17 January 2011

Challenge Wanaka

January 17

Well ........ after having resisted the temptation to watch an IM up to this point in my life I finally made the choice to try and enjoy the sport from the sidelines.
Not as easy as it sounds.
Up until October I've always felt that if I'm going to go to an IM then I'm going to be out there taking part with my people and taking on the challenge myself. During the marathon in Kona that all changed! As stubborn as I am I've come to accept that I can't do every race I'd like to do despite my best intentions. Things are wearing out!

Some observations from Wanaka........
We drove down on Friday and it was a magic day. Almost windless, sunny and a high temp of 27C.
Everyone would have loved to race on a magic day like that.
That evening there was an elite, drafting sprint race to watch and the setting and viewing from the waterfront restaurants/bars has to be one of the best venues for Triathlon watching on the planet. The men's race didn't start until 8:15pm and it got dark around 9:45pm. Perfect.

When I woke at 6am on Saturday the wind was already quite strong and whipping up some white-caps on the lake. It was going to be a brutal day!
From there the wind just built up to near gale force in places and made riding just miserable. Everyone else was struggling too - there were traffic management and aid station volunteers who had trouble just standing in place out on the course. We had to shelter behind huge clumps of bushes just to watch the race.
Even the run would have been severely affected by the wind - it was that strong all day.

Respect to everyone who took part including the volunteers who also had to put up with the super tough conditions.
Special kudos to Belinda Granger who flew over at the last minute to pump up the women's field even though her husband is in hospital recovering from complications from a bike crash. What a true journeyman pro and a pleasure to watch.
Also a special mention to gritty kiwi Belinda Harper who was one of the pre-race favorites based on her outstanding effort in Kona. She had a nasty crash yet soldiered on to finish despite being torn to shreds.
There must be lots of great stories to come from a day like that.