2012 Ironman Western Australia – Busselton


Incorporating the iconic Busselton Jetty, the Ironman Western Australia triathlon is renowned worldwide for being the place to go for a fast time on a hot and flat course, but as Sunday morning dawned the heat was definitely going to be there, as was the intense wind and sea swell which had been building all week. Making race day this year challenging from the starters cannon!

 

Unsure why but moments before the deep water start, the decision was to change the professionals to a beach start. I like a running start so didn’t mind as we went flying into the warm choppy waters of the Indian Ocean. A lead pack of 7 guys took off as I settled into a nice pace near the front of the chase pack. Some of the group were having sighting issues in the rough waves so I moved to the front of the pack to ensure I stayed on course. As we rounded the 2km long pier I was feeling good so decided to push on a bit faster, broke away and aimed for the swim exit, I picked off one lone swimmer on the way in and exited in 7th with a PB time – Really happy with my swim in the surging swell and with the extra 100m added on for the beach start.

Swim – 53:39

Heading out on to the flat 3 lap bike course, I settled into my rhythm for the first few kms, then a group of 6 guys including super strong cyclists Mitch Anderson, Jason Shortis and Josh Rix came past, I decided to let them go as it was too early to risk pushing outside my threshold knowing the wind had picked up and we were in for a tough bike! The completely solo 180km TT was hard on the body as you were in the aero position the entire time, I felt prepared for this as I had done a few key long TT sessions in my build up and the smooth surface of the Busselton highway is a little more forgiving than the ‘nice’ ¾ chip roads back home.  I held my placing for the rest of the bike although the group in front had put in a sizable gap by the time I returned to T2. The heat and wind was very draining and it’s the most nutrition I’ve taken in on an Ironman ride, even though it was nearly 10mins quicker than my previous best. Another PB split.

Bike – 4:51

 

The temp had now reached 35 degrees, and it was time to run a marathon! 4 loops along the coastal path, I got my running legs quickly and settled into my goal pace. It didn’t take long to realise that the goal pace would have to be slightly adjusted as the conditions weren’t ideal for a super quick run. An added test to the run was the aid stations..They were a bit too far apart and by the 3rd and 4th lap were getting pretty crowded. I made sure I got fluids in but had to start walking through to guarantee I wouldn’t miss out. My strength is being able to hold good run form in the late stages, and this showed as I passed 3 guys in the last 6kms to come in 11th place overall. It shows how tough the conditions were as only 2 pro’s ran under 3hrs and the winning time was around 25mins slower than previous years! Not a PB run time for me, but I think it’s a PB run performance as I was pleased with how I overcame the demands of a super-hot day.

Run – 3:08

First big race of the season ticked off, pleased with my performance considering I was sick with a chest infection / cold for the week before this race, I learnt a lot about how much your body can take even if you arent feeling  100%. I went through some of toughest moments of my racing in that run, but still managed to smile and finish under 9hours. Good signs for the upcoming NZ season.. Can’t wait!

 

Finish Time – 8:58

Thanks to my sponsors for their support this season :

Orchard Gold – TRI N RUN – Saucony – Endura

Smith Optics – Rock Tape – Ministry of Swimming

Ironman Cairns 2012

 

Cairns Ironman Logo

What a race! After 5 days of solid rain, wind and humidity, Cairns really turned on the weather for Sunday. Nice and still conditions for the early swim start and perfect hot sunshine for the remainder of the day!  A top class, experienced field turned up with a number of  Ironman champions including Chris McCormack, Cam Brown, Luke Bell and Luke Mckenzie among many others.

 

Ironman Cairns Swim
Ironman Cairns Swim

Swim : 54mins

The swim was a 2-lap course out from the pier in the warm murky waters that were supposedly full of crocodiles and jellyfish, according to the locals. That was the last thing on your mind as the start gun went, a fast pace was guaranteed with this seasoned field, and the group broke up into a few packs around the first buoy as everyone dodged the slower swimmers that had started earlier, in the Half Ironman race. I swam in the 3rd group for the first 1.5 laps then decided to push the pace for the last kilometer exiting 1min ahead of the group and having a clear run through transition.

Ironman Cairns bike course - Coastal highway
Ironman Cairns bike course – Coastal highway

Bike : 5hrs 1min

The bike course headed up the scenic highway to Port Douglas with an out and back section over the  rolling coast road a couple of times, the first 2 groups already had a lead and were working well together to extend the gap.. I ended up riding the entire course solo but just held my power range that I had aimed to race at. The way back to transition really started to heat up and we had to fight a light headwind for the final 60kms. I missed a bottle at the final aid station and rode the last 45mins without any fluids so was happy when I arrived in the Bike – Run transition.

Ironman Cairns run course - Through town on last lap!
Ironman Cairns run course – Through town on last lap!

Run : 3hrs 1min

Heading out on to the run course, I was 10mins down on the next 3 guys.. the first 5kms went by in under 20mins and within 8kms I had passed 3 guys ahead and was into 12th place. The tar was melting on the road as the temp was up and the wind had gone completely. I was getting some time splits from my supporters and people were blowing up everywhere! I held a solid pace through to the 30km mark and made steady progress passing another 3 runners including Luke Bell and Mitchell Anderson. The last 10km was starting to take its toll, everyone’s pace had slowed but I managed to push through and pass Chris McCormack with around 5km to go and hold on for my best result so far. I also had the 4th quickest run split!

