My name is Zsolt Dallos, I was born in Budapest, Hungary. I am happily married man and a proud dad of one, living our dream on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland.
Before starting my triathlon journey in 2014, I used compete in dragon boating and kayaking at an Olympic level, this was my passion and a sport that was part of my life since 1992 until my retirement in 2013. In 2008 I was selected in the ‘Surf and Kayak to London 2012’ squad and so I packed up my life in Sydney and headed to Queensland to pursue my dream of competing at the Olympics. Unfortunately I missed selection onto the team, it was at this time I took the opportunity to reflect and re-evaluate my goals and determine if I still had the desire to continue kayaking or if it was time to do something different.
Triathlon was an easy choice! I loved riding, running was part of my daily life and a requirement of being a professional lifeguard, and swimming was given. I just had to put the three disciplines together. It has been an incredible journey since I started 2 years ago, I take pride in the fact that I have finished every race on or close to the podium, which gives me plenty of confidence for future challenges in years to come!
- Hervey Bay 100 2016 (35-39 age group)- 1st
- Noosa Triathlon 2016 (35-39 age group)- 5th
- Ironman 70.3 Budapest 2016 (35-39 age group) – 14th
- Mooloolaba Triathlon 2016 (35-39 age group)— 2nd
- Kingscliff Triathlon/QLD State Championships 2016 (35-39 age group) – 1st
- Trex Offroad Triathlon/QLD State Championships 2016 (35-39 age group) – 2nd
- Gatorade QLD Triathlon series overall 3rd 2015-16 (35-39 age group) – 3x 2nd, 2x 3rd
- Gatorade QLD Triathlon series overall winner 2014-15 (90-99kg) – 4 race wins, 2x 3rd
- State and National Kayak titles in Australia 2001-2013
- National Emerging Kayak Team member 2010
- State and National Dragon boat titles 2007
- World Dragon Boat Championships 2007 – 4th Open Men 200m
- State and National Kayak titles in Hungary 1992-2000
Race Report – ITU Multisport World Championships, Canada
Took out 5th place in my age group at the ITU Multisport World Championships long distance race (65 starters), 21st overall age grouper out of 821. Very happy, how I raced, first time doing that distance, finish time 6:20:54 (47:20 3km swim, 3:07:20 120km bike, 2:21:30 30km run) Things to work on, but it’s time to have a well deserved rest and recovery!!! Massive thank you to my amazing wife @fithabit_nutrition for being there for me all the time, so I can do all the crazy training, to Xtreme Carbon for their generous support and for giving me the fastest wheels on the market (had the 3rd fastest overall bike leg today!) Also a big thank you to my family and friends for their support and generous donations, to @tobycoote for his expertise @sunshinecoasttriathlonacademy , shout out also to Aquaman Australia, @nutritionwarehouse@wellsure_health @cyclezone @vorgee@exceedrealestate @infinitnutritionoz for all their products and services!!!! Without you guys,I could not have achieved this, so THANK YOU!!!! @triaustralia @scodyaus
Race Report – Moreton Bay Tri
And that’s a wrap. Season done and dusted, finished 2nd behind @peter_court – Congrats mate, great race again!! This result was enough to claim top spot in @triathlonqueensland Nissan State Series. Thank you for the amazing people behind this result, @wellsure_health @cyclezone@nutritionwarehouse @vorgee@fusionmultisport@sunshinecoasttriathlonacademy@fithabit_nutrition and of course @xtremecarbon #ambassador
Race Report – Kingscliff Tri
On the #dias close, but no #cigar …happy, considering I was contemplating pulling out, due to being sick this week, but pulled through, posted some decent times apart from the run, I was baked by the end of it! Now, a well earned rest, then start gearing up for the second half of the year! As Always, thank you to the guys behind this result, @xtremecarbon@nutritionwarehouse @wellsure_health@cyclezone @fusionmultisport @vorgee@infinitnutritionoz@sunshinecoasttriathlonacademy@fithabit_nutrition
Race Report – Hervey Bay 100
Sunday is race day, my challenge, the tough Hervey Bay 100, it’s a National Long Course Qualifying Race consisting of Swim 2km – Ride 80km – Run 18km.
