Monday, July 24, 2017

My 1st Ironman DNF

My First Ironman DNF Had a 1st yesterday, First time I haven't finished an ironman I started or triathlon of any length for that matter. I'm certainly proud of adding this to my list of sporting experiences but under the circumstances in my mind at least it was the right decision to make. The reason was pretty simple, I felt terrible!  Since arriving in europe a couple of weeks ago I've just been stuck in a bit of a rut. Following my Ron Burgandy exploits at Le Tour de France last week I was reminded what a cess pool of germs a bike race is and ended up with the stomach bug that seemed to wipe out a good portion of the Peleton this past week. After spending the weekend driving the porcilen bus I hoped I'd regain my strength for the race yesterday. ever the optimist I lined up at 6:25 am believing the extra rest days would only be a benefit to me and I'd be as sharp as a tack for the race of my life in nice. I say the race of my life as that's the result I need. I'm here in Europe to try and score enough points for automatic Kona qualification and a top 3 is what I need. Having never finished on the podium before as a pro it certainly makes it the biggest challenge I've set myself thus in this sport.  My original plan was to race The Zurich IM next weekend however that changed to Nice when many convinced me this was the perfect course for me, hard bike and a flat "easy" run. Yeah writing that down now make me realize how stupid I was, hard bike followed by a flat "easy" run!! When is running a marathon ever easy let alone after a harder than normal bike ride!! Yeah I was a little bit of a silly Billy on this one. Anyways I listened to advice and planned on nice. When I got sick I immediately decided to skip nice and just focus on Zurich. As I felt better day by day during the week and the excitement around Nice grew for the event it was like a red rag to a bull. I was staying here in the thick of it anyways so thought "bugger it" I'll line up and see what happens, worse case scenario I do some good swim bike training which I did feel like a needed and pull out after a few km's on the run. So sure enough race day rolled around and I was on the start line! Despite my apprehension to race and knowing it would be a miracle if I had a great day i still stood on that starting line expecting to be up front. The gun went off and I had a great start and for the first 100m I was in the lead which is becoming normal for me. Once I backed off to find fast freddy van leirde's feet who was playing along beside me I copped my first real good fist to the goggles!! Man that hurts and instantly shook me and was swamped by a couple more bodies. I then tried to accelerate to catch back to the front guys and that's when I knew it wasn't going to be a miracle today. I simply didn't have the spark and spent the next 53minutes floundering around in the ocean telling myself "I told you so, you shouldn't be out here"! Anyways I swallowed my loosen and thought bugger it, stick to the plan and at least do the bike leg.  When I exited the water I was 4 minutes down which was a good thing as in my mind I was already out of the race so meant I could ride a nice steady bike leg and focus on my nutrition and hydration and getting to know the new position on the bike I've been working on. Slowly but surely I still managed to start plucking off the front runners and soon it was only Freddy a few minutes ahead as we started the climb. I decided then that I'll aim to catch him by the finish as he's very strong and I didn't want to finish the bike on my  hands and knees, this was still in my mind a solid training session. Sure enough over the next 100km I slowly pegged him back and by the transition we where separated by a handful of seconds. I had an excellent transition and came out hot on Freddy's heals, I couldn't believe I was in this position. I decided I'd do a lap and run at a pace I one day dream of running the entire way at and try and get a feel for how fast Freddy was running. For the first 6km I kept him pegged so was good to know the pace these guys can still go at after a "hard" bike, its pretty remarkable. Obviously this wasn't easy for me and still seeing this as a training day I quickly reverted to common sense and backed the pace off to my more pedestrian pace as I like to call it. At the end off the first 12km where I planned to stop I realized 3rd was still 8minutes behind and hadn't closed at all and Freddy wasn't far ahead. This was where the mind games started, should I keep going? Well I had to keep going as it's bloody disrespectful to pull out of a race when 2nd in front off everyone when you have no obvious signs of suffering. I figured I'd just do a few 2km efforts till 2nd and 3rd catch me so I jogged to each aid station, stopped and walked and enjoyed the free buffet then jogged to the next. I did this for another 6km or so but still they where 7 & 10 minutes back respectively so I picked a quiet spot which wasn't easy to find and waited with fallon for the boys to come past. By this stage I'd plodded 18km and that was more than enough of a training day for me. I walked through the halfway mark in 4th place and then retired from the race and we walked home, it was certainly a solid hit out! Do I feel good about what happened, not at all. I honestly at the start of the 2nd lap tried to convince myself to rally and commit to racing the whole thing regardless of the outcome but that to me was pointless. I was there to try and be on the podium and with how I felt I could very well have been walking the last lap if things went the way I expected them to go and I could have finished god only knows where. I've never quit a race before. I've pushed myself to the point of peeing blood in the past simply to get to the finish line and that destroyed my entire year. Perhaps a race isn't the place to go through the motions and open yourself up but I honestly didn't know what would happen on that start line yesterday morning and the outcome was the outcome.  Anyways onwards we go and Zurich is just a week away. After all that I'll be doing the race I originally planned to do anyways, funny how things worked, fingers crossed it was meant be!! What have a learnt form this?? Well if I'm at all dubious about my health an ironman isn't the place to be expecting peak performance. A marathon at the best of times will highlight the weaknesses in anybody but after swimming and riding they will highlight them even earlier!! A few weeks out from a big event perhaps it wasn't the time to be off playing TV host with Mike Tomolaris with the TDF coverage but that was a commitment i made and at the time I felt like I could de everything. So here we are, I got my wish, I'm racing Zurich and I promise that whatever the outcome on Sunday I won't be leaving anything in the tank. Cjw

Monday, June 12, 2017

I can now kinda run!

Big day for me yesterday at ironman cairns, first time I'd cracked the top 10 as a professional! Yay! As with every IM (ironman) I've started I went in with lofty expectations. As always i had a reality check very early in proceedings reminding me this sport is no joke period! And at the professional level what it takes to be competitive is simply mind blowing! My preparation had gone perfectly to plan and I arrived in Australia Tuesday morning bright eyed and bushy tailed! Dad scooped me up from the Brisbane airport and I headed to Burleigh Heads for a couple of swimming sessions with the master Denis Cotrell at the Miami pool to put the finishing touches on what had been a great 8 week block since South Africa. On the wednesday evening session I was treated to meeting Doug Frost, Ian thorpes coach non the less aswell! I couldn't script better having two blokes watch over me for my final session before the big day and the fact I had the best swim ever yesterday is a direct result of there final pointers Wednesday evening, I pinch myself constantly the situations I find myself in and assure you I never take it for granted. With my swimming arms ready for battle it was off to cairns to put the feet up and wait for Sunday's race start. Dad and I linked up with mum in cairns and I had a very restful and stress free build up to the race which is highly uncharacteristic for me, usually I'm as chaotic as New York at peak hour! Instead I was in bed early Saturday and sound asleep, for the first time I felt ready to rock and roll.

Thanks to being on LA time I naturally woke at 4:30am Sunday morning. As expected felt sensational. I got down some breakfast and It was finally time to head to the start, I just wanted to start my pre race routine to settle the nerves, it's when I stop thinking about all the what iffs. With the bike all prepped I relaxed with mum and dad on the beach till 30min before race start when I start to get dressed and do my warmup, I couldn't believe how organized I was!!! After a little swim and final good luck hug front the parents it was finally time to get on the start line. I lined up strategically next to Clayton Fettel on one side and tim Joe Gambles on the other. I knew Clayton would be a fast starter and I know Joe would be in the lead chase group or main pack which is where I also wanted to be. Being beside Clayton however meant that if he went slow or I happened to get in the right spot on his feet I was there, highly unlikely but better to have both bases covered! I was ready!

The gun went off and as always I was one of the first into the water. I got a great start and but as expected Clayton and Josh (the megastar of the day) quickly took off. I was close to them but not close enough so waited for the next group of the big favorites and slotted onto there feet. I spotted tim van berkle and as the defending champ he was going to be in the wrong spot and followed him. Brayden Currie was to my left so I knew I was exactly where I needed to be. Once the race settled down a little I finally had a chance to think of the final pointers Doug and Denis had given me on Wednesday night. I couldn't believe the effect it had on my efficiency feeling the water better and breathing later in the stroke and I was all of a sudden doing what felt like half the stroke count that I normally would to go the same speed, everything was going perfectly. Barring a few stray arms and wacks to the back of the head from Brayden, I did give as good as I got I have to confess, the swim went by really smoothly. It was long before we where turning for the final few hundred meters to the beach and where previously I'd been hanging onto the front group for dear life I was now swimming to the front of the pack to get out of the water as high up as possible, completely unchartered waters for me pardon the pun!! We hit the beach and I was one of the first to stand, 4th to be precise as my mum took note of that!! I ran into transition with a big smile on my face, I was off to the perfect start.

My transition from swim to bike was a bit of a dogs breakfast. That work I did to get out up front quickly evaporated as I dicked around getting a drink and making sure my snazzy new oakley sunglasses where on straight!! Once i finally got on my bike I hit a small bump with 100m and my refillable hydration bottle flew from the cage sending it and my Garmin all over the rd. Fortunately I was so relaxed and in the perfect position in the field that I had the presence of mind to stop, lay my bike in the middle of the rd, run back, collect everything and put my system back together before setting off again. Must have been quite a sight to see what's meant to be a professional picking up his bits and pieces from all over the race course. With my diabolical transition process now behind me I was finally on my bike and in what I like to call my happy place.

