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!
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
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.
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.
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.
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!