The race started with a very windy, choppy and long swim, I was happy how it went considering the conditions. Onto the bike and I had a flying start and I was feeling good, it was overcast and windy still it was a great course, apart from the off road section due to roadworks with that came many punctures and a ‘no passing’ zone. I had to time it perfect to not lose time there but I still did, I got caught behind slower riders, but it was needed due to safety! Onto the run with fresh legs, that didn’t last though! It was a battle when the sun came out and it was sufferinparadise! I managed to hang in there, grind my way to the top of the podium and claimed 1st place! So super happy collecting my bling with my biggest motivation, my son Zaiden.
Thank You again to xtreme carbon, Nutrition Warehouse, Cyclezone, Wellsure Health, Vorgee, @fithabit_nutrition and Sunshine Coast Triathlon Academy for your ongoing support you guys rock!
Race Report- Mooloolaba Triathlon
Mooloolaba triathlon done for another year, a very tough race, but was lucky enough to get on the Dias at third place that I’m super happy with! Congrats to Brad Dalrymple for an amazing race claiming victory and also to Peter Court for his second place! Well done lads! Thank you to Xtreme Carbon for giving me the chance to be an ambassador for their awesome wheels! Cheers Brad and Tracey! A shout out to Nutrition Warehouse Wellsure Health, Cyclezone, Sunshine Coast Triathlon Academy, Toby Coote for helping me and my gear to be in great shape! Also like to thank to Vorgee, Fusion Multisport, Infinit Nutrition Oz Trilogy Cycles for their involvement with where I’m today! Bigger and better things to come, so strap yourself in!
Race Report- QTS Raby Bay
Took second place today behind the super fish Peter Court and in front of biking and running gun Robert Cordle at the Queensland Triathlon Series in Raby Bay. It was a good lead up race to Mooloolaba Tri in a few weeks, but after a hard training week I was on heavy legs. I had a reasonable swim coming out of the water in 5th, the bike felt fast thanks to my xtreme carbon wheels, but due to flat legs I ended the bike leg with the 3rd fastest time. During the run I thought I’d pull my finger out and came home with the 3rd fastest time and secured my spot on the podium. So overall, a good hit out! It was a very well organised event again by The Event Crew!!! Thank you to Nutrition Warehouse, Cyclezone, Wellsure Health, Fusion Multisport, Vorgee, Sunshine Coast Triathlon Academy, fithabit_nutrition and last but certainly not least xtreme carbon for your ongoing support! Bring on Mooloolaba
Race Report- Hell of the West
Dust settled, body is in recovery mode, so let me tell you how Hell of the West unfolded. The swim started in the dark at 5:05am, the leg was a bit over 2km and I was out of the river in 9th position in my age group. The ride was windy and on rough country roads, I made up good time, posting fastest split in the category, that felt good! Off the bike and onto the running, it was hot and there were three laps ahead of me. The first one felt good, holding steady pace. On the second lap my hammy’s got tight and couldn’t shake it, so time dropped off but I kept hanging in there. Super happy with my silver behind Scotty Farrell, congrats on your win Scotty! Thanks to Scody for the $80 voucher for my troubles, hoping to use it for the National Team Uniform and compete in Canada at the World Championship later in the year! Thanks for your ongoing support Nutrition Warehouse Cyclezone Wellsure Health Fusion Multisport, fithabit_nutrition, Sunshine Coast Triathlon Academy and of course xtreme carbon for the amazing aero wheels.
Race Report- QTS National Sprint Championships, Robina
First race of 2017 is done, and I’m very happy with how it turned out. Taking out 3rd in the National Sprint Championships 35-39 Age group! Claiming the fastest bike leg in the age group and 3rd overall makes me very proud and being able to run off that with a 3:42/km pace for 5km is a great feeling. Even my swim was ok, 8th in my category so not too shabby! I felt good in every discipline and considering that I haven’t done much speed work due to focusing on long distance Nationals in a couple of weeks, it’s even more satisfying to get a Championship medal today with only 40seconds between first and me in third place.
