The blurb on the website says it all …. “The Timberman Triathlon Festival… where small town charm meets world-class fun!” . This race is so much more than a 70.3 – it’s a whole weekend of non stop action – a feeding frenzy at the two – yes, TWO carbo loading dinners (and if this wasn’t enough a carbo breakfast too!), a Q&A with the pros (by far the best question being –‘how do you pee on the bike’. Graphic details were probably not required, but I gave them anyway), various seminars, live music, a kids triathlon, the sprint race and the half IM – all topped off with a lobster and clam post race feast, and yet more music. And did I mention that it is held in the stunning Ellacoya National Park, so the scenery is the greens of the forest and the blues of the lake. And I call this work?!

I had a good trip across the pond from the land of cheese to the land of cheese burgers. The in-flight entertainment was very …pleasing to the eye. Patrick Dempsey in Maid of Honor to be precise. What it lacked in storyline it made up for in ‘visual effects’.

My instructions from the boss were to train right through the race. So, I…..trained right through the race. And instead of a taper I just ate more (it would have been rude to refuse two carbo dinners and a carbo breakfast!). Anyway, I was staying at the Gunstock Inn, which had, what I thought was, a 25m indoor pool. Wonderful. I jumped in and cracked out 30×100 on 1.20. Wow I thought. Michael Phelps eat your heart out. I was kissing the guns and planning on entering the 2012 Olympics. And then I spoke to Pip Talyor. “Pip” I said, “have you been in the pool? Its super fast”. “Yes”, she replied….”its only 25 yards”. Bugger I thought as my bubble was burst. No 2012 Olympic swimming for me. Anyway, regardless of size (which clearly DOES matter) it was great to be able to get some decent swims in before the race.


I cycled the course on Thursday with my close buddy Jonny Hotchkiss, and was impressed by the number of lumps and bumps. I love a good lump. And the wind. I never mind a gust or two either. So all in all I was pretty excited about the course. I set out to do a 2hour ride on the Friday too. But I missed a turning and almost ended up in California,– so that ride was slightly longer than planned.

The pro field for this race is more stacked than Pamela Anderson’s chest, which is a credit to the organisers and the event’s great reputation. Unfortunately Kate and Desiree pulled out, but I was still left to do battle with Dede Griesbauer, Tereza Macel, Pip Taylor and Karen Smyers, among others. Sunday morning dawned clear and sunny. Lovely jubbly, and all the athletes were serenaded to the start by a Scottish bag pipe player, and entertained by a couple of mad skydivers. I was slightly concerned that they might have a painful landing on top of an aerobar, but luckily they missed the transition area and landed where x marked the spot on the beach to a loud round of applause from spectators and athletes alike. Now that’s what I call a race start.

The swim kicked off at 7am. The temperature of the water miraculously plummeted from 73 to 71 degrees overnight (amazing what a bit of ice around a thermometer can do for temperature readings) and so it was a rubber legal swim. The pros had a separate start, although it needn’t have mattered because, as usual, I ended up in no-mans land, and wobbling around everywhere, taking in the sights and drifting about 10m away from all the buoys/boys. This wasn’t helped when we hit the waves. I am still rather baffled about how a (seemingly pancake flat) lake can suddenly resemble the Atlantic ocean. I was happy to come out of the water 26mins after the start, with Dede and Michael Lovato. I was greeted by a lovely stripper (of wetsuits that is) which meant that all I had to do was flop. One pull and the Blue Seventy rubber was off, which saved me from having to do my 10minute funky chicken dance in T1.

Sometimes it takes me a while to get a feel for the ride, but I felt good as soon as I hopped aboard the P2. I overtook the three super speedy swimming girls and went into the lead after about 10km. I attacked each climb, and enjoyed the rollers which meant I could grind away in Mr Big, using my big calves (or cows). The scenery was great. I went past a big sign saying ‘Naked Shopping’ (or something like that) – and made a mental note to take part in that activity at a later date (I wonder where you put your change?!). I also rode passed ‘Jordans Ice Cream Parlour’, which is owned by the race director, Keith Jordan’s, family. The pictures of double scooped chocolate fudge made my gel seem slightly inadequate. Again, mental note to come back and sample the produce – combined with naked shopping that could prove a good day out.

While on the subject of nutrition, I thought I would use this race to try a new beverage and see if it made a difference to the loose bowel situation that had affected me in the past few IMs. I know this may sound like a plug. And it is. But I wanted to make the most of my Cytosport freebies, and used the cranberry/grapefruit Cytomax energy drink on the bike. It tastes great and I am pleased to report that I didn’t have to see the inside of the porta-loo and it seemed to give me beans……I was super pleased with my bike split. 2hr21 for 90km.

The run was two laps, up and down along the edge of the lake. The scenery was fabulous and the aid stations even better. Where else in the world would you have cookies, cake, pretzels (and probably a burger if you asked nicely) during a race? I had to resist the urge to gorge and stuck to non edible sponges and the odd sip of water. I had decided to leave my watch at home, because I wanted to just run as I felt, and not be constrained by splits. I quite liked it. I have to say that the support from the crowds was superb – but what struck me was the words of encouragement from other athletes, who used up their precious breath to cheer me on. The best was at the half way mark when I went past this bloke, and he yelled ‘Chrissie – you are a babe’! I spoke to him afterwards and, unfortunately, he isn’t single.

I managed to clock 1hr21 for the 21km, a finish time of 4hr11, and 6th overall. Needless to say, I am really happy with the result…..and it got even better. The post race food had to be seen to be believed. Pizza, icecream, bagels with every filling imaginable, cake, cookies, salads, meat, pasta…you name it they had it. And yes, it tasted just as good as it sounds!

Anyway, normal people like to have a bit of a rest the day after a race. Not me. I was up at the crack to do a photo-shoot for TYR, with my fellow TYR athletes TJ Tollakson and Pip Taylor. Now, I wasn’t exactly looking my post-race best (= chaffed, slightly sunburnt and with a bit too much excess baggage under my eyes), so I was somewhat relieved to see a make-up artist and a magic wand. She tried her best. But as TJ says ‘you can only polish a turd so much’. The shoot was great fun, although I was slightly perturbed when, after having spent about an hour running up and down (like a bleep test) for this one picture, the photographer threw his arms in the air in frustration and said ‘well, we can always airbrush your head out’. Charming. Anyway, having been rejected by Playboy for my lack of ‘assets’, the pictures will probably only appear in next year’s TYR catalogue and in various (non top shelf) magazine adverts. Unless, of course, they have airbrushed my face out and replaced it with someone that has gotten a bit more beauty sleep…..

Anyway, that’s about it. In summary – superb superb race, great organisation, beautiful scenery, a first class pro field, super food, and amazing support from volunteers, spectators and athletes alike. Congrats to Fraser Cartmell for a superb second place, to Jonny for 8th (you can get me next time!), to Amber at Vital Kneads massage (www.vitalkneads.com) for everything she did to get rid of my stiffness, to Richard and Maureen at the Gunstock home from home (with its 25 YARD pool) – www.gunstockinn.com – and of course to Keith, Claire and the rest of the dedicated Timberman staff (www.timbermantri.com). Photo evidence of all the fun and games can be found at the following links:

http://www.bluecreekphotography.com/gallery/Timberman08/index.html

http://www.asiorders.com/view_user_event.asp?EVENTID=34353&BIB=8

Next stop for me is the ITU World Championships in Almere, Holland next weekend. Its time to go double dutch! And then of course its all systems go for the lava fields!

That result was of course for my nanna. Every step of the way.