Time: 10:27:28 Swim: 57:39 T1: 2:16 Bike: 5:21:40 T2: 4:17 Run: 4:01:46
Race Analysis here
Triathlete Europe Interview here
This year the Pro’s started 30 minutes before the age groupers at 6:30am. This added a dilemma for me of what time to get in the water. I got down on the beach
just after the pro’s went and stood in the water trying to judge leaving it as late as possible but still getting close to the front line.
I headed in at just after 6:40 and got to hang on a surf board with some guys that were already shivering. The water is cold at that time on a morning if you’re not swimming. At 6:45 they moved us forward and had the surfers going backwards and forwards across the front trying to keep us back. It slowly got more and more congested having to tread water with only your feet, getting a deadleg the off time from someone with a rogue kick. I happened to end up by Albert and Petro – we chatted and it helped calm me.
There is no warning for the gun and it felt it went early with two surfboard perpendicular to us. I was, luckily, by the gap between. An annoying guy in speedos wasn’t and I was pleased to see him get his come-uppence – he tried to duck under it, as he did it turned and the people either side of him swam forward and over him as did I. He must have spent the first 15s underwater ! Last year I commented this swim gets rougher and rougher – this time was no exception. My first half a dozen strokes connected with shoulders rather than water which i think was total luck and it got me clear water. I stuck to my guns of not pushing too hard and it seemed to work giving a change of pace to clear trouble. I almost immediately had decent swimming and even had the time to notice these amazing long thin fish slipstreaming a guy to my left.
The rest of the swim was a pleasure. What made it nice is thats not only in hindsight but at the time I can remember thinking I was enjoying it. Had a decent draft for much of the time, was swimming comfortably and felt swimming quite strong. 57:39 for the swim is slower than last year but I think given the lack of posh swim skins and how much easier it felt it was a much better performance.
T1 was a dream. I ran in grabbed my bag and by the time I got to the tent I had everything out of it I needed so just handed the guy my bag and ran straight on. I got a big cheer from the volunteers for not heading in the change tent. Paused slightly to get sun cream on my shoulders and out on the bike.
I was out on the bike in 59:55 compared to 59:46 last year. I was feeling super positive about the rest of the race having had such a calm but fast swim. As we headed up to the Queen K a spectator shouted “you guys are in the top 50”.
I kept my eye on my power meter through town to hold down my efforts – 250 watts felt so easy at that point. My HRM had come undone so I decided to stop to fix it. Hitting the bottom of Palani (the steepest section on the route) I focussed on steady effort and all the guys around me flew by. I wondered if I was going too easy so glanced at my power which read 310 ! I eased off a little and wondered what wattage those guys would have been pushing.
Out on the Queen K I settled into my rhythm… well I tried to. I felt reasonable but looking at my power meter I could see I just wasn’t pushing the way I should. Guys were going by all the time and sometimes in packs that were a little too tight and a little too organised. I saw marshals alongside them but they did nothing. That was very disappointing to see especially considering some of these guys were probably gunning for age group podiums.
Though I didn’t have any oomph I stuck to my guns of not pushing too hard to Hawi. I re-assured myself that I’d gain a lot back by being strong after the Hawi descent. Unfortunately this never came. The descent from Hawi was interesting with some serious cross winds. Luckily with people ahead you could see when they were leaning 45deg into the wind and get ready for it. There were some seriously hairy moments.
I struggled to reel in Jo and when I did she re-passed me on the next hill and indicated it was in my head. That helped and I tried to push a little but I was struggling to hit 200 watts. It turns out my normalised power was 216 watts (134 BPM) bit different from 253 (149 BPM) at the European Long Course.
Luckily, with the planned run in Vibrams I was really looking forward to getting out on the run. T2 was a little slower as I changed completely in to running shorts, Craft Procool top and my vibrams. If I’d had to guess I would have thought minutes slower but as it turned out less than 40s longer than last year.
Out on the road the vibrams just didn’t feel right. I stopped after about half a mile to remove some grit and continued. They still didn’t feel quite right – a little rough in the fore foot but as I’d just checked them just thought it was one of those things. With hindsight (and looking at my feet this morning) there was something got in them and I should have sorted it out as I’ve a couple of quite impressive blisters now under the toe next to my big toe on each foot !!
Despite this, running in them was a joy and for the first 10 miles I felt super relaxed and was hitting ~8 min miles comfortably. I had a variety of comments from “Ouch” to screams of “Awesome, vibrams!” After Pay and Safe hill I never got my rhythm back. I know this is a problem but I’ve never quite cracked how to get my rhythm back. I kept running till I was at mile 21 but then I started to really suffer. Some walking through aid stations. At mile 23 Rip came by and I managed, with his encouragement, to speed up and run with him. We chatted, he walked with me in aid stations and agreed to run in together, It is down to him I got under 10:30. I reckon on my own it would have been 10:45. It was great to catch up and he’s so positive it helped me massively to finish strong. We agreed to cross the line together. Given the help he gave me I think it only right that the chip times gave him the “win”.