Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Ocean Race 1

So I get to the North Bondi Classic, and the surf is a bit rough, just how I like it, with a moderate onshore breeze. The Frenchman is pointing out the cute men on the beach but I'm surprisingly focussed, on the race. The elite group head off first then a few other waves of swimmers (there's over 1150 in all, so they can't all leave at once) . And I watch them to see the best way out through the surf to the buoy that is way out there.

These and more photos from oceanswims.com

Before I know it they're counting down 6...5...4...3... GO and I'm running down the beach, diving in at the perfect spot to start and take the rip out into the bay that is Bondi. I'm ducking through some waves, ploughing through others and the men swimming beside me rapidly fall away to the point that I can't see them without looking back. I think they must be farther across, but as I reach the first buoy having made it through the biggest of the breakers, I realise I'm the first one there. Maybe I've gone out too hard, and will regret it - but I feel quite relaxed so far with energy to burn, so I maintain the pace waiting for someone to catch and try to pass me. In them meantime I swim around the mix of pink, blue and yellow caps that are the waves of swimmers who left before of me, crashing into a few. There is one white cap, like me, who I see slightly to the left of me and behind but he seems to stall and fall away, or did he speed ahead - I'm not sure, but as I get to the far buoy he's nowhere in sight, and certainly not ahead? It feels too easy, but I push on trying to increase my speed with each leg. The final stretch back to the beach and the waves I want to hitch a ride on are absent, so I have to work all the way to the shore, and as I run up the beach they announce I'm the first white cap to finish. I look behind, no-one is even close. I'm beaming, and The Frenchman tells me it's true, he's been there waiting.

I down two cups of blue powerade or gatorade or something that they obviously branded too unclearly for my race-frazzled brain and a chunk of watermelon. It goes down effortlessly. I'm given bags of things that I just hold onto as I'm guzzling. Then I realise my arms and shoulders feel like they're on steroids - big and stiffening quickly. So I go for a cool down swim, having now realised how many cute guys there are in fact on the beach this morning! very pleasantly distracting! The day is beautiful, sunny warm, and I just did really well in my first race. It's all perfect!

I find out at the presentation that there were men in my age division swimming in the elite group and they take the top spots leaving me just out of place for a prize - DAMNIT. And they had good prizes too! But I do have a hot pink rash vest which I give to the Frenchman (who discovered what they're for when we went surfing last week...), and the day just gets better and better.


Martin said...

we chat and you don't even tell me how well you did? I think it's time for you to join the elite division?

Sue said...

Guess you need more of a challenge than you now have. Congratulations on a great first race! Here's to more victories to come! Cheers!

Trevor said...

Martin: My challenge is to beat everyone in my age group... and I'll see what I can do to make that happen in whatever group it takes!

Sue: Thanks. I'm feeling good in the water now after a few weeks of being slow. Hopefully this weekend will be a good one race-wise!