Thursday, November 12, 2015


This is very very long! The reason, I'd had a tuff couple months leading into kona and I didn't know what to write in this blog‎. Anyways finally I've put thumb to blackberry pad and here's my kona story. It's very different to my usual race report as I was more of a participant in kona. None the less I've done some sub headings so you can skip sections as i'm sure parts will be boring! It my blog however so I can write what I like, I do however promise to make them much more streamlined in the future! Oh and it's as always unedited.

It's been almost 5 weeks since almost to the hour that I crossed the finish line on alli drive at the hawaii ironman and no blog. The reason I hadn't but finger to blackberry pad is simply that I didn't know what to write, how I really felt about the whole experience. Well finally I've thought about it all enough, the build up, the realization of a childhood dream, the disappointment of knowing I would be racing the event but merely participating, the relief and satisfaction to know at the end of the day I can now call myself an ironman. Anyways I usually write a lot about a 1hr time trial so settle in for a while here as this is a story I want to tell in full and ensure I have a written memory of what when on during my road to the finish line in kona.

Off to kona-

The whole‎ journey began following my race at the whistler ironman in july. My blog for that has most likely already bored you all so no need to go over all that again. Basically by finishing 9th overall and being the first age grouper home I qualified for the 2015 ironman world championships in kona and I was absolutely cockahoot about that!! I honestly couldn't believe my luck after only deciding to enter the event 2 weeks before, throwing together a few runs, rides and swim in that time, an lining up not having any idea what was going to happen to me during the race. In the end I was pleasently surprised and I'd booked by ticket to kona! With my first ironman and marathon out of the way and the result be far better than anyone including myself expected I was and I think quite rightly quietly confident of a strong performance in kona. The week post race was spent planning training camps and equipment for the lead up and for the big day and by weeks end we had what we felt to be an absolute cracka of a battle plan to execut for my debut at the hawaii ironman. The following weekend my closest childhood buddy Posh Mcdonald and I had planned a road trip from LA to downieville for the annual MTB festival which was to be my final opportunity to let my hair down before I began my road to kona on the following Monday.


Once in downieville we hit the ground running. Josh was competing in the famous downhill/enduro/crosscountry unofficial world championship of the event know in the industry as one of a kind! I was being diligent and not competing to avoid taking unnecessary risks in the lead up to kona but still sneaking in a couple of cusual crosscountry rides on the inbetween supporting my buddy posh.  ‎The downieville trials are famous among mtb enduro enthusiasts and people travel from all over the globe to ride there. It's difficult to describe just how unique and magical downie's trials are but think American style of bigger is best with big wide open lucious trials and flowing berms that are literally a car lane wide. There are certainly some extremely challenging sections but with the groomed trials being so wide every section there is a line for the most fearless and techniqual decender and another for the most novice of novice mtb'er it's simply amazing!!

Anyways to cut a long story short, one morning I'm out there enjoying myself ‎on the luscious trials, I stick my leg our for stabilization, my foot jags a rock, and within a split second I have not one but two fractured metatarsels in my left foot and my kona dreams and aspiratin's are quite literally broken!! My first reaction pretty simple really, "you bloody idiot" I said to myself, oh and how bloomen excruciating the pain was when I tried to continue pedaling in a desperate bid to convince myself the damage wasn't that bad, the pain came on so quick so I will go quickly I said to myself no way it's broken!! Yeah right, I deep dwon know right away as I felt like sick to the depths of my stomach, I had the most challenging injury of my life to deal with and the greatest phyical challenge of my life to prepare for, not a great combo!! Sure enough an xray showed 2 nice little fractures of the 2nd and 3rd metatarsal's and after walking into the surgery in my joggers I walked out in my footware for the next 7 weeks, a shiny new moon boot and a set of crutches, Awwwwsomeeee!!!

As with most things I tried to be as optimistic as possible. I convinced myself that I'd able to train around it and not lose any fitness, infact to the contrary as I had no qualms telling people I'd actually come out of this in even better shape than I could have with 2 fit feet!! Yep I was the ultimate optimist. Problem with feet is there are so many little bones all connected to each other in one way shape or form and and movement of the foot at all during the healing phase can re fracture the bone and send you back to square 1. I came up with every trick and modification in the book to get myself exercising again such as pedalling with my heel instead of fore foot and swimming with a pool buoy strapped to my ankles. The pool set up was pretty funny actually as I obviously couldn't tumble turn so had to spin around like a tug boat and head back to the other end of the pool. As the weeks went and I tried improvising to do really what we're nothing more that a problem athetic excuse of maintenance routines, I realised the best thing was full rest and try and ensure I have a foot to go to kona with that can atleast hobble or walk the 42km marathon. At the end of the day this was kona we are talking about and the hawaii ironman ‎ so in my mind I deserved having my other foot broken if I didn't atleast attempt to complete the event. 

So that was that, after a few weeks common sense prevailed and rest and recovery became the only objective. I realized having a healthy strong foot in kona was going to give me a chance of being far more competitive than a half ass'd trained athlete with a nagging foot injury would be. Yep rock up fresh and healed and untrained became my method of preparing for kona, the complete opposite of what I'd envisaged during those battle plan discussions with cannondale in the days after whistler. On the bright side atleast we still have the whole training process for an event up our sleeve should I ever want to head back to kona to actually race it in the future. 

From that moment on the final 4 weeks of recovery leading into kona went really well. I'd train or more exercise every odd day, or 1 on 2 to 3 days off more often than not. When the moon boot finally came off 2 weeks before kona I was able to actually do some "training" again without risk of further injury. I had a lot of muscle imbalance thanks to the 7 weeks in a moonboot so I couldn't train long and hard as I'd favor my stronger leg and amplify the problem. Instead I trained short and hard until my left leg and foot became sore then take a day or days off until it recovered and rebuilded and got stronger from that hit out, basically the opposite type of training you wanted to be doing for an ironman!! So 2 weeks out I started with a 1hr ride at intensity. By the end of the 1st week I was up to 2hrs 30min of solid riding and by the time I'd boarded the plane to kona 3 days before race day I had 2 rides of 4hrs under my belt, I was on the improve. I hadn't ridden 180km since whistler so my final session was planned as a lap of the bike course on the wednesday before Saturdays big test. I wanted to push myself here as I knew if I survived it and I could recover in the 2 days before the event the was a glimmer of hope that I may still be able to chase after that course record on the bike, I might just pull a rabbit out of the hat, I was ready to give kona a crack!!

Race Day-

It was quite a strange feeling when I woke up at 5am on race morning, I was excited but also a bit flat knowing that I wouldn't really be a racer today but merely a competitor. Having dealt with the reality of this I wasn't going to waste my time stressing about a result and taking things to seriously as the best thing I could get out of the day was the experience of seeing how the event plays out. My dissapointment came from the fact this was my 3rd world championship in a different sport after my stints in rowing and cycling, off course I wanted to line up atleast with the mindset of attempting to win a world title but this wasn't going to be the case. I'm not an arrogant sportsman and I know what I'm capable of what my competitors where capable off, knowing I couldn't run a step and I have a long marathon walk that afternoon meant any overall ambition was well and trully the furtherest thing from my mind. All I could focus on was trying to achieve the things within grasp and that was to put together a competitive swim and bike portion to the best of my ability and see where that put me considering my preperation. There is no secrets and everyone who knows me knows the last 3 months has seen me exercise less than I ever have for that time period since I started knuckling into sport at age 14 so the only physiological advantage I had over my competors in kona was freshness! Oh and some stubboness off course as I still believed that if the chips fell my way I maybe just maybe could rip out a fast bike split and a competitive swim. Regardless of my current state of form one thing was certain and although racing as a age grouper for my first attempt on the big Island I wanted to be leading all my fellow age group competitors off the bike. I wanted to see how I felt being that guy who exits transition ahead of your competitors at the famous hawaii ironman, see if it sparked anything in me?? Sure the pro men started 30minutes ahead so I wasn't going to chase them down but the women at 25minutes up the road provided a real carrot to chase all them down and get out on the run course in the thinck of the pro action sandwiched between the men and women, feel the emotion of it all. That was my goal when I woke up on race morning.

So with that all being said I wasn't getting to wound up in pre race meals and digestion at all. I know I could through down a bowl of oatmeal and a couple of bananas a couple of hours before start and that would give me ample fuel to get through a 59minute swim and 4hr 30min on my bicycle. I wasn't at all worried about the run as I knew I wouldn't be running, I'd attemped to trot 1 mile in the underpants run on the thursday morning during race week in kona and my foot blew up like a Baloon, there would be no fairytale for me on race day. My body simply wasn't up to it and simply hadn't done the training that deserved a miricle to happen in such a prestigious event. People train and prepare for this event for years to get the reward on race day and that's how it should be and that's something that motivates me to go back and do it properly. Anyways ‎I shoved down some fuel and at 5:30am bang on schedule Fallon and I jumped into a taxi and headed off to the race start. 

When we arrived at the race start it dawned on me that I had no nervs wasn't a great feeling, when I'm not nervous it usually means I'm not going to perform that well. It generally means I've got nothing to lose, for some reason I perform much better when I feel like I've got something to lose. On this day I did every excuse in the book for whatever outcome, I hadn't trained, I had a couple of broken bones, and had no pressure to achieve any sort of result. The only pressure I felt was what I put on myself to maintain some pride on the bike and atleast get of the treadly ahead of all the age groupers and in the thick of the pro women. Maby I should have given myself loftier ambitions as that's exactly what happened but in all honesty I was scared to shoot to high as I knew there was a large probability of not living up to my expectations considering my physical condition.

I whisked through all the pre race protocols. First was get you numbers marked on your body which I'm always so impressed how they seeming write everything backwards so it looks the right way round! Always baffles me! Once that was done headed to transition to put my "turbo" bottles on my bike and pump up my tyres. These bottles were the main source of fuel for the day so was imperative they were on my bike secure. As I put my bottles on my bike the pro's were getting ready to start. They took off 30minutes before we did‎ so the anthem and fly over was all going on. It wasn't until this moment that I realized, wow I'm really at kona, I'm about to go and race kona! This sent chills through my spine and gave me goosebumps all over, I'd dreamed of being here and now I was right there. I vowed to myself to no matter what today I'm crossing that finish line, I want to become an ironman. I don't care if I fracture every other bone in my foot in the process, I'm getting accross that finish line and between the gun going at the start and crossing that line I'll give it 100percent of my capability. This was kona!! Honor the event!! I took a moment while they counted down the pro and cannon started to soak up the atmosphere, it trully was electric and inspiring even at 6:25am!! Once they were off so was I, bike was ready to rumble, was time to suit myself up, sunscreen up, grab a final feed, basically get myself ready to rumble!

