Thursday, March 12, 2009
A long day at Ironman New Zealand
After a pretty stressful last week in taupo it all came down to a great race.
My bike arrived a few days before the race and as you can see on youtuibe- we made it work in the shortest possible time. Also my suit from Santini came right in time- to be honest pretty late, but having it hand delivered Friday night at 8pm works for a early Saturady race, right? Last but not least, we had to move out from the place where we stayed in 2 Mile Bay and found a more quite place where there were no distractions for the race. All of that wasn’t really helpful, nor was my ongoing plantar facia issues leading up to the big day in Taupo.
I made the best out of it and focused on getting my first Ironman under my belt. The minimal goal was to get a Hawaii qualification, which finally rolled down to Top 13 or so. My game plan was to follow the best swimmers, but having Kieran Doe pulling out I was left alone in front with no one sharing the work for me. With Brent Foster coming out fist, I lead the main field, knowing that Foster wouldn’t play any role in the race after the swim. I was abit unsure if whether or not I would take of my wetsuit for the 500m run, but i did, so Terenzo passed me on the way to T1. I made sure I filled up my pockets with bars and gels and headed out of the tent, but then I realized my new personalized Oakleys were still in my transition bag, so I turned around and got them--I may have lost 10-15 seconds but it was worth it to have my eyes protected and I guess I owed it to the Oakley team as well. So very surprisingly Mr Brown passed me on the way to my bike and I had to swallow hard... then I remembered my coach telling me about him: “...in case if he shows up earlier as planned- don’t worry and stay cool.” So I did as told and got on my Liger bike. I was behind Terenzo and passed him on the first hill and opened a small gap, but decided to hold back. I might have thought it was a short cousre race or so...
We had a nice 5 man group on the bike and we rolled out towards the first turn around. All was good and I was able to focus on my nutrition and positioning on my bike till I realized that my bottle cage was loose and I was about to lose my bottle. I called the race marshalls and they caled the technical support. They handed me a allan key and I tried for 3km to fix it. I did but I also dropped a bottle. I was able to get back to the group with a fixed cage which was pretty impressive. Thanks to the technical support out on the course for those tools!
In the second loop I was leading up the hill again and pulled a 45 sec lead, but also decided to slow down again and wait for the group. I chatted with Jan Raphael on the way and exchanged a few words with some others. Everyone did some fair share in front except one guy--which upset me and of course I had to make a few comments to him about that. Anyway, the 2nd time we hit the turn-around I started to pull away and it felt really good. So I continued all the way and opened a 4:45min lead to Mr Brown and Terenzo.
In T2 everything went smooth and I started the run- unfortunately a bit too fast. Well, we all know I payed for it but it just felt good and the first 23 km went by fast and easy. Then I met the guy with the hammer- and he did hit me hard. So I had to slow down and lost my 4 min pace for a while, Cam Brown passed me and later I had to walk for a bit to avoid cramping. So I also decided not to fight for second but instead to secure my podium spot and so I stopped again. All in all I had to walk 3-4 times for a minute or so. I also stopped at the nutrition stations to get more Coke in. And after that point I knew what it meant to race an Ironman with a not so ideal running prep. There was nothing that I could have done better except for next time staying healthy and running more, because 40-50km per week won’t do much in Ironman training,,right? The last 2km was really brutal to finish and I wished I could have stopped again but I was able to slow jog the rest to the finsh line and finished very exhaused in 3rd.
My first podium in my first Ironman race. So I have to admit that I am very happy and I know what can happen in the future races... I took my Kona slot and can’t wait to be back on the Island- this time no World Cup but THE real Ironman race.
At this point I woud like to send out special thanks to a few guys that helped me a lot to be able to finish my race:
Thanks to the guys out at Top Gear Cycles, to Duncan Milnes and Oyvind Johannessen for the good training, to Nigel and Jarrod for the awesome pre-Ironman accomodation, my friends John and Maureen for the good times in Taupo, Jonty from Pilates Body Dynamics and Dick Dutton both for getting me back on track with my messed up foot, Martin McCrossan for his work with new sponsors, and last but not least my wife for her endless support and all the managing work she has been doing to set me up to race Ironman NZL.
Also to all my sponsors to make the success happen:
Triathl’Aix, Santini, Max Lelli-Liger, Blueseventy, SIS
unter 8:04 PM