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2011 Ironman New Zealand – 5th place pro

March 5th, 2011

What a day!!! I had an exciting go out there today,..it was fun mixing it up with the likes of Cameron Brown (10x IMNZ champ), Terenzo Bozzone (5x world champ), Mathius Hecht (13th Hawaii Ironman 2009), Keegan Williams (IM PB of 8:12), the legendary Petr Vabrousek, and friends.

scott_bikestart_NZ
Image from www.ironman.com

It sure was fun finding myself in the lead just after the first turnaround (45km mark). A little tip my old coach gave me was to look like you are in agony when you pass people who you don’t want following you. So when I passed Terenzo and Mathius then, I grimaced and wiggled my body to make it appear like I was killing myself. Not sure if it helped, but I continued distancing myself from them. For interest sake, at this point in the bike, my average power was 271watts.

DEL_2435
photo: Delly Carr/Sportshoot

4736006
photo: The Manawatu Standard

Throughout the entire ride, it was steadily raining, sometimes light, sometimes heavy,..but there was never a dry spell out there. I spoke with the guys from Hed the day before, as I was a little worried about rain coming into the deep section of my Hed 3Deep – they encouraged me to find a less deep wheel,..even a training wheel, as the aerodynamic benefits of a deep section wheel become moot if the rain is significant. Since I didn’t have any other options at my disposal, I ended up taping all the gaps where water could get in. Anyways,…my concerns about water entry was soon forgotten, when I realized during the race that things were working just fine! I felt particularly at ease with my Guru frame, as there is a water hole at the bottom to drain any water that might make its way in.

Riding in the hard rain
photo: Mark Essak

I didn’t use a time crono on the bike (or watch on the run),..but I did have power as a gauge,..however I largely used perceived effort as a guide. I kept a steadily increasing effort throughout the second lap,..though my energy and overall body felt great,..I did complete my second lap slower than my first — it’s amazing how this distance can take the pep out of ones legs.

I was feeling confident that I was going to run strong, further spurred on by the excitement of having a lead on the field. I started the run with good legs,…I felt like I was relaxed and smooth, and most importantly I was breathing well. Now historically I would try to ingest the MAX calories/hour that would be recommended,..which sometimes, I think, has led to poor digestion, and running around with a big bloated stomach. This time, I erred on the side of caution and only consumed 300calories/hour, in the form of Carbo Pro. So I think this contributed to my stomach feeling sensational too.

On the run, I was consuming coke, and grabbed the odd gel at aid stations where I squeezed little blebs of gel in the side of my mouth and let the sugars from it absorb through my mouth’s mucosal membrane – anything to ease the burden on my stomach.

Scott and Cameron
photo: Universal Sports

At the 8km mark, Cameron Brown ran past me confidently,..looking amazing. I tried to go with him for 2 seconds, before quickly realizing his pace was too rich for me. Forging ahead, at the 10.5km turn around mark on the run,..I was very happy to see that I had a sizeable gap on Torenzo and Mathius who were running in 3rd and 4th. Although they both looked to be moving well,…at this point, I was doing everything I could to maintain this gap. I started to have the odd ‘low spell’ where my energy plummeted, which seemed to be relatively well reversed by taking in more calories – which is what I did. At the 20km mark, Torenzo passed me, tapped me on the butt and gave me a word of encouragement. By the 26km mark, it was time for me to be visited by Mathius who was next to pass me. With about 12km to go, Keegan passed me,…this time, I was able to tuck behind him, and stay with him for about 8km. I knew that I needed to keep running as fast as I could in order to hold off Petr who was running in 6th, and fight for 4th place,…possibly in a sprint finish,…or who knows what might be happening ahead – the possibility of a meltdown by any one of the guys ahead certainly could happen.

So I fought and fought and fought, and gave it my all – which resulted in a 5th place finish. It’s a good feeling to know I gave it my all – I can leave this one behind with a good memory.

Thank you everyone who supported, helped, and cheered – contributing to the events success!

Scott