2014 Ironman New Zealand

 

 

Taupo is such an awesome place to be for Ironman week, the community really gets behind the event and it had an extra special feel this year as Ironman New Zealand was celebrating the 30th anniversary of the  race. Because it was such a big year, this attracted the strongest field that Taupo has ever seen including 25 Male pro’s with over 11 past Ironman champions, 2 Olympians and most of NZ’s top Ironman competitors! It was going to be a great race and I was looking forward to testing myself against some top-class athletes.

You couldn’t have asked for better weather come race morning, crisp clear sky’s and a warm calm lake greeted us as the sun rose, cold conditions on the first lap of the bike with a light wind that built over the day making the return bike leg a little more challenging. By the afternoon the sun was out but the nice breeze kept the temperature fairly cool for the run.

 Swim - waka

Swim - waka

Swim

The cannon fired and the washing machine started, I had an average start and ended up getting spat out to the far left of the pack, and struggled to get into my groove for the first 400m or so. I regathered myself and got back into a nice rhythm swimming the remainder of the swim just behind the 2nd pack with Brodie Madgewick. Exiting in 51 mins I was quite pleased as it had felt quite slow. Quick run up to T1 , arm warmers on and out onto the bike in 11th.

swim split – 51 mins

swim exit

                  photo credit : Mike Robinson          
 
 
                                                   

Bike

The first hour or so on the road was a bit chilly, you really looked forward to the sunny bits in between the trees and could feel the day slowly heating up on the way out to Reporoa. A pack of 8-10 guys had formed as we made the first turn at 45kms, but only a couple of guys would come to the front and do any work! This was how it played out for the first 4hrs.. So after towing the group around for 120km I decided that I was going to push on into the last uphill section and make the others work a bit more coming into T2. This worked well as the group was down to 3 as we arrived back in town. I was happy to sit on the front for most of the day as I could keep to my goal pace and power and arrived in T2 feeling much better than last year having ridden a nice consistent power over the entire 180kms.

bike split –  5:04

 

bike imnz 2014

 photo credit : Speed Theory

 

Run

Exiting out onto the run with Johan Borg, we ran together for the first 20kms feeling great. We had bridged the gap up to Petr Vabrusek and ran together for the next few kms. He surged and I dropped back first and noticed at the turn that Johan was starting to slow aswell. After I picked up my special needs bag – my energy had picked up a level and my run form started to improve again. I finished strong over the last 10kms, picked off Johan and pushed through into the Top-10 by the finish. The new run course is great, and running back along the lake-shore path is a nice change and keeps it interesting.

run split – 3:03

Run - lap 1 - IMNZ

photo credit : First off the bike.com

Finish Time – 9:05

It was an impressive display put on by Marko Albert to take the win and was great to see Cameron Brown storming home and showing that he is still on top of his game!

I am very pleased with my Top-10 result and was the 4th Kiwi home in this world-class field.  It was great to have so much support from family and friends all along the course, I think the spectators were spread out alot more on the run course this year which makes a huge difference, no spots to hide and keeps the motivation strong all day! Awesome volunteers and aid-stations made for a issue-free race.

A huge congrats to Larisa for her 7th place finish on her Professional debut, I bet alot of the girls will have taken notice and will be keeping a closer eye on her now!

My 13th Ironman completed, now time to sit down and plan out the big year ahead – exciting times!

 

 

Thanks to my sponsors for their support this season :

Orchard Gold – Tri n Run – Saucony – Endura

Smith Optics – Rock Tape – Ministry of Swimming

The Swim Clinic – PRV – Schwalbe – Timex

 

Ironman Wisconsin 2013

 

With only 2 weekends between my last Ironman race and this one, I was really interested (and a bit scared) to see how my body would handle another Ironman! Being one of the first races of the 2014 season, there was a fairly large field of over 30 males Pros on the start line.

My legs had recovered well, and with a smart training plan between races I was confident of pulling off another solid one. My coach had me on a fairly light work load, with some good interval sessions at race pace just to remind the body that it wasn’t time for the usual ‘post ironman’ wind down time!