I would like to thank Toby Coote and Sunshine Coast Triathlon Academy for pushing me at training sessions and of course my supporters, Nutrition Warehouse Wellsure Health, Cyclezone, Fusion Multisport, fithabit_nutrition and a massive thank you to xtreme carbon for giving me these super-fast wheels! Another great event by The Event Crew!
I grew up in Sydney, around the Northern Beaches. In my mid 20’s I moved to Darwin NT for work where I took up triathlon. Darwin was the perfect training ground to take up triathlon, great weather, quiet roads and a strong nurturing club. While in Darwin I worked as an Exercise Physiologist and travelled through the NT for work. I managed to make time to run, ride and swim in some amazing and remote places.
Racing in tropical conditions adds an extra element of tough to racing which I believe helped me to develop resilience in training and racing. I had some great results through my 70.3 racing and was given a Professional License in 2011. In 2011 I raced my first Ironman in NZ which I loved and raced 3 more times that year, placing 2nd in Cairns, 1st in Barcelona and 2nd in Busselton. Since then I have placed, 1st, 2nd and 3rd at Ironman Australia and had multiple other Ironman podium finishes.
Triathlon has given me the opportunity to travel all over the world, meet amazing people and push myself further physically and mentally than I thought was possible. I’m looking to some more exciting racing over the next year.
- Ironman Sunshine Coast 70.3 (Pro field) -3rd
- Ironman Australia (Port Macquarie) 140.6 (Pro field) – 2nd
Race Report – Ironman Sunshine Coast 70.3
Sunshine Coast 70.3. Found my happy place out there! 3rd place and first time on the 70.3 podium. Had such a great day absorbing the experience. The crowds and support was awesome. Thanks to 17 hours and Witsup for the photos. I’m privileged to be supported by Xtreme Carbon Wheels, 17 Hours, Infinit Nutrition and Innovations Sports Physiotherapy- thanks. And special thanks to @thapup 🙂
Race Report – Ironman Sunshine Coast 70.3
2nd place at Ironman Australia yesterday to an outstanding Laura Siddal. I’ve had a couple of years off training/racing and I am so stoked I picked Port Macquarie for my first race back, it is an amazing place to race (though I may have nightmares about Matthew Flinders hill).My goal for the day was to get out and have fun and get to the finish line, anything else was a bonus. So I’m incredibly happy.
I have so many people to thank for getting me back out racing and believing in me when I didn’t even believe in myself. John Moore thanks for setting me such a personalised training plan which got me to the start line. Thanks everyone who cheered, sent supportive messages and made the trip up to Port Mac to cheer.
I am lucky to be supported by Xtreme Carbon Wheels, Infinit Nutrition, Aquaman Wetsuits, 17 hours Clothing, Felt Bicycles. Thanks for helping me out with the best products and for your support.
My name is Erin Doyle and I live in Newcastle, NSW. I share my life with my very supportive partner, Warwick, a very passionate triathlete and dedicated coach. Three years ago I had never done a triathlon. I was overwhelmed by the complexity of the sport and felt intimidated by the swimming component. Having grown up on a farm in the Upper Hunter Valley, I was very nervous and inexperienced about swimming in the ocean. My work as an occupational therapist, helping people after traumatic injuries made me hesitant about riding out on the open road.
Challenged by my sister, I finally committed to doing a triathlon in late 2014. I was living in Orange and it was a chilly 9 degrees. I swam in the cold, dark lake in an old surfing wetsuit. I rode my mountain bike in the pouring rain. When I ran through the finish chute, however, I was elated. Despite the awful conditions, I absolutely loved the whole triathlon experience. I felt totally alive and I was very proud of myself. It was this experience that ignited my passion for triathlon. Little did I know, that triathlon would very quickly change my life.
I found someone willing to coach me and started training. I learnt how to clip my feet onto the bike pedals and started swimming in a squad, something that I had always longed to do. I felt a great sense of fit being part of the triathlon community. One evening after less than 3 months of training, my coach asked me about my goals for triathlon. Without hesitation, I declared that I wanted to wear the green and gold and represent my country. I was surprised when he asked me when I wanted to qualify for the World Championships. That night I went home and registered for all the races that would help you qualify. In my first qualifying race, I got disqualified for not completing the correct number of laps on the bike. I was devastated. With a determination to achieve my goal, I trained hard and in subsequent races I achieved age group places and even won my age group in one race. In less than six months, I had been selected for the Australian Triathlon Team for 2014.
