Well that was one tough day at the office. I Couldn't quite pull off the win but I got close!
Race morning dawned and the wind was already blowing strong at 5am! 1200 very nervous Ironman athletes awaited the start on lake Taupo which was getting rougher and rougher by the minute. I was worried there might not be a swim but the wind didn't turn the lake into a surf beach thankfully. Still this was one of the hardest swims ever here with a very nasty chop hitting the lake and it was hard to navigate your way around the course. I was swimming with Marino Vanhoenacker and Cyril Viennot in a bunch of five athletes but we came out of the water 5 minutes down on the main group of Marko Albert, Terenzo Bozzone, Clayton Fettell and Braden Currie.
Onto the bike and my legs weren't quite there and felt like I couldn't push as hard as I wanted. I knew the bike was going to be extremely tough as the wind was still building, we were sitting on 50km/hr on the way out to Reporoa but coming back into Taupo and speeds were only hitting 30-35km/hr and the 2nd lap was even harder. The lead to Terenzo was increasing as every kilometer passed by and when it hit 15minutes I thought that was the end of my day. Around 130km the gap finally started to turn back in my favour but only a little. As we reached T2 the time to Terenzo was now 11:30 minutes and 9:30 to Braden. I was off the bike in 9th and started the run with Cyril who is a great runner.
I felt more in control running than I did on the bike and felt like I had more power and immediately started gaining back time on the leaders. The run leg is not flat and has rolling undulations the entire course with a few steep pitches on some of the hills. We managed to take 2mins off the lead in the first 14km(lap) but it was going to take some of the athletes in front to start blowing up and that's exactly what started to happen on the 2nd and 3rd run laps. I was now in 4th with 14km to go and had 6mins to chase down, you can never give up in an Ironman as you never know what can happen just around the corner. Suddenly I had Terenzo Bozzone and Marko Albert in my sights and passed them with 10km to go, there was only now one more athlete in front of me but I was running out of space to catch him in time. Not even my fastest ever marathon(2:42:30) here in Taupo was enough to stop Braden Currie from winning. I was happy to see the finish line as my legs were absolutely smashed at the finish along with everyone's!
I'll take a short break to let my body recover and then begin training for my next race on April 23rd in Miyakojima, Japan and then the Asia-Pacific Ironman Championships on June 11th in Cairns, Australia.
Thanks again for your support. Kind Regards Cameron Brown