The old Swedish man was really working hard. I’m a slow runner (got passed by just about everyone), but I somehow managed to lap the old Swedish man. Both times I passed him, I patted him on the back and gave him some encouragement. He probably finished way back in the field, but he has my full admiration. There were so many talented athletes on the course today, but not all were supremely tuned and primed machines.
The Swedish man was a reminder that you don’t need to finish first to be a winner. In fact, you can get up way to early in the morning, swim in brutally cold water, negotiate some rather crazy riders who threaten to knock you off your bike (the wind also trying to do the same thing), have a bad day, finish way down in the standings, and still come off the course a winner. Because there are all these people lining the course shouting out your name and waving flags, and they really make you feel like a champion, regardless of how fast you’re going.
It was cold. It was windy. It was muddy in the transition area. But the supporters made this such a great day.
Let me hear it: Aussie, Aussie, Aussie (like in this photo).
I can’t emphasise this enough. The supporters on the course were fantastic. I huge thanks to all of them.
This was an altogether much more serious race than the sprint on Friday. I was very glad to finish.
Some stray post-race thoughts:
– It was surprising to see what I had thought to be experienced triathletes make some very bad errors, especially on the bike course. Namely, coming in way too fast for tight corners; overtaking without checking over their left shoulder for other riders; drafting; using discs in very windy weather; and riding in the middle of the street.
– On that note, the swim also had its problems. Namely, people who can’t swim straight; people who can’t seem to navigate in the water; people who breath on one side. Hey, folks, these are things you can train.
– I mention the above because this is what you see in some village triathlon, where many novices take part. I didn’t expect it at the World Age Group Champions. Next time, I’ll learn to say “Keep right” in as many languages as possible.
– 5am is not a time for athletes to get up.
– I’ve been wondering why I wasn’t asked to pee in a cup. Is there no drug testing done?
– The good organisers, team managers and support crew of Team Australia deserve a massive thank you. They did such a great job for us.
– This has been a great experience, and many thanks to Triathlon Australia for allowing me to be part of it.