I was excited to head back to Taupo this year to race Ironman New Zealand again. Taupo is a very beautiful place and I really enjoy racing on the tough course there.
It took me a while to recover from Ironman Western Australia in December 2019 which meant a shorter build up to Ironman Taupo 2020, however, overall it went smoothly and I felt fresh and fit pre race.
The build up towards racing in the 2020 New Zealand Ironman event included competing in the Elite National Cycling Championships. I had a great ride in the Individual Time Trial and came away with the win, making me the 2020 New Zealand National Time Trial Champion.
A few days later I competed in the National Road Race Championship and had a great ride finishing 3rd place.
Upon arrival in Taupo I headed straight to a race briefing and media commitments. The day before the race consisted of additional press interviews, some easy training sessions and most importantly double-checking bike and race gear before checking it all into transition. Leading up to the event I felt relaxed and calm, even enjoying some of the media which is rare for me.
On the morning of the race I felt rested thanks to the later start of the race. My partner, my Dad and I jumped in the car and headed to Taupo. With the 70.3 already in full swing the race venue was already crowded. I set up Lil B, headed to the swim start and put on my wetsuit. I hopped in the water 7mins before go time and swam to the start line. As the temperature of the water was on the chilly side I decided I like to forgo swim warm ups in favour of staying nice and warm on the sidelines.
Swim - 50:25
I lined up to the left of the group with a gap between us. It is a long way to swim and I like to have a relaxed, clear water start. The cannon went and I swam reasonably hard to try get a gap and sneak away. I never like to red line in an Ironman so try to start the swim sensibly. I managed to get a small gap so just swam strong to the finish. Coming down the river and around the corner to the swim exit was cool. I spotted my nieces and family in the crowd which made me smile. Once I stood up I heard the crowd yelling my name and cheering, which was amazing. A long run up to transition, a quick gel plus some water and I was off on Lil B.
Bike - 4:36:11 (Bike course record)
I was excited to hop on the bike. I have been riding well and enjoying my sessions in training. I headed out of town. It was mostly uphill on the way out of town before the drag out to Reporoa so I took my time sorting myself out and settling into my position and pace.
The new route out of town was great. Much more direct and before I knew it in was out in the country side. I felt super comfortable during the first lap. Hitting my power target and feeling good. Making sure I drank lots of water and eating. When I came back through town to the turn for the first lap I was surprised to see I had done it in 2hr 15mins. I knew I was riding what I was capable of so I continued on with the pace as I headed back out for the second lap. On the second lap I had a few bladder/tummy issues. So I just focused on keeping aero and riding sensibly. I made it back to town safely, jumped off Lil B and headed to T2 remembering to save my Garmin file on the way. I stopped at a portaloo before running out of T2 to sort my tummy issues. I lost a little of my lead but I am so glad I did as I felt way better as I headed out on the run.
Run - 3:05:18
I set off conservatively and felt okay, it's easy to get carried away in the first 5mins and I made sure I didn't. I heard my time gap to 2nd and hoped it was enough to hold off the great runners in the field. Dan and I had discussed the run before the race and we just wanted to run solid and conserve as much energy and strength as possible. So I just focused on tapping along and relaxing. Through the first lap I felt good, I heard my gap was being reduced but I felt confident I would not slow much.
Onto the second lap I was still on pace. My legs were probably feeling the best they have here at this point in the race - usually they feel like blocks of wood by now. I kept hydrating and eating.
Onto the third lap and I still felt okay. A strange feeling for me as I'm normally a mess and want to stop by now. I heard the gap to 2nd had hovered and then gone back out again. I was still running target pace and just stayed settled in there until the last few kms when I realised what I was about to achieve! With a huge grin and many high fives I ran to the line feeling excited, happy and proud!
Overall - 8hrs 40mins
New course record & Bike course record
I am so glad I could achieve this for my team - Dan sacrifices a lot to help me day in day out, he pours his energy into helping me be the best I can be and I am forever grateful for that!
It was also great to have my Mum, Dad and family there to watch and support. They are also there day in day out helping me and of course they supported me in chasing my crazy sporting goals year after year.
I am super stoked I could get another win for my team Pewag Racing Team and all the team sponsors. They have been such a huge help and I am excited for the future.
It took a few days to read through all the awesome messages of support. Thank you everyone for your kind words. I am not feeling too bad post race. I am excited for some rest time now.
Thank you to these people who are a big part of this result!
My partner Dan
Mum, Dad and Family
Coach David Bowden
Pewag Racing Team
West Wave Aquatic Centre
Massage therapist Danelle Snowden
Chiropractor Iain Wood