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