The race plan was to go into it with ‘nothing to lose’ and not to follow ‘power’ ‘HR’ or ‘pace’. Racing by ‘feel’ can sometimes bring a better result as you haven’t set any pre-determined limits before the event has even started. (Racing by ‘feel’ can also bring on the most spectacular explosions too! haha)

 

The Course

The swim is one-lap in Lake Monona right out the front of the Monona terrace in down-town Madison, It is an awesome place for spectators and they are lined all the way up the 3-level spiral entrance to the transition-carpark.

The bike starts on a rolling course out to the 2 x 65km hilly loops through the rural Dane County, then back to the lake front and up to the top of the 3 level carpark to T2

The challenging run heads out over various terrain including concrete, tarseal, gravel and dirt paths, and you even get to run a loop inside Camp Randall – Badger stadium on the spongy astroturf – twice!

The transitions here are the most interesting and awesome I have come across, after running up the ‘Helix’ you enter the Terrace building and run along the carpet hallway into a big conference room which is transformed into T1, and same for T2, just run in reverse, you get to ride right up to the door and dump your bike off like Valet parking.

Helix

 

Quick run-down of how my day played out:

swim exitSwim: Choppiest and warmest lake I have ever swum in, fairly chaotic start but managed to settle into the 2nd group along the first turn. The long back stretch was really lumpy and the guys I were swimming with were heading all over the show, I just stuck to my line and concentrated on sighting every 10 or so strokes to stay in a straight line, This worked well and I caught a couple of front pack stragglers by the last buoy before shore.

56mins – one of my slower swims but happy in those conditions and only 3 mins from the first out of the water.

 

 

Last push back into town
Last push back into town

 

 

Bike: A large group formed quite early on and the pace felt fairly comfortable so I decided to stick with them for the first section and then re-assess. I had a decision made for me by one of the Marshalls tho.. First yellow card I have ever got. This means I had to stop at the next penalty tent, write down my name and some details, sign a form and then go again.. About 45seconds worth but this is an age while you are watching the group ride away through the hills.  (my ‘penalty’ was for riding on the wrong side of a cone on a 2-lane corner, a volunteer directed me that way, but there is no use arguing!) Back on the course and I had some new motivation.. Catch that group! I rode hard and powered the up hills and around 15kms later I had clawed my way back on, we were still only 100km into the ride but I was feeling strong and I could tell that the pace of the group had dropped a bit. So it was head-down and battle the headwinds back to T2 solo – a good move as I put around 5mins into the group and never saw any of them again..

4hrs 58mins – Best power output I have ridden on a very honest course.. Hills..Wind..Rough roads.. All good fun

ironman-bike-elevation         bike map

 

Massive empty stadium makes for a lonely loop!
Massive empty stadium is quite airy to run through, usually seats over 80,000 fans!

Run : Straight out of T2 (I had the quickest transition of the day) there is an awesome wall of spectators lining the Capitol square screaming  and cheering, the first section is mostly downhill and with the incredible support the pace was on! I passed a group of 3 guys early on and was up into 6th place at km 14. I got some time splits at 21km.. 1hr 26mins but still over 7mins seperating me and 5th place. Decision time again! Run steady and controlled and be happy with 6th or have a crack at Top-5.. Easy choice! Hammer down!! I managed to get to within 2mins but that would be as close as I would get. Struggled home over the last 5k, ended up getting passed by 2 guys on the last hill section and took 8th place.

2hrs 59mins – Really happy with my effort and still ran a P.B on a super tough run course on the back of a solid ride!

IM Run Course

 

 

IMWI finish time
45 odd seconds for that penalty stop…hmm.. haha!

Should definitely be race to add into your schedule if you like a challenging event on a spectacular course with a great community of supporters!

Quite happy to have a seat
Quite happy to have a seat

 

It was a great day out for me, a big confidence boost knowing that I can back up some big races and that all the hard work is paying off.. A few easy weeks now before a renewed focus and plan is put in place for the NZ summer season!

 

photo 4
First one to the massage room!
photo 3
Food in the VIP tent.. Real food! Unlimited big steaks

 

 

Awards ceremony with Mike Reilly
Awards ceremony with Mike Reilly

 

Thanks again to my sponsors for all their support :

Orchard Gold berries, Endura sports nutrition, Saucony, Tri’n’Run, G2 Personal training, Rocktape, Smith Optics, Timex, Compressport,  Schwalbe and Sugoi.

