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Otter

Challenge Cairns

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Prologue:

 

It’s amazing what two beers can achieve. Never underestimate the power of two foaming pitchers of ale on an empty stomach blended with some bravado and spiced with a dash of stupidity. Right about now, men are nodding sagely (insert your foolish moment here) while women tisk and exhale, simultaneously rolling their eyes. There was more to the Cairns Challenge than just the Challemge Cairns, a chain of events preceded what was to become a memorable day. Remember, it’s not the surface of the water that you need to be afraid of, but what lies beneath. It was under these conditions where several incidents occurred and I have done my best to record them, here.

 

Recruitment:

 

With ‘The Cam’ hiding in Dusseldorf following his sex change operation and Wolfgang due to give birth any day, I was at a loose end for a worthy adversary, I feed on adversary. I’d grown fatter than I normally am (from 73kg’s to 80) and my training was down to about 3 hours a week. I wasn’t unhappy or suffering any sort of mid life crisis (I drive a VeeDub Tiguan and listen to Dance music) but I was definitely rotund, happy and growing increasingly stupid by the day. Much like Captain Willard lying drugged out underneath the cealing fan, I needed a mission… I tried taunting Gimili and it was sort of fun, but he’s about 3 hours faster than me, so other than being a sure fire way to give several hundred dollars to charity this was never going to deliver the sort of entertainment that I was seeking.

 

Enter the Editor. Let’s call him ‘Tim’ (his real name). ‘Tim’ is possibly the editor of one of our many national Triathlon magazines and in Cairns to cover the Challenge. ‘Tim’s maybe done a few sprints and he might even have done an Olympic distance once, a few years back, mostly he plays hockey. For this weekend, ‘Tim’ had planned to step up and have a go at the Half in Cairns. He was very excited about this. It took a little over two beers and several lies to convince him that he was far better suited to having a crack at the full distance. For some reason or another, over time, I’ve been called many nasty names, but I think the most offensive is ‘The Enabler’. It hurts because it’s true, I just live for enticing others to join the cult. It’s like taking candy from a baby. The two hour and two beer conversation can be summarised as follows:

- Tim, Iron distance racing is easy as long as you take your time

- If we parked some gold bullion and available women at the finish, you’d finish

- Just break it down into small easy chunks and eat the elephant one bite at a time.

- Think of the <kudos, envious stares of others, adoring public, credibility, insert your own bs justification here> that will be adorned on you when you become an iron distance or Challenged Man (the C-Tick, it’s similar to the M-Dot but is far more socially aware and generally much cooler ever since Ben Fertec launched the ill fated Millionaire’s Entry Club and ensured that WTC would rate with rapists and climate deniers on the all important internet forum index of tri cred).

 

Back to Tim and the foaming pitchers of beer…

Otter - “Tim, you should do this long course thing, your readers demand it”.

Tim – “OK, I’ll do it!”

Otter – “Drink the Kool-Aid Tim, drink…”

 

So, with the side-show Bob moment out of the way I paused momentarily to consider my own race strategy. I like long course racing. You get whole months of entertainment in the build-up. Are you doing that Challenge thing? Why yes I am <insert smiley face>. Wow, that’s a long way, you look fat, how do you think you’ll go? I’m predicting a sub-12, blah, blah, blah. Its really cool just to have entered. This is followed by race week (also very cool). Unfortunately there is a sodding long swim, bike and run before the really cool ‘unlimited eating’ can commence. Such is life. My training had been minimally consistent. It sounds like I’m trying to make under training sound cool or that I’m attempting to belittle the distance, I’m not, its just that there are two things getting in the way between me and real training.

 

Firstly, I find long swim sets, bike rides and runs as boring as bat-shit. If I can’t be out of the water in less than an hour or off the road in less than two then I’m just over it. This could be called a lack of self discipline or it could just be that really long training sessions are really boring for anyone with an IQ over 20. Secondly (given my double digit IQ - 39), I’ve done the math. I can suck down quarter pounders, eat entire rounds of triple brie and enjoy my couch time and still finish in under 17 hours (more like about 15). Or I could train for 3000 hours and maybe, maybe go around in 12 something, it just doesn’t add up. I can’t win but I can enjoy myself, immensely.

