Monday, March 15, 2010

2 perfect.....1 not so perfect.

Well, after a weeks r&r from a not so perfect NZ Ironman 2010, I thought I should recap the race and jot down very important lessons that I learnt.

The brief summary goes like this:

Was very complacent in my swim training which meant I gave the swimmers a start that I could not bridge the gap too. 59 odd min

Totally punished myself on the bike trying to get across to the leaders, underestimated the course, conditions and competitors. 5hr 7 min

Took the run very easy as after I knew I was not going to achieve my goals, I set about enjoying the remaining of the race and finished with Carla. (Something that I will never regret doing). 4hr 25min

Total time: 10hr 40min (give or take a minute)

The extended version:

I had the perfect position as the start of the swim, front row, very wide. With a straight 1700m before the first turning buoy, I was very happy with where I was situated. This was the calmest swim that I have done, hardly any contesting of position. I found myself swimming very comfortably and was able to push from the turning buoy to the finish. I didn't feel like I faded at all. Was very happy with my swim. (59 odd min with only 3 swims in the lead up).

Little did I know that the 30-34 age group was a star studded field and by swimming a couple of mins slower, it cost me a chance of even being competitive, let alone get the slot I went there for!!

So, with the long (400 odd metre) run up to transition, I was fresh and ready to get cracking on the bike to get myself into a position similar to Western Australia. So after heading out the first part of the bike, passing the usual swimmers on the way out, I was happy with how I was going. This quickly changed as I approached the turn around and counted no fewer than 8 athletes in my age group in the lead pack. Throw in another 1-2 just off the back, I found myself in around 15th - 20th position (hard to get exact spot on course) So at the turn around, my plan was to keep driving hard and bridge the gap by the start of the second lap.

Back into town, 90km down in 2hr 20min, REAL happy with how i was feeling and how i was going. Surely I had shortened the gap!?!?! (history shows, not even close!!!) So, I headed back out to the turn around (135km) and with the wind picking up, I decided to try and conserve a little bit of energy knowing that I still had to get back in reasonable shape. Being a little more reserved and not seeing many athletes along the way, except the odd straggler (which I became one) I realised that my dream of Kona 2010 was over. The lead bunch of age groupers were now putting considerable time into me, which is understandable with 1 rider trying to get across to a bunch of 15 or so.

Hit the turn around and tired to keep a constant tempo right til the end. This was going well and managed to get myself into a group of 4-5, not at my ideal speed, however, still some reprieve for a few minutes. This was going fine until I heard an almighty squeal from my rear wheel, WTF was that?? After coming to a screaming halt, I looked down and noticed that my spare had rattled loose and jammed between my frame and wheel. So, as if I needed anything else to make my job harder I had to dismount and TRY to remove the single, after about 1 min (yes not that much!!) I got the spare out and had to put it down my top to ride back. I then spent WAY too much energy trying to get back to the group and expended a fair amount of energy doing so.

Back into town and off the bike in 5hr 7min, about 10 min slower than what I wanted at the start. So, after doing too much on the bike, I took my time in Transition and walked the exit getting some nutrition down before I headed out for the run. As I knew my race was technically over (getting a Kona slot, going near my PB) I decided to take the run really easy to enjoy what was a tough day for me. The run was at a very moderate pace (slow!!) and after the first lap, I decided that I would wait for Carla and finish the run/race with her. So, with 10kms to go, I was heading home, still trying to get an idea how far she was behind me. I managed to convince 5 locals that they were holding my beer (after running the hill for the last time) and once they realised I would enjoy a beverage with them, handed over an icy cold beer (the label escapes me), but at the stage, the beer tasted great.

This was the order for the remaining part of the run and with 5km to go, I found another group of local lads and enjoyed another one of their finest beers, along with some biscuits & cheese whilst I waited for Carla. I may have sat down for too long because as she rounded the corner I got out the the most comfortable seat for the day and got a head start back to the finish line. Once the legs got mobile again, we managed to get into a good rhythm and ran the final 5k's in under 25 mins.....(maybe I am learning to run, or was it the extended rest I had?!?!)

Into the finish chute, finishing with Carla was one decision that I will never regret, nor forget. As many endurance athletes know, emotions run high during a race and finishing with her was a great moment (even if I was over 1 hour behind where I wanted to be!!).

Overall, I learnt a lot from the race - I CANNOT solely rely on my bike leg to get me near the front, I have to get back into the pool.

The atmosphere for the day was outstanding and is a race that I will be going back to.

From here, triathlon is the furthest thing from my mind. I am going to run the Geelong 1/2 Marathon in 4 weeks and hopefully improve on my time from 2 years ago and then head to Coleraine for the Tour of Coleraine over ANZAC weekend.

Anyway, as they say, 2 outta 3 ain't bad!!!

For now...


Ps...The Erox wheels were fantastic and wheels that I will be using again in the future and wearing the Compressport gear was also great and very comfortable. Thanks Florian & Rudy for helping me out with these products. Will be passing on my thoughts to everyone!!! Unfortunately I was unable to wear the NEW Degani race suit due to a few technical issues for Ironman racing. I look forward to the release of the Ironman suit later in the year.

Friday, March 5, 2010

1 more sleep....

Well, as I sit here in front of the computer, the weather is absolute magic outside. Clear blue skies, minimal wind and temperature around 22 deg Celsius. Yesterday was a different story, as tomorrow will be. The wind is forecast to be a southeasterly with chance of rain in the afternoon. As for the race, this means that there will be a tailwind for the outward journey on the bike and naturally a headwind on the return.

I have had a swim in the lake, tasted it also in the chop yesterday and thankfully, it is freshwater, so no spew if I cop a mouthful tomorrow!!! I also ride the first section of the bike with the only step incline on it and am very comfortable with this. (Must be the riding with Jas in the hills many many Saturdays in a row!!!) And also the run only has one incline which I am also confident with (thanks Arch & Trav!!).

So, for now I have to finalise my things to check into transition as everything else has been checked off my list. Fingers crossed that the race plan goes well and I have a "happy" race report post race.

For now...