Ironman Cairns 2015

Humid and rainy was the theme when we flew into Cairns last week. Tropical rainstorms and the rough sea’s were starting to bring back everyone’s memories of the rainy 2014 race. The last few weeks at home had been getting a lot colder so it was a slight shock to the body when we landed and only had a couple of days to adjust before the race. Luckily Sunday stayed fairly dry compared to the tropical wet weather we had been experiencing, and I enjoyed battling the tougher swim conditions and windy ride!

Cairns coast
Cairns coast on a calm day!
Pre race
Quickest couple on the day – Larisa was 7th in the Pro women’s field!

Larisa and I were looked after by a great home stay family and it was nice to have a relaxing place to hang out, an awesome full kitchen to utilize, a coffee machine, massive area for working on our bikes and a nice pool. Plenty of Kiwis had taken up the chance to escape the start of winter and head over for a nice warm race, so was good to catch up with some people at a selection of some great coffee spots.

This year the course had a few small changes, but still consisted of  

Diving in for the beach start
Diving in for the beach start

3.8km Swim –  at Palm Cove – Super choppy and murky warm water made for a tough swim, difficult to sight the bouys, (and the crocs!) we also had a beach exit at the half way mark. All good fun!

 

 

180km Bike – up to Port Douglas twice and then back into Cairns – Great scenery up the coast and a nice battle with some windy parts, especially the last section of a solid headwind back into town.

 

Cairns bike 2

42.2km Run – 3 laps of the wharf and waterfront – Different surfaces to break it up,  Tarseal, concrete, and the wooden wharf. Awesome crowd support and great volunteers at the aid stations.

Cairns finish2

 

 

Quick run down of my day:

Swim – The swim played out just as I planned. I knew the pace at the start would be fast with the likes of Dylan McNeice, Luke McKenzie and James Cunama in the field. I had a strong start and upped the effort after the initial 400m sprint to move up onto James Cunama’s feet at the front of the first pack. It was a comfortable speed and I moved round to the front at around the 1.5km mark. The big swim sessions back home were paying off as I carried on pushing the pace and exited in 3rd place around 40 secs ahead of the front pack including James Cunama and Cam Brown. 49 minutes in those conditions is a great confidence boost knowing that there is still so much improvement to come in the pool.

Bike – A few of the strong bikers came by early on and tried to bridge the gap to Luke and Dylan up the road. I settled into my pace and it was a fast trip up over the hills and in to Port Douglas. The solid tailwind on the way out meant one thing – Big headwind on the way back towards Cairns each lap! The wind was building so the goal was to stay as aero as possible and keep the power on. A nice even effort for the whole ride meant I passed a few guys that had blown up and entered T2 back at Cairns in 5th place.

Run – Out onto the Cairns board walk and pushing hard through the first 4 km out and back section, I had moved up to around 2 mins from 4th place, but that was as close as I would get to him today. A steady final 2 laps solidified my 5th place. Happy to have another top-5 result in a big international Ironman event.

Cairns finish2

 

 

 

Cairns finish

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A great event in a nice part of the world, looking forward to heading back again – cant possibly be wet for the 4th year in a row can it..?!

 

Big thanks to my supporters and sponsors! Onwards and upwards – A big 2015/2016 season coming up – planning out the remainder of the year and will keep you updated!

Simon.

Keep up to date with my training and racing plans  :

 Follow on Twitter –   @CochraneSimon

 Athlete page on Facebook –  SimonCochraneIronman

2014 Ironman New Zealand

 

 

Taupo is such an awesome place to be for Ironman week, the community really gets behind the event and it had an extra special feel this year as Ironman New Zealand was celebrating the 30th anniversary of the  race. Because it was such a big year, this attracted the strongest field that Taupo has ever seen including 25 Male pro’s with over 11 past Ironman champions, 2 Olympians and most of NZ’s top Ironman competitors! It was going to be a great race and I was looking forward to testing myself against some top-class athletes.

You couldn’t have asked for better weather come race morning, crisp clear sky’s and a warm calm lake greeted us as the sun rose, cold conditions on the first lap of the bike with a light wind that built over the day making the return bike leg a little more challenging. By the afternoon the sun was out but the nice breeze kept the temperature fairly cool for the run.

