The day started at 3am as I had to consume 100grams of carbs 3 hrs before event, that was 2 bowls of cereal, 2 bits of toast and vegemite and a banana. I then made up my concoction of fuel for the bike ride, 13 x power gels and 7 salt caps emptied into a drink bottle and topped up with water. Cup of tea. Shit. Cover body in sunscreen and crotch in Vaseline to prevent burning and chaffing, squeeze into my skintight race suit, grab wetsuit and bike pump and head down to the transition area about 500m from my hotel. Check bike over, pump up tyres, put bottle of fuel on bike and add some more salt caps to my run bag in case it gets really hot on the run ( which it did). Consume Power gel 1 hr before start, put on wetsuit, no opportunity for ablutions now, busting for piss 15mins before start, have to wait till get in the water. After pros have gone, 1500 people shuffle into the water, at waist depth piss, aaaahhh relief. Move to midfield, don’t want to get swum over and kicked but don’t want to be held up either.
We’re off, right goggle immediately fills with water, fuck, try to fix 3 or 4 times to no avail and decide to just put up with it. Water very choppy and not at all like the mill pond I was hoping for, seems to be a lot of slower swimmers than me and have to go out wide to get some free water. Starting to get some rhythm now and not concerned about drowning anymore, goggle shitting me but bearable, around end of jetty, decide to stay out wide as lot of people close to jetty, half way back starting to get pins and needles in my right hand, that’s never happened before must be wetsuit which I borrowed and had two practise swims in, open and close hand to get feeling back. Look up to find I am very wide, out with spectator boats, change tack and start making a beeline to the finish line. Sand, you beauty, legs a bit shaky and head in clouds, fellow competitor thanks me for the tow, I’m thinking I towed you the long way around mate, the Keech yells out “go oggy” as I’m trying to get my bearings still and top half of wetsuit off. Brother yells out “good swim Nic” Grab cycle bag and jog into transition tent, wetsuit off, this doesn’t look like my helmet… Fuck, grabbed the wrong bag, 1107 instead of 1007, volunteers fix my error whilst I put more sunscreen on. Ok, gear on and out we go to get bike, hear and see Keech again cheering, wave, aisle 10, aisle 10, yes here’s my bike.
Mount bike and clip shoes into pedals in a beautiful smooth motion, he lied, but we are away on the first of 3 sixty k laps. Easterly blowing quite freshly so we are into it on the way out, seems to be a lot of people passing me, get down on the aero bars and concentrate on my own pace, don’t want to run my race on the first lap. Grab some water at first aid station to wash my fuel down. The plan is to drink 1lt of water/hr of riding plus my bottle of fuel evenly over the whole ride. Try to get into a comfortable rhythm without getting too close to fellow riders. The rules are you have to maintain a distance of 12 m between bikes otherwise you are getting an unfair draft. There is a 5 min sin bin for breaching this rule if caught. You’ve got 30 secs to pass someone and then they must drop back 12 m. So with a lot of bikes on course you are constantly analysing whether to pass or hang back and possibly go slower than you want. Turn around after 35k and head back with wind behind aaaahh can sit up on bike and take stress off the back whilst still upping the pace. First lap done and happy with pace and how I’m feeling, wearing a Garmin GPS so know exactly how fast I’m travelling, trying to maintain 2 min k’s. Fat girl on bike in front of me?? WTF this isn’t going to happen, must be a good swimmer, go past, that’s better.
Tummy starting to feel bloated, need to piss and maybe shit, try to squeeze out a fart and almost follow through, must stop at next aid station. The two toilets being used, don’t want to wait too long and let fat chick past again, next aid station then, toilet free thank god, empty my bowels and take opportunity to put more vas on my crotch as starting to chaff, two other bikes pull up, sorry but you’ll have to wait I think. Getting warm now and my suit wasn’t that easy to get off and on. Back on bike and feel like a new man for about 10 mins, but isn’t long and riding the wind back in to start the last lap. See Mum,Dad, Brother and sons as coming in which gives me a lift. Back out into the wind for the last time, my back is starting to feel the pinch, didn’t do any training with aero bars and are paying for it now. Push harder into wind to maintain my pace thinking I’ll be able to cruise back with the wind and save something for the run. About 8 riders in front, just going a bit slower than me, make the decision to push past them all, don’t know if that was a good idea but I’ll have the wind at my back soon. Not to be, sea breeze has come in and now I have to push into the wind all the way back. Back is starting to kill, but still 20k to go, water is becoming a valuable commodity as the temp. ratchets up. Swig the last of my fuel mix at last aid station and grab two bottles of water for the last 15k. See family again as I head into the home straight and can’t wait to get off the bike and start running. Busting for piss, have one at transition, must be 50deg in this shitter, sweat pouring off me, grab the right bag this time head into tent. Volunteers ask if I want any ice in my shirt, you look hot they say, “yes please I’m burning up”. Shoes,visor and race number on and off we go into the heat again.
Starting off on the run my legs are feeling surprisingly good but my back is stiff as a board. After about a k my run number which is safety pinned to a bit of elastic around my waist lets go at one of the safety pins. It’s compulsory to wear the number and I’m hoping the other side holds on. The first aid station was only 2k up the road, so I stop and try and fix it, don’t want to be worrying about that falling off all day. Can’t get it done, feel I have 10 thumbs, a volunteer sees my struggles and pins it back on for me, don’t have any trouble with it again. Took a salt cap, some water and “degassed” cola, then poured water over me and resumed running. The hydration and nutrition plan on the run was to take two salt caps/lap and 1 to 2 cups of water and 1 cup of cola (for carbs) per aid station.
My goal before the race started was to run at least 20 k of the run and then see how I was. It soon became apparent to me that running through the aid stations and trying to take in valuable fluid and fuel on the go was not going to work too well for me. So my plan metamorphosed into walking through every aid station and running to the next one. After about 15k I was starting to feel crook in the guts from the cola and my back was getting worse with every step. Thoughts of not being able to finish started to enter my mind and that’s when I recalled a sign on the run course which stated “pain is inevitable, suffering is optional” I said to myself then and there, there is no way you are not going to finish this you weak cunt. I pulled into the next toilet to have a crap but only gas came out which gave me the confidence to fart my way around the rest of the course without shitting myself. At the end of each lap you got a different coloured wrist band so you could tell if competitors were on the same lap as you, nearing the finish I happened on two women who didn’t look athletic at all but they were in front of me and on the last lap as well. There was about 4 k to go when I passed one of them but I wasn’t making any headway on the other one, and I didn’t have much left in the tank, but my competitive spirit came out and when she walked through the last aid station I kept running. It was about 2k to the finish and I thought I can rest when I’m dead, I didn’t look back until I entered the finish chute and she was no where to be seen, a small victory was had. They say you should enjoy and take it all in when running to the line, but I had only one thought, to cross that line as soon as possible. I’m happy to say I got to the chairs in the recovery area under my own steam and didn’t need any medical attention.