This is my third year in Cairns and I was lucky enough to get out the Green Island on the Great Barrier Reef for the Quicksilver Reef Swim held on the Thursday before my main event, the 70.3. It was a good little hit out and a great experience to swim out over one of Australia’s most famous natural wonders.The tropical north was living up to its name as we had a mix of rain, wind, heat and humidity leading into the race. Every year I seem to forget that Cairns doesn’t experience winter but only sauna like conditions.
For race day however we had rain, and lots of it. The swim was choppy, and I found it really hard to get into a rhythm but I still managed to maintain a good position up with the leaders. I came out in third after picking up a little wave onto the shore. Out of T1 we formed a pack of about 8 or so guys which included all the pre race favorites. The rain was still coming down and I was pretty cautious around some of the sweeping corners that we had to negotiate on the beautiful coastal ride. Tim Reed put a surge in early up one of the climbs and I came to the front to help him out as I was really eager to try and get a gap on the faster runners, in particular Brad Kahlefeldt whose raw ITU speed is not matched by many in the world.
I was feeling really good on the bike and our group had whittled down to 5. I was trying to create an opportunity to get away with another rider perhaps Clayton Fettell or Tim Reed as I was little apprehensive about my run speed as I had sustained a mild but annoyingly persistent foot injury that had reduced my run mileage since racing Busso 70.3 five weeks prior. The reduced run miles had allowed me some more time to focus on my bike, which was paying dividends during the race. I was pushing a higher wattage than I ever had before in a race but I was unsure how the other guys were feeling as well. The last 20km of the bike turned into a little game cat and mouse as it seemed that we all were resigned to the fact that the podium would be decided in a foot race.
The 5 of us started the run together and I found myself running with a good stride but locked in a battle for 3rd place with Clayton Fettell. True to form Brad had taking off and had established a slight lead by halfway, Sensei Tim Reed was looking great in second. I was trying to get some more breathing room on Clayto but by 18km we were running side-by-side. I wasn’t able to go with his surge as my legs just seemed to turn off and shut down after the days hard racing. I made it home in 4th.
Coming so close to the podium always hurts but I am still happy with how I raced. Its great to be able to be really consistent with my results and see some tangible improvements in my biking ability which has come a long way in the past 12 months. Full credit to Brad, Tim and Clayton up front who all raced really strong. Thanks for all the support and mostly to my sponsors in my corner who make all this possible!