The Tauranga Half Ironman is a favourite race for many kiwi athletes to kick off the new year with. It is usually a nice warm summers day with great crowd support, a fast bike, and a challenging run!
The forecast this year was for wind and rain, although as race day dawned the sun was out and we were in for a scorcher, along with some stiff winds out on the course.
The start went well for me, but I found my self in no-mans land behind the quick front pack of 6 guys (including eventual 1st and 2nd place finishers Dylan McNeice and Mike Phillips), but well ahead of the main group behind. Exiting 1min down from the front, it was going to be a tough task to reel in the group of 6 on my own.
(Swim split – 26:35) – 1:20/100m pace
I got settled in to a solid rhythm on my bike and was joined by Cam Brown and Dan Plews around the 30km mark. The pace was on as we pushed hard right back to T2. The front group had splintered, and guys were dropping off over the final stages into the headwind.
(Bike split – 2:11) – 41km/h Average
A brutal pace set by Cam Brown out onto the run course had Dan and I on the ropes, although we had now moved up into 4th and 5th place on the road. A battle with Dan around the base track and newly installed stair section each lap was where I managed to gain a bit of time and run in for a strong finish in 4th place. Very happy with my form leading into Ironman NZ in 6 weeks time.
(Run split – 1:21) – 3:47/km Average