Story By: Bill Lakic
Photos: Rosa Illingworth
Hey NCTC friends, all I can say about the interclubs was what a little cracker of a race. We had a great turn out, the event was very well run by the Mandurah Triathlon Club and great fun was had by all. So what was it like? We all are our own little universe, so here is my version.
Sunday morning started with the alarm sounding at 4 am sharp, followed approximately 10 seconds later by random incoherent words of abuse by my wife who once again gets woken up at some ungodly hour by her weird husband doing that stupid sporting thing. I successfully evade various thrown objects, make my way to the kitchen and think, ok, let’s get prepared. First things first, open up the iPad and check Facebook.
Rocking up to Mandurah, lots of clubs, and a heck of a lot of Northcoasters. Lots of smiles, lots of hellos. El Presidente Dave, he’s quick. Ex Presidente Craig, he’s quick. Norm Joyce, he’s quick. Lee Southern, he’s quick. There’s Robin Knowles, Wilson and Graham, they’re quick. Ruth, Lisa, Adina, Beth, Janine and a whole lot of others, yep, quick. Me, well, I like being different.
Race briefing starts up, but I am not really listening. As a bloke, I don’t believe in it. If you make Ikea furniture, you don’t stoop to reading the instructions. Pulling apart a car’s engine, sod the manual, make a pile of parts and sort it out later. And if something doesn’t fit, crack a tinnie. Ok the car is stuffed, but you go through a lot of tinnies.
So the bloke is saying the swim course is anticlockwise. I look at the time on my Garmin, that’s no help. Is it lefty loosie or righty tighty? No tinnies around, sod it, I’ll wing it during the race. Myself and some of the boys check out the first wave, look for hidden advantages and cues to gain the upper hand. By general consensus we reach the conclusion that they are swimming in water, that that arm over arm thing is advantageous and that some swimmers are faster than the others. We got this sucker wrapped up!
Looking at the next wave, which has all the young men in it, there is one yellow cap. Being a gentleman, I won’t mention Lisa Vass’ name, who told me afterwards that she had to start with these tall and handsome young men because of a malfunction with her goggles. Yep! We believe you! I am so going to ring up Matthew Roddis and see if we can get our start time adjusted from the smelly ugly bloke’s wave to something younger and female and blame it on “goggle malfunction”!
The siren goes, I’m in the old blokes wave. Lots of argy bargy, blokes bumping into me, and no I don’t need my head, hit it as much as you like. And mate, can you get your hand off/out of my bum! Flowers and chocolate first, ok?
So the initial nonsense is over, time to get in the rhythm and open up the throttle. The water is flat and gorgeous, getting a decent pace, time to sight for a reddy orange blob thing, which I can’t see as all our caps are reddy orange, sod it, I’ll do the lemming thing and follow everyone else. I hope there are no cliffs around. I also hope they know where they are going! Terrible visions of swimming to Kwinana, noooooo!
Pretty much a standard rectangle course, massive overkill on water safety as unlike a lot of swim courses with 50 fathoms below you and gigantic man eating octopii menacing beneath, in this one if you come to grief or get bored swimming you could just stand up! Lovely little contest, the swim finishes all too soon, time to mount up on my carbon steed.
So, where did I put my bike? Ok, take your arms out of the wetsuit, keep running, goggles and cap off, what’s that bloke saying? Crack! My big toe slams into the ground, feels like I have broken every bone from my toe to my hip. Fake it, smile, try not to limp. Suddenly people are laughing and pointing at me. Amazingly, they are not young women, well that makes for a pleasant change!
On the bike now, transition very well run by the volunteers. I love riding in Mandurah, such a picturesque foreshore. Hairpin turn around, use all your will power not to stuff it up, made it! Ok, now we are riding past the crowds near transition, speed it up, crank up the cadence, look the goods. Ok, now out of sight, slow back down into the comfort zone. I like the comfort zone, well, because it’s comfortable. And now the scoffers start scoffing! Push the boundaries they say, push through pain they say, get out of your comfort zone they say! Oh yeah, next time you go to a nice restaurant, ask to sit on a pile of broken bricks, that’s out of your comfort zone. Sleeping well? Try bare concrete, or next time a loved one wants to watch an old repeat of Neighbours, ask to watch two episodes. I like my comfort zone, so just shut up about it, will ya?
