Karri Valley Race Report

There is a particular history to this race.

In 2014 I was helping as a volunteer on the course and was watching in agony with a broken shoulder.
2015 turned out to be better, I finished and came 3rd in my age group M30-34.
2016 some good improvements from last year, a PB by 10 minutes and a 2nd place.
2017…???

I like racing in Karri Valley, it’s a course that suits me. Swimming in a lake that feels like home to me, a bike course that has some good hills with solid long and steady climbs (not quite as steep as those Alps in Austria haha) and a run that is a mix between trails and road which asks for strong legs and some grit.

The start of the race was quite hectic for me as I almost missed the start. Stupid me lost his wallet in transition and was desperately looking for it. Luckily someone found it and returned it to the race officials (thanks heaps to the person who found it and returned it)

Swim
Once in the water, it was game on. I went out hard for the first few minutes until we reached the first turn. I then settled into a more steady rhythm and focused on my breathing and a high stroke rate. I noticed that I wasn’t too far behind the first pack of swimmers. I wasn’t pushing too hard and exited the water pretty fresh. In transition I was told that the first guy is about 2 minutes ahead of me. That was good news and it confirmed that I had a good swim.

Bike
On the bike course you get straight into a longer climb which gets your heart rate up. I pushed up hard on the first incline and then tried to get into a steady rhythm, focused on my pedal stroke and my cadence. I got my heart rate under control and felt good. I made up time and overtook a few guys. The bike course is a 2 laps out and back loop. Throughout the first lap I stayed on the gas. On the flats and downhill section I tried to produce a lot of power and pushed the big gears.

On the way back on the first lap I spotted a few of the stronger cyclists, they were not too far behind me so I knew I had to keep up the pace to keep them off as long as possible. That’s what I did. I kept my pace, didn’t drop back. Only towards the last third of the bike leg the stronger cyclists in my group overtook me. That’s what I expected anyway but I also knew that the gap was not big after entering T2. It was a confidence boost knowing I was in the lead of my age group for most part of the race so far.

Run
By the time I started the run my legs didn’t feel to good. Very tired and heavy. I was not surprised at all and expected that to happen. I didn’t taper for this race and was racing on top of a few weeks of big training. My coach told me that. You’ll be strong but not fast. You’ll feel a good level of fatigue.

I guess that’s what B races are for. You are not race ready or in your prime state of fitness. Knowing that I took the run not too hard. I wasn’t trying to kill myself out there and go all out because I knew there is much more training ahead of me and I don’t want to risk an injury or too much fatigue. Nevertheless I had a solid good run I have to say. I didn’t pay much attention on pace or heart rate this time. I focused purely on form and smooth running. My perceived effort felt hard but it wasn’t that I was going all out. My legs were screaming but my heart was in cruise mode. So I kept going. I overtook a fair bit of people on the run, especially on my last lap. Not until the last lap I thought that I might be in for a podium. I knew that there was at least one guy in front of me. He overtook me early in the run and I didn’t see him again. In the end he finished only 5 minutes ahead of me.

After crossing the finish line I was pretty exhausted and tired but had a big smile on my face. I was glad that the race was over. I took a few moments to collect myself. Straight to the recovery box to get some nutrition in me.

Take away
Karri Valley is a though and honest race. I think it’s definitely one of the harder races that I have done over the past few years. Overall I was very happy with the result and where I stand with my training and preparation to this date. I don’t sit back and relax now, there is so much more work to do. Very soon I get into the race specific phase of my training year. This race was another small milestone and a step closer to become a better, more experienced and well rounded athlete.

I love the sport, I love the people involved and the strong community behind it. Thanks to everyone who make this event happen! Much respect to all the people who made it to the finish line. You are all winners! At the end of the day the rank doesn’t really matter, everyone is at a different stage in their own journey. Embrace it and enjoy every part of it.

To finish off here is a great quote that my coach put out there the other day:

“To succeed, TALENT is simply an ‘Invitation to participate’, but offers no promise of any real long term success.”Matt Dixon purplepatch fitness coaching

Race details:

1.5km swim – 00:23:38
60km bike – 1:40:46
12km run – 00:51:40

Total time: 2:59:53
Rank: 2nd M30-34

Some impressions of the race (photo credit: Focused Ninja Photography)

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