After a night of non-stop wind and rain, the sun rose to a nice clear morning in the Cairns harbour. The 70.3 started first and we set off quite late for an Ironman at 7:45am. One bonus from this was that the cafes were open and we had time to grab a quick coffee with the support crew before the race start.
We had about 5mins to get in and warm up, which didn’t take long as the water temp was up at 23degrees! I had a fairly clean start swimming the first 2k loop near the front of the main pack with Clayton Fettell a couple of minutes ahead of everyone. Coming around the turn buoy I slotted in on Tim Berkel’s feet as the pace had picked up, 20sec later I looked up and realised the main pack had surged forward and now had opened a small gap… I swam steady through the rest of the 2nd loop as we had to weave through the age group field, and make our way up the stairs and onto the pier for the 500m run to T2.
I was glad to get my wetsuit off! The final 15mins of the swim was getting really warm, the water temp combined with the sun heating up was intense.
Exited in 52mins and flew through transition.
The main pack of guys including Cam Brown, Macca and Matty White had a couple of mins on me heading out onto the highway. Luke McKenzie and Clayton had increased their swim lead and were pushing hard. Everyone kept the pressure on and powered up the coast taking advantage of the solid tail wind right into Port Douglas, I wanted to ride my own race and set the pace that I knew I could hold, knowing that the return trip into the increasing breeze would be challenging. The last 15k back into town was super tough but I knew everyone would be feeling it. Entered T2 after 4hrs 56mins on my bike.
Run form straight off the bike was great, I passed a couple of guys by kilometre 2, who had pulled the pin early into the run after the tough bike. Out into the cane fields the headwind was still blowing hard and I was getting some positive time splits to the guys up the road. I was pleased with my steady controlled run and trusted that my strong finish would pick off some guys late into the marathon. I passed 3 guys in the final 10k to finish 8th Professional and first Kiwi home!
3:11 marathon and a 9:05 finish
Thanks to my great sponsors: Orchard Gold, Saucony, Endura, TRI N RUN, PRV, Smith Optics, RockTape, Ministry of Swimming and Timex.
The season is going great, and we are on track for the World Champs in Kona!