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
About a month ago, I had a rethink of my season, and made some midseason alterations to my calendar, and my focus for the remainder of 2013. Rather than bore you with the details of the next six months, I’ll try to cover these races as they happen.
Several weeks ago I began my preparation to do an Olympic distance race (i.e. Port Douglas 5150) on one weekend, then back it up the following weekend with the Cairns Ironman 70.3. The reason I decided to do these races is that it had been such a long time between races and also coming off a chest infection, I just wanted to see where I was at in terms of fitness. The 5150 was mainly a hit-out event, and I was preparing myself to have a good crack at the Ironman 70.3.
So the 5150 race was great, I felt good and enjoyed it, I got a 6th place there, which was what I expected for the field of athletes, and my ability in short course racing. I spent the week in Port Douglas (about an hour drive north of Cairns, Queensland) training with Clayton “Clayto” Fettel and Joey Lampe. I had recovered so well and was feeling on top of my game. Clayto was racing the full Ironman, while Joey and I had booked our start for the Ironman 70.3, which was being held simultaneously with the full distance event in Cairns.
Then, in a moment of sheer stupidity, the thought came into my mind to give the Ironman a crack. With no proper Ironman-build in my training, and only six days from race start, I tossed out the idea to my Team. Weirdly enough, I got the support of my coach, manager, and wife, which mutually supported the idea, and with less than six days to go, I got the go ahead to do Ironman Cairns. My preparation for this race was not what I usually do, as it was all about the 70.3 distance, so it was to be interesting to see how the body would hold up.
Race morning/wife’s birthday, I was lucky enough to see a nice clear ocean , which I was told was infested with Croc’s (the reptile, not the fluorescent foam shoes) and only a little whisper of breeze. My swim was pretty crappy and I came out further back than I normally do due to missing two weeks of swimming (as I had a chest infection leading into this race). So after a quick transition I was onto the bike and looking forward to a scenic ride up the coastline and seeing the gorgeous tropical North Queensland …I wish!!!
It was “balls to the wall” to play catch up to just get back onto the main pack of riders I was expecting to come out of the water with. So I caught New Zealand ‘s Cam Brown, Matty White and Todd Israel around 15km mark. Knowing that Luke McKenzie, Clayto, and Chris “Macca” McCormack weren’t in that group, I knew I had caught onto the group riding in equal forth.
Another 15km up the road we caught Macca. Feeling quite good, I was driving the group up into Port Douglas. Macca took a turn up front and I was sitting second with Cam, Matty and Todd still intact. We approached a bit of a tight spot on the road, and we naturally bunched up, and there was a Technical Official sitting off the back of our group. He rode up to me and issued me a drafting penalty. It was a silly mistake, where I wasn’t able to drop back quick enough in a technical section of the course. He might not have had the best angle to see it, but he made the call, and I had to cop it.
It was a little disappointing as I felt I had been off the front of my group for most of the ride and this happens in such a silly spot. So I then decided to surge forward and haul a$$ up the road as I had to get into the penalty box, knowing I didn’t want to lose the ground I made to even catch these boys in the first place. Plus I knew I still had Luke and Clayto out front, which is a scary combination, as they both are strong cyclist. In my angered state, I was able to gain around 2 mins by the time I jumped into the penalty box (…with a gorgeous view might I add).
When I saw the boys go past, I might have uttered a few choice words, and I apologize to the Technical Officials which were staffing the Penalty Box. My emotions may have gotten the best of me in that situation, but I had already worked so hard after a poor swim, to have to claw myself back again. After my penalty was served, I was out of the box on a mission. I caught the boys back at around the 130km mark.
On the ride back into T2 us boys were having a little friendly banter when Matty White decides to pull a turn… Coming past me, he says “I’m a #@%ing cheat”. LOL. Makes the ride a lot more enjoyable when you have good guys out there, keeping you motivated, and talking a bit of smack.
