It was an early wakeup call at 5 am on Saturday morning to catch a 7am flight to Sydney. I was feeling a little tired after a big week at work but felt fit, strong and carbed up ready to go. My mum and dad were determined to support me on this trip and I am always very grateful to have their support and company as I feel in life if you truly want to be successful it is your support crew and network around you and the positivity that they bring that plays a large contribution.
The flight down to Sydney was a fast smooth one, I enjoyed some fruit and some juice in the Qantas lounge followed by a bit of the new Tomb Raider on the plane. The new girl that played Lara Croft definitely had the looks and the fitness to play the part but the story line didn’t live up to the originals. Having Lara Croft start out as a cycle courier instead of in the multimillion dollar mansion didn’t quite do it for me, however I enjoyed the fight scenes as always and it has become a travel ritual for me watching action movies such as Dracula Untold, Bladerunner 2049 and Wolverine when I fly.
We touched down in Sydney at 10am and got in a cab and headed straight out to Penrith. As we got half way to our destination there were some run down old houses in this suburb between Sydney and Penrith. I said to my parents without any real estate knowledge in the area "I think the houses would still be worth 600-700k in this area" the cab driver then corrected me and said 900k which really gave me an indication of how much capital growth home owners have gained in Sydney over the last decade as these were basic post war country town type houses on 400m square blocks.
When we arrived at our accommodation the first thing I noticed was how impressive the Penrith leagues club was. It was the size of a small city in itself with asian and italian restaurants, a movie theatre, shops and a Casino. I quickly assembled my bike (well as quickly as an ocd person can) before leaving the room. The service at the hotel was a little slow as we were waiting 15 minutes for a cab to check in, so I decided to ride my bike the 6kms through Penrith and out to the rowing regatta where the race was being held for check in and bike racking. It was an interesting ride in wearing ralph lauren dog shorts and a collard shirt with my aero helmet and dolce and gabbana sunglasses, one thing I can say for certain is I’d never seen so many Mcdonalds so close together there was literally 4 in the space of 1km aswell as a Hooters, KFC and Hungry Jacks so much for healthy eating! I arrived at the venue and couldn’t believe the stunning course it was out of town in the bush but the lake had been built for the rowing at the Sydney 2000 Olympics and it definitely didn’t disappoint.
That night I once again stuck to my plan and enjoyed another carb up at the leagues club whilst doing some people watching. I noticed many athletes were on the beers the night before treating it like a boys trip!
When the morning of the race arrived, I was definitely feeling a bit sleepy. I woke up at 3:45am Sydney time which is 2:45am Brisbane time due to day light savings however I’d had a good meal the night before at the leagues club and stuck to my plan and carbed up some more trying to stay as positive as I could.
The race started, everyone was in wetsuits as they had called a wetsuit swim due to it being a chilly morning but I still was determined to hold my own in the swim in my tri suit pushing through the previous waves and getting out of the water in the top 10 in my age category respectively, finishing 2 minutes behind the race leader in my age group. I swam within my abilities and didn’t push my heart rate too high as I wanted to really hit the ride hard. I flew through transition and starting putting down the power on the pedals pushing out 400-500w surges and keeping my average power over 300w. My power meter then decided to drop out and I didn't have a HR monitor on so I rode off feel and all those hours of the spin bike and assault bike at the work gym paid off as I found my sweet spot.
I stuck to the plan which was consume 1g per kg of body weight of carbohydrates per hour which I achieved by drinking 3 bottles of gatorade endurance, some red bull and dropping 5 gels on the ride which helped me hold a 38km/hr average on the bike on a course that was flat but quite windy and technical with a lot of sharp turns and loops. I finished top 10 again in my age group on the bike. When I got off the bike I decided to take the hit of losing an extra 30 secs in transition to put my best socks on and do my Hoka’s up tight to avoid destroying my foot again with blisters after what happened in Townsville a few months prior. This turned out to be a good decision as I found a very comfortable rhythm in the run holding under 5 minute kms the whole way and was able to come home in a 1:43 half marathon with a finish time of 4:38.
After the race we caught a cab back to Sydney and arrived at the Langham where the concierge was looking at me like no one had ever checked into a 5 star hotel before after coming straight from an ironman event. Everyone was sipping on their tea with their Louis Vuitton, Audemmars Piguet and Hermes whilst I was there in my 2XU Tri suit with salt on it, Oakley Jawbreakers and a medal around my neck along with my bike in hand. I didn’t mind I was proud of what I had achieved and very grateful to get such good service and recover.
At the Langham the service was outstanding, when you work a job where you serve people all day it is such a nice feeling to get that back when you are away on holidays and this isn’t something I normally get to experience so was a great treat after the race. Over the next day I enjoyed nice breakfasts, meals out on the water and walking around Sydney CBD enjoying multiple coffees and lemon lime and bitters before returning home on the Monday afternoon and back to work on the Tuesday morning.
About the Author
Nic Rider is a corporate health and well-being coach with 8 years experience in the health and fitness industry. He is one of the top age group triathletes in Australia practicing what he preaches as he believes in leading by example to help inspire others. Nic has coached 100's of corporate professionals to start exercise, lose weight, build muscle and improve cardiovascular health along with injury rehabilitation. He has coached clients to run marathons and participate in triathlons along with climb mountains in the Himalayas.