My preparation went extremely well for Kona, having trained in Arizona for 1 month before the event. It was extremely hot conditions averaging around 38 degrees everyday.
I knew training in the heat would set me up for the Hawaii conditions but in terms of the humidity it was very dry in Arizona where Hawaii is very humid. I used Vegas 70.3 as a preparation race for Kona and only had a 3 day taper for Vegas but still pulled off a good result and a win in my AG.
I arrived in Kona 9 days out, the plan was to arrive 10 days out but I couldn’t do anything about the plane delays. This was my 3rd time to the big island to compete in the world championships so I knew what to expect and where to stay.
I love to stay far down Alli drive to get away from all the madness closer to the race start and clear my head alot.I spent all my time on my own as thats one of the things I do before leading up to a big event. I don’t want to see anyone but just focus on what I need to do before the big dance.
The day before the race I knew I was in the best shape of my life so far and knew in my gut feeling that I was going to have a great race.The plan the whole year was to win my AG before I went pro, but I wanted more than that. I set a time on paper a week after IMSA, 53min swim, 4:38 bike and a 2:55 marathon for Kona which I wasn’t to far off. That’s how I find alot of my determination when I’m out training set goals for myself.Morning of the race I wasn’t even nervous I was so confident that this was going to be one to remember.
I calmly waited in line watching all these Age Groupers line up to get body marked and I wasn’t even bothered if some were skipping the line. I checked my bike, pumped up the tyres and unpacked my chomps into my Fuel cell box on my bike.I went to a quite spot to warm my arms up before the swim start and soon we were starting to make our way to the waters edge. Everyone panics a bit and starts to swim 20min before the gun goes off and get a good position for the start.
I left 15min before and found my spot in the middle. 3-2-1 the gun fired I was off to a good start and saw a good pack of swimmers.The whole swim went awesome I was in this pack and it felt like we were moving, not so right! Turns out we were properly the second pack behind the main pack which was a bit disappointing when I glanced at my watch. I didn’t let it get to me, just got on my bike and it was like I was blowing fire out the back I was so keen to get going. 30km into the bike ride I was in the lead of the race. I was pushing huge wattage on my own with no one to work with but I just kept going and smiling.I started to climb Hawai and soon had a glance back if I could see anyone, there was no one in sight. I got to the turn around grabbed my special needs bag with 2 extra bottles and off I went.
120km mark I saw 5 guys like a pack of wolfs making up ground. I had averaged 292 watts and couldn’t believe they had caught me WTH I thought!!! Anyway I calmed down and sat at the back the whole way to town.I thought I was blown but when they passed the pace was maintainable while I sat 10-15m back of the bunch. I came into T2 and put my run shoes on, when I exited I knew I have my run legs now lets go. I didn’t go crazy hard in the beginning just kept a good pace and made sure I wasn’t going to hard. I saw Conrad and Liezel Stotlz on the side of the road yelling at me around 7km, The first age grouper was 1min ahead of me but that didn’t bother me.While I was running towards the energy lab I could see the lead age grouper walking and soon passed. I was in the lead of the AG race, awesome.
I was still running strong at the turn in the energy lab and took a time check to the next Age grouper about 4 min, great! Leaving the energy was a struggle as always, I walked a bit getting in much needed calories down and starting running.I was running 4:10km back to town and knew no one is going to catch me now, in fact I was putting in time to some of them. As a reached the top of Palani to descent in fashion I raised my arms fist pump the air and was celebrating World Champion Amateur.
Running down Alli Drive proudly South Africa Liezel Stotlz handed me the South Africa flag that has been around the world many times with Conrad.I raised it above my head and ran down the finish, I couldn’t believe it. The crowd was going mad as Mike Riley announced first amateur and new course record.
I couldn’t celebrate to long as Pete Jacobs & Luke Bell were coming behind me. I couldn’t even enjoy something to eat and drink after the finish as I was rushed up to get Drug Tested once again twice in 3 days.
What a day to remember, Ironman Amateur World Champion.