I found Fallon who had all my race clothes and set about getting myself organized. I had a fancy new speed suit that had to be rolled down as you can't cover your shoulders in the kona swim. I rolled it up tightly and tucked it in under my swim skin, I was really starting to feel the part! With a little help from Fallon and a few deep breathe I managed to squeeze on my roka swim skin and I was certainly streamlined! She was snug! I felt extremely streamlined!! Next was the lather up with anti chafing cream which I learnt from whistler not to wipe all over the lense of my googles!! Fortunately fallon was on hand with a towel to wipe my pinkeys and I wouldn't have a repeat debarcle of not being able to see and consequently ditching the goggles and swimming 3.5km goggles less! No mistakes today. The final touch was sunscreen so I shut my eyes while Fallon gave me what I can imagine must feel like a fake tanning as she sprayed me head to toe with 50+, I was going to be out there for a long time! I jammed down a final choc salted caramel bonk breaker bar, quick swig of my electrolyte mix and I was all set. It was 10 minutes till race start so perfect time to get a quick warmup and get myself onto the start line. Fallon wished me luck, said I'll see you later on today!! I'll try and be finished by dark I promised, and I was off, it was go time.

From that moment on I just couldn't wait for the race to start. I charged through the crowd toward the water. I was like being at a big rowing regatta, you just want to get in the boat and start your warmup as from that moment your in control. I just wanted to get myself in the water, start my warmup and get on the startline, it was time to race!‎ Once in the water I felt great! As I expected my tight fitting roka swim skin made me feel incredibly streamlined and my confidence grew for sub 1hr swim. I'd never swam this far without a wetsuit before so had no idea how I'd go but as usual I was confident I'd be ok. The next task was lining up on the start line. I'd been told that to be on the front row you have to be aggressive and make it look like your a fast swimmer. One things for sure I had all the gear with no idea what to do with it so I looked the part, now I just had to somehow look like I was a good swimmer as I barged my way to the front row. The seas parted for me so to speak and when they announed "2minutes till race start" I was planted on the front row! Wow, not only am I in kona but I'm now on the startline and on the front row!! That's cool! That 2minutes went for an eternity but finally the countdown began, "30 seconds" was annouced and we waited for the cannon! "BOOM" and we were off!


Common sense would say that with a 3.8km swim, 180km ride, and 42km run ahead you should probably start out conservatively, it was going to be a long day. Nah, not me, when that gun went off I went out like an absolute wounded bull!! When I finally decided to have a look about and transition into a bit of a race rhythm after around 100m flat knacka, I was leading!! I actually laughed under water which was a mistake as I swallowed about a litre of sea water! I couldn't believe these guys were following me, I'm ok over a short distance but it I'm in far from a strong swimmer so I must have bluffed them hard on the line. Anyways I was leading and I was also hurting! My arms and shoulders were chocka block full of lactic acid and fatigue and I had around 3.7km's still to swim, perfect I thought, was exactly the start I was looking for. My tactic now was simple, basically stay at my maximum for as long as possible and maby just maby I might have a good swim bike. First of all though I had to let some actuall fast swimmers get past me so I could get on there feet and have a toe, that's the cyclist in me!! This proved to a mistake as as I tried to slow and get some guys ahead of me I got absolutely pulverized by a bunch of dudes keen to get past me. I copped one good fist bang on my left foot right on my fracture site which made me wince in pain, again a mistake as I swollowed another L of sea water. Like when I play football once I'm hit once the gloves are off so I started fighting back and got myself into a nice group of good swimmers to tow me around the course. I judge a good swimmer by how much they kick, I don't kick at all, it takes me about 20minutes to do 100m kicking in the pool, I really suck. So I just looked out for guys kicking a lot and followed them. Also that way they broke up even more water so was easier for me to swim in there wake and go a lot quicker than I was actually normally capable of, it's pretty cool how the whole drafting thing in the water works, really cool actually.

The swim really flew by. I was absolutely dyeing a 1000 deaths 100m into the swim but by the time the king Kam hotel came into clear view on the swim back to transition I was feeling great. The whole following feet business had actually given me a chance to recover and have as much energy as possible for bike. I followed my little pack of strong kickers all the way to the beach and after 59minutes I was back on dry land, perfect timing!! I felt like quite the pro as I exited the water, I had my zip undone in a flash and by the time I entered the tradition tent I had both sleeves up and over my shoulders, beginers luck!! I grabbed my bike gear bag and found a seat. I quickly ripped off my swim skin and pulled on my socks and put on my bike shoes and I was off again, I couldn't wait to get on that bike. As I exited the tent and the bike transition came into view I felt good as it was full. A full transition after the swim means you've had a good swim as there's more behind you than infront of you!! I found my bike first time which is always a bonus, jammed on my snazzy brand new rudy project aero lid and charged out of transition, well charged with a destinctive hobble!! I couldn't wait to see that mount line to get the party started, I was finally on my home turf and headed for the infamous queen K HWY.


I felt awesome when I started pedaling. I hadn't pedalled my cannondale in anger for 10 weeks since the whistler event, it felt so amazing. I'd taken my power meter sensor off my bike as I didn't care what it said. I knew to break the course record I had to average 42.5kmph and that's all I cared about. I had average speed set on my Garmin and I was just going to try and do whatever it took to average that speed. This was probably stupid as I had no reference to output by it was all or nothing for me on the bike and being as out of shape as I was I just needed to roll the dice and see what happened. My first checkpoint was to be at 20minutes as I exited town after the mini loop we do at the beginning around Kailua. I smashed that and was 18min and already 43kmph Ave, the slice was absolutely humming along for me. Once up on the queen K I really opened up. My bike had been fitted with ceramic speed everything the evening before and I couldn't even feel the pedals everything felt so incredibly smooth and fast. It just felt like nothing was working against me and everything was literally helping me blast along the queen k. I blew past the age grouper whom exited the water ahead of me and after 40km I was all alone! I'd start seeing the pro women soon enough but for now I was all alone on the queen k, just me, my bike and my average speed, in other words I couldn't care less if I was alone or in the middle of a Christmas pagent! I was racing my bike. The next check point I had was the bottom of the climb to Hawi. I needed to be there with an average speed of 43kmph to ensure by the time I reach to turn around at the top my average hadn't dipped below 40kmph, I was bang on target!

Nutrition is obviously crucial in an ironman event. My buddy Tim Reed had given me a great tip the day before to ensure I eat as much as possible in the early stages as I'll need it in the last 40km. Ummmm ooppss, I was so excited about going fast that it wasn't until the 60km mark that I remembered to eat some bars! By then it's too late, I was already on the path to running out of fuel!! The cool thing about ironman events is the aid stations. Basically you could take no food at all and you'd never go hungry out there. Another bonus of being up the road alone is you get first crack at the aid stations. This becomes particularly beneficial when you blast through them at 50kmph as you can afford to drop 10 bottles and hopefully catch 1! Initally I slammed down the orange gatoreade but after around 80km I ditched the electrolytes and just started grabbing coke. I love coke and it tasted so good chilled out there in those lava fields. By the end of the bike course I must have smashed around 6 bottles of coke.

Back to the climb to Hawi and I started picking up the pro women. As I passed them I tried to offer a word of encouragement also so they knew it was a boy coming past and not one of there competition. I remember passing the 2014 champion from australia Miranda Carefree and giving her a big come on!! Sadly you could see on her face that it wasn't going to be her day, she stared straight back blankly at me and looked so powerless that I wanted to give her a hug, how devestating for such a great champion to be feeling that way on your day!! Anyways kona can kick anybodies backside and this year rinny got a taste of that, she'll be back better and more badass than ever next year no doubt. Back to the race and I reached the turn around at Hawi ahead of schedule with a 40.3kmph average, great, on track. Next checkpoint was to get back to bottom inside 3hrs total time. The ride down from Hawi is perhaps the hardest part of the course as you think you should be flying downhill but your pedalling flat knacka to go anywhere quickly, the whole course is so unrelenting. Still I reached the bottom of the Hawi climb rd at 2hrs 58min, still on track, I really believed at this point I'd give the record a nudge, I had 1hr 20min to get home.

As I swung back onto the queen k the wheels started to come off. I don't know if the Hawi decent had me out of rhythm or conditioning and nutrition mistakes caught up with but I just felt the spark go. I ignored the signs and dug in even deeper, I was on track for a quick time and had my next checkpoint on my mind at 40km to go. I wanted to role through there under 3hrs 18min as it gave me 1hr to get to the finish. I figured 40kmph was well within my grasp so was a good target. ‎The clock read 3hrs 17min when pedalled through my final checkpoint and from hear it was head down tail up and set sail for home. By this point I was really starting to struggle and the power was gone from my pins. The muscle imbalance of 8 weeks in a moonboot had caught up with and my left leg had checked out. My right leg was doing all it could to keep the wheels turning my it to was rapidly running out of horsepower. Sure enough with 20km to go on the bike I was simply rolling my legs over and my speed was dropping faster than an Olympic diver off the 10m platform! It was plumeting but without any grace! Soon 35kmph became hard, the 30kmph, then 25kmph, I was literally on my hands and knees as I finally dragged my sorry self to the turn of the queen k hwy with 1km to pedal. The record was long gone, now staying above 40kmph would be a good result. I had caught all bar the 1st place pro women so I was going to get my wish of feeling the emotion of the crowd when the pros were on the course. I think I was 15+minutes ahead of the next age grouper so I was happy with that. I finally arrived at the bike/run transition and was put out of my misery. I'd given the bike everything I could possibly muster and the course came out on top, I wasn't up for the fight today. Anyways I couldn't wait to get of that bike, it was time to get on with the day and the next objective, getting my broken foot to hard finish line before dark! I did take one quick moment to smile as I entered transition. The pros bikes are all lined up in the front left corner of transition when you enter which doesn't take my space, there are only 100 of them combined. The other 2000 spaces are for all the age groupers so was a pretty cool feeling seeing only the pro men's bikes and the age group racks completely empty, I was leading the category. While that did make me feel good I did also ponder how awesome it would be to be the first professional back to transition, all racks completely empty, that's something I want to experience one day. Anyways didn't have time to ponder and before I knew it was in the transition tent again and throwing on my running shoes. The volunteers at ironman events are so amazing and are there at every turn. They were so excited to see the first age grouper that they all wanted to help. I had one each helping with each shoe, another peeling a bannana,for me, and 2 others applying sunscreen all over my neck, arms and face as after all It had been nearly 6hrs since Fallon had slip slop slapped me. Once sneakered and suncreened up I was ready to run, was time to get off the backside for the final time for the day and enjoy some time on my feet!