I relocated to Newcastle to have the support of my family and accepted a part time job allowing me to do what I love and focus on triathlon. Two years later, I have represented Australia at the 2014 and 2015 World Triathlon Championships as well as the World Duathlon Championships where I placed 8th in the World. When I race within Australia now, I routinely place in the top 2 or 3 females outright, in short course, triathlon races. I am currently training for long course triathlon and will be racing my first Half distance triathlon later this season. Due to my passion for the sport, I am actively involved in the triathlon community in the Hunter region. I am the Secretary of the Newcastle Triathlon Club and the Hunter Interclub Triathlon Series. I have just started coaching too so that I can help others enjoy the sport too. I am loving all that I do.
- Forster (Elite Energy) Olympic Race October 2016 – 2nd Place Female overall
- Forster (Elite Energy) Sprint Race October 2015 – 2nd Place Female overall
- Wyong (Elite Energy) Sprint Race November 2015 – 2nd Place Female overall
- Husky (Elite Energy) Sprint Race February 2016 – 1st in 30-34 Age group
- Sparke Helmore Sprint Race (Newcastle) March 2016 – 2nd Place Female overall
- Hunter Interclub Triathlon Series – 2nd Place Female overall
- Crowdy Head, NSW January 2016 – 2nd Place Female overall
- ITU Age Group World Duathlon Championships, Short Course Race October 2015 – 8th in the World
- NSW Sprint Qualifying Race Sydney, NSW: December 2014 – 1st in 30-34 Age group
- ACT Sprint Qualifying Race Canberra, NSW: January 2015 – 2nd in 30-34 Age group
- Crowdy Head, NSW: January 2015 – 1st Place Female overall
- Elite Energy Olympic Distance State Cup Orange February 2015 – 1st in 30-34 Age group
- Tasmania Olympic Distance Qualifier Devonport, TAS: February 2015 – 2nd in 30-34 Age group
- Australian National Triathlon Championships 2015: Olympic Distance Wollongong, NSW: March 2015 – 6th in 30-35 Age group
- Qld Sprint Qualifying Race – Redcliffe, NSW: April 2015 – 2nd in 30-34 Age group
- ITU Age Group World Triathlon Championships 2014 Edmonton, Canada: September 2014 Olympic Distance (30-34 Age group) – 24th in the World; 3rd Australian athlete.
- Australian National Duathlon Championships 2014: Standard Distance Adelaide, SA: October 2014 – 2nd in 30-34 year old age group
- Australian National Triathlon Championships 2014: Olympic Distance Australian National Sprint Distance Champion 2014/215 Devonport, TAS: February 2014- 6th in 30-35 Age group
- NSW Olympic Qualifying Race 2014 Wollongong, NSW: March 2014 – 1st in 25-29 year old age group
- NSW Elite Energy Series: 2013/2014 Olympic Distance 25-29 Age group – Age Group Champion
- Australian Triathlon President’s Team 2014
Race Report- Ironman Australia 70.3, Port Macquarie
Wow- What a fun day!! How special to do my first Ironman 70.3 race in the town where I spent my childhood holidays. Warwick, you’re the best – running around after me, always there for me. Thank you to everyone I train with at Aquaman Coaching for motivating me to train hard and enjoy it. My friends and family – so great to have you there, cheering and creating the amazing atmosphere for us all. Thanks to Xtreme Carbon for your bringing me on board and giving me the opportunity to ride your fast race wheels. Well done to everyone that raced. I’m stoked to place 3rd in my age group and 7th Female overall. What a buzz for my first 70.3 race. Can’t wait to race again!
