triathlon hat-trick

140406 Auckland Tri 2014

After bidding farewell to my friends from Europe early January, I am back enjoying my sabbatical. Two weeks to get back into a training regime and get fit for the “Sun Run” (10k) and the “Cole Classic” 1k swim in Manly – which after 3 weeks of eating and injury is a welcome change. Enjoying these summer events, I sign up to the next “local” triathlon.

The “local” triathlon in Sydney means the other end of town, in Kurnell on the peninsula behind the airport. The tri starts at 8am, however I need to be there 5:30am, even at that time of the night, means I need to get on the road at 4:45am. This better be good! – The race and atmosphere are great and I am doing well for the long time since my last tri.

Enjoying the fun of the race, I decide for the “ultimate” event – the 1st of the World Triathlon Series race which is in Auckland. Not only has New Zealand’s Bevan Docherty (amongst others) inspired me to ever try a triathlon, Kiwis are crazy when it comes to outdoorsy sports and Auckland is a spectacular city to put on such an event. They setup shop in “The Cloud” which is an event hall on one of the wharfs in the harbour. The swim is in the harbour next to it and the next wharf serves as transition. The swim goes North, the bike East and the run West 😉 On the way to registration you casually pass Hamish Carter, NZ Olympic gold winner in Athens 2004… another great Kiwi.


Doing the sprint, I even get to sleep in, 1 hour due to end of daylight savings and then the race only starts at 9am. All male age groupers go to a deep water start, one hand on the pontoon. This means one thing: washing machine! Feel a bit like wild water rafting, but eventually I can make out a buoy, then another one and so on, you get the gist. Word of advice, train your last 2 swims before a wetsuit race in a wetsuit. The damn thing was dragging me down rather than giving additional buoyancy. T1 is easy, once I get the socks on wet feet and out we go on the bike course. Why was I assuming going alongside the ocean wouldn’t be hilly? It is just enough to drain you… and who put those hills into Auckland – energy-wise they don’t make any sense. Unless you go down Queen Street the last time at full throttle into T2 hoping those bl…y pedestrians stay out of the course (or end as fricassee). Shoes off, shoes on, out again. Running. This time it’s all about bringing it home. My strongest part and the last one. Time to throw everything at it… behind the Hilton, Viaduct Harbour around Wynyard Quarter and back the same way. There it is the finish line. Announcement that some guy named StRanger made it across, if only that guy was paying off my mortgage.


The one thing that gets me. They open transition for people to pickup their bikes – this is normally like the start of a marathon – but in Auckland nobody even notices. The atmosphere in the recovery area is so great, that everybody just sticks around. – They do server free beer, enough said… – Except me, 2 beers in, I decide at 11:15 that I might want to head out for my midday hotel check out. I never go to the awards ceremonies at events. After the morning experience, I decide to go back and check the results. Obviously I am getting old (I am starting in the “M40” category now) and can’t find myself on the list. Except … on the first page … in the top – wait – 3. Uh, excussez-moi? Now I am rather glad than embarrassed I came down for the spot prizes at the ceremony. Got a shiny medal instead. And I have to race off again, for the plane station this time. Accidentally booked the transfer an hour late, good I have a shiny card to speed things up. I miss the Elite Men’s race though, I always do. Theoretically there should be coverage and I can watch it on the mobile, but this IT stuff isn’t working, so 2014. Twitter to the rescue. Lot’s of coverage, however there is one guy being faster, more comprehensive and heaps funnier than all that other ones together – thank you Kris Gemmell (another great Kiwi triathlete, maybe they do grow on trees)!

For somebody who doesn’t actually know how to swim this seems like a hat-trick … definitely a great start into 2014. And in the word’s of Tim Whitburn who asked me why I would not do a triathlon when contemplating whether I can do one: Enjoy the journey, see you at the races.

Kurnell Triathlon Race 3 2014


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