I’ve always loved racing in the tropical north of Australia. Not from just being a beautiful warm part of Australia but allowing me to race close to home. There’s nothing better than having friends and family watching and cheering for you.
Leading into yesterday’s race I’d made sure that my preparation was as good as I could make it, where I headed over to the USA post my win in Busselton a few weeks ago. This 4 week training block was done at higher than normal (sea level) altitude in stunning Colorado. This allowed me to clear the head and stay focused on my training.
To add to the mix of pressure before a big race, my bike nearly didn’t arrive back into the country. It was lost for a little but was eventually found in LA and was re-routed back to Australia. One less headache sorted out.
Given the very nature of tropical weather, it can be either super warm or raining and warm with a good mix of humidity. So yesterday’s race was just that – rain with more rain. Talk about waterlogged – I think I’ll be wet for the next few weeks.
The swim wasn’t going to be a whole lot of fun for anyone. The weather was crap coupled with sizeable waves which just added another layer to the already challenging conditions. Pardon the pun… but hey, we were all in the same boat, right? I was able to swim a good time of 52:11 which put me in 3rd coming out of the water. I could see I had Casey Munro and Peter Robertson ahead of me by around 2 minutes with Courtney Ogden right on my heals.
The wet roads were going to play a roll in the race and heading out onto the bike leg my main focus was to stay upright while crossing my fingers for no punctures. Leading out on the bike was Robbo, Casey and myself. Shortly after, Mat Burton and Cam Brown caught us. I felt gutted for Casey when I knew he punctured – it’s tough when you do as your day slips away.
Matt looked really strong and he and ended up doing a lot of the work out the front. All day long on the bike the rain was going to be there but then we had the wind to content with. The 5 of us came together into T2.
Heading out of T2 I found myself in the lead. I was quickly followed by Robbo and Cam. The 3 of kept pace for the first 12km and then Robbo dropped off. This is going to be a war a attrition.
Around 19km Cam started to turn the screws on me as I’m sure he could sense I was hurting. Each quicker step hurt just that little extra. By 21km he dropped me by a minute or so and that was the race done there. I wasn’t able to put any time back into Cam. And looking at his back half of the marathon, he was very strong.
I’d really like to take my hat off to Cam Brown today. He’s so consistent at this sport and as I said in the press conference on Friday, he’s going to be a hard man to beat, and he was with a 2:44 marathon.
For the curiously minded, here are my numbers from the day.3.8km swim in 52:11. 180km ride in 4:39:35 / avg. 38.63 km/h. 42.2km run in 2:48:15 / avg. 3:59/km. Finished the race in 8:23:23.
Also a big shoutout to my wife Belinda as it’s her birthday today. Happy birthday!
Time for some rest and recovery.
Images supplied by Delly Carr, http://www.sportsphotography.com.au
It was a picturesque morning in Busselton on Saturday yesterday and it unfolded as I had hoped it would. But before I jump into how the race went I wanted to share with you how I almost didn’t make it to the start line.
My preparation leading up to the race had been really good. I’d put some solid sessions in and I was feeling comfortable at where I was. As you can see by my data I didn’t end up training during the last week.
I nearly wasn’t able to make the start line at all as my final week of preparation was thrown into chaos. The timing was terrible. Two weeks out from the race I came down with a bug which went through the squad. I ended up having it the longest, which in hindsight, may have done me well given that I had forced rest and plenty of sleep. Hats off to my wonderful wife, Bel, who looked after me while I was ill.
The start gun went off in Geographe Bay for the open water swim beside the famous Busselton jetty. The water was glass-like and not a breath of wind could be found.
Courtney and Sam lead the swim out of the water. I felt like I had a great swim and was able to stay in the front bunch which really helped to set up the rest of the day for me. This is something I have worked a lot on over the last 6 months or so.
Out on the bike Tom Rodgers and James Hodge put some hard work in early. We were very fortunate again to have have any real wind hitting us.
Coming out of T2 and onto the run was a group of 9 which consisted of Guy Crawford, James Hodge, Courtney Atkinson, Sam Appelton, Alex Reithmeir, Tom Rodgers, Sam Betten, Casey Munro and myself. This is where the race is really going to begin as there was only about a minute between all of us.
Halfway through the second lap I managed to shake Sam and now I was moving in on closing down the gap between myself and Courtney. By the end of 2nd lap (14km) I’d passed Courtney and from there, it was up to me to hold on and ensure the win.
For the curious minded, I was fortunate to break the course record by a few minutes which was held by Brad Kahlefeldt at 3:45:38 with my winning time of 3:43:07. I’ve finally got one over my good mate and training partner. This one’s for you!