As of today, I’m 27 days away from race day in Kona where I’ll be competing at the IM World Championships. To kick off the last leg of the Kona journey I had a final hit out in Queensland at the Ironman 70.3 Sunshine Coast. And all in all… it was a pretty good day. I came away with a first place, which was good for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it’s been a while since I’ve seen the view from the top of the podium and secondly, it shows that I’m on the right track for Kona.
So, here’s how the race went down.
It was a tough field with heaps of gun swimmers out there. I got a good start and sat right on Terenzo Bozzone’s feet all the way out to the turnaround. Then someone put the hammer down, the pace picked up and I trailed the leaders in. As we were coming in, Luke (McKenzie), Todd (Skipworth), Casey (Munro), Terenzo and Clayto (Fettell) managed to grab a wave, while I missed out. That’s the luck of the draw when you’re in the surf – the right wave can make a heap of difference.
Putting the pedal down
The bike course is pretty flat and the surface on the Sunshine Motorway is slick so it was always going to be a fast ride. On the bike, McKenzie and I had to really gas it for the first 25km to get onto the front group. It was a bit windy, but McKenzie was riding like an absolute beast, he was really strong. I’ve got to confess that I was stinging a little, so when we caught them I sat in the group for a while. I had a go and we got rid of a few guys, but I just had to sit in for a bit.
It was a pretty solid bike ride and I rode 2:04:45, which was fast, but about a minute slower than I rode in Cebu in early August. I’m pretty sure Clayto rode a 2:01:01 at Mooloolaba a few years back, which is definitely quick!
Onto the finish line
Josh was holding a 35s lead coming out of T2. Speaking of Clayto, I got off the bike with him, McKenzie, Munro and Terenzo. We managed to drop Josh and Casey Munro straight away and the four of us were running together. Then we dropped Clayto and McKenzie. Finally I got rid of Terenzo around the 6km mark.
I felt really good on the run, and averaged 3:28/km which is a pretty solid pace. I guess when you look at the numbers it wasn’t exactly ‘cruising’, but I felt comfortable. Sometimes it’s great to be able to enjoy the final kms and actually appreciate the crowd and the support that they give you.
In the end, I ran a 1:13:11 – I probably should have gone hard to the finish and run a really good time, but I didn’t want to bury myself for Kona, which is under a month away.
Over the moon
The take away from today’s race, apart from a win, is the knowledge that I’m heading in the right direction for Kona. I was really happy with my performance today – now I just need to maintain that form into the IM World Championship. My body’s feeling good and my legs are fine although they might be a little sore today. I should be back training by Tuesday or Wednesday. In hindsight, backing off over those last few kms was probably the best thing I could have done.
The bottom line is that Kona preparation is going well. Altitude training in Boulder always gives me good benefits and training with my coach, Daniel Plews, seems to agree with me. I haven’t been this fit in ages and that’s a good thing!
Join me on the road to Kona
You’ve probably already gathered that the World Championships in Kona are a big deal for me. Last year my aim was to go there, check it out and get a feel for the place. This year I’ve done the preparation and I feel ready to give it a good shake.
Over the next 27 days I’m going to be posting pretty regularly on the website, but it’s not just all about me. My plan is to pull in some expertise from the rest of team Van Berkel and as I prepare for the Big Race, I hope I can give you some tips and encouragement to help you prepare for your own Big Race. You’ll get an inside look at my journey towards Kona – it would be great if you could come along for the ride. Should be fun. So keep checking in regularly. If you don’t already, you can follow me on Facebook and Twitter.
As always, I appreciate your support! Go hard!