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The summary is

Swim: loved the mass start, had a great swim, knew was pushing pace, 1 hr 26min

Bike: rode as hard as could, not feeling any love in first lap, second lap got puncture but enjoyed more 6hr52min

Run: rolled dice on pace and dice didn’t come up, decided to play safe and walk home 5hr42min

Total 14hr20min

Got same medal, t-shirt and towel as everyone else.

Pre Race

I have had a fairly good build up, training almost always alone, on my own program. Did some enjoyable training including not using indoor trainer since Dec, all swimming but 1 in open water, ran when wanted. Achieve my major training goal of arriving on start line uninjured and motivated.

Arrived in Taupo on Thursday, and did the registration, wetsuit dipping, expo looking. Friends staying with appreciated the gift of toilet paper and hand sanitiser.

Went to the event dinner that night with a group that know a couple off people in. Was a great build to the event hype; especially to the first timers in our group. The food and banter was good. This for first timers and seasoned returners is to me the real start and build of the hype of the event. It is one thing that sets an Ironman apart from almost any other race. That and the cost.

Friday had a brief ride to check bike had survived the trip down from Auckland, did the racking etc, weakened and brought some IM merchandise, nice cap and a long sleeved T shirt with names on the back.

 Saturday got up at 5.15am as we had a leisurely 8am start. Ate my Nutragrain cereal as they are the sponsor and it is iron-man food. That a banana and bottle of electrolyte is my pre race food. Then got a lift down to transition, checked bike tires, pumped to 85/90 psi, put bike nutrition on bike (one bottle with 6 hours Pure Endurance fuel, one bottle water with electrolyte tab in). Left seeing glasses on bike. Process of standing in portaloo que. Then walked down to the start area. Previous times this was in the dark and the Whaka came in at dawn as part of the signal that it is show time.

 After watching the pro’s start with the bang of the canon; which scares the crap out of everyone, into the water to check googles, pee in wetsuit, and self seed myself. The energy that you get from all the other people around you on the start is a real buzz, from the super serious to the relaxed, it is a real buzz.



I am a big fan of the mass start, and from my time above obviously a crap swimmer, but it allows to correctly self seed, and the nervous energy and build up to the gun (yes really an army canon) is to me a key part and highlight of the swim.

I started near the outside buoy, about 8m back with clear space, having worked my sighting mark on the horizon behind the first turn buoy which is about 1.7km away. With the bang of the canon, started watch, checked watch was started, then started swimming. I swam hard, and at the upper end of what I can swim, this is not fast, but if I relaxed and turned the arms over then it would still be swimming at the cut-off. The lake was flat, but after all the 70.3 before us, not flat, glass like. On the way out continuously seeing, bumping into, avoiding people, no agro, just people. There were persons breast stroking after about 300m; worth avoiding.

The 70.3 turn buoy at 600m seemed to confuse people as many tried to cut across to get into the buoy; nope we go all the way down to about 1700m. I hadn’t paid much attention to the swim course details, so while all the buoys were numbered, didn’t know how many, so just keep ploughing down the course, ensuring navigating as best I could to minimize the distance.

Turned feeling okay, and made my way back down the numbered buoy line, watched the bottom go by, avoided other swimmers, especially those who zig zagged down the course. Kept pushing my pace and enjoying the process of swimming, turned at the buoys to go into the lake outlet and follow others down the river and to the exit ramp. Slight twinge in left calve in the last couple of hundred meters, was the only discomfort in the body in the swim.

Hit the ramp and up in 1hr26m, googles and cap off, and the long run up to transition. Was feeling relieved and good. Perhaps the dream of a good time was achievable.


Took it steady, made sure put seeing glasses in pocket of bike top; need these to do any repairs on the bike, long run/walk to bike in bike shoes, then out to mount line. Halfway there realized had stopped watch at swim exit rather than lap onto T1 mode. Should have practiced that!.


