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GEELONG LONG COURSE

Geelong Long CourseGeelong Long Course

On the weekend I kicked off my 2013 season with my first Half Ironman. I have been training hard under my new coach Ben Day. It is very early days in the season so we were keen for a hit-out to see how things are going and also have my first taste of 70.3 racing. It has been fun trying some new training ideas and I'm looking forward to seeing how the season progresses. I decided to start off with the Geelong Long Course race. It was my first crack at the distance against the strongest field ever assembled for a 70.3 event in Australia. I had no expectations going into the race and was really just looking forward to getting out there and having a go to see how it went.

 

I was a little nervous about pacing, having only ever raced Olympic Distance events this was going to be a new challenge! After asking some friends about how I should go about it the main concern from everyone's first go was nutrition. After working closely with Darryl from Shotz nutrition and doing some testing I was confident that my nutritional plan was solid.

 

The day started at 7 am and was a nice temperature with a little bit of wind around. I had a good start and settled onto some feet. I didn't want to work to hard in the swim so decided to follow feet but stay near the front. I managed to turn the first buoy in 4th. I stayed there for the swim feeling very comfortable. The swim broke apart a little bit but the speed wasn't high enough to break it up. Once the swim was over it was a reasonably long run to my bike. I had a good transition and ran out and onto the bike well positioned in a group of amazing athletes. I decided to position myself towards the back of the front group and pace off the more experiences athletes. The draft rules were 12 meters between bikes, which is a good gap. I should have been positioned slightly further up as the pace was on at the start of the bike and the 2 athletes in front of me could not keep pace with the front 5 guys. Unfortunately I was a little bit late to see that a gap was forming in front of the two bikes in front of me, I went around them  both and tried to pick the pace back up to catch the front group of 5. I was unable to get across the gap and was a little taken back at how fast the start of the bike was.

 

I was hesitant at putting in to much effort at the start as it is a long day. In hindsight I should of pushed that little bit harder and stayed with the group. The front group of 5 seemed to be well spaced. I ended up riding the first lap by my self and was happy to hold the front group at 1.10 gap. Australian 70.3 champion Tim Berkel, Leon Griffin and Marco Albert joined me about the 50km mark. These guys are very good at the half ironman distance and I rode with them for the remainder of the bike. I felt reasonably good finishing the bike and I was interested to see how the run legs were going to feel.

 

I had a good transition and was out well. There was a 3.40 gap to the front 5 guys. I was a little upset at myself for not paying attention more and staying with the front group. I ran out with Tim and Leon and felt good. Tim dropped off and Sam Appleton joined us. I was feeling strong and found myself shoulder to shoulder with Leon. I decided to try and sit behind and hold on as long as possible. I managed to stay with him for about 7km. I then dropped off and settled into my own rhythm.  I was still catching people from the front group and feeling reasonably good. I was able to tick it over and managed to catch some athletes from the front group about 12km. I started to feel heavier and feel my pace slowing not long afterwards. I knew I was going to struggle at some point and knew I just needed to just keep my legs turning over best as possible. I felt like I was getting slower and slower. The last 3 km felt almost as long as the first 10km.

 

I was coming into the finish happy to have finished my first half ironman event and finish in 10th position, with a sub four-hour finish time to boot! I was very happy with the time and result in such a strong field. I was the only professional male to have never done a half-ironman event coming into the race so it was a good start. I am excited about learning how to race the distance and looking forward to doing my next one already. My next race on the calendar is The Famous Escape from Alcatraz on the 3rd of March.

 
 
 
 
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