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Behind-the-Scenes Race Report

What they didn’t want you to know at the Yamba Triathlon in 2023

By Iman Olgeezer

The Breakers took a squad of 20 highly trained athletes to Yamba for the 2023/2024 season’s opening race, including a couple of determined come-backers, Rhonda and Benz. It was pleasing to see that the club has now got a reasonable spread of ages throughout its ranks and members are no longer required to have a senior’s card to join. A number of the team arrived on Friday afternoon to blustery conditions – certainly not ideal for the cycle leg – but the forecast for race day was favourable with light winds and low 20s temperatures.

Saturday started with the traditional riding of the course. Except this year we decided to break the cycle into manageable chunks – a 5km ride to the café at Angourie, a coffee and then a downhill 5km ride back to Yamba. After our efforts some of us had a well-deserved nap before heading out for a bit of brekkie. The afternoon was spent wandering around the very relaxed Yamba CBD before competing in the Community Event swim and heading to the bowlo to register - then to a team dinner at Thai Payu.

Being well-honed triathletes and eager to learn, over dinner we sought advice from the wise and wonderful Nerida and Pete. Moderation, they said, is critical for effective pre-race preparation, as they finished off their first bottle of red. And of course, out-living your competition. At 8.59PM, just before we all turned into pumpkins, we headed back to our digs to go through our individual race plans.

Race day arrived and what a perfect day it was. Bugger all wind, slightly overcast (but no forecast for rain), 18 degrees and a flat, calm ocean. We congregated under the club marquee close to the finish line. Andy (famous for putting on his timing strap minus the chip, at the team event at the Byron Tri), was true to form. As everyone else was doing their final preparation he

was seen frantically throwing everything out of his bag, saying “I’m sure I put it in here”. Yup, he had left his timing chip behind. Kayte shook her head in disbelief…Or was it belief? Luckily, relying on his new bionic knee, he quickly retrieved it, to the relief of his team-mates.

The race coordinator decided the Temptas would be this year’s guinea pigs and they went off first to test the waters – with our very own “Ronnie” Rhonda in her first tri in 20 years. The Open category was then followed by the young men and hot on their heels came the old geezers. The women and sprint teams then got the advantage of swimming through warmer waters, generously supplied by the bladder-challenged old men ahead.

Thankfully, there were no major catastrophes during the race and everyone made it home safely. Even Pete! In fact, not just safely, but super speedily. The club scored 7 firsts, 1 second and 2 thirds and everyone was in the top 10 in their category. One of the best team performances the club has had. A couple of the newer triathletes just missed out on podiuming; Aoife was only 29 seconds behind third place in her category. The Australian Immigration Department has advised her that she can only leave Australia once she makes it onto the podium at a race. And Christie, who was the 7th fastest female on the day, was only 3 seconds behind third place, ex-Breaker Elize.

“Ronnie” Rhonda had a very strong comeback to the sport and came 1st in her category. She has been duly reminded by Team Management of the rule which stipulates that an athlete who comes 1 st in their category in the Tempta must henceforth progress to Sprint distance or beyond.

The first Breaker across the finish line in the Sprint was Jaime, in a blistering 1:04:46, making him 1st in his category and a fantastic 3rd place overall in the event. An amazing effort and even more rewarding as he split the Russell triplets and now only has Ben to catch - Jaime was only 40 seconds behind him! Dave decided to take a break from his 70.3 and ironman training to waltz around the course and came an excellent 8th overall, in an astonishing 1:08:15. His run pace was 3:41 min/km OMG.

Cara was the first female Breaker and the second female overall in 1:16:05 – a truly well-deserved result after all the training she has put in.

A few other mentions…………The red wine plainly had the desired effect on the Clarkes’ performances, with both Nerida and Pete coming 1st in their category. Despite this, as Nerida was half-way through the run leg, she was overheard saying “this is my last fucking triathlon”. Obviously, she was delirious, having plainly forgotten her own rule that she can only retire when she comes last. And Nerida, I must tell you that you have a long way to go, as you beat someone in their late 20s and you were 20 minutes ahead of the last competitor. I suggest you move to the second bottle of red pre-race if you want to retire early, although I suspect your competitive spirit (and I don’t mean you’re favourite Mezcal) will continue to drive you on. I can’t forget that at last year’s Yamba tri you did the last loop of the cycle course with a totally flat back tyre with sparks flying behind you because you hate to f****** give up.

This was Benz’ first triathlon for some time. He had trained hard and only had one goal in mind heading into the race– to beat Debster. And he did, by a massive 19 seconds. With a bit more cycle training and little less faffing in T1 we could well see him back on the podium this season.

Gracie, who has loyally stayed with the club despite now living in a different country (QLD), was first in her category and 8th fastest female on the day.

We have strength and depth in the 60-64 women’s category, taking out 1st , 2nd and 4th, with El Presidenta Deb coming top (did I say she was 19 seconds behind Benz?), Robyn 3rd (posting a great cycle leg – just 3 seconds behind Christie) and Claire “the longer the better” coming 4th.

Sandra took out 3rd in the strong 65-69 women’s category despite “not feeling it” on the run (normally her best leg). Nick had a strong cycle (he was the 3rd fastest Breaker in this leg) but was plainly saving himself for the main event – the ten-pin bowling – as Huw and his dodgy hip beat him across the finish line – again.

Marg obviously decided we had enough talent on the day so joined another Sprint Team and they were the first female team across the line. Andy and Irv were joined by a friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend and their team had 3 wins on the day. They each had a timing chip. They came second overall in the team’s event. And they took out first place for the best team name with

“2 Pints Of Larger And A Packet Of Chips”

As always, a very big thanks to the Breakers Supporters Club, Becky, John, Nys, Joana, Kayte and Darren.

So that's a wrap for the first race of the 23/23 season. Results are listed in the previous post.


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