 

Keep up to date with our travels and racing on :

 Twitter – @CochraneSimon

 Facebook – SimonCochraneIronman

USA trip – Update so far… The first 3.5 weeks have flown by!

USA flag 2

 

On July 8th Larisa and I flew out of Auckland headed towards the USA for 3 months of training and racing. We are lucky enough to have a base in Madison, Wisconsin staying with Larisa’s cousin Julia who has been kind enough to have us to stay – thanks Julia! We arrived into Madison after 30hours of flying via Rarotonga and Los Angeles. There were a few dramas along the way with delays and baggage not fitting in the car but it’s funny how everything always just works out nicely when you stay calm and trust that things happen for a reason 🙂 Larisa’s cousin picked us up at 1am local time with a rental van (big enough to fit all our bags/bikes!) and drove us to her apartment where we are basing ourselves for the next few months. The apartment is a perfect little setup for us; great kitchen, big fridge and a coffee machine! It’s so close to everything we need, walking distance to the Wholefoods food market and Target, 500m to the local outdoor pool, 10min ride away from wide open rolling country side and 1km away from the lake with endless running trails and dirt tracks! The apartment complex also has its own Bbq area and outdoor pool – great for recovery days!

DCIM100GOPRO
Our first ride, nice clear morning!
DCIM100GOPRO
Pool – 5 mins walk from the door!

 

The first week here was a heat wave in Madison, upwards of 35 degrees and 80%+ humidity most days – a bit of a shock to the system but great for training and mental toughness! It made my 29km birthday run a good challenge! We had a couple of solid weeks training in Madison before our first race at Racine 70.3. There was no tapering for this one – we were both using the race as part of the build-up for our bigger Ironman races later in the season. We were lucky enough to stay with a great home stay family who were an awesome support to us on race week – including a tour of the bike course and some fantastic meals. They also came out to cheer us on during the race and made for a really enjoyable day. Thanks Kruse family! We were happy with how the day went, it is always good to test out a few things and find out where you are at. The race gave us an extra dose of confidence for what is to come and also a few things to focus on in the next block of training.

DCIM100GOPRO
Dinner out with our home stay family in Racine

 

 

 

 

 

DCIM100GOPRO
Transition full with over 2500 bikes

We are back in Madison after Racine and have been lucky to meet heaps of great people. We have been going along to a Friday morning swim in a private quarry lake with one of the local tri-clubs – it’s a beautiful lake to swim in – so clean and fresh and great to get in some open water swimming training! At one of the swim sessions we were introduced to Will Smith – a kiwi triathlete who has been living here for a few years. We spent last weekend out at his place and joined him and a few other local pros for some awesome riding and trail running. It’s a fantastic place to train in the summer and it looks like a fun place to train in the winter too – they turn the trails into snow-shoeing runs through the forest!

blog 5
Back at Wills after a 5hr ride

 

 

 

 

blog 6
Another warm one

 

 

 

 

Next up for me is Ironman Mont Tremblant in Quebec, Canada on August 18th. This is my main race for the season over here and it is a good opportunity to earn more points towards a starting spot in the Mens Pro Field at the World Champs in Hawaii. It is the North-American Championship race so has a 4000 point value – that makes it a high scoring points race attracting a solid field of Male Pros. The course looks stunning and suits my strengths – I can’t wait!! It has a nice fresh water lake swim – hilly 2-loop bike course and an awesome run with a large portion of it on off-road trails.. Larisa has already qualified for Hawaii and wont be racing here. She will be using the trip to Canada to make the most of some riding and run training in the mountains! (and to give me extra support – and a hurry-up – on race day!)

 

Blog 7
Lake at Mont Tremblant

The climate and terrain in Madison has been perfect for our training, and having a bit more time for recovery and all the little extra things is really benefiting us. The town is full of like-minded active people with training facilities all over the place, the University of Wisconsin has a large amount of rowing, running and swimming competitors so there are always people out early every morning which is good to see!

A big couple of weeks training is ahead of us now before we fly up to Canada. We have been lucky enough to be partnered with another homestay for race week and it sounds like they have a private lake to swim in. We look forward to meeting another great family and it will be one more cool experience to add to the trip so far. I hope everyone back home in NZ is having a great time as winter embarks and that all your trainig is going to plan! We will touch base again before the race in Quebec!

