I decided to make Ironman 70.3 Ballarat my last race of 2016 and try to end the year on a good note. This year I have made a big coaching change in what I hope will equate to being able to elevate my training and racing in the months and years to come. Working with Lance Watson (LifeSport Coaching) over the last few months has really challenged me both mentally and physically and I felt like I was just starting to adapt to the new style of training in the weeks leading up to Ironman 70.3 Ballarat.
A nice 12 degree air temperature and a 16 degree water temperature made race morning a little chilly. I started on the far left side of the swim start and within the first hundred meters was in the lead. On the way out towards to the first turn buoy I swam hard and settled into a good rhythm. I kept the pace solid but nothing too crazy for the rest of the swim leg and emerged from the water in the lead.
I was a little slower than usual in transition but still went onto the bike leg with the first few athletes. Clayton Fettell set the tempo early on with a small lead to the group but was reeled back in before the end of the first lap. The two lap bike course had a few technical parts as well as a long out and back straight where the wind played a factor. I spent the first lap settling into a good pace and felt very comfortable heading out onto the second 45km lap.
At the 60km point Tim Berkel put in a surge and this is where I decided to make my move and put in a big effort to break up the lead group. The effort paid dividends and I managed to split the group just before the far turn which meant that Tim Berkel, Denis Chevrot, Luke Bell and myself entered transition with a 1min45sec lead on the chasers.
Heading onto the run my legs felt good and pretty quickly it was Frenchman Denis Chevrot and myself battling for the lead. We ran side by side for the first of three run laps and heading onto the second lap I lifted the pace to edge out a small lead.
I held a 50 meter lead for the entire second lap before Chevrot then bridged the gap back up and surged. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to respond and with just 4km left to go fellow Australian Peter Kerr passed me which dropped me back to 3rd. By the finish line the podium spots between the three of us were separated by just over 1 minute.
Another Ironman 70.3 podium for the year was a great note to finish 2016 on and I am now looking forward to having a few weeks off over Christmas before starting training again for the 2017 season. It has been a huge year of racing which has included 2 x IM70.3 Podiums, 9th at the ITU Long Distance World Championships and 5 other race wins which would not have been possible without some incredible sponsors, family, friends and my partner. See you all in 2017!