This past Sunday I raced in the Asia/Pacific Ironman Championships in Melbourne, Victoria.
In October after the World Ironman Championships in Kona, Hawaii I sat down with 3time Ironman World Champion Craig “Crowie” Alexander who I’ve known since 2001 and asked him if he would coach me. I’d become stale and needed a fresh approach. I was still training as hard as I ever had but I just wasn’t enjoying it like I should be and I wasn’t racing the way I know I can. Crowie said he would coach me and because I hadn’t raced Worlds that year I needed to go to a big points Ironman to help me qualify for Kona in 2014 so Melbourne was the plan. So since November 1 everything had been focused on Sunday just gone.
January I came 3rd at the Pucon 70.3 in Chile then I had a stuff up with my flights and never made it to the Panama 70.3 in February but I knew my training was right on track.
Crowie’s training plan, his enthusiasm, and love of the sport is infectious and even though training was long and arduous I was loving it. I knew my body was getting back to where I know it should have been.
So to the race. The swim was exactly as I suspected, quick!! I got out quick and the group strung out into one line and I sat comfortably in about 6th for the swim.
Once onto the bike Axel Zeebroek show started!! I did one turn, which lasted maybe 5km at about 50km into the bike but apart from that the only person I saw on the front was Axel. Just before the last turn he busted us up (133km) and he and Dellow got away from the group. Then Bockel went and Vanhoenacker caught us and went straight passed.
I made it to transition 2 with the group and started the run 6-7mins behind Axel and as soon as I started running I knew I had good legs and started to eat away at the lead. Long story short I hit the lead about 28km with Dellow running beside me but not long after hitting the lead I could feel some cramp coming. I wasn’t cramping yet but I knew if I didn’t do something about it I was going to struggle to make the finish so I walked through the next 2 aid stations to get some salt, Gatorade and nutrition into me and I dropped back to 3rd.
After about 4km the nutrition started kicking in and I started feeling alright again and worked my way back into 2nd with Bockel 1min in front then with 1500m to go my right hamstring cramped like I’ve never cramped before and I had stop and stretch it out and Dellow overtook me again. After what seemed like an eternity it went away and made one last dash to the finish and passed Dellow with about 700-800m to go and held on for the second place.
My best time for an Ironman 8.02.14 and my best race against such a quality field.
I want to thank all my supporters for such amazing support especially my wife Hillary, Mum (Pam), Dad (Gerry) and sister Karen plus Presley (our dog). Plus I had an amazing group of friends travel to Melbourne to cheer me on Mason, Pudd, Savo, Reado, Ando, Brian and Liz. They were all over the run course with their Barny hats on.
Also to Crowie, Michael, Franko Thank You and my great sponsors who I wouldn’t be here without Blue Bicycles, Smith Optics, Fuel Belt, SRM. Thanks to Sam Adam for the Collage of the best moments of the race.