Start bike computer at bike mount and climb on, roll away and set myself up for a long ride. Started drinking electrolyte and other nutrition as soon as practical. Taupo had put on a nice still, overcast day, and with the late start it was about time I should have been getting in the second coffee for the day. The climb out of town, now is much gentler, so spun in easy gears, getting into the rhythm for a long day. Focused on not pushing too hard but at a good power level compared to FTP. Rode on the bars as much as was possible. Left calve decided to give me crap, but almost all the ride out to Reporoa; once past the race course, is flat to down, so no-where to easy stand and stretch the calve. This annoyed me no end as didn’t want to sit up, but was fighting the pain. Got out to Reporoa, turned and started back. I was ahead of my nutritional uptake as enjoying the taste of my concentrate bottle, so kept drinking it and water. At some point got a banana from a aid station to give myself some solid food and taste different from sugar.

Back into Taupo, and just turned at the turn around before Joe Skipper came in so didn’t get lapped. Knew by now that bike was going to be slow, but keeping going would give me a time under 7hr. Leaving Taupo feeling really dark, and just wanting to end the constant pain in my left calve; climb to race course had relieved a bit. When past family and friends who I didn’t see until they yelled out. Back to the grind to Reporoa.

The second time out felt better than the first, Had used all my on board nutrition by the end of the first lap, taking gels and electrolyte from each aid station, so come in grab, water, electrolyte, gel and one case banana. Managed to spread at least one gel over my legs and bike. I stopped at the penalty tent to use there clean portaloo (not not many people use the penalty box portaloo’s so always cleaner and less smelly. Getting on bike a guy went past and gave me the “filthy cheat look”.

After turn at Reporoa, got into a congested with people bit and started a pass, when the person in front started their pass, rather than go 3 wide, sat and let them pass only about 3m back, then completed my pass. Nice lady on motorbike pull up a few moments later and says my number, you have a drafting penalty, you must stop at the next penalty box. Fair but slightly hash call. On the way to the next penalty box my front tubular started to go down, so hoping to get to the box and not stop twice, made it to the box, 5 min standing, drinking chatting to the TO and volunteers. Then changed the front tubular and away.

The rest of the ride back into Taupo was uneventfully, just focused on riding, not cooking legs and eating/drinking as the day was warming up

That was the longest ride without a stop coffee and caramel slice mid ride I have done.


Worked watch correctly this time, change of clothes into run gear, making sure transfer glasses to fresh top. The change is necessary as run in compression run shorts to try and protect hip, ankle compression due to sprain on that not long ago. It the confusion forgot my race belt and number, which means no-one knows your name.


Decide to see if I could salvage the day with a respectable run. So rolled the dice that way. Went out in hindsight to fast. Ran comfortably at 6min/km for the first 10 km, but knowing that it was going to slow; but not what it did. Going out on the second lap things were starting to get painful and potentially dangerous. My vision was narrowing, head spinning, but most importantly my hip was feeling dangerously unstable (left hip dislocation in 2015 and associated rebuild). If things went bad there would be no walk to the finish.

At the half way point just gave up and decided to walk home. I had tried but got beaten. This began a long walk, walking with purpose, but into the dark. I had decided not to drink coke, once going bad so wouldn’t have caffeine keeping me awake which was one of my better decisions for the day. The walk was a kind of hobble and as a result lots of pain in right foot.


Walked the finish shute, high five-ing people and checked that no one was going to be in my finish photos else would have stopped and waited for them to go past. Crossed the line and was given my medal by one of my best mates who waited after going faster. Had some soup, ice cream and chips.

I got the same medal, t-shirt and towel as if I had gone faster.


Taupo and the people involved put on a great event, well organised, and given the current evolving situation with Coronavirus well managed. The weather was the best.

I enjoyed the training, partially as was all done outdoors, and at the critical boredom stages used the MTB to do bike training, also swam open water and not chlorinated black line. I probably got the result I deserved especially as the dice roll on the run was stupid based on my training, but “anthing is possible”.

That’s my last until next time.


Edited by rory-dognz
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No real idea about calf. Was right where age group tattoo was so blame that.

I reality no idea. Hurt on first lap of bike and less so on second lap. Sore today 

Possibly should have taken salt tablets on the bike. Placebo maybe!

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Really loved your race report. Must store the tip about the portaloos near the penalty box ( shhh..its a secret......)

It sounds like an adventure rather than a military march.  I hope you enjoyed the day and your variety of training.

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