 Swim - waka

Swim - waka

Swim

The cannon fired and the washing machine started, I had an average start and ended up getting spat out to the far left of the pack, and struggled to get into my groove for the first 400m or so. I regathered myself and got back into a nice rhythm swimming the remainder of the swim just behind the 2nd pack with Brodie Madgewick. Exiting in 51 mins I was quite pleased as it had felt quite slow. Quick run up to T1 , arm warmers on and out onto the bike in 11th.

swim split – 51 mins

swim exit

                  photo credit : Mike Robinson          
 
 
                                                   

Bike

The first hour or so on the road was a bit chilly, you really looked forward to the sunny bits in between the trees and could feel the day slowly heating up on the way out to Reporoa. A pack of 8-10 guys had formed as we made the first turn at 45kms, but only a couple of guys would come to the front and do any work! This was how it played out for the first 4hrs.. So after towing the group around for 120km I decided that I was going to push on into the last uphill section and make the others work a bit more coming into T2. This worked well as the group was down to 3 as we arrived back in town. I was happy to sit on the front for most of the day as I could keep to my goal pace and power and arrived in T2 feeling much better than last year having ridden a nice consistent power over the entire 180kms.

bike split –  5:04

 

bike imnz 2014

 photo credit : Speed Theory

 

Run

Exiting out onto the run with Johan Borg, we ran together for the first 20kms feeling great. We had bridged the gap up to Petr Vabrusek and ran together for the next few kms. He surged and I dropped back first and noticed at the turn that Johan was starting to slow aswell. After I picked up my special needs bag – my energy had picked up a level and my run form started to improve again. I finished strong over the last 10kms, picked off Johan and pushed through into the Top-10 by the finish. The new run course is great, and running back along the lake-shore path is a nice change and keeps it interesting.

run split – 3:03

Run - lap 1 - IMNZ

photo credit : First off the bike.com

Finish Time – 9:05

It was an impressive display put on by Marko Albert to take the win and was great to see Cameron Brown storming home and showing that he is still on top of his game!

I am very pleased with my Top-10 result and was the 4th Kiwi home in this world-class field.  It was great to have so much support from family and friends all along the course, I think the spectators were spread out alot more on the run course this year which makes a huge difference, no spots to hide and keeps the motivation strong all day! Awesome volunteers and aid-stations made for a issue-free race.

A huge congrats to Larisa for her 7th place finish on her Professional debut, I bet alot of the girls will have taken notice and will be keeping a closer eye on her now!

My 13th Ironman completed, now time to sit down and plan out the big year ahead – exciting times!

 

 

Thanks to my sponsors for their support this season :

Orchard Gold – Tri n Run – Saucony – Endura

Smith Optics – Rock Tape – Ministry of Swimming

The Swim Clinic – PRV – Schwalbe – Timex

 

USA trip – Update so far… The first 3.5 weeks have flown by!

USA flag 2

 

On July 8th Larisa and I flew out of Auckland headed towards the USA for 3 months of training and racing. We are lucky enough to have a base in Madison, Wisconsin staying with Larisa’s cousin Julia who has been kind enough to have us to stay – thanks Julia! We arrived into Madison after 30hours of flying via Rarotonga and Los Angeles. There were a few dramas along the way with delays and baggage not fitting in the car but it’s funny how everything always just works out nicely when you stay calm and trust that things happen for a reason 🙂 Larisa’s cousin picked us up at 1am local time with a rental van (big enough to fit all our bags/bikes!) and drove us to her apartment where we are basing ourselves for the next few months. The apartment is a perfect little setup for us; great kitchen, big fridge and a coffee machine! It’s so close to everything we need, walking distance to the Wholefoods food market and Target, 500m to the local outdoor pool, 10min ride away from wide open rolling country side and 1km away from the lake with endless running trails and dirt tracks! The apartment complex also has its own Bbq area and outdoor pool – great for recovery days!

DCIM100GOPRO
Our first ride, nice clear morning!
DCIM100GOPRO
Pool – 5 mins walk from the door!

 

The first week here was a heat wave in Madison, upwards of 35 degrees and 80%+ humidity most days – a bit of a shock to the system but great for training and mental toughness! It made my 29km birthday run a good challenge! We had a couple of solid weeks training in Madison before our first race at Racine 70.3. There was no tapering for this one – we were both using the race as part of the build-up for our bigger Ironman races later in the season. We were lucky enough to stay with a great home stay family who were an awesome support to us on race week – including a tour of the bike course and some fantastic meals. They also came out to cheer us on during the race and made for a really enjoyable day. Thanks Kruse family! We were happy with how the day went, it is always good to test out a few things and find out where you are at. The race gave us an extra dose of confidence for what is to come and also a few things to focus on in the next block of training.

