Ironman Philippines 2018 – Another podium result and one step closer to Kona!
The 2018 edition of IM Philippines was the first time they have run the full distance event in the region. With over 1600 athletes lining up over the weekend, everyone was gearing up to tackle the weather and conditions that Subic Bay can deliver. The forecast was for temps in the high 30’s and standard maximum humidity! The locals and organisers have great passion, and this shined through on race day with so much support and a very well run event.
Race morning was the typical warm and humid temperatures as predicted, and the swim course was flat and calm. The male pro’s started 30mins after the 70.3 event, and we soon caught the back markers and dodged our way around the first loop. I had a good start, and managed to get a small gap by the first buoy – around 400m in. This gap grew steadily and through out the rest of the 3.8km swim leg I managed to build a lead of around 4mins heading into T1. This earned me the quickest swim of the day clocking just over 51mins. The water was close to 30deg, so we all had to be cautious not to push too hard early on. I found the swim pace was comfortable, and it was nice to be in control of the effort and not having to concentrate on chasing others or surging.
Transtion 1 was a 1km run from the sand to our bikes, and half of this was straight uphill.
Out onto the bike, I held a steady lead throughout the first 70kms, and around this point Nick Baldwin and Freddie Lampret were starting to close the gap. We came together at the 100km mark, I stopped to grab my special needs bottle and the 2 of them got away on the long descent. I was happy to stick to my steady plan, and eventually caught up and passed Freddie again around 120km. Nick was riding strong, and cruised into T2 with a 5min lead. Cameron Brown was about 3mins back from me starting the run, so the pressure was on.
The weather on the bike was crazy – the first half was quite warm and humid as the sun was coming up, and then some black clouds rolled in. It started pouring down causing some surface flooding and the winds picked up for a solid headwind slog back into town.
This settled down again as we arrived into transition 2, and you could tell it was going to get warm again as the marathon was about to start.
Nick and I were running a similar pace for the first 10kms or so, and Cam bridged up and came by me around the 12km mark. He was hovering around 1-2mins ahead for the next hour and we were all separated by less than 1min 45sec at about the 25km mark! I was feeling good and picked it up a bit, although Nick and Cam managed to lift also (I think we all were slowing down, but the effort was lifting!). Cam almost caught Nick although the final 10km really heated up and we stayed as it was through to the finish. Some great close racing all day!
1st place – Nick Baldwin – 8:50
2nd place – Cameron Brown – 8:56
3rd place – Simon Cochrane – 8:58
Once again, my race plan didn’t involve power or pace targets, although in the heat I had some heart rate zones to keep an eye on – Heart rate doesn’t lie, and it’s a fine line between just right, and slightly too hard when racing in the heat. I managed to not walk one step in the marathon which was a pre-race goal and plan, I focused on steady pacing and grabbing water at each aid station on the fly. I handled the heat a lot better at this race and put this down to a very focused heat prep build up. Fire me a message if you are keen to hear how I did this, and if you need any help building up to some hotter races this season!
It was a great event to be a part of and it was good to see so many kiwis over there racing – a nice change from the cold weather setting in back home! A big thanks to the events team who made us feel welcome all week and organised all the transfers / meetings seamlessly!
My sponsors and supporters are great as always, and are a huge part of my team that I couldn’t do with out!
CEEPO BICYCLES / ORCHARD GOLD / ST PIERRE’S SUSHI / SMITH OPTICS
Its always exciting and motivating knowing that so many people and family are tracking the race back home.