IRONMAN NZ Race Report March 2017 by Nick Thompson @ 28 Mar 2017
Around three weeks ago, I completed my 8th IRONMAN and my 1st Taupo IRONMAN NZ, in a time of 12:01, which included 1:15 swim, 6:03 bike & 4:32 run...Not what I was after, but the day was not easy either.
The swim should be a flat and easy lake swim the picture doesn't really show how bad it was with 30-45km/h winds and real waves!
“Take it easy” was the swim plan, as some 75 people DNF'ed the swim, which is not a good look at all. The swim start at IMNZ is one of the few mass IM swim starts left, which is a shame. Not to put you off, but you can see in the photo that the swim start is very wide, so you can get into clear water without swimming over each other.
There’s a long transition to the bike from the swim exit. It is around 400m which is a bit long, but getting into transition I felt quite good and hopped on to the bike quite quickly. At this stage you can tell where you are (regardless of the time). Just look around? Lots of bikes still there? In my “elderly” AG I was 11th at the time, so happy with that.
The bike is a two lap, out and back course. The wind was quite strong outward and I was doing 50+km/h at times, but heading back into town 15km/h seemed the norm and it was really making a big difference. At least it was not hot, in fact all day around the mid 20 degrees Celsius which was very nice and I just kept saying to myself “patience”. The wind too on the bike resulted in seven people being hospitalised after falling off, but as we all know you don’t win an IM in the swim or bike legs, but you sure can lose one!!
So the bike was done in 6:03, the slowest for me in the last 5 IM’s, but as Cam Brown later said, IMNZ conditions were the hardest he had done in the past 16 years !!
Out of transition in 12th place (by the way the male transition tent had a toilet in it - what a great idea IM!!) Anyway, the plan, or more to the point my coach’s advice, was “the race starts at the 30km mark on the run”. I did think initially BS, but this turned out to be quite true. A three lap course along the main street and around the lake, my mate from Singapore flew down to support me and we worked out that Lake Taupo, is in fact the size of Singapore!! And a lot more picturesque. The run is the hardest for me and still very much a work in progress, but very happy with doing the last lap as fast as the first. I did however fall away on the second lap which was disappointing.
Hat and sun glasses off ready for the finish line pics!!
Finished in 12:01, 11th in my AG and no injuries. In fact I've recovered well and I’m back to full training, so I'll be doing more run training in the lead up to IM Cairns which is in 11 weeks’ time!!
Thank you to the Nuna club for your support and encouragement. One day I will get this sport right, it just takes persistence and a heap of patience...