Nepean Triathlon

Feeling relatively fresh still as the ITU season drew to a close, I decided to continue on past the World Champs and finish up the season with a couple of non-drafting races, namely Nepean Triathlon and Noosa Triathlon.

The idea of having a dig at some non-drafting racing has appealed to me for a while, especially given my strength on the bike but the last couple of years I have been maxed out with a full ITU race calendar.

It’s been 3 years since I’ve done any non-drafting racing, so as soon as I got back from overseas it was time for a crash-course in TTing, and of course, thanks to My Bike Shop, new bike day!!!

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My lovely new Trek Speed Concept

I really enjoyed mixing things up with a different style of training, and was really looking forward seeing how I matched up against the other girls in a different style of racing.

Sadly, Nepean had a rather depleted field this year, but still included two of my main competitors for Noosa the following weekend – Ash Gentle and Nat Van Coevordan.

I stayed with Nat throughout the 1km swim, with Ash exiting the water 6 seconds adrift. Wanting to get a gap on the bike as early as possible, I pushed T1, and was first out onto the bike. It was hard to know how far the other girls were behind, and whether I was putting any time into them or not, so I just concentrated on trying to stay as aero on my bike as possible, and push the watts I knew I could hold from training.

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Head down, bum up – getting aero! © JGRimages

The course had changed significantly from when I last raced Nepean in 2014, this time comprising 2 laps of 15km – around the regatta centre, out onto Old Castlereagh road for 2km to an industrial area where we completed a technical section full of turns before returning to the regatta centre. Having had limited time to acquaint myself with my new bike (a very different setup and feel to my usual road bike), I went into Nepean reassuring myself that it would be fine as the bike course was a very straightforward out and back course. I found out about the course change the day before the race so had a run over the technical section several times so I at least knew all the corners. I was pleasantly surprised that I handled them well despite my lack of experience on the bike come race day.

One advantage of this section though was that I got a visual of where the other girls were. We were about 10km in when I got the first visual – Ash had caught Nat and was about 10 seconds behind me, with Nat in tow. At the end of the first lap the gap was about the same but the next time I saw them, at about 25km the gap had grown significantly. I hopped off the bike in the lead, with just over 30 seconds back to Ash followed by Nat.

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Staying hydrated on the run ©JGRimages

Out onto the run I concentrated on staying relaxed and running with a good cadence. I doubted I had quite a large enough gap to hold off Ash for the full 10km, but I wanted to see if I could make it through one of the two laps before being caught. She breezed past me just before the 4km marker, so my attention turned to holding off Aaron Royal, the leading Male.

Nepean Triathlon is run as a girls vs guys handicap race with the handicap calculated from the average difference between the times of the winning male and female over the previous 5 years. This year we were given an 8:42 head start on the men.

I kept my sights on Ash up ahead to help me keep my pace up. Half-way around the second lap though I could see Aaron looming behind me in the distance and with 1km to go he caught me. Ash’s lead was safe though, and she took the outright win for the girls. I was third overall across the line behind Aaron, with Nat finishing behind me to round out the girls podium.

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Female podium ©JGRimages
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Not a bad way to cool off post race! ©JGRimages

Thanks to race director Chris Joseph, and all those involved in organizing the event – I look forward to being back next year.

Thanks also to the event sponsors Sydney.com, Atmosphere Health and Fitness Club, Gulf Western Oil, and the smaller event sponsors.

And thanks to my coach Stephen Moss and sponsors/supporters QAS, Sailfish, Mizuno, My Bike Shop, Ryders Eyewear and Baby G for your support.

Next up, it’s time to finish off the year up in Noosa!

Gillian


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