8th Professional in 9hrs  2mins 

Challenge Wanaka Ironman 2012

Challenge-Wanaka
I chose Challenge Wanaka to be my first Professional race, It was going to be a tough ask to be super competitive with the experienced international field that turned up, Out of 12 Professional males, there were 2 past winners of this event and 8 other winners of Ironman races! It was going to be a challenging  day in the office.

The Weather in Wanaka can decide how hard the day is going to be, from what I have heard – last year the wind and road conditions made this one of the toughest bike courses around and this year was to be no different. The 2-loop run course is 80% off-road trails which makes it a solid marathon on tired legs, Also, if  the snow-capped mountains in mid-January were anything to go by , there was a good chance it was going to be a cold start!

Challenge Wanaka Ironman 2012 - SC Swim
Nice crisp start to the day!

Swim – 57mins 46sec

As I awoke on race morning, the sky was clear, and it was nice and crisp.. in other words it was Cold!  The lake was 16 degrees and air temp was up to around 12 as we exited the swim, I was happy with my swim in the choppy conditions, sitting comfortably in the 3rd chase group. Coming out of the water in around 14th place and making the most out of the long transition to pass around 5 people as we ran up over the foot bridge from the lakeside to T1.

Challenge Wanaka Ironman 2012 - SC Ride
Coming in to T2, a little bit worried..

Bike – 5hrs 16mins

Arms warmers were on for the start of the bike – a fast out and back section that was still in the morning shade. As I made my way back through Wanaka town, the sun was rising and so was the wind speed. This made the trip down to Cromwell slightly easier but I knew the return leg was where it was going to get tough! I was passed early by a couple of fast cyclists and managed to pace of them for the first few hours as we picked off  a few of the quicker swimmers. My pace makers were starting to ride away as we turned back for Wanaka, still having 80kms of headwind to contend with! I rode 75kms of the last section solo, my legs had nothing left and had to keep focused for the final hour of the ride , 2 competitors came flying past 5kms before T2. I was a bit worried at how my legs would feel as I about to start an off-road marathon!

Challenge Wanaka Ironman 2012 - SC Run
Awesome off-road trails

Run – 3hrs 5mins

I was pleasantly surprised as I found my running legs rather quickly, I picked off a couple of runners in the first 5 kms and set my sights further up as I was feeling strong, The up and down track had a terrible headwind for the section and 2 short and sharp climbs late in each loop. The hot afternoon temperature was getting to a few of the top runners as I heard that some were fading and a couple had pulled the pin. I came through the 21km mark in 1:28 and was in 9th position overall.  I had a few bad patches in the 2nd lap but managed to keep the nutrition in check and finish strong over the last few kms within 1 min of 8th place. Ended up with the 4th quickest run split and was the fastest of the Kiwis!

Challenge Wanaka Ironman 2012 - SC Finish
Finished! 9th Overall – 9hrs 23mins

I’m stoked with my first Professional event and am still improving and learning heaps from every race I do. Thanks to the awesome organisation team down in Wanaka and all the local volunteers and supporters, The whole town gets behind this race.

Rotorua Half Ironman

The weekend before Christmas was the Rotorua Half Ironman.. This is one of my favourite races because of the awesome team who organise it, and also the challenging and enjoyable course – The perfect clean lake, rolling bike course and a varied terrain run! I was interested to see how the body would perform after a hard season overseas and competing in the Hawaii Ironman just 6 weeks prior.

The weather on race morning was nice and calm after a very wet and windy night… It stayed this way for the swim, then we realised that this was the calm before the storm! I had a solid swim in the crystal clear waters of the Blue Lake exiting in 3rd position in a time of 26:39.

There wasnt the usual strong winds around but it was probably one of the wettest bike legs Ive ever done. (At one stage the water level was half way up my 90mm front wheel!)  The pace wasnt super fast but kept steady throughout and you had to keep the concentration up, I was happy that I rode strong and came into t2 just behind a group of about 8 guys around 5 mins down on race leader Keiran Doe.. Exiting transition with a bike split just over 2hr 30mins.

The run track around the lake was incredibly muddy, this made for a technical first section and I was happy when we made it out onto the road , I ran strong through the out-and-back gravel section,  and when I saw how close the front few guys were, I knew I had to keep the pressure on.. I passed 3rd and 2nd place at the 11km mark just after the totem pole turnaround. Keiran was 5min 30sec ahead and I knew I wouldn’t make this time up on him with only 10kms to go! I kept pushing and managed to pull back about another 40secs on the last lap in the mud and finished 4:50 behind 1st place with a run of 1hr 21mins.

Enough to win me a big soft toy Trophy for 2nd place  🙂

Thanks to Shane Hooks for the great race, it was a good turnout and gets busier and busier every year! A nice cheap entry fee with all proceeds going to the Rotorua Hospice!  I will definitely be back next year.

results : http://tiktok.biz/list/rotoruahalfironman/2011/halfind/

-next race is my first Pro entry @ Challenge Wanaka  on the 21st Jan.