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Finally have unrestriced access to a pc and, since the sun's gone into hiding, no more excuses not to do my race report.
After IMNZ 09 I told myself that if I ever did another southern hemisphere IM, I'd travel out a couple of months beforehand to get some proper training in. Wish I'd listened to myself. Although the winter was kinder than in 08/09, I really hate long bike rides in the cold and wet and find the turbo mind-blowingly dull. Suffice to say by bike training was minimal; running was ok and swimming is my favourite.
In the 10 days in NZ before heading for Taupo I did a couple of 45ish rides on similar terrain to the IM course, one shorter, hilly ride on really crap roads and a constant strong headwind, several hilly 5 mile runs and one ow swim to remind myself how to swim in a wetsuit.
I knew IM was going to hurt quite a lot but wasconfident that I could put in a decent swim time to give myself long enough get round the bike leg inside the cut off and therefore finish the race.
After Thursday's briefing I reckoned it was pretty certain the event was going to be bike/run at best.
Friday morning saw me getting my tranisition bags sorted with unusual efficiency and minimal faffage so by late morning I was ready to rack the bike and hand them in before heading off with my NZ support crew to try our hands at prawn fishing. The prawn park was closing early so the teenagers tried their hands at a bit of rope climbing next door before we all visited a local honey centre
Shortly after 4pm got a series of messages through from Happychap at the briefing: IM cancelled; 70.3 on Sunday; race briefing Saturday 4pm; go fetch your bike NOW!! So quickly packed up and headed back to town to collect the bike.
Mixture of disappointment and relief. Mentally I was prepared for a very tough day on Saturday and was a little surprised to feel a bit lost for the rest of the evening.
Apart from team RuntoLive, I had another friend from my tri club who'd come out to do NZ as his first IM, partly after talking to me and watching the 09 race DVD I'd lent him. He'd picked up a nasty chest infection in December so hadn't able to train for about 6 weeks and had almost pulled out in January. After talking to others at club and revising his race targets he decided to go for it anyway. He called me on Friday evening and was obviously really gutted about the turn of events but, after a bit of chat we managed to pull some positives out of things and both felt a bit better.
Saturday was a bit of a non day. It rained and blew pretty hard overnight but Saturday morning was dry, clouldy but still windy. The worst of the weather had passed to the south of Taupo, but the wind actually got stronger as the day went on. We headed back to the prawn park and two of the six of us managed to catch enough prawns (and we're talking BIG prawns here) for us all to have one each. Very tasty they were too.
Race day saw the alarm go off at 5am to give me time for a bit of breakfast and a cup of coffee before dragging my 19yo godson out of his pit to take me and my bike down to race central.
Having access to transition bags was not a good idea. Althouth they'd been packed with a cold and windy bike/run in mind, I knew everything I needed was in the appropriate bags but couldn't overcome the compulsion to go and check everything so much faffing ensued.
Finally time to put on the wetsuit and head down to the swim start. One thing I'd missed last time was the Maori war canoe coming in and the hukka on the beach before the start so I was quite looking forward to experiecing it this time around. Sadly with the change of plans, it didn't happen.
The commmentator had announced that the water temperature was about 15.1c but I reckon it was actually a little warmer than that - but not much.
Watched the pro's go off, followed by the AG men before lining up middle to back of the AG ladies. Off we went being gently washed up and down by the swell. Despite having identified the hill behind the turn around buoy before the swim start, I still managed to swim a zig-zag course down the lake and never really found any feet to draft off for any significant lenght of time.
So I swam. Didn't feel particularly good but not horrendously bad either. Finally surfed towards the finish and glanced at the clock as I passed under it; 1:02 or something, even taking off the 15mins for the pro start 46:29 was a bit disappointing.