As I exited transition on the run I could've cried. I wanted so badly to run like an athlete but everytime my left foot hit the ground I was winching in pain. I'd refused a painkilling injection or taking any orally as I didn't want to not feel how bad it was. I also wanted to cry as I felt like a fraud. Here was the leading ameture but nearly 15minutes it looked like I couldn't run a step. I decided there and then that I had to atleast try, I had to as best I could lift my legs as high as possible and honor the event. As soon as the first age grouper passed me I'd then take it easy and ensure I get to the finish but until I'm no longer leading age grouper I'll run as best I could. The crowd and atmosphere as I headed up alli drive was incredible. It was the emotion I wanted to experience, the atmosphere I'd felt as a 16 year old watching the olympics from the grandstand in sydney, the shivers that sent up my spine and made me dream of one day being an Olympian. I watched cadel climb alp d'huez in the 2008 tour and felt the same feeling, that moment made me dream of one day being a professional bike rider and racing le tour, that dream still ain't dead. And now here I was in the thick of the action on saturday afternoon at the hawaii ironman and got the same thrills and chills, I can't wait to go back one day when I come out of that transition still racing, what an incredible feeling that would be.

Back to run and I shuffled/jogged up alli drive. Finally after around 7km or so the first age grouper passed me. When he did, a absolute character who was wearing a camel back I thanked him for doing so and wished him all the best. He asked why I looked like I'd never run in my life and I told him about my foot. He gave me a big hug and thanked me for the support and complimented me on my ride, it was a nice moment and another moment that's meant I've fallen in love with the sport of ironman. The comraderie in the sport I'm not saying is better than any other sport but it's just different, it's I feeling amongst the athletes I feel really comfortable in and love being around, pretty special. So now I was off the hook! I could walk or whatever I wanted to do, I just needed to get to the finish before the sun went down. I experimented with a few different techniques to keep moving forward. First I tried shuffling and that felt pretty good. My theory was keep both feet as close to the ground as possible and limit as much as possible the impact on my foot. I tried walking but that actually hurt more than shuffling so I stuck with the shuffle which was good as it was much faster than limp walking, I wa ontrack to beat the sun home!

Now that I was well and trully in cruise enjoyment mode I started to enjoy the day again. I stopped everytime I saw someone I knew on the side of the road supporting which helped break up the otherwise lengthy marthon ahead! I ran into former aussie pro cyclist Ben day, my good mate from lord howe island Tim Reed and countless other familiar faces. The cannondale clan were out in force with Timmy Eaton, Steve Kwait, and Kevin Costa, those boys had my bike all dialed and for years have all been there for me whenever I need anything, absolute legends. Next I ran into my california parents in Ethan and Marisol Penner. Marisol trains me in her pain cave and they made the trip accross to watch the event which meant the world to me. They knew I couldn't run, they see me everyday, marisol through knew I was capable of still finishing so wanted to make sure I wasn't quiting by grabbing my shoulders and looking me square in the eye and said "finish cam". ‎The only way I wasn't finishing was if I was in an ambulance, I wasn't quitting.

With pleasentries all out of the way through town it was back to the queen K. A few mile down the road and I saw frodeno running back to town en route to his first kona tittle. He's a seriously impressive looking athlete and was pleased he won. He also won the oceanside event I did in march and looked equally impressive that day. I say that as he obviously is a champion year round, takes the sport very seriously and you can see by the results, was great champion. As much as he was suffering inside you couldn't see it on his face, he was en route to glory. The rest of the pro's on the other hand looked like they were on struggle street!! No surprize I guess considering they were at the end of a marthon let alone everything that proceded that!! Anyways I wished I was suffering but sadly wasn't, I was just shuffling and would be for a couple more hours so best keep on keeping on. I made my way along queen and finally into the feared energy Lab. That section was very memorable due to the enthusiasm of the volunteers, wow they were simply incredible. Something pretty special about having a bunch of little 3-5year old hawaiin kids handing you a cup of water and cheering you on, no shortage of inspiration out on course that's for sure.

Back onto queen k for the final time and as the km's to the finish line dropped so to did the sun and I began focusing on that, I wanted to beat it! On this stretch of road I came up with the optimal hydation combo. First you grab a cup of ice and a cup of coke and pour the coke over the ice. Then walk through the station and grab a water and some bannana and by the time you get to the end of the station you have a beautifully chilled cup of coke! Delicious! Anyways finally I made way to the end of the queen k but just before I turned off I found one of my closest friends coming the other way, Sunny Garcia. We met in oceanside and have been training together ever since, rarely a day goes by where we are not training together or talking about what we did that day. It's been an incredible friendship and one that I trully cherrish, sunny is most certainly one of the most incredible people put on the this planet. Let alone how he's pioneered pro surfing but all his work for charity and children all while facing depressions an incredible struggles himself, just an amazing human and here was en rout to finishing the hawaii ironman!‎ So I stopped for final time to be social and had a chinwag with sunny. He was in great spirits as he only had 24km to go! I was in great spirits as I had only 2km and was going to get home before the sun set! Was a nic moment and was so pleased we crossed paths at that point, I'd be waiting for him in a few hrs when he crossed the line.

Off the queen k for the final time and I was homeward bound. I soaked the atmosphere of my final km or so and again pondered how amazing would be to be at this point having raced the whole way. To have put your body to the absolute limit in the most extreme conditions and finally be insight of the line, that would be something pretty special. Anyways it wa still special for me as I was going to make it to the finish line and do so before the sun went down. I swung onto Alii Drive for the final time and you can't help but smile at the sight of the crowd, they go absolutely nuts! It gives me chills just thinking about it to be honest. Down the finish shoot and accross that line and finally I hear those words "cameron wurf from tasmania, you are an ironman" funny even in kona we are not Australians but tasmanian, guess kinda like hawaiins, probably why sunny and I get along so well!! 

So that was that, I was now an ironman. Once I heard that famous voice and had the flowers thrown over my shoulders it was all over. I didn't even take any notice of how long I'd taken I didn't care, the sun was still up. There was a brief moment of excitement and soaking up that finish area, I spotted the sugoi girls, nat, jaime and lisa in the vip area and went and said hi to them. They have been the first ones to greet me at my other 2 events this year so was nice to be there with them again for the big one. Sugoi is a great supportor and sponsor of mine and have been for many years so this year being able to work much more closely with them has been great. Once I'd seen the girls thought I have to be brutally honest I just wanted to find Fallon and get changed. I wasn't tired, I wasn't fatigued, I basically felt like I just had a round of golf. I hadn't run a single step so my muscles weren't beat up and I'd consumed enough calories in coke and redbull throughout the day that I had energy stores for another 10 kona ironmans! No I was just pleased I'd got to the finish before the sun had set, I'd had a good swim and given it everything I had in me on the bike, my job was done. If I'd dwelled on the moment I would only have kept thinking what could have been and that was pointless. Yes I want to go back and do the race properly in the future so the quicker I moved on from this year's event the better. Nope there were no laying down getting a masage or shoveling kg's of food down my stomach, I simply couldn't wait to see fallon, get changed, go grab a nice meal with her and then head back to the finish to wait for Sunny to cross the line. At that point however it dawned on me I had no phone, no cloaths, and no way of knowing where Fallon would be. I simply had my running shoes, a snazzy sugoi racing suit, some hawaiin beeds wrapped around my neck and an ironman finishers towel wrapped over my shoulders. There were 10's of thousands of people about so just had to put a little faith that I'd bump into her. 

Sure enough when I finally got myself out of the finish area there was fallon walking toward me close to where we parted ways almost 11hrs earlier, what a relief as I was really pleased to see her. I asked fallon what time it was 7? 7:30? I've got no idea I said I was just racing the sun!! When she told me it was only 5:45 I couldn't believe it. I said that means It only took me 10hrs 30min or so! Cool felt like I was out there for way longer than that. So that was the de brief, I no kinda knew my time and the race was behind me, I was in civilian cloaths and just was excited to now just be apart of the crowd. We went and grabbed a quick feed with ethan and marisol and kept a Close eye on the ironman tracker to see where sunny was, we didn't want to miss him coming down the finish shoot. It was far more exciting for me to watch sunny come accross the line than the excitement I felt myself. He'd actually achieved something that day and I'd seen quite literally the blood, sweat and at times tears he'd put into even being on the start line in kona but to be finishing the event in 13hrs or so was nothing short of a monumental achievement that meant so much to him as a person. So many had questioned his commitment to the event and desire to finish and he just went out there and showed everyone what a great champion he is yet again. I was so incredibly proud of him and just so happy I'd made the effort to still come to kona as I wouldn't have wanted to miss that moment for anything. 

