Gatorade Triathlon Series 5 Races by Angela Bernaldo @ 30 Apr 2017
I was ready for this... To get into my first triathlon season. I had kept fit over winter with the duathlon series, later finding out that I qualified for the World Championships. Challenge Shepparton was first off the bat, its gentle course eased me into a great mindset for the summer ahead.

Gatorade Race 1 – Elwood: 500m swim, 20km bike, 5km run
A little chilly, but super pumped to watch the newbies venture off on their first tri, this brought back memories of my GIT. Standing on the beach, in my tri-suit only, looking around at all the other girls. Happily, I found a few familiar faces. 500m swim, easy. The water was choppy, hence a 10m20s was disappointing, as was a T1 of 3 minutes. What was I doing? Not even a wetsuit to get off. 40m for the 20km bike leg I was happy with, although looking back now I could have probably pushed harder as it felt good. A strong 26m18s for the 5km run, which also happened to be a PB. All in all, I was happy with my results here, establishing a great foundation for the series ahead.

Christmas and New Year’s was spent a lot differently this year compared to the 30 that had come before it. A run and a swim on Christmas Day and a bike ride on New Year’s Day. This person I had become would have made my sister proud, it is knowing this that gets me through the tough sessions.

Gatorade Race2 – St. Kilda: 500m swim, 20km bike, 5km run
Speaking of tough, enter race 2. It was humid and windy. Everyone, not only me, had pain on their faces that day, and my results reflected the conditions. Training in the heat had been something that I avoided, but if today taught me anything it is that you need to train in all conditions. Looking back now, my swim and bike leg pace being on par with my Elwood results reflects that the weather was only playing tricks on me. The run on the other hand, 30 minutes for the 5km. This was pre-triathlete Ange pace. Ego bruised, I retreated to the house I was sitting in St. Kilda. I am glad that I didn’t have far to go to drown my sorrows with a few beers.

Off to Nagambie between Gatorade races for my first Olympic distance triathlon. The water temp was too high to use my newly purchased wetsuit, it would have to wait for Race 3. This was also the first time I had to change a tyre during a race, adrenaline high and heart pounding in my ears so hard that I couldn’t hear anything else.

Gatorade Race 3 – Elwood: 500m swim, 20km bike, 5km run
Speaking of changing tyres, guess what I had to do again during race 3? Three kilometres into the bike and I had another tyre let go. I rushed to the side of the road, hoping to get it changed before any Nuna’s saw me. I didn’t want to slow anyone down to see if I was OK or needed help. I had the tyre changed successfully, went to attach the CO2 and... Wrong adaptor! I knew then and there, staring down at the cylinder, that this was one race I would not be able to finish. The walk of shame back to the Nuna tent was long and lonely. However, from every race, every disappointment, if you don’t learn from it, that means you are not passionate about it. Coffee in hand, I stood waiting for all the Nuna’s to finish. All the while cursing my bike for doing this to me. The swim was great though! Wetsuits really do make you go faster.

Gatorade Race 4 – Portarlington: 800m swim, 26km bike, 8km run
Miserable day. Rainy and poor water conditions, again, a disappointing swim – 800m in 15m33s. Then, bike in hand, a run to the mounting point seemed longer than what you should have to run and a hill to get you going with an incline of about 10% - which doesn’t sound like much, but to get you going on your 26km bike ride is not ideal. And those who failed to make sure they were in low gear, really regretted it – Looking at you Harrison. I took it easy on the bike and not being familiar with the course, it was hillier than I expected it to be. Coming down the hill we all battled 26km prior, I was scared of coming off cause of the wet conditions. On to the run, what’s this, stairs? I was fumbling with my visor at this stage, once at the top I tapped into the energy I saved from the bike; smashed another PB for 8km – 41m29s, 5:11 pace. Quietly impressed with myself.

Gatorade Race 5 – St. Kilda: 1500m swim, 40km bike, 10km run
Olympic number 2 for the season. Started off well by setting my transition up in the wrong position. Once I rectified that, I was happy with my overall result. Swimming through the boats, half way through I could taste the petrol, but soldier on I did. 1hr20m for the 40km bike I could have pushed harder, but I knew the 10km run coming up was really going to test how strong my mind was to put up with this niggling hamstring I have been carrying around for half the season. One lap down and I was really feeling the mental pain and rushed off to the NUNA cheer squad for a hug. Reenergised from that, I powered through the second lap, finishing up 17m quicker than Nagambie. Short of collapsing at the finish line from the pain in my leg, I think I still had a smile on my face…?

Onward and upward
Tri season 16/17 has taught me a few things; how to change a tyre in the heat of the moment, how to keep going when my head tells me to stop and to always double check everything (like putting your bike in the right spot and that you put body glide in all the places you need too) Hungry for more, I have my sights set on extreme triathlons now, with Alaskaman in my 5 year plan. Watch this space.

The following images are taken from 4 of the Gatorade races and they speak for themselves about Angela's achievements.