I quickly regained contact with the main group containing the favorites and decided to stretch them out immediately. Josh and Clayton where 2minutes up the rd so my plan was to quickly leave the man field behind and get out of sight and then casually ride my way up to the lead duo. As I passed the group they had a bit off a go at following me so I squeezed out a few little 500+ watt bursts just to open a quick gap and I was gone. I knew they would ultimately let me go as I'm not a renowned runner. Once alone I settled into a nice comfortable rhythm around 300 watts and enjoyed the scenery while I rode across to the front pair. It took me around 60km to meander on up to them and I used this time to eat and drink as much as possible. My legs felt great, heart rate was through the roof but that's as for the first time ever I actually tapered my training off I think perfectly. Once with josh and Clayton I kept the same rhythm for another 20km or so where I grabbed my special needs bag and restocked for the second half of the ride. Once I sorted myself out there it was time to boogie and I began to push a little harder, the last 90km is where the race is really on.

Our lead at halfway was around 3minutes and by 120km it was out to 7. Clayton had dropped off and now. I only had Josh for company which really impressed me as I'd be lying if said I didn't try to drop him, on more than one occasion I twisted the throttle a little to see if I could rattle him but he stayed right there, really impressive. We continued to build our lead and at 150km we had almost 10min and just as I felt all couldn't be better that light headed feeling hit me again. The power quickly went from my legs and into my mind stressing as to what was going wrong, was it nutrition, hydration but It didn't matter. Josh smelt blood and like a real racer quickly attacked me hard and vanished down the captain cook HWY ahead of me while I scratched my head wondering how to get the power back to my pins. It's happened every race so I know the only option is to back off, drink and eat and prey the power comes back. This time it took about 20min to feel like I could perhaps attempt to run a marathon and Josh was now 2minutes ahead of me! I applied the peer again and started to real him in over the last 15km. If there's one thing I've learnt in ironman is never to give up as everyone goes through bad patches, i may have been lucky that mine was only 20minutes on the bike, at least at the very least I was still rolling! Better than on the run! I rallied in those final km's and closed to within 30seconds of Josh as we hit T2. When my feet hit the pavement I felt like a new man and as I'd raced Josh on south Africa where I was able to out ran him, I honestly felt like I was still in the drivers seat. It quickly became apparent I was wrong!

After my career best bike to run transition I took a few more seconds out of josh's lead as I hit the run course. Was nice to put the diabolical swim bike transition behind me! I settled into my rhythm really quickly which as my coach Tim Kerrison puts it to be uncomfortably comfortable. While it would be nice to feel like your cruising on a sunday stroll the reality is your racing professionally so I doubt it's possible to compete at that level without feeling like your having a bit of a dig. For me this pace is very straight forward, 4:15-4:20 per/km pace and 180-185 cadence or strides per minute. At the first turn around after just 3km I noticed Josh had opened his lead up to 2minutes! He was running 30 seconds quicker per km!! At that point I knew I had to stick to my strategy as the only way I'd catch him is if he blew to pieces. After about 4km I got my first look at all the runners, tim van berkle, Braden currie, Joe gambles and Dave dellow. Once again they where flying and once again I knew I couldn't worry about them and run my own race.

My goal for the run was 3hrs 5min, a modest 6minute improvement on south africa and where I felt I was at in my running development. The plan was to get into my comfortable uncomfortable rhythm for the first 2 laps or 28km and then see where I was at. Sure enough one by one the big guns galloped past me. First Braden, the tim, the Dave. Joe seemed to drop off but instead he was sticking to his race plan. When he finally passed me around half way he told me to hang in there, those guys where flying and would pay for it at some point. I was blown away with how calm and relaxed he was and that he took the time to give me a little pep up, good old Tasmanian spirit right there! As I entered the last lap I felt great. My pacing hadn't wavered and I was still within touching distance of tim and Dave. I wanted to lift it but common sneer told me that 14km is still a long way to go so figured i'd hold fire for the final 9km when I passed the start finish for the final time if I had anything left. Josh was still flying and holding his lead, I was honestly in awe how he had raced the race, he just looked like he was going for it every stoke, pedal, and stride of the event, such a gutsy display. With 9km to go dad gave me the nod to lift the pace so was time to commit. I lifted up my arms and dropped my splits by 5-10seconds in pursuit of Dave dellow. Around 2km the finish I'd closed the 1 minute gap to him and 5th place but just as I got to him and looked like I fly by he just took off like a gazelle and was gone, he's a class act Dave and I saw first hand why people speak so highly of him and his ability to run. All off a sudden I was in difficulty and for the first time my stride rate slowed and everything felt heavy. Michael fox was now hot on my heels and in the process of running a 2:50 marathon himself. When he past me with 1km to go as much as my mind wanted to fight I just don't have the running legs to match the speed of these guys, they just have gears I can only dream off at the moment. I started the final lap aiming at 5th and by the time I crossed the line I was 7th, as I knew, a lot can happen in the final 14km, good and bad!! Once again a huge part of the day was the crowds on the run course. By the time you've past everyone 3 times the voices are familiar and sincere and you'd swear you'd all been best of friends since primary school. It's just another unique wonderful aspect of the ironman family and to all those who supported me and the 100's of others put there huge huge than you, the sport wouldn't be what it is without you.

Yesterday was far and away the best ironman I've ever put together. My run split of 3:01 was absolutely unbelievable for me, I never thought I'd be close to 3hrs this early in my time in ironman. Once again my swim and run performances where the highlights for me. For whatever reason my bike simply isn't firing at the moment but I guess the time and commitment it's taken to improve on those two weaker disciplines of mine has to have a cost somewhere else. For the last couple of events my power has been 5-10% off where it was the past couple of years so that's something I need rectify if I want to be competitive. I know I have a good bike leg in me so that will come back at some point, for now I need to ensure I'm a complete triathlete and that means focusing on the swim and run. Patients is going to be my best friend in this sport!!

So a huge shout out to my competitors. Josh was simply a class above. 1st out of the water, 1st off the bike, and first across the finish line speaks for itself. I just loved how he took the bull by the horns all day, just awesome to witness. Tim, Braydon, Dave, I've seen suffering like I saw on the faces of you 3 in that final 14km and to still post 2:50 marathons is just incomprehensible to me. I realized my uncomfortably comfortable feeling will need to be adjusted a little if I want to race you lot in the final stages, a good lesson indeed. Joe raced the smartest race of everyone in the field and had it not been for a rampant Josh hambugoler hahaha he would have been Asia pacific champ. 9/10 times his performance would win the title but I have a feeling this is just the beginning of big things from Joe in the full diatance ironman races and just awesome to see another tassie export kicking ass on the world stage.

From hear I'll head to Nice IM as I'm told it's a race track I'll really enjoy. I lived in the area for a couple of years so will be nice to race somewhere familiar. I'll take a lot of positive from cairns and as with every triathlon I do learn some valuable lessons. With all the variables that can be grown at you in such an event I think everyone no matter who they are learns something new from each race, that's one of the beauties of this ever evolving sport. I have to mention Tim Reed as he is just a wonderful ambassador for our sport. Hes always there for me and just genuinely wants everyone he comes across to do well, so refreshing in the world of professional sport. He learnt me his ultra fast front race wheel and when I forgot my goggles he came to the rescue with a bright pink Holly Lawance special addition pair of Roka's for me to race in. Whatever the color they made me swim faster than ever before so won't be the last time I'll be asking for something from tim! Having mum and dad there was obviously fantastic. They have dragged themselves from sport to sport and around the globe watching me strut my stuff. They must scratch there heads from time to time to wonder what they ever did to produce a son so obsessed with sports that involve wearing Lycra!! Still 33years later they are still there on the barriers with the most Distinctive voices I hear throughout the day. It was the first race for mum but dad had been there 12months prior for my greatest ever sporting meltdown. He cut a wry smile when I crossed the line yesterday as while on one hand was proud of my improvement in the sport i still haven't been able to top his 3:00 marathon PB he did at age 55! Think I've got some decent endurance genes from big tone! I could write and write all day but I'm tired and need to catch up on some sleep. Didn't sleep a lot last night with the caffeine equivalent of 20 espressos pumping through my veins and the adrenaline of my best ever ironman made it difficult to switch off!! I'll certainly catch up on those zzzz's tonight but in closing thanks again to everyone that came along yesterday, competitors and supporters alike, your all part of the show and I can't wait for the next Asia pacific champs!!

Stats from the day

Swim (6th out of the water)
49min 49seconds

Bike
4hrs 15min
Ave power 298 watts
Ave heart rate 160bpm
Max heart rate 181bpm
Ave speed 42kmph
Work 4570Kj's

Run
3hrs 1min
4:19min/km ave
Ave heart rate 158bpm
Max heart rate 173bpm
Work 2722Kj's

Add in a few min for my rounding Down haha and transition and you get 8hrs 11min.



Sent from my iPad

Thursday, April 6, 2017

IM Africa

Catch me if you Cam, Ironman South Africa edition 

Wowsers, what a start to 2017 I've had!! While my Ironman South Africa on the weekend is the main purpose of this blog, I just need to fill you in on a little bit of the background behind how I even lined up on the start line in Port Elizabeth. I'll try and keep it as brief as possible but if you've read my blog before you know that that's something a find difficult so this may be a long one! Also as I'm currently on a flight from Zurich to Tenerife I've got 3hrs to kill and the blog is how I'm going to do it! So here we go!

As 2016 drew to a close i was staring down the barrel of failing to do anything befitting of the athlete I feel I am. In September I gave myself one final chance for salvation. A torn calf muscle meant I was unable to run for a couple of months but I could swim and bike so I decided to go to ironman arizona and at least put 2 1/3's of a race together to see if there really was any point in me continuing on this ironman journey. I worked my ass off in those two disciplines and focused extremely hard on the rehab for my calf. I'd also worked alot on my nutrition so couldn't wait to see where I was at with 3 of the 4 disciplines that make up an ironman. When my backs to the wall and I need to do something I tend to be able to deliver. Fortunately on that November day in Tempe Arizona I showed myself and a few others I was hoping to impress that perhaps I do have a future in this sport after all.