 

Game Day

 

I love Game Day. I really do. The alarm sounded at a very reasonable 4.15am and I rolled out of bed like a coiled spring or a slightly arthritic advanced ageing 39 year old, whatever. Nothing a very short black and a vegemite muffin wouldn’t fix. I got stuck on the bus to Yorkies with Coffs Pete doing his Kevin Bloody Wilson impersonation. He seemed very happy about the fact that Yoyo was on the bus and so was the Penthouse Pet. Normally I would have found his loud mouth routine really amusing (he is actually quite funny) but on race morning with a nervous stomach and a pre race turd lurking I found myself muttering “Shut up idiot before I fu*king hurt you”. He didn’t shut up and I realised my mental threats were idle. I sat in stony silence. My only consolation was that Editor Tim looked sicker and greener than I. When ever he looked furtively at me I simply muttered “Embrace the pain”. My thousand yard stare was resolute.

 

I pumped the tyres and stuffed several packets of foul tasting bulls*it fast gel into my oversize Bento box. I applied several litres of lube to my neck, crotch and arms. I over-lube and I don’t apologise for it. Several people stared at me with comments like “You right?”. I stared back and made “Mmmmm, Ohhhhh, mmmm” noises. They went away. Basted like a Christmas turkey I walked onto the beach and began to chant the mantra. Two days before I’d attempted a warm-up swim. A ‘local’ had greeted me with the following – “No maaate, we don’t swim here, there’s a mating pair of crocs around the point and a box jelly just over there, no swimming”. F*ck that, I’m an ironman (I have a certificate and a medal and sh*t) so I was unconcerned about such things.

 

“Bang” - Race start. Never swim in a two lap ‘M’ shaped course, because the number of turns and the release of the ‘Half Distance’ wannabe’s half way through the swim lead to a new level of ultra tri violence. I was punched, probed and fisted like never before. I drew particular angst from the ‘gentleman who grabbed my calf, ball and shoulder as he passed me. Normally I deplore violence, but in this case I made an exception and punched him as hard as I could in the centre of his thigh. I was met with a satisfying yelp. I hope it really hurt you scurvy dog. (I apologise unreservedly the fine competitors of the Challenge Half at this point, I was just feeling a little frustrated. It was a dark and murky swim and the violence was high. I managed to keep The Editor on my hip for both laps. No way was that publishing pussy pulling the rip cord this early, I wanted to enjoy his suffering and there was much, much more to come. After 1.15 minutes of flailing around in the croc infested murky irukandji swarming waters off Yorkies Knob (what the hell is a knob?) I strutted up the beach and approached the bike leg.

 

Terrified

 

I can swim, It’s just something that I can do. I’m not fast, but 3.8 is easy. Truly, the last time I had swum was Busso, in Dec 2010. Not one wet stroke had been swum in anger since, yet my confidence in a rock solid swim performance through the crocs and the jelly fish and the mutant legs grabbers had never waivered. The bike on the other hand… Yes it’s true I own a bike shop but I’m just not a gifted bike rider. I know I can ride 120k’s, but beyond that, well the outcome is uncertain. After the 8 hr 15 min debacle that was Port a few years ago, well anything can happen. I high fived Editor Tim (sucker) and grabbed my trusty steed. Looking at the photos (competitor 292 if you’re interested) I was shocked at how fat I’d grown but I had no idea this was the case on race day, and so it went.

 

Lets just take a minute here – Cairns has the most beautiful, brilliant and flowing bike course of any iron distance race in the world – repeat that, it really does. Add this race to your must-do list, then do it, you must do it. The 60k’s of the Cook Hwy that is closed for our benefit is God’s country. I would happily give my left kidney to do this ride. To do so while in a Challenge ‘race’, well, there is no equal to this experience. It’s rolling but gentle, the speed from each descent propels you up over the next rise. The breeze is tail wind on the way out and cooling cross wind on the return, the ocean sits a few meters from your front wheel and the beautiful silence moved me to just a few tears. These moments are seldom in life and are to be savoured.

 

While I was busy with the savouring and the enjoying I had rolled up alongside The Editor and was deep in conversation about all things triathlon. We both had rolled up behind several other competitors ahead. The subtle whizzz of the Techie Moped buzzed past me and the TO smiled a toothy grin and flashed me a yellow card. Adpoting the innocence of a Virgin airline owner I asked the question “Moi?”. All I received was a curt nod from the TO as he glided away in search of more prey.

