This weekend was the Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain New Zealand Ironman down in Taupo. It was a very tough day but I am pleased with my 3rd place finish behind Marko Albert and Cam Brown. It was also a great way to mark the end of my Pre Season base training and put to rest some monsters that have been hiding in my Ironman closet.
Taupo put on a superb week with great weather leading into and on race day. I was happy with where my fitness was across all 3 disciplines and I was looking forward to testing the waters and seeing how far I had come since my last Ironman finish in 2011.
Marko set a fast start to the 3.8km swim and soon a small group of us had a break. We quickly navigated through the waters to come out with a 2 minute lead over the chase pack which included Cam Brown. Last years winner, Bevan Docherty along with several strong bikers made up the front group and I was sure we would work well together to slowly build our lead over the 180km, 2 lap bike course. Unfortunately by the 80km point Brownie had bridged the gap across and the whole dynamic changed.
Albert put in a small surge through the special needs section at the half way point and we soon noticed he was moving away from us. His lead would grow through the remainder of the bike to over 6 minutes. This was really impressive, as we were not wasting anytime riding home.
I love starting the marathon in the middle of Taupo, the crowds are so amazing and your spirits and adrenaline levels are lifted immediately. Soon it was Brownie, Docherty and myself on the hunt for the Estonian up the road. We were moving along very well but for some reason we were not taking any time out of our 6minute deficit. Lap 1 done and I was feeling okay, heading out onto lap 2 and things started to happen. Docherty dropped off at 16km, at 20km my legs decided they were not happy with the pounding I was giving them and I spent the next 4km yo-yoing off the back of Brownie trying my best to hold it together as long as possible. In the last 4km of lap 2 I lost over 1 minute. Things were turning to custard and fast! The final lap was the true test, would I be able to hold it together and stay positive? It was tough but I managed to hang in there and soon the battle would be to see if I could hold off 4th place Tim Van Berkel who was slowly closing the gap. The finish line could not come soon enough and I was elated to cross in 3rd place behind Marko who had an absolutely amazing race and Cam Brown.
In the woman’s Meredith Kessler defended her title and Gina Crawford and Candice Hammond rounded out the podium.
Kelly and I are in a mad rush now to unpack, wash and repack before heading off on our 14 month overdue honeymoon to Hong Kong and Vietnam. We are both looking forward to some well-earned time off.
Photos thanks to Darryl Carey – firstname.lastname@example.org