IRONMAN Cairns

Posted by Dylan on 2 July 2015

It has been a busy summer. 
Two 70.3's, three full distance races and a whole lot of fun, all in less than 6 months. 
Cairns was the final race towards Ironman Hawaii qualification and therefore carried a bit of weight and a lot of importance.


Training was a bit of a mixed bag heading in to Cairns. Summer stretched out about as far as it could before the frosts rolled in and the southerly's and their rains joined in. 
Getting sick 4 weeks out is never ideal, but that's part and parcel with winter training and I nursed an annoying, rather than debilitating, cold for a good 2 weeks. 
Never the less, like any good build up there were good sessions and bad ones and by the time race week came about I knew I was fit and should probably make it to the finish line...!

Race morning came around and with it the first sign of sunshine I had seen all week (a little dramatic). It was a beautiful sight though, and to my disappointment the wind had died down a little, but there was still a little chop on the ocean.

The gun went at the reasonable hour of 0730 and we shot off in to the ocean to join our crocodile and stinger mates. They were all still asleep though after a big Saturday night, so no dramas on that front. 
I got to the front and settled in pretty quickly. The swim was quite a maze and with the added chop it must have been tough for some of the weaker swimmers. It was pretty cool to do a beach exit at the halfway point, but not so nice on the heart rate. 
I some how managed to swim sub 45mins, there is a lot to be said about a great wetsuit and salt water. Luke Mckenzie, a follow blue seventy athlete, was only a couple minutes down out of the water.
I knew if Luke got it right on race day he would be super hard to beat...

T1 was a bit of fun. A super narrow pathway between the bikes meant a bit of dancing to the end of T1 where the pro's bikes were. 

I generally know within the first 10-15minutes on the bike whether my bike legs had come with me to the race. Unfortunately for me in Cairns I knew almost instantly that I had left them at home, in fact I had known for the last couple of weeks that they were struggling a little. 
Never mind though, I still had 180km to ride and that isn't a good state of mind to start that with. So I got on my way and didn't look back.
It didn't take Luke long to catch me, maybe 30km, and he was flying. I hoped that he was going super fast and I was going 'normal' and tried not to think about the 2 other guys I knew would be chasing me, Cameron Brown and James Cunnama. 
The bike course in Cairns is pretty cool. You head up from Palm Cove to Port Douglas, then back towards Palm Cove, another u-turn, and then out to Port Douglas again before the long 70km stretch all the way back to Cairns. 
I saw Cam and James at the turn in Port Douglas and realised I wasn't going too bad. I made the decision to hang tough until the turn back near Palm Cove and then sit up a little and 'wait.'
I managed to drop my special needs about 90km, so instead of sitting up I had to stand up and run back to get them. James had dropped Cam a little at this stage and he passed me during my run, only for me to then re-pass him when he dropped his chain on a descent. Not long after this we all came back together like one big happy family. Except I wasn't that happy.
We worked together reasonably well and it wasn't until around the 140km mark that I started to drop from Cam and looked behind me to get James to come through... but he wasn't there. 
Up until this point I thought I was going to get 4th. Luke was having a blinder, Cam has been in great shape and even on an average day is a sensational runner. James had been on fire leading up to the race and Cairns was even more important to him for Kona. I on the other hand felt like I had been non-stop racing and my legs weren't really firing, so I hadn't planned on being a hero, simply just trying to get the job done.
So once again, when i looked behind and didn't see James I got a bit of a boost and put my head down once again. It didn't stop Cam riding away from me, or the Frenchie Simon storming past me at 150km. By that stage I was toast and we still had the most exposed section of headwind riding to go. I don't know how fast i was going, or should i say slow, but it was slow. 

As you can imagine I was legitimately happy to get off the bike and to my surprise my legs felt fine and I settled in to my run quickly. Cam was 4 mins up, I ignored him, but Simon was 6 mins up. A little more than I would have liked, but I remained patient. At 15km in the run he was almost 9mins up... that wasn't what i expected. At 30km he was 90 seconds up and I knew then that I would eventually get him. 
I made the pass in to 3rd at 35km,  great feeling to know that I would get another podium and pretty much confirm my spot for Kona. 

Congrats to Luke on another win in Cairns and a dominating performance, and to Cam for just another Cam Brown race!

I am writing this a few weeks after Cairns and have been enjoying 2 weeks of nothing and now 2 weeks of very light training. It feels like I'm doing nothing for a month, which is pretty nice. 
Next up I will head over to the USA and race 70.3 Timberman on my arrival, before heading to Boulder, CO for a 6 weeks training block. After that it is 2 weeks in Kona leading in to my first crack at the big one.

I will keep you posted, never often enough, but every so often ;)

Hope everyone out there is enjoying their winter or their racing season.

Cheers
Dylan

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