A great day for me, and a good lesson that if you prepare well, plan carefully and most importantly follow the plan a good result will follow.
BY ALISTAIR GRAHAM
This was my first time racing in Busselton and from what I had heard, I was expecting heat, wind and flies. We got a sample of the last of these on the Friday as we drove to Busselton - we had a tyre blow out so pulled in to the side of the road and were covered in flies for the entire time it took to change wheels. I hoped that it wasn't a taste of things to come!
The day before the race was spent getting ready, resting and checking out Busselton. As a venue it's a great place, and we identified some spots for spectators. The course seems to have been designed with the spectators in mind, and I was looking forward to seeing the family regularly. Although it was hot and windy, the weather forecast for race day was looking very good - temperatures in the mid 20s and wind of about 25km/h. I didn't dare hope for good conditions as my previous Ironman in South Africa had seen terrible weather, and so I was a keeping everything crossed that the weather forecast was correct.
Race day dawned with perfect conditions. Very little wind, flat seas and very pleasant temperatures. There was talk around the start line that maybe this was the year that one of the Pro men could go under 8 hours, especially with the presence of Andreas Raelert. I got myself onto the beach and lined up a couple of lines from the front on the left, and got myself mentally ready for the day ahead. The gun went and we were off, into the clear blue water of Geographe Bay. The swim at Busso is beautiful, and you can see the bottom the whole way. This really helped to make the time go faster and helped me establish a rhythm, I simply imagined that I was doing a Manly - Shelley double with the club. I found some feet to follow and exited in 1:05.
Into T1 and onto the bike. My plan was to hold a pace and not to get overexcited at the start and go out too hard. We were all rested, tapered and ready to go, and keen to put in a good time on the bike. This meant that a lot of people head out of T1 like headless chickens and I didn't want to be one of them. I knew the Watts that I needed to consistently hold, and the nutrition plan I needed to follow, and I was determined not to deviate from this. I managed to do this, and found that as bike leg went, I was able to increase my power slightly and I started moving up through the field. The crosswinds were getting stronger on the return back into town, and by the last lap were affecting people. I managed to keep consistent with my power and was very happy to finish with a bike leg of 5:08. As I entered T2 I was greeted a familiar looking volunteer who shouted "Go Warringah, well done Al!". Thanks Bev.
Leaving T2 onto the run I saw the clock read 6:19. I did some quick maths and realised that I could go under 10 hours if I ran sensibly. So I ran within myself for the first 2 laps, soaking up the atmosphere and high fiving the family as I passed them. Onto the third lap and the long day was starting to bite, with very tired legs and hoping for the finish line to come soon. Bec Hoschke was shouting encouragement as I went past, and I spotted a few other familiar faces. Before I knew it I entered the finish shute, and saw the clock reading 9:48. I was so, so pleased with that time, so let out a good scream of celebration before crossing the line.
A great day for me, and a good lesson that if you prepare well, plan carefully and most importantly follow the plan a good result will follow. I met my family once out of recovery area, and we all went back to our accommodation and got showered, changed and returned to the Goose Pub for a meal and a cold beer - perfect. With full tummies we all went back to the finish line to welcome home the 15+ hour finishers and found a full blown disco party in action! One of my happiest memories of Bussleton will be cheering home the finishers while dancing "Blame it on the Boogie" with my 5 year old daughter. A great end to a great day.