Blog » 2016
I had high hopes for 2016.
What I thought (hoped) would be a continuation of the past 3 years, a steady improvement and putting what I had learnt in to action, wasn’t to be.
The plan was similar to 2015. Go well at Challenge Wanaka (win) and go well at IMNZ (podium), followed by a good to great performance (at least top 10) at IRONMAN Texas in May, and then a good break before focusing on Kona an aiming to get there fresh and firing, and deliver a great performance.
I felt a lot of pressure going in to Challenge Wanaka, of course mostly from myself. I knew Dougs (Dougal Allan) would be swimming a lot better than previous years and Maik Twelziek was also there to throw another uber cyclist in to the mix.
I was more determined than ever to show that I could ride my bike… and in the end that was my downfall (plus maybe a minor hip issue). The first 90km was done at my best Half-Distance power (not recommended in a full) and for very little time gain. By 100km I was done and so was my race. I soldiered on and at 5km in to the run I felt the ‘pinch’ that has led me to where I am today; walking around on crutches!
I did not know what was going on at that stage and so I headed up to Taupo anyway for a bit of redemption. The result was my first DNF in a full-distance event out of my 15 starts.
After Taupo I had to refocus my year on actually making a living, I couldn’t keep chasing the Kona dream with so many unknowns and I didn’t have the dollars to keep throwing them down the black hole.
So I went off to Challenge Taiwan for the 4th year in a row and managed to survive for 2nd place, but with a now thorough understanding that full-distance races were not in my best interest in the state that my hip was in. At this stage I still didn’t know what was going on.
I had always planned on heading to Font Romeu, France, to train with my good mate Tony Dodds in his Olympic build-up, and so that is what I did.
I managed my best performance of the year on the way to France at Challenge Galway, Ireland, simply by being fresh and with lots of physio on the hip. In the end I felt good and came away with a 3rd.
France was awesome and it was amazing to see how far Doddsy has come over the years – we basically started Tri’s at the same time and both came from swimming backgrounds. He is one hell of an athlete! A special thanks to Tri NZ and their support staff for looking after me while away. The constant physio was a real treat and allowed me to get in to the best shape of the year.
It was then a quick trip home for a wedding in early August and finally an MRI to find out what was going on, before heading off to Challenge Iskandar-Puteri, Malaysia.
I again had high hopes for a great performance in Malaysia after training really well in France, but alas, it wasn’t to be as great as I had hoped and another 3rd place for me.
The MRI showed what the doctors and physio’s expected, FAI (femoral-acetabular impingement), with a torn labrum, and cartilage damage.
Surgery was then scheduled for early-mid October… all going to plan.
So, I had about a 6-7 week window to work from and squeeze in one last race. I had always wanted to race the ITU Long Distance worlds. I felt the distance couldn’t get much better for me; 4km swim, 120km bike, and 30km run. Although I loved the distance, my body didn’t quite enjoy it as much as I had hoped and I struggled through to 10th place in Oklahoma City… at least another city to tick off the list!
Once I was home things took a little longer than expected and I didn’t go under the knife until the 6th of December. As I write this I am just over one month since surgery and all seems to be on the mend fairly well.
All in all and considering the issues with my hip I cannot really complain about my season. I still managed a few podiums, and well, Wanaka wasn’t to be and if anything was my own doing.
I have always said you need the good with bad and the bad with the good, otherwise how do you tell them apart!? I had 3 great years in 2013,14,15, and if anything I learnt the most in 2016, and I have potentially got on top of something that has more than likely been an issue for longer than I have known.
I want to say a special thanks to Colliers International for coming on board as my major sponsor for 2016 and for sticking by me when I did anything but deliver on the goals we set out.
And of course to all my other sponsors who did the same:
Specialized, Profile Design, Brooks, Blue Seventy, Polar, Clif Bar (who are new as of August and have agreed to stick by me while I don’t race!), Smith Optics, Aloe Up, and Morrison Cars.
Aand I can’t forget my family, friends and supporters who are always out there and who don’t seem to care about the performances, but more the person – that means a lot.
Cheers to 2016, and a bigger cheers to the year ahead.
Looking forward to seeing you all out there in 2017 (hopefully) in the near future.
Thanks for reading