My swim went fantastic and for the first time in a pro race I excited the water in the front pack. There where a couple of super swimmers off the front but once one the bike I had them behind me within 10km and in another first, I was leading the pro field in an ironman! Once in the lead I worked on executing an ironman bike split. I didn't want to kid myself and just go flat out as one day I needed to learn to run! So instead I just rolled along at 140-150 heart rate focusing on my drinking and eating and 4hrs and 5minutes later I was into T2 feeling sensational!! I honestly hadn't planned to be leading and at this point figured my race was over as I hadn't run a stride for almost 3months but leading a race and with all eyes on you in an empty transition area I realized I had to at least try and run, at least till I was out of sight. So I pulled on the Mizuno's, lucky I packed them, and Fallon informed me I had a 3 minute lead which was a relief to here as I knew I'd be run down pretty quickly! I settled into a rhythm that I felt like I could just roll along at for hours on end and preyed my calf didn't give way. It wasn't long before the pros started flying past me be I was actually enjoying the feeling if being able to jog lightly. 3hrs and 27minutes later I crossed the line in 14th place in a total time of 8hrs 27. I couldn't believe it, I was feeling great as my run was honestly nothing more than a social stroll yet I'd don't my best ever ironman. Sure a lightning fast bike course is what made it that way but still I got enough out of that race to know that if I really apply myself to this sport and learn to run perhaps I could be competitive. I was later informed that my swim bike time was a handful of minutes under 5hrs, something I'm told hasn't been done by too many guys. While I'm in no way comparing myself to the likes of Jan Frodeno who smashed the world record earlier in the year, the basic fact of the matter was if I can learn to run I may be competitive in this sport after all. The big question however still lingers today, can I learn to run and if so how quickly can I ultimately gallop along at.

I mentioned in there than there where a couple of people who's attention kwashiorkor trying to get with such a performance. Well there was only one persons attention to be honest, Tim Kerrison. Tim is the mastermind mind behind Team Sky's dominance at le tour de France and before that had a similar roll in rowing world championship success and Olympic gold medals in the pool. I figured as I've come from two of those back grounds and need help with the other, he was perhaps the perfect man to guide me as I make the commitment to the sport of ironman. We exchanged a few emails toward the end of 2016 and while nothing was certain I hung onto a faint hope that he maby just maby will decide add me to his stable and give it a go.

As fallon and I lay in bed reading at around 10pm on a Mid January evening the phone call I'd been dreaming of receiving finally arrived! It was Tim!! We exchanged pleasantries and he quickly cut to the chase, "chris has lost his training partner here on the gold coast and Richie tells us your a good man train with out on the bike, would you like to come and keep him company for 10 days?" my response was obviously quick and decisive "absolutely" I replied. We chatted a bit more about what we would be doing then at the end of the call I heard the words I really wanted to here "oh and while your here we can have a chat about the iron mans, I've got some ideas on that aswell". Wow, I couldn't believe my ears and promptly woke my dad up to let him know and James tomkins who's for so long been immensely supportive of what I'm doing. I somehow someway managed to get whacked in the face with the lucky stick yet again and was now off to train with the current TDF champ!!

The training camp was as you would expect quite challenging. While I won't go into any specifics I will say it's the first time since my time at the AIS as a rower that's I've truly appreciated the concept of sleep, eat, train, eat, recover,eat, sleep and repeat. Days off I was in charge of entertainment as I had some buddies who live on the coast so took froomie wake surfing with Will davidson and wake boarding world champ Harkey Clifford. Like everything else he does chris quickly figured it out and seemed like a natural. He even got a taste of my medicine on a training front when tim took us on a 21km trail run after a 5hr ride. We stopped along the way but we literally ran a half marathon, not surprising was the first time froomie had run since the Mont Vontout in le tour this past July! As the camp drew to a close and chris headed off to Melbourne for the Suntour to kick start his season, tim started to put in place my training for the ironman. He introduced me to Denis Cottrell whom is obviously the man when it comes to endurance freestyle and from there built up a program to prepare for our first season objective, IM South Africa.

Fallon and I relocated to the gold coast off and on through out february and March so as I could swim with Denis's squad. While the run was still far and away my Achilles heel the swim is equally as crucial as while you can't win the race in the swim you most certainly can lose it so ensuring I can be toward the front there was the first port of call. Post Arizona I'd continued my rehab on my calf with some short runs so now I was also able to start running again. Again this wasn't a huge focus from an intensity or volume point of view we simply worked on efficiency. The bike for now also had to take a back seat as it was just fine and something we can re visit later on when the other two disciplines improve. For now really it was all about swimming and I couldn't have been in a better environment. Denis also had Sun Yang, the 1500m world record holder from china training with his group and along with the rest of the lads who'd lap me on average every 300m's made me feel right at home and not at all like the slug that I was clogging up a lane! The training went perfectly and after a half ironman test event in Coles bay in early march where I went 3hrs 52minutes which was a personal best by 13minutes over that distance, I was on track for IM south africa. Another significant change was moving away from the cannondale family. This was simply my decision as I wanted Tim and I to be free to use whatever we felt was best for me to do well at any particular race. Its the first time in 15years I haven't been in some way associated with any sponsors. Roka and ceramic speed are kind of the exception in that they give me they awesome equipment to use but in all honesty i was prepared to buy it but they insisted on giving it me. It really gives me piece of mind to know that I've got best possible equipment I believe is available and eliminates the possibility of blaming my tools, it's all down to me! With that I have to make a special mention to stuy saunders and sherriden and terri moore who allowed me to treat storm cycles on the gold coast like my garage and built everything up absolutely flawlessly! Anyways With the amount of training going on time flys by and before I knew it I was on the plane finally for south Africa chomping at the bit to get the race underway. I arrived a couple of days early to scope out the course and get the lay of the land and woke up feeling bright eyed and bushy tailed at 4am race morning thanks to the favorable jet lag coming from australia!

At 6:25am on Sunday I elbowed my way onto the start line beside Frederick Van lierd. I'd identified Freddy as the man I wanted to follow and a previous Kona winner, IM south Africa winner and consistent front pack swimmer. My tactic for the swim was pretty simple, if possible get the lead in that first 100m and make the fast guys swim over the top of me that way making it easier for me to get on there feet. I got a perfect start and was first off the beach into the water, I had a good body length on Freddy and after 200m I eased a little to let him past. From there for the next 3600m he guided me perfectly around the swim course and I exited the water right where I wanted to be in the front pack. I had a smooth transition and as I'd done for the swim I followed freddy all the way to our bikes and out of transition. Once my feet hit those pedals I felt awesome. The taper we had planned worked perfectly and it felt effortless pedaling along on my super bike. A couple of quick swimmers had exited the water a minute ahead of us but by 15km I was in the the lead, everything was going perfectly.

Once on the lead I really relaxed and settled into the days work ahead. I got my heart rate nicely under control which had been up a little with all the adrenaline involved in a hectic professional ironman start. I've never felt better on the bike kept holding myself back which is what you need to do in such an event in those early stages. I simply couldn't believe how effortlessly I was riding away from the field, seemed to good to be true!! At the halfway turn around I was right where I wanted to be, heart rate was in the mid 140's and I'd eaten my prescribed nutrition thus far. I had 4minutes to Ben, and nils and as the big group id seen them with 40kms earlier had completely exploded I know everyone was working hard, perfect! I grabbed my special needs bag and that's when things started to unravel. My hydration system hold 1.4L and I wasn't even able to empty one 700mill drink bottle into it before it was full again!! Uh oh, feeling so good I'd made the same mistake as cairns and forgotten to drink again and as I'd been loading up on sugars I knew what was coming, a massive sugar crash as my stomach struggles to deal with all that sugar. My heart rate began to rise and dropping the power did little to change it. I spent the next 60km in damage control getting down as much fluid as possible in an attempt to get myself back together for the run. My power dropped from 320-250 during that period as I bled time to ben and nils determined to hunt me down. Fortunately for me about 20km from transition my body resumed to normal, power came back, heart rate settled and all was good again. I entered T2 in the lead all be it very slight, I'd lost 2minutes to the charging Hoffman and Fromhold on that disastrous second lap but that was of little relevance now, I simply had to run my marathon and what would be would be.

Once on the run I felt pretty good. One positive of going through that difficult moment on the bike is you feel better and better as you come out of that. Ben and nils blew past me like I was a standing still after only a few km's so I knew i wouldn't see them again. We had a simple plan for the run as I'd never gone quicker than 3hrs 27min, take the first 30km as easy as possible and then suffer in the last 12km! My target for the marathon was 4:30km pace, slow I know but you have to learn to walk before you can run! I settled into that and as I slipped back down the leader board I became more and more relaxed at that pace. Once out of the top 10 I decided to walk a few aid stations on that 3rd lap just to ensure I don't put myself in a whole and don't finish the race on my knees, I was only racing myself at this point. Into the last lap and I felt fantastic, my pace dropped to 4:15's and I felt so comfortable. I was having an absolute ball out there and didn't want the run to end, just how you want to finish a day like I'd had! I hadn't taken notice of my rivals assuming the pace they past me at they where long gone and with everyone on course it was hard to pick people out. It turns out I was running down the few guys ahead of me which I'm really excited about to know for the future, you can do a lot of damage in those final 10km if you have the legs. I crossed the line in 11th place in a time of 8hrs 25min, another PB for the full distance and a 3:11 run split, 4:31 per km average, basically bang on target. 

