Club Champs is without doubt my favourite race of the season, what’s not to love. It is a great opportunity to get away for the weekend, race hard but party even harder. Balance always has the best cheer squad on the course, which makes the race a great opportunity to get out there and raise some points for the club whilst also have a fantastic time. The after party is also legendary. If you have not been already, believe me Balance Tri Club certainly owns the dance floor.

This year the club came 6th overall in Division 1 which is an incredible result so a massive thank you to everyone who came out and raced, volunteered and partied. An even bigger thank you goes to our incredible volunteers. Trust me, it takes a mountain of effort to organise events like this so thank you to the team organising accommodation, tents, goodie bags, pizzas, nibbles, cheer squad, wine tasting the next day. The list goes on. Your help and support makes our club what it is, so well done and thank you.

The best part about Club champs is quite often when people who are new to the club get to experience this event. Gautam is one of those people! I was keen to hear how the race went for him and what his experience was of the event. He has kindly shared his post race debrief which is truly superb; happy reading!

Ruth x

How to reach the finish line? Have a pizza party at the end!

You know how they say your firsts are full of anticipation, nerves, and excitement. Club Champs was just that for me. My first triathlon! It sure was a mixed bag of emotions and the week leading up to it, I couldn’t get my mind to focus on any task. I had never swum 1km in open water before. How would I react to the “darkness” underneath of open water? Would I have the energy to bike and run after the swim? I remember people saying to me, it is all in your mind. And they were right. I knew I had put in the hours at training. I knew I could do the distances. So, I forced myself to focus on the positives.

Race morning.. it is finally here! It is getting too real too fast. I was expecting to lock myself in the toilet, but to my surprise, I was excited. How did this happen?! Thank you Garry for sharing you amazing triathlon adventures from around the world. Your stories and your calmness made me forget all my doubts and uncertainties. I walked down to Coles to get some breakfast and someone told me, ‘You must be crazy swimming in that lake! I wouldn’t do it even if you paid me.’ I couldn’t help but laugh. They were right. Triathletes are crazy! Who wakes up at stupid o’clock for training and practically fills all their free time in the evening and weekend with training sessions?!

We reach Gosling Creek Reserve and there I realise what the locals in Orange were saying. The sign read ‘No swimming in the lake’. I remember thinking to myself, ‘oh! That’s bloody fantastic! What more surprises are you going to throw at us Orange?’

The buzzer goes off.. and my adrenaline shoots through the roof. The swim was every bit challenging as I thought it would be. It was cold and the water was choppy. The buoys looked miles away, doubts started creeping in again. I needed inspiration and fast. And I found it in the likes of Bruce Lee’s famous words, ‘become like water my friend’, be one with it. I forgot about the 1km and just focused on my breathing and technique and reaching the first buoy, and then the next buoy. And slowly but surely, I was at the last buoy and could see T1… Yes! Okay, stay focused. You still have a long way to the swim finish.

Then, my hands touch the bottom. Oh my god! I can’t believe it! I just finished the swim. I told myself, I achieved something big and even if I don’t finish the race, I would be proud of my achievement. Garry’s wise words come to mind, ‘enjoy the race, smile at the volunteers and supporters’. And so, I smiled and waved and enjoyed every moment of the bike and the run. Seeing other Balance members on the course, racing and supporting, yelling ‘Go Balance!’ was such a joy. It was a pleasant reminder that even though we were doing an individual race, we were not alone. Towards the last few kms of the run, I needed another dose of inspiration, and this time it came in the form of pizzas! I knew there was going to be pizzas later that evening, and that got me very excited. With every step I was chanting to myself, ‘pizza-pizza-pizza!’ And the next thing I know, I cross the finish line. What…?! I want my pizza now!

With the race finished, it was time to party! Pizzas and then, the dance floor! And Balance sure does know how to party! We rocked that dance floor. Race hard-party hard mantra lives strong in the Balance members. Balance placed 6th overall in Division A, which I later learnt was our best result in Club Champs. Balance also had the luck on our side, with Rob Warry winning a bike. I guess the triathlon bug caught me too after all. Since Club Champs, I have taken part in the Kurnell Sprint, 104km Bobbin Head Classic, Coogee 2.4km Ocean Swim, and signed up for the Port Macquarie Half-Ironman. Yikes!

Gautam