Well the gamble to go race the Taiwan 70.3 on just a few weeks of training payed off. I managed to pull off my highest ever placing in a 70.3 Ironman event crossing the line in 2nd!
It didn't come easy. The course was very honest with strong winds making each leg of the race challenging. The water was choppy for the swim and a cross current made it more difficult. Fellow kiwi Kieran Doe lead the swim out. I exited the water with a small bunch about 2 minutes back. The bunch included the race favourite, Marcel Zamora of Spain, who has an incredible 5 Nice Ironman titles! So I was in good company but six other athletes were up the road with Kieran leading the charge on the bike.
I was feeling good on the bike today. I was able to drop Zamora after 10km and by 30km I had caught everyone up the road except Kieran. By the end of the bike I was a minute on down, and started the run with the eventual winner of the race Jonathan Hotchkiss of Great Britain.
He quickly established a small lead over me but I was holding him at about 30 seconds. We run past Kieran after about 5km.Half way through the run I put in a sustained effort to try and bridge the gap to the top spot but I couldn't get across. My attentions then had to shift to the fast running Zamora coming from behind. With less than a kilometer to go he caught me and run straight past, which is never a pleasant experience at the end of a half ironman. I quickly tucked in behind him and decided to hang on for as long as possible.
I thought the finish line was just around the next corner and wanted to hit him before he hit me, so I put in a big surge to establish a gap and then try hang on. I think this caught him by suprise and around the corner I went with a small lead. But the finish line wasn't as close as I hoped - still over 100m away! I felt my body die and sensed Zamora running back on to my shoulder. If he run passed me now I was history, so I dug deep once more and found a second serge I didn't think I had in me. Looked back ,10 meter gap - stoked!! 2nd place in the bag. I collapsed in a heap across the finish line!
This result has capped off a satisfying international year for me. I placed top five in all four of the 70.3 Ironman's I have raced. I now have all the placings in these events from 5th to 2nd - so just one more to go! The top spot!
That will have to wait for next year though. The New Zealand season is next. I am planning to race Tinman Triathlon, Taupo Half Ironman, Lake Hayes Triathlon, Tauranga Half Ironman, and Ironman New Zealand. Epic summer of racing - can't wait!
Big thanks to my loyal sponsors who have helped me out this year.
Hammer Nutrition - Big thanks to the US team for taking care of me in north america. And to Rachael Button in New Zealand for always keeping stoked up with the essential nutrition needs back home.
Biosport - Greg and the team have been so supportive. Your Pilates sessions rock - looking forward to Wednesday's session (sort of?!)
Blueseventy - Wetsuit swim today - I always feel more confident of a good result once I have the Helix on. Your new race suits are perfect for long distance racing. Cheers team.
Another big thanks to my understanding employers at Woods. Thanks for providing the flexibility needed to pursue my triathlon ambitions.
Back to NZ tomorrow. Hope everyone is well.
Talk soon. Jamie.