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

 

 

 

3rd place at Challenge Penticton!

Leading into this race, everything just seemed to be clicking.. Consistently ticking off all my sessions and a great 2 week trip in Australia for a training camp – the body was feeling great. Not only the body but more importantly also the mind! After my disappointing DNS at Port Mac with food poisoning, I was super determined to kick off this new season with a bang.

Arriving in Penticton after a long travel day, my amazing homestay Kelly picked me up from the airport and helped me to settle in to the awesome little town, showing me the sights and setting me up with a great place to stay. The week before any race is such an important time and having this relaxed atmosphere was really helping me prepare the best I could. It was nice to be able to prepare all my own meals and to do exactly what I needed to be ready come race day! Another Pro athlete Elmar and his partner Jen were also staying with us, they were great to hang out with, had alot of experience racing here and were also super helpful leading into the race.

Simon - Jen - Elmar
penticton-landscape1

Arriving 8 days before the race allowed me to get over my jet lag and gave me enough time to have a good look over the course.. The 3.8km swim was in the crystal clear warm waters of Okanagan lake, the iconic one-loop 180km bike took you out through the scenic terrain including the vineyards, lakes and mountain passes before you ran the 42.2km one-loop marathon out and back along Skaha lake finishing straight down Main street packed with supporters.

My coach Allan Pitman had wanted me to have a really easy taper week and go in feeling ‘fresh’! Usually when you back the training right off,  the body can start to feel lethargic – although this time was different. I think because my mindset was very positive going into this race I didn’t allow any negative thoughts in and just went with the flow. Allan had wanted me to be confident and focused, all his last email had said was ‘time to lay it on the line’ .  

 

 

penticton - swim course

Race morning dawned and the glassy lake looked inviting.. 1hr prior to the starters gun an announcement was made that the Pro’s wouldn’t be allowed to wear wetsuits as the lake was over the 23deg cut-off. Alot of the field were freaking out as a non-wetsuit lake swim makes it alot tougher and exposes some of the weaker swimmers who gain the added buoyancy that a wetsuit provides. I wasn’t phased , but didn’t have a swimskin with me.. (in the 31 previous races here it had always been a wetsuit swim) so decided that I would tape up the rear pockets on my trisuit and that would be fine. 10 mins before the start an age-group lady overhead me talking to Elmar about the swim skin issue and offered me hers. Tried it on and felt great, and rushed down to the start for a quick warm up. The water felt surprisingly cold but that soon changed as the gun went off, and I was hanging onto the front pack of 4 guys, I had a great start and was tucked in behind a couple of ex-itu guys leading the way. At around the 1km mark I slightly lost touch with the group and couldn’t quite close the gap back down – so ended up swimming entirely solo back in to the beach – 2.5mins down on the top 4 but still 3mins ahead of the whole 2nd pack. Was a nice swim but could feel the extra energy used without the assistance of the wetsuit, I came out in 5th place in 56min. Happy with that as the swim was around 200m long, and I was well ahead of some guys who would usually be up with me.

Swim - T1

For the first 40kms of the bike my legs just wouldn’t seem to fire, a few guys rode up and went past – I had to let them go and concentrate on my race. The course is fairly flat and fast for the first 65km and I was joined by my home-stay mate Elmar  and he was riding well – we pushed on before we got into the first of many hills – Richter Pass. It was here that the group of 4 behind us bridged up , and the 6 of us would stay together until the special needs station at the 120km mark.  Myself and another athlete Matt Lawrence had a small 15sec gap at this stage and this was the decisive point in the race.. I could ride with theses guys back to transition or I can ‘lay it on the line’ and aim to break away and limit the time that the top group of 6 were gaining before the run starts. Matt was keen and  we paced it out for the next 10km and got out of sight. I was feeling much better and heading up Yellow lake climb Matt was dropping off. I was committed now and kept the power on for the charge back to T2. Such a fun, fast descent topping out at just over 90km/h and getting back to transition on the quest to improve on my 7th place position.

