I have just finished my last race of the 2013 season and managed to do so on a very high note at the Ironman 70.3 Shepparton race this weekend. I was coming into the race after a great victory last week in Mandurah at the Aussie Pro Champs and was hoping I could defend my title here in Shepparton. I knew it was not going to be easy with some strong competition, but I felt like my legs had recovered well through the week and I was determined to round out the year with a “W.”
Kelly and I had a fun few days in Perth early on in the week catching up with old friends and taking in the sights but it was a little tough to stay focused on the job at hand this close to the end of the season. We got up to Shepparton with a couple days to spare and stayed with the Griffin’s, a great family I stayed with last year.
This years race had 3 gun swim/ bikers in the field. Josh Amberger, Clayton Fettel and James Hodge. I was a little worried the boys would team up and work together to put some good time into me, but fortunately they split up very quickly and soon it was each man against the clock. No tactics, we were just fighting to time trial as fast as possible to the finish line.
I was just over 1 minute behind the 3 of them coming out of the water, by the end of lap 1 on the bike, I was in 2nd place but Amberger’s lead had grown to 90 seconds and I was starting to feel a little fatigued. I managed to hold it somewhat together on the 2nd lap of the bike and was hoping to limit my deficit to within the 2 minute mark. Running out of T2 to start the run, I was only 75 seconds down, which was a pleasant surprise.
Being the last race of my season, I wanted to make sure I gave it a good push. I passed Amberger at 4kms in but decided to keep the pressure on until about the 15km mark. It was a great feeling being able to run the last few km’s taking in all the cheering from other athletes and all the spectators and volunteers.
Another couple nights in Melbourne to finish our Australian adventure, now back to New Zealand to enjoy a few weeks of R & R, which will more than likely include some home renovation activities.
All in all 2013 was an extremely successful year for me. Since August 2012, I have been on the podium in all 17 races I have finished. Nine 1st place finishes, five 2nd place finishes, including 2nd at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships and the ITU Long Distance Triathlon World Championships and three 3rd places, to round things off.
I am looking forward to a good off-season to recharge the batteries and hope to take another step up next year.
Thanks everyone for all the support and encouragement throughout the year.