So all in all it was a great day for me. I had the best swim and run I could have hoped for and a disastrous bike leg. I know I'm capable of riding a bike pretty well so take a lot of confidence into my future races knowing when that clicks aswell I can be even more competitive. I'll need to be harder on myself with hydration but although that really wrecked any hopes of a good result I was pleased I was able to identify the problem and rectify it during the race and still do my best ever run, I have to be content with that for this time around. For the past couple of days I've been playing Terry tourist and getting to know the locals in Port Elizabeth, humans and animals alike. Having elephants basically step over your Toyota corolla is an experience I won't forget anytime soon. The locals also are just the most hospitable people and I really encourage anyone and everyone to check out the area, I'll certainly be in the future.

So time to move on and I've now landed in Tenerife where I'll meet up with Tim and a few of the guys for some rides including froomie for a little training camp. IM south Africa was just the beginning of this journey I've been searching for my entire sporting life. I'm so motivated by what lies ahead and will do a much better job and keeping all you my blog readers up to date!

Cjw

Race data 
Swim: 49:13
T1: 2min 17sec
Bike: 4:20.11
Power: 305watts
Heart rate ave: 153bpm
T2: 2min 6sec
Run: 3:11.44
Heart rate ave: 152bpm

Total: 8:25.31

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Catch me if you Cam, Ironman South Africa edition

Wowsers, what a start to 2017 I've had!! While my Ironman South Africa on the weekend is the main purpose of this blog, I just need to fill you in on a little bit of the background behind how I even lined up on the start line in Port Elizabeth. I'll try and keep it as brief as possible but if you've read my blog before you know that that's something a find difficult so this may be a long one! Also as I'm currently on a flight from Zurich to Tenerife I've got 3hrs to kill and the blog is how I'm going to do it! So here we go!

As 2016 drew to a close i was staring down the barrel of failing to do anything befitting of the athlete I feel I am. In September I gave myself one final chance for salvation. A torn calf muscle meant I was unable to run for a couple of months but I could swim and bike so I decided to go to ironman arizona and at least put 2 1/3's of a race together to see if there really was any point in me continuing on this ironman journey. I worked my ass off in those two disciplines and focused extremely hard on the rehab for my calf. I'd also worked alot on my nutrition so couldn't wait to see where I was at with 3 of the 4 disciplines that make up an ironman. When my backs to the wall and I need to do something I tend to be able to deliver. Fortunately on that November day in Tempe Arizona I showed myself and a few others I was hoping to impress that perhaps I do have a future in this sport after all.

My swim went fantastic and for the first time in a pro race I excited the water in the front pack. There where a couple of super swimmers off the front but once one the bike I had them behind me within 10km and in another first, I was leading the pro field in an ironman! Once in the lead I worked on executing an ironman bike split. I didn't want to kid myself and just go flat out as one day I needed to learn to run! So instead I just rolled along at 140-150 heart rate focusing on my drinking and eating and 4hrs and 5minutes later I was into T2 feeling sensational!! I honestly hadn't planned to be leading and at this point figured my race was over as I hadn't run a stride for almost 3months but leading a race and with all eyes on you in an empty transition area I realized I had to at least try and run, at least till I was out of sight. So I pulled on the Mizuno's, lucky I packed them, and Fallon informed me I had a 3 minute lead which was a relief to here as I knew I'd be run down pretty quickly! I settled into a rhythm that I felt like I could just roll along at for hours on end and preyed my calf didn't give way. It wasn't long before the pros started flying past me be I was actually enjoying the feeling if being able to jog lightly. 3hrs and 27minutes later I crossed the line in 14th place in a total time of 8hrs 27. I couldn't believe it, I was feeling great as my run was honestly nothing more than a social stroll yet I'd don't my best ever ironman. Sure a lightning fast bike course is what made it that way but still I got enough out of that race to know that if I really apply myself to this sport and learn to run perhaps I could be competitive. I was later informed that my swim bike time was a handful of minutes under 5hrs, something I'm told hasn't been done by too many guys. While I'm in no way comparing myself to the likes of Jan Frodeno who smashed the world record earlier in the year, the basic fact of the matter was if I can learn to run I may be competitive in this sport after all. The big question however still lingers today, can I learn to run and if so how quickly can I ultimately gallop along at.

I mentioned in there than there where a couple of people who's attention kwashiorkor trying to get with such a performance. Well there was only one persons attention to be honest, Tim Kerrison. Tim is the mastermind mind behind Team Sky's dominance at le tour de France and before that had a similar roll in rowing world championship success and Olympic gold medals in the pool. I figured as I've come from two of those back grounds and need help with the other, he was perhaps the perfect man to guide me as I make the commitment to the sport of ironman. We exchanged a few emails toward the end of 2016 and while nothing was certain I hung onto a faint hope that he maby just maby will decide add me to his stable and give it a go.

As fallon and I lay in bed reading at around 10pm on a Mid January evening the phone call I'd been dreaming of receiving finally arrived! It was Tim!! We exchanged pleasantries and he quickly cut to the chase, "chris has lost his training partner here on the gold coast and Richie tells us your a good man train with out on the bike, would you like to come and keep him company for 10 days?" my response was obviously quick and decisive "absolutely" I replied. We chatted a bit more about what we would be doing then at the end of the call I heard the words I really wanted to here "oh and while your here we can have a chat about the iron mans, I've got some ideas on that aswell". Wow, I couldn't believe my ears and promptly woke my dad up to let him know and James tomkins who's for so long been immensely supportive of what I'm doing. I somehow someway managed to get whacked in the face with the lucky stick yet again and was now off to train with the current TDF champ!!

The training camp was as you would expect quite challenging. While I won't go into any specifics I will say it's the first time since my time at the AIS as a rower that's I've truly appreciated the concept of sleep, eat, train, eat, recover,eat, sleep and repeat. Days off I was in charge of entertainment as I had some buddies who live on the coast so took froomie wake surfing with Will davidson and wake boarding world champ Harkey Clifford. Like everything else he does chris quickly figured it out and seemed like a natural. He even got a taste of my medicine on a training front when tim took us on a 21km trail run after a 5hr ride. We stopped along the way but we literally ran a half marathon, not surprising was the first time froomie had run since the Mont Vontout in le tour this past July! As the camp drew to a close and chris headed off to Melbourne for the Suntour to kick start his season, tim started to put in place my training for the ironman. He introduced me to Denis Cottrell whom is obviously the man when it comes to endurance freestyle and from there built up a program to prepare for our first season objective, IM South Africa.

Fallon and I relocated to the gold coast off and on through out february and March so as I could swim with Denis's squad. While the run was still far and away my Achilles heel the swim is equally as crucial as while you can't win the race in the swim you most certainly can lose it so ensuring I can be toward the front there was the first port of call. Post Arizona I'd continued my rehab on my calf with some short runs so now I was also able to start running again. Again this wasn't a huge focus from an intensity or volume point of view we simply worked on efficiency. The bike for now also had to take a back seat as it was just fine and something we can re visit later on when the other two disciplines improve. For now really it was all about swimming and I couldn't have been in a better environment. Denis also had Sun Yang, the 1500m world record holder from china training with his group and along with the rest of the lads who'd lap me on average every 300m's made me feel right at home and not at all like the slug that I was clogging up a lane! The training went perfectly and after a half ironman test event in Coles bay in early march where I went 3hrs 52minutes which was a personal best by 13minutes over that distance, I was on track for IM south africa. Another significant change was moving away from the cannondale family. This was simply my decision as I wanted Tim and I to be free to use whatever we felt was best for me to do well at any particular race. Its the first time in 15years I haven't been in some way associated with any sponsors. Roka and ceramic speed are kind of the exception in that they give me they awesome equipment to use but in all honesty i was prepared to buy it but they insisted on giving it me. It really gives me piece of mind to know that I've got best possible equipment I believe is available and eliminates the possibility of blaming my tools, it's all down to me! With that I have to make a special mention to stuy saunders and sherriden and terri moore who allowed me to treat storm cycles on the gold coast like my garage and built everything up absolutely flawlessly! Anyways With the amount of training going on time flys by and before I knew it I was on the plane finally for south Africa chomping at the bit to get the race underway. I arrived a couple of days early to scope out the course and get the lay of the land and woke up feeling bright eyed and bushy tailed at 4am race morning thanks to the favorable jet lag coming from australia!

At 6:25am on Sunday I elbowed my way onto the start line beside Frederick Van lierd. I'd identified Freddy as the man I wanted to follow and a previous Kona winner, IM south Africa winner and consistent front pack swimmer. My tactic for the swim was pretty simple, if possible get the lead in that first 100m and make the fast guys swim over the top of me that way making it easier for me to get on there feet. I got a perfect start and was first off the beach into the water, I had a good body length on Freddy and after 200m I eased a little to let him past. From there for the next 3600m he guided me perfectly around the swim course and I exited the water right where I wanted to be in the front pack. I had a smooth transition and as I'd done for the swim I followed freddy all the way to our bikes and out of transition. Once my feet hit those pedals I felt awesome. The taper we had planned worked perfectly and it felt effortless pedaling along on my super bike. A couple of quick swimmers had exited the water a minute ahead of us but by 15km I was in the the lead, everything was going perfectly.

Once on the lead I really relaxed and settled into the days work ahead. I got my heart rate nicely under control which had been up a little with all the adrenaline involved in a hectic professional ironman start. I've never felt better on the bike kept holding myself back which is what you need to do in such an event in those early stages. I simply couldn't believe how effortlessly I was riding away from the field, seemed to good to be true!! At the halfway turn around I was right where I wanted to be, heart rate was in the mid 140's and I'd eaten my prescribed nutrition thus far. I had 4minutes to Ben, and nils and as the big group id seen them with 40kms earlier had completely exploded I know everyone was working hard, perfect! I grabbed my special needs bag and that's when things started to unravel. My hydration system hold 1.4L and I wasn't even able to empty one 700mill drink bottle into it before it was full again!! Uh oh, feeling so good I'd made the same mistake as cairns and forgotten to drink again and as I'd been loading up on sugars I knew what was coming, a massive sugar crash as my stomach struggles to deal with all that sugar. My heart rate began to rise and dropping the power did little to change it. I spent the next 60km in damage control getting down as much fluid as possible in an attempt to get myself back together for the run. My power dropped from 320-250 during that period as I bled time to ben and nils determined to hunt me down. Fortunately for me about 20km from transition my body resumed to normal, power came back, heart rate settled and all was good again. I entered T2 in the lead all be it very slight, I'd lost 2minutes to the charging Hoffman and Fromhold on that disastrous second lap but that was of little relevance now, I simply had to run my marathon and what would be would be.

