Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Good Shepherd Does Good!


Back in 2004 a new athlete joined our squad who wanted to prepare for the inaugural Busselton Ironman. That athlete was Glen Blackwell who would later go on to knocking off over 3 hours off his previous best Ironman finish and in 2008 be awarded our coveted "Good Shepherd" award for his services to the squad and his enthusiasm for helping others within the squad achieve their goals.

Late last year Glen qualified to represent Australia at the World Triathlon Championships in Budapest, Hungary, and he did exceedingly well with a Personal Best over the Olympic Distance of 1.5km swim, 40km bike and a 10km run in a time of 2:07 - no mean fete.

Glen has very kindly pieced together his story of the day's events to shed some light on his experiences and also the beautiful city of Budapest which I thought you'd all enjoy on this sunny Tuesday afternoon. Here goes - well done Glen:

The ITU World Triathlon Championships for 2010 was to be held in Budapest Hungry. This was to be a beautiful and exciting location for a race and the lure attracted me to have a shot at the Australian Team.

On arrival the weather was great for the first two days. I managed to get out for a long run on the first morning and see the town. Was surreal to be running past Castles and Cathedrals on the banks of the (not so) Blue Danube.

I managed to get together with a few guys from the Australian team and we went for a ride to the designated training area. A little island on in the river with one road of about 2.5kms in length. It was wet and lumpy and very boring as it didn't even make a loop. Just up turn around and back. But it was much safer than playing in the traffic. Needless to say 1hr of that and I was mentally cooked so road along the rivers edge taking in the sights instead.

The rain then started and did not let up for the rest of the week. The sprint races on the saturday got drenched and I went to bed that night expecting to be soaked by the end of the race.

Waking on race morning the Tri-gods had smiled. There was no wind, no rain and the sun came out giving us the warmest day at 23 degrees.

Getting dressed in the green and Gold to represent my country was awesome start to the day and definitely helped get the nerves going.
Especially when I got to the start line and saw all the other countries that were lined up. I was in the second biggest wave start with 125 others on the pontoon.

Getting into the water was a bit hard as the temp was a cool 14 degrees. But the water was flat no current and actually tasted clean. I had a great swim of 22:40 putting me out of the water into T1 in 37th... The the fun. On exiting my zip broke and I spent just over 3minutes tearing my wetsuit to get it off..One of the longest transition times for my group.

The ride was dead flat however the road conditions were terrible for at least 4km of the 13km loop. There were grand canyon cracks running parallel to your travel and lumps, bumps and man hole covers. The only good thing was when you got to the back 9kms you could get down onto the areo bars and go fast.

Getting into T2 i found that I had also broken my left bike shoe halfway found the course and it was just hanging on by the tip.

Well onto the run for the most scenic run I have ever had. We went 5kms up along the bank of the Danube past the university, and the Castle before turning onto the historic Chain Bridge (Think a similar style to the Tower Bridge London). Once here we commenced two 2.5km laps for the rest of the 10km run.

This lap went past the race finish of Roosevelt Square on the river bank then through the paved malls of the town to the open square in front of St Francis Cathedral where you turned almost on the steps before heading back over Chain Bridge to do the lap again.

Coming into the finish chute was awesome with the noise, people, camera crews and even a chopper flying above.

However at the end of the day I P.B'd with a 2:07:34 and most importantly was able to say I represented my country on the world stage..That was the clincher.

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