With sunny across the ‎line there was just one pal left on course I wanted to cheer home. I met thom hulick in oceanside and instantly struck a good accord. Thom was so interested in my background and just one of the most sincere genuine dudes I'd ever come across. We kept intouch speratically throughout the year and logically crossed paths in Kona. Meeting thom is another example of what I'm loving about the ironman scene, your just surrounded by so many great people. Again not implying my previous sports aren't the same but it's different in ironman. In a bike race you don't have the ametures following the le tour peleton up alp d'huez 15minutes behind and finishing under the same finish banner. In triathlon the age group athletes do exactly the same course as the professionals at exactly the same time. What that does if it gives the age group athletes a real appreciation for what the professional athletes can do and this shows in your interaction with those guys, it's unique. From a professional side and while not racing as a pro I gues they see me as one, we have a huge admiration for what these age group athletes achieve while working full time!! We train all day everyday so should be good, these guys are juggling work school and God knows whatever else before they get to there training. It creates a wonderful environment because the age group athletes aren't trying to beat the pros, they are simply doing there best which is an achievement on its own. Thom has become a great friend and it's a friendship that born from this great sport, one of mutuall respect so I wa stoked to be there to high five him as he came down the finish shoot on Alii Drive, such a different race day environment to what I'd become accustomed but one I could very easily get used to so well done thom!!

With my mates safely home I was ready to leave Alii Drive behind for the day myself. Fallon and I bundled up my bike and gear and headed back to the ranch. I'd planned to stay for the final finisher like I did in whistler but I didn't feel like it. I just wanted to go home, take a shower and get some rest. I'd done all I could for the day and just wanted to literally put it to bed and get on with tomorrow. I'd had a taste of how special the hawaii ironman is, how special kona is, and how special it all was to me. I with performance out of the question I went wanting to answer thos questions for myself, no better to do than first hand hey!! Did I love it? Absolutely, being there with my awesome sponsors, my closest friends, new friends, and off course those so special to me. Being able to literally share the experience with all those people from the moment you wake up on race day till the moment you go to sleep that night is really really special, something before I found ironman hadn't existed in my sporting world to this point. Sure there's the race but ironman call themselves a family because that's what it is, support all around you, an environment that make you want to do your abolute best, each and every competitor, just awesome. Yep I'm hooked and I'm going to do my very very best to put the right foot foward in the future and get back to kona to race!!


Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone on the Telstra Mobile network.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015


So far this year I've given pretty much everything and anything a go that involves the use of a bike. In January I was riding a dirt bike with my Moto GP buddy Cal Crutchlow. The national championships and Herald Suntour ensured I didn't dodge road racing entirely this year and the Oceania TT championships kept my touch with getting aero. February also saw me line up in my first ever MTB race on a scorching hot Tassie Arvo out at Telosa St. In March I was back in California and I decided to through my leg over a triathlon bike and have a crack at the half Ironman in Oceanside. April was time to take part in my first ever gravel grinding event again down in socal with the Belgium Waffle Ride. Come May,  my crazy buddies the Morton brothers and Taylor Phinney talked me into joining them on a five day bike adventure from Boulder to Moab. Again it was the first time I'd partaken in such an journey and again and on an entirely new bike for me, the cyclocross/mtb Cannondale Slate. So by the beginning of June I'd pretty much had a go at all things bike related and realized that being part of the Ridebiker Alliance was perfectly fitting for me. The first half of the year had clearly shown that I was not one of any of the type of riders I've mentioned above, I'm pretty average at all of them. Fortunately Scott Tedro's daughter Kinsey came up with the term "RideBiker" so I didn't need to pretend to be any of them, as a Ridebiker I could be all of them. 

So what is the RideBiker Alliance? It's actually a very good question as although I signed up as a member back in February it took me sometime to really understand and appreciate just how awesome this concept is for anyone and everyone that simply loves riding bikes. There are absolutely zero barriers to entry, you don't need any bike licence or club membership, and you certainly don't have to be of any particular standard of rider. No, this is an initiative that's designed to have a membership of all walks of bicycle life and six months in that's exactly who's signed up. 

In a nutshell the RideBiker Alliance provides a platform to create your own cycling gang and its individuality whilst also being apart of an ultimately world wide cult being the Alliance. Your gang might be yourself, it might be your existing club you're already a member of, it might be a new group you want to start up with your buddies, it can be whatever you want. This platform allows you to create and design you very own kit that allow even the most un fashionable designer of us to feel like Giorgio Armani. Just some minimums and paperwork necessary, but from then on, you're good to go and start designing kits.

Once you're happy enough with your kit design to have it put into production, your very own eStore is created for you. This is where things get really cool as now you're able to order your kits from the eStore and there's no restriction of how many or how few or what size combination of kits you wish to order. Not only you or your fellow gang members can order there kits, but anyone else who's apart of the RideBiker Alliance can also order your kit from your eStore. Now that's unique, simply by signing up which costs you zero you all of a sudden have your own online cycling clothing store! Don't know about you but I certainly didn't have an online bike kit store before I joined the RideBiker alliance. Well, I do now and I think that's pretty dahn awesome!! So with your kit designed and orders now able to take place you simply sit back and wait a few weeks for your pride and joy of cycling fashion designing to turn up in the mail.

The opportunity to sell your own kits to anyone and everyone who wants one without all the complications of collecting orders and money yourself aren't the only benefits of your eStore. The store is designed to provide you a platform to believe it or not be exactly that, a store. Rebates flow to your store as more and more kits are sold. This feature presents the opportunity for your gang to go out and search for sponsorship for you kit as if you're able to sell any, potential backers may be more enticed into supporting you knowing you have a following. Here you're basically starting to become a miniature version of the massive big World Tour teams whom survive on the investment of sponsors that base their decision on how much return they see for that investment. No different for your RideBiker Alliance if that's a path you choose to take, who's knows where that could take your gang, again I think that's pretty dahn cool. 

Now as I've said your eStore is exactly that, your very own eStore. You are not limited to only selling cycling outfits, oh no no no, you can design and sell any range of merchandise. From baseball caps, to t-shirts, socks, the full range of lycra body covering accessories available, drink bottles, you name it. If you can put your logos on it or design something you can sell it! You could even design and sell your favorite coffee drinking mug for the all important pre-ride brew. As the RideBiker Alliance grows the range of products that can be sold on your eStore will grow with it which presents it as the perfect opportunity to use this free platform as a vehicle of creating something quite significant for your alliance moving forward. If I sound excited about this part of RideBiker Alliance it's because I am. As I said it's taken me a while to really understand just how many awesome aspects they have built into this model but I get it now and it's really really rad!! Just in the past two weeks I've added the trendy little triathlon suit Sugoi whipped up for me for Ironman Whistler. I've also had some fun modifying the initial jersey design and that's also now up on my site.  My tri suit was another modification of that initial jersey so once you're happy with one design it's super easy to use that as your template for other articles of clothing. So so so so so so so easy, awesome! 

Just writing about this has given me another idea of how the RideBiker Alliance could present an opportunity. Say you're a budding cycling clothing designer and you fancy yourself as being able to take over the lycra world. Instead of going to a manufacturer and having to design your kit, order a minimum number, and pay lots of money, you can join RideBiker. By simply joining you can design your kit, order as many or as few as you like, and have zero risk. You can then sit back and see how amazing your designing skills are by seeing how many people want to buy them and if it turns out nobody wants it and your design sucks it doesn't matter, design another one!! It's a perfect way to potentially kickstart your own brand or style of lycra design without investment risks that usually need to be taken. Risk free investment as the say and better still in this case there is basically no investment other than your time! 

The importance of signing up the RideBiker Alliance in the first instance is also of note. By becoming a member your not only gaining access to all the advantages of having your own eStore but also the honor of being part of the Alliance. The Alliance is quickly becoming like a cult in domestic cycling with all the weekend warriors who are apart of the movement feeling a sense of camaraderie at local events. Although from different clubs, simply carrying the shield you feel a connection with people whom you would normally not have any association with. It basically breaks down another barrier encouraging socializing in our wonderful sport simply by mutually carrying that shield on your personalized kit. The shield creates a reason for you to reach out and say howdy at local events where you'll find the majority of RideBiker Alliance members. The alliance is another fantastic avenue to expand your riding social group and community which I certainly enjoy doing. 

The Alliance itself has taken the "support" aspect of the RideBiker Alliance to an even higher level at selected local events. This year they had on-site mechanics at all their US Cup and Kenda Cup MTB events. I found out first hand how awesome this was as I decided to go along to a couple of local mtb races in SoCal. Derek, the mechanic on duty for the events couldn't have been more helpful with making sure I didn't go racing until he'd checked and double checked my bike for me. If that wasn't enough he even washed it for me after the race which he did on his own accord when my back was turned. I went in for a shower and came out and my bike was clean! Now that's service, I didn't even ask. He also had a selection of racing nutrition there for RideBiker members in case you forgot yours so basically you were being looked after like you where a pro mtb racer. I'm lucky enough to have that treatment with my road racing career but to have the same at a local MTB event simply for being a member of the RideBiker Alliance really knocked my socks off. That was a fringe benefit I wasn't expecting but also having now witnessed more first hand how Scott Tedro does things I'm not entirely surprized, the guy's a bit of a weapon, that's for sure.

I could go on and on and on about the RideAiker Alliance but my thumbs are getting sore from typing all this on my Blackberry. I strongly suggest if you've taken the time to read this then go to the website and sign up, it's FREE to do that!! While you're there check out my eStore and get an idea of a design that I sell not very many of!! At least you'll have more of an idea of what not to make when you're designing your own!! Anyways I don't care, one thing I'll never be is a fashion designer but I've had a blast designing my gear. Who knows, with Kona coming up I might even need to come up with something a little more Hawaiian for the big day! Rightio enough from me, I'll be proudly rocking my RideBiker Alliance shield on my kits, hope to see a few more on bodies on bikes in the future!!


Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone on the Telstra Mobile network.

Monday, August 10, 2015

All that's to love about bike racing!!

In the past 24 hrs I've witnessed some of the most enjoyable cycling watching on the television ever. It began last night at dinner at LA cycling institution pedalers fork in calabasas with my great mate robbie whom also owns "the fork". On the tv was coverage of the days world cup downhill racing from windem in new York. I've got hooked on the downhill this year and know all the main dudes and love listening to dave warner go ballistic on the mic genuinely appreciating an awesome run by any rider, you really makes you feel each and every bump. Also having done some more mtb this year and even a little DH, not at the craziness of the pros let me stress!! But I've got a whole new appreciation for what incredible bike riders these guys are. Absolutely full gas from go to woh on the edge of catastrophe each and every section of the track, it's simply insane. You never know who's going to win, sure there are the big guns but until they cross the line anything can happen which adds the suspense and excitement for dave warner behind the mic and all the viewer. Yesterday's round was no exception and to see the local her Aaron Gwinn get up for the win and although he beat the aussie's in the process was a fitting way to end another action packed round.