Once on the run I felt pretty good. One positive of going through that difficult moment on the bike is you feel better and better as you come out of that. Ben and nils blew past me like I was a standing still after only a few km's so I knew i wouldn't see them again. We had a simple plan for the run as I'd never gone quicker than 3hrs 27min, take the first 30km as easy as possible and then suffer in the last 12km! My target for the marathon was 4:30km pace, slow I know but you have to learn to walk before you can run! I settled into that and as I slipped back down the leader board I became more and more relaxed at that pace. Once out of the top 10 I decided to walk a few aid stations on that 3rd lap just to ensure I don't put myself in a whole and don't finish the race on my knees, I was only racing myself at this point. Into the last lap and I felt fantastic, my pace dropped to 4:15's and I felt so comfortable. I was having an absolute ball out there and didn't want the run to end, just how you want to finish a day like I'd had! I hadn't taken notice of my rivals assuming the pace they past me at they where long gone and with everyone on course it was hard to pick people out. It turns out I was running down the few guys ahead of me which I'm really excited about to know for the future, you can do a lot of damage in those final 10km if you have the legs. I crossed the line in 11th place in a time of 8hrs 25min, another PB for the full distance and a 3:11 run split, 4:31 per km average, basically bang on target.

So all in all it was a great day for me. I had the best swim and run I could have hoped for and a disastrous bike leg. I know I'm capable of riding a bike pretty well so take a lot of confidence into my future races knowing when that clicks aswell I can be even more competitive. I'll need to be harder on myself with hydration but although that really wrecked any hopes of a good result I was pleased I was able to identify the problem and rectify it during the race and still do my best ever run, I have to be content with that for this time around. For the past couple of days I've been playing Terry tourist and getting to know the locals in Port Elizabeth, humans and animals alike. Having elephants basically step over your Toyota corolla is an experience I won't forget anytime soon. The locals also are just the most hospitable people and I really encourage anyone and everyone to check out the area, I'll certainly be in the future.

So time to move on and I've now landed in Tenerife where I'll meet up with Tim and a few of the guys for some rides including froomie for a little training camp. IM south Africa was just the beginning of this journey I've been searching for my entire sporting life. I'm so motivated by what lies ahead and will do a much better job and keeping all you my blog readers up to date!

Cjw

Race data
Swim: 49:13
T1: 2min 17sec
Bike: 4:20.11
Power: 305watts
Heart rate ave: 153bpm
T2: 2min 6sec
Run: 3:11.44
Heart rate ave: 152bpm

Total: 8:25.31


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Catch me if you Cam, Ironman South Africa edition

Catch me if you Cam, Ironman South Africa edition

Wowsers, what a start to 2017 I've had!! While my Ironman South Africa on the weekend is the main purpose of this blog, I just need to fill you in on a little bit of the background behind how I even lined up on the start line in Port Elizabeth. I'll try and keep it as brief as possible but if you've read my blog before you know that that's something a find difficult so this may be a long one! Also as I'm currently on a flight from Zurich to Tenerife I've got 3hrs to kill and the blog is how I'm going to do it! So here we go!

As 2016 drew to a close i was staring down the barrel of failing to do anything befitting of the athlete I feel I am. In September I gave myself one final chance for salvation. A torn calf muscle meant I was unable to run for a couple of months but I could swim and bike so I decided to go to ironman arizona and at least put 2 1/3's of a race together to see if there really was any point in me continuing on this ironman journey. I worked my ass off in those two disciplines and focused extremely hard on the rehab for my calf. I'd also worked alot on my nutrition so couldn't wait to see where I was at with 3 of the 4 disciplines that make up an ironman. When my backs to the wall and I need to do something I tend to be able to deliver. Fortunately on that November day in Tempe Arizona I showed myself and a few others I was hoping to impress that perhaps I do have a future in this sport after all.

My swim went fantastic and for the first time in a pro race I excited the water in the front pack. There where a couple of super swimmers off the front but once one the bike I had them behind me within 10km and in another first, I was leading the pro field in an ironman! Once in the lead I worked on executing an ironman bike split. I didn't want to kid myself and just go flat out as one day I needed to learn to run! So instead I just rolled along at 140-150 heart rate focusing on my drinking and eating and 4hrs and 5minutes later I was into T2 feeling sensational!! I honestly hadn't planned to be leading and at this point figured my race was over as I hadn't run a stride for almost 3months but leading a race and with all eyes on you in an empty transition area I realized I had to at least try and run, at least till I was out of sight. So I pulled on the Mizuno's, lucky I packed them, and Fallon informed me I had a 3 minute lead which was a relief to here as I knew I'd be run down pretty quickly! I settled into a rhythm that I felt like I could just roll along at for hours on end and preyed my calf didn't give way. It wasn't long before the pros started flying past me be I was actually enjoying the feeling if being able to jog lightly. 3hrs and 27minutes later I crossed the line in 14th place in a total time of 8hrs 27. I couldn't believe it, I was feeling great as my run was honestly nothing more than a social stroll yet I'd don't my best ever ironman. Sure a lightning fast bike course is what made it that way but still I got enough out of that race to know that if I really apply myself to this sport and learn to run perhaps I could be competitive. I was later informed that my swim bike time was a handful of minutes under 5hrs, something I'm told hasn't been done by too many guys. While I'm in no way comparing myself to the likes of Jan Frodeno who smashed the world record earlier in the year, the basic fact of the matter was if I can learn to run I may be competitive in this sport after all. The big question however still lingers today, can I learn to run and if so how quickly can I ultimately gallop along at.

I mentioned in there than there where a couple of people who's attention kwashiorkor trying to get with such a performance. Well there was only one persons attention to be honest, Tim Kerrison. Tim is the mastermind mind behind Team Sky's dominance at le tour de France and before that had a similar roll in rowing world championship success and Olympic gold medals in the pool. I figured as I've come from two of those back grounds and need help with the other, he was perhaps the perfect man to guide me as I make the commitment to the sport of ironman. We exchanged a few emails toward the end of 2016 and while nothing was certain I hung onto a faint hope that he maby just maby will decide add me to his stable and give it a go.

As fallon and I lay in bed reading at around 10pm on a Mid January evening the phone call I'd been dreaming of receiving finally arrived! It was Tim!! We exchanged pleasantries and he quickly cut to the chase, "chris has lost his training partner here on the gold coast and Richie tells us your a good man train with out on the bike, would you like to come and keep him company for 10 days?" my response was obviously quick and decisive "absolutely" I replied. We chatted a bit more about what we would be doing then at the end of the call I heard the words I really wanted to here "oh and while your here we can have a chat about the iron mans, I've got some ideas on that aswell". Wow, I couldn't believe my ears and promptly woke my dad up to let him know and James tomkins who's for so long been immensely supportive of what I'm doing. I somehow someway managed to get whacked in the face with the lucky stick yet again and was now off to train with the current TDF champ!!

The training camp was as you would expect quite challenging. While I won't go into any specifics I will say it's the first time since my time at the AIS as a rower that's I've truly appreciated the concept of sleep, eat, train, eat, recover,eat, sleep and repeat. Days off I was in charge of entertainment as I had some buddies who live on the coast so took froomie wake surfing with Will davidson and wake boarding world champ Harkey Clifford. Like everything else he does chris quickly figured it out and seemed like a natural. He even got a taste of my medicine on a training front when tim took us on a 21km trail run after a 5hr ride. We stopped along the way but we literally ran a half marathon, not surprising was the first time froomie had run since the Mont Vontout in le tour this past July! As the camp drew to a close and chris headed off to Melbourne for the Suntour to kick start his season, tim started to put in place my training for the ironman. He introduced me to Denis Cottrell whom is obviously the man when it comes to endurance freestyle and from there built up a program to prepare for our first season objective, IM South Africa.

Fallon and I relocated to the gold coast off and on through out february and March so as I could swim with Denis's squad. While the run was still far and away my Achilles heel the swim is equally as crucial as while you can't win the race in the swim you most certainly can lose it so ensuring I can be toward the front there was the first port of call. Post Arizona I'd continued my rehab on my calf with some short runs so now I was also able to start running again. Again this wasn't a huge focus from an intensity or volume point of view we simply worked on efficiency. The bike for now also had to take a back seat as it was just fine and something we can re visit later on when the other two disciplines improve. For now really it was all about swimming and I couldn't have been in a better environment. Denis also had Sun Yang, the 1500m world record holder from china training with his group and along with the rest of the lads who'd lap me on average every 300m's made me feel right at home and not at all like the slug that I was clogging up a lane! The training went perfectly and after a half ironman test event in Coles bay in early march where I went 3hrs 52minutes which was a personal best by 13minutes over that distance, I was on track for IM south africa. Another significant change was moving away from the cannondale family. This was simply my decision as I wanted Tim and I to be free to use whatever we felt was best for me to do well at any particular race. Its the first time in 15years I haven't been in some way associated with any sponsors. Roka and ceramic speed are kind of the exception in that they give me they awesome equipment to use but in all honesty i was prepared to buy it but they insisted on giving it me. It really gives me piece of mind to know that I've got best possible equipment I believe is available and eliminates the possibility of blaming my tools, it's all down to me! With that I have to make a special mention to stuy saunders and sherriden and terri moore who allowed me to treat storm cycles on the gold coast like my garage and built everything up absolutely flawlessly! Anyways With the amount of training going on time flys by and before I knew it I was on the plane finally for south Africa chomping at the bit to get the race underway. I arrived a couple of days early to scope out the course and get the lay of the land and woke up feeling bright eyed and bushy tailed at 4am race morning thanks to the favorable jet lag coming from australia!

