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Amateur Age Group Triathlete
Amateur Age Group Triathlete

Finally in Auckland! Final taper week

roborobby roborobOct 21st 2012
So after 3 months of planning (which included over 150hrs of training, a week of living nocturnally, 28 hours of travel, and more flexing of the credit card than I dare to calculate), I finally made it to New Zealand, and the official GB residence at the Rydges Hotel in Auckland. With a week to go, there would be plenty of time to have multiple recces of the swim and bike course, with an opportunity to give the swim and run sections a real thrashing in the Aquathlon. The week went a bit like this:

Tuesday (T-6days):

Arrived in Auckland at 12.45pm, local time. After a warm, traditional greeting from the local Tribe, we jumped on the team bus and headed for the hotel. Met my Roommate for the week (Jim Bishop from Bristol; a like-minded Triathlete who was also here for the sprint race), exchanged pleasantries quickly before setting to work on unpacking and rebuilding our bike in order to get a quick recce of the bike course in, with the added bonus of unraveling our legs from the hours of confinement on the planes.

The course is great, and worth the trip. Hilly, technical, silky-smooth tarmac and closed roads, with a fair chance of wind and rain on race day. No boring out-and-back tt course here! The views are pretty spectacular, and first impressions of Auckland is that it¬'s like a mini-Sydney (sorry if this offends anyone!). We checked out the huge tri expo that was running all week here, and resisted the temptation to get the credit card out. Quick dinner, then off for an early night.

Wednesday (T-5days):

Wide-awake at 2am. Great. That crazy nocturnal week back in London obviously didn¬'t work at all! Any feelings of jet lag had to be cast aside though, as today was the day of my first race: the ITU Age Group World Aquathlon Championships. It sounds like a grand title, but there was no specific qualifying criteria (you had to have qualified for the triathlon), so most people (I was told) just use this as a sharpener/course famil opp/leg-stretcher in prep for their main race the following Monday. This was my plan too, although putting on the GB tri suit and heading to the swim start with the crowds gathering and the eager commentary blaring from the PA, injects a different sense of purpose. The wind was up, and the cold sea was pretty choppy as a result. The high standard of the guys in my age group left me for dead in the swim, so I just resigned myself to treating this as a training session. Out of the sea and through a hassle-free transition, and onto the run course. Racing together with athletes from across the World, all in team kit, was a awesome experience, and spurred me on to give a bit extra on the run leg, resulting in a split of 18m19. Given the jet lag, coupled with the fact that the course is apparently over distance at 5.3km, gave me some hope that I¬'ll have a good race day on Monday.

Thursday (T-4days):

No signs of any jet lag. The plan worked! In full on taper, so nothing other than an easy 30min wetsuit swim in an amazing 65m outdoor pool, just a few k out of the city centre.

Friday (T-3days):

No training other than 20mins on the swim course. I got a flying lap of the course knocked out in 12m20, which was promising. Am going to try going full blast for the first 200m on race day, and hope I don¬'t get kicked around too much.

Saturday (T-2days):

I made the most of being in this surreal environment, and took today as a proper rest day ¬- just like how most plans would advise. Unlike the usual races back at home, where t-2 would usually fall on a work day , this was a proper rest day. Unless I was getting food, water, or going to the loo, I was completely horizontal the whole day! I could get used to this life!!

Sunday (T-1day):

After all that inactivity from yesterday, a quick freshener was on the menu by way of a 15min swim, 20min run and 30min bike, all before breakfast. After this, we braved the wind and rain to take our seats at the Grandstand, to watch the awesome Javier Gomez and Johnny Brownlee battle it out for the title of ITU World Champion, with Gomez pipping Johnny to the finsh line on the day, but with Johnny taking the series. Filled with national pride and adrenaline for tomorrow, we took our bikes to the huge transition area for check-in, where they¬'ll spend a night out in the sea air and rain (!!). This is it ¬- one more sleep till the biggest short triathlon for me so far!
Finally in Auckland! Final taper week
Finally in Auckland! Final taper week
Finally in Auckland! Final taper week
SwimSwim1h:03m (18%) 3.5km
BikeBike2h:24m (42%) 52.6km
RunRun20min (6%) 4km
StrengthStrength2h (34%) 0km
Stats for: Oct 15th 2012 to Today (7 days)
Total training time: 5h:48m:10s
Stats for: Oct 15th 2012 to Today (7 days)
justalby member: justal, Oct 22nd 2012 01:55
Nice one Rob.... I'm in the Rydges too but didn't get here until Thursday after 42 hours of travelling thanks to. 6 hour drive to heathrow before leaving the country and a 5 hour stopover in Kuala Lumpur.

I did much less than you in the taper week... Just a 1 hour course recce of the bike route and the 12 min swim familiarisation. Didn't run as I haven't ran for 12 weeks thanks to a stress fracture so didn't want to risk anything just before the race.

The race went well though. 11th in my Age-Group in a time of 1:09:15 and 86th overall.

How did you get on? What Age-Group are you in?
sarahleonardby member: sarahleonard, Oct 22nd 2012 12:20
Wouldn't mind that pool on my doorstep! :-) How did you get on Rob???
roborobby blog author: roborob, Oct 22nd 2012 18:24
Hey Al, you pipped me to it - i was 15th in the 30-34s with a 1:10:21. Been suffering with a stress fracture too all year, and had planned to go hard in this last race of the season despite the pain, but ended up getting crippled by stomach cramps (yeah - excuses, excuses!). Month off then back to swim and run school! Did you PQ for London?

Yeah me too Sarah! There's a lot of things out here in Auckland that i wouldn't mind having at home! I'll put up a race report soon
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