Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Auckland 70.3


This race wasn’t on my calendar a few months back, but after posting a pleasing result in Port Macquarie in October I immediately consulted the 70.3 calendar and eagerly planned some more races. After outlaying a small fortune on Triathlon Australia and WTC pro licenses I was armed and ready and set about entering upcoming races. My bubble of eagerness was somewhat burst when I was told I couldn’t race Shepparton and Canberra 70.3’s due to the races being at capacity. Canberra had 16 pro men on the start list, 3 of them I knew 100% did not intend to race. I was baffled and told by the race organiser that they would not be accepting replacements for withdrawn athletes. I had to look internationally for my next race, and Auckland Asia-Pacific Championships was offering delicious USD 75,000 and some major 70.3 and 5i50 points. I wanted to grab myself some of that pie.


I was pretty relaxed before the race. With a cracker start list toted as “the best startlist outside of Vegas”, I wasn’t too sure how I’d fare. When the cannon sounded, myself, along with several other athletes almost lost their fingers due to over enthusiastic surf patrol in rubber duckies getting up in our grill trying to push us back.


                                                                
                                                              The Evidence 

This perhaps turned out to be an advantage for myself as they turned and sped away I was sucked out and suddenly had a body length on the field.  At the first turn 300m away I was joined by a contingent of good swimmers. I settled in for the rest of the swim and emerged in around 5th place.

Onto the bike I was content to let some of the more experienced athletes take control as I sat in. The New Zealand 7m drafting zone was not well received by many critics. Adding insult to injury, this zone was measured front wheel to front wheel, further reducing the distance between riders to approximately 5 meters. This made it harder for strong riders to establish significant advantages, and also provided added difficulty for those chasing. Our bunch resembled something out of a Tour de France team TT as our group swelled to about 12 riders which included the main players. However, this didn’t equate to an easy ride as speeds exceeding 50km/h were reached on the out and back section. Added cycling complexity could be found with light drizzle slicking the roads, along with a very technical section that had to be negotiated 3 times. The ride started to heat up with about 20km to go as Joe Gambles and Paul Ambrose were laying down some serious pace. Our pack started to splinter and the technical official started handing out penalties like they were hot off the press.

I came into T2 with the main pack but there was a couple of athletes a minute or two up the road. I was pretty rattled but I knew with a good run I could post a red hot result. My gut felt pretty ordinary during the first part of the run, and I didn’t have my usual running legs. I spewed up a mix of coke, Gatorade and gels (which I’m ashamed to admit actually tasted pretty good)at about 7km. Sam Betten and Fraser Cartmell caught me at this point and we were running in 6th, 7th and 8th. The last of the money spots.

I was weary of some fleet footed athletes coming from behind and I lifted the pace and dropped the other two guys after about 9km. I ran in 6th position up until about 2km to go and I was well and truly searching for the tape. Betten came back past me but I had nothing in the tank. I stumbled to the finish line in 7th, managing to just hold out the angry gnome Tim Reed who had a superb run despite some earlier misadventures.

                                        Not my best but all i could find on the interweb :(

I was happy to post this solid result against a stellar field and managed to snag myself some valuable points and a little bit of the prize purse to cover my trip and then some. Thanks to everyone who sent me messages, it means a lot and I really enjoy reading them. I’d like to thank Glen Duggan from VoloSport for his continued hard work and support of my progression as a pro athlete, Paul Dukes from Duke's Real Estate for giving me a helping hand with nutrition, Sterling Ashbee for letting me borrow his equipment, Scody Apparel for the last minute race kit and Rodney Forrest for his belief in my ability. Without these guys it would have been alot harder for me to get up there on the weekend.

Big ups to my mum who won here age group and has booked her ticket to the big island in Kona for the ironman world championships later this year.

Next up is Geelong long course in 2 weeks time. Thanks for reading.

Sam

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