Well it was back to Wanaka again this past weekend. This was my 6th time in Wanaka so I am getting to know the place pretty well. As Mark Watson put it, I have been beaten up a few times in the last few years there, but as I tell my athletes persistence is key so I again towed the start line.
After having health problems all of last year I only got out of the rut with a month off including zero exercise in October and changing a few lifestyle things. That meant it was always going to be a pretty short buildup. I also did the Rotorua Half Ironman about a month before which was not very good for my confidence, look up the results if you want to see why J
Well, fast forward a month, and I was waiting for the gun to go off in Wanaka. The morning reminded me of two years ago, I was awoken about 2am with some howling winds blowing against my window, and here we go again I thought. Well the winds stayed and produced a good sized chop on the lake and a swell with a period of about 2sec! So the race started I was in a great position, in the first group after a couple hundred metres with Dylan and Rhodsey already off the front and then the waves seemed to get bigger and I got into all kinds of trouble. Suddenly there was a lot of water been swallowed on every stroke, me wondering if I had been chucked in the washing machine and then even some breastroke to try and get things under control. I have never been so pleased to get to first buoy and change direction and get the swell hitting from a different direction. Finally I emerged from the lake, I knew the time gaps where going to be bad but tried not to think about it.
Onto the bike and out to the first turn around and I could assess the damage. I didn’t bother looking at the watch when Dylan came past, he had given a lesson on how to swim and waited till the group of Chris McCormack, Jamie Whyte, Leon Griffin and Rhodsey come part. It was about 6min and with no one coming from behind I knew I was in for a long solo time trial.
So I got on with the job, the legs felt pretty good, and just did my own thing. The wind was howling, and the 53-11 was getting a good workout in the tailwind sections. This meant on the way back to town it was 39-17 into the head wind! So I got a time split at the 90k mark and it was about 7min so that gave me some confidence as I didn’t think I had been pushing too hard, just riding at my pace. I really thought the group riding at the 7m draft zone would rip some time out.
Back out onto the last lap, big tail wind down to the turn and then the last 30k into the headwind. I saw the group had broken up which was good for my motivation. I arrived in transition in 6th having taking time out of all of those in front, Macca was only 90sec up the road with Jamie and Dylan about 6min with the other in between.
On with my Ipod (got to love Challenge rules) and into the run, I felt very good the first 10k and tried to hold back. But come the 12k mark I started to get that dreaded fuzz which I went in and out of to the finish. I got past Rhodsey at the 18k mark and then got some encouragement when I could see the Macca, Griffin and the 3rd place bike at the 28k mark. I got pass Leon up the big climb up outlet road then up to Macca’s shoulder at the 32k mark. Unfortunately once I got there the body didn’t have much left and I couldn’t finish the job. So I ended with another 4th, I think my 6th time in #4 position at a Ironman distance race! Big congrats to Dylan for getting the win.
So I am very pleased to be on top of things and moving in the right direction again.
The ladies I coach both had good races, Candice was 2nd in a sprint finish with Jo Lawn and Tamsyn rolled home in 5th.
Tracy, Ava and I had a great stay at the Wanaka Edge Apartments so check them out if you are ever in Wanaka. Also if you want a Challenging race and a great holiday destination Wanaka is the race for you.