The Noumea International Triathlon is one of the longest running triathlons in the world with this year marking the 30th anniversary of the race. When planning my racing schedule for this year I hadn’t originally planned to do this event, only signing up to race a month prior. The race location is pretty amazing with the swim in the calm and clear waters of Noumea and the bike and run being held on the coastal road overlooking the water. Being that I had never done this race before I arrived in Noumea early Friday morning which gave me enough time to do a bit of course recon.
The swim start in Noumea is a mass start with all the competitors going off in one wave. Being that all the announcements on the start line were in French it was a nervous few minutes before the race start to ensure that I didn’t miss the starting gun. After the first hundred meters of the swim, myself, Ryan Fisher and Peter Kerr broke away in a trio of 3. Peter kept the pace up taking the lead with Fisher and myself happy to sit back swimming side by side just off the feet of Kerr. The swim was 2 laps of a 750 meter triangular swim loop and by the time we hit dry land there was a sizable gap back to the rest of the field.
I have been riding well over the last few months and was excited to stretch the legs out on the bike leg and took up the lead early on. I had expected Fisher and Kerr not to be as strong on the bike purely due to the fact that they are more used to racing on road bikes than time trial bikes. At the end of the first lap Fisher came to the front over one of the small climbs before I took back the lead a short time later. I was happy to ride in front and didn’t really expect to be able to break up our pack of 3 due to the 5 meter draft zone imposed in this race. My goal for the cycle leg was to ride strong but stay comfortable while continuing to extend the lead to the chasers on the road. With a 3 lap bike course I could see that each lap I was extending the lead which ended up being around 4 and a half minutes by the time I hit transition with Kerr and Fisher in tow. I finished the ride under the hour with a 43kph average speed and a nice 361 average wattage to show for it.
I had a quick transition and lead out onto the run for the first kilometer before ITU speedsters Fisher and Kerr came past me. I tried to hang onto them without too much luck and after the first 2.5km loop was around 15 seconds back. I pushed hard on the 2nd lap to limit the gap and then backed off my run speed on the final 2 X 2.5km run loops with a 3rd place secured. In the back of my head I knew that I would be racing Ironman 70.3 Vietnam in 2 weeks time so I didn’t want to overdo the back end of the run. I crossed the line in 3rd place with Ryan Fisher taking the win and Peter Kerr in 2nd place.
A big thank you to all my sponsors, coach, as well as the race organizers in Noumea who did an outstanding job with the running of the 30th Noumea International Triathlon.