 

I’ve just been busted for blocking, drafting and other unspecified crimes against humanity. The Editor began to laugh his head off, really loud. I though about this for a second and decided that it was harsh, but fair. A few days before Simone had introduced me to several of the TO’s for the Cairn’s Challenge. Being the overly funny guy that I am, I had mentioned that they should keep an eye on her as she was a known rampant drafting cheat (not true) and that they should hand out a swag of penalties her way (partially true). I’m an idiot. I’d just been caught in a classic Simone reverse trap – I recognised that TO. Hate you guys…

 

Do the crime, do the time. The Editor pulled in for a dump and I accelerated; time to do some iron k’s. I drove the bike onwards towards infinity. At 60 k’s I hit Port Douglas and what do you know, but there was a big sign “Drafting is Cheating!!!”, sin bin ahead. With 60 k’s of vacant road to locate a sin bin, the Challenge crew had selected down-town Port D. Where else? Fortunately the locals of Port D were not armed with rotten tomatoes or an in-depth knowledge of tri so I was able to stand down for five minutes in relative obscurity.

 

TO: Why are you here?”

Me: Blocking, I think, and drafting, both really…”

TO: “OK, Um, really, both huh?”

Me “Yup”

TO: “Well which one?”

Me: “Both”.

TO: “OK well that’s five minutes, we’ll count you down”.

 

At this point I could have hugged both the TO and her assistant. My longest training ride was 55k and I was knackered. I stood in the sin bin and luxuriated in the feeling of not having to pedal another stroke for five wonderful minutes. While I was standing there Macca went storming past on his second lap, he looked really fit. I heard later that he caught up to Clayton and another pro that had got out of the water first, eyeballed them and said “Its not a half boys, we do this all day” and then accelerated away. Don’t know if its true but I hope so.

 

All too soon I was back on the bike and enjoying the scenery. I maintained morale by remembering that The editor (both he and Simone passed me while I was in the sin bin) had promised to buy me a coffee in Port D on the second lap. At the 120 k mark I hit Port D for the second time and began the terminator search for my caffeine hit. Nothing. No editor, no coffee. After towing his lame “I cant do a full distance” ass around the swim and taking his yellow card, nothing, no coffee, no editor, no love. Also, at 119 k’s the wheels had come right off my wagon. My failure to train had hit home, I was wasted. I pulled into the last bastion of hope, Bakers Delight, Port Douglas.

 

Bakers helper: “Are you in the race?”

Me: “Yep, I’m going for the win, but I need some carbs, do you have any pies?”

Bakers helper: “Wow, you’re the first triathlete that has actually stopped here, are you really in the race?”

Me: “Yep, going for the win, what’s that tasty looking pasty you have there?”

Bakers helper: “That’s a passion fruit custard pull apart”.

Me: “I’ll have that”.

Bakers helper: “Sure Dude, we’re about to close, you can have that no charge.”

Me: “Cool, thanks, does this mean I’m sponsored by Bakers Delight?”

Bakers helper (looks unsure): “OK, how far do you guys have to go?”

Me: “Just give me the pastry, bitch”.

 

Actually that last sentence was just running through my head (very fuzzy at this stage). I sat on a white plastic chair for 15 glorious minutes and devoured a loaf sized passionfruit and custard pull-apart. This would have far reaching implications for the rest of my day. I ate the entire thing, I estimate its mass to be roughly 2kg’s. Before we go on I should summarise my preparation for the Challenge Cairns:

Swimming – nothing since Busso, Dec 2010, not one stroke unless you include bath time.

Bike – Rode to work about 4 days a week, 12 k’s each way. 2 rides to Frankston and back, about 55 k’s each

Run – 4 x 10 k runs. But quality, every step.

 

I hit the 150 k mark on the bike and the lights went out. I’d spent the previous 30k’s with crippling stomach cramps from that passion pull-apart that some ass clown had made me eat in Port D. I wasn’t sure if I was going to sh*t my tri shorts or just vomit up some of my small intestine but I was pretty sure that the guy at Baker’s had attempted to poison me. At the 160 k mark I came good and stomped on the pedals like a Trojan (the warrior, not the condom). At 180 k I realised that it was a 183 k bike leg. I consider myself metally tough, but if I could have quit at this point, I would have. The last 3 k’s though the cane fields, with the howling 10kt head wind saw me in the small dog (I ride compacts) averaging about 12 kph, really hate you guys. I dismounted determined to sell the bike for $10 and take up poker as my new endurance sport. I sat in T2 and drafted a new “I will never do this again” manifesto. I stumbled out onto the run with no fathomable idea what would happen for the next 42.2k’s. I felt f*cked.