Fast forward to this morning to this morning and on my way home from the gym I called into pedalers again for a quick coffee. At the bar of course I find my pal robbie and local legend Mikey G sitting at the bar watching the cross country world cup race live on tele again from New York. I was planning on a quick pit stop so grapped my coffee, I'm off alchol at the moment, and plonked myself down at the bar to drink it with the boys. Sure enoung the excellent coverage on redbull tv along with the world class gladiators of the sport sucked me in and I wasn't leaving till long after my coffee was finished and the race had been run and won. Again it was enthralling, a three way battle between the biggest guns of XC in Nino, Absolon, and cannondale's very own german maniac Manny fumic!! Left a clear pair of heals to the rest of the field and played out an epic battle for the top step of the podium. XC I've learnt is an extremely demanding event where the tactics seem simple, go as hard as you can for as long as you can and try and do that for longer than any of your rivals can and you should win! The coverage was so good today you could see exactly that, even on the most techniqual downhill rocky sections the boys were racing like moto go dudes seeing who could stay off the breaks longest and take the riskiest line in search of the day victory. In the end Manny lost out due to his courage and dumped it after a daring downhill overtaking manouver and would leave it to Nino and absalon to fight it out for the win. With Manny distanced Nino and absalon went Mano o Mano until one couldn't take another blow and in the end Nino would take the win thanks to showing he perhaps had the biggest set of swingers in the race and taking a dangerous all or nothing line in the rock steep downhill rock garden to distance absalon once and for all. Nino took and incredibly impressive victory, made even more so by the fact he had a flat tyre earlier in the race and had to chase back to the front, all just added to the drama of a sick event. Perhaps the coolest part of it all was the admiration and appreciation the top 3 guys had for each other knowing they had thrown everthing they had including the kitchen sink at each other and the best man had won. It was a great sign of sportsmanship amount the top guns of the sport embracing each other accross the line, each from different teams, each with different sponsors and obligations, but each genuinely appreciative of what they had put into the race. An hour longer than my planned 5minute coffee stop I finally left pedalers for the sofa and TV intime to watch the final stage of the tour of UTAH. 

When I flicked on the tele the boys were lining up for the final climb. The boys in green argyle ‎were lined up on the front protecting Joe dombro and he's race lead. Was great to see the cannondale guys up where they belong at the front of the bunch after what's been a tuff season for the team. As expected however once they hit gardsmans pass the field completely detonated with a little help from lachie morton and his jelly belly boys! Have to admit was awesome to see lach giving it a nudge, he made it brutal from the start and while it ultimately lead to him blowing his noodle halfway up the climb, like the true warrior he is he was back at the front of the field once they crested the top of the climb. It's been awesome watching the emergence of micheal woods, I'm not surprised in his rise up the ranks this year, it's commonly known how strong your legs become from running and he certainly has an x factor that's going to bring him a huge amount of success in years to come. To ride a bike fast is impressive of course but to be one of the fastest runners in the world at any point is absolutely huge!! Pretty much everybody on the plannet knows how to run and to reach the top 50 in the world shows you have some serious athleticism under the hood so was awesome to see michael showing that off in utah this week and today on gardsmans. Joe looked like yellow belongs on his shoulders and seemed as cool as cucumber all day. It won't be the last time he leads a major tour or wins one for that matter, it's uncountable that he's certainly a genuine future Grand Tour GC candidate in years to come, very exciting that he's on a cannondale!! Even isolated on the climb he showed maturity well beyond his young years and was clearly the strongest and worthy winner of this year's race. If the confirmed startlist for the vuelta wasn't enough for you then it's certainly worth turning on the tele to see what Joe can do when the race head skywards during the lap around Spain beginning in a couple of weeks. 

Finally and for me the greatest part about today's final stage in Utah was Lachlan Norriss's nail biting victory. How awesome was that, it was absolute suspense right up until his bike throwing lunge for the win to take the win. Was I surprised he won? No, not at all intact I expected it when I saw he was still in the group at the top for a few reasons. Firstly lachie had been in park city training for the passed couple of weeks so obviously knew the climb. Secondly lachie was a world class mountain biker before he focused on the road a few years ago so has skills most roadies can only dream off. Thirdly and finally he's won the coveted tour of tasmania in the passed and if there's one thing that charactorises the winners of that brutal event is you've got to be extremely skillfull and resilient as everything and everything will come your way in that event, never ever give up no matter what, and as a consequence a seriously hard ass dude!! Lachie is all those things. So once he was on the decent to me it was all over. I expected him to drop them all there and then but that's where his class really showed. He was gapped of briefly by bookwalker and it seemed the American was home and hosed! Yeah right!! The American tv cameras wanted that but sure enough lachie dug into his bag of talent and skills and super duper tucked at over 100kmph to get back on terms. Still the advantage was with Brent as he's the more credentialed sprinter but this was lachie norris and his finest hour, I know one way or another he'd find a way to finish it off. Sure enough as he rounded the final bend a few lengths of brents wheel it looked like he was beaten. No no no, this was where his class truly showed as he dug even deeper into his bag of tricks, calmly got back on the wheel of Brent for fleeting second restbite before unleashing a perfectly timed kick for the line that had been ingrained in his DNA thanks to the 100's of bonus seconds he's chased over the year in australia's domestic NRC racing series. Was so so awesome to see and while he won in the complete opposite way I expected him to I never ever doubed him and am extremely pleased for he and the Aussie drapac team, be exciting to see what lachie can do in colorado next week. 

So why am I writing about haw awesome the past 24hrs of cycling TV has been? Well because to me it highlights just how awesome all things bikes has become. I was so incredibly disgusted by the treatment chris froome received from the press and public ‎en route to his 2nd Le Tour title, was absolutely rediculous. Chris simply by showed what an unparalleled amount of dedication can achieve, and in return people slung mud at him from every quarter. The worst was the comments of the former stars of the sport whom actually were in embroiled in genuine doping pasts whom seem to be nothing short of bitter and twisted at the thought that hard work can actually win the world's greatest bike race. The behavior of some media outlets whom decided to report the comments of these trolls only added fuel to the fire which meant it filtered into the general public whom sadly chose to believe the rubbish that was being reported. While chris copped the brunt of it, his team mates were also victims of the nothing short of barbaric behavior of the public roadside which again leaves those media outlets with a lot to answer for. Why on earth allow the opinions of people whom should be forgotten about, whom have tarnished the sport for decades to have a public voice at all?? How on earth can our wonderfull sport move on if select groups seem so adament in constantly dragging up the mud. The worst part is these comments are saved for the weeks of the le tour when the whole world is watching so the issue is amplified. Shouldn't we be using le tour when billions of people are watching to admire our beautiful sport and highlight just how incredible it is? Wouldn't that be best for everyone as at the end of the day it's an industry isn't it that's always struggling to survive. Surely by having a sport free of flawless pie in the sky scandles, pardon the pun, that were slung froome dogs way at le tour, would only mean the world could marvel and appreciate what an incredible athlete and story chris really is. A guy whom no doubt is inspiring millions of youngsters from around the world to come from the tuffest of upbringings and rise to the pinaccle of world sport. I don't know about you but that's one of the most inspiring and intriguing stories currently in the world of sport. 

It seems everyone is an expert when it comes to questing the validity of an athletes performance these days, particularly in cycling. Well he's a few little things that never seem to be considered when these outrageous accusations are thrown around about our top cyclists and there's predicted VAM's, Vo2, wattage and any other myraid of made up flawless comparisons to the past. How about taking a look at technology since the 90's and early 2000's. If bikes simply don't move a huge amount more effiecently for given level of output and inturn much faster, then every engineer in the industry should be fired because what have they been doing for the past 20years? Technology in wheels, frames, tyres, clothing, chains, drive trains, brakes, you name it, each and everything on the rider and there bike these days is as it should be, decades ahead in technology compared to the proven doping infested Era of the sport where all these comparisons so conveniently seem to be drawn from. Through into that food, diets, training techniques and recovery methods and you've got an entirely different landscape of a sport to that that brought the sport to its knees in the past. 

Now at the cutting edge of all these modern marvels is team sky whom ironically froome dog races for. They even went as far as to bring a former australian national team rowing and swimming coach onboard to manage there high performance programs to distance themselves from the shady past of training and preparation in the sport. All off a sudden Kerro's methods are being mimicked by every single team in the peleton as squads scramble to keep up. Others have now started to show signs of innovation in these areas aswell with BMC, Katusha, quickstep, Astana, Saxo Bank, Greenedge and Movistar all taking an abvious large interest and making massive investments into innovation in the form of technology and preparation of the athletes. Other Anglo based team in Garmin and Trek have also shown signs of revolution over the past few years however don't have the same level of dominance as the big 8. I'm not suggesting other teams are not also on the same path but the budgets of these teams particularly are the biggest in the peleton ‎so logically they have the resources to invest more heavily in these areas as all this costs money. And guess what?? These teams are the ones at the top of the sport at the moment! Yeah they have the best riders which in part is due to the fact they are the best athletes to start with but also because there training and preparation is at the absolute cutting edge of what the human body can put itself through. Then ontop of that they get on equipment that there expert staff have prepared to a point that cannot roll any faster, it's absolutely the fasted pedal powered machine they can possibly put under there star riders. Amazingly, like when 1+1 = 2, when you put the best prepared athletes on the best bikes you get the best riders and the ones that win the races. It's pretty simple really.