DCIM100GOPRO
Dinner out with our home stay family in Racine

 

 

 

 

 

DCIM100GOPRO
Transition full with over 2500 bikes

We are back in Madison after Racine and have been lucky to meet heaps of great people. We have been going along to a Friday morning swim in a private quarry lake with one of the local tri-clubs – it’s a beautiful lake to swim in – so clean and fresh and great to get in some open water swimming training! At one of the swim sessions we were introduced to Will Smith – a kiwi triathlete who has been living here for a few years. We spent last weekend out at his place and joined him and a few other local pros for some awesome riding and trail running. It’s a fantastic place to train in the summer and it looks like a fun place to train in the winter too – they turn the trails into snow-shoeing runs through the forest!

blog 5
Back at Wills after a 5hr ride

 

 

 

 

blog 6
Another warm one

 

 

 

 

Next up for me is Ironman Mont Tremblant in Quebec, Canada on August 18th. This is my main race for the season over here and it is a good opportunity to earn more points towards a starting spot in the Mens Pro Field at the World Champs in Hawaii. It is the North-American Championship race so has a 4000 point value – that makes it a high scoring points race attracting a solid field of Male Pros. The course looks stunning and suits my strengths – I can’t wait!! It has a nice fresh water lake swim – hilly 2-loop bike course and an awesome run with a large portion of it on off-road trails.. Larisa has already qualified for Hawaii and wont be racing here. She will be using the trip to Canada to make the most of some riding and run training in the mountains! (and to give me extra support – and a hurry-up – on race day!)

 

Blog 7
Lake at Mont Tremblant

The climate and terrain in Madison has been perfect for our training, and having a bit more time for recovery and all the little extra things is really benefiting us. The town is full of like-minded active people with training facilities all over the place, the University of Wisconsin has a large amount of rowing, running and swimming competitors so there are always people out early every morning which is good to see!

A big couple of weeks training is ahead of us now before we fly up to Canada. We have been lucky enough to be partnered with another homestay for race week and it sounds like they have a private lake to swim in. We look forward to meeting another great family and it will be one more cool experience to add to the trip so far. I hope everyone back home in NZ is having a great time as winter embarks and that all your trainig is going to plan! We will touch base again before the race in Quebec!

 

blog 8
blog 9 blog 10

 

 

 

Simon and Larisa

– Living the dream!

 

 

 

 

Also check out a short clip we made of some of the local trails:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_5psaKva3Uc

 
 
 

2013 IMNZ Race Report

Flying out to Reporoa.
Flying out to Reporoa.

Finally Taupo delivers the perfect conditions for race day, clear blue sky, a light breeze and nice and sunny for the run! I had a great build up and was excited to hit the start line.

Swim – 51:35

The morning was perfect and the warm glassy conditions of Lake Taupo invited some fast swim times, the pace was insane from the start, the lead group exploded away and I just missed the feet of Cam Brown and Courtney Ogden. I had some company for the outward leg, Gina Crawford and Keegan Williams staying on my feet till the turn buoys, the pace at this stage felt a bit too comfortable. I picked it up a bit on the way back and was happy to set my own pace and swim alone, exiting in 6th place and about 30sec up on the 3rd group with a personal best swim split by nearly 2 mins!

Bike – 5:01

Out onto the bike and the first 90km flew by, pacing with Keegan and Scott Defilipis, we pushed the tempo pretty hard and were making some inroad into the guys ahead. I think it flew by a little too quick tho, as my nutrition plan wasn’t keeping up! At around 120km my energy levels took a dive and my power output was feeling non-existent. I had gone way too far into calorie deficit to come right but managed to spin my way back to T2. I had lost over 10mins in the last 30kms to the guys I was comfortably riding with earlier.

Run – 3:18

What can I say about the run, starting a marathon in the heat of the day after 180km on the bike is hard enough… let alone after not eating enough and being severely dehydrated! I went out at my goal pace for the first few kms but it didn’t take long to realise that this was not going to last. My legs felt fine but the energy levels wouldn’t allow the pace to rise over 4:40/km.. So in the end that’s all I could hold and did just that. Was really happy with my run for the way I was feeling though and even managed to pick off a couple of the other Pro men and climb back up into the top 10.

Total time – 9:17 (10th place)

Overall I was pleased with my day, a personal best swim, solid for most of the bike and could have quite easily just pulled the pin on the run. But I stuck it out and chugged on to the finish. It’s my 10th Ironman finish in my 4 years of racing. The body is feeling  pretty good, now its a couple of easy weeks before the build up for Ironman Cairns starts!

Check out some cool footage from out on the bike : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WppfpOBlxn8 

 

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.

Hawaii Ironman World Championships 2011

So stoked to be back in Kona! , I arrived 7 days out from the race feeling alot more prepared than I was a year ago, after the good season of racing in Europe. I was staying with a local guy that I met last year 30mins out of Kona in Waikoloa. It was nice and relaxing to be away from all the action of race week , and just being able to pop into Kona for the registration and race briefing/dinner etc. And a bonus that I had my own room with a new king size bed and a view of the ocean!

