North Coast take on Bintan 70.3

25th August 2019 – Bintan, Indonesia – James Knipe

Winter might be quite short in Perth, but when it hits it feels like it’s no time before we’re craving the sunshine again.  With that in mind, several NCTC’ers made the decision to head off to warmer climes for a mixture of sun, sand and strenuous activity by competing in Bintan 70.3 in Indonesia.  For those who don’t know, Bintan is a short 50 minute ferry ride from Singapore…it’s kinda like Singaporeans version of Rotto.

Seven of us headed up in total, and whilst we all had our own agenda (e.g. preparation for Kona for Lisa Hitchcock, build for IMWA for myself, Mahesh and possibly others), we all shared a common objective of having fun in the sun and just enjoying the event.

As you can imagine, Bintan is hot and humid – 32-34 degrees with 95% humidity.  Even sitting for breakfast in the shade at 6:30 am we were sweating!  Race day was going to spent staring at our heart rates, and trying to manage our bodies, rather than focussing on our normal target power output or run pace.

The Bintan course is simply stunning.  The swim is held in crystal clear, turquoise water off a gorgeous sandy beach at the resort centre of Lagoi.  You can see the bottom the whole way, and even swim over some coral reefs at some points.  It’s a non-wetsuit swim (29 degrees water)…which is a good thing because we were all feeling a little warm even without our wetsuits on!

Transition (T1 and T2) is right on the beach front at Lagoi.  From there it’s onto the bike for a spectacular meandering course through small villages and townships, along the coast, through the jungle, past the monkeys chattering in the trees, and waving to the kids and their families who seemed to line the entire course.  They really seemed to enjoy having us there as much as we enjoyed being there.

After surviving the swim, it was on to a flat two-lap run course which is exposed to the baking sun.  Fortunately there are ample aid stations (approx. every 1.5 km) and each competitor seemed to go through gallons of water, ice and sponges in an effort to keep cool.  It was a struggle, but it was great crossing paths with the other NCTC athletes as we made our way around the course.

Onto the finish and the after-party.  Ice baths were enjoyed by all, along with fresh coconuts, ice-cream, and a few too many Bintangs.  Well done to everyone from NCTC who survived and thrived on such a challenging course in a stunning and wonderful destination.  I for sure will be back!

Crocodile Fears Conquered in Winning National Championships!

On the 24th of August 2019, a brilliant morning bathed in sunshine at Pallerenda Beach near Townsville, 17 year old Rahul Jegatheva, a 1st year student at the University of Western Australia, took the overall title at the Triathlon Australia National Aquathlon Championships, part of the Intersport Townsville Triathlon & Multisport Festival. Overcoming talk of crocodiles in the water and seeing bottles of vinegar places strategically along the beach for emergency treatment against bluebottles, irukandji and box jellyfish, Rahul brought home the 19&U National title for the third time in a  row and his 1st overall national championship win.

Rahul, who has won gold and silver at World 19&U and Junior events, tore apart the field over the 1km swim and 5km run course being quickest in both elements. Taking line honours at a Triathlon Australia Nationals Championships was particularly pleasing as he finished 4th overall in Cronulla during the 2016-2017 season where  legendary multiple ironman world champion, Craig Alexander took the win,  4th in the Snowy Mountains (2017-2018) and 2nd at the Gold Coast (2018-2019). 

"I want to thank my coaches Grant Landers (UWA Triathlon Club) and  Eoin Carroll (Perth City Swimming Club) for giving me this opportunity and allowing me specialised training sessions as the set of skills I need to focus on is rather different than some of the others. I am also very thankful to my other club, the North Coast Triathlon Club as that is where I get to compete in Aquathlon races during their annual 12 race series.  I am looking forward to my next major Aquathlon race which could be in Singapore in early 2020 or perhaps the Worlds in Amsterdam in late  2020." said Rahul.

It has been a remarkable past week for Rahul, as he also just learned that he was named the 2019 recipient of the WM Nunn Bursary, awarded to a 1st year student in honour of UWA student athlete Wally Marshall Nunn. Nunn won four full blue awards across the sports of athletics, rugby, swimming and rowing, a feat no one else has been able to emulate. In his next few years at UWA Rahul will surely give it a go though across the core sports  he has previously qualified for the national championships in, aquathlon, triathlon, pool & open water swimming, track & cross-country  running. 

In winning the national title, Rahul has sewn up a spot at the next International Triathlon Union World Aquathlon Championships in the Netherlands in October 2020, and will have quite awhile to plan and train  for that event given how early in the new 2019-2020 cycle it is. The Amsterdam worlds will be Rahul's final time in the 19&U age category as he would move to the next age bracket by the time the 2021 event comes around, back on the beautiful waters of Townsville as Australia hosts the world event once more!

Rahul taking out the title of National Aquathlon Champ

Rahul taking out the title of National Aquathlon Champ