Doping is NOT apart of the search for optimal performance within cycling teams. For whatever reason, and really it doesn't matter what the reason is, the sport has finally cleaned up its act. In my opinion there's a lot of reasons this has finally occurred over the past 5 or 6 years. I believe it's down to the fact that the top riders in the sport simply won't tollorate the results being effected by doping. Firstly athletes are far better educated these days and know full well that doping is not only cheating but can also be very dangerous for your body. Oh and of course everybody knows it's simply the wrong thing to and ontop of that, everybody is all to aware a scandle of the biggest stars would be catastrophic. It's great that the current crop of top stars have taken it upon themselves to set the right example to the rest of the sport. If it's suspected that a big star is doing the wrong thing then it's quickly identified by the bunch and those individuals are dealt with and are not welcome at the top end of the sport.  The antidoping agencies play a massive part aswell and while in the past have admitted they are often one step behind the cheats, in recent years they have shown signs of turning the tables with new testing methods to catch the few current offenders. The reality is, like it or loath it, the authorities needed the cooperation of the top riders in the sport to ensure its an even playing field & the biggest races are played out on an even playing field. Teams know that scandles can close the doors and that means jobs are lost and a larger scale controversy can be even more devastating for the sport. At the end of the day it's an industry like any other and nobody in it wants to loose there job. The world in itself is built on survival and the survival of cycling is reliant wholly and solely upon sponsorship. Continue to tarnish it with sceptasism and synasysim and you'll quickly drive away all these backers and guess what, we will manage to destroy our sport. Enough is enough!! How bout this for an idea all those people searching for evidence of doping, how bout you spend the same amount of energy finding evidence that riders aren't cheating!! That would actually help the sport!!‎ 

I can't speak on behalf of others riders and why they feel the sports clean but here is my opinion. In the past few years from time to time I've been strong enough to be at the head of some of the biggest races. When I was at my best I knew the numbers that were possible and could basically stare at my srm knowing how long riders could sustain such an effort. Almost to the seconds I'd witness workers drop off or attacks fizzle out, it was hugely motivating to know that with the talent, ability and hard work you could achieve something in this sport and that view hasn't changed. I speak with the guys and know there numbers and they are world's away from the hypothetical predictions of these expert trolls in search of attention. It's a view that hasn't changed in my eyes and it's a great realistic example to me that there ain't anything synester going on. If your good enough and strong enough and work hard enough you can succeed, but you've still actually got to be good enough that's why there only room for a select few at the top, because they are simply better.

The saddest part for me with regard to the ongoing scrutiny of today's stars in the sport is how do they prove they are clean? All they can do is tell the truth and repeat time and time again I'm playing by the rules. Unfortunately  for decades that's been the response of the biggest champions so sadly nobody wants to believe them. "Sure that's what they always say" sadly the actions of those in the past whom have all turned around later and said "yes I lied, I really did cheat" has taken the simplest form of explanation away from the current generation leading the sport. Froome has been asked to release his data, what on earth will that prove? That's he's the strongest guy in the world on a bike and probably trains harder than anybody else is prepared to train? He's proved that to us all over the past few years winning in the most transparent way he can. Why is it only him being asked to release such data? What about everybody else racing at the top level, there not suspicious because they are not as dominant as chris? How rediculous. No the only way for froome or any of the current big champions to prove they are clean is by doing exactly what they have been doing. They can oly continue to adhere to, and compete within the rules that govern the sport as they can't do anything else. If the authorities want to change the rules then change the rules, don't just carry on about what riders should be doing to prove there innocence. The authorities need to stand behind the riders and say our riders are doing all that's asked of them so please let them race and let us scrutinize the athletes and determine if anybody does the wrong thing. There have been calls for a union and while I hadn't really read much into the whole movement and idea but after spending the afternoon writing this blog I can see why a union would be extremely beneficial for the riders and the sport in general. This type of treatment of individual riders simply wouldn't happen within an NFL model or from what I've witnessed in my millions of hours watching ESPN in any other professional sport for that matter. With a union, instead of the poor select few whom get all the mud slung at them and have to defend themselves with there own singular voice, they would be protected and supported by a united voice of ‎the union and it's members. Looking at it now that sounds like a great idea and something I'd love to be apart off, it certainly appears a big part of the sport going forward.

So please, enough is enough. Can we stop reflecting on what's happened in the past and allow the current crop of cyclists to play out the next chapter detached from those that brought the sport into disrepute decades ago. By not letting go we are not allowing the sport to go forward. Let's herald the brilliance of our riders when they succeed and search for great stories behind that success, that's actually interesting and what people love hearing about. Why waste energy constantly dragging up old crap or reporting heavily on the isolated incidents that occur currently. If a rider tests positive just release the name on the national federation website and ban them like so many other olympic sports. If people want to know who got popped then they can look it up, we don't need to waste headlines on our media streams dwelling on these cases. Let the guys ride and do what there doing, show the world how fast the human body can go naturely on a push bike. It's one of the most common activities on the planet, almost everybody can ride a bike. Let people appreciate it for the beauty that it is across all platforms as in the long run that's what will allow the sport to grow and sustain it for century's to come. I've taken this year away from professional cycling and it's been great for a wide range of reasons. I've had the chance to ride all of my bikes even more often riding my TT, Road, and mountain bikes all on the same day. It's given me a massive appreciation for the career I've been fortunate enough to have and just what a bicycle has given me the opportunity to do. When you step away from something you get the opportunity to look at it all subjectively and see everything in different light and in my case much more clearly. I really felt for chris and the guys at le tour and the way they were being treated and found myself in numerous arguments over the 3 weeks when those around me chimed in on the gossip and rubbish that was being spoken about. Funny that in the year that it doesn't even effect me one bit I was most offended by these comments and that's why I wanted to write this peace. Draw a line, write about what's happening and not what happened, stand behind the stars and allow the whole sport to charge ahead in a way we all want it to. If we give the gloomy past a voice it will continue to speak, let's move and sit back and simply enjoy the ride.


Thursday, August 6, 2015

Into the unknown!

‎A few weeks ago I came up with a great idea, why not do an IRONMAN triathlon. The thought first sprung into my mind at the recent cannondale sales conference in Ogden Utah where I was listening to inspiring story of Bonner Paddock. Bonner has  cerebral palsy and has refused to allow it to stop him from doing anything. He's climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro and in 2013 completed the hawaii ironman and in the process sustained 27 fractures in his legs!! As he stood before the cannondale family in the Ogden town theater he still had 3 fractures to fully heal which will give bonner the green light to begin exercise again and onto the next challenge. Of course he's already planned that and having never mountain biked in his life he's decided to set his sights on the Leadville 100 of course!! And who'd bet against him with his pedigree of achievements, I truly inspiring story. So what did bonner's story have to do with me wanting to do an ironman?? Well as I sat there I was reminded once again of how lucky I am to have a fully functional healthy body. Hearing what bonner went through to complete Kona I decided that I wanted to do an ironman as completely unprepared as possible and see how my body could carry me. Crikey If bonner could go through the suffering of sustaining 27 fractures the very least I could do was to through my hat in the ring and see how much punishment my body could take. I pondered this for another couple of weeks tooing and frowing between common sense and stupidity and ultimately settled on the latter. That was that, I picked up the phone, called my buddy Brandon who runs my awesome sponsor xterra and said sign me up for IM Whistler, it was now only 2 weeks away! That wasn't all, not only had bonner inspired me but I wasn't entering just to complete an ironman, I wanted to qualify for Kona so I actually had to race this thing! Now I was faced with a real challenge, 2 weeks to figure out how to swim a distance I hadn't swam for over 18 years!! The ride obviously didn't bother me but then I had to run twice as far as I'd ever run before!! Oh and do it relatively quickly so I qualify for Kona. Yeah this was a nice little challenge to tackle.

With such limited time till the event there was only ever one training option, crash fitness program! This was a training program devised by my best mate bomma which basically was called upon when you were way out of shape and you needed to get into really really good shape really really quickly! So naturely I picked up the phone and call bom! Bom's advice was perfect as always. He didn't bother going into the fact that I had no idea what I was getting myself into or that I was crazy, no, he simply said "right you've got f!c! All time so just train like you always do on the bike but instead of jumping in the spa afterwards pull your sneakers on and go for a jog, get your body used to running when you absolutely catcus"! Sound advice so I decided to try and make that as race specific as possible and did 2 days of long rides where I rode for 6hrs hard then got off and ran 1hr week one and 2hrs last weekend. My theory was although I'd only covered 24km I was running with 8hrs of fatigue in my body and my goal was 9hrs 30min as whistler is a very hard course. I figured nothing would prepare me for that final hour + of suffering so I'd save that as a surprize for the day. ‎I hadn't run for about 10weeks as I'd had a little hip soreness which was kind of a blessing as I couldn't run fast even if I wanted to, all I could do was plod which was the perfect pace for the marathon I needed to survive. My swimming was limited as I'd had a nast crash on my MTB three weeks ago and put a couple of small strains in my right pec muscle and behind my shoulder blade so I only got a few seeions in the pool at a very slow pace. It was funny I couldn't breathe on my right side as it felt like I was being stabbed with a knife in the chest but the left was tolerable so that was lucky, I could atleast keep the biomechanics of the swim going. I crammed in some high intensity on the bike as true to bommer's advice it was my only option for maximizing crash fitness!! Last tuesday I did my final solid workout which was the 3.8km swim just to ensure I would make it that far and the 180km's on the bike as hard and fast as possible. I followed that up with bom's crucial advice and quickly knocked out 5km on foot just to make sure my body knew that it's wasn't on vacation anymore once the pedals are snapped out of the cleats! It's funny how time fly's when your racing to be ready in time and before I knew it it was time to get on the bird again and jet on up to canada for the big race!!!

I got to whistler on thursday evening so had a couple of days to check the place out and recon some of the bike course. On‎ friday I did 2hrs reconning half the bike course followed by a 5 minute run and 5minute swim, I was determined to keep my powder dry. Saturday was a short ride of 45min and then a 5minute swim again in the afternoon to make sure that my wetsuit fitted, I was all good to go. Getting ready for an ironman is quite the logistical experience, there are mc millions of things to think off!! Bike transition bag, run transition bag, special needs bike bag, special needs run bag and off course the range of different things you can put in them. Add to that the decision of how many bottles to carry and how much food to strap to your bike and you mind is going a million miles an hour to ensure you don't forget anything! I was exhausted just from thinking on saturday evening so fortunately sleeping wasn't a problem, I was tucked up by 8 ready for the 4am alarm to get my race day underway. Not surprisingly that alarm did indeed go off as planned and it felt like on 5minutes since I'd fallen asleep so deep is your slumber at such an ungodly hour. Still I jumped up full of enthusiasm, I had a feeling similar to before oceanside that it was going to be a great day.

