Yarrawonga 2017 Race Report
Yarrawonga – Everything great about the tri community on show.
What a vibe up at Yarrawonga on the weekend for the staging of the qualifiers for ITU Gold Coast World 2018. I have never seen such a big crowd for a dedicated qualifier, such energy with athletes all vying for points to be on that line in 2018.
We had multiple World ITU Champion Peter Robertson lending his support to the athletes all day starting the events and giving out medals at presentation. The sun was shining and there was a healthy breeze which saw prime conditions for good honest racing.
There was a mix of premium TT bling on show for the non-drafting Standard race, and some beautiful roadies for the draft legal Sprint race.
I was lucky enough to be on the mic for a few hours pre-race, doing some commentary and safety briefings with Grant Cosgriff from TriVic. Walking around transition it was a who’s who of the Victorian triathlon community, but any bluster or ego had vanished and everyone looked nervous but ready to race. A home town Worlds which it is next year always brings out high quality athletes and lots of them, so getting an elusive spot would be more difficult. In saying that though the tone of the day was one of camaraderie and support for each other as each chased their own personal goal.
After my official duties I headed out to watch the racing.
The Sprint draft legal event went first. I reckon the vast majority of the field had not raced in a draft legal event so it would be interesting to see it played out. Drafting brings its own set of skills and tactics, so the smart ones were all primed for their best swim to get them out on the bike with the faster riders. From what I saw, some were all at sea with a more surging style of draft legal, and a lot of the best times on the bike would have come from those that had the skills to ride fast but smart in the paceline, v’s the strongest steady state riders.
At the completion of the bike leg, big packs were flying towards transition and the dismount line which ramped the excitement on the sidelines, and there was some good body work on display as competitors vied for the same space down the chute into T2.
The Standard race came next with more of your classic non-drafting format. There were some local Vic pro’s racing in the age group waves so as a coach it was fun to see age groupers taking it up to them in the same waves.
The day grew hotter as the afternoon went on, and there were more frequent explosions from athletes on the run as they succumbed to the heat of the day. I couldn’t believe how many athletes weren’t wearing caps with the temp now hitting mid 20’s. The finish line couldn’t come quick enough and the relief across the line was quite evident.
Many winners and podium placings came across the line at Yarrawonga yesterday and many, many more athletes gained valuable points towards their quest for a spot on the Aussie team for ITU Gold Coast Worlds 2018.
It was a great day out and all the good things about our sport were on display and today we are much better for those memories. Great work and see you at the next race.
Special mention to race director Peter Guy, Jared Loughnan from the Yarrawonga Chronicle and Helen from Yarrawonga Mulwala Tourism for helping put on such a great event.