 

The first 19k’s of the run leg was like meditation. Just a nice quiet highway, the tooting of car horns as the faster age groupers returned to collect their bikes, having finished, bemused locals wondering why the road kill was trying to jog and the odd aid station vollie asking “Are you OK?”. I lie really well, I was trained by the best.

At 19.1 k’s I rock into Cairns and everything changes. I’d finally digested that loaf sized pull apart, I’d destroyed the internals of a portaloo (I saw ‘Kenney’, they can clean that sh*t) and I’d started to shuffle. I swear if one more drunk bogan shouted out just one more word of encouragement like “You’re looking good” or “You’ll finish” I would have snapped and given RBT an ‘R’ rating but there was just no escaping the totally in town 3.5 laps of Cairns. And to be fair, the encouragement was so genuine and so meant that I just had to shut the f*ck up, accept the support and get the job done. At about 30 k’s the big piece of mesh that the doc’s put inside me started flaring up and I thought ‘oh boy, here we go again, about to meet Dr Patel and the rest of the Qld health system, but fortunately it died down. At 32 k’s I came good and I knew it would take global warming to stop me from finishing. I saw The Editor (already finished) with the iron fever in his eyes. Remember your first Iron finish, really remember it? There was an emotional man, who 2 days ago had no idea what he’d do. Tears welled up and I knew there would be some man hugging at the finish line. I put the throttles to full and revved the engines into the danger zone.

 

The last few k’s of an iron distance race is a special time. The body was shot but the endorphins were running amok and I was in heaven. The drunk cheering bogans were my best friends and all I needed to cap off the day was the sight of Gimili’s body slumped under a space blanket being loaded into an ambulance on its way to the Qld health system, I really thought I’d see that, really…

 

400 meters from the finish line I made sure there was no-one ahead or behind and I wound the mechanism up to 4 minute k’s, good posture and accelerated down the finish chute, always finish well. The emotion never disappoints, its my tri crack and why I start. Hands out both sides I run the wave of the crowd and explode into the finish chute. The editor looks happier than I am (and I’m pretty happy). It’s a very, very long way in a day but its over. I cry a bit (manly tears hid under a towel), and proceed to eat the most glorious savoury semi warm congealed lasagne ever, on a plastic plate with a plastic fork. I get more hugs from Simone and The editor, coma is nearby, another 12 months till I try this again… Happy ending…

 

Aftermath

 

There is an upside to going very slowly. Apart from some rather large walnut style foot blisters, there is nothing. I rode to work today, I’m set to do some training with a Roth hopeful on Saturday and well, I might even go for a run. The endorphins are flowing and I’m looking for my next fix. Lets call it iron tourism, go to a race, buy lots of bling and roll around, its close to paradise and I cant think of anything better to do right now. Always, always, always attempt to talk others into attempting such foolishness. Look out for the editorial in the next tri mag…

 

Till next time. 

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Classic report as always. :lol:

 

Full repsect for Tim! He looked pretty tired, but happy when he came into the recovert tent. See you all next year!!

Edited by skel

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Bugger TU's book.

 

I'll be waiting for Otter's.

 

Brilliant stuff. And the bike course described beautifully.

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What an awesome report. I love your work.

 

Reading your "Real Race Day Tips for the Long Course BOP'er" helped me realise my dream of finishing an Ironman (just under 15hr - BOP credentials certified) and this latest installment has me now seriously considering the NQ Challenge.

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Funniest thing I have read all week Otter - great report.

 

Glad to see you sponsored by Bakers Delight :lol:

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Never underestimate the power of two foaming pitchers of ale on an empty stomach blended with some bravado and spiced with a dash of stupidity. Right about now, men are nodding sagely (insert your foolish moment here) ...

 

Insert one more...

Bring on CC 2012!

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I bow yet again to the master.

