Ironman Taupo 70.3 - Triathlon

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Taupo, Waikato
New Zealand
20C / 68F
Total Time = 7h 35m 3s
Overall Rank = 800/831
Age Group = M3539
Age Group Rank = 79/79
Pre-race routine:

Travelled down to Taupo the day before race day. Traffic and difficult children combined to make it a longer than hoped for trip. End result was arriving in Taupo too late to catch the transition tour. Not critical, but something I would have done given the opportunity as this is a new venue to previous races I've done in Taupo.

Registration was fast and easy, then checked into the hotel, my parents arrived as we were unpacking which was perfect as they minded the children while I took the bike for a post transport test ride and had a short 10 min jog to make sure the legs still worked.

Checked the bike in at about 4:30, then went for my traditional pre race drive of the bike course. On the way back into town grabbed fish and chips for the family and had a less than perfect pre race dinner of greasies and a beer.

Had a terrible night trying to get to sleep, about 4 1/2 hours according to Mr Garmin. Woke at 4 to start getting ready, left the room at 5 to head to transition for final set up. Loaded the bike with her BTA and BTS bottles, and nutrition in an aero bottle on the down tube, check air pressure set up shoes etc.

Was all done about 5:45, so headed down to the lakefront to stress out some more and watch the pros start then get into the starting pen around 6:20.

Event warmup:

None at all. Personally I think anyone doing a swim in that cold lake, then standing around for half an hour getting colder is mad. the first 2-500m is a good enough warm up for me.
  • 41m 26s
  • 1900 meters
  • 02m 11s / 100 meters

My first experience with a rolling start. Not a fan. Honestly, I didn't notice any less contact during the swim, and for the rest of the day I had no idea if I was 10 minutes ahead of, or behind the next guy up the road. (Not that I was 'racing' but it's still annoying)

We started 4 at a time, on the beep. Waded till thigh deep and dove in.

HOLY SH!T that was cold. Like being punched in the chest with cold shock. For the first 100m or so I could barely breathe. It took a few minutes but I did acclimatize, it was still cold, but manageable.

Otherwise, conditions were perfect. They say Taupo is the best swim in triathlon and again it didn't disappoint. No wind to speak of, flat water, unbelievably clear, the entire 1,900m you can see the bottom.

I tried to settle into my rhythm as fast as possible, as always looking for long, controlled strokes. Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast. Sighting was ok, had a bit of a zig zag between turns 1 and 2 but nothing significant lost. All 4 turns were a bit of a scrum as athletes came together. As I said above, no real difference to the mass start here for IMNZ in terms of body contact.

The 2nd half of the swim my pace faded. At the time I felt I was doing the same the whole way through but went from 1:55/100 for the first 500m to 2:20/100 for the last. The solution is no more complicated than more swimming.

Out of the water in 41:26 which was in the range I expected, but not happy with the pace dropping off so dramatically. Need to work on that.
What would you do differently?:

Swim more. Swim more often. Swim longer when I do swim.
Transition 1
  • 07m 8s

Walked up the hill from the swim exit to transition, Walked to my bike rack. One good thing about the rolling start, there was lots of space in transition. Helmet and sunnies on, knelt down to put on socks and bike shoes. Walked the bike to the mount line then off and away.
What would you do differently?:

Well jogging, rather than walking would be faster no doubt. But in a 7+ hour day I wasn't going to stress about 2 or 3 minutes saved.
  • 3h 43m 57s
  • 90 kms
  • 24.11 km/hr

My plan going in was to make sure I get off the bike with run legs still attached. And I think I did that to a degree.

Honestly, the bike was pretty uneventful.

The climbs were slow, as expected but didn't feel as bad as feared. So probably means I didn't push enough. The descents were fast, and fun. A top speed of about 57km/hr heading down broadlands road. On the flats, and 'false flat' sections I made an effort to be in the aerobars as much as I could.

I took in nutrition, and drank pretty much to plan. My plan was a sip of my tailwind concentrate mix every 20 minutes. I didn't stick religiously to that schedule, but the course lined up pretty well. 2 sips while going up the climb, and one at the bottom just after the turn around. I was 3 drinks every hour, and 15-25 minutes between. I drank water from the BTA bottle as needed, and only needed to grab 1 aid station bottle to refill. That might mean I didn't drink enough, but the day was quite cool for most of the ride, so my sweat levels were low.

I only have 1 previous Ironman in my strava history, but compared to then every segment I want through was a PR. So that's got to mean something was right.

When I got off the bike the body was quite sore, but I think most of that was being in the saddle for so long. My longest ride in training was 3 hours, so I was about 25% longer than that.

But really a pretty uneventful bike. Happy that I did what I expected, but want to be fitter and lighter and have higher expectations.

