The second event of the 2XU series saw a new format introduced with a swim/run to the ranks. The event brought with it new challenges that were far more than just eliminating the bike and made for classic and intuitive racing.
A group of 11 MEC athletes made the trek to Portsea and it was obvious prior to the start that the current effected swim was going to challenge even the strongest of swimmers and that the tacticians would prevail in the water. With the tide running out it made for a challenge to get to the first buoy for all swimmers and as a result after the first lap of the proposed 3 lap swim, the course was modified to accommodate athletes and make a safe and fair race.
Credit to the race organisers where I believe that they dealt with things well on race day. Trialing the course immediately prior to starting the event for future races would eliminate the need to change the course after the race had started. Triathlon is a sport where dealing with challenging conditions is part of and should be embraced as part of racing. So long as this is done in a safe way more races like Portsea should exist to truly challenge the adaptability and versatility of athletes.
It was testament to all MEC athletes who to their credit handled the conditions despite their respective backgrounds. From international level swimmers to those that have only in recent years gained far greater confidence in the water and specifically open water, all our athletes held themselves well and embraced the conditions with confidence. This comes from many hours of learning to understand open water conditions through open water sessions conducted throughout the warmer months.
Andy White and Talia Goddard lead there respect categories out of the water on Saturday both with substantial leads heading into T1. Andy extended his lead further on the run to break the tape with the fastest overall run of the day. Talia held her ground well and was caught on the run and managed to hold onto second place in her age group.
Shri Vasudeva played catch up with Stacey Debono. Stacey exited the water 2mins ahead of Shri but with the running legs, Shri managed to make the catch and run into 4th place and Stacey held onto 6th place both in the 25-29 age group. It was great to have new athlete Bridie Meade making her first race start with MEC and round out the race well with a good swim and impressively paced and consistent run.
Martin Sprong continues his progression into the sport and pieced together a good swim and strong run to take the win in his 30-34 age group proving that while having a Dutch heritage, he doesn't need a bike to be competitive.
Simon Miller made his first step onto the podium in a while care of a fantastic run. Simon has been working and greatly improving on his swimming, in particular in the open water. Still with work to go he kept himself in the game and managed to run himself into 3rd place in his age group.
If there was one person who a number of years ago would never have got in the water on a calm day let along the fast moving water of the weekend, it was Travis Hill. With those days well and truly behind, care of an incredible amount of drive to improve in the water, Trav was literally head first into the water on the weekend and didn't look back. That combined with an ever improving run had him finishing a race that previously he would not have and charging home.
Adrian Polidano is another one who is spending much time learning the art of open water swimming. He got through well and once back on the terra firma made short work of the run leg to charge home with the 4th fastest run of the day.
David Lloyd seemed to enjoy the varied format and as if racing wasn't enough he rode back to Port Melbourne post race. A good swim and run had him step onto the podium with 2nd in his age group.
We have athletes that regularly attend our group training sessions and Tim Martelli is certainly one of those. As a regular at our swim and run group session this race was a good test with some races lined up for next year. Holding his own well in the water Tim had a great race and stepped up on the podium with 3rd in this age group.
Another group session regular Les Toth found in his words 'some additional swimming fitness' as a big help on the bike at the Glenvale Crits. Les found he had a few extra revs and rode to a 3rd place finish on the weekend.
That almost brings us to a wrap of racing for 2017 however we still have a few more weeks that will continue to bring more races.