First of all, welcome to the new site! Please get comfortable and make yourselves at home. Here is a “short” account of the lead in and race of the 2015 Busselton Ironman 70.3:
I’ve been moving up through the distances in 2015. I started the year with a sprint and then up to a few Olympic distances with some pretty good results. I used to have an all-encompassing fear of Olympic distance racing which I believe is now more or less cured. I was however, still petrified of Half-Ironman or 70.3 racing. I began my triathlon career with the half ironman distance and at the time, I believed the longer distance meant I could travel a little bit more comfortably than in short course racing. There were a few reasons that could not be the case in Busselton. The first was because I wanted to break the hallowed 4hr barrier and the second being, I learnt that Levi Maxwell (who is the current 25-29 AG Ironman World Champion) would be travelling to Busso to race. For my non-triathlon friends, what that means is, when I came 4th in Hawaii, he came 1st (and was 26th overall amongst the best ironman athletes in the world). The guy is a very talented athlete indeed.
Saturday May 2nd was a cold day. You may have got a little wet on the East Coast, and it might have felt a tad chilly in Perth, but I can assure you, it was downright freezing in Busselton (literally). In recent times, my swim motivation has come up, but let me tell you, I was chomping at the bit to dive into the 19 degree water of Geography Bay and dreaded getting out. Beach starts are my forte and I am almost always able to hang on to an early lead (however brief it may be) as my stilts allow me to wade out a bit deeper than your more conventionally-shaped triathlete. For some silly reason I lined up in the second row to start which completely sabotaged fleeting swim advantage, nevertheless I got onto the feet I wanted but as the group converged both sides I got crunched and my feet (Ben King’s feet) disappeared in the whitewash. I ended up sitting in a group that in hind sight was probably a little slower than I had intended to go but it’s always a bit of a gamble unless you are willing to go it alone. I exited the water with my good friend Amos Gollach (another Ironman AG World Champion) and glanced at my watch to see it tick dangerously close to 30 minutes, a fair bit slower than I had planned.
I moved quickly through the icy transition and was onto the bike in just over a minute. It took me a few minutes to get my feet in the shoes in their entirety. I adopted a stabbing technique which sent my numb toes in all different direction. Once secured, I found it pretty easy to hold my wattage out to the far turn where I saw Levi had a minute and change on me. By the time we hit town again and made the turn for the second lap, the gap had closed to just under 45 seconds. I made the pass at around 65km and was pretty keen to take any buffer on offer over Levi. It turned out this was around 30 seconds. I hit T2 with a bike split of 2hrs 12mins (4 minutes slower than my time pre-crash last year). Since I was working on such small margins, I kissed my sub-4 hour dreams goodbye as I looked at my watch which read 2hrs45min elapsed.
I hoped I could run a 1hr17 half marathon but in reality, thought it could be closer to 1.20. As I exited transition, I caught a glimpse of Maxwell racking his bike. It was on. I set out on the run course at a pace that matched the crowd support and volume. As it turned out this pace seemed fine and when I saw the gap back to Maxwell at the far run turnaround (3.5km) and then back in town (still around 30seconds) I decided not to slow down. By the time we hit the far turn around for the second time I had managed to open it up just a touch and then a little bit more as we hit the town and made the run for the final lap. I tried to enjoy the final lap and thanked as many people as I could on the way to the chute, taking a small bow in front of Mikey Gee and my old Blackfins team mates. By the time I hit the finishing chute, the market value of high 5’s had plummeted on account of how readily available I was making them. Both hands in the air I walked the final 5 metres before stopping my watch and realising the error of my ways. 4.00.01 was the official time and the exact time I had recorded on my watch. There’s celebrating and then there’s CELEBRATING…I chose the latter.
In all honesty, I am not too disappointed though, my 1.14 marathon appeased the situation somewhat. Never did I think I could run like that and now I only want to go faster. I feel like I have a lot more to give over this distance and now believe it is only a matter of time before I dip my toe in the three fifty something pool.
This report may be a getting a little long in the tooth but “wow” the support out there was amazing. Stadium and Exceed tents were again highlights but having my family on course as well as my old teammates was very special. Having Simon Beaumont on the mic commentating always gives me an outer body type experience like “is that really me he’s talking about?”. There were a lot of familiar faces out there to whom I’m very appreciative for the support. You all know who you are. Thankyou!
Big thanks to my sponsors:
Ride Advice and Focus for giving me everything I need to go fast on 2 wheels.
HED for giving me the 2 wheels
Pioneer for supplying me with the most technologically advanced power meters on the market today. REALLY! These systems are a big part of why I can get off the bike and run.
Titan Performance Group for the very slippery Xterra Wetsuits and race apparel by Nimblewear.
32Gi for the nutrition and in this instance, the clothing too.
Bodyright Massage for sticking needles in all the right places
Brooks Running for the new hi-vis kicks which carried me to what was essentially equal second fastest run of the day
Congratulations to all who braved the cool conditions out there on Saturday.
Thanks for sticking it out with me,