Last weekend I lined up for my fourth Ironman race and my first trip to Western Australia. After a good performance in Forster 4 weeks ago I had plans for a solid race with the possibility of another Kona trip as my reward. The lead up to this race had gone well, under Bruce's guidance we prepared for this race with slightly less volume than before and focused more on specific, quality sessions during the week, which left me feeling fresher each week and able to back up sessions a lot easier. I was confident going in that I had made improvements on each leg and was ready to go!
Swim - I knew I was in swim shape to go in the mid 50's and was excited to be swimming in crystal clear water around the iconic Busselton jetty (less navigation to do). I started right in the middle for the waist deep water start and after the initial 300m punch up after the gun went, the pace started to settle. It was quick on the way out and big groups had formed, but when heading back after the turn it was very different conditions and had become quite choppy. I was positioned well on the return, cruising behind a few guys and I was pleased that I was up swimming next to Saxon (although after my constant smiles to him as I breathed to the right, I finally realised that he was wearing a different colour cap and this was someone else). I hit T1 in just over 56 mins and felt good.
Bike - Out of transition on to my Giant Trinity I was moving well out of town, hitting my watts and moving up the field. The road surface is generally good with parts of hot mix, then chip seal. As we hit the first out/back section I picked up a group a decided to roll with them as big groups were starting to form and this group was moving well. The constant U-turns on the 2 lap course was playing havoc with my effort levels in the first 90km, cruising one minute and jumping 60-70 watts higher to over take or get out of turns. I hit 90km in just over 2:20 but could feel that I probably overlooked it a bit. As we headed out for the second lap the wind got up and this blew apart the field very quickly, I ended up mainly riding with one other guy on this lap, but by this time we were isolated quite a bit and my power was starting to drop. I tried to consolidate on the back half of the lap, get my SIS nutrition all in and I hit T2 with a 4:49 split.
Run - Heading out in 8th position in my AG and in the top 20 amateurs I knew most would start to struggle in the back half of the marathon, I tried to lock into a smooth rhythm and go about picking up places. It was getting hot and there was not much breeze and by the halfway mark I was up into 4th. Dani and Myza made a great job of giving me updates on my position. I was consciously slowing through the aid stations and trying to keep hydrated and cool, while also loading up on salt. By the last lap I had moved into 1st in my AG and was second age grouper overall. I wasn't sure who was ahead of me at the time, but he ran a great race and outdid me on the bike and I never managed to catch him on the run. It was great to see Sax, Jeff and Mike D out there and give them a shout on the way.
Coming into the finishing chute I knew I had secured a Kona spot and was on for sub 8.50, a great day out and a really enjoyable race. This was such a well organised event in a beautiful location, the ride was a little boring for my liking, but I loved the swim and run and really enjoyed doing a new race!
Big thanks to Giant Sydney, Tokyowheel, SIS Australia, Bruce, Chris and Energy Link For all their help in getting me there in such good shape. Dani, Myza, Kya, Deano and Lara for the on course support. Jeff and Saxon for a great, shared race experience. All my friends and family for their thoughts, kind messages and interest during the race. Looking forward to a return to the big Island in October!