Challenge - bike profile

The first section of the run course is a 2km out and back along the lake side, the top 6 guys had already completed that section before I ran out of transition so I knew that I was at least 8mins down off the bike. This was confirmed as i ran by some spectators who said there was a group of 3 guys 9mins ahead and then the others were further up. Time to ‘lay it on the line’ and start chasing. The 18km of road out to the turn around had an awesome scenic view but today also had a nice strong head wind to contend with. It was a quiet empty road out there but I was getting heaps of encouragement from the spectators and a few time splits which were coming down consistently..  This kept the motivation high especially when I got to see the guys ahead and how they were looking – Jeff Symonds ran past looking strong way out in front then the other 5 guys were evenly spread, and each one behind was looking a little worse for wear, the heat and wind was taking its toll. I passed 2 guys at the turn around and moved into 5th place. More time splits came and 4th place was 6 minutes ahead, I was still feeling great and just kept the steady pace on and was easily closing the gap through the hilly section. At this stage I was already happy as a ‘top 5 ‘ finish would be my best result so far, and was content to just be careful and made sure I got to the finish.. That thought lasted for all of 20 seconds and my effort increased as I hunted down the man in 4th place.

Challenge run

 

The wind had shifted round and some how was a headwind again, in a strange way I was happy as I knew I was running stronger than the guys ahead and they would be hurting more than I was..  I moved up into 4th place at around 30kms and got another time check at 34km – still 4mins up to Andrew Russell – 8 kms and 4mins.. not very likely but still pressed on. The last long uphill section before you get back into town drags on a bit, although catching a glimpse of Andrew up in the distance helped the intense leg pain ease and I once again upped the pace. A podium finish was becoming more of a reality as I edged closer and closer and finally made the pass with under 1.5km to go. I didn’t look back and pushed hard right to the line just as it was ticking over 8hrs 50mins. A personal best and also 2nd quickest marathon of the day with a 2:57:00.

 MomentsUnderFrame-12

I was blown away by all the support from family and friends back home –  during, and after the race. Larisa’s updates were much appreciated as the time difference in NZ wasn’t ideal ! It makes a huge difference and you can really draw on that when you approach tough times throughout the race.

The perfect trip away for me, great weather, awesome race course, got to meet so many cool people, my first podium result over the Iron-distance and received my biggest pay check so far!  What a way to kick off the 2014 / 2015 Season. Exciting times ahead!

MomentsUnderFrame-88

 

Thanks to my sponsors for all their support :

Orchard Gold Berries, Endura Sports Nutrition, Orca, Saucony, Forge Personal Training, Rocktape, Smith Optics, Timex, Compressport,  Schwalbe and Ministry of Swimming

 

Keep up to date with my training and racing plans  :

 Follow on Twitter –   @CochraneSimon

 Athlete page on Facebook –  SimonCochraneIronman

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

 

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!

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Back at Wills after a 5hr ride

 

 

 

 

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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!)

 

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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!

 

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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

 
 
 

Cairns Ironman 2013

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.

Support Crew

Swim

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.

Bike

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.

Exiting T2

Run

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!

IMCairns-support-crew-run

IMCairns-run-finish-shoot

IMCairns-run-finish-Sml

2013 IMNZ Race Report

Flying out to Reporoa.
Flying out to Reporoa.

Finally Taupo delivers the perfect conditions for race day, clear blue sky, a light breeze and nice and sunny for the run! I had a great build up and was excited to hit the start line.

Swim – 51:35

The morning was perfect and the warm glassy conditions of Lake Taupo invited some fast swim times, the pace was insane from the start, the lead group exploded away and I just missed the feet of Cam Brown and Courtney Ogden. I had some company for the outward leg, Gina Crawford and Keegan Williams staying on my feet till the turn buoys, the pace at this stage felt a bit too comfortable. I picked it up a bit on the way back and was happy to set my own pace and swim alone, exiting in 6th place and about 30sec up on the 3rd group with a personal best swim split by nearly 2 mins!

