Lets put things mildly, I got my butt whipped big time.
After a great race in Western Australia I came to New Zealand expecting big things of myself. I honestly thought the course would suit me and that my fitness would get me over the line in a quick time. I even dreamt that I could do another sub 10hr result.
Swim - 01:09:37
T1: Swim-to-bike - 00:04:40
Bike - 05:30:12
T2: Bike-to-run - 00:02:14
Run - 04:18:44
Overall - 11:05:27
Lets just say nothing went to plan
The week leading up to the race I felt great, I was moving really well and saw nothing that could possibly derail my race day.
I flew into NZ and was just in awe of the beautiful country before me. Bec and I flew into NZ and headed straight for Taupo. Upon arriving I headed straight out for a run and focused staying within my heart rate zone. Put the bike together and rested up.
I went through my usual prep of a depletion session followed by a re-feed. So far all was on track and I just kept ticking the boxes that were required to keep myself moving.
Everyone was telling me that you will never experience volunteers like in NZ, how true is that. All the volunteers go the extra mile before, during and after the race, For that alone I recommend IMNZ.
As the race was on a Saturday, the bike and gear were checked in on the Friday and I felt I was ready for an awesome race.
Little did I know that someone had angered the weather gods and we were in for a hell of a day.
The usual early morning rise was greeted with a sound I had not heard all week, "wind" and its was blowing hard. My heart sank as I was least prepared for a windy day. Bec reminded me to race to the conditions and forget about the wind.
We headed down to transition to prep the bike and get ready for the swim.
You have never seen so many dejected athletes in one place, Lake Taupo looked more like Bondi Beach with massive waves (ok a little dramatic) but it was certainly not flat.
I headed out to the start and got myself warmed up, the movement of the water was amazing, we kept having to re-correct ourselves as we drifted towards the shore.
Starters gun goes off and I make a great start but what is very evident for me is how hard it was to stay right with the current, I kept having to adjust course but I felt like I was making good headway so I kept sighting as best as I could.
I made the far turn buoy and headed for home, it honestly felt like I was swimming in quick sand I was finding it very hard work to maintain my line and swim strong but nonetheless I got it done but exited the water far more tired than I had hoped for but happy to see my swim wasn't as bad as I thought it was
After the swim I was ranked 17th in my division.
Out onto the bike and up the hill and away we go... I was flying as I headed out on the first lap... I was pushing in excess of 40+km/h average and passing everyone I came across. The wind behind me was amazing but boy oh boy was I in for a shock... I hot the far turn around and it was like a sledgehammer to the face. The speed was gone and instead now I had wind from what seemed like every direction and I was pushing hard to maintain my power.
I focused on remaining aero as best as I could and push my watts. However the simple fact was I was off the boil, I just couldn't seem to find the power I wanted and the wind was toying with me. I hit the 90km turn around in town and heard the announcer say winds were hitting 50km/h. My heart sank further but the riders in front of me just stopped, it seems they had had enough.
Back up the hill and hit the fast road again, this time I was pushing 15% less watts and didn't have much to give. I knew I had busted myself up but I had to get myself home. I put focus into getting some extra nutrition into me in the form of coke and this seemed to help but a 5:30 result wasn't what I had in mind.
I was very surprised that after the bike I was ranked 11th in my division.
Out of T2 and focused on tapping away. I had a plan for my run but after a few km's I knew this would be near impossible to hold. I saw bec and she gave me some splits I needed to hold to remain in the current position. I put my head down and got on with it.
After lap one I was still 11th but by the far turn of lap two I was reduced to walking, I couldn't turn the legs over I was simply knackered. This is where bec is a godsend for me, she reminds me of the little things I need to do, I got some energy into me and just ran as best as I could, bec reminded me a good time was still possible and to remain steadfast to finish with a good result.
End of lap two I was 16th position, I tried so hard to run fast and keep running with a consistent pace but it was just a struggle. Anyway I got it done and i walk away from this race knowing I got things wrong and I need to look at my prep and race day execution.
After the run I was ranked 21st in my division which is my highest ranking yet.
A huge thank you to the people (especially my beautiful wife) and companies that support my business, my clients and my ironman endeavours. I really couldn't do this without you and I am truly grateful.
Where to now?
Well it is back to the drawing board for me but the biggest decision I have made after discussions with my wife and close friends is that I am taking on a coach. Who that coach is remains a secret but he has a proven track record in getting his athletes to perform well on race day through sound training, advise and execution of the plan.
With my new coach I am going to be putting a real focus in the continued development of my skills to race better than ever before, however I am taking the focus for Cairns to have a good race without expectation of a great result. If I get a great result that will be the icing on the cake for me.