Australian Club Team Champs 2008 PDF Print E-mail

By Jane Keeley

It's no secret that the Penrith team champs are one of the biggest events on the Bilbys event calendar. With a flat closed water swim, draft legal bike leg and cruisy run course, it's triathlon heaven. So I was pretty keen to get my ankle injury out of the way and have a good crack at my third team champs.

But like the rest of the season it just wasn't going to happen. With my ironman career over before it even started and my ankle still in an aircast the boredom was really starting to set in. So when I found out Graham had a spare seat in his car I appointed myself head cheerleader and invited myself along for the ride. With the weather man predicting 30 degree temps at the very least it was going to be a good tanning opportunity.

Graham was taking his tent pitching responsibilities very seriously so we were on the road nice and early. It wouldn't be a road trip without a good mix tape so I compiled some of my best motivational triathlon tunes to get Graham in the zone. We were first to arrive at the Regatta Centre to find Brats and Northern Suburbs had claimed prime position lake side but in only the way Bilbys can we squeezed ourselves between their 'way-too-organised-for-a-Sunday-morning' camp sites and before long Bilbys had taken over.

First up were the women's division 3, division 2 and over 45s. Our junior girls (Mattilda Sheridan, Samantha Bradley & Ady Elmitt) were first out of the water following a strong Division 2 Brats team onto the bike. Our over 45s weren't far behind keeping it tight on the bike for the quickest Bilbys female bike leg of the day. The junior girls headed into the run leg looking strong and while they weren't able to run down the more experienced Brats team they maintained the gap finishing in second place only 40 seconds behind.

Our female over 45s (Janet Gorst, Sue Rymer & Christine Coogan) were in top form from the start with an impressive swim leg. After a super quick bike leg the team kept it up on the run increasing the lead over the second over 45s team to cross the line almost 20 minutes in front and to be crowned 'the fastest old ladies in the country'.

Our division 3 womens team of Jess Faulks, Megan Rhind and Bec McLaren clearly had the most fun of the day with smiles all round. They were right in amongst it in the swim and pushed through a strong head wind to head out onto the run in 4th place. The girls gave it everything on the hot and windy 5km run home only narrowly missing out on a medal behnd Brats, Hills and Hawkesbury.

The Bilbys mixed team of Jen Davis, Graham Monfries & Peter Mitchell were next up. The boys thought they were in for a cruisy day after Jen's epic 7hr ride the day before. But someone must have loaded Jen's gels with freddo frogs as she lead the boys around the course for one of the top Bilbys performances of the day.

Unfortunately I was too busy trying to work out how to take the lens cap off the video camera and I missed most of the division 2 mens race but the boys - Jamie Young, Reg Sheridan & Mark Toyer - must have done good cause they finished 3rd behind Brats and Engadine (who actually clocked the 3rd & 4th fastest times of the day overall).

And finally our junior boys - Daudi Somi & Michael Gosman - hit the course in the premier mens division a man down after the late withdrawal of Matt Haase due to injury. But despite only starting with two and racing men twice their age the boys were first out of the swim recording the fastest swim leg of the day. In a race where strategic drafting can win you the race the boys held their own on the bike but the 3-member teams of the more experienced Brats and Engadine teams took the lead into the run. Daudi and Michael finished a very impressive 4th claiming valuable points towards our overall pointscore and undoubtably the points we needed to take out second place.

With only six Bibys team competing this year we weren't overlly confident of beating the tri super powers of Brats (17 teams), Engadine (12 teams) and Hills tri club (7 teams) to take out club champions. But after placing in all but two divisions and the all important 4th place in the mens premier race we'd picked up enough points where they counted and took out 2nd place for the third consecutive year. And we even won a very fancy looking trophy (it came in a box!) for the club house....when we get one :-)

The organisers have indicated the race will be on again next year so if you haven't had the chance to race the past three years make sure you add to your list for next season. It's a fun race and extremely well organised. And if you win you even get a prize!

Thank you so much to Jess Faulks for organising all the Bilbys teams and keeping everyone in line on the day. Thank you to Graham for letting me come along for the drive, I don't think I've ever learnt so much on one road trip - a quarter pounder is really just a big cheeseburger, all hip hop songs can be traced back to Tone Loc's Funky Cold Medina and Jen Davis will do just about anything for a Freddo Frog. And whatever it takes I'll be at that start line next season - who needs ligaments anyway!

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