Bike – 5:01

Out onto the bike and the first 90km flew by, pacing with Keegan and Scott Defilipis, we pushed the tempo pretty hard and were making some inroad into the guys ahead. I think it flew by a little too quick tho, as my nutrition plan wasn’t keeping up! At around 120km my energy levels took a dive and my power output was feeling non-existent. I had gone way too far into calorie deficit to come right but managed to spin my way back to T2. I had lost over 10mins in the last 30kms to the guys I was comfortably riding with earlier.

Run – 3:18

What can I say about the run, starting a marathon in the heat of the day after 180km on the bike is hard enough… let alone after not eating enough and being severely dehydrated! I went out at my goal pace for the first few kms but it didn’t take long to realise that this was not going to last. My legs felt fine but the energy levels wouldn’t allow the pace to rise over 4:40/km.. So in the end that’s all I could hold and did just that. Was really happy with my run for the way I was feeling though and even managed to pick off a couple of the other Pro men and climb back up into the top 10.

Total time – 9:17 (10th place)

Overall I was pleased with my day, a personal best swim, solid for most of the bike and could have quite easily just pulled the pin on the run. But I stuck it out and chugged on to the finish. It’s my 10th Ironman finish in my 4 years of racing. The body is feeling  pretty good, now its a couple of easy weeks before the build up for Ironman Cairns starts!

Check out some cool footage from out on the bike : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WppfpOBlxn8 

 

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 

Challenge Wanaka Ironman 2012

Challenge-Wanaka
I chose Challenge Wanaka to be my first Professional race, It was going to be a tough ask to be super competitive with the experienced international field that turned up, Out of 12 Professional males, there were 2 past winners of this event and 8 other winners of Ironman races! It was going to be a challenging  day in the office.

The Weather in Wanaka can decide how hard the day is going to be, from what I have heard – last year the wind and road conditions made this one of the toughest bike courses around and this year was to be no different. The 2-loop run course is 80% off-road trails which makes it a solid marathon on tired legs, Also, if  the snow-capped mountains in mid-January were anything to go by , there was a good chance it was going to be a cold start!

Challenge Wanaka Ironman 2012 - SC Swim
Nice crisp start to the day!

Swim – 57mins 46sec

As I awoke on race morning, the sky was clear, and it was nice and crisp.. in other words it was Cold!  The lake was 16 degrees and air temp was up to around 12 as we exited the swim, I was happy with my swim in the choppy conditions, sitting comfortably in the 3rd chase group. Coming out of the water in around 14th place and making the most out of the long transition to pass around 5 people as we ran up over the foot bridge from the lakeside to T1.

Challenge Wanaka Ironman 2012 - SC Ride
Coming in to T2, a little bit worried..

Bike – 5hrs 16mins

Arms warmers were on for the start of the bike – a fast out and back section that was still in the morning shade. As I made my way back through Wanaka town, the sun was rising and so was the wind speed. This made the trip down to Cromwell slightly easier but I knew the return leg was where it was going to get tough! I was passed early by a couple of fast cyclists and managed to pace of them for the first few hours as we picked off  a few of the quicker swimmers. My pace makers were starting to ride away as we turned back for Wanaka, still having 80kms of headwind to contend with! I rode 75kms of the last section solo, my legs had nothing left and had to keep focused for the final hour of the ride , 2 competitors came flying past 5kms before T2. I was a bit worried at how my legs would feel as I about to start an off-road marathon!

