Tuesday, February 03, 2009


2009 HELL OF THE WEST RACE REPORT………..as viewed by a Triathlon Widow (DONNA NOLAN)

Beep! Beep! Beep! 3.30am already! Rise and Shine! Time to sleepwalk in the dark to the banks of the McIntyre River to get numbered and rack your bikes for the infamous Hell of the West Triathlon in Goondiwindi consisting of a 2km swim/80km bike ride/20km run.
Just before 5.00am and still pitch black, the first wave of competitors entered the cool dark waters full of anticipation & looked like corks bobbing in the ocean as they waited for the race to begin. Dalby entrants Kate Paynter, Jonathon Fawkes & Katie Bligh swam the first leg for their respective teams. Individual competitors Bronwyn Henschell-Green (a veteran of 4 HOTW’s) and first timers Danny Nearhos & Tony Nolan followed in various waves. Special mention goes to Jonathon who had never swum 2k’s before but thought he’d “give it a go” after Benn Hanson had to withdraw from the swim leg due to a chronic ear infection. Jonathon well & truly held his own in the swim against very experienced competitors. Katie Bligh exited the swim mid field setting up well for the rest of her team. Kate Paynter also finished well despite being stabbed by a stick in the murky waters of the McIntyre! Danny had a great swim leg and blitzed the field while dolphin Bron was the second female out of the water. Nolsey struggled with cramps as he returned to shore & spent the latter part of the swim leg floating on his back trying to stretch out watching despondently as other competitors sailed past. By the time he reached transition there was only a single number of bikes left!
Mark Green rode well after taking over from Kate and really put his shoulder to the wheel to bring his team forward a few more places by the completion of the bike leg. By the time he had completed his ride he had just about digested the ½ a cow he had consumed the night before as the Team Nutritionist watched in horror. Taking over from Jonathon, Sam Beck, wearing a red jersey, looked like a red belly black snake as he flattened himself along the bike and looked like he part of the machine. He rode with the aggression of a brown snake as he set a blistering pace in the bike leg. Danny looked comfortable for the whole 80kms, singing ad jingles in his head to help pass the kilometres. Bron suffered cramping problems in the glutious maximus & had to get off the bike for around 5 minutes to try and work the cramps out before finally completing the bike leg and falling a few places in the female race rankings. Putting the horrors of the swim behind him, Nolsey finally mounted the bike. He put his head down & peddled like a man possessed and soon began the task of mowing down his competitors. Not one single rider overtook him on the bike leg (there were only about nine others behind him at the start!). By the time he racked his bike again he had pulled himself up around the top third of the list.
At this stage Jonathon had traded his togs for running shoes and was off like a shot for the 20km run. He ran like a cheetah and with 200 metres to go began sprinting like an Olympian in contention for a gold medal. He dashed past others bringing his team up to 5th place. Greenie passed the baton to Clare who decided that she was sick of sitting around in the 35 degree heat and didn’t want to be pounding the bitumen for any longer than she needed. Clare ran one of her best races passing many other competitors to pull her team up the rankings. Jodie VanRjen (a former local) ran the final leg for Team Bligh after the original runner was injured in a car accident during the week. This was Jodie’s first shot at the 20km distance and to her credit she raced well. Benn Hanson completed the run leg for an individual entrant who had hurt his knee the day before the event. Benn approached the run in his usual laid back style and posted a respectable time completing the event with a big grin on his face. Nolsey soon eased into a comfortable rhythm for his 20k’s and crossed the finish line with his fists clenched in jubilation. Danny pounded the pavement and was soon home crossing the finishing line with a triumphant smile. Bron settled into her usual efficient gait and slowly clawed her way through the pack to lift her overall position. Bron finished an incredible second in her category – no mean feat considering her strong opposition and debilitating cramps. During the race post mortem on the way home Danny and Nolsey wallowed in their achievement of completing their first gruelling “Hell of the West” and recording a respectable time stating how much they really enjoyed it and would be back again next year. Perhaps they were suffering heat exhaustion or the effects of dehydration......
Or perhaps it is just the sheer addiction of Triathlon!!!! Well Done to All!

Bronwyn Henschell Green  2nd in her Category
Tony Nolan  11th in his Category
Danny Nearhos  around top 1/3 of his Category there was a timing problem.
Team Dalby 1: (Jonathon Fawkes, Sam Beck, Jonathon)  5th Male Team
Team Dalby 2: (Kate Paynter, Mark Green, Clare Byrne)  15th Mixed Team
Krunch Bunch (Katie Bligh/Jed Dowling/Jodie VanRjen)  19th Mixed Team
Benn Hanson stepped in at the last moment to run for an individual entrant who was injured  11th Male Team


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