Race Report- Elite Energy Port Stephens
Feeling chuffed. I’ve always wanted to grab the ribbon in an Olympic Distance race. Today I did, only just though! I had a great swim – it was a bit long (2km), rolling swell, waves with a long beach run between. I drafted off the lead chick that wasn’t wearing a wetsuit. I kept thinking how much faster she would be if she was in an Aquaman suit (long swim, had lots of time to think!) Anyway, I was first onto the bike. Felt amazing to fly down the hills on my Xtreme Carbon wheels. I wasn’t as strong as Kate and Rowan going up the hills though so I had some catching up to do once I racked my bike. Today I wanted to run well off the bike – and I did just that. I managed to run into the lead and hold it, just. Thanks Kate O’Conner for pushing me all the way, great race. Thanks to Warwick for supporting everything I do and creating the best training group for all of us, Aquaman Coaching. Thanks Xtreme Carbon – loved racing on your wheels today. Thanks to my training buddy @phe_alexandra for sharing your enthusiasm for Triathlon. Finally thanks to Elite Energy and all the marshalls and spectators for such a great race.
Race report- NSW State Championships, Coffs Harbour
Today I had the opportunity to race against some very competitive girls in the NSW State OD Championships at Coffs Harbour. What a fantastic course, we kicked off with a beach start with a swim around the jetty. The bike leg kept me interested with a sharp hill climb, sharp turns and long straights and I really enjoyed running along the break wall with everyone. With tough competition and two months after flipping off my bike, I’m pretty stoked to get the Age Group win and finish 5th female overall. It was a nice surprise! Thanks to my friends that shared the day with me and for all your support
Race report- Sparke Helmore Triathlon
Newcastle Foreshore was the place to be today! Sparke Helmore Triathlon! The weather gods were kind for the Sprint race and I really enjoyed being out there racing again. It was not my best swim or bike but luckily I’ve held my run fitness and managed to run into Second Place today. A big shout to winner Nicky Western – I admire your bike skills on those hills and to Claire Dedden for your awesome swim! Well done to everyone else that raced today – I saw new achievements all round. Thinking of two friends that weren’t so lucky and had visits to ED – wishing you a speedy recovery!
Race report- Huskisson Triathlon Festival
Today’s Sprint race was one of the most rewarding races I’ve done. Those close to me, know that I’ve found the last 6weeks hard. This morning I completed the swim leg well behind the front group, as I expected. I then set two goals: 1. overtake as many girls as possible 2. Not let anyone overtake me. The result: I achieved both!
I came away with the second fastest run split, an AG podium finish and fifth place overall. The best part, I found my joy back! Thanks to Warwick for your patience and being my rock, Jess (garden_tri_nourish) for keeping me on track, Ross Young for building me tough, Clint Tallon for believing in me, to everyone I train with or that follows me for keeping me interested in the sport, and xtreme carbon and Skin Strong Australia for sharing the ups and downs. All this support has been very much appreciated.
My name is Emily Donker, I’m a keen triathlete and runner from Queensland Australia. I love to train and I love to race and always strive to achieve good results when competing.
Before my first triathlon race; an Olympic Distance event at Kingscliff in September 2010, I remember wondering what the hell I had signed up for! But soon enough I was hooked. I’m far from a ‘natural’ triathlete. It took me a couple of races to get through transition smoothly and unscathed, and I’ve made the highlights reel a few times… unfortunately for the wrong reasons! But, over the past 6 years I’ve worked hard and continued to have fun racing, and have been fortunate enough to travel to some fantastic race destinations and enjoy some success along the way.
Triathlon is much more than a sport – it’s a lifestyle, and I’m so grateful for the many fantastic experiences and memories that I’ve been able to share with my friends and my boyfriend since getting involved in the sport. I don’t know how I would spend my days without chlorine-enriched hair, weekend long rides, running on tired legs, and the nervous thrill of race day.
I set high standards for myself, and want to continue bettering my own performance and being competitive amongst the Open age group females. I love traveling to race destinations and exploring on the run and on my bike, and am looking forward to much more of this in 2017.