 

It's the rodent's report forum and the rest of us are just visiting. :lol:

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you owe me a new incontinence garment :lol:

 

much funnier than the twaddle about 'The Art of Tweaking' some clown wrote in a Tri Mag :D

 

get the editor to put this report in - full technicolour

 

Miss16 works at Bakers Delight - can probably post you some free training nutrition (you should see all the stuff that gets fed to the local cows after the Sunday shift :D ). Use it for 12 mths, should be right as rain next time. Can probably get you one of their awesome uniforms for your next IM :lol:

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Well done Otter. I love people proving you can finish these races on zero training. People don't believe me when I tell them this.

 

Parts I enjoyed were....

 

I’ve just been busted for blocking, drafting and other unspecified crimes against humanity.

 

Macca went storming past on his second lap, he looked really fit. I heard later that he caught up to Clayton and another pro that had got out of the water first, eyeballed them and said “Its not a half boys, we do this all day” and then accelerated away.

 

at 119 k’s the wheels had come right off my wagon. My failure to train had hit home, I was wasted. I pulled into the last bastion of hope, Bakers Delight, Port Douglas.

 

 

I hit the 150 k mark on the bike and the lights went out. I’d spent the previous 30k’s with crippling stomach cramps from that passion pull-apart that some ass clown had made me eat in Port D.

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Is Tim Pete Jacobs' mate ? they were both staying in the same joint as me..... sh*t he looked nervous at the swim start !

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I’ve done the math. I can suck down quarter pounders, eat entire rounds of triple brie and enjoy my couch time and still finish in under 17 hours (more like about 15). Or I could train for 3000 hours and maybe, maybe go around in 12 something, it just doesn’t add up. I can’t win but I can enjoy myself, immensely.

 

No serious insects here...........just furry rodents :lol:

 

Awesome race and report Otter.

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Please tell me he didn't do it on that POS gios, and that you got him a decent ride? that death trap wouldn't even make it 100km, let alone 183!

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Love it. Otter you set the bar high. Not in performance, but in race reports. Mank, Ayto, AntiSport and I must all bow to your literary skills in making crap sound like an epic performance. Fortunately we all have much crap in our futures to draw upon.

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A few things...

 

Yes - I will accept a Baker's Delight sponsorship (can you think of any other triathlete that will do more than I will for the brand?) - friend me...

No, Tim was not, I repeat, not on a Gios, he has some bulls&it fast cash for comment deal with trek...

Yes I will train for Roth, a bit...

Yo2 - everyone is Pete Jacob's mate - that doesnt really narrow it down much. If you're going to name drop can you please restrict it to "Macca and I were naked in the hot tub when..."

 

I will return to Cairns in 2012 (the last year of the Mayan calander) and I shall have my vengance. Gimili - you will feel like you just had a vasectomy. That is all.

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Awesome stuff Otter. The day and the read.

We've got to wear nametags so we can ID everyone next year.

My 1st IM was in Cairns with a metric shiteload of training prep etc.

14:50.

And I wasn't shagged all day. Next year I'm aiming for the back of the MOP!

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I just love your race reports Otter!! You have such a great attitude to races and it's just hilarious to read!!! Mrr CC and I reckon that Challenge and WTC should pay your entry to races just for the race reports!!!

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Lets just take a minute here – Cairns has the most beautiful, brilliant and flowing bike course of any iron distance race in the world – repeat that, it really does. Add this race to your must-do list, then do it, you must do it. The 60k’s of the Cook Hwy that is closed for our benefit is God’s country. I would happily give my left kidney to do this ride. To do so while in a Challenge ‘race’, well, there is no equal to this experience. It’s rolling but gentle, the speed from each descent propels you up over the next rise. The breeze is tail wind on the way out and cooling cross wind on the return, the ocean sits a few meters from your front wheel and the beautiful silence moved me to just a few tears. These moments are seldom in life and are to be savoured.

 

I thought the same thing when watching the coverage on TV.

 

It looked spectacular.

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Otter your inspiring for those of us who don't have 3000 hours to train.

 

Having just driven the bike course this morning it is stunning and I can't believe they closed it for a few triathletes.

 

Need to find a location which combines the Cairns bike course with the Torquay cliff top run and you'd have a course made in heaven.

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Someone mentioned this report in Tri Chat so I thought I would have a look.

Glad I did - it's one of the funniest things I have read.

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