23rd Place at Ironman 70.3 World Championship
I was excited to race my first 70.3 World Championship and test myself against the best guys in the world all competing in the 1 race. It was extra special being on home soil in Australia for the first time. Competing on Father’s Day made me even more determined to make my Dad proud who we lost 3 months ago.
I arrived in Mooloolaba on Wednesday and went through normal pre race routine with some easy rides and swims. The town was buzzing with thousands of triathletes and spectators enjoying the sunshine and warm weather.
Come race morning the conditions were perfect and after the introductions we had to swim out about 100m to the deep water start at 6:15am. I have been happy with my swimming lately and my aim was to stay with the main front pack. I don’t know exactly what happen but without warning the gun went off (nearly straight away after we entered the water) with myself still about 25m behind the start line. At the time I thought I was the only one to miss the swim start but a fair few other athletes were in the same position and I had no choice but to put my head down and try to the limit the damage. I felt pretty good swimming while passing some athletes throughout the 1.9km swim to exit the water in 23:57 in 29th place.
I sprinted through transition thinking I must be right at the back of the field but to my surprise there were still a fair few bikes in transition with some big names still to reach their bikes. This calmed me down. Out on the bike I had a plan to ride the first section hard to try catch the front group as I knew this is where I needed to be. Around 5km in Kienle came past like a rocket and there was no way I was going to be able to ride at that pace, so I settled into my pace. Throughout the first 27kms I managed to pass and dropped a number of guys but the lead bunch was still much further up the road. At the u-turn, I could see Sanders coming up through the field and I knew this was my chance to get into the race at the pointy end. I rode 10kms dangling off the back of Sanders and McKenzie until I popped. This made the last 45km of the bike course through the hills very tough. I was completely exhausted and my watts were dropping significantly which made for a struggle back into town while losing a lot of time. I came off the bike in 2hr 16min, a lot slower then I wanted and well down on where I wanted to be.
As I exited T2, the legs were very heavy and I just went about running the best I could. My normal rhythm wasn’t there but I went about trying to get to the finish line as best as possible. The main difference I noticed at a major race compared to other races is that very few athletes blow up in the run. I was hoping I may able to catch a few people but this wasn’t the case as everyone in front was running fairly strong. I finished the run in 1:16 coming across the line in 23rd place. It was really good to hear that a fellow Aussie Tim Reed got the win which was no big surprise as he is arguably the most consistent 70.3 athlete in the world.
Although I wanted a better result, it was a good experience with plenty of lessons learnt from my first Word Championship experience. I can go back to training now and work on what is needed to be at the pointy end of major championship races. My next race will be Challenge Jeju (South Korea) in 2 1/2 weeks time. I am really looking forward to be be in a position to fight it out for the win there. 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.
Photo credit: Jarryd Hamilton