Our resident club tough guy, Phil “Keglegs” Thomas, completed his annual pilgrimage to Goondiwindi last weekend taking part in what turned out to be a very aptly named triathlon event this year. His role, as always in The Hell of the West, was to power through the bike leg in the fastest possible time. As you’d expect, he didn’t disappoint. In the immortal words of Caroline Jones, this is his story…
This year I had some decent TT training under my belt and some new equipment (a skin suit) although I nearly dislocated my shoulders getting into it, and then then when you do manage to get into it you are constricted into the TT position even when standing upright! The only time it is comfortable is on the bike. I note that Johnny has one too, Id like to see that – Hmm then again maybe not…
I traveled up on the Saturday and arrived at about 2:30pm (consumed about 6 litres of water on the way) just as the temperature was looking like leaving the 30s, which it did at 4pm topping at 41- ouch. However things got better for me at that point when I arrived at my hosts house and spent the hottest part of the day in air conditioned comfort chatting with the Amos family and Sarah Crowley and got some good tips on triathlons and training from a proper professional.
A quick check-in at registration at 5pm and then back to Paul’s at 6:30 for a pasta dinner and preparation. Everything seemed to be going really well at that point. Then, for the second year in a row I realised I had forgotten my disc wheel valve extension. So I could not inflate my tubular on the disc. Sarah sent a message out across her extensive network for a crack pipe valve extender. That got some attention and we quickly got a hit – I was to pick one up in transition at 3:30am the next morning. This idea worked and I ran full carbon on my felt TT, complete with a skin suit – all the gear!
At 2:30am on Sunday I we were up for breakfast and I managed to get the bike into transition by 3:30am, all in complete darkness. With plenty of time in hand I got settled and then realised I needed the loo – oh no the skin suit, no need for a warm-up. Contortions associated with a nature break meant after all that I required significant further hydration.
The team all met at transition and confirmed the position of the bike for later. Our swimmer Andrew Revie went off to the river and took the plunge at 5:24am. I got onto the trainer for 15 min and about 41mins later I was on my way. I took it pretty gently to start with and worked up to about 215 watts with a cross wind/head wind. Got to 40k in 1h 1nd 4 min feeling pretty good, turned and realized I had a reasonable tail wind come cross wind all the way home. With that I put some pressure on the pedal and managed to catch and pass all our masters competitors, arriving back 2 mins quicker than I went out, surprising our runner (Paul) who was off warming up. We got that sorted and Paul held 2nd position for 2 laps of his 20 k run but the 37 degree heat got him in the last lap and we slipped to 4th. Not a bad day out all told.
Thanks and hearty congratulations to you and your team Phil – typically modest about his performance there. Just for the record, he completed the 80km in 2h:06:40s romping away with victory in his masters category and coming home third fastest overall in the entire cycling field of what is a very competitive event. You can check out all the gory details here.