Thursday, 29 November 2012

Hervey Bay 100 Race Report

Can I start by saying if you have not thought about doing this race, then you really need to.

The view from our house on the bike course
Sunday 25 November 2012 was the second running of the Hervey Bay 100 consisting of a 2km swim, 80km bike, and 18km run. I am very confindent in saying that this race will get bigger and bigger as each year goes by and is a must for anyone wanting a challenging, highly spectacular race that has an extremely friendly feel to it.

I arrived on Saturday morning with my wife Hayley and two Border Collies Ozzi and Jordi and checked into a pet friendly house that was on the water at Point Vernon and was located on the bike course. Saturday consisted of a very casual rego and race briefing followed by dinner the local pizza shop that went down a treat.

Saturday afternoon, the wind had picked up and kicked up some decent chop in the bay. Throughout the night, the wind did not ease and we were met on Sunday morning with a gusty Easterly blowing and a decent amount of chop.

I towed the start line in the under 40 wave and was first wave of the day. The swim was a two lap triangular course exiting the water after the first lap. I started hard from the beach start and felt I was in a good position rounding the first can which was only 50m away. Sighting to the second can was made difficult by the sun coming up as well as the wind and chop blowing straight in your face. The leaders were off the front in the swim but I found myself in what was either the second or third pack of about 5 others, where I swam strategically. After lap one, I found myself on the front of the pack and was not interested in towing the others around so swam off to the side and slowed up allowing a couple of others come through and jumped straight back onto their feet. I stayed in this spot for the remainder of the swim and exited in 34min 35sec and fifth in my age group.

My bike is usually my strength and being not the fastest swimmer, I usually have to ride hard to make up any lost ground in the swim. Lately I have been working hard to turn my run into my strength so my plan was to ride the first 20km of the bike hard and then ride very conservatively to finish with a strong run.

The course was a four lap course over some undulating terrain of some long steady climbs and one short sharp one. At the first turn around (halfway into the first lap) I was about 90 seconds down on 4th and 5th overall being Jason Crowther and Nathan Fitzakerly. My goal was to bridge up to them steadily and then switch off a conserve as much energy as I could to setup my run.

By 30km, I had caught  Jason and Nathan and dropped my pace right back and did not worry too much about chasing 1st and 2nd as they were minutes up the road riding solo. We were slowly reeling in my good mate and superfish Dan Hutchinson who was also riding so but did not catch him until 60km.

With about 5km to go, our group of 3 were caught by a bloke who started in the wave 5 minutes behind us and was flying. He flew right passed us as we were coasting to setup our run. This shook our pace line up and everyone was scrambling to stay near him and not lose any time going into T2. I was the only one who managed to stay near him which gave me a 20 second buffer on the other two.

Bike time - 2hr 7mins 6sec, 1st in Age Group

My goal for the run was to run a 75min 18km therefore I had to maintain 4:05min/km. I exited T2 in 4th place just behind Paul Dodd who had a 5min buffer on me having started 5min back. He immediately put 50m on me but I worked hard to not lose anymore distance. At the first turnaround 3km in, I had approximately 100m on Jason and a bit more on Nathan who was further back.

For the first lap, I averaged about 3:55min/km but was really hurting. It was tough running on the hot, tight twisting course but I just concentrated on my form and speed. I was running in my Asics Hyperspeed racing flats and I was confident these would get me through the 18km although being such a light weight race shoe. They are so light yet supportive at the same time.

After the first 6km lap, I settled into a good rythym and slowly gained on and picked off 3rd place and concentrated on holding my position. I maintained my speed and distance on Jason and kept ticking off the km's getting closer to the finish. By the second last turn around, I had put some more time on Jason and was confident I was going to cross the line 3rd.                        Run time: 1hr 13min 35sec

After the times were calculated, I was actually 4th overall having only put 4mins on Paul in the run therefore he had beaten my by 1min. I was stoked to come away with the win in the 30-39 age group which had some very handy athletes.

Total time: 3hrs 55min - 4th overall, 1st 30-39

It was great to be able to race alongside so many people from the Redcliffe Tri Club and the support from fellow competitors as well as specators was fantastic.

A big thank you goes to Nick and Dawn Downes and the Hervey Bay Tri club for putting on such an amazing event. The Hervey Bay 100 is definately a race I look forward to competing in next time.

For those interested, I have included my nutrition plan for the race.
1 gel 30mins prior to race start.
1 gel as soon as I got on the bike and then one every forty mins from there on the bike. A small handful of party mix lollies every alternate 40mins on the bike.
For the run, I had a gel every lap so each 6km's which was about 25 mins apart.

All roads now lead to Ironman Melbourne which is just over 17 weeks away. I have a 5 week block of base building consisting of alot of hills both on the bike and run.

Till next time....

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Noosa taper with a difference

Well what a week I had leading into Noosa. My lead up was going to be a different to other races that I have done due to an unscheduled trip to Canberra on the Wed, Thurs, Fri prior to the race.

Two weeks ago, I received a phone call from a great mate of mine whom I served with in the Army and was the MC at his wedding asking me to be in Canberra for something he could not tell me about. Straight away I knew what he was talking about and I was so pumped to be apart of such a special time in both his life, my life and the history of Australia.

On Thursday 1st November, my great mate, Dan Keighran was being awarded the Victoria Cross for Australia at Government House in Canberra. Dan and I served in the same section for the first four years of our careers and shared rooms in both East Timor and Malaysia. Both our wives have been best friends since school and were each others Maid of Honour at our weddings. The entire day was the most amazing experience to see the entire nation and its dignitaries fussing over Dan. It was easily one of the proudest moments in my life.

Being invited to his VC Investiture was a big enough honour, however Dan and Kathryn chose my wife and I to sit at their table during the official lunch alongside Julia Gillard, Govenor General Quentin Bryce, and Chief of Defence Force General David Hurley. Although it was pretty cool rubbing shoulders with the big wigs of our country, it was truly amazing to share lunch and then many beers following with Dan and Kathryn.

So with Noosa only four days away, it was the last of my worries as we downed many beers and had such a great time.  Noosa Tri was definately on the back burner but it was not a hard choice as to where my priorities lay.