Last year I raced Busso was in an agonizingly close sprint finish with James Hodge for the last spot on the podium. This year I returned and again, found myself in a sprint finish, but this time for 2nd and 3rd and again I came off second best. Perhaps I need to go out and do some 100m reps and work on that lackluster sprint of mine! In saying that however, I was really pleased with how my race went. I clocked a 73min half marathon, which is quicker than I have ever run before, and my consistency in my racing is something I am really happy with. To put the race in perspective, there was 32 seconds separating myself in 3rd and Tim Berkel who won and all three of us on the podium went under the course record by 2minutes as well.

The swim was held in the crystal clear, chilly waters of Geographe Bay, which on any other day would have been nice for a spot of snorkeling. There was a sizable main group with Courtney Atkinson and Sam Betten worming away to establish a minor advantage in the latter stages of the swim. I emerged with the pack of about 7 other guys and we quickly formed a 9 man group onto the bike by quickly shutting down Sam and Courtney’s advantage. This was my first race on my new Giant Trinity and my stress levels were a little higher than usual. However, within the first few pedal strokes of the ride I found these feelings to prove unnecessary as I knew I was onto a sweet ride. I managed to average a lower power than usual while still clocking a 2:04 bike split. I was only wishing I had made the move to electronic gearing years ago!

The ride felt quite surgy at times but I was feeling comfortable, and I was making sure I was up the front of the bike especially on the second lap as it was getting quite congested with the age groupers and I didn’t want anyone sneaking off the front and camouflaging in with the crowd.

Off our bikes I latched onto the shoulder of Tim Berkel who always seems to pace his runs well. Courtney Atkinson obviously had somewhere else to be as he took off in typical ITU fashion. Tim and I ran shoulder to shoulder and I knew we were running fast with splits showed us clocking 3:20 pace for the first 7km lap. Courtney started to fade about half way through the run and Tim made a big surge to bridge up to him a couple of km later that I couldn’t respond with. I caught and passed Courtney at about the 15km mark and was now running in second with Tim just up ahead of me.

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However I was concerned about Alex Reithier, who was in 3rd and seemed to be running swiftly every time we saw each other at the turn around. With 3.5km to go we made our last pass of each other and I lifted the pace to make sure I held on for 2nd. With about 1km to go, Alex pulled up beside me and launched passed me straight away. I was caught a little off guard but had nothing left in the tank after over 3 and half hours of racing. I crossed in 3rd, very pleased with another podium, but if we are being honest, a tiny bit disheartened that I had been so close to being on the top step.

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The guys at Triathlon Western Australia have once again put on a spectacular event that has probably been my favorite 70.3 experience of the past two seasons.

Quick thanks my sponsors and my coach Tim Reed and you guys!