After I was quite disappointed with my 4th place finish at Ironman 70.3 Taiwan, I was excited to toe the line against a quality field in Busselton. It was my 3rd time back to race this course and it is easily one of my favourite events to compete in with the community getting right behind the event and a super fast course that always makes for some exciting racing. It is also now like a 2nd home town race with my partner’s family living in Busselton, so was good to spend a week over on the West Coast relaxing in a home environment rather than a cramped hotel room.
Race morning we were met with perfect race conditions with no wind and cool temperatures, so fast racing was definitely on the cards. The swim was a standard rectangular swim with a beach start. I was determined to get a good swim in as I thought there would be a large front group forming out of the swim but I didn’t execute this at all. I felt very sluggish in the first 1/4 of the swim which left me swimming behind the front pack, not where I wanted or needed to be. I exited the water in 15th position in a time of 24:07, 2min 30secs behind the 2 leaders and roughly 1min behind the front pack where I needed to be.
Onto the bike I went out with the plan of holding around 300 watts which I thought I could hold throughout the 90km and still have a quick run off it. Not long into the ride I found myself riding with a few other guys with everyone seem determined to catch up/limit the damage to the guys in front. It wasn’t until the u-turn at 22.5km we could get a time check on the leaders who were Jacobs and Kerr riding out front together with the main group behind them around 50secs in front of us. The ride is a dead flat course which makes for no rest at all but fast times. Around the 30km mark, Burton came flying pass. I thought this was a good chance to get up to the front pack but he was going to fast and after a few minutes pushing extremely hard, I watched him ride off into the distance. The 2nd lap was pretty uneventful with the main focus on keeping a good average watts, getting my Hammer nutrition in and trying to limit the damage to the front guys. Finished the 90km ride in 2hr 08min but with a few good riders in the field left me 4min/5min down with a lot of work to do on the run.
Coming into the race, I was pretty confident in my running form starting to come back to a decent level, so i went out with the aim to run a quick 21km and hopefully reel in as many people as I could. The 3 lap out and back course gave me a few chances to gauge the time gaps on my competitors. After 7km I had gained a fair bit of time on the guys in front and still felt pretty strong so I went about pushing the next 7km. Through the 10km to 17km I managed to overtake a fair few guys and I had ran up to 6th place just behind 5th. It was at this stage both my calves started to get really tight and I went from running strong to just trying to get to the finish line. 3km to go Pellow came storming pass and in the last 1km Phillips also came past. I struggled across the line with a run time of 1hr 12min, in 8th place with an overall time of 3hrs 47min.
I was some what satisfied with my race as it was an overall improvement from my last race but left disappointed with a sub par swim maybe costing me a chance to podium. The couple of weeks of solid training work I did before Busselton has given me confidence that this type of training continued will see me become extremely competitive leading into my main races being Asia-Pacific Champs (August) and World Champs (September). During this big training block there will be a few running races and the odd triathlon. As always I can’t thank my sponsors enough who provide me with the best gear possible, without it none of this would be possible.