Down and Dirty at Lake Keepit Dam
I love to do the first time of any new event. It means the organisers and I will be learning stuff together – getting a feel for the event, identifying and eliminating any problems, savouring new challenges and experiences, and just generally breaking new ground. It’s as satisfying as putting fresh new footprints in snow.
So it was that I found myself once again out at Lake Keepit, near Manilla NSW, for the inaugural running of Switchback Events’ Dirty Tri. Race Director Daniel Rafaelle admits to having not much experience in triathlons, but has a large and loyal following among mountain bikers and downhill racers.
Therefore it was an eclectic mix of athletes who turned up to race – experienced triathletes who had never ventured off-road before; mountain bikers who had never swum or run off the bike, and a nice blend of kids and the curious. Under the expert guidance of TO Andrew from TriNSW, the mysteries of transition were explained and everyone set off to the lake edge to get thoroughly dirty.
After the kids’ race was out of the way, the serious business of the long course racing got started. There were three distances available – full, half and quarter – and thanks to some last-minute entry rushing, all distances were reasonably subscribed. After some delay in starting, the quicker swimmers laboured the 700m up from the lake to transition and took off on their mountain bikes.
Inexperienced mtb riders were shocked to discover the course contained a lot of single track – and not just meandering dirt roads and grassy meadows – and there were some falls and a bit of hardship, but nothing serious. In turn, the experienced offroad bikers were shocked to discover just how hard it is to get running off the bike. Welcome to triathlon, guys.
Although numbers were light – Xterra Oceania Championships were the same day – the foundations were laid for a very popular event, and the usual Switchback hospitality and attention to detail were on display at the presentation. Every racer received a medal (even the race timer got one) and there were decent trophies and prizes on offer for the placegetters. There was even a mini expo at the finish area, with local bike dealership Bicycle Central having a presence, and a complimentary massage available.
This event will only grow in popularity, and I advise you to mark your diaries for next year for an event full of fun and adventure. And dirt. Lots of dirt.
Full results here.