Monday, August 24, 2015

Ironman Bintan 70.3

Really so happy to get the win here in Bintan. I've had a great run here with a second in 2013 over full distance, a win last year over the full distance and now a win over the half distance. I love the non wetsuit swim, the hilly bike course and the heat and the humidity. It is also always such a great experience to race here. Beautiful of course but such friendly people, such a nice atmosphere of friendliness, and riding around the island through the villages is a great experience with the cheering children and it is never dull. I really love racing here and of course with the the heat and humidity it is a perfect test before the world champs in Hawaii.

The last four weeks or so I have been working under new coach Kristian from Trispecific. I am absolutely loving the change in style. The past few months previous to this I turned myself into a bit of an aerobic machine, my endurance was so good, I felt like I could go forever and an ironman felt short, but the strength and speed was not where it needed to be and Kristian is definitely helping me with this.  I was really happy with my race as coming out of winter training, from experience I know I don't gain the fitness I do when training in summer temperatures. So to bike and run as well as I did at this stage, I'm very pleased. We are going to the Sunshine Coast for 3 weeks in September, and from experience, I know that this always jumps me up several levels, so I'm very happy with where things are at right now.

So to the race. The swim was lovely, very clearly marked. We had a separate female pro start 5 minutes behind the pro men so that was great. The water is 29 degrees and it is just lovely to swim in. I had Laurel Wassner for company and we came out in around 25 minutes. I had a much slower transition than her. I have just bought some new biking shoes which are so much better to ride in than the triathlon shoes I had, but I can't put them on when they are already attached to the bike. Of course this race just happened to have an incredibly long run with our bikes before mounting which I had to do in my bike shoes which slowed me down some, but the power I get from having a much better pair of shoes for 90 or 180k riding is worth the time lost in transition I think.

I caught and passed Laurel a couple of km in and then was alone the rest of the day apart from one man passing me at around 40k. My new Ceepo felt so good. It was the first time racing this 2016 Katana and I am so so impressed with it. It is lighter, more aero and feels very fast. I rode my Rolf Prima TDF tubular wheels with quite a narrow rim up front to be as light as I could for climbing on this challenging course. I felt very good the whole way, no low patches. I had to ride quite cautiously, as there were stray dogs etc that were trying to ride in front of me. I was feeling so good I just wanted to really put my head down and go for it and give it everything, but I had to hold back quite a lot and be scanning for hazards all the time. It is part of the fun of the experience in doing a race like this though, you don't get bored that is for sure! I rode 2.27 which was the fastest bike split and came off with a three minute lead, although I didn't know any of that at the time.

The run was a 3 loop course around a lake. In previous years the race has been held in a different location which had a lot more shade, this time it made for a hotter experience but the aid stations were 1.5k apart and had lovely cold sponges and I never felt uncomfortable. I ran well, felt very comfortable, but I had no idea what was happening behind me because of the loop course. I knew I had Cait Snow and Katey Gibb somewhere behind me who can both run sub 1.20 half marathon. At times I felt a little frustrated with myself as I kept running at ironman pace. It was too comfortable, I should be really hurting in a half, but I just can't make myself go there unless someone catches me, then the surge of adrenalin means I'll start running that much quicker and the race is on. My strength is definitely the full distance as I can just keep chugging along at that speed for a long time, but I do want at some stage to do a half distance where I really push myself, and feel very uncomfortable throughout and be on the edge of collapse at the end, but today was not that day to go to the well. I was just very, very stoked to have a very solid race in hot and humid conditions and with no gut issues. My Asics DS racers felt incredibly light and well fitting, and I finished with a 1.28 a couple of minutes ahead of Cait Snow in second and Katey Gibb a few further minutes back in 3rd.

The most pleasing thing was to see the nutritional changes I have made in the last few months really having a positive effect now. I'll really speak about this in a later blog, but I've made myself a lot more metabolically efficient, an athlete who can use both fat and carbs to fuel my racing, whereas before I was highly carb dependent. It takes time and patience, at first I lost a bit of speed and power as my body was trying to adjust, but now it is returning and racing feels a world away for me than it used to.

Thanks so much to my sponsors for their support, it is great to be starting to hit good form at this time of year. Ceepo, Rolf Prima, Powerbar, Asics, Rudy Project, Roka, Cobb, Keywin, sweet cheeks.  Next up for me is Kona. I did put myself on the Sunshine Coast start list in a few weeks time in case things went pear shaped here, but now I want to focus on some good training leading into Kona and then after Kona I will be racing the ironman 70.3 in Taiwan soon after so best I put my head down, knuckle down and get some work done.