IMNZ 2011, it's on, I'm committing and am pretty excited about getting back on the start line in March. IMNZ 2010 was the first one I have missed since 2003, during the race I wasn't at all upset about not racing and really enjoyed being out there cheering on all the people I knew that were racing. It was great to see the other side of the day, damn exhausting and full credit to those who help out and support the race every year. I was blown away by the crowd at the start. It was massive, I had no idea it was 3 deep all the way down to the "hole in one" pontoon.
When I woke up Sunday morning I was gutted, more like jealous of all those who completed it the day before. A totally different emotion than expected and I knew then I had unfinished business.
Since then I have been working hard on my swimming technique and riding 5-6 times per week. I have been having some reoccurring issues with my knee that I injured pre Mt Half so am seeing Dr. Matt Brick early next week to try to get to the bottom of the problem. The running I had been doing felt great but I could feel the injury creeping in, so have only been doing light running. It will be great to see a specialist and develop a new plan forward with it.
I lined up in the Tour of Taranaki, a 5 stage cycle race held in rural Taranaki. I raced B-Grade as I hadn't been in a cycle race since K2 2008, lining up in A-Grade would have been a mistake as B-Grade was hard enough! Totally different to what I'm used to with the massive swings in power output and tactical riding. I became stronger as the Tour went, only losing time on the leaders in Stage 3. Stage 5 was my best, breaking away several times to try to get away and make up the time lost earlier on the leaders. It wasn't to be, but a fantastic experience and great training to improve my power and strength for this summer's Tri-Season. I was really happy with how my titanium Litespeed handled and performed. With race wheels on there cannot be many lighter bikes out there, a great bike to ride so a big thanks to David and the team at Bike Fixation for the continuing support. I'm hoping to return next year, this time lining up in A-Grade. The pics below are of me at the prologue start, I fared well in this, even whilst riding my Road Bike with no aero-bars. I will definitely take the TT bike next year to mix it with the A-Grade guys better.
Below is a list of what I plan to do through the winter and then into the Tri-season. No overseas races this year, I want to keep it local and get my health and fitness up to its peak. The main goals are to defend my Taupo Half IM title, regain my NZ Champ status at the Mt Half in January, then be a contender at IMNZ in March. A course PB is my minimum expectation, this would have placed me 5th this year, although I long for a podium finish.
June, Tour of Taranaki June 6th-8th
July, Okororire Fun Ride, Craters Classic MTB race
August, Mizuno 1/2 Marathon, N-Duro 50km MTB race
September, Taupo-Napier Cycle Classic, Onehuga 1/2 Marathon
October, Motu 160 MTB/Road challenge, K2 Cycle Challenge
November, Round the Lake Cycle Classic, Karapiro 1/2 IM or, Rotorua National Series Tri
December, Taupo 1/2 IM, Surfbreaker Sprint Tri
January, Mt Half IM
February, Kinloch Tri
March, NZIM, Auckland 1/2IM
A busy schedule! Most of these races are in fact training sessions, there are really 3 key races as mentioned above.
That's all for now, tune in again soon for race reports and updates each month.