Back into the transition I was told a few splits and McKenzie was 21:58 up the road. Geeeeezzzz, I thought to myself – I’ve got a bit of work, and it was going to have to happen quick smart. So Macca and I ran together for a bit, before he took off. I let him go, but soon caught back up to him. Macca didn’t seem his usual self, which was understandable due to him being in hospital at the start of the week with a Kidney infection.
We ran together for around 4km and Macca was feeling worse, telling me he was pissing blood (…maybe that’s too much information), poor guy. I then dropped Macca and whilst running I saw McKenzie on the way back from the Yorky’s Nob loop, and it was pretty clear to me he had a massive lead. I thought to myself the only way I was going to make time up was to run hard into the head wind.
I overtook Clayto which put me in second place. I kept getting splits from the awesome spectators lining the course. It’s a long run into town, then multiple loops along the foreshore, so the end of the race is full of spectators. I was consistently reducing the 21:58 deficit that Luke built on his Swim/Bike combination.
I ended up crossing the line in second, and was only 4:38 back, taking over 17 minutes of Luke’s lead at T2. I ran a 2:44:24 marathon which was over 10 minutes faster than the second fastest Marathon of the day. I guess looking back now the results it could have been a little different if I didn’t get my drafting penalty. As I could take 4 minutes off my time, and possibly fresher legs at not having to play catch up twice during the bike leg. But all-in-all, I can’t complain and I have lived and learned from my mistakes …until next race!
Well done to Luke McKenzie on a champion effort. Also, I take my visor off to Macca – legend, and tough as nails!
So for me now the game plan is a few easy days then back into it as I head back to the states for a couple of races in a few weeks.
Thanks again to my wife-Bel, family and supporters, my Manager (Mike), the doggies. Sponsors; Scody, Giant, Newton Running, Daikin Air Conditioners, Endura, Shimano, Oakley, Garmin, Blue Seventy, Altitude Training Systems, Continental Tyres, Hypnotic Zoo, Scicon.
Special mention to my coach-Grant Giles. Thanks for always believing in me and pushing me to succeed when I thought I possibly couldn’t. He is a great mentor, friend, and supporter and the number one coach. Go Team Aeromax!!!
Just a quick recap as a lot has been going on in my life. Sorry for the slackness on my blogs.
The Japan 70.3 was a great, hot race, where Macca tested me and I ended up with a 2nd place.
Then I went off to the US where I picked up a virus which knocked me for a six. I did end up going to Munice 70.3 where I was still experiencing the effects of my virus, I got a 10th place there.
Once back to Boulder I was trying to get on the mend so I could get a full block of solid training in for Challenge Copenhagen. Two weeks later I was off to try and make it a three peat at one of my favourite races Challenge Copenhagen.
Race morning started off well having a typical swim of mine. Onto the bike course, I rode up to Jimmy and Fredrick by the 20km mark and moved into 2nd place whilst Aaron was up the rode in 1st place. I dropped the boys and tried to close the gap on Aaron, but he was riding like a demon and kept putting time into me. I got off the bike 9 minutes down and knew it was going to be a long day as I immediately felt sick. On the run I was unable to hold any nutrition down and it was coming out both ends! Thanks to the crowd who encouraged me the whole way and helped get me to the finish line. I was upset with not being able to three peat but glad to give it a shot.
I wanted to thank the boys from Challenge Copenhagen for putting on a great event as always and maybe I might have to give it another shot.
I am now back on the Gold Coast to look after my wife, who was diagnosed with Cervical cancer just three days before my big Copenhagen race. She has now had her operation and is on the mend and I’m having to be her slave and do all the house duties…..
So my Aussie season is going to be big. First race for me is Port Douglas long course race, with a few others in between. My next big Ironman race will be Western Australia in December.
I’m disappointed that I wont be at Vegas 70.3 worlds but family comes first and there’s always next year.
Onwards and upwards from here!