There were a few dramas on the trip over, the airline ‘misplaced’ my bike and gear and I missed one of my flights waiting for airport staff to try and locate my luggage..  My bike and gear finally arrived 4 days before the race and I got a few good sessions in on the course. I didn’t have any hard sessions planned as I had raced the  Half Ironman, Aix en Provence 70.3  in France 10 days earlier as a good last hit out. The body was feeling quite fresh after a real easy week of short sessions, the only niggle was a blister on my right heel that was still hanging around from the previous race.

 

Swim – Race day came around quite quickly and before I knew it I was stepping into the water at Kona with the other 1800 age group athletes. I decided to start further to the left this year after getting smashed in the chaos of the swim start last year. The swim started pretty casually and I just got into a pack of around 20-30 people. the pace was a bit slow but I decided to stay in the group as it was going to be a long day! There was a bit of swell and current so I was happy to come out of the water after a comfortable swim in 1:04.

Kona Ironman Swim Start

Bike – The pace on the bike explodes straight way as everyone is keen to get out on the ‘Queen K’ highway. We had a slight tailwind on the way out to the turn around at Hawi so I decide to push the pace. I was steadily passing groups of cyclists, even though so many athletes were drafting! It was good to see the draft busters being alot more aggressive than usual and handing out penalties to most of the culprits. I was feeling really good (apart from a wasp sting on my quad!) as alot of people were struggling with the intense cross winds out at Hawi, I had ridden up to a group of 10 solid athletes to pace off on the way back to town so I kept the intensity up. The average speed slowed a bit but the effort was still near maximum as we battled the headwind for the last 40km. I kept the power on as much as I could and entered the second transition with a Bike split of 4:59.

 

Simon Cochrane - Kona Ironman Bike

Run – I ran out of transition and my legs felt great, I was holding 4:07/km till the first turn around at 8km, the heat was intense as the wind on this part of the course was light. I was craving water and ice and grabbed as much as I could without slowing through the aid stations. The next section from town out to the ‘energy lab’ is slightly up hill and coupled with a headwind my energy was starting to fade. It is hard to keep the pace up when people all around are starting to walk, you have to keep the mind strong and remind yourself to run your own race. I kept fuelling the body and using the ice and sponges to try and cool my body down, but he heat was taking its toll over the last 10km. My legs and lungs were screaming but relatively comfortable compared to the extreme heat that was cooking me! I was still on for a good marathon time and managed to keep my average pace under 4:30/km for a personal best of 3:09.

 

I was really happy with how the day went and had a solid placing, 2nd New Zealander home and 12th in the 25-29 age group in the world with a  time of 9:18.

Simon Cochrane - Kona Ironman Run 

Ironman 70.3 France – Pays d’aix

I nearly didn’t race this event as I had entered it before qualifying for Hawaii, and it was less than 2 weeks before the Ironman in Kona. My build up had been going well and I thought a good ‘hit out’ just before the World Championships would work well as I had gone well in Ironman France having raced a half Ironman 2 weeks prior.

We were lucky to have a couple of weeks training on the course before race day so got to know the challenging bike course pretty well. The weather has been so dry and hot.. Central France has just had a heat wave for a few weeks and we had some days well over 40 degrees!

The course included a simple 2km lake swim, a very hilly challenging bike course with awesome scenery, passing through 9 small villages (with some interesting cobbled sections) and a fast 3 loop run course through Aix en Provence town centre and local park.

Ironman 70.3 France - Swim Start

The Pros lead off and age groupers were supposed to start 5 mins behind. A large group of age groupers false started which was unable to be controlled so the rest of the field had no choice but to get swimming! I managed not to be too far back and worked my way into a small pack of swimmers who were in clear water out to the left, I exited the swim with one of my fastest swim splits in 23:56

 

Once out on the bike it felt like I was losing time all day as the flying French men were super fast up the climbs, I settled in and kept pushing hard through the tough flat sections and screamed past alot on the long technical descents. I came into T2 clocking a 2:35 split for the bike.

Simon Cochrane Ironman 70.3 France Ride

The run felt great straight away and I started making up for lost time on the bike, passing alot of athletes who were fading after the tough ride. I wanted to push hard all the way as this was going to be a good test before the big race in 2 weeks, I ended up with the quickest run for the age group and a P.B of 1:14.

I finished in 4:19 which was good enough for 4th in age, but the main thing was that I was feeling good and strong to attack the Hawaii course.

Simon Cochrane Ironman 70.3 France Run