notes from Sri Chinmoy Triathlon Festival

See also: previous entry: Sri Chinmoy Triathlon Festival

For the last few years it has been my task to set up swim courses. Measuring distance on the water is the key factor, and a few different methods have been employed over the years. A cumbersome, now obsolete method, used a string on a reel with a counter attached. The string
was tied to a swim buoy and, as you moved away, the counter told you how far away you were. Laser-sighting binoculars were much better. You aim them at an object, press a button, and instantly you have a digital readout of the distance. But they were expensive, and not
waterproof! One pair met their watery end in Lake Burley Griffin. So, for the last few years I have used a small GPS from a camping store. It’s accurate to within a few metres, it’s waterproof, and it floats.

I put all the swim buoy weights into the boat. They weigh about 20kg each, and are made from concrete. Then I inflated all the swim buoys. They are big yellow plastic cone shaped things. To inflate them, I use the high-tech method of employing a 20-year old vacuum cleaner with
the hose stuck in the other end, so it blows air instead of sucking. I motored out onto the lake with a big procession of buoys towing along behind.

I had been congratulating myself on having worked out all the swim courses in advance. I had to set a 500m course for the Sprint Triathlon, a 1.5km course for the “Classic” Tri, and a 3.2 km course for the Champions Challenge. The Sprint required only one swim buoy. The Classic required four. These courses I had set in previous years. The Champions Challenge was a new course. I had done some measurements on a map, and it seemed to be a simple extension of the Classic course. I had designed m maps for the race, and they had been on the
web for months.

After setting the Sprint and Classic, I discovered, to my surprise, that there wasn’t enough room for the course I had planned. If you got Champs Challenge course you can see the course I wanted to set. Instead, I had to go a long way eastwards to set the first Champions Challenge buoy. When I say first, I mean the first buoy that isn’t also part of the Classic course. Okay, it’s not so easy to explain. I always end up with a sheet of paper full of figures from the GPS readings as I try to figure out the trigonometry. By the time I finished it was after dark.
All the Sri Chinmoy Centre members, locals and visitors, were at the Centre for a meditation. I had toyed with the idea that I could motor up Sullivans Creek in the boat and get to the Centre that way. But I hadn’t brought my clothes for meditation, and anyway it was too late by the time that I had finished with the swim courses….

Wow! This is an exciting post! All about GPS readings and swim buoys!
Hopefully the next one will feature topics with a more general appeal!

post by Rathin

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