A Super Time at Super League
What is this? Has Tim finally cracked out his laptop and sat down to write a blog post?
It has been far too long and even doing this has taken me too long as I decided weeks ago I would write a race report from my experience at Super League while I was there! I think last year I was sick of writing about my injury so decided I would not start writing posts again until I started racing again. Well, I am happy to say I am back racing which means I have no more excuses not to do this.
One of the biggest perks of my job is the ability to travel to some key triathlon events for ‘work’ and the first trip this year was for Super League. Now if you are reading my posts, chances are you have some interest in triathlon. If you are not a triathlete chances are you don't really love watching the sport because it is about as entertaining as watching one of those fire place videos on YouTube. Well trust me when I say, you should watch Super League. It is short, sharp, vicious racing designed for TV. The races are short on tight, technical, difficult courses. The formats are designed to create drama and make the viewer sit on the edge of their seat.
In Singapore, my company, MX Endurance, had the chance to enter a number of teams into the corporate relay. Two days of racing where amateurs got to experience the Super League course and have a taste of what this racing format is actually like.
Knowing I would be going to Singapore, I decided to spend a week before hand in Phuket training. I had not been to Phuket in over 18 months and was very excited about getting back to one of my favourite training locations in the world. Like every trip to Phuket, I got to meet a whole new group of triathletes and make even more friends through this sport. I was especially happy to get to catch up with one of my favourite couples in the world, Lucy and Neil Richardson. I met Lucy through an MX camp years ago and see much less of them than I would like. The trip was made even better when we were joined by Jenna Seefried, one of our MX coaches who came all the way for Canada. We had a great time smashing the training and I was getting excited for Sinagpore where there would be around 20 MX members around and 4 teams racing the relay.
Singapore is one of my favourite cities in the world. I have a lot of friends there and one of my best mates has lived there for about 4 years now. So any excuse to get there is a good excuse for me. Being able to visit the city I love AND race and experience Super League was too good to say no to.
We had a big welcome dinner at one of the Singaporean Hawker Centres and all the MX members who had ordered their team gear were presented with their uniforms for the race. Now if you had of told me 2 years ago I would be designing a range of merchandise I probably would have laughed at you but I have and when I did I wanted it to be easy to spot and stand out. All our team gear has a giant red X on it and trust me, we had so many people comment on the suit design over the weekend.
The race was split over 2 days. The first day each member of the three man team completed a 300m swim, 5km bike and 1.5km run in a relay format. My team was Lucy first, Jenna second and me last to try and bring us home strong. The course was extremely challenging with a 30c swim where you could feel yourself sweating in the water, a 4 lap bike course with some extremely tight turns and an exposed, hot run to bring it home. With 4 teams racing from MX we talked a lot of shit about who was going to win and being the boss I pulled rank and changed the teams so I could have Lucy and Jenna on my team… What can I say, there has to be some perks of the job.
We got there race morning or afternoon really and I did a few laps of the course on my bike to make sure it was cemented in my mind and I ran a lap of the course too because as amatuers we would not be doing the same run course as the pros as there would be too many bikes on course. The weather was hot and even though I knew the whole thing would probably take 20 minutes I was extremely nervous. These pre-race nerves were something I had missed and something I had not realised how much I love (and hate.) I was pumped.
Now straight away there were some pretty strong looking teams but I was convinced we would be the strongest mixed team (both male and female members.) The excitement was building and before long it was time to get ready. Now usually, once the gun goes you forget your nerves and get on with it. But not this time. Being the third athlete I had to watch Lucy and Jenna do their thing, the whole time my nerves building. I was worried about how my leg would respond to running flat out. I was worried I would forget how to do a proper transition. I was worried I would be shit. Before long (because those two incredible women did an incredible job) it was time to get ready. I made my way intro transition ready to race.