Jog/walked the 400m or so up to transition, handed my bag and into the change tent which was heaving. No spare volunteers, so found a clear spot, hauled myself out of my wetsuit and dressed for the bike. Don't ask me how I managed to spend 16:22 in T1, I really have no idea
Started off well on the bike, span my way up the hill to the out and back bit of the course and settled in feeling reasonably comfortable. Took in nutrition every 20mins or so when my watch beeped at me and I think I may even have passed a few people but not as many as passed me.
The pro's came storming towards me after not very long followed at various intervals by several huuuuuge chain gangs. Some of them were accompanied by race officials trying, not very successfullly, to break them up. Shouted at my tri club mate as he shot passed looking strong and just kept pedalling. Kept my eyes peeled for Toucs but after the field started thinning out again with no sign of him I guessed he'd had a bad swim and pulled out.
After about 30miles my shoulders/neck started aching. Dunno why; I'd had no problems with them on my earlier rides around the Auckland area and had probably spent more time on the drops/bars then than I did on race day. Dig in and keep going and finally there's the turn-around. Round I went and immediately felt like someone had turned on a big wind fan. Odd. The trees, grass, shrubs on the sides of the road didn't appear to be blowing about much but it definitely felt harder.
Kept on pedalling, trying to maintain a reasonalbe cadence going. Not long after the turnaround I spotted the unmistakeable black and yelllow of a pirate coming towards me. High five and an arrgh and I knew it'd only be a matter of time before Happychap overtook me. Stopped at the feed station at about 60k for a wee break, more for psychological effect than real need and Happychap sailed by just as I was getting ready to get going again.
Target was then to try not to let her get too far ahead for the rest of the bike. It sort of worked and I finally reached the lovely downhill sweep back into town and transition. Off the bike in 4:07:29 which was just about ok I suppose. Happychap was just being sprayed with sunscreen as I came in, I think it stung a bit.
Achieved a pb in T2 I think, only 4:19
Got a shout from Toucs as I headed out of transition and was pleased to see him up and about.
Plan for the run was 4:1 run/walk and I pretty much stuck to it once I'd got the bike saddle feeling out of my backside. Caught up with Happychap fairly quickly and didn't get sworn at which I took as a good sign Saw John (tri club mate) heading towards the finish looking good.
I have to say I enjoyed the run, helped by the support spectators and other competitors. Chatted with a few on my walk breaks and was surprised by how many said things were not going as well as expected - but I guess the uncertaintly and change of plans affected us all.
Exchanged words of encouragement with Happychap each time we passed and, as we passed for the last time, stopped for a quick chat, agreed that there was enough time to walk it if necessary and left here smiling. The final return leg saw a few slightly longer walk breaks but overall, I felt good. Finally into the finish chute and done - 2:42:28 which I was pleased with.
Got my finishers' towel and t-shirt but no medal - a box of medals had gone missing and they'd run out so will have to wait for that to be posted. Most excellent cup of soup or two and a massage to ease my shoulders and job done.
Would've liked my overall time to be closer to 7:30 than the 7:57:09 I achieved but hey, you get what you train for and, let's face it, I didn't train that well.
Bring on the Outlaw
Interestingly PS a lot of people said they really struggled with sundays race even though on paper it *should* have been a lot easier.
Great report Trogs. It was lovely to see you so many times on the course.
Meldy, feck off
Hello all, at last I have gained access to a computor! Thank you for all your kind words regarding my health.
My race report follows:-
Trained more than ever before, event cancelled, 1/2 IM day after, got in the swim, did 1k pretty quick, vomitted, did the last 900m quicker than everyone else (assisted by speedboat), vomitted again, slept and vomitted for next 3 hours!
All in all very pleased it wasn't the full IM.
Very happy for HC and Trogs
Lovely time in NZ, looking forward to the Outlaw and calmer waters!
Oh Toucs, that sounds dreadful. Any idea on the cause? Was it nasty lake water, something you ate or the whole "psyched up for the event that didn't happen" stuff. Anyway, glad to head you're recovered and hopefully the Outlaw will be a considerably easier event for all of you.
Great reports guys, IM Austria is 16 weeks away and your reports are still making me feel nervous!