Was in 2 minds whether to do IMWA after worlds because I had a few things going on, work stuff, moving house etc. So I didn’t end up getting a plan or a coach. Training was a bit all over the place, some good 18 hour weeks, some not so good 8 hour weeks and didn’t really swim much. Will have this sorted for Busso in May. Goal was low 10s and I had a rough strategy in place about racing a lot more conservatively, especially on the bike. I guess at the back of my mind, the main race goal was to execute my race strategy as opposed to getting a decent time. I think if I’d gone too hard on the bike and blown up on the run I wouldn’t have learned anything. And that’s been my Achilles heel for a few years now. Not biking enough, overcooking the bike, running too hard for the first 10km (70.3) then bimbling home the last 6km. I didn’t get a particularly fast run split in South Africa, but it was a negative split, so perhaps a turning point?
Beautiful swim conditions, we were very fortunate. I quite liked the new swim course, well-marked out, easy to spot the marker buoys and pink turn around buoys. . I jumped on someone’s feet for the first 2km and had an easy ride, but then lost him as we hit the BOPers on the 2nd lap The 2nd lap I more or less swam solo. Came out bang on 1.00 which was fine.
Plan was to ride uber conservative, 5.15 – 5.20. I didn’t have a PM so was using HR and speed. It was pretty frustrating getting overtaken by so many at the start, I jumped on a couple of legal trains and although I felt comfortable sitting with them at 35 km/hr it wasn’t part of the race plan so forced myself to drop back. I pretty much rode the first lap by myself, people were either too slow, too fast or too inconsistent with their pace. My HR was sitting around low 130s and it felt comfortable and was averaging around 34 km/hr. I flatted at 60km (I had about 15 mates that flatted, unusual for Busso), changed it quickly, but had a problem with the valve. I was using Conti Podium TTs which have served me pretty well, but perhaps not ideal for long course. My spare was a Corsa Speed, definitely not suited for long course, so need to sort my tyre selection out. As I inflated it, I think I may have bent the core valve, I took the inflator off and air was pissing out, tightened the valve and it seemed OK. Anyway rode off and quickly lost my nutrition with 9 feeds, it had been dislodged during the flat change. I was 5km from the turn around, so just cracked on and hoped I’d find it on the way back. Which I did. It was sat upright in the road, like a shining beacon of hope, I slowed and scooped it up with not a small amount of dexterity. I got a brief nod of approval from a passing competitor, obviously impressed with my deftness.
Anyway I cracked on with my ride, but I’d now gone from feeling relaxed to feeling nervous. I wasn’t sure if the valve was good and I had no other spare with me, although I had a spare tub in the special needs bag. Not having a clue where this was (rookie error) I asked a passing TO who also had no idea “one of the aid stations. Possibly”. Cheers. I knew if this tyre went down it would be sayonara Zed, do not pass Go, game over… and a voice appeared in my head, niggling away at me, telling me with every bump in the road, that the tyre was going down. Another more positive voice appeared, to counter this, telling me all was good. These two battled it out for the remaining 100kms.
I found out where the special needs was as I went sailing past, Voice 2, told me to keep going, Voice 1 “dickhead – shoulda stopped”. Lap 2 was uneventful and I managed to find a woman to work with plus another guy. We rode together for 50kms or so, then I noticed HR started creeping up into the 140s. V1 “tyre’s going down dickhead” V2 “nah it’s just the rough tarmac”. I had a quick look at the tyre (rear) it didn’t look good, but still felt OK on the smoother tarmac. I carried on, sticking to my av speed and luckily I had feed alerts going off as I would have probably forgotten to eat as I was that preoccupied. I was eating every 25mins, alternating between LCM bars and gels which worked well.
I relaxed when I got close to town, knowing I could limp home if the tyre went down and as I went round the final roundabout I almost lost control as the tyre came close to sliding off, V1 “how do you like them apples!”… I was very fortunate that it lasted over 100km. I’m not religious, but I had think I had someone looking out for me that day! I was just stoked to make it to T2.
Odd thing was, I got the tyre home, pulled it off, inflated it and can’t find a leak at all? I guess something to do with the valve?
Bike was 5.20 on the Garmin with autopause and 5.24 including flat change, so more or less on target. Probably too slow in hindsight, but I suppose I have a baseline of sorts.
I had a rough run goal of 3.40, so around 5.12 pace. Aim was to sit between 5.00 and 5.15 pace for 28 – 30km then hopefully pick things up towards the end (lol). I got through the first 21km in 1.49 averaging 5.10 pace and felt good. But got to 30km and had to walk the aid stations. I was starting to feel a little sick and had to squeeze the gels into cups of water in order to get them down. It had quickly gone from what felt like a training day to feeling like I was an extra from the Walking Dead. The last 12kms the pace slowed to 5.45 pace and I ended up with 3.53. I lose about 1kg an hour when running, I’m not sure I was getting enough fluids on during the aid stations, despite doing my best impression of Patrick Lange. Or perhaps I should have started slower? Or perhaps it was a fitness issue? Too hard to say. It's too easy to get caught up in what went wrong and feeling disappointed with your race, I would have liked to have gone quicker, but overall happy with the race and result. A few things to work on, but I'll be back next year for sure and with better tyres!