At 6:25am on Sunday I elbowed my way onto the start line beside Frederick Van lierd. I'd identified Freddy as the man I wanted to follow and a previous Kona winner, IM south Africa winner and consistent front pack swimmer. My tactic for the swim was pretty simple, if possible get the lead in that first 100m and make the fast guys swim over the top of me that way making it easier for me to get on there feet. I got a perfect start and was first off the beach into the water, I had a good body length on Freddy and after 200m I eased a little to let him past. From there for the next 3600m he guided me perfectly around the swim course and I exited the water right where I wanted to be in the front pack. I had a smooth transition and as I'd done for the swim I followed freddy all the way to our bikes and out of transition. Once my feet hit those pedals I felt awesome. The taper we had planned worked perfectly and it felt effortless pedaling along on my super bike. A couple of quick swimmers had exited the water a minute ahead of us but by 15km I was in the the lead, everything was going perfectly.

Once on the lead I really relaxed and settled into the days work ahead. I got my heart rate nicely under control which had been up a little with all the adrenaline involved in a hectic professional ironman start. I've never felt better on the bike kept holding myself back which is what you need to do in such an event in those early stages. I simply couldn't believe how effortlessly I was riding away from the field, seemed to good to be true!! At the halfway turn around I was right where I wanted to be, heart rate was in the mid 140's and I'd eaten my prescribed nutrition thus far. I had 4minutes to Ben, and nils and as the big group id seen them with 40kms earlier had completely exploded I know everyone was working hard, perfect! I grabbed my special needs bag and that's when things started to unravel. My hydration system hold 1.4L and I wasn't even able to empty one 700mill drink bottle into it before it was full again!! Uh oh, feeling so good I'd made the same mistake as cairns and forgotten to drink again and as I'd been loading up on sugars I knew what was coming, a massive sugar crash as my stomach struggles to deal with all that sugar. My heart rate began to rise and dropping the power did little to change it. I spent the next 60km in damage control getting down as much fluid as possible in an attempt to get myself back together for the run. My power dropped from 320-250 during that period as I bled time to ben and nils determined to hunt me down. Fortunately for me about 20km from transition my body resumed to normal, power came back, heart rate settled and all was good again. I entered T2 in the lead all be it very slight, I'd lost 2minutes to the charging Hoffman and Fromhold on that disastrous second lap but that was of little relevance now, I simply had to run my marathon and what would be would be.

Once on the run I felt pretty good. One positive of going through that difficult moment on the bike is you feel better and better as you come out of that. Ben and nils blew past me like I was a standing still after only a few km's so I knew i wouldn't see them again. We had a simple plan for the run as I'd never gone quicker than 3hrs 27min, take the first 30km as easy as possible and then suffer in the last 12km! My target for the marathon was 4:30km pace, slow I know but you have to learn to walk before you can run! I settled into that and as I slipped back down the leader board I became more and more relaxed at that pace. Once out of the top 10 I decided to walk a few aid stations on that 3rd lap just to ensure I don't put myself in a whole and don't finish the race on my knees, I was only racing myself at this point. Into the last lap and I felt fantastic, my pace dropped to 4:15's and I felt so comfortable. I was having an absolute ball out there and didn't want the run to end, just how you want to finish a day like I'd had! I hadn't taken notice of my rivals assuming the pace they past me at they where long gone and with everyone on course it was hard to pick people out. It turns out I was running down the few guys ahead of me which I'm really excited about to know for the future, you can do a lot of damage in those final 10km if you have the legs. I crossed the line in 11th place in a time of 8hrs 25min, another PB for the full distance and a 3:11 run split, 4:31 per km average, basically bang on target.

So all in all it was a great day for me. I had the best swim and run I could have hoped for and a disastrous bike leg. I know I'm capable of riding a bike pretty well so take a lot of confidence into my future races knowing when that clicks aswell I can be even more competitive. I'll need to be harder on myself with hydration but although that really wrecked any hopes of a good result I was pleased I was able to identify the problem and rectify it during the race and still do my best ever run, I have to be content with that for this time around. For the past couple of days I've been playing Terry tourist and getting to know the locals in Port Elizabeth, humans and animals alike. Having elephants basically step over your Toyota corolla is an experience I won't forget anytime soon. The locals also are just the most hospitable people and I really encourage anyone and everyone to check out the area, I'll certainly be in the future.

So time to move on and I've now landed in Tenerife where I'll meet up with Tim and a few of the guys for some rides including froomie for a little training camp. IM south Africa was just the beginning of this journey I've been searching for my entire sporting life. I'm so motivated by what lies ahead and will do a much better job and keeping all you my blog readers up to date!

Cjw

Race data
Swim: 49:13
T1: 2min 17sec
Bike: 4:20.11
Power: 305watts
Heart rate ave: 153bpm
T2: 2min 6sec
Run: 3:11.44
Heart rate ave: 152bpm

Total: 8:25.31




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Sunday, October 16, 2016

Catch me if you Cam

Catch me if you cam

I haven't written a blog for a while so decided to get back in the groove I'd create a new one, "Catch me if you Cam". What the blogs about is in the name really, it's where you can catch up and what I, Cam, is up to these days. I know I've fallen of the grid over the past twelve months so instead of one of my marathon efforts to bring you all up to date on what I've been up to I've decided to start fresh and just let you know what I'm up to now and going forward. I'll also add a little spice to the new blog posting with some commentary on things I feel I'd like to comment on which is a real luxury of having your own blog, freedom of speech, its awesome!! So here we go with the very first "Catch me if you Cam" blog post.

It's Sunday and for me that means a relaxing day on the sofa watching as much American sport as I can. My priority viewing has become NASCAR as thanks to my friendship with driver Jimmie Johnson I've become quite a fan of his and also the sport. I've had the honor of going along to a few races with Jimmie and sitting in the pit box with the crew chief gives you quite a unique perspective one of Americas most popular sports. most people see it as a bunch of muscle cars going round and round in circles but it's far more exciting than that. Because the lap times are so small and cars so similar in speed and performance all the little 1% factors in a race are what decide the winners from the losers. Obviously the driver has a lot to do with that and these guys really do have a big set of ba!!s to do what they do. The driver prepared to keep there foot on the throttle and get closest to the point of carnage will give themselves the best chance of winning. That's just the start though as then the pit stops often are what elevates of drops a drives sports in such a congested field. Changing 5 wheels nuts and refueling with giant Jerry cans is a far cry from the technology of F1 and V8 Supercars and it's watching this first hand that I truly fell in love with the sport. Without a great team your simply not going to get anywhere in NASCAR and with that the relationship of the driver, crew chief and alls it's staff become so crucial in the success of the team on race day. Having spent a significant amount of time with Jimmie on the push bike and with his team both at the race track and away from it it's no surprise the number 48 lowes Chevvy is on track fro a record 7th sprint cup championships as he currently leads the standings. Jimmie is above an absolute awesome human being and this resonates through with his relationship with his entire crew, they would do anything for him, it's be so cool to see this form of team work and environment you just don't witness on the TV. So please if you are interested in following NASCAR support Jimmie, he's rides bikes so he's a legend!

Back to my Sunday and the reason I love to chill on the couch is it's my day of absolute recovery. I've banged out 35hrs of pretty solid training this week swimming, riding, lifting weights, and a little running so it's my time to absorb the work my body has injured and reboot for a new week. This past week has perhaps been my most enjoyable and satisfying week of training I've ever done. I found a great balance between all the activities I love as I work toward my 1st major goal of the 2017 season, the Individual time trial at the Australian national road championships in ballarat January 5. Over the past couple of years I've enjoyed being what I call an athlete again and basically doing whatever sport I like to find out which one or one's I want to focus on for the remainder of my athletic career. What I enjoy most is riding my bike, well all bikes in fact but particularly my TT bike and road bike. I also love being in the water and swimming has become a great de compress for me following a hard day training or when I've got things on my mind. And last but not least the feeling a get running really gets me out of bed in the morning, I just can't wait to pull the sneakers on for a sunrise jog, sometimes as early as 4:30am I bounding down wilshire blvd en route to Santa Monica beach to see the worlds giant light globe appear over the Hollywood hills, it's just a magic way to start the day. So my sporting future will involve a combination of all those activities which I'm sure is pretty easy for you to figure out what I'll be doing.

Now for a little on what made this week so special. What made me so content myself here on my sofa on Sunday afternoon is the amount of qualities work outs I could get done by complimenting the activities with each other. Monday I split up 2 hard ergo session on the tt and rd bike with a 1hr easy swim with my tower 26 swim squad at pacific palisades high school. The swim not only seemed to remove the fatigue of the morning TT session but also rejuvenate for really challenging afternoon rd bike workout. Tuesday was a day to get the legs spinning and what better way to do that than a Socal group ride! Man I'll tell you what, the dudes around this area lay down some serious wattage and since 2013 when I was first introduced to socal group rides by Taylor Phinney I'm always aboard the pain train! The le grange group that leaves from the starbucks on San vicente and 26th on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday morning is no exception to that tradition, these guys know how to hustle! Following the morning bunchy it was back to the pool for a solid 90minute workout and this time get a little lactate build up in the arms. Finally I finished the day with my weights circuit and an evening spin class to just let the legs know it's time to get firing a little quicker again.