Anyway, now that the interruptions have stopped, back to the ride. Lots of lefty and righty stuff, and some uppy and downy bits. That looks like the lovely Debra Kirkham on the back of a motorbike being an umpire or something. By the way her knuckles are white gripping onto the bike, she must be taking that umpiring stuff very seriously! The k’s roll by, but I start to realise that everyone is overtaking me, even people in unfashionable attire. Ok man, time to think your way out of this predicament. Think! What’s my excuse for everyone overtaking me? I know, they have expensive bikes and I don’t, that’s it! And that rusty mountain bike, that’s probably a ten thousand dollar job out of Belgium with a stealth paint job, yeah! This uppy bit is a bit of hard work, going down now, much easier, picking up the pace, zooming along. You know, my ideal 70.3 bike course would be a 90 km gradual loop with a continuous tailwind and down hill gradient and a great big elevator to get you to transition, and HOOLEY DOOLEY WHO PUT THAT BLOODY TURN THERE!!! On go the brakes, pray that I don’t skid, and clench some interesting parts of my personage. Phew! Got through that one.
One of the great things about bike riding is that, eventually, most times, it ends, and this one did exactly that. Did a nice sprint in front of my fans too! Ok, transition, runners on, now how do I get out of here? Quick, stop and look stupid. Suddenly a plethora of unfashionably dressed lime volunteers gesticulate wildly and point me in the right direction. Wing it/win it, that’s what I say!
Gliding along that concrete footpath superhighway to glory, nice little run course along the seafront, over the bridges and to the 70.3 park. The Mandurah club really did a great job with traffic control, drink stations and overall management. So I’m cruising along, concentrating on truckin’ right, getting the posture and the look right. Some think that triathlon is all about performance, improvement, things like hey I finished 208th in my age group last year but this year I finished 192nd! These triathletes seriously do not have a clue, and then wonder why people don’t even try to stifle the yawn that is directed to their face. Early on I realised that triathlon is all about having the perfect pose in photos. That, and the free fruit. My friends, talk is cheap, but a great photo in Facebook is priceless.
Powering along, shoulders up, got the war face happening in some spots, the smile in others, eyes ever keen looking for a photographer, because that is what it is all about. And to be honest, why the hell is everyone encouraging Dennis Tan to do that Ironman nonsense? 140.6=zero photos, guys the maths ain’t so hard. I hate being so smart.
Anyway, lovely run course, I remember to thank all the volunteers making this event possible. Finishing stretch, have to please my adoring fans, up goes the cadence, speed, and the smile. Finished! Now for the best bit of a triathlon race, stopping, scoffing free fruit and talking ad nauseum to a whole lot of people who are actually interested in the same thing you are interested in. As we all know when in the real world, conversations involving triathlon usually terminate after 90 seconds, but here on the sunny Mandurah foreshore, we can blabber to our hearts content.
It just gets better. Not only have I stopped, scoffed free fruit and blabbered crap, but the Kaye family and their friends have delivered manna from Heaven in the form of bacon and eggs in a sandwich. I start to cry with happiness, what a lovely day!
The closing ceremony was affected by two events, one major, one minor. The major one was, like always, I didn’t win any prizes but everyone else bloody did. The minor one was the computer malfunction that got in the way. As a biro and paper man, I know that a computer’s primary purpose and directive is to break down and piss everyone off at the most opportune times so Mandurah people, no need to feel sad (except for not giving me a prize!)
The Mandurah Triathlon Club should be applauded for running such a fantastic event year after year. It really was a cracker of a race, a fun course with excellent support and great organisation. Did you know they have to pay the council $15000 to run the race every year? That takes guts.
Also well done to the North Coast Tri Club for a fantastic turn out. We are competitive, but do so such a sporting and friendly way, it’s no wonder we are the best.
It is with pride that we can announce that our club has retained the Rob Pickard Trophy. What a great day out and excellent result.