I guess I can’t help but be happy with second, especially when racing against the line-up that was on the start in Singapore this weekend. And there is no shame finishing second to the 2-time and reigning IM World Champ either. But it is my fourth time being runner-up in the last 10 months. Always the bridesmaid… (Not that I ever want to be a bride! )
IM 70.3 Singapore was a bit of a last-minute decision for me. I was already in the area in Krabi training, and my 30-day visa was about to expire, so if I left the country and returned it would be renewed. On top of that, my training was going great, it was a short flight to Singapore and teamTBB could put me up in their apartment in the city. Nothing to lose, really. Don’t know why I didn’t think of it sooner.
So I found myself on the start line with a great field of Pro’s and looking forward to a good test of the legs. I had a decent start, apart from dodging the physically challenged athletes who started directly in front of us (WTF?!). But soon, as usual, I had dropped off the front pack. I found some feet and stayed there. It turned out they were Jan’s feet and it was the start of a long day for him (but he would finish – good job Jan!). The rest of the swim was uneventful – a few jellyfish tingles, a kick in the face around a bouy and a few smacks on the head from Caroline swimming next to me! Thanks. Not.
Out the water I was two minutes down on the leaders. As usual. I started the bike with Chris Legh and it was obvious he was planning to catch the leaders by his tempo. I felt it was a little fast, but let him do the pacing to the 15km turn. We then alternated pacing (and finding a line through the throngs of age-groupers) until we were 60km in, but the lead group was not much closer. As usual. At the start of the final lap I had to make a decision – give it all on the bike and gamble an implosion on the run to catch the group and start the run with the big boys, or stay where I am run my way into the top 5 for (almost) sure. I gambled. All or nothing. I hammered the next 15km and at the final turn the group was close. My legs were feeling it and I had a few cramps, but caught the group with about 10km to go. This would be my first time off the bike with the leaders. And the fastest bike split too! (It was also my first race on the new Cervelo P4. Coincidence? I think not. ) Lets hope the legs aren’t too toasted for the run…
Transition was a mess. The racks collapsed. Bikes everywhere. Running shoes nowhere. I was at the back of the group so got the worst of it, but came out transition not far off the leaders, but down in 8th place. Immediately I started picking guys off and soon I was tie for third with Aaron Farlow. We passed Chris Legh in 2nd, and seemed to be catching Crowie but it was getting hot and tough! And my Avia’s were drenched due the steeple-chase-like puddles we had to run through (more than 10cm deep, seriously!).
I hung on, and closed to within 25sec of Crowie at one point, which seems really close when you write it, but isn’t that close when you look at him in the distance (it’s well over 100m at that pace!). I kept the pressure on, telling myself he could cramp or blow, but World Champions don’t do that often, so I had to settle for second. Again.
I’ll take it though. My gamble on the bike paid off, and brought with it a lot of confidence going forward. And I’m getting closer and closer to that first big win every race… which brings to mind my next race in 4 weeks at home…
Thanks to everyone for the awesome support and messages this weekend, especially to the team at The Bike Boutique in Singapore. And to those who woke up at 2am in SA to track the race (Lex and Mom) – don’t worry, the next race is closer to home!
Well done also to my team-mates: Caroline for winning (again), Steve for toughing out 5th and Jan for finishing his first 70.3.
Onwards and upwards…