In case you’re not into reading:
Apologies for the blog delay. The time after New Zealand was fairly frantic with the two happiest days of my life taking place. Monica and I got married and then soon after welcomed our baby boy Oscar James Reed into the world. In an effort to keep on topic and not make this a personal diary I’ll leave it at except to say I’m the luckiest man in the world to have such an amazing wife and one of those overly proud Dads.
It was always going to be tricky training for an Ironman whilst including a house move, preparing for a wedding and including a fair amount of teaching and coaching to keep the bills in check, however I did what I could and while I certainly didn’t feel my prep for an Ironman was ideal I was confident I could still have a decent result. When the race was delayed a day and cut to a 70.3 distance race due to the crazy ”weather bomb’ that hit NZ I think I was the only one internally cheering. My efforts to train for an IM had me at least in good shape for half the distance.
Race morning produced a stark contrast of conditions from Saturday with clear skies and only a light breeze. With Terenzo Bozzone returning from quite a break from training I took the gamble that he wasn’t in his best form and positioned myself on the shoulder of Marino Vanhoenacker who I saw as the favourite for this distance. My thoughts being that Marko Albert, Terenzo Bozzone, Guy Crawford and Marino would make a break from the rest of the field and I wanted to be dragged along as far as I could with these guys. To my surprise Marino disappeared early on and I ended up on Terenzo’s feet and noticed there wasn’t the usual urgency in the swim pace possibly with the great swimmers realising that the calm conditions weren’t conducive to a solo 90kms time trial. At 1 km I looked back to see Marino several swimmers back, weaving his way through the field steadily moving back up to the front after losing his goggles early on. When he went pass I jumped into his massive wake and didn’t let anyone push me out of it exiting the swim near the front with the main players.
Terenzo must have drilled transition because we got out on the bikes and he was already a few hundred metres up the road. I put my head down and bum up closing the gap. As we hit the first climb on our way out of Taupo there was quite a group of riders. I was probably 3rd or 4th from the front when I bumped my shifter by mistake causing my chain to come off. This can be quite a bugger in this sort of race as sometimes you are forced to get off and fix the chain, losing the pack who riding and pacing together at 7 metre gaps become very hard to catch. Astonishingly, first Terenzo and then another super nice bloke of the sport Aaron Farlow gave me a big push as they went past allowing me to keep my momentum, remain upright and get the chain back without having to dismount. I’m still amazed and hugely thankful that guys who rely on these races for their living did that.
The ride was quite tactical with Marino and Cameron Brown putting in solid turns at the front and then the pace really dropping off as people conserved their legs for the run. I felt comfortable throughout and was quite enjoying riding along with a bunch of media vehicles and a helicopter over head. Towards the end of the ride I was a little concerned that someone would attack in the last 10km so I moved to the front and lifted the pace a little to ensure I was where the action was. Then, as I anticipated Terenzo put in an attack with myself, Cam, Marino and Aaron following closely opening up a small gap on the others.
Into transition and I ripped on my new Zoot Ultra TTs, the laceless shoe once again allowing me the fastest T2, and hit the run in second a few metres behind Terenzo with Cam and Marino blowing gel flavoured breath down my neck. Terenzo was going a fair clip however having had a similar amount of time out with injury a year prior I knew that the speed comes back fast but the strength for the final 10kms takes a little longer so I wasn’t too stressed. What I was fussed about was how strong Marino and Cam are. I won’t go through these guys credentials as anyone reading this most likely follows the sport and knows they are amongst the very best in the world. I knew I wouldn’t run the last 5kms as quick as them however being close to 10 years their junior I knew my first 10km speed should be better.
With the incredible crowds that this race draws and a lot of people screaming “Go Terenzo”, I slowly pulled away running sub 3.15/km pace for the first 8kms before trying to find a steady rhythm. Unfortunately that rhythm didn’t come. I got to 11kms with a 1 minute 30 lead but I was feeling very nauseous, a feeling that I haven’t had before in a race, perhaps from going too hard, perhaps nutrition, I’m not really sure. Either way I was forced to back things off to bring my guts into check but by 15kms I knew Marino was getting ever closer. I was starting to feel good again but Marino was obviously feeling much better as the big Belgian belted past me at the 17km mark. Someone told me after the race that he ran the final 5kms in well under 16 minutes.
Of course I was extremely happy to finish 2nd and to celebrate with my sister Catherine who had flown over as a surprise with my Dad. Unfortunately my Dad had to shoot back to Australia Sat night and missed the race with the weather issues but I appreciated the massive effort all the same.
Cam Brown was just starting to warm up and was pulling back time coming in close behind for third showing how good his form would have been for the full Ironman distance. Now with Ironman Melbourne passed Cam once again proved why it would have been near impossible to beat the human metronome. So strong! It was an honour to race such a legend of the sport.
Hats off also to the Ironman New Zealand organisers. They did everything possible to ensure that a race went ahead despite everything mother nature threw at them. As expected, all aspects of the organisation were brilliant.
Anyway, off to change nappy, thanks for reading and big thanks to my sponsors.
1. Marino Vanhoenacker: 3:55:03
2. Timothy Reed: 3:55:51
3. Cameron Brown: 3:56:38
4. Romain Guillaume: 3:58:03
5. Aaron Farlow: 3:58:57
6. Marko Albert: 4:00:43
7. Terenzo Bozzone: 4:01:51
8. Guy Crawford: 4:03:29
9. Jamie Whyte: 4:12:05
10. Shanon Stallard: 4:14:46