Taupo Half Blog

I had talked to lots of people about the best place to start, far side to the right, so that was were I positioned myself, on race morning, the morning dawned cloudy and cool… it had been very hot and cloudless the previous two days in Taupo, so I was pleased about the lack of heat. Athletes tend to do a lot of chatting in the moments before a big race, the bigger the race, the more the amount of chat.

So as the gun went off I started my swim, I had a time in my head, 60 mins out of the water, which meant 30 mins to the turn. My swim to the turn was good but not great, I still haven’t got over the tendency to pause every 30 strokes for navigation or some unknown reason, It’s starting to bother me as I don’t do it in the pool, it’s an open water only phenomena.

I had great support from Surf Lifesaving NZ to lead the way to the top mark, so thanks to them for that, and according to my team I made the top mark in 30 mins which was on schedule. By this point in the morning, approximately 7am the wind had got up and the lake was beginning to chop up, this was an omen for later in the day as well.
On my return leg as I breath to my left I kept on getting mouthfuls of water each time I would turn to breath which along with the choppy conditions slowed my time down to 42 mins, giving me a total swim time of 1:12.

Overall I am a bit disappointed with the swim, given the first leg down to the turn around set me up to swim a 60 min swim which was on exactly what I needed to swim.

I was really happy with the first leg of the bike out to Reperoa, my leg speed was fast and efficient, I maintained a fast average speed which was great, it gave me a time of 1:10 mins, which is fantastic. The trouble happened on the return leg when the wind got up and I encountered the head wind / cross wind.
For me cross winds are particularly dangerous with time trial wheels as the winds tend to push the bike over and I cannot hold up the bike against the wind.

I can handle a head wind with ease but in a cross wind things become very unstable very quickly, hence my return to Taupo time of 2hrs 3mins giving me a 3:13 bike time.

Now it is said, and I can say that it is true that in Ironman, the race begins for real at the start of the run. This was especially true on race day, as my legs had taken a bit more of a beating on the bike than I was comfortable with going into the run. The run was going to be a test of mental as well as physical endurance.

The run at Taupo is a two lap course of 10 km, the first lap is good to iron out the kinks from the run, it hurt a bit, since the legs had been cycling for 90km previously. My team of wonderful supporters were there on the run course (the GO NICK GO team) to support me through out the course which was great, it really makes a difference knowing that at the top of that hill there is a van full of supporters shouting for you to carry on, it adds to the 10% of the race that is mental that all athletes need a bit of help with occasionally .
Overall there are some aspects of the day that I am very pleased with, my first lap of the bike was great, I’m really happy to run under 2 hours and I’m happy to do the first part of the swim in 30 mins. There are other aspects that will need to be worked on and improved in the next two months. That is what Jan / Feb is all about for me, consolidating and building to the big day… March 5 2011

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