We assembled in the water, and after trying to remove all shark fears we were on our way to the tiny speckle on the horizon, that was the swim buoy, 800m off shore. James Hodge started to my right and I tend to favour breathing to my left, which resulted in him getting away from me at the beginning of the swim without me noticing. I was a little annoyed with myself but emerged second out of the water, about 30 seconds down.
Brad Kahlefedt and Michael Fox joined me at the beginning of the ride, and soon after Tim Reed made the junction across, thankfully without towing anyone else up. I was super pumped about this as I knew we needed to do some damage control because Hodgey was up the road lighting it up like it was Christmas eve. Tim was really strong on the bike and I tried my best to share the work with him in order to cage the beast that was running rampart a couple of minutes ahead of us.
Into T2 and the official time gap was 2:52. Brad and Tim took off pretty quick and the pace was a little too hot for me so I settled into my own pace which I thought I could sustain for the half marathon. I felt stronger as the run progressed but I was wary of Dave Mainwaring who was making some serious inroads into our advantage off the bike. With about 4km to go I made a push for the line to hold him off, and at the final u-turn with 3.5km to go I noticed that James, in 3rd place was only about 40 seconds in front of me. I gave it everything I had for the last section into the headwind to bridge up but as we came into the finish chute, he just had enough gas in the tank to keep me in 4thby 5 seconds. My lacklustre sprint lived up to its name and my footing was less stable than a toddlers first steps. Not pretty. Stay tuned for some photographic evidence.
4th place is always a hard pill to swallow, especially when coming so close to my first podium in 70.3 racing. However, I am actually really pleased as I believe I assembled my best 70.3 race to date across all three disciplines. Congratulations to Brad, Tim and James for their respective podium finishes, and Dave for rounding out the top 5. I really enjoyed the race these guys provided up front.
Thanks to everyone who has sent me messages, I really enjoy reading them all, also thanks to the race organisers who have established one of the best races I have been to. I would also like to thank a few people: Shotz Nutrition who provide me with the best products on the market and a flawless nutrition plan to follow. Race day nutrition can sometimes be a hard nut to crack but thankfully I have this area taken care of. Scody who provide me with my race gear. Stay tuned for my new custom suit which will be making an appearance next race! Hawkesbury Physiotherapy for ongoing treatment of this belting that this body cops week in and week out. Glen from VoloSport for the ongoing support. Rod and Andrea for helping me with transfers to and from the airport (Congrats to Andrea who finished 5th in the pro women as well). Also thanks to major supporters Mum, Dad and Kat for their ongoing belief in my ability.
I had a great few days in Busso, with the post race highlight being room mate John Polson’s calorie consumption skills!
Thanks for reading. Until next time, Appo