On Saturday May 26 Jaimie and I flew from Noosa to Cairns, picked up our Toyota Rav4, and the next morning drove up to Port Douglas for the Coral Coast 5150 – an Olympic distance non drafting triathlon. A great little triathlon that has been running for ages, loved and supported very well by the locals, and the run is along the beach! The outgoing tide leaves plenty of hard, almost flat sand, and makes for a fun 10km run. I’d trained the week leading up to this race but felt pretty good and extended my lead through the swim, bike, & run for a win. There was no prize money or points, but as with all races the reward is always a personal one – did I push myself hard? Did I win the battle between mind and body? What can I do to improve? I had one week to try and improve for the next race.
We did tourist stuff Monday, along with a couple of long jogs along trails to lookouts and attractions. Tuesday we rode and swam. Same Wednesday with a little afternoon jog and a visit from the drug testers at night. Blood and urine. Made the night a little later than wanted, but all part of the job.
On Thursday we headed out to Green Island. Last year it was picturesque, perfect weather, and good fun. This year was wild and wet weather. I didn’t bother wearing a wetsuit, just my TYR Torque speedsuit, but I was still surprised Josh Rix, in his wetsuit, swam very strongly and as we stood up beside one another exiting the water after 1.5km, I stumbled and he took the win. I thought he was swimming very well, and took this into account as I prepared for the 70.3 Ironman.
A couple of days of media commitments and race preperations later and I was running along the wharf late for my start in the Urban Hotel Ironman 70.3 Cairns. I bombed into the water to save a few seconds and swum out to the start. Of course I made it in time, and picked a spot on the line amongst the others. I hadn’t been swimming much lately, and after Josh showed some speed on Thursday, I figured I’d sit in the pack through the swim and try break away on the bike, and really test the hard work I’d been doing in training and see if it had been working. After a few hundred meters the pack was dragging each other backwards, everyone sitting on someone else’s hip or shoulder and slowing each other down. I headed left, wide, and soon found I was swimming faster than the pack. I kept this up and extended a lead for the remainder of the swim. I was very surprised to have about 45 second lead as I got to my bike.
New plan was to stay away from everyone, except Casey Munro (ex pro cyclist recently turned triathlete) who I expected would catch me at some point. I still had dreams of out riding him, and let myself believe it was possible. He did catch me, after about 30km, but no one else was insight behind him and I knew I was riding pretty well as he overtook me. I soon swapped back to the lead, finding I was moving quicker than Casey over the flats and downhills, and holding my own on the uphills. I thought “Maybe the effort to catch me quickly is taking a toll?”.
30km later I went around him one last time, as I looked back 5minutes later I had a gap, and that just spurred me on, got some adrenaline going, and I kept the pace on right to T2. I’d dropped every bottle I tried to grab at aid stations, so all I drank for 2hrs 11 mins was the 1.2L I’d started with. I knew this could spell trouble. I had however stuck to my plan of a Shotz gel every 20mins, and know this helped me keep pushing hard for the entire ride.
The run felt awkward to start, but eventually I started to loosen up, but soon after started to tighten up from lack of hydration. I didn’t try and push too hard on the run, I knew I had a good lead towards the end and just wanted to make it without cramping. It was a hot run, and the aid stations were a relief from the heat every time as I would poor water over my head, arms, chest to keep cool. Thankfully my Asics Hyperspeed 5 have excellent drainage properties! I was very happy to have had the performance I’d been wanting all year. This was my first race in good fitness and injury free for 2012 and it felt great to be doing my job well again.
Luke McKenzie had a solid run after a mechanical problem on the bike and a month with a running injury to take second place, while fellow Boardman Bikes rider Josh Rix hung on for 3rd.
I was selected for drug testing straight after the race, just urine this time. I drank about 2L of electrolytes and water and thought I was ready to go – I also wanted to get it done before Jaim finished the 70.3! The required amount is 90ml, and after standing there with the tap running and squeezing every last drop I could only fill it to 80ml! We sat back down, I drank another bottle of water, 10mins later I say I’m ready again. I stood there and everything I had was not a milliliter over 10ml.
With paperwork finally done I headed back to the finish line to see Jaim finish in 5:04. She did really well in hot conditions, and is right on track for her first Ironman at Lake Placid on July 22nd!
Congratulations to everyone who finished in Cairns. It was a hot tough day on the swim, bike, and run. And special thanks to Ricky Jeffs and the Urban Hotel Group for not only sponsoring myself, but the Cairns 70.3 and many other triathlons around Australia.