As Jenna came into transition to hand me the timing chip one of the other MX teams (black) came in before us. I had been joking with Pawel that I was going to be coming hard for him. Jenna gave me the chip and I took off like a mad man. It was probably a 300m run down to the swim start and I went as fast as I could yee haaing at the crowd as I ran past. About 150m into this run I remembered I had to swim and instantly regretted my showboating but I was just excited to be racing. I made it onto the pontoon just after seeing Pawel’s pathetic attempt at a dive. I took a flying leap and hit the salt water soup of Singapore. The water was hot. Noticeably hot but I had other things on my mind. I have been working so hard on my swimming I wanted to see what I could do. I gave it everything and quickly passed Pawel. I felt like I was moving quickly through the water and was actually really enjoying the swim. I found it easy to sight and apart from being hot (I was going to need to get used to it) I was feeling good. Being a relay there was basically no one around me in the swim so it was uneventful. In the blink of an eye it was over. My average pace was 1:18 for the 300m swim. Into transition and onto the bike.
I hated the bike. It was a tough, painful ride and I felt completely neutralised. I was accelerating as hard as I could only to slam the brakes on and then do it all over again. I was huffing and puffing and two laps in I realised I still had to run. My quads were on fire and each pedal stroke was an effort. I know it must have been traumatic because I actually do not remember that much of it. I hated the bike leg because it was so hard and the bike is usually my favourite leg! I was extremely happy to get off the bike and was shocked to remember I had barely ridden 5km! From memory, my average speed was about 32km/h which considering how technical it was I am ok with. Even though I am used to seeing around 40km/h.
Similar to the bike, there wasn't a whole lot of action. I just ran as hard as I could. It is a giant U-shaped course around the mariner. I pushed and pushed and noticed that as you came towards the finish there were some hard 180 degree turns. This information would be very useful on Sunday. I came back towards the finish line with all the MX guys screaming. I crossed the finish line and wanted to die. How the fuck do the pros do this more than once!?!?!?! Still, I was happy to be greeted by Jenna and Lucy. I had run 3:40 pace off the bike and we had crossed the line in 5th but we were the first mixed team.
After the racing we all got changed and made our way to the VIP area to watch the pro race unfold. Hand on my heart, watching that racing was one of the greatest sporting experiences of my life. I was enthralled by it and again, encourage you all to watch just how exciting it was.
Day 2 was the enduro race. Swim, bike, run, swim, bike, run with each person of the team needing to do 2 of the disciplines. I had planned on doing the bike leg but realised I was basically neutralised on that bike course so we set it up that I would do the first swim and the last run. With Lucy and Jenna splitting the other disciplines. Lucy rode 1st and swam 2nd. Jenna ran 1st and rode 2nd. Much like day one we talked a lot of shit about being the first MX team and first mixed team across the line. We had been over a minute ahead on day 1 so it was basically a formality on day 2. What actually unfolded could not have been further from that.
The mass start on the pontoon was a new experience for me and to be honest, not something I loved. I stubbed my toe diving in and was instantly swamped by other athletes. Unlike day one there was no clear water. It was people soup and knowing I had a huge break after I went harder than I thought I could. There were periods were I could not even manage to suck in air there was just too much going on. Coming out of the water in 4th or 5th position was a little disappointing but all there was left to do was run. Now my garmin included a bit of a run on it but it had my average pace as 1:00/100m. I would estimate it closer to 1:12/100m. I handed the chip to Lucy and started to get ready for the run.
Now credit where credit is due. One of the other MX teams racing, Team Swozzi were very clever with how they allocated their athletes. Beks is an incredible swimmer. I mean INCREDIBLE! Her husband Ross is just a good all around athlete and a very strong rider and Craig is rock solid runner if I do say so myself (I coach him.) They stuck to their disciplines and it quickly became apparent this was a smart play. They started the second swim with us and by the start of the bike had a lead of about 10 seconds on us. By the end of the second bike, Craig their final runner had a minute lead on me. Now in all honesty, I am not really that fussed about beating other people or stuff like that but I had talked soo much shit and even changed the teams so we would perform well. If we were to lose, it would have been pretty embarrassing. To say I was getting slightly agitated waiting for Jenna to come in off the bike would be an understatement. I did not want to lose and I thought a one minute gap was too much on a 1.5km run to make up. But fuck me I would give it a shot.
