I entered Challenge Batemans Bay a few months ago with my only previous Challenge experience being Cairns in 2011 and Wanaka this year and I liked what I saw and the feel of the race. I also entered the race thinking that due to it being an innaugrial event the field might not be that stacked! I was wrong as it was packed full of names, which is becoming the norm on todays half ironman circuit.
On a personal note I had just come off a big break and a bout of gastro and other ailments so I only had a sparse 3 weeks of work behind me and in with the caliber of field that was racing I was hoping for a good solid day and a finish between 5th and 10th would set me up nicely for my Port Mac prep through April.
The swimmers were out in force for this one with Fettell, Amberger, Fox, Appleton, Jacobs and Sanson, so I knew I would be behind the eight ball from the beginning so my whole approach for this race was to get some good training data and go solid from the gun which I did. I managed to come out in the 3rd group with Ogden, Whistler, Polson so had some good cyclists to keep me company and we got to work in catching the large 2nd pack containing the majority of the field.
I managed to work myself into the race and felt better as it went on, and due to the lack of racing I expected that, as we caught up to pack 2 at 60km, this left me around 5minutes behind the main swim group into T2 which I thought was not too bad and gave me a good chance to run with some fast guys like Cam Millward, Polson etc.
The run for me was very encouraging as I held a consistent pace the whole way, running a workman like 1:16 on a windy out and back course, plugging away I ran with Ogden and stayed about a minute behind Polson and Millward the whole way finishing 8th after miscalculating the finish chute in 4:01. Overall I achieved what I wanted to do on a limited prep and more importantly I felt good doing it, so the sign are encouraging for the next 4 – 6 weeks.
On another note it was my first race with the new Scody Optimise AIR full race suit and I loved it with the increased flexibility and breathability. Most of you would have seen me wear the full suit at Shep 70.3 and Ironman WA late last year. After that race I spoke with John Polson about how we can improve the suit to increase performance and I am happy to say they achieved that.
The suits are now available for the public so go to www.scody.com.au and check them out, as no one wants one of those unfashionable singlet tan lines that last for 6 months!