Having had the experience of the half ironman in march, I had my morning routine and transition setup all dialed. As I did in oceanside I took the good guy approach and was certain to take a track pump with me to make some friends before the start. Once again I was amused by how many people had forgotten about bringing a proper pump and came to me frantically for a loan of mine, it truly is the greatest way to make friends in a triathlon transition area!! Before I knew it it was 6:45 and 15min before start, the time is set to pull on my snazzy dazzy green and black xterra racing wetsuit and get myself into the water and onto the start line. Another thing I learnt from oceanside was the importance of vasaline for any possible rubbing part of your body and I lathered myself in the stuff. This stuff is really golden and my suit slid on like a glove and I had maximum mobility, barely felt like it was even on so my excitement to get stuck into the gym grew even more!! I bounded into the water with maximum enthusiasm and charged out to the startline. At this point there was a little drama, as I placed my goggles over my eyes they were completely fogged, I wiped them but they didn't clear, I couldn't see 10cm ahead of me. Stupidly I just figured they will be right once I get‎ going and sat on the start line ready to rock and roll!! Soon it was the big count down to the start, 5 4 3 2 1 bang!! And I shot of the line like frog in a blender!! 


So we were off and racing and I felt fantastic in my vasaline lathered wetsuit covered body!! I had my head down and backside above water I charged on without really knowing which way I was going but as I felt fast by my standards I didn't really care!! Big mistake! After about 5min or so of not being able to see it finally started annoying me so I decided to stop and see where was at as with no one around me I figured I must be a long way in front!! Yeah right!! A long way going the wrong way more like!! I was about 100m away from the boy line and swimming completely on my own with the front pack dissapearing into the distance!! Oops!! At this point common sense should have made me flick the goggles but instead I decided again to try and wipe them and plow on! Sure enough after another 5 or so attempts to clear the goggles as I stopped to check my line I found myself swimming further of course again as I rounded the top marker at about 500m into the swim. At this point I finally bit the bullet and flicked the goggles ‎and this was the point where I realised luck was on my side, it was fresh water!! No goggles no problem!! And I was finally off and racing being able to see where I was going again, it was an amazing feeling and took me back to my nippers junior surf life saving days when this was no problem in salt water, I couldn't believe I'd been such a wimp and not ditched them earlier!! Anyways better late than never and most importantly my race was back on track literally and figuratively!! It kind of felt like getting a flat tyre in a road race and having to do a wheel change inside the last 20km when the race is going balistic. The chase back on gives you such a rush of adrenaline you feel like ten men, it was kinda the same in this swim, I felt like I could absolute flat out without any regard for how much effort it took. It was a great feeling as I swam through the field in the final 3km in the pool with my visibility back at 100percent and I ensured I left nothing in the water, I had to make up precise time I'd lost in the first lap. I figured I didn't need my arms for the rest day so I may aswell use them up so I threw them over as fast as I possibly could! When I finally hit the beach I'd certainly given it all I had to make up time as i barely had the strength to pull of my wetty. I pulled on my bike shoes, with the rain now falling I didn't hesitate in pulling on a rain coat, better to be to warm than to cold, clipped on my helmet, scoffed down a 500ml mocha iced coffee, and charged out of transition with my cannondale slice tri bike, I was now onto my leg of the race!!


Once out on course I immediately switched into race mode. I knew I was now around 20minutes behind the pro's due to my poor swim and I wanted to try and catch them. I wasn't going to worry about what my power meter said but instead just pick my way through the field and try and real in the front runners just like pulling back a breakaway in a road race, only difference was the team was me so had to do all the work myself!! Anyways I threw caution to what was coming up after the ride with the run and wasn't going to save any energy for that, I figured I'd worry about that when I got to it. My theory on this was pretty simple, provided I ate and drank enough I wouldn't run out of fuel so I could plow along all day and as the bike was the best place to eat I ate as much as I possibley could which really gave me confidence to push as hard as I wanted. At the turnaround at Olympic park after around an hour I remember seeing the power meter average reading 369watt, Ohh I thought, that's pretty solid but didn't for a second think about backing off. ‎Sure enough by the time I was passing back through whistler after around 75km my average power was now at 375 at the 1hr:45 mark, I thought gee, must have decent legs today so I plowed on stupidly without regard for fatigue. At some point I knew deep down I would pay for that effort!

Sure enough as I got to bottom section around half way I started to feel a little fatigue!! Fortunately the feed zone with my special needs bag was right there. I was pretty organised with my nutrition so my special needs bag had 2 simple things being 2 cans of coke! I figured halfway through a road race the coke is my go to for a pick me up so I packed 2 in case I dropped one! I made no mstake with the first one and got it down the hatch and was quickly back in my tt mode and chase of those still ahead of me on the road. This next next section was the tuffest to focus, 25km straight and flat one way, hook a u turn, and head back. At this point I was feeling my enthusiasm in the first half of the ride in my muscles. While I had no intention of backing off to much I did ensure I settled into a rhythm that would ensure I actually survived the bike leg of the event! The boring section ended up being not so bad as I picked my way through a few more of the pro's, I noticed they all like to draft of each other so when I passed I made sure I did it with as much mumbo jumbo as possible to keep them off my wheel. This was wasting more energy I guess but I didn't care, I'd committed to empty the tank on the bike so that's what I was trying to do. I got to the end of the 50km tt drag section and now just had the 30km rolling climb back to town to haul myself up and it would be onto the run. At this point I ditched the jacket and was in full final part of a road race mode down into my fancy camo singlet and running shorts to feel as racey as possible for the climb.

As I swung onto the climb I hit the wall hard!! It was about 3hrs 30min into the ride and I was still at 348 watt average, as soon as I glanced down at my power meter ‎when my legs went dead I knew i was about to pay a price for my complete disregard for the challenge I was facing. To be brutally honest on those first few steep ramps as I climbed out of pemperton I knew coming to a complete standstill was a very real probability, I simply had no power left, it was like a light switch turned off. Don't know if I want hunger flat or my legs simply gave up on me, probably a combination of the two, regardless it was a very difficult moment for me. 

Normally in a road race after working on the front for almost 4hrs you simply retreat to the back of the bunch and the gruppetto for a gentle roll to the finish, didn't have that option so I had to figure a way around it! Luckily there was really only one option, eat, and pedal easy and try and recover a little. Fortunately the climb consisted of lots of step ups with some little decents. My power was now all gone but was still moving forward, instead of being in the mid 300's with the watts I was cranking, the pedals around in the mid to low 200 watt range, I was in big trouble!! Anyways fortunately I kept moving forward which is the golden rule in ironman right? So long as your moving forward your getting closer to the finish! I thought of that a lot in the final 20km to the finish of the bike leg. Fortunately for me as climb progressed and I recovered on the decents and got some extra food in I started to feel a little more spritly. Speaking of food I'd made a last minute purchase from my super mechanic win Allen of wins wheels in westlake village just before I left for whistler. As I was walking out of his store I spotted some fancy new bonk Breaker bars. I thought that's a great name and if there's ever a risk of bonking it's in a jolly ironman so I'd best buy a couple! They had my favorite flavor of salted caramel so I grabbed a couple of them to jam in my feed container on my bike. So in my moment of desperation it was so so good to see these 2 bars sitting infront of my when I flipped the lid on my container and I quickly scoffed them down, I was in desperate need of needing a bonk to be broken so I crossed my fingers that they lived up to there name!! I have no idea if it was the bars that brought me back to life or not but I can assure you there is quite a strong placedo effect with eating a salted caramel bonk Breaker bar when you have well and truly bonked!!

My power was coming back in the final 10km and instead of being relieved to have dodged a bullet and saving energy for the run I got back to work and had the power meter back up in the mid 300's, I wanting to make up as much time as was possible! It was funny really, I basically had 1hr where my body had a powernap and all of a sudden it was alive again!! Anyways for whatever reason I didn't care and figured make hay while the sun shined and I jammed the pedals as hard as I could on the ride into the run transition. An ironman I've heard is as much mental as physical and with that in those final km's on the bike I got excited about the 3rd race of the day, the marathon! I was sick of the bike, I'd been on it for a long time and wanted to do something else. At this point I believe the mental side mad a massive difference as the reality was tank and legs were empty, I could have happily gone home, showered and slept for the afternoon, happy with my 325 watt for 4hrs 45min effort, I'd never done that before. But no, I still had a marathon to do and I was mentally excited about that and that got my body excited, that was really really lucky for me!! Intact I was so anxious to get of the bike that I decided to make use of my fancy mavic triathlon shoes with the giant velcro strap for easy exit!! I'd never tested out taking my feet out of these shoes, truth be told I'd only ridden in them for 30minutes the day before on the ride over to transition, a little risky I know!! Anyways I reached down as I rolled to transition and slipped the feet out, for that brief moment I almost felt like a triathlete!! So as I jumped off the bike in T2 I had a massive spring in my step , pretty crazy getting of tt bike after close to 5hrs and not being one bit stif an sore, comfy bike I guess?? again this was quite fortunate for me as I'd never run a marathon before, now the race really began.


Into transition and I have to admit this was a pretty cool moment. There were only 4 of the pros ahead of me on course so the awesome crowd were excited to see the first of the battler class, this gave me a real buzz. I grabbed my transition bag and quickly went through the routine I'd gone over and over during that 180km's on the bike. I ripped off my socks as they were wet and I had some special weapons in my bag for my feet. As I was packing my bag I spotted my golf shoes and inside as they always are were my favorite golf socks washed and ready for my next round. I have no idea what brand they are but they are white and soft and seem to have heaps of cushioning, I never ever have sore feet or legs after a round of golf. My logic was that as golf was the closest I'd come to spending 4hrs on my feet then these sock might just have the same effect on a marathon. Again I'd never ever worn them running before but just had a hunch they wouldn't let me down. So I slid them on and promptly after my Mizuno running kicks. I grabbed my crucial piece of nutrition being a starbucks 500ml iced coffee and headed out onto the run leg. I plodded of slowly to get the iced coffee down, I love those things so had decided to go for comfort food in the marathon anticipating I'd need every positive I could get to get through it. The ice coffee's became my go to endurance drink oof choice on Richie's 400km birthday ride we did last year, again that was something I'd never done before in one day but I never ran out of fuel thanks to what I believe to be the 6 500ml iced coffee's I downed on the day. Worked for me then so figured I give it another whirl for the marathon. So I downed my milk and was now underway and I have been to admit I was stoked with my choice of comfy socks, felt like I had springs in shoes!! Who would have thought the trusty golf socks could be great marathon socks aswell, that was a stroke of luck! I had a pretty simply plan for the run, walk through every 2nd aid station and have a gell and cup of gaterade which was about every 4km. I figured if I do this I wouldn't run out of fuel which was my biggest concern.