- QTS Robina Sprint Triathlon -Australian Champion – 1st (AG) – 3rd Female
- Hell of the West Long Course Triathlon – Australian Champion – 2nd (AG) – 2nd Female
- Lake Wanaka Half -4th (AG) – 6th Female
- Mooloolaba Triathlon – 6th
- SMH Half Marathon Sydney – 4th
- Noosa Ultimate Sports Fest 10km – 2nd
- City2South Brisbane – 5th
- Ipswich Park2Park – 1st
- City2Surf Sydney – 19th
- Sunshine Coast Half Marathon – 2nd
- Hell of the West Long Course Triathlon -1st (AG) – 3rd Female
- Mooloolaba Triathlon – 4th (Open Female)
- SMH Half Marathon Sydney – 9th
- Noosa Ultimate Sports Fest 10km – 3rd
- Fiji International Long Course Triathlon – 1st
- Lake Manchester Trail Run 10km – 1st
- Melbourne Marathon – 9th
- Noosa Triathlon – 7th (Open Female)
- Hell of the West Long Course Triathlon – 1st (AG) – 3rd Female
- Mooloolaba Triathlon – 3rd (Open Female)
- SMH Half Marathon Sydney – 11th
- Noosa Triathlon – 8th (Open Female)
Race Report- QTS Robina
Really enjoyed racing at QTS Robina this morning, and happy to put together a strong performance!! Finished 5th in a speedy field – great racing to the girls up front! 📷 @eamonn.ring @injinjipp @ventou_aus @xtremecarbon@v1cyclery @intrainingshop
Race Report- Ironman 70.3 Sunshine Coast
Raced hard and dug deep today at Sunshine Coast 70.3… and it hurt… a lot!!! But worth the pain to finish 1st in my AG and 10th female overall. Big thank you to all my sponsors @xtremecarbon, and to @eamonn.ring, @markturner197087, the @tri_nation_triathlon crew, and many more for the on course support! @injinjipp @ventou_aus @v1cyclery @intrainingshop and to @eamonn.ring, @markturner197087, the @tri_nation_triathlon crew, and many more for the on course support! @injinjipp @ventou_aus @v1cyclery @intrainingshop
Race Report- Ironman 70.3 Cairns
Cairns 70.3 was my major focus for the later part of the 2016-17 Tri Season. I was very keen to redeem myself in TNQ after racing there in both 2012 (my first ever 70.3) and 2013 with disappointing results. I’ve been working with Mark Turner for almost six months now, and am really enjoying his guidance and the strong sense of direction and purpose with my training. After racing well at Mooloolaba on limited preparation, I was really looking forward to increasing my running volume and building a strong base for more racing. April and May were busy with lots of work travel, but I made time for training and with Mark’s help I was able to manage this well and maintain consistent training volume. The Tri Nation training camp in Noosa over the Anzac Day long weekend was a great experience, and those 4 days were extremely valuable in my campaign towards Cairns 70.3. I really enjoyed the focused training and gained a lot of enjoyment and confidence from sharing over 20 hours of training with other dedicated, like-minded athletes.
Unfortunately, as seems to be the case when I find my running legs these days, I strained my right calf again during training in early May. Annoyed, frustrated and disappointed, Mark helped me to see the positives and to focus on strengthening my swimming and cycling. In between traveling interstate for work, I spent lots of time in the pool, and plenty of hours on the bike when I could. I had signed up to race Byron Tri, the SMH Half Marathon in Sydney, and Noosa 10km leading up to Cairns. I was keen to race another tri, and both running events are favourites on my racing calendar. It was hard missing out, but I had to focus on the bigger goal of getting to the start line of Cairns injury-free.
Eamonn and I travelled to Cairns early on Friday morning, built our bikes, registered and explored the expo before heading to the pool for an easy swim. I also did a 6km run and we then joined friends for dinner. Saturday morning was spent organising ourselves for the race – an easy ride, coffee, and then more km’s on the bike – north to Palm Cove to drop off bikes. After taking our run gear to T2, and strolling through the expo again, we relaxed for the rest of the afternoon.
