I have just returned from Australia and so much has been happening! I have a major backlog of posts I need share but the first and most important one is a recap of the World Triathlon Championships. This event was the reason we were in Australia in the first place.
My mother-in-law Janet and my husband Graham both competed in their respective age groups for Team Canada. Having qualified months ago, the lead up to the event involved months of preparation and training for both of them. I would be playing the illustrious role of support crew. This included bag holding, cheering, photography and general moral support.
From the very beginning, it was clear this event was a big deal. As soon as we got off the plane in Brisbane, we were surrounded by people in matching kit, walking with expensive bicycles in travelling cases to their respective mode of transportation. Our transfer to our AirBnb was full of other athletes, volunteers and organisers. There was a definite buzz in the air!
A triathlon is high maintenance sport. It’s even higher maintenance when your race is in another country. As a result, Graham and Janet were busy with preparations for the first several days of our trip. There were briefings, bike pickups, familiarisation events, practice swims and registrations to be done. Since my only obligation was to make some motivational signs, I enjoyed other activities, like a whale watching trip with my father-in-law Ian.
The night before the event, there was a Parade of Nations. Everyone from each country team donned their team colours and kit and carried flags into a large park area where there was an opening ceremony.
Team Canada had a massive team!
Naturally, I left my sign-making to the last minute and the only shop that was open was a supermarket. With a small stationary aisle, I had to improvise. Since there was no large card paper available, I bought file folders and taped them together. Thankfully, I found markers and glitter glue and some stickers too!
It was double-sided for maximum efficiency.
The next morning, we arrived at the venue bright and early. There were several waves ahead of Janet and Graham so we watched many athletes warming up and getting ready.
The event was well laid out for spectators and between Ian and I, we managed to cover a lot of ground, seeing both Graham and Janet at many points throughout the race despite the fact that they overlapped each other. Ian carried two different cameras and his iPhone, taking video and photos seemingly simultaneously. He also had a tiny piece of paper with predicted finishing times for each event so we could plot our spectating. This proved very helpful because the WiFi was spotty and the race app wasn’t always up-to-date.
Janet had an amazing swim, finishing the 750-metre distance in her fastest time ever! What a place for a PB!
In this race, drafting on the bike course is legal. In most triathlons, drafting is illegal. Drafting is when you ride behind another cyclist in an area of reduced air pressure, helping to increase your speed. I think (though I don’t know for sure!) that this is illegal in most races as many athletes are new or inexperienced and it’s too dangerous to encourage people to ride this close together. Not so in the World Championships!
The run was tough for both Janet and Graham. It was HOT and both of them were running close to midday where the sun was at its highest point. But they both ran extremely well despite the conditions!
The finish chute was particularly epic and I managed to find a spot right near the finish line to shout encouraging words at Graham as he crossed the line. The announcer stationed at the finish line even gave me his microphone at one point so I was even louder than usual!
Graham finished his race with a personal best for the Sprint distance!
It was such a great race for both Graham and Janet and I was so proud to be part of the support crew. I have to admit, I was a little sad not to be competing with them.
A big thanks to Ian for plotting expected finish times down to the exact minute for each event. It was amazingly accurate and allowed us to divide and conquer so we could make sure we never missed Graham or Janet at any point! It’s HARD work being a spectator!
It was amazing to watch such high caliber athletes in this event. The first place male finisher overall finished the Sprint distance race in just 57:05! That is CRAZY fast. For reference, my best time for a sprint is 1:29:28! The first-place female finisher was actually Michelle Dillon, a retired British Olympic Triathlete. She finished in 1:04:01. The super-fast times were mostly limited to the 16-19 year old age group which could very well contain some future Olympic athletes but the most impressive thing to me were the seven men and women competing in the 80+ categories! These people are incredible! I can only hope I’m still doing triathlons into my 80s!
After the event, we went and refueled at a Fish Shack nearby. This burger was well-deserved by both athletes and spectators!
A big congratulations to Graham and Janet! What a way to kickstart a holiday! I’m looking forward to seeing what challenge you take on next!