The thought of running 42km seemed crazy even to me so I decided to break it down into blocks of distances to tick the km's off. The marker I set was 12km as Dylan gleeson whom was first age grouper 12months prior in whistler told me to do that section as easy as possible to ensure you've got the ability to go the distance. I trusted Dylan and plodded through the first 12km eating and drinking as much as possible. To my delight at 12km in I felt fresh as a daisy, almost like I'd recovered a little bit, my spirits rose! At this point I decided to keep this comfy pace until the end of the first lap. If I could get halfway feeling like I'd done nothing then that would be awesome specially considering before today that was the furthest I'd run. All went to plan and as I plodded along to start the 2nd lap I felt tickedy boo which I'm sure was largely mental but in honesty my legs still felt preety good. The next check point was 24km where the run special needs back was located. I was excited to get to this bag as it had another starbucks ice coffee and I was pretty certain the calories and nutrients in that bottle would ensure I wouldn't run out of fuel in the final 18km. I was putting a lot of faith in these ice coffee's!! Before I knew it I had my bag in my hand and my milk dissapeared within seconds, wish I was that good At sculling pints of beer!! And I was back into my slow plod! The last 18km is where I'd been told crazy stuff happens and things get tuff!! It was time to have if nothing else a tuff coconut!

With my final ice coffee on board it was the mother all placebo effects, it was like taking of with fresh legs all over again. The next mental marker I was told to focus on by Dylan was between 25-30km, he told me that's where things get interesting!! Have no idea what he meant by that but I just kept telling myself I was in cruise control and was doing it easy. Not whether it was a positive or negative but at around 26km mark I had my first little drama, I had a tumbling tummy and felt the urge to drop some pounds!! All had gone so smoothly so I didn't panic and when I spotted a porta loo in the distance I fixed in on it and looked forward to sitting down and having a crash weight loss session!! This turned out to be an awesome turn of events as as I got back out on course I felt fantastic and I was now in the middle of dylans danger zone so all was going great. After a couple more km my tummy had another little turn so after the success of the first visit to the porta loo I didn't hesitate in stopping again at the 30km mark to lighten the load even more for what I was sure would be a challenging final 12km's, things had to get tuff sooner or later! The next marker I set was 33km's in as this was where the final turn around of the day. I figured if I get that far all I then have to do is run back to town and also that last 9km was ever so slightly downhill so I was sure I could make it from there.

As I rounded the final turn around to begin my haul back to town I have to admit my legs were getting a little heavy and I needed a spark. Again I'm certain someone was smiling down on my that day as a boost would come in the form of a girl named Claire who was on her 1st lap and trotting along at a fine pace. As she came up to me she told me I looked great which was ironic as that exactly what I thought about her!! She looked to be in extremely good shape if you know what I mean so I quickly repayed the compliment. She told me to hang tuff and that I was going great, I was obviously bluffing those around me pretty well!! Anyways I quickly asked what pace she was running at and she said 3hrs 20 - 3hr 30min pace which was the exact pace I was hoping to run best case scenario. I ask her if she minded if I ran with her to keep me going along and focused on something else other than suffering and she absolutely. Claire was awesome, constantly looking over her shoulder and encouraging me and I had ne drama's following her from behind, it was quite a pleasent sight, I mean point of focus!!! I have to admit Claire must have been some sort of Rockstar as every second person was cheering her on, that's why I'd never forget her name, regardless Rockstar or not she was definately my hero at that moment!! As Claire kept me plodding along I was now getting toward my final checkpoint at 37km. My superstar dad ran his first marathon at 55 and did it in 3hrs, pretty dam impressive hey! Anyways his only advice he gave me was that at 37km everybody falls apart, you just have to fall apart less. I love my dad, he's always an amazing point of motivation for me and this was no different. Little did he realise I took this advice in a completely different way, I was flattered and bouyed with even more self belief that he thought I would even make it 37km's!! If I made it that far it would be a miracle, let alone what the body starts to do at that point!! 

Anyways as I rolled toward the 37km danger zone falling apart was the furthest thing from my mind.‎ My eyes were still firmly set on Claire drumming out the tempo in front of me so much so that I didn't even see the 37km marker and the next one I saw was 38km!! You beauty I thought, I've dodged a bullet here and for the first time I had had enough of the run and just wanted to get to the finish, I was fresh as a daisey. I strided up beside Claire and thanked her for her help but it was time for me to boogy to the finish. She gave me a big cheer and I was off to bravely face the final 4km alone! I also knew I was in 9th overall and wanted to stay in the top 10 and I was sure there were guys not far behind. I decided I'd jam in a quick couple of km's to kill of there challenge as I wanted to ensure I reached the finish area alone so I could enjoy my first run down an ironman finish shoot. I couldn't believe how good I felt and had to remind myself that 3km's is still a ways to run so sprinting wasn't wise, still my km pacing dropped by almost 1minute for those final few km's. It was such and awesome feeling to see the board that says 2nd lap go left, finish go right, all of a sudden I was alone again like at the beginning of the run and off to enjoy my first ironman finish shoot. I'd watched a head of doco's on ironmans over the years and always marveled at how people could sprint at the end of all that. Well now I have the experience of that adrenaline and absolutely you want to sprint! Firstly to get your backside accross that line as quickly as possible, and secondly because the crowd is so excited and motivating that you feel like your floating, it was simply an oarsome experience finally passing under the ironman finish arch in 9hrs 23min. I'd finished my first ironman!

Once accross the line Jaime and Nat from sugoi whom are my snazzy apparel sponsor where the first to greet me. They were perhaps more excited than me as I think they were a little worried about me due to the lack of preparation and training I'd done, they certainly looked relieved to have me accross the line in one piece, they are such amazing supporters of mine. I headed straight for the massage tent but blew that off pretty quick as my muscles were so sore that if the lady touched me with any force I jumped through the roof of the tent. I called mum and dad and let them know I'd finished safe and sound, again they seemed relieved, I was beginning to realise I was perhaps the only one stupid enough to believe I'd be able to go out and do what I just did, truth be told I has some scarey thoughts and the day before aswell!! I the headed of to go hang with my friends from sugoi and slam a few beers and enjoy reliving the day with them. After an hour or so the days exertion started to show and I just wanted to go home and have a little sleep, I guess I was a little tired afterall! ‎After a couple of hours restlessness trying to sleep I realised I was far to fatigued to even rest! That was something new so I pulled my cloaths back on and headed back to the finish to watch the last few hours of finishes to complete the ironman. The cutoff time is midnight and it's a massive party down at the finish as everybody cheers home the final finishes. Here is where you see the hero's of the day, husband's and wives, parents and kids, legends pushing north of 70 charging accross the line, it's so inspiring seeing how elated all these guys are simply to make it to the finish. That the great think about an ironman, just getting accross that line is a real achievement and you see it on each and every face, really really cool. The final finisher passed under the arch at 16hrs 56min or 11:56pm and the course was finally empty, it was at that moment that I finally paused for a second the consider what had just happened in the past 20hrs since I woke at 4am for race day! It's all written above but was a cool moment to realise how much stuff you can get done in 24hrs!!

Things changed a lot for me in those 9hrs and 23minutes, those changes will became more apparent in the near future. I learnt a huge amount about myself, what I can put myself, how much a part the mind plays in sport, what keeps me going, I could have never anticipated how my outlook on my future in sport would change by doing an ironman. With only 4 months left in my sebatical year away from the world of professional cycling I've decided my final adventure event will be the hawaii ironman in kona. It's an event alongside the Olympics and Le tour de france I dreamed of as a kid partaking in one day. The fact that the 2015 tour wrapped up on the same day as the ironman was an interesting coincidence. This was another motivating factor for me to give it a good crack to be honest as so many of my buddies had just raced there ass's off all over france so the least I could do was inflict a little bit of fatigue on my body aswell!! When I line up on the start in kona I'll have ticked of two of those objectives, I would never have guessed kona would come ahead of le tour but hey you never ever know what card sporting life has got install for you next. I'll have to work even harder now to complete the set as I get back in the peleton next year but that's even more motivating for me now, 12months ago I'd lost that desire so I'm pleased that putting myself through an ironman finally got that spark and drive back that for so many years had been missing, better late than never I guess. Anyways onwards and upwards, I'll take a couple of weeks off to ensure I recover 100percent, if I need to I'll take a 3rd week, I'm not going to underestimate how much that event took out of my legs, specially considering I only did 2 weeks of solid training for it. I plan on taking kona a little more seriously and will commit 6 weeks to the race so will start in Ernest again on august 22nd and that will give me a week to taper and be fresh for the race day. Yeah I'll go to kona for the experience as I know that you can't expect to do anything exceptional of 6 weeks training but I want to be able to enjoy it which mean getting the most out of myself for the condition I have so that will drive me to train hard for that. 

Yep the ironman is one thing I'm glad I decided to have a crack at! Bonner paddock was so inspiring that no matter how out of my depth I felt in preparation or during the race I felt, I knew that wasn't even on the same plannet of being challenged as he was climbing killamanjaroo or completing the ironman. Bonner's story certainly rang load and clear in my head but he is just one amazing story to come out of the ironman movement. These absolute hero's concept of challenge is world's away from what all us able bodied athletes face in our sporting lives, I can't expres sin words how moving some of these stories are. Anyways, thanks bonner I'm off to kona and can't wait to see what adventures and amazing individuals I'll come accross over there.


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