Ironman Western Sydney 70.3 by Rodney Nguyen
Introduction by Nash Kent
Rodney Nguyen is a very special athlete, and a close friend of Park Bikes. You’ll soon find out why.
Rodney was part of the Western Sydney Academy of Sport Cycling Team in 2015 and 2016. I was the coach. Rodney made rapid progression into the sport from hardly being able to ride a bike, to racing A grade at club level in less than 12 months.
In March 2016 At the Cycling NSW State road camp in Bathurst, just after the B2B weekend, things changed for Rodney. Dehydrated after Sunday B2B road race, he suddenly felt ill, and was rushed to hospital with breathing difficulties. Rodney suffered a Pulmonary embolism, which is a blockage in one of the pulmonary arteries in the lungs. It was caused by a blood clot that had traveled to his lungs and stopped him breathing. It was a very difficult day for Rodney, his family, and teammates at the camp.
After he was released from Bathurst Hospital, Rodney was ordered by his doctors to stop competitive sport immediately, and not do any form of exercise that would elevate his heart rate over 150bpm. (his maximum was well over 200). I can’t imagine how a 16 year old me would have dealt with this.
Fast forward two years after some time off the bike, a very successful HSC campaign out of the way, and some solid reflection, Rodney is studying law, dabbing in some bike racing again. He’s also just raced two Ironman triathlons, and run a marathon for the first time. His condition makes him susceptible to dehydration and illness and he suffers from Costochondritis which is inflammation of the junctions where the upper ribs join with the cartilage that holds the ribs to the sternum (strong chest pain).
I have immense amount of respect for Rodney. His dedication and positive attitude are something i’m really impressed by. I felt I needed to tell his backstory, because he’s too modest, and focussed on the future to do it himself. I hope you enjoy his version of Ironman Western Sydney 70.3 last month
Ironman Western Sydney 70.3 by Rodney Nguyen
The 2018 Ironman 70.3 Western Sydney was an unforgettable experience. With a fast and flat bike course, amazing volunteer support and incredible atmosphere on the run, it was a race to remember. It was my second 70.3 event, having competed at the Sunshine Coast in August 2018. I am quite new to triathlon but am loving every minute of it!
The day began with an early 2am wake up. With the car packed from the night before, all I had to do was to eat breakfast (two bananas and a bowl of oats) and then a 45 minute drive out to Penrith.
After checking-in, bike racking and stretching, I went down to the start line to gather my thoughts. Surprisingly, I was not nervous. Why was I not nervous? I credit that to what I have learnt so far in my studies at University as a Psychology/ Law student. I have learnt to visualise the process of how I would like my race to unfold rather than the end result. Try it, it works!. While it is awesome to complete a PB time, I personally find it more important to nail as many components of such a long race as i can (i.e nutrition, transition and each of the three legs).
Fun fact: As my age group made their way to the start line, the announcer announced that i was the youngest athlete in the whole race!
Jumping into the water, I was confronted with filthy brown water and direct sunlight in the eyes as we headed out to the first turn buoy. It was horrible. I panicked and lost all my rhythm. My hips were rocking side to side and i was struggling to find a sense of direction. Add that to the swim start frenzy. It was like a pack of seagulls fighting for the last piece of french fries! Every swimmer was forcing their way into the perfect ‘race line’. I had people scratch me, slap me and even pull my legs down!. Luckily, in my pre-race visualisation, I had prepared myself for this. I managed to get through the swim in a time of 41 minutes and three seconds, four minutes slower that the Sunshine Coast.
T1 was uneventful and I was eager to head off on the 90km bike leg.The roads were flat and fast. With very few turns, I was able to maintain my momentum for long sustained periods of time. I felt quite strong on the bike. Luckily for me, I was able to rotate turns with a rider who was riding to a similar schedule as myself. Passing rider after rider gave me a huge mental boost. It kept me ticking along for the two hours and forty five minutes I was out there for. Coming into the last five km of the leg, I was very cautious not to burn myself. I felt I had a lot left in the tank but knew I had a monumental task ahead of me, being the half marathon.
Coming out of T2, the legs were great and I was in the right headspace. Mentally, I really enjoyed the first 15 kms of the run leg. With minimal rises or turns, I was able to maintain a consistent pace. However, running into the regatta for the last 6kms, I was confronted with the scorching sun. The temperature went from around 24 to 37 degrees. My energy levels were drained like a popped balloon and my hamstrings were starting to give way. By km 17, my body decided enough was enough. The last 3 or 4 kms were spent walking/jogging. As tough as it was, the remainder of the run leg was made easier by the crowds and volunteers. With everyone cheering and offering words of encouragement, I was able to gather myself and finish in a time of six hours and twenty four minutes. A solid 12 minute PB from Sunshine Coast!
A special thank you to Park Bikes for the coaching they have provided over the last few months. It has been quite difficult adjusting to University life whilst training for Ironman events.
Thanks for reading.