The inaugural Albany Half Ironman was held on Saturday and what a spectacular day it was for competitors and spectators alike. With temperatures in the 30’s and a strong wind from the east picking up as the day went on, there were going to be plenty of additional challenges other than just the course! Race directors and organisers Dale and Scott had chosen a gorgeous 2 lap swim in Middleton Beach, a one lap 90km cycle straight up Mount Adelaide then heading to Denmark with some rollers, a tail wind out but an increasing head wind back. Then finally a 2 lap run made up of rolling footpath, up to 5km of beach running and a steep boardwalk run to the turn around before heading back to transition! What more could we ask for!
Close to 350 individuals signed up along with 60 teams. An Open/Elite wave set off at 7am followed by all women, all men then finally 30mins later the teams.
The beach start wasn’t ideal for me…something I definitely have to work on but I blame it on the short legs! But once into the beautiful water it didn’t take long to find my rhythm and pick up the pace a bit to jump on the feet of the guys in front of me. I was able to stay with them the first lap then again my dreadful beach skills left me behind heading out for the second lap but with a burst of speed I was able to get back on for the remainder of the swim.
Quite a novelty for me coming out of the water first but I did enjoy it!! Paige Bowman was next to exit just over a minute behind. I think I will even go as far as saying I had a much better transition than I had in Canberra a few weeks ago and was onto the bike and ready to work hard!
The first 10km consisted of climbing, descending, cornering…over the railway line..all to get out of town. Then it was head down and aero for the next 35km to the turn around. It was only then I was able to get a good look at how I was going and the work that needed to be done! Rachael Smith and Nat Laurendeau were riding strong! Guy and I have been doing a lot of base/aerobic work over the past month so I knew the endurance was there, but was lacking in the Time Trial department. We had crammed one ATTA race in last weekend (talk about leaving things to the last minute!!) So I used the memory of that pain to push into the headwind home!
Off onto the run and the fun began! I knew that it was going to be tough…!! Lets just say it ranks right up there with Honu 70.3 run across the golf course and rolling trails.
The first 5km I just tried to concentrate on my cadence and getting into some sort of rhythm but was finding it a bit difficult with the continuous up and down! But I was loving the challenge! I was lucky to have mum, dad, my brother Blake and his wife Robbie there to support and they had spread themselves out along the course to off there support.
Following the turn around it was onto the beach for 2.5km! The first lap there were not many runners around, just plenty of locals swimming, sun baking and walking there dogs along the gorgeous sand! At least by the second lap there were more triathletes around but I thought it was smarter to keep my head down and focus on just in front of me rather than looking all the way around the point and how far I actually had to go! This seemed to work! I reached the soft sand section leading onto the boardwalk and was ready to bring it home!
Congrats to Rachael Smith and Kira Flanagan who had fantastic days and completed the podium. It is going to be a great season for both of these girls! It was also a special day as Guy won the mens race as well. Unfortunately by default and a DQ to Matty White for littering on the bike. However, even as 2nd across the line he had a great solid day!
It was a fun, well organised, challenging event and I would encourage anyone looking for an early season solid Half Ironman to head to Albany in Jan 2014!
Thanks to my amazing sponsors Novatron, SRAM, Quarq, BlueSeventy, Churchhill Cycles, Ryders Eveywear, GU, Nuun, K-Swiss, Rolf Primo Wheels, %110 Play Harder, Super Ruth Chang, Paul Newsome and SwimSmooth, Computrainer, Rock Tape, Swish Design
Credit to Mark Luckin and Paul Newsome for the photo’s!
Next up Challenge Wanaka!! Excited about my first Challenge Experience!