Auckland was not the result I was after, nor was it the race I know I am capable of producing. I finished 11th, which was a little way off my somewhat lofty goal of a top 5 finish. When you look at the calibre of athletes who competed, and the fact that the top 19 athletes went sub 4 hours, you get an appreciation of the level of competition. If you’re not 100% on your game, you’re just going to get exposed out there and I didn’t have the legs on the day to go with the big hitters.

Auckland turned on the goods for race day with a serving of mild temperatures with no wind. I’ve been lucky enough to start working with Blue Seventy wetsuits for 2014 and it’s honestly the best suit I’ve swum in. I found the swim quite hard after getting worked around the first buoy but settled in and emerged at the head of the chase pack with all the main big dogs, but a couple of the super fish had wormed away from us in the last few hundred meters.

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The bike course in Auckland is great, offering spectacular views of the sunrise over the harbour as you head over the Auckland Harbour Bridge. We formed a lead pack of about 10 guys but there wasn’t too much excitement over the 90km. I was actually fairly comfortable on the bike which is a huge positive for me as I know my bike is coming along on leaps and bounds due to a far more specific approach to my training. I got an adrenaline rush off the bike and ran out a little harder than I had initially anticipated.

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I was stride for stride with Kempy, Docherty and Terenzo. We took it out at low 3min km’s and for the first 3km and I was hoping the pace would settle but unfortunately it didn’t. From 3km to 10km I hit a long bad patch and was passed by numerous athletes from the chase pack but I muscled up and held my position for the second lap coming home in 11th.

I knew coming into this race that I was stretching my good form over a couple of months and I knew it was always going to be difficult to maintain my level of performance that I had in my peak during November the start of December. It’s a delicate act trying to balance form, training and ensuring you’re getting the appropriate recovery and in this case my form had started its downward spiral. It’s easy to over analyse a performance that is less than your best, but the reality is that you only need to be 2% off your top form to be exposed in a field like this. For me it was the first time I have competed in a field of this quality in a 70.3 and it’s never easy to know how to play to your strengths when you’re lining up against some of the best guys in the world.

I’m having a couple of weeks away from training now. I was going to race Ironman 70.3 Geelong if I was able to keep the form rolling but for now I am looking at have a few weeks to myself before rebuilding into some races over April and May.

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Thanks for reading.