Oh yeah! Bozzone is back!
What a day here at Challenge Dubai and to come away with the Victory at the first race of the triple crown series is an unbelievable satisfaction, especially considering where things were at with my body a few months ago.
The wind picked up big time on race day blowing over 30km per hour on shore. This made for a rough swim and a tough second half of the bike, it also made the flat run a lot more challenging.
I along with everyone struggled to find any sort of rhythm or feel for the water in these conditions and the swim ended up being more of a thrash fest than anything else. My swimming has been going really well and I was surprised that I wasn’t a little further up in the field but I made sure I did not dwell on it. I pushed hard through transition, my legs felt great and I slowly started my way back up the field. Soon I was in second place behind Martin Jenson feeling comfortable and in control. I was starting to make a little time on the big hitters like Raelert, Gomez, Reed and Gambles but I knew the race was far from over and riding the last 40km well was going to be key, specially with the howling head wind we had to punch through.
So – with an inaugural race there are always going to be some teething issues and sometimes they are bigger than others. This race in Dubai in my eyes was run exceptionally well but the only problem was trying to stay on course. The wind had blown all the direction signs so hitting every main intersection was a slight lottery if you came out on the correct exit. I saw guys early on turning off course and could understand how easy it was to do. At the end of the day I am gutted that I accidently turned around 1.2 kilometers short of the turn around. A mistake half of the top 10 guys made. I was following 3 motorbikes and didn’t realize until 2 hours after the race what I had done. We all had a meeting with the referees to come to a solution and with the 2.4km deficit they calculated that averaging 40kph it would result in a 3min 45sec time difference (I averaged 43kpm for the ride) – they rounded this up to 4 minutes and added that on to the time of guys who made the mistake. Thankfully this still left me on top of the podium with almost a minute over 2nd place, which did change from Raelert to Reed. This was not an ideal scenario for anyone, it is not how I want to win races but I take my hat of the guys who didn’t make the mistake – they were all truly respectful and only wanted an outcome that was fair I appreciate their understanding. It is days like this that you know you are lucky to be doing what you love as a profession and to be able to share this journey with proper gentleman who portray great sportsmanship.That brings us to the run, thinking I was in second place and not being able to see anyone up the road had me a little worried until I found out I was in the lead, at that stage I thought Jenson had taken a wrong turn, crashed or I had passed him in transition. Non the wiser I kept the pressure on as I knew the guys would be hot on my heels. It was at 15km where I got a time split over Raelert of 90seconds that I knew all I had to do was keep it together and with Nutri-Grain Ironman NZ next weekend I backed off slightly to save the legs.
This will definitely go down as one of my top 3 victories up there with the 2006 Wildflower Half Ironman victory and the 2008 Ironman 70.3 World Title.
A big thanks to everyone for all the support and believing in me to get back on top. 2014 was a less the ideal year and I am glad to be able to kick of 2015 in style. My training partner in the build up, James Cotter also deserves a big mention, he seems to be my lucky charm as our last training camp was before the 2008 world champs. Thanks for putting up with my bad days and sorry for making you suffer that little bit more on my good days.
A quick turn around for Nutri-Grain Ironman NZ in 7 days time. There will be a lot of focus on recovery and making sure I am able to get my muscle health back to 100% before I stand on the start line on Saturday down in Taupo which again is set to be a great race with top competition.
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