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AUCKLAND 70.3 2014

To kick off my 2014 season, I decided to jump in the deep end and line up for the Oceania 70.3 Championships in Auckland. I have had a good training block and felt in form heading into the race. It was great to be competing again and catch up with friends who I have not seen in a while.  Pre-race dinner was at an Indian Restaurant, which may seem like a risky choice but has been done many times before - a delicious meal which on this occasion, unfortunately did revisit me the next day.


Race morning I was mentally calm with an underlying feeling of a nervous stomach. I thought nothing of it and carried on my normal pre-race rituals. The swim started just before the break of dawn and my plan was to get through the swim as easily as possible and be well positioned at the exit.  On the start line, I dismissed the urge to go to the toilet and was ready to go.  The pace was surprisingly fast for a 70.3 race. I was sitting about 4th around the first turning buoy, felt good and very much under control of my heart rate and breathing. After a while of getting a bit knocked around,  I could see a lone swimmer about 15 metres ahead  so  decided to move out of the group, bridge the gap and settle on his feet.

I was feeling excited about being in a good set up for the rest of the race.  At the swim exit we had a small group that had broken away from the main part of the field and I entered transition just behind the leader, 2008 Olympic Champion Jan Frodeno. My Blue Seventy wetsuit came off quickly and I was first out onto the bike leg.

The bike course in Auckland is a two part course with an out and back section north of the city followed by two laps on the waterfront. The four of us in the front bunch were quickly up to speed and climbing the bridge. I was sitting in fourth trying to monitor the regulatory 10m gap to the bike in front (interestingly drafting distances differ from country to country). Apparently I was leaving too much of a gap as before I knew it I was at the back of a 14-strong lead group.  As each rider slotted in front of me and I had to drop back which was annoying but I thought that it would settle and that I would be able move back up. At the first turn around, the pace was quick and I felt good. It was a cooler day so my nutrition plan from Darryl at Shotz was to run 2 bottles on the bike but could only "stomach" one bottle for the whole 90 km.

The group continued to be spaced right on the edge of the draft limit so, with deference to the efficient Marshalls, I resigned to sitting off the back with David Dellow and Ritchie Cunningham.  I didn't want to push the limit and get a penalty.


Approaching second transition, my legs felt good but my stomach was gurgling and felt like it was full of water despite the reduced fluid intake. I jumped off the bike and as soon as my feet hit the ground I knew the run was not going to be fun.


Exiting transition, my stomach didn't feel very comfortable and I just wanted to curl up into a ball. To save the details I ended up having three toilet stops (my thanks to the organizers for having plenty of toilets on course!) and was just happy to finish the race.  Food held very little interest for me the rest of the day.


It wasn't the best start to the season with a 22nd place but I was happy to be able to finish the race despite the terrible run. I am comfortable with the knowledge that my running training is going well. I am now preparing for my next race in Geelong early February.   Perhaps I will give Indian food a miss this time and go for something a little more traditional.



IMA 2010 Winner - Best in Class
Web Awards 2010 Winner