Wednesday I dedicated to my riding my bike and 7hrs, 210km and 4000m of climbing later I walked into my apartment quite satisfied with my days work. Thursday started with a gentle few km's in the pool to roll out the lingering fatigue from the previous days ride. By the time I climbed out of the pool my aching limbs had forgotten all about the torturous hrs in the Malibu mountains. The afternoon I hit the weight room for some maintenance on my beach body followed by a little cardio just to ensure the hard got a little exercise on the active recovery day. Friday was back to some hours on the bike and following a morning metabolism starter I again was on the dredded bike ergo pounding some strength into my pins. Saturday I like to call super Saturday as I aim to empty whatever is left in the tank ahead of my slumber Sunday. I start the day with the "NOW" group ride with leaves from the Starbucks on Montana at 7:30am. Again this group ride is every bit the socal hammer fest as it blasts it way up the pacific coast HWY (pch) to the petrol station at the end of zuma beach. The group can often see 100+ riders and is just a wonderful way to start a saturday. Following the bunchy I head into the Malibu mountains again for another 4000m of climbing or so and after 8hrs I was content with my week on the bicycle. Not wanting to take that fatigue into my day off rest I dragged myself down to equinox west LA for a couple of easy km's in the pool to roll out the aches and pains, in my opinion the perfect way to end a wonderful week of training. 

I woke up early this morning not to train obviously but to follow the road world championships in Doha. The men's road race was on today and I was as excited as the rest of the cycling world to see if superstar Sagan could retain the world championship or could Aussie bling mathews or Cav upset the seemingly unbeatable Slovak. Alas they couldn't and Peter won yet again. It's impossible not to be excited every time he wins as he does it with so much flair and enthusiasm. Having been teammates with Peter for a few years it's exciting to see someone with so much passion for simply riding his bike have so much success doing it. He just loves riding his bike and I assure you even when the cameras are not on him he's flowing around on one wheel or riding up and down whatever he sees fit on his road bike, he's just born to entertain on his bicycle and to see that translate into such proflific success is just fantastic, great stuff Peter, keep it up, your pushing cycling in an exciting new direction and building an incredible new fan base, your exactly what the sport needs. As much as I would have loved to see bling Mathews in the rainbow jersey no one is more deserving or better fit to carry it on his shoulders for another 12 months.

So that's it for my first installment of "catch me if you cam". Sorry if it's a little boring but I'm a little rusty on the old blog writing. I assure you as I keep this up on a weekly basis my rhythm will return. I'll have some more exciting and insightful things to write about around what I'm doing and what I'm interested in, you'll read about it here 1st!!! 

CJW

Friday, June 17, 2016

Ironman Cairns, My Professional Debut

Its been a few days since I plodded over the finish line in ironman cairns. The day didn't quite pan out as the fairytale I envisaged but none the less I made it to the finish and wont ever forget the day I made my professional debut as a triathlete. I'd been preparing for this event since January and although had a few setbacks along the way teaching the body how to swim and run again, I arrived in cairns feeling great and ready to tackle the asia pacific championship which had the added incentive of the winner automatically qualifying for the ironman world championships in Kona later this year.

I arrived in aus a couple of weeks early to ensure I was adapted as best as possible for the variance in the conditions than that in LA and after a few days tuning up in noosa I arrived in cairns in time to put the finishing touches on the preparation and have a good look at the course. I have to say I really glad I made the trip early as spending a couple of days riding up and down the captain cook hwy was one of the most breathtaking scenic bicycle rides I've ever had. On more than one occasion the temptation was almost to much to unclip and dive into the pacific for a little cool off! I'm certainly glad I got to see it and appreciate it for its beauty as on race day I ended up being far from in the to appreciate the surrounds. So after a few relaxing reconning and recharging days I was ready for action when my alarm blared into action at 4;45am on race morning!

One of the big changes between the two elite sports I've partaken in before is that your completely left to your own devices in triathlon, no matter how major the race. ensuring all your equipment is prepared and race fueled organized is all down to you aswell as sorting out your morning routine in getting yourself out of bed to the start line. This is certainly a part of things that I really enjoy as training and being prepared when I arrive at races has never been my issue, I look after myself pretty well at home. I have over the years however found it a little challenging to avoid doing things completely differently when I get to the race as things have simply been different. Now it is all up to you so things can be just the way you want them. To say I had to organize this all myself is a stretch as I did have Fallon there to make sure I got my backside out of bed and moving on race morning, no fear of sleeping in again with her around that's for sure! Also dad had logistics all down to a milli second including my favorite pre race meal of oatmeal and crumpets waiting on the dining table when I woke up and loading the car with all my paraphernalia. Before I knew it was time to get the show on the road and head to palm cove for the start.

From there it was off to the start and while the rental Toyota camry may be a far cry from the rockstar bus's we get ferried around in in Europe, being there with your loved ones certainly trumps any luscious leather sofa's that you'd usually be reclining in. Once at palm cove I went through the routine of setting up my transition. As this is only my 5th Triathlon I still take a little longer with this than I should and seemingly do things differently everytime. One thing I have learnt however is not to look at anyone else's bike on race day and copy that, have to be confident with what you have and work on what you didn't do right well before race day. Right on schedule at 7:05 (30min before start time) my bike was loaded up with bottles and food and ready for its assault on the captain cook hwy, well as ready as it was going to be anyways. I found Fallon and Dad and started to get my self dressed into my outfit that i'd be rocking for the rest of the day! I Have to admit I wasn't nervous as I stood on a professional startline for the very first time. To the contrary actually, I was extremely calm and confident in the form that i'd done everything I wanted to in my preparatuion, time would tell if I got it right or not as I couldn't do anything about it at that point if I hadn't. When the announcer beamed out 30 seconds till start, I positioned myself next to the fastest swimmers in my buddy todd Skipworth and Clayton Fettell on the front row, crouched down into my beach start position and couldn't wait for the gun to go off. Bang!!! and we were off!


Swim

I had a great start and as we smashed and bashed our way to the first buoy I was right there in the first few guys. I was certainly swimming way harder than I ever had before so knew I needed to back it off a little and try and slot in behind a bigger group of guys. As a larger group rolled around me in pursuit of the front few I attempted to settle into a nice rhythm hot on there heals. I sat there for another hundred meters or so not really settling, more feeling like I was going hell for leather to stay there, and decided I wasn't at the level to hang with the quick guys just yet so slotted into my own pace. Soon after a few other guys who obviously had a similar idea rolled along beside me and when I spotted the ever green experienced Cameron Brown as one of them I figured these guys know what they are doing, ill have with you. From there my swim was absolutely delightful simply following the bubbles of the guys ahead of me and ensuring I got as easier ride as possible through the swim leg. Being the first time i'd swam with guys of this level realizing the advantages of slip streaming absolutely blew me away, it certainly in my case makes you look like a far stronger swimmer than you really are.

The swim really fly's by when you distracted all the time of ensuring your following someone feet and before I knew we were headed for shore. As the beach approached I fired up the legs and started to drum out a few lazy kicks to wake up the old pins. I figure you don't need your arms for the rest of the day so tend to make them do all the work and save the legs for later on. The only draw back is when you hit the sand they are sound asleep ad they have just been been dragged along for the past 50minutes or so so its important to through in a few kicks so you don't come out of the water stumbling like a born fole! I seemed to get this right as I sprung out of the water with my two feet firmly planted underneath me and headed toward t1 feeling very pleased with my swim. I resisted the urge to rush through transition and instead just followed mr experience cam brown through the whole routine. He's been through more transitions at this level of racing than perhaps the rest of the field combined so was an honor to have the chance to see how calmly and smoothly he does it even whilst in the heat of battle. I came out of the right behind him and jumped on my bike right behind him. As I grabbed my bike dad informed me that as expected I was 5minutes behind the front guys which was bang on my pre race predicted schedule, I was feeling really good about how the day had gone thus far.



Bike

Once on the bike things went immediately pear shaped! I felt so good after my start to the day that I completely threw my cautious race plan out the window and took off a lot harder than I had planned. I had 5 minutes to make up and instead of realizing I had 180km to do I for some stupid reason i tried to do in the first 50Km! Problem was i felt great and having never really tried to race an ironman from pillar to post before in those first 30minutes would kick start a chain reaction of events that i'd pay dearly for later that afternoon. With the rain falling i ignored the fact that sweating is a huge factor in cairns due to the humidity. The reality however is your simply not thirsty when water is falling ontop of you so you need to be even more disciplined to get the fluids down. I'd also made the decision to have all my fuel mixing into my drink bottles in the form different sugars and electrolyte mixes just as i did in cycling which is great particularly the inclement weather in a bike race, would it work for a triathlon?? Anyways like i said before at the time i believed in my plan and as i tore down the captain cook hwy in hot pursuit of the front runners these thoughts never crossed my mind. I didn't have time to slow down at aid stations for water, i was on a mission! 

And all seemed to be going great guns, after the first 40km i'd reduced the gap to the front runners of Luke McKenzie, Clayton Fettell and Pete Jacobs to 4minutes. I was also extremely a happy with the equipment id chosen for the event. My cannondale slice is in my opinion the best bike on the market for all conditions. Its aero so you feel like your on a tt rig but also has the handling of a high performance road bike. With howling wind and on and off spitting rain and coupled with a road that seemed to never be straight!! I was very confident I had the best piece of weaponry to tackle the captain cook hwy. Everything i'd assembled for this race was absolutely perfect and exactly what I wanted. Only question now was whether the turkey using this equipment could do his bit!! 

