Challenge Wanaka is done and dusted for 2011. It ended up being a super tough day for everyone involved from the spectators, volunteers and athletes. All down to one factor the WIND, it was super strong, I got woken in the middle of the night before the race with it hammering the roof. Race morning dawned and it was still blowing very hard creating some good chop in the lake.
I think I swallowed a good proportion of the lake in the swim and came out of the water a couple minutes down on the front group. On the bike and out to the first turn around and myself, Thompson, Mckinnon, and Johnsen ended up in a small group chasing the front guys. We were moving along at a decent rate with a big tailwind on the downward leg to Cromwell, some sections we were moving along on the flat at close to 60km/hr. I never really felt the comfortable on the bike, my stomach quesy and for some reason my eyes felt like they where going to explode out of my face. Turning at Cromwell and back up the other side of the lake the speed dropped alot, with a massive headwind we were crawling, probably around 20km/hr for quite a few sections. Belinda Granger told me after she was down to 14km/hr on this flat section!
At about 40km to go Bevin started to put the pressure on and our group split and we all ended up riding solo to T2. I rolled in to transition, took my helmet off, felt my head for some reason, I am not sure why, and I still had my SWIM CAP on! 180km with my swim cap on, thats a definite first for me. I think thats why my eyes felt like they where exploding all day, the heat was coming out through them!
Out on to the run and I still felt pretty confident of laying down a good marathon and challenging for the win even though I was 9min down on Jamie. My stomach was quite unsettled running, getting really sore every time I drunk or ate something, but nothing I couldnt work through. Running up Gunn Road I could see Courtney Ogden just ahead and I caught him running up Plantation road, then Bevin come into sight only 1min up the road and I was about 4min down on Jamie at the half way point. Normally my second half of the marathon is my best part of the race, but not on this day. I got back down close to the single track section and my stomach started getting really bad, next thing I new I was spewing quite badly and lying in the grass. I got up started jogging again but felt really really weak so was reduced to the long walk home. I was very tempted to DNF but was determined to finish the day even though I was not in the race anymore. After a bit of a walk Tracy came along the track the other way, Courtney had let her know that I was not in a good state as he had a pretty good view of my dramas which was really nice as he was still fighting for second.
So we had a walk home, and I crossed the line a few hours later.
Congrats to everyone who finised the day, the winds where like nothing I have ever raced in before, it was definetly a testing day. And good to see the Kiwi boys taking the number 1 and 3 spot in Jamie and Bevin. Thanks to Victoria and her team for putting on another great event, it gets bigger and better every year, but still has that relaxed yet exciting kiwi atmosphere.
Obviously the day was pretty dissapointing for me as training had been going really well, posting my best numbers in training I have ever seen before, but all I need to remember is there is plenty more races!