Valley triathlete takes on world
VETERAN Yamba triathlete Ray Hunt battled oversized wetsuits and freezing temperatures to pick up a silver and a bronze medal at the London International Triathlon World Championships.
Competing in the 70-74 age group, Hunt picked up silver in the aquathlon (1km swim and 5km run) and backed it up with a bronze the next day in the sprint distance triathlon (750m swim, 20km bike ride, 5km run).
He rounded off his efforts with the Olympic Distance Triathlon (750m swim, 40km ride, 10km run) with a 5th placing.
Fellow Valley triathlete David Lovell performed strongly in the highly competitive 40-45 age group, finishing in the top two thirds of his group.
The frigid 15-degree water in Lake Serpentine in London's Hyde Park and 11- degree air temperature was not exactly what Lovell and Hunt have been used to in Australian qualifying races.
In the lead-up to the aquathlon Hunt broke out his wetsuit to combat the freezing temperatures.
"It was very cold and wet so I decided to put on my wetsuit for warmth," he said.
"I asked a spectator to zip me up; in doing so he ripped out the zip and we couldn't fix it.
"I went into panic mode, the water temp was 15 degrees and I dreaded the thought of swimming without the wetsuit
"The sole wetsuit sponsor (Blue Seventy) was not my brand but nevertheless I approached and explained my desperate situation.
"They loaned me one of their older suits they used for fitting their clients. The top half fitted but the legs were about three inches too long; nevertheless it was better than nothing."
Even with a baggy suit Hunt's swim time was a creditable 18 mins 10secs but he lost time getting his suit off in the transition.
"I felt good on the run. I had the Brits and the Americans covered but I didn't count on a South African averaging just over four-minute Ks at 70. He got the gold and I was quite relieved to get the silver."
Hunt's battles continued in the remaining two events, with wetsuit troubles in the sprint event and a 1km backtrack in the final event ruining his chance of a podium finish.
"Overall I was disappointed with my results but there are times when circumstances are beyond my control," he said.
"It was great to see Emma Moffatt, formally of Woolgoolga, win a bronze in the elites.
"I hope we have better weather for the Yamba Triathlon Festival as I am looking forward to watching our kids perform."