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