What would you do differently?:

Take in more calories. Despite drinking as often as planned there was 150ml left in the bottle post ride so I definitely had less than I've been having during training (55g/hr vs 70-80g/hr).
Monitor my effort more. I think there were times I stayed spinning easy too long on as climbs flattened. A power meter would really help me control my effort levels.
Transition 2
  • 05m 40s

Just like T1, walked the bike to her rack, helmet off, knelt to swap shoes, and socks. Grabbed my hat, race belt and nutrition flasks and sorted them while walking out of transition. Had a piece of banana and a cup of electrolytes exiting T2
What would you do differently?:

Again jogging would be faster. But again, not stressed about 1-2 minutes saved in such a long day. Better to take my time and get it right.
  • 2h 56m 50s
  • 21.1 kms
  • 08m 23s  min/km

With my expected slow ride, I knew my overall time was going to be slow. So one of my big goals for this event was to 'run well'. My 70.3 run PB (from 2013!) is 2 hr 37 min, with the remaining 4 times 3hr 2min - 3hr 35min. So 'run well' is not run a fast half marathon, it's run, rather than walk the bulk of the half marathon, finish in under 3 hours, and if I was having a perfect day maybe get close to a new run PB.

The run started well, Km1 done in 7:22 which included walking an aid station, a little bit faster than the 7:30-45 I wanted to try and hold. Km 2 was 7:37 better pace. Km 3, 7:40 with another aid station walk. 4th kilometer went past our hotel, so got to see my family, well most of it Miss 3 was having such an exciting day she was having a rest. Km 5 and 6 were around 7:50'km. Still in range, feeling ok. At 6.5km it started getting very hard.

Passing the 2nd turn around of the lap brought the wind behind us, and man it suddenly got very very hot. It was also around midday at this point, so approaching the hottest part of the day.

The next 3 1/2 km back to the turn around were a struggle paces ranging from 8:09-8:30 depending on when the aid stations lined up. 2nd half of lap 2 things became a real struggle. My pace started drifting up into the low 9+/km. I was hot, tired and ready for it to be over. At this stage I was also doing the mental arithmetic to figure out if I was going to be under 3 hours or not, and it was starting to look marginal.

Lap 3, I decided to give myself a break, I was going to increase my walking from just the aid stations to include the up hill sections. The first half of the lap started slow, 9:05-9:21/km. I was also taking in as much water as I could, and dumping at least 1 cup over me each aid station. The heat was a real killer. But, the water/ice/walking did help, I was slow but my heart rate came down a bit, and I was running better in the post walk periods.

At the turn, I decided that my current pace was not going to get me under 2 hours, decision was made to make sure I emptied the tank trying, so no more walking. It wasn't fast, or pretty, but I Iron shuffled home at 8:15-8:30/km finishing in 2 hours 56 minutes. My 2nd fastest 70.3 run, and my fastest half marathon of any sort since 2019.
What would you do differently?:

More water/ice earlier would have helped with cooling. And my run, walk strategy was wrong. Either I should have been walking more from step 1. Or, I needed to push more during the middle stages. But the pacing wasn't great. I'm not sure which way is right but something wasn't.
Post race
Warm down:

Nothing. Sat in the recover tent and knocked back a couple cups of water and electrolytes.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Being to fat, and not fit enough.
Not maintaining an even effort on the bike, there was some time lost there.
Not enough swimming, the pace drop off in the 2nd half was pretty significant.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2023-12-10 12:00 AM
00:41:26 | 1900 meters | 02m 11s / 100meters
Age Group: 0/79
Overall: 0/831
Performance: Below average
Course: 200m out, right turn, 800m down the lakefront, right turn, 50m back in, another right turn, 700m back up the lakefront, left turn and 150m back to the beach.
Start type: Wade Plus: Time Trial
Water temp: 15C / 59F Current: Low
200M Perf. Below average Remainder: Average
Breathing: Average Drafting: Below average
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Average
Time: 07:08
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Yes Run with bike: No
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Below average
03:43:57 | 90 kms | 24.11 km/hr
Age Group: 0/79
Overall: 0/831
Performance: Average
Wind: Little
Course: Up the hill heading out of Taupo, down the hill on Broadlands road. Back up and down the hill to Taupo, Repeat. Always heading up or down, little if any flat.
Road: Rough Dry Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Below average Hills: Below average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Not enough
Time: 05:40
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
02:56:50 | 21.1 kms | 08m 23s  min/km
Age Group: 0/79
Overall: 0/831
Course: 3 7km laps. Heading south heading south on the road with a few rolling hills and back along the lakeside path. Flat, and with a nice cooling breeze.
Keeping cool Bad Drinking Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Too hard
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Below average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4