Apprehension loomed ahead of the start of the 15th Sri Chinmoy Triple-Triathlon. Despite a succession of hot, sunny days, lightning storms were forecast, with the potential to severely disrupt proceedings.
When rain descended right after the first swim in Lake Ginninderra, a long wet day seemed in prospect. As it turned out, the few showers were mere interludes amidst an ideal day for endurance sports â cool and overcast.
It was a fresh line up at 0530 for the start of the Solo race, with most of the field "going it alone" for only the first or second time. Eventual winner Rowan Beggs-French had previously entered in a Team of 3, but felt ready to tackle the whole course this year. It was Sydney-sider, Andrew Renwick who led out of the first swim and throughout the first triathlon the lead changed between he and Rowan a few times. From the second swim onwards though, Rowan drew away and didn't looked back, an exuberant smile at the finish the result of a huge effort, despite a tough final run leg. Rowan's mountain biking power proved his ace card, his 11:56:23 a performance full of character and class.
It was Andrew who had to watch his back through the middle of the race, with a major surge from Daryn James in the second swim, ride and run seeing him convert a 15-minute deficit into a 6-minute lead at the final transition. Andrew clearly had a plan though, and relied on his running prowess to carry him home into second placing in 12:15:46, ahead of Daryn's 12:20:52.
4-time winner Trevor Fairhurst was nursing a running injury, and rather than mope about his misfortune, volunteered to crew for solo athlete Sukhajata Cranfield and turn his intimate familiarity with this race to another's benefit. Sukhajata responded to a solid Winter's training over the course and Trevor's enthusiastic encouragement with a wonderful return of 12:51:29.
Matthew Bleakley (13:31:21), Andrew Kingston (13:38:42), Jeroen Ruardij (13:51:39) and Anthony Plater (14:01:35) all looked fresh and radiant at the finish line, testimony to thorough preparation, discipline, determination and sheer love of the challenge. Amazingly, Andrew Kingston became the first athlete to complete the Triple-Triathlon solo on a single-speed mountain bike! He was riding a 29er with a 34/22 gear ratio...
First-time entrant Rachel de Zoete from Melbourne, our only solo female entrant this year, persevered, conquered and was all smiles as she finished after dark in 15:54:17.
"Stuff the Puffs" just keep on offering high-class performances year after year, even without the competition of arch rivals, the "Puffy Puffed Puffcakes". John Fleming, Dave Osmond and new member Rob Walter powered home in 8:55:02 to take 3rd place overall behind two teams of 9, and win the Open Teams of 3 by over an hour from "Hell Racing Team" of Guy Jones, Gary Rolfe and Chris Helliwell. In the Open Teams All Over 50, defending champions "Pushing the Envelope" (Bill Wilson, Tony Gray and Guy Manera from Sydney and Brisbane) pushed the envelope once more to victory in 12:22:38 â not too far ahead of the first Open Team All Over 60, "Rad's Rusties" of wonderful competitors John Kennedy, Paul Archer and Bob Harlow in 12:45:45, a new record for their category which will take some beating!
Another awesome team through the history of the Sri Chinmoy Triple-Triathlon has been the All-Female combination of Rachel Meyer, Sam Reinhardt and Susie Kluth of "Femme Fatale." Even though they had no competition this year, their superb 11:16:05 would likely have proven decisive in the T3 Female category no matter who turned up.
Meanwhile, "Jason and the Argonaughties" set a new triumph, winning the T3 Mixed category with the daring combination of 2 females and one male. When your two females happen to be Sally Parker and Vanessa Haverd, who needs males to make up a fast team? (though Jason McEvoy proved a more-than-handy addition as a biker).
This year the fastest-and-most-furious competition was in the T9 Opens, with defending champions "The Runners Shop" (formerly the "Team with No Name") being seriously challenged by a gun team representing "Onya Bike Belconnen + Civic". The Onya Bike combination of Jess Traficante (who set a new fastest time for the 1st swim of an astonishing 19:58), Brad Morton, Michael Chapman, Brendan Reading, Michael Brice and Glenn Columbine sped home in a fleeting 8:34:46, with The Runner's Shop's combination of youth and experience in Luke Grattan, Gary Scheld, Shane Rattenbury, Jordie Welch, Mark Tupalski, Sam Tickle and Luke Roberts following in 8:45:03 â Mark Tupalski breaking the course record for the 2nd mountain bike leg (1:29:54) in the process. "Giant 440 Woodys" placed 3rd after 10 years in the event: Rod Smith, Rodney McWhirter, Peter Oberg, Andrew Dawes, Andrew Oberg, Gavin Maroney, Lori McWhirter, Michael Beard and Bradley White ecstatic with their result of 9:40:45.
"Old Hacks" returned to defend their T9 Open All Over 50s title, and were also 4th outright in the T9 Open Division with 10:04:34, the new course record a fantastic team effort from some of Canberra's veteran-and-still-shining athletes in Steve Meredith, Nathan Caroll, Peter James, Dave Trudgian, Simon Claringbold, Peter Clark, Rico Fitch and Peter Klein.
"Guaranteed nut free" saw Sarah Richardson, Hanny Allston, Ntasha Berebtzof and Janet Street team up with secret weapon Melanie Simpson to dominate the T9 Female category with a resounding 10:32:47. On the way, Melanie set amazing new women's course records for the both the 2nd (1:45:22) and 3rd (1:11:58) mountain bike courses. "GoGo Girls â The SlipStream Team" of Jane McCallum, Annie Broadbent, Cathy Crompton, Michelle Greenwood, Bev Anderson-Tranter and Clare Wall combined to take out the T9 Female All Over 50s in a record time of 11:23:21 from their sister team "GoGo Girls â The Ancestors".
The T9 Mixed category saw Team "VO3 Max" triumphant in a splendid showing of 9:02:25 â a new course record for their category â from Morgan Skillman, Brent Miller, Lennon Wicks, Gerard Tiffen and Julian Wicks, placing them 4th outright (click here to see their Triple Tri in One Minute video on YouTube).
The organisers are all gratitude to the helpers and officials whose contributions make this such a memorable and rewarding day for all â including the Gungahlin SES, Sports Medicine Australia, Canberra Canoe Club, YMCA Sailing Club, Race Referee Christina Thorne of Triathlon ACT and volunteers from the Sri Chinmoy Centres of Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and Canberra. Thanks also to Hammer Nutrition for supplying such excellent product for the athletes' use throughout this long day.
Full results are published, both overall and by category, including split times for each leg, along with a photo album from the day.
If you have any experiences you would like to share from the event, please write them down and send them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will add them to our Triple-Triathlon Stories section! A photo (or two) to accompany your reflections would be most welcome also.