After 8 days of travel and recovery from Challenge Dubai, I was on the start line for the famous Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain Ironman New
Zealand down in Taupo. I felt like my body had pulled up well, I was recovered and my muscles seemed in good condition. On top of this I was totally amped to be racing. I felt like I was ready to take a step forward in my Ironman career and with having ticked over to the big 3-0 last week, I was sure that the extra age would do me well.
The weather on the day was going to be hit and miss. Some were lucky enough to get through the race before the heavens opened but most had to suffer through good old NZ weather, wind, rain and hot patches.
I struggled to find a comfortable stroke in the swim but settled on the feet of training partner James Cotter and let the gun swimmers, Dylan McNeice, Gog and Skipworth take off and slowly build over a 2 minute advantage and break the swim course record. Fortunately Cotter and I had also built a little buffer over the rest of the field
Onto the bike I was pleased that I was able to find my rhythm early on. I had hoped that a small group would form and we could work together but slowly I found myslf passing the 3 leaders and making my way to the front to ride solo for t
he rest of the bike. Things were going great, my legs felt good and I seemed very in control. With all the hype around town I may have got slightly carried away starting the 2nd lap and this came back to bite me at the 140km mark. At this stage we had just finishing punching it into a good head wind and I was about to start my homeward journey with a blistering tail wind. There was no warning and no tapering off in the power, one minute it was there and the next it was gone. My 4 minute gap I had built over Brownie quickly got eaten up in the final 40km. We arrived into transition at the same time and my legs were gone!
We kicked off onto the run, where originally this was going to e the main focus of my event and within the 1st kilometer I had to make the decision to let Brownie go. I had to run my own race otherwise I knew things would end horribly later on. Even in doing so things did get tough and a lot sooner than I anticipated. I knew I had to just keep my rhythm, keep moving forward and stay positive. The gap to 1st place kept growing and the gap to 3rd place was slowly closing until the 20km point where Alex Reithmeier who went out like a champ blew up. I managed to keep it somewhat together and fight to hang on for the silver. Dylan McNeice hung tough and pulled in to take the bronze in the closing 500meters of the marathon.
In the girls, classy Meredith Kessler went on to win her 4th Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain IM NZ, Gina Crawford taking the silver and Melanie Burke rounding out the podium.
I also had the opportunity to work alongside Kellogg’s who gave 3 people the opportunity to #liveunstoppable and finish their 1st Ironman. Unfortunately Len Thomson didn’t make it off this bike in time but Rochelle Gilmoni and Jenny Strecker where such champions crossing the finish line in torrential conditions with the biggest
smiles across their faces. It was such an honour to be a very small part of their journey
Next up – I think a little R & R is on the cards. Kelly and I will be busy doing non-triathlon related stuff for the next couple weeks while I finalise the rest of my season.
Thanks everyone for all the support and encouragement you give me.