17 December 2013

From the sidelines

Ironman 70.3 Canberra is done and dusted and we have returned home to hot, sweaty Darwin.

Being on the sidelines on race day again provided many interesting tri insights including:

1. Making that start line shouldn't ever be taken for granted.  A 4.30am SMS on race morning carried the jaw dropping news that Tim had been up all night with food poisoning and was in no condition to venture out the hotel door, let alone race.  

2.  Athletes do miss their wave starts.  Unbelievable the number of people happy to stand around navel gazing when they should have been walking down to enter the water.  Canberra also requires athletes to swim up to the start line for a deep water start.  Wave after wave had people missing the gun.

3.  Mounting and dismounting training is definitely required.  After witnessing a large number of athletes injure themselves mounting and dismounting the bike, I highly recommend spending some time mastering this skill. 

Unbelievable to watch guys with all the expensive toys land on their backside or topple over into the shrubbery because they have no idea how to get on their bike going up a slight incline, or as in one case, because they had their shoe tethered with a very thick elastic band.  No 16 is about the correct thickness for an easy break!  

Women, in the main, didn't have as much of a problem but did tend to wobble a little, occasionally causing some havoc behind them.

Dismounts were in some cases, excruciating to watch.  One athlete is probably still hobbling after his effort - as a dive it would have scored 9 out of 10!

Individual dismount style

4.  Discarding water bottles on the course is down right dangerous.  Throwing bottles outside of the zoned area doesn't sound like much of a crime (aside from littering) but watching those bottles hit the gutter and roll back in front of following cyclists shows just why athletes are asked not to do this. That they do, without any thought of the consequences, is rather frightening. 

5.  Making that finish line shouldn't ever be taken for granted. Athlete tracking becomes stressful when one of those on your radar doesn't show up when they should and that was the case in Canberra.  Allowing for a puncture or even (heaven forbid), a drafting penalty Haydn was well overdue. 

Where was he?  Taken to hospital by ambulance after a motorist drove on to a closed section of the course and collided with him and another competitor. Hayds couldn't remember a thing but scans and xrays eventually cleared him of anything serious and a night in hospital thankfully saw his concussion subside.  He still doesn't remember anything about the accident, but does recall seeing the 83km mark on his watch. 

6.  Always, always, always wear a cycle helmet.  They do save lives.

7.  Always, always, always fill in correct "In Case of Emergency" details, they are sometimes required.

8.  And one last observation - one wonders why athletes attend an awards function if they talk all the way through it and show no interest at all!

This race saw the last, we are lead to believe, under the 70.3 banner in Canberra.  2014 will be a whole new story. 

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