The weather is always a factor in an outdoor multi-sport event such as the Sri Chinmoy Multi-Sport Classic in and around Jindabyne - yet the most significant role it played in influencing this year's event was in the week prior to the race.
Heavy rains, following months of record rainfall, left the Gungarlin River on Botherum Plain impassable. With not enough time to obtain permissions from traffic authorities for a completely new course, the 3rd bike leg became a 28 km point-to-point ascent of Kosciuszko Rd from Sawpit Creek to Charlotte's Pass, the highest point on a public sealed road in Australia. This was followed by a transport stage to Creel Bay, where the 3rd swim leg became a 1.2 km triangular loop, returning to the same starting point to lead into the 3rd paddle leg.
The 1st run and mountain bike courses were also significantly altered from previous years, each becoming a little shorter, faster and more streamlined.
Due to the inclusion of a temporary bike leg along with a transport stage, finishing times for this year's event are not eligible for overall course records. All finishing times are for time spent racing only, and do not include the mandatory one hour allocated for the transport stage from Charlotte's Pass to Creel Bay.
Despite forecast showers, only the briefest smattering of rain was felt with a few gusts of wind mid-afternoon, as most of the day saw perfect racing conditions â relatively cool, overcast and a still lake.
In the Solo Male division, Aaron Coles took a 3-minute lead out of the 1st swim and never looked back, only extending his margin as the day progressed to finish in an outstanding 10:12:34. Steven Hanley and Lee Rice both had exceptional races to finish in 10:56:40 and 11:28:03 respectively. The tussle between Steven and Lee came down to a simple equation: more race time being spent paddling and biking â Steven's two strongest suits â meant he was ultimately favoured against Lee's superior swimming and running.
Sharon Dilly, the only Solo Female competitor, showed tremendous heart and both inner and outer strength to conquer this demanding course at her first attempt in 11:55:24 â and set a new course record for the 3rd paddle of 59:55 (the fastest of any solo athlete) en route!
An exultant "Team RANGA" (Ian Kennerley, Al Boyle, Dave Neal and Brett Parry) from Wollongong, were not only the fastest but also the happiest team to finish, in a slick 7:56:43 placing them 1st in the Open Teams of 4 as well as taking line honours. Along the way, Ian Kennerley also established a new fastest time for the 1st paddle of 38:35.
Next across the line in 8:01:33, and 2nd Open Team of 4 were the 3-man combo "The Confabulators" (Grant Prowse, Bart McPherson and Mitch Hale). Bart McPherson not only established a new course record for the new, shorter 1st run leg (naturally breaking his own record from the old course), he also ran the fastest times for the other two run legs, and set the second fastest times for two of the paddles.
3rd place Open Team of 4 in 8:36:33 were "Magic 8 Ball", featuring English Chanel swimmer Kevin Cassidy alongside James Southern, Yan Zhao and Ed McDonald.
"Velocity Vixens" (Sue Navakas, Roslyn Hickson, Sally Parker and Michele Clement), one of the most consistent high-performance multi-sport teams of the past decade, were the clear winner amongst the All-Female Teams of 4, in a combined 9:19:13. Team member Sally Parker - a known swimmer - established a new course record for the new 1st run of 31:22.
2nd All-Female Team of 4 in 10:14:07 were the local "Jindy Quatro Divas" â Alina Plescam, Cherrie Power, Vanessa Knee and Janine Becker. Their cause was also boosted by a new course record to Vanessa Knee (40:27) for the 1st bike leg.
"Tangerine Trio", featuring husband-and-wife dynamic due of David Baldwin and Julie Quinn, supplemented with Andrew Rowe, took out the major prize in the Mixed Teams of 4 in 8:28:56. It is not often that Julie races without setting at least one course record, and she chose the hardest on offer to go for today, clinching a new best time for the daunting 2nd run of 1:12:26.
2nd in the Mixed Teams of 4 â and leading for most of the day â were the exciting "VO3 Max" (Morgan Skillman, Jeremy Gillman-Wells, Gerard Tiffen and Brent Miller) in 8:34:40. Gun biker Brent Miller set new best times for the both the 1st and 2nd bikes legs (27:34 and 25:05 respectively), as well as the best time on the day for the 3rd bike of 1:12:51; while swimmer Morgan Skillman was the outright fastest in all 3 swim legs.
3rd placed Mixed Team of 4 (actually 3), "The Third Wheel" (Tim Boote, Deanna Blegg, Teagan Belfrage) were an usual combination in the Mixed Teams context, in that they only featured one male. Their finishing time of 9:04:03 included a new best time for the 1st paddle leg of 46:27 by Deanna Blegg.
The closest finish in any category came in the Open Teams of 12 where the "Old School" (9:22:21) overcame a half-hour deficit at the half-way stage of the race to gradually claw their way back, in the end just pipping "Warij" (9:22:25) by three seconds. A little later came 3rd placed "Ground Engaging Tools" in 9:34:17.
1st in the All-Female Team of 12 were "The Flamin' Lambretta's", stopping the clock in 10:39:38.
The Mixed Team of 12 major prize went once again to the ever-present (having participated every year) "Aviators Beach Club", coming third across the line in 8:22:42. Stalwart competitor Gabrielle Hurley showed her worth once more, setting a new course record for the final paddle leg of 53:28. Next were the "Jindy Allsorts" in 9:30:42, also taking the unofficial award for 1st-placed local team; ahead of "It's All Good" in 9:49:05.
One other course record was established â for fastest female team member in the 2nd bike â by Michelle Inglis of "The Followers of Ming the Merciless", in 36:17.
Our immense gratitude goes to Craig Stonestreet and his team for their hundreds of hours of work on the tracks used for the 1st bike course, and for establishing some new tracks for the 1st run course. Also to Allison Mitchell of Snowline Podiatry for her assistance with paddling on the swim courses, and to Mick Davis for sweeping the first two bike courses; as well as to medico Glen Inches for his sterling services.
A huge thank you to the Snowy River SES for providing support and communication services across all swim and paddle legs of the event, and for stepping in to help when our own boat broke down half way through the day.
This event could not happen without the dedicated support of the staff and officers of Kosciuszko National Park (especially Andrew Miller); Koscsiuzko Education Centre; Snowy River Shire Council; Snowy Hydro; NSW Maritime; NSW RTA; NSW Police (Southern Area Command); and Bob and June Weston.
Full results â both overall and by category â are published, along with a photo album from around the course. The 8th Sri Chinmoy Multi-Sport Classic will be staged in, on and around Lake Jindabyne in March 2012.