2/3 Bunbury triathlon report - Min Gao

2/3 Bunbury triathlon report - Min Gao

To be honest, I am not quite sure how to write a race report when I was invited to write a report of the Bunbury city classic triathlon. My writing skill is bad and my triathlon experience is lacking. Probably this is a just a piece of experience of a triathlon beginner. Or a lesson I learned at the start of my triathlon journey.

As I have joined the club training for a while, I could feel my swim, bike, run is progressing gradually. At least I leaned some skills I did not know before. Therefore, I was thinking to participate some race in the coming season to test myself, gain experience, and set a reference to identify my progress in the future. Then I signed up the Bunbury Triathlon. It would be my first formal triathlon race if I made it. I was really looking forward to it.


I just attend the club training sessions every week. I did not have a well-scheduled training plan. My training was pretty casual. I go to the session when I have time. It is roughly two swim, two bike, one/two run peer week. During the training, just follow what coach scheduled. I did not do any other training by myself. However, as the new season and race is coming up. I was thinking to do some training by myself on the weekend because I could see other club members did a lot a self-training on Strava. Unfortunately, due to wrong increase of training load, I injured my knee at the end of September.  At that moment, I was worrying that I might could not do the Bunbury. Even if I could do it, I could not push myself too much due to injury. I stopped all training after the knee injury and wished to recover soon. The fact is this kind of knee injury might take a long time to recover. Few days before Bunbury, I still feel not that good with my knee. I was thinking to transfer my entry to others, as I definitely could not run. I emailed race organizer about this, but it was refused. After more communication, I got a compromised solution. I form a team with my friend to finish the race. I do swim and bike, my friend (Lu Li, thank you) will do the run. Therefore, in the last minutes, my entry was changed into team entry.


Due to knee injury, I stopped training for three weeks. I only did one swim on Friday and one ride on Saturday before that Sunday race. Just try to be familiar with the gear and confirm they are still good. I also practiced the T1 that I am not that confident in the Saturday morning. Especially the ‘flying’ mount and dismount. I watched some videos on YouTube and then just practiced it on the road near home. After a lot of trying, the confidence was well built and I decided to do it in the race. After collecting all gear, I went down Bunbury with my friends in Saturday afternoon. When we arrived, we walked to Koombana Bay to collect race package and be familiar with transition area. I met Hamish and Oggi over there. It is always good to see familiar face when you went to new places. The sleep before race is always expected to be bad; especially it was my first time to be there.

Race day

I waked up at 5:30. Then had the breakfast and went to the transition around 6 o’clock. Picked up one place I prefer to set up my transition. Bike, helmet, clip-on shoes on the pedal, race number bib, towel on the ground, my prescription glasses. Then walked to the club tent area with swimming gear. I met Hamish, Oggi, Jonney, Nick over there. Put on the wetsuit, swimming cap and goggles. Around 7 o’clock. I went for a warm up swimming. I haven’t swim in the ocean for a long time, and only have handful open water swimming experiences. I could feel the water is so cold, even with wetsuit because my hand and foot feel freezing. I realized that the swimming would be hard for me. I met Alberto on the beach. He reminded me to swim steady steady steady.


It is time to start. I know my swim was bad. It is my worst among all three legs. When it is our wave to go, I was in the rear part of our group on the beach. Jump into the water and go for it. In the first five hundred meters, I still feel very cold and my arms are very tight. I could not do the stroke very well. I felt my body is not stretched well. After that, feels better and get the rhythm gradually. Besides the cold temperature, another big issue for me is losing the direction. I was always deviating from the right way. I could not see the buoy clearly due to short sight. The cloudy weather and foggy googles also make the situation worse. I stopped for a few times to check where to go. I deviated too much away from the course at some point. The life saving guard even approached me to indicate the direction for me. Overall, I felt this swimming is hard.

Transition 1

When I approached the beach. I still felt freezing. Take off the goggles, swim cap, and unzip the wetsuit when I jog to the bike. When I reached the bike, unsurprisingly, I was the last two who haven’t take the bike in my row. I pushed the wetsuit out. The freezing body makes it harder to take off. Then race number bib, glasses, helmet on. Push the bike toward mounting line. I successfully did the ‘flying’ mount and head to the bike course.


Bike is my favourite leg. The course is also very good. I pushed myself as much as I can. Well applied the turning skills learnt from training. Everything was smooth, consistent pedal and pedal. When it is ready to finish, take off the shoes and pedal on top of the shoes, and prepare for dismount. The same as before, the dismount is also safe and smooth. When I was back to the transition, put the bike on rack, take of helmet, then passed the race number and time chip to my friend. I did feel something on my knee, so I think it is better to leave the run and be safe. Then I walk around to cheer for everyone on the course.

Post-race thoughts

The Bunbury triathlon ends with an Aquabike race for me. I am still happy to gain this kind of experience. The result is swim-00:39:12, T1-00:01:36, bike-1:09:13. It is clear that I need to put more work on swimming, especially on open water swimming. Happy with the T1 and bike, I do believe they could be improved with more practice and training. For the injured knee, do not overload it again. I hope it will recover soon.

Finally, thanks my friend Lu to take over the run. Thanks everyone who answered many questions from me. Thanks for the support from UWATC and coach Steven Gleeson and Grant Landers.