Well I’m about to head off to the US for six months, so I wanted to get this report out before I take off. Last weekend, I raced the 2010 Busselton Half Ironman. I flew out of Port Macquarie on Thursday morning and met up with my training partner and mate, Mitch Robbins, in Sydney. Then we both flew across to Perth.
This was going to be my first race after a disappointing finish at the 2010 Ironman Australia, so I wasn’t putting a lot of expectations on myself. I was mainly using this race as an indicator to see how well my body has recovered and how my post-Ironman training has been going. I’ve been pretty exhausted lately, but I’ve been doing the training. I knew there were going to be some good athletes at this race, like Luke McKenzie, Courtney Ogden, Tim Reed, and my mate Mitch, who has been killing me in training.
When we arrived in Busselton, we were looked after really well by Brian and Hayley. Even though this was only a Half Ironman event, it had the feel of a full Ironman. They had a press conference that they invited me to, which was held at The Goose. Mitch Anderson wasn’t racing, but he was on hand to be the MC at the press conference. It was good fun, and we were stirring each other.
On race morning I was feeling pretty good, and I felt comfortable in the water during my warm-up swim. As expected, Luke McKenzie and Paul Matthews edged away from us early in the swim, but they didn’t make as much ground as I thought they would. Once we settled into a rhythm, I was sitting on the feet of Mitch Robbins, and when we came up on the beach, I noticed we had Courtney and Guy Crawford with us.
I’m not sure what happened to Courtney, but once we got out on the bike, he wasn’t with us. The course was similar to the full Ironman course that they use, with just one section of it missing. So in the two-lap bike leg, we were able to see how our time gap was to Luke and Paul. Luke was flying, and I could see he was pulling away from us. Paul looked like he was about two minutes behind Luke, but we were slowly gaining on him. Just over halfway through the bike leg, Courtney finally caught up to me. Not only did he catch the group that I was riding with, but he also flew around the outside and set a good pace.
About 10 minutes after Courtney caught up to me, we came upon Paul Matthews, so there was only Luke up the road, but I was guessing that his lead was over five minutes. With less than 10 km remaining on the bike, Mitch got pinged for drafting by the technical official that had been watching us the entire day. I could sense he was frustrated, and knowing that he had to serve a time penalty, he took off pretty hard, and nobody tried to stay with him.
When we arrived back into T2, I heard somebody say that Luke had over five minutes on us, so we all pretty much came out of the transition together to start the run. Paul, Guy Crawford, and Tim Reed were all with me, and Tim seemed to be matching me stride for stride. For the first quarter of the run we were all together, but then Tim and I dropped Paul and Guy as we were returning back from our first lap.
I tried to take a few surges to drop Tim, but nothing was working. He tried to surge ahead a few times as well, but we were pretty evenly matched on the day. As we got into the closing portion of the run, we knew that Luke had the race won, and it was going to be a battle between Tim and me for second place. In the final kilometre, we were both jockeying for position to try to get the inside track coming into the finish chute. In retrospect, it was quite funny the way we were shifting across the course, to get a better line on the finish. But Tim was more stubborn than me, and he held that inside position. As soon as we turned into the straight section of the finish chute, he put a big surge on, for a moment I considered challenging him, but my legs were dead. He took second place, and I came in 2 seconds behind him for third. I clocked the fastest run of the day, so I was stoked to get the extra prime to add to the prize money.
2010 Busselton Half Ironman Results: Top 5 Finish Times
- Luke McKenzie 3:47:18
- Tim Reed 3:51:57
- Tim Berkel 3:51:59
- Courtney Ogden 3:55:35
- Mitchell Robins 3:56:51
Click here for full race results for the 2010 Busselton Half Ironman.
All in all, I was happy with my race at the 2010 Busselton Half Ironman, and I was happy to see my form considering how rundown I have felt over the past three weeks. Next week will occupy my time travelling and getting situated in Boulder, Colorado. Then I’ll still have another 2 1/2 weeks before my first North American 70.3 event.