Standing next to Craig in transition I noticed his slight falter as he stopped to adjust his timing chip then he was gone. As soon as Jenna came in, I had the chip on my ankle and I took off so fast I half expected DeLorean style burning tracks behind me. I was running like a man possessed. If there was even the slightest chance of catching Craig I wold go for it. Hitting the first straight I could not even see him (or if I could I didn't because I was just looking directly in front of me.) As I took the first turn around the mariner I spotted Craig taking the next turn, he was 200-300m ahead of me I think. I locked onto my target. After the next turn he was gone and knowing the course, the next time I would spot him, he would have turned around and been coming back. He would know how close I was. I saw him much sooner than I expected which wasn't good news. Craig was running well and I definitely noticed how cool and calm he looked. I was worried. After I turned and came back I could see him now. He was permanently in my sight and I was starting to think I might be able to catch him. I realised though that if he knew I was right there he might kick and I was already going as hard as I could. As he turned the last of the 90 degree corners on the mariner, he turned and looked straight at me. He was probably only 30 metres ahead of me at this point. All that was left was a 300m straight and two 180 degree turns. I kept going and as we got about 100 metres from the first 180 turn I passed him. I was screaming on the inside. Then Craig kicked and tried to pass me again…
The panic that went through me when he kicked is unlike anything I have ever experienced. I instantly hated this man because I know realised what I was going to need to do to beat him. Whatever it took. I went with him then in a weird moment of clarity realised we had the two turns to make. I had an idea. I made sure to have the inside line and grabbed onto the barricade to turn as tight as I possibly could. I then immediately stepped directly in front of Craig to block his path. If he wanted to pass me he would need to go through me. I heard him scream out in rage and it would have put a smile on my face if I wasn’t close to tears. I sprinted through transition and made the last hard turn. I crossed the line and screamed out SHIVS! (to get us into the VIP area that afternoon) having given every single possible piece of effort I had. The photo below sums up how I was feeling after that run. I ran 3:15 pace (which is pretty bloody fast for me) and once again we were the 5th team home and the first mixed team.
I still cannot believe how much harder that 1.5km run felt than some of the fastest or hardest half marathons I have run. But it was horrific. It was also amazing. I could not believe what I had just been involved with. As age groupers we never really get those incredible moments like an Iron War or Macca’s 2010 race. But for me and all of the MX guys watching, we had a true battle. I pushed myself to a place I never thought possible and managed to come out on top. What made it an even more memorable experience was that it was with my MX friends.
I was buzzing and we made a point of cheering all of our MX members home. We then spent the afternoon watching the 2nd day of professional racing which was just as exciting as the first. The whole thing was such an incredible experience and while it wasn't the same as working for months towards a 70.3 and hitting a pb. Why does it always have to be. I really mean this when I say that as triathletes we all need to get over Iron Man. There is so much more to the sport than simply doing it ourselves. Racing IM events we never get to see the skill of our top professionals. Super League gives them a platform to shine. If there is ever a Super League event that you can get to – don't be lazy, you travel for races so travel to watch one – you should go and watch it. I promise you that you will not regret it.
I also need to give a huge thank you to my boss, Chris McCormack who helped get the MX members such great access. We owned Super League Singapore and got to see and do things that the general public did not.
Also - if you are reading this and want to know more about MX Endurance, we are currently running a completion. Every person who signs up goes into the draw to win one of Macca's last TT bikes, Zipp 808 wheels and more. With memberships starting from only $10 a month you can make high savings including 40% off Enve wheels, 25% off blueseventy, 20% off Pure Sports Nutrition, 20% off Swozzi and much much more!
So there you go, it is a long one and I am hoping it wont be so long between articles moving forward. But as I always say when wrapping these up, it’s good to be back on the horse, check our Super League and remember to TRI!
1/4/2019 09:06:52 pm
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2/4/2019 12:29:03 pm
Teams are one of the most precious things in the world of sports. Well, of course not for individual sports, but you probably catch my drift. In team competitive sports, it is important to have a team that is built to win. Maybe I am just saying this because I am really competitive, however, I do not see the point of not wanting to win. If you are entering a competition, it is best that you have the determination to win.
23/6/2021 04:28:55 am
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I lost 50kgs though triathlon and completed the 2016 70.3 World Championships. Aiming to hit 4:05 for a 70.3, the same time it took me to complete my first Olympic Distance Triathlon. I want to bring as many new people to the sport as possible. Whether you are fit and active or want to make positive changes to your life.