Race day started very early as we were awake before 4am to catch the bus north to Palm Cove. With transition sorted, tri suit on and wetsuit in hand, I started jogging along the beach towards the swim start – I wanted to jog as part of my warm up, and was also conscious of getting to the start in plenty of time. It was before sunrise and still really dark. Thankfully some light started to show as I finished getting my wetsuit on, but I only had 5min spare for a warm up swim before the rolling start. I was standing with Eamonn a few rows back at the side of the entry gates to the swim start, and was very surprised that it was less than 2min before I was running down the beach into the water. The rolling start offered much less tussling and free swimming from early on, but the rough conditions and low light made sighting and getting out to the first bouy tougher than I expected. I swam alone and further out to sea than most people thanks to my natural tendency to breathe and drift to the right. I didn’t have feet to follow, but kept my line ok because my natural stroke was fighting the incoming tide. I never much enjoy wetsuit swimming as my shoulders tend to tighten up, but swimming with the sweeping tide made it relatively pleasant and meant that I felt quite fast in the water without expending too much energy. I didn’t look at my watch coming out of the water, but felt I’d had a good swim. Thanks to the sweep it was very fast – 26:56.
With bikes racked along the length of the esplanade, the run through transition was long. It took a few attempts for me to get my wetsuit off my left ankle over my timing chip. In between efforts, I turned on my garmin and put on my helmet, then tightened it and did it up, and then finally had my wetsuit off, then put my everything back into my transition bag. Needless to say it was not a fast transition.
I tried to push up the hill out of Palm Cove and set a good tempo on the bike right from the start. I knew there was an awfully long way to go, including hills and potential headwind on the way home, but wanted to ride hard and be positioned well off the bike because I didn’t know how much running my calf would get through. As expected, I was passed by a number of males on the bike, but tried to keep pushing my own tempo and focus on my own race. Each time someone passed me I made a point of taking a drink – it was a reset and made sure I was staying hydrated. Despite having raced Cairns twice before, I remembered very little about the course aside from it being hilly and very beautiful. Even being an overcast day, the coastline scenery certainly didn’t disappoint. It’s definitely worth all the twists and turns and every bit of undulation. The climbs also provided a great way to change tempo and move through different gears and positions on the bike, which I quite enjoyed. Although I trained a lot with power and HR targets, race day was all about riding to feel, and riding hard. Mark’s other recommendation was to maintain a controlled effort and try to limit spikes in HR or power, particularly uphill and into the headwind – this I was not so good at.
At the turn I unclipped and still rode off the road into the gravel, exhibiting my awful turning skills. We turned after about 30km and though I was feeling good, there was a long way to go. A few groups of riders passed me shortly after the turn and continued into the distance as I sat up for another drink. None of them seemed at all worried about being within the 12m draft zone. I had passed some of these riders earlier. I also found that with big groups passing, there was a long period where I couldn’t push hard because otherwise I’d be too close behind. I was frustrated because I just wanted to ride my own, honest race. Thankfully, for the next 30km or so back along the undulating coastline, I could’ve easily forgotten I was out racing – no one else passed me, and I passed 2 people. I enjoyed putting my head down again and riding at my own tempo. I was still feeling good. The last hill before Palm Cove pinched a bit, but then it was all smooth, flat roads into Cairns. Although there was a headwind, apparently we were lucky and it was just a breeze compared to the gale that blows through sometimes. It made for a good challenge, particularly alongside the airport.
Fuelling was a key focus for me also, so I really made an effort to focus and ensure I was taking on enough fluid and nutrition. I finished my first Endura bottle prior to the aid station at about 40km and successfully grabbed myself a bottle of water in exchange. I took 5 gels on the bike (approximately 30min apart), and got through 3 bottles – 2 water and 1 Endura. I also got another few mouthfuls of Endura before accidentally discarding my 2nd bottle somewhere in the cane fields near Yorkey’s Knob when I failed to put it back in my rear cage properly. More riders passed me as we rode along the Cairns esplanade and over the speed bumps into transition. I lost my spares canister at the very last speed bump – lucky I didn’t need it for the final 500m. I was pleased with my ride. I pushed myself and rode hard, my power numbers were good, and I came off the bike still able to run. My official split was 2:30:04.
