Ironman New Zealand + Ironman Australia

 

These two Iconic races are the longest running Ironman events down this end of the world, with each of them having had their 30th anniversaries within the last couple of years – there is a lot of history and that is why they have such a great turnout of competitors and spectators come race day! They both have very passionate communities with locals who embrace the event and show massive support on the day!

 

The swim courses couldn’t be more different  – Taupo with the crisp crystal clear lake and straight forward course, to Port Macquarie’s warm murky salt water zigzagging its way through the yachts and with an interesting mid swim exit climb up over some stairs and a weir – but the bike and run have a lot of similarities – a rough rolling bike course and a multi-lap flat run with a few short hills. This year both of the Professional fields were stacked full of very quick guys and multiple Ironman Champions, as the Asia Pacific Champs at Melbourne had been cancelled – these were the 2 races that were the next closest in the schedule and location wise.

Lake Taupo on a mint day!
Lake Taupo on a mint day!

 

Below is a brief rundown of how both of these races went and the progression in my training and racing over the last season!

 

Ironman New Zealand.

I have made great gains in my swim over the last year and was looking forward to positioning myself right in the mix, rather than chasing from the word go! – this showed through with a personal best swim of 48:30 and I was comfortable leading out the chase pack.

You always know you are in good company and setting up a solid race when you are no further than 50m away from the legend himself Cam Brown for the first 4.5hrs of the race! We worked bloody hard in the first 45 kms and managed to bridge right up to the guys at the front of the race who had exited the water a few minutes ahead of us. The ride was another personal best for me – clocking 4hr 32mins. Just shy of a 40km/hr average on those Taupo roads is quick going by any ones standards – Unless your name is Dougal Allen who posted an impressive new bike course record of 4hr 22mins!

Mr and Mrs Cochrane's bikes ready to go!
Mr and Mrs Cochrane’s bikes ready to go at IMNZ!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#ScottieTPhoto - great shot out on course!
#ScottieTPhoto – great shot out on course!

Getting off the bike after the big effort for 180kms, I was pleased to still be able to execute a well paced marathon of 3hr 3mins and run my way in to 9th place with a time of 8hrs 28mins.

 

The recovery after a big race is now getting better and quicker after each one – I think the body is now used to backing up the big training blocks and the Ironman race day isn’t too much of a shock to the system. The week after Ironman New Zealand was spent in Rarotonga for our honeymoon and was such good timing to enjoy some downtime in the sun and nice food!

Epic week in Rarotonga for our honeymoon!
Epic week in Rarotonga for our honeymoon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ironman Port Macquarie was next on the cards and training ramped right back up to get ready for this one.

 

 

Ironman Port Macquarie

I knew the swim pace at the front of this race was going to be furious as the level and depth of top notch swimmers even out did the one’s at Taupo. Once again – after the initial 500m max sprint, I had found myself at the front of the first chase pack and was quite comfortable and happy to lead the way through the inlet and canal swim. Sighting was very important and I stuck to my line and this helped pick up a couple of others who had drifted off the back of the fish up the front. Exiting in 46:50, this was a new PB although was still 2:30 back from the front of the race – showing how important the swim in an Ironman race is.

Swim exit at IM Port Mac
Swim exit at IM Port Mac

 

 

I had made the decision to ride slightly less aggressive than at Taupo, as the 2nd lap of the bike is where guys really feel the pinch as the wind picks up and the rough roads start to take their toll. I managed to negative split the 2nd lap of the bike by 20seconds although in hindsight I probably should have attacked the first lap a bit harder. Off the bike in 4hr 45mins but this was a bit too far back to make decent inroads to the guys heading on to the run.

Posting one of the quickest marathons of the day – 3rs flat – was enough to bridge up and pass a few guys, but I didn’t execute the run I know I am capable of.  I crossed the line in 6th place in a time of  8hrs 36mins  

 

 

IM OZ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This season has given me a lot more confidence. Each and every race has stepped up and the consistent improvement is still heading in the right direction. Each discipline is even across the board and now I am only a small percentage off the front of some big races and am looking forward to challenging the podium in the upcoming events as I continue to build and lay down the blocks in the long term plan. I am still learning at each and every race and now feel like I can RACE the full 8.5hrs right at threshold, and will keep pushing the boundaries – its exciting to see how far the body, and MIND can go!

 

 

A massive thanks must go out to my team of sponsors and supporters! Every one of you make a huge difference and keep me striving to perform week in and week out – and to my athletes that I coach, I am still learning something each race to give back the knowledge and experience that I have absorbed through out the last 22 Ironman races.

 

Keep up to date with my training and racing plans  :

 Follow on Twitter –   @CochraneSimon

 Instagram – @CochraneSimon

Athlete page on Facebook –  SimonCochraneIronman

 

Embrace the winter of training – Consistency is key!

Cheers,

Simon.

 

P.S – fire me a message if you want to talk about some coaching options – now is the perfect time to get committed for the summer season…. not 2 weeks before it starts 🙂

Sponsors

 

 

 

2012 Ironman Western Australia – Busselton


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

Ironman Cairns 2012

 

Cairns Ironman Logo

What a race! After 5 days of solid rain, wind and humidity, Cairns really turned on the weather for Sunday. Nice and still conditions for the early swim start and perfect hot sunshine for the remainder of the day!  A top class, experienced field turned up with a number of  Ironman champions including Chris McCormack, Cam Brown, Luke Bell and Luke Mckenzie among many others.

 

Ironman Cairns Swim
Ironman Cairns Swim

Swim : 54mins

The swim was a 2-lap course out from the pier in the warm murky waters that were supposedly full of crocodiles and jellyfish, according to the locals. That was the last thing on your mind as the start gun went, a fast pace was guaranteed with this seasoned field, and the group broke up into a few packs around the first buoy as everyone dodged the slower swimmers that had started earlier, in the Half Ironman race. I swam in the 3rd group for the first 1.5 laps then decided to push the pace for the last kilometer exiting 1min ahead of the group and having a clear run through transition.

Ironman Cairns bike course - Coastal highway
Ironman Cairns bike course – Coastal highway

Bike : 5hrs 1min

The bike course headed up the scenic highway to Port Douglas with an out and back section over the  rolling coast road a couple of times, the first 2 groups already had a lead and were working well together to extend the gap.. I ended up riding the entire course solo but just held my power range that I had aimed to race at. The way back to transition really started to heat up and we had to fight a light headwind for the final 60kms. I missed a bottle at the final aid station and rode the last 45mins without any fluids so was happy when I arrived in the Bike – Run transition.

Ironman Cairns run course - Through town on last lap!
Ironman Cairns run course – Through town on last lap!

Run : 3hrs 1min

Heading out on to the run course, I was 10mins down on the next 3 guys.. the first 5kms went by in under 20mins and within 8kms I had passed 3 guys ahead and was into 12th place. The tar was melting on the road as the temp was up and the wind had gone completely. I was getting some time splits from my supporters and people were blowing up everywhere! I held a solid pace through to the 30km mark and made steady progress passing another 3 runners including Luke Bell and Mitchell Anderson. The last 10km was starting to take its toll, everyone’s pace had slowed but I managed to push through and pass Chris McCormack with around 5km to go and hold on for my best result so far. I also had the 4th quickest run split!

8th Professional in 9hrs  2mins