At the start of the swim instead of doing what I normally do where I’m trying to swim hard but constantly putting my head up every few strokes to see where people are and who’s feet I can get on I just concentrated on getting a decent start and swimming fast. I thought I’ll see who’s around me a bit later on. This worked out so much better and I ended up being in the front pack for quite a decent amount of time. Eventually it split, I actually saw it happen with someone a few swimmers in front of me letting someones feet go and a few of us ended up getting dropped. I couldn’t really do anything about it anyway as I was working pretty hard on the feet so wouldn’t have been able to pick it up anymore to bridge the gap.
The rest of the swim was pretty unadventurous, I was just on the feet of the guys in front of me saving energy and got out of the water in 51 minutes With Cameron Brown and a young guy Lachie Kerin who’s a decent cyclist. I was 2m45ish down on the big front pack with Dylan McNiece solo about 3 minutes ahead of them. When I got a time split out of the water saying 6 minutes down I was a bit shocked as it felt a much better swim then that but for Dylan to go solo and put that much time into everyone he must have been flying!
Onto the bike, I was thinking that I would be with Dougal, and I have to say I wasn’t sure if he was behind me or up the road having an absolute flyer at this point as someone gave me a time split saying he was a minute up the road. I thought bloody hell he was my ticket to the front of the race!
Anyway I happened to be with Cameron Brown and Kerin, we took turns on the front doing around 3-4 minutes each. I don’t think Cameron wanted to do too much, but we got the occasional turn out of him and sooner enough at around 35-40 Kilometres into the race we could see the lead group. We soon bridged up to them and that left just Dylan up the road.
I tried a few times to get away from the group but with it being so big it was very hard to get make any headway so I decided to wait until the long drag up to Taupo which is around 10k, once we got to this incline I put my head down and just set a strong tempo up it and hoped that I would be able to get away with 2 or 3 others. Luckily for me I had Mike Philips, and Lachie Kerin so some strong cyclists that would be able to keep the pace high.
About 10Ks later we were joined by Terenzo Bozzone. The 4 of us were working well together taking a turn every 3-4 minutes keeping the pace high. Unfortunately for Lachie he got dropped about 110ks in and then about 25Ks later around where the turn was Mike Philips started to fall off the pace, which left me and Terenzo alone alone at the front of the race. We saw we had around 5-6 minutes at the turn on the chase group which was a good positive as I think we were both hoping it was going to be something like that and not just a minute. This definitely gave us both a boost and I think we both knew that if we carried on sharing the load 1st and 2nd would be decided between us.
Coming towards the end of the bike I was fancying my chances for the win as Ive raced terenzo a few times over the ironman distance and each time i’ve caught him on the run, so starting with him I thought i’ve got a great chance here.
Unfortunately for me he had other plans and started the run fast and just didn’t slow down. I was hoping that he would fade in the back half of the run but full credit to him he was the better athlete on the day, looked strong throughout and deserved the victory. I had to dig in on the last lap to hold off a charging Cameron Brown who at 45 years old broke the old course record with a 2 hour 41 marathon and an 8.07 finish. I went 8 hours 5 minutes and broke the old course record and the winner Terenzo went 7 hour 59 minutes on what’s not known as a quick course. Fantastic racing from everyone and a great location for a race.
Before I end this blog I would like to thank Hoka One One for coming on board and now becoming a sponsor of mine. I have been using these trainers for some time and have found them really fast and comfortable so pleased to say we are now working together for 2018!
I’m enjoying a bit of a holiday now and travelling around New Zealand before getting back into training for my next race Ironman Texas on April 28th.