Anyways back to the race and The running group containing the eventual winner Tim Berkel and Dave Dellow where now halfway between them and me but I was focused on getting to the front asap. When I passed the running group 20km's later Berkel was the only one who was interested in trying to follow my pace. I made a huge rookie error here and instead of allowing him to try and follow me I put the pedal to the metal even harder in a bid to blow him off the wheel and he hung tuff for a while before dropping off a disappearing out of sight. Would have been the move of the day if that was to be the last time I saw him on sunday afternoon but alas it proved to be a silly mistake and waste of precious energy. The effort however spurred me on as only 3 men remained ahead and by the time we made the next turn around and I got a look at them the gap was just over 2minutes. I was consistently taking 2 minutes every 40km, perfect. Next, my first hiccup, my garmin fogged up and stopped working. I no longer had any reference on how hard or how fast I was going. This was the catalyst for a much longer and more agonizing afternoon than I had planned for. I was so reliant on my data that I really had no idea what I was doing and with all my enthusiasm proved to be my worst enemy.

Around halfway into the bike and where I planned to start really putting the pedal to metal!! Well that didn't really happen! instead that spark i'd enjoyed for 2hrs was now gone and ontop of that I felt that sinking feeling that the thermostat was running hot and I hadn't drunk enough water. Still I soldiered on and attempted to convince myself it was just a little fatigue but it was that, little cramps set in, I became a little dizzy and just simply felt like it was all my energy simply to keep my legs turning over. Fearing a complete hunger bonk or worse still coming to a complete standstill, I slowed down at the next aid station and loaded up on endura bottles. Again that proved to be a big error as what my body really needed was water. I plugged away and by the time we turned for the final cross over with 70km remaining the gap was still at 2minutes. This gave me a glimmer of hope as while id been suffering and trying to reset I hadn't lost any ground and with the knowledge that anything and everything can happen in an ironman I had renewed hope.

On the run back to town however I knew it was a big pie in the sky of hope I was hoping for. I got weaker and weaker as the guys up front got stronger and stronger and simply had to put my head down and grovel to the finish and prey for a miracle on the run. It was at this point I counted my lucky stars for my fast bike as it was making me look like a much better cyclists than I was turning into!! nothing better than free speed in the form of slick machinery. All of a sudden with 40km to go I spotted the gangly pete Jacobs ahead of me. This gave me a very weak second wind and reinterated the importance of staying focused and doing the best you can do as anything can and is happening in the race. As I left Pete behind I couldn't believe my eyes when with with 20km to go Luke was standing on the side of the road with a flat tyre frantically trying to change it. While still far from running on all cylinders All off a sudden there was only one man ahead of me, I was back in the game. I put my head down a little lower and leaned into the pedals as much as possible. There was still a marathon to run, perhaps the fairytale could still play out. I entered the bike run transition full of confidence. Being forced to back of the pace for the past 2hrs had meant i'd slowly regained some spring in my step and as i leapt of the bike i quite literally hit the ground running. All of a sudden i couldn't wait to get stuck into this marathon, the luck seemed to be on my side.


Run

My transition from bike to run went so smooth i thought id forgotten something! Nope shoes and socks where on, gells were quickly stuffed down the front of my racing suit and visor and number belt where in hand as i exited the tent to put on while i was running, i was pumped. I spotted dad and fallon who were now very excited armed with the knowledge of what we believed i could do on the run and this gave me confidence i had the lead on the fast men that i needed to stay up the pointy end for the afternoon. Those first km's on the run course were amazing as i felt like i was just floating along and the second wind had finally hit me like howling gale. At the first turn around i got a good look at all the guys. First Clayton still in front came the opposite was but didn't look overly comfortable at all. He'd later abandon the race with a bad back so that would explain that. On my way back to town i saw the men all in hot pursuit. First luke bolted past at a paced that looked frightening and dangerous if he could maintain, pete was gliding along seemingly in slow motion but smooth as silk. Next Dave dellow looked like a potential winner until i saw the man whos run everyone in the field feared Timmy Berkle rocketing along the cairns foreshore. I decided then that i couldn't wait for those 4 to pass me as i could just concentrate on plugging away at my rhythm and wait and see what happened later in the race.

Sure enough Luke flew by me like i was standing still around 10km into the run. I was running 3hr marathon pace so i knew luke wasn't going to maintain the pace he was running at based on his passed ironman success's and I vowed to stay positive and hang in there just as I had on the bike. Anything could happen. Next Dave Dellow came gliding by a couple of km's later and I knew he wouldn't be slowing down, he looked great. The next man to pass me not only blew me away by how fast he went by but also what he said to me everytime we crossed paths in the first 18km of the run. Timmy Berkel would shout out "c'mon legend" "looking good legend" every time we crossed paths, I couldn't believe his sportsmanship, just a class act. He not only blew me away by his camaraderie but also went passed me so quickly that he sucked the sneakers clean off my feet! He was absolutely flying but again you knew he wasn't slowing down and was on his way to the asia pacific title.  What a champion in every sense of the word.

So with 18km in the books and the fast men except pete past me, I was finally where I wanted to be to comfortably drum out my rhythm without any pressure from behind. I'd spotted pete walking in the opposite direction so figured his day might be turning, how wrong I could have been, he was simply showing his experience. Nope Pete was just fine and had his race under control, it was mine that was about to completely flip on its head as I approached the halfway point of the run and I didn't see it coming.

From the start of the run i'd noticed I was very hot and craving water. I'd been stuffing my suit full with ice every aid station and gobbling down water aswell. The ice wasn't even melting before reaching the next aid station where id shove even more down there till after 10km I realized I was looking like an oompa lumpa with all this ice and my body wasn't cooling down at all, what on earth was going on?? Well around halfway in the run I all off a sudden felt the strong urge to pee and my body let know what was wrong. I pulled into the porter potty and to my complete astonishment my urine was blood. My insides where shutting down, my kidneys had had enough. I'd never in my life in all my sporting exploits pushed my body to the point of shutdown to where I passed blood. Wow!! I thought to myself and immediately felt pretty dizzy and average. I couldn't stop, at this point I was running 4th with the abandonment of fettel and with my usual optimism and attitude that anything could happen in an ironman I decide to soldier on and see if I miraculously came good. I'd never had the experience of this happening before so how was I to know there was no way back from this point, well I know now! I scooped up my special needs back which was conveniently only a short distance away, slammed in some more sugar gels, the worst thing I could have done under the circumstances, and soldiered on. Soon Pete Glided by on his way to a fine 3rd place and as he did offered me some great encouragement urging me to hang tuff, told me I looked great, thanks pete I really appreciated that but not even words from the 2012 ironman Kona champion could unravel this literal melt down. 

From there things as expected got worse and worse. Soon it was a very slow jog or shuffle with the occasional little walk and not long after very very slow shuffle, a lot of walking and quite a lot of stopping and stretching. By now my body was completely incapable of processing any fuel to the working muscles at all and as a result the cramps were crippling. Somehow however along between the trips to the porta potty where each time I went in I wondered if I would actually come back out it made feel so dizzy and disorientated, I somehow kept moving toward the finish line. I felt so hot by this point inside that I ditched asking for cups off ice and just got directed to the wheel barrow filled with ice to dunk my head in and shove as many handfuls of cubes down my racing suit that I could. I didn't even notice half the pros whom passed me pass me as for some twisted reason thought I was still in with a shout for a top 10 as believing this was a motivating factor, if I was right I wasn't such a bad debut after all. Nope wrong again, I was wrong a lot today! Anyways I waddled my way to the finish and when I finally rolled down the finish shoot I couldn't believe I still completed the course in 9hrs 23min, was actually my best ironman time, all be it by a minute! Still a small victory for the day and at least I got to here those cool words that many do the event just to experience "you are an ironman"!

Once across the line as it often does it really hit me. All of a sudden it was all my concentration and might to simply stay on my feet. I stumbled my way through the recovery centre and found my way out of the start finish area, I just needed to find fallon and dad who'd been out there all day cheering me on. When dad saw me he was pretty worried and when I told him what had happened really worried. He more than anyone knows that it takes a severe amount of suffering for me to complain and quickly whisked me off to the medical tent for a check up.  It was here that I had the opportunity to appreciate even more how amazing the whole ironman family is. This massive tent full of ironman fatigued athletes and each and every staff member was as helpful as could be. It didn't take long for the doctor to figure out what went wrong with once he matched up my symptoms with what i'd put in my body in that first 5hrs of the race. I'd simply had far too much sugar concentration in my drink bottles and no where near the required amount of water to accompany it to dilute it and make it possible for my insides to process it.

Yep I was simply a ticking time bomb from the moment I took the first sip of my "turbo bottles", my brilliant plan to make hydration and fueling so so simple really was too good to be true. The warning signs where there and the damage had already been done on the 2nd half of the bike course where I started feeling light headed. When I cruised out of transition for the all important run it was simply going to be a matter of time before my kidneys started to shut down?? Well I found out, around 18km of bouncing along pounding the pavement, that was as far as I would get actually racing this ironman. Some people have asked why I would risk kidney failure and not pull out? Well my answer to that is simple, I haven't earn't the right to quit a race simply because things weren't going my way and I wasn't winning or in the top 3 or 5 or 10. If id race for years as a pro and been a consistent performer at that level then yeah, slipping back so far in the field would be unusual and perhaps its best to save your bullets for another day. In this case it was my debut as a pro and i'd had to accept being judged on that no matter what the result may be. In the end I was the 14th professional across the line so that's how good I am as a pro. I earned a few precious wtc ranking points and while it would have been fantastic to begin my innings with a 6 i'll have to be content with a single. It is what it is, maybe I'll keep hitting singles and my ranking will continue to reflect where I stand in the sport. I'm a bit of an optimist though and feel that i'll benefit greatly from this result and  next time i'm on the start line, i'm definitely going to come out swinging.

Cjw







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