Socks and shoes on, I had a moment of indecision about whether to put my helmet into the transition bag or not. After running off, I decided yes. Helmet in bag and visor and SPIbelt in-hand I then headed out to run. The clouds kept the sun hidden and temperature down, which made for quite pleasant running conditions. I felt ok, and just wanted to run as best I could for as long as I could. Cheering from the crowd kept me feeling positive and my legs didn’t feel too bad. My calves were behaving so far. After getting through the first few k’s alright, I was out on the esplanade and felt like I found a better rhythm. The loops and turns made the middle kms of each lap drag on, but it did allow me to keep track of where other runners were, and it was flat. I’d passed a few runners and seemed to be gaining on most ahead of me, but hadn’t looked at my watch and was just running at what felt to be a comfortable pace. I glanced at my watch just before the far turn, and was very surprised about my split time (4.10) and the fact that I’d already run 6km. I didn’t expect to be running that fast, but I was feeling good. Just ahead was 2nd place overall, who I caught and passed soon after the turn. I was starting to slow a little on the run back into the finish area, but was still feeling ok as we started the 2nd lap.
Running past the expo and through the club tent area lifted me again. When I checked my watch at 13km I had slowed quite considerably, but still was holding decent pace (4.38) given I’d gone into the run with very low expectations. But that is when everything started to unravel. I continued to slow as we looped through the middle of the esplanade and ran away from town towards the far turn. Both my calves were exceptionally tight and sore, and my legs felt like tree trunks. They did not want to run anymore, and very quickly I began to doubt my ability to continue running to the finish. I engaged survival mode and continued at a very slow jog. Soon I was struggling to keep up with others around me, and started slipping backwards through the field. I was back in 3rd place and knew that other girls were chasing me down, but I just wanted to finish and avoid walking.
My experience from Cairns 2012 really started to play on my mind. That year I’d run so well for 16km, but by 17km I’d completely fallen apart. I remember feeling dizzy and staggering off the footpath out near the airport and being told by one of the volunteers that I should stop. I did not stop, but I did a lot of walking – the final 4km took me an incredible 32min (I then got a wheelchair from the finish line and spent an hour lying on the most comfortable trestle table ever). Needless to say – being out near the airport, feeling awful and with 4km to go, I wasn’t feeling overly confident. But I plugged away. I’d certainly lost the spring from my step – it wasn’t fast and it wasn’t pretty, but I continued jogging. I slipped further back to 4th place, but at this point I just wanted to finish without walking. Knowing the finish wasn’t far away allowed me to pick up the pace a little for the final km. My run split was actually faster than I expected (1:37:23), but it hurt a whole lot more because I went out way too hard considering the minimal run training I’d done. I didn’t run smart, and perhaps if I’d paced myself better then I could’ve run even faster. At least I gave it shot.
My finish time and placing was not what I’d hoped for, but I gave it my all. After taking into account the rolling starts, I finished 2nd in my age group and 6th female overall in a time of 4:41:42. Given the lack of preparation and lingering calf injury, I can’t be upset with the result. I raced hard, and honestly gave it all I had.
Race blog from http://emilydonker.wixsite.com/triathlete
I have been racing triathlon competitively since my early teenage years with success on a state and national level. I got into the state series races through the school sport program and things progressed from there. I raced cross country and swimming on a national level through my school years. This is what propelled me into triathlon, in that swimming and running were always my strong legs I have just had to pick up the bike learn to respect it and ride it hard. I was a member of the Tri NSW high performance squad which raced the national triathlon series (sprint and Olympic). Just as I was about to make my step up to under 23 I had a bike accident which forced me out of the sport for quiet a few years. I’m now back racing age group Olympic and Sprint races nationally, with the goal to qualify for worlds in either distances as well as be back racing as a professional. I love this sport passionately! I have a passion for health and fitness, I always try to better myself as an athlete and person so i can have a good influence on those around me.
- Mooloolaba Triathlon- 3rd Place
- Coffs Harbour Triathlon- 4th Place National, 1st Place/ NSW State Champion
- Elite Energy Canberra Olympic Championships – 2nd Place (Age Group)
- Qualified for ITU World Championships Rotterdam
- Yarrawonga Triathlon- 1st Place
- Kingscliff Tri- 1st Place