It was beautiful calm sunny days leading up to the big Challenge Wanaka event; but at 6:30am this morning the overcast skies and strong wind gusts were beginning to settle in. But this didn’t detour the spectators from flocking in droves to watch this prestigious triathlon. I couldn’t believe how busy the town was at 7 o’clock in the morning! There was over a half hour wait for coffee in any café, and the streets and lake front were packed with eager onlookers. The atmosphere was contagious and you couldn’t help but get sucked into the vibe of admiration for these incredible endurance athletes.
The full iron distance competitors were already in the water when we arrived, and we had to push through the crowd to get a good view of the hundreds of swim caps bobbing in the choppy
Wanaka lake. We watched at the transition area as they jogged out of the icy cold lake stripping as they grabbed their bags and made a speedy journey up and over the bridge to mount their bikes for the 180k ride. Next came the Lake Wanaka Half athletes then the teams quick on their heels and even overtaking despite their later start time.
There is no way to convey the intensity and determination that these athletes were exuding as they transitioned into their next discipline. Also the age range is astounding! There is a team with the collective age of 207 competing in the full distance race, now that is impressive. There was also a small boy who came into Racers Edge for his bike check, but when the staff member tried to explain that they didn’t need stickers for the
junior event, he proudly explained that he was competing in the
Challenge event…at 15! Keep an eye on that one.
While we are only mid way through this race, I have to say that this has been an incredibly motivating experience thus far and am so proud that the Racers Edge team is doing so well! Charles Cochrane has just come in from the bike leg leading the team to a current 5th place standing, and Jess Simson is on the run hoping to maintain if not better that spot. The wind is definitely picking up and there have been rumors that the Lake Hawea elbow turn is yielding a few casualties – not a good day to have those disk wheels!
I just got word that Jess is nearing the finish line! Stay tuned for a full update and results for this incredible event, because I gotta get back out there and watch! =)