 

blog 8
blog 9 blog 10

 

 

 

Simon and Larisa

– Living the dream!

 

 

 

 

Also check out a short clip we made of some of the local trails:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_5psaKva3Uc

 
 
 

Ironman 70.3 France – Pays d’aix

I nearly didn’t race this event as I had entered it before qualifying for Hawaii, and it was less than 2 weeks before the Ironman in Kona. My build up had been going well and I thought a good ‘hit out’ just before the World Championships would work well as I had gone well in Ironman France having raced a half Ironman 2 weeks prior.

We were lucky to have a couple of weeks training on the course before race day so got to know the challenging bike course pretty well. The weather has been so dry and hot.. Central France has just had a heat wave for a few weeks and we had some days well over 40 degrees!

The course included a simple 2km lake swim, a very hilly challenging bike course with awesome scenery, passing through 9 small villages (with some interesting cobbled sections) and a fast 3 loop run course through Aix en Provence town centre and local park.

Ironman 70.3 France - Swim Start

The Pros lead off and age groupers were supposed to start 5 mins behind. A large group of age groupers false started which was unable to be controlled so the rest of the field had no choice but to get swimming! I managed not to be too far back and worked my way into a small pack of swimmers who were in clear water out to the left, I exited the swim with one of my fastest swim splits in 23:56

 

Once out on the bike it felt like I was losing time all day as the flying French men were super fast up the climbs, I settled in and kept pushing hard through the tough flat sections and screamed past alot on the long technical descents. I came into T2 clocking a 2:35 split for the bike.

Simon Cochrane Ironman 70.3 France Ride

The run felt great straight away and I started making up for lost time on the bike, passing alot of athletes who were fading after the tough ride. I wanted to push hard all the way as this was going to be a good test before the big race in 2 weeks, I ended up with the quickest run for the age group and a P.B of 1:14.

I finished in 4:19 which was good enough for 4th in age, but the main thing was that I was feeling good and strong to attack the Hawaii course.

Simon Cochrane Ironman 70.3 France Run

Challenge Walschee – Austria Half Ironman

This was one of my favourite races so far.. Challenge really look after the athletes and put on a great event!

Lake Walschee was perfect conditions for race morning and the swim went well after a physical deep water start.

Swim – 27:05

Challenge Walschee - Lake

 

 

The 2 loop bike course was fairly quick even tho there was over 900m of climbing, it helped that there were alot of strong German cyclists to pace off. The route went through steep farm land and narrow private lanes which stretched the groups out. It was a crystal clear day and the temperature was a bit cold for the start of the bike, needing arm warmers especially on the descents. By T2 the sun was out and the temperature was up close to 30 degrees for the run.

Bike – 2:23

Challenge Walschee - Area

 

Onto the run, 3 loops around the scenic lake side trail. Lots to look at and a very vocal crowd helps the run fly by and before I knew it I was coming down the big Challenge finish area with the long red carpet

Run – 1:22

Total 4:17 – 3rd place in age

 

Ironman 70.3 Italy – Pescara

This Half Ironman was the inaugural event for Italy, situated at the Adriatic seaside in small town called Pescara. The Italians know how to do the ‘Pasta Parties’ really well with fresh local produce, it was the tastiest one ive ever experienced!

Ironman 70.3 Italy - Race Start

The Ocean swim was inside a break water and was a 1km ‘out and back’ along the shore. It was a wave start so was quite hard to tell who was ahead of who once we got out onto the bike. Quite a hilly course through the Abruzzo county side and finishing with a 3 lap beach front run along the promenade in the stifling heat.

I had a solid swim exiting in 26 minutes and was able to get into a good group of cyclists to pace off. I only took my TT bike away and it was soon clear why most of the field had chosen to race on road bikes.. Some steep inclines early on split up the field but I was able to regain some lost time coming into a nice strong head wind on the last flatter part of the loop.

The run quickly became congested as everyone converged on the 3 lap course, I was happy with my 1:21 half marathon in the 32+degree heat after the challenging bike. This was enough to earn 2nd in age group and fastest run split.