Ironman Lake Placid was my 2nd Ironman since I turned pro this year. After finishing 2nd at Ironman South Africa I soon headed over to Boulder Colorado to escape the South African Winter for 6 months. Since I have arrived in Boulder my training has gone extremely well considering I was now training at 1650m above sea level. I was still producing very similar times and paces as sea level, which is pretty unreal. I put in a big 3 week block of training, which included 55km swimming, 2000km on the bike and 300km on the run. My preparation, like any block I have done went just as perfect if not better. I was very confident knowing the work I did was going to secure me my 1st Ironman victory.
The day before the race I had these weird feelings going through my mind and body and knew something great was going to happen. The morning of the race I was very calm and chilled. The weather wasn’t the greatest, pouring down with rain and thunderstorms but that didn’t get to me. I knew it would be the same for everyone else competing in this race. I checked my bike into T1 to make sure everything was in check and calmly walked towards the Mirror Lake with Lauren. I watched over lake focusing on my race ahead of me, 45min before the start sitting in the only chair overlooking the lake joking with Lauren that I was like a king on his thrown.
My swim didn’t go as planned, I missed the feet of 2 fast swimmers and ended up swimming ¾ of the 1st lap and 2nd lap on my own. After my 1st lap I saw that I swam 25min for lap 1 and as I got in for the 2nd lap I saw all the age groupers starting their swim and thought ‘how am I going to swim through all these people’? I realised we were able to swim on the inside of the outgoing buoys, however I still made a rookie error sighting the wrong turn buoy 2, which was 40m apart from the turn buoy 1 which cost me some time having to swim back. I excited the water in 52:04 and started to make the long 600m run to T1. Transition didn’t go to well either, I picked my helmet out my bag and as I was running to my bike, strapping my helmet on, I realised the visor had unattached and was still in the bag… I knew I would lose too much time going back to fetch it so I made the decision to leave it. As I jumped on my bike my seat tilted up and thought ‘NO WAYS THIS IS NOT HAPPENING TO ME!’ I decided to just try and ride like that, not too comfortable at all but was manageable.
The 1st lap of the bike was really tough with the very bad weather and heavy rain but I fought my way through it. I felt amazing on the bike and have never pushed such high watts ever in an Ironman. I guess I was chasing down 1st spot.
It started to hurt but was more motivated just to win. I got a yellow card for passing on the right of someone (age grouper) , which was my fault but I was so angry with the decision because that age grouper was in the middle of the road and a car was coming towards us so that was my only option. I was told to go to the penalty tent so I did and after waiting about 2 minutes they said ‘oh you don’t have to wait, it was just a warning!’ I was not happy, but kept fighting till I got off the bike. I entered T2 with a bike time of 4:43 averaging just over 38km/h on a very challenging course and pushed 292w average and 305 NP – highest ever!
T2 went smoothly and started to make my way onto another very challenging run course. It’s a 2 loop run course with 2 very long and steep hills thrown into the mix. Lap 1 was good, increasing my lead and running very comfortably in my zone. Lap 2 was a different story, having to walk up 2 climbs but I knew I was going to win at that point and with the amazing crowd support I got to take in the last 21km and enjoy my very first win in triathlon!