaqua and went up to chat to her .She wasn't racing but it was an opportunity to speak to her and confirm she was definitely racing Lanzarote. She was more than happy to give me tips on the course in Lanzarote. Australia had the largest contingent in Singapore followed by the Brits and then the Japanese . There was a fundraiser for the quake in Japan and 2 of the TBB pros Hiro and Megumi were raising funds for the Japanese Red Cross.

The race started at 8am and my age group was in the 4th wave after the women and the 25-29 and 50+ . Al  Nichols and Mark Batten were racing and I spoke briefly to Al at T1. I also ran into Phil Prosser at Transition.

The start was a beach start and it was a 2 lap course with a run on the beach to the next lap. The first was inside a marked area and the second lap was on the outer area of the marked area. It was weird. There were a 170 guys in my age group and despite the wave starts , there were groups catching up and swimming over others. Visibilty  in the water was poor and I could hardly see in front of me. From the start I was pushed and jostled.The washing machine effect .  I assumed it would pass pretty quick. But this was the long cycle. It did not relent till I got onto the beach . I kept getting hit and trying to find a clear space with just no success. I ended up on the guide ropes a couple of times and boxed in as well. the swum over by the lead swimmers from the group behind as well. In the second lap I got hit right in the left goggle and it  left me drinking seawater and gagging. This was a regular feature of my swim.I kept getting squeezed .

As I got out of the water after the first lap I had a look at my garmin and saw it had taken me 28 minutes to do one lap. My heart sunk . This was going to be my worse ever swim.I got into transition at 57 minutes.

I later learnt everyone had a rather slow time but this was the worse ever . The second mistake was I should have been better prepared for the pummeling I got and kept more focussed . It also pays to practise in less than conducive conditions . I am so used to wetsuits and clear Cottesloe waters. Should be swimming more in the Swan River.

I put the swim behind and just focused on getting on the bike as quickly as possible. It was a  100 meter run to T1 I got my socks and shoes , helmet and race belt on and I was off.

As I mounted the bike and started off I kept hearing a rattling sound .I just could not figure what was going on. Another competior 2km after the start told me it was my computer magnet. I had to stop and spend 3-4 minutes trying to get the thing off. I managed to adjust it but then the computer wasn't working.I lost a few minutes and I now did not have any way of knowing how fast or slow I was going. I had my garmin but it was configured for a multisoport event and I only had my bike distance and time. This was becoming a race of issues.

The start of the bike course was on a narrow road and it was pretty crowded. I tried to pass as many cyclist as I could but it was hard. I managed to get into a rhythm and once on the main road it was nice and wide .At the turn around , I had another technical issue.My aero bottle was not fasten to the holder. The strap at the front holding it had come undone. I again stopped and spent another 3-4 minutes trying to strap it back. I just didn't need this. I thought I succeded but at the end of lap one it came undone. I spent the next 60km in aero holding my aerobottle.This was especially hard when manoeuvring my bike round corners and bends and the speed strips . If anything positive came from this I just dealt with the issue and didn't worry about the time.

The bike course was in my opinion crowded and there was definite drafting . On several occasions I got stuck in groups especially in the narrow parts of the course. There was also 2 no passing sections and I got caught behind slower riders. The fun bits were the coastal road which was fourlanes wide and I could really push. The highlights were passing the guys on disc wheeels and riding behind Rachael Paxton as she told everyone to stay left . I managed to overtake groups on a few occasions as well but they were short live before I just got passed and had to drop back . Despite the issues on the course, it was a flat and largely windless course. I did a 2.31 and  it was a PB. I came off the bike feeling pretty good.

My transition time was 3.35 for T1 and 1.35 for T2 . I managed to run to my slot and get my shoes on and run out of transition in probably the quickest time I have done in a Half yet.

I got on the course feeling good and for the first km ran at 5 minute pace which was fast for me.I was going pretty well for the first 4kms when I started to get cramping in the gut. Not sure what it was . I also lost my salt tablets and one gel.They all fell out of the back pockets on my tri Top . I never usually use new gear in a race but thought it would be fine.It never occurred that such a slight change would have consequences. Well sort off. I only had one gel and  I started drinking the 100plus on the course and it may not have agreed with me.Or it could just be a combination of factors. I managed to get through the first ten kms but my pace slowed drastically and I then took my only gel and that really helped .I also got a can of Pepsi at one of the aid stations and felt a lot better which improved my run pace heaps. Finished the last 10kms alot stronger. The run course was amazing.There were lots of people and bicycles and skaters and every man and his dog was out on the course. There were people having picnics all along the beach front and skiing on the lagoon.All this took my mind off the race. I was really dying in the first lap with my cramps so that helped. I saw Al Nichiols on the run course and Suzie (Al's wife) was cheering the North Coasters along.

I finally got to the end and made a sprint for the finish line only to drop my sunglasses and puffer .Had to turn around and pick them up and then continue the sprint to the finish line . I tried to break the 5.30 mark but I finished in 5.33.

Despite the swim I was pleased with the effort . It was a big week and the legs held up well . Did not have any injuries or and major dramas. Caught up with Richard Kelso-Marsh at the competitors tent . There was a spread of food but after 5 hours I wasn't terribly hungry. The skies then opened up and all my gear in transition got wet.

I did not stay for the prize presentation as I was keen to get back and get my gear sorted out and packed away. I managed to do that before 6pm . It was home the next morning . Don't recommend the rush to race but the Spore 70.3 is an enjoyable race . It was a very valuable race and I learnt lots. Mistakes I have made and should not repeat .

I wish part of the swim was on land as shown in the garmin map?

Iam not sure why the moving average is so far off but the distance is not accurate as I did not press the cycle leg on the garmin till I was about 2km into the race.

 the run leg