I like to head to different events if at all possible. I’d hit Canberra and Shepparton twice each, and wanted to do a new race in a beautiful location – cue Batemans Bay, and the Challenge race. This is the same distance as a half Ironman (1.9/90/21).
I booked a cabin at the caravan park near the start and it was a spectacular place to stay. The weather was perfect and the views spectacular.
A beautiful ocean swim, however due to the wave start format, I was right at the back from the get-go. This didn’t really allow me much time in the event of the wheels falling off my little wagon. But hey, plan for the best eh?
The bike leg was always going to be challenging as the hills were epic by Mildura standards. I was definately glad I took my roadbike with the triple font chainring!! It was a single lap out and back, so at least if a hill sucked, you knew you didn’t have to do it again! Great ride though – fantastic scenery.
And then the wheels fell off my little wagon. Almost literally. Around 8km from the end of the bike leg, going up a relatively easy incline, I was suddenly spinning in fresh air as my chain snapped!! WTF!!
After I saved myself from crashing and unjammed it from my crank, I walked up to the top of the hill where I could get some space off the road to try and fix it. I was already around 6th last at this point, but was probably around 30mins ahead of last. Trying not to panic and get flustered, I pulled out my trusty multitool which includes a chainbreaker (many folk have given me a hard time for carrying this, but it just made it all worthwhile!). 20mins later, many cursewords and greasy hands, and being passed by 3 of the 5 folk behind me, and I was away again. I could still make it!
Cue the last big climb of the day and BANG – it goes again. Looks like I didn’t fix it properly the first time. Another walk uphill until I could get off the road and I begin to fix it again. One more person passed me…. only one to go then I’d be last and in serious danger of being pulled off the course. A quicker fix this time and I was almost away – till I realised in my haste I had connected it the wrong side of the frame – bugger! is an understatement……. Then #5 passes me and I’m last. The SAG wagon pulls off from behind them to wait and follow me in……. So third time lucky and I’m off, and racing to make it in so they don’t shut down the course and pull me off.
I speed into transition and take off on the run and no one stopped me – must have been OK. (turns out I was a bit late, but they could see I was trying and they cut me some slack – thanks guys!).
Ticking along on the run and feeling ok. I pass back one person (I’m not last! woohoo!) who eventually pulls out (back to being last. yay.) But everyone hung around for me – including at least one person at every fully stocked aid station – just for me!! Fantastic. I felt bad that I only wanted water by that point! But I was grateful they all did as I was really appreciative of being able to finish it off despite the mechanicals. Looking at my GPS file, I lost around 40min to repairing that chain twice – but it didn’t ruin my day.
I ended up putting in my fastest ever 21km run, including a quick stop for a (sip of) beer just before the finish from some avid supporters!
I’m really happy with myself that I managed to make the repairs and keep on truckin’ for a finish – thanks for holding it open for me!