The race headquarters was based out of the International airport with the course surrounding it in in the nearby marine park, cycleways, highways and rice fields.
The beach start swim made for a frantic first couple of minutes. I was able to get onto Mitch Robins feet with the majority of the field forming a line behind. It stayed this way for the most of the swim with everyone content to make some moves later in the race.
The early part of the bike saw a group of 6 riders form on the initial two loop flat course with no one giving an inch. The ride and dynamics changed completely for the 2nd third of the ride when we hit the cycleway section before then heading into about 40k of tight roads winding around rice fields and country roads. The continual braking, accelerating and tight turns made it mentally fatiguing to stay alert and upright for everyone, and was really physically fatiguing by the end of the ride.
Mitch was able to make the race winning move up a sharp pinch, easily gaining a 30 second lead before anyone else reacted. I as next to go and gave it everything up another sharp climb. Soon onto the highway to T2 the field spread itself out over the exposed crosswinds as we were trying to close each others gaps down. I hit T2 in 2nd 50 seconds down on 1st and with another minute over 3rd and 4th, I had some work to do.
I scrambled out of T2 with my Rudy Projects keen to see if i could make up time on Mitch but all I found were some sore quads from all those accelerations on the bike and I knew I would very soon be getting some company from a fast moving Ryan Waddington. I had to work hard the 2nd half so the local Japanese favourite wasn't able to run himself onto the podium. The run, apart from the sharp pain inducing hills, was awesome with local farmers coming out to cheer us on. It was pretty cool to think we were racing through this special part of the world and to have such an appreciative crowd who in the main were in awe of what the 1500+ competitors on the day were doing.
Finishing along the break wall I was also breaking at that stage and was happy to fend off a hard charging Japanese to make it an Aussie clean sweep which was pretty cool to enjoy!
I've now flown direct to Cairns for this weekends Cairns 70.3, which is my first back to back half weekend. It's going to be a real test to see how my recovery goes before another hard and fast race.