After coming off some positive results from Challenge Gold Coast and Yamba Triathlon, a combination of low immunity and exposure to sick children during work at school (the profession where I actually make money) caught up with me, and left me bedridden for the whole week leading into Sunshine Coast ironman 70.3. On the Friday before the race, my body was ever so slightly on the better side of things, so I decided to still make the trip up the coast. I think most people would have pulled the pin if they were in this scenario, although I saw it as a great opportunity to go into a race with no expectations. Sometimes when I go into a race feeling great, the nerves and fear of not reaching y my race expectations can really hinder my performance on the day.
When we rolled into Mooloolaba on Saturday, my first reaction was WOW! The Race setup was bigger and better than I’ve ever experienced. It seemed like a World Championships with all the Media and closed off roads, maybe it was a practise run for the 2016 Sunshine Coast 70.3 world championships? With names like Pete Jacobs, Courtney Atkinson, Brad Kahlefeldt, Dan Wilson and Luke Bell on the Pro Start list, I knew I would be racing some of the best and accomplished triathletes in the world, which is exciting because it really gives me a good indication of what I need to work on in order to reach that next level.
On race morning, I wasn’t feeling 100%, but went through the same pre-race routine as I always do. It was a beach Start on Mooloolaba beach, which really suited me because I have a fair bit of experience in the surf. I got a great start and got myself into the middle of the lead pack. I was being dragged along nicely, and was actually feeling quite comfortable. Apart from a few accelerations here and there, the lead pack of about 10 guys stayed together.
There was no mucking around in transition, and the pace on the bike was high from the start. My aim was to hang on for as long as possible, and at speeds of 50+km/h along the flats, I lasted about 10km. It was a bit disappointing to see some of the athletes in the lead bunch regularly pushing well into the 12m drafting zones, the draft busters seemed to be turning a blind eye to it, which is a bit of a joke considering how ruthless they can be on innocent age-groupers!
After I dropped off the pace, I decided to conserve and focus on the run. Nicholas Hull, Michael Fox and I formed the chase pack for the remainder of the ride. I rode at a steady comfortable pace and the average speed at the end of the 90km ride was 40km/h.
I was hoping to post a solid run and move my way up the ranks, although after a few km’s my legs were heavy and I knew this wasn’t going to be a pleasant run. I just kept trying to push through, take in nutrition, hoping a second wind would come. Unfortunately the legs just kept getting heavier, and turnover got slower. I posted a substandard 1.22 for the half marathon, to finish in 10th place Pro.
Considering the poor lead up, Im quite proud I was able line up on the start line and finish the race as well as I did. Huge thanks to OnTheGo Racing, Merida bikes Australia, Compressport Australia and Shock wheels for the support in helping me pursue my ambitions. Looking forward to getting stuck into a block of training, next up is Port Macquarie Ironman 70.3.