Friday, September 16, 2016

A trip half way around the world

On Sept 4 I competed at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Mooloolaba, Australia. It was the first time I have traveled this far. This in itself was a learning experience. I landed 9 days before the race and set up at Michelle Bremer's house about 20min away from the race site. I cannot thank C3, Alto, Regenurex and my homestay Michelle Bremer enough for making this trip possible. Arriving this early allowed me to get used to the time change and the climate in preparation for the race. There are a few tricks to getting use to time zone change, which I will talk about more in another post but the most important thing is to get onto the local time right away when you land.

The racecourse had an ocean swim, with the first half of the bike course on flat highway roads going into some very steep hills on the back half. The run was fast with two larger hills every loop. I spent a lot of time in the ocean that week feeling out how to swim in it. This was important for the exit since there could have been some rough surf on race day. My early arrival also allowed me to ride most of the bike course. I moved over to a hotel close to the race site about 3 days before the event so I could get to the start line more easily.

On race day I was very excited and ready to go. The morning was calm and the ocean was a glass lake. I did my normal run warm up, after I set up my transition. I find this really calms me down and allows me to think clearly on race morning.

The swim start was very chaotic. After they had announced the top ten there was not very much time for the rest of the field to make it out to the start line. I was not in the position I wanted to be in when the gun went off, but no matter what, when the race starts I am ready to go. I put my head down and just went for it. In about 200m I had reconnected with the group. The sun was in our faces so I relied on following the people around me.

At about 800m I was still in contact with the front main pack. Over the next 200m the group was pulled apart and the leaders pulled away. I stayed with a smaller group trying to minimize the gap. I exited the water about 1min down from the front pack of 24 people. It was my best swim of the season so far.

After a long transition run I was onto the bike and ready to bring back as many people as possible. I quickly overtook the people I had been swimming with. At about 10km into the ride Trevor Wurtele pulled up beside me. We exchanged a few words and continued racing. Keeping the legal 12m back Trevor and I traded turns on the front doing our best to bring people back to us but when we saw the 24 person group go by at the turn around we knew this was an uphill battle. I never gave up putting it all out there, trying to bring myself into striking distance of the leaders. But the world championship is unlike any other race on the circuit and I was not able to catch the lead group. As the ride came to an end I was able to catch a few more people.

I put all I had left in to the run and by the end I was able to work my way in to 28th place. It was not the result I was looking for but I will be building on this as I go into the end of 2016 and into 2017 season.

Since it was the first time I had been in Australia I chose to spend a little more time there after the race to see the sights. Ashley and I went down to Sydney to check out the iconic monuments and see some koalas. It was really nice to do a little tourism and see where the first Olympic triathlon was held. We were able to do a few boat tours, see the Opera House, get to the zoo, go whale watching and eat some good food.

Even with all the sight seeing I still had to keep up my training since I have the ITU long course world championships on Sept 24. I am back home now ready to rock the rest of the season.

Pictures taken by: Ashley Rayner

Thank you to:
Royal Containers