Challenge Wanaka Ironman 2012 - SC Run
Awesome off-road trails

Run – 3hrs 5mins

I was pleasantly surprised as I found my running legs rather quickly, I picked off a couple of runners in the first 5 kms and set my sights further up as I was feeling strong, The up and down track had a terrible headwind for the section and 2 short and sharp climbs late in each loop. The hot afternoon temperature was getting to a few of the top runners as I heard that some were fading and a couple had pulled the pin. I came through the 21km mark in 1:28 and was in 9th position overall.  I had a few bad patches in the 2nd lap but managed to keep the nutrition in check and finish strong over the last few kms within 1 min of 8th place. Ended up with the 4th quickest run split and was the fastest of the Kiwis!

Challenge Wanaka Ironman 2012 - SC Finish
Finished! 9th Overall – 9hrs 23mins

I’m stoked with my first Professional event and am still improving and learning heaps from every race I do. Thanks to the awesome organisation team down in Wanaka and all the local volunteers and supporters, The whole town gets behind this race.

Hawaii Ironman World Championships 2011

So stoked to be back in Kona! , I arrived 7 days out from the race feeling alot more prepared than I was a year ago, after the good season of racing in Europe. I was staying with a local guy that I met last year 30mins out of Kona in Waikoloa. It was nice and relaxing to be away from all the action of race week , and just being able to pop into Kona for the registration and race briefing/dinner etc. And a bonus that I had my own room with a new king size bed and a view of the ocean!

There were a few dramas on the trip over, the airline ‘misplaced’ my bike and gear and I missed one of my flights waiting for airport staff to try and locate my luggage..  My bike and gear finally arrived 4 days before the race and I got a few good sessions in on the course. I didn’t have any hard sessions planned as I had raced the  Half Ironman, Aix en Provence 70.3  in France 10 days earlier as a good last hit out. The body was feeling quite fresh after a real easy week of short sessions, the only niggle was a blister on my right heel that was still hanging around from the previous race.

 

Swim – Race day came around quite quickly and before I knew it I was stepping into the water at Kona with the other 1800 age group athletes. I decided to start further to the left this year after getting smashed in the chaos of the swim start last year. The swim started pretty casually and I just got into a pack of around 20-30 people. the pace was a bit slow but I decided to stay in the group as it was going to be a long day! There was a bit of swell and current so I was happy to come out of the water after a comfortable swim in 1:04.

Kona Ironman Swim Start

Bike – The pace on the bike explodes straight way as everyone is keen to get out on the ‘Queen K’ highway. We had a slight tailwind on the way out to the turn around at Hawi so I decide to push the pace. I was steadily passing groups of cyclists, even though so many athletes were drafting! It was good to see the draft busters being alot more aggressive than usual and handing out penalties to most of the culprits. I was feeling really good (apart from a wasp sting on my quad!) as alot of people were struggling with the intense cross winds out at Hawi, I had ridden up to a group of 10 solid athletes to pace off on the way back to town so I kept the intensity up. The average speed slowed a bit but the effort was still near maximum as we battled the headwind for the last 40km. I kept the power on as much as I could and entered the second transition with a Bike split of 4:59.

 

Simon Cochrane - Kona Ironman Bike

Run – I ran out of transition and my legs felt great, I was holding 4:07/km till the first turn around at 8km, the heat was intense as the wind on this part of the course was light. I was craving water and ice and grabbed as much as I could without slowing through the aid stations. The next section from town out to the ‘energy lab’ is slightly up hill and coupled with a headwind my energy was starting to fade. It is hard to keep the pace up when people all around are starting to walk, you have to keep the mind strong and remind yourself to run your own race. I kept fuelling the body and using the ice and sponges to try and cool my body down, but he heat was taking its toll over the last 10km. My legs and lungs were screaming but relatively comfortable compared to the extreme heat that was cooking me! I was still on for a good marathon time and managed to keep my average pace under 4:30/km for a personal best of 3:09.

 

I was really happy with how the day went and had a solid placing, 2nd New Zealander home and 12th in the 25-29 age group in the world with a  time of 9:18.

Simon Cochrane - Kona Ironman Run