Augusta 70.3 was my last race in my 2017 US campaign! I spent the 2 weeks leading up to Augusta training in Chattanooga courtesy of the O'Brien family who took me in as family. I can't thank them enough for their hospitality, I had such a good time living there!
Everyone who I spoke to before the race told me horror stories about the heat and humidity that Augusta turns on during the 70.3. I have never had any major problems training and racing in the heat so I was excited to get stuck into it. Plus it was going to be a good opportunity to continue testing new nutrition/hydration strategies, something which I believe I am still yet to perfect.
The swim was a down current (not ideal) swim in the Savannah River. I had a great start and led the first km or so. Andy Potts them came around and took over the pace setting. I exited the swim with Andy, Cam Good and Eric Limkemann, feeling quite controlled.
I hit the first 20mins of the bike quite firmly but was unable to make any breaks. I then settled into a controlled effort on the bike and quite a few guys started to catch and bunch up. Matt Russel, Jesse Thomas and a few others had caught up and we had about 10 of us riding together.
After about 60kms, Matt and Jesse put in a red hot attack which broke the group right up. I was caught off guard and lost contact with them, so I found myself riding with Pottsy and Linkerman in the second group. Matt and Jesse had opened up a minute gap on us by the time we got off the bike. It was a good honest ride, one of my better power averages for a 70.3.
I got off the bike feeling quite good and got rather excited hitting the run. At the 5km mark I had closed the minute to Matt and was running in second, 20 seconds behind Jesse. I was feeling on the money!
In reality, I potentially shouldn't have taken out my first 5km in 16:40, especially in the heat of Augusta. I believe it won't be long until I can sustain that, but there is a little bit of progression to make before then..
I started to feel it and Pottsy ran past me a little while later. I was able to hang tough and hold on to 3rd, but I was really feeling it in the final few miles.
I was able to split a 75:51 for the run, even running it as inconsistently (pronounced: 'stupidly') as I did, which was a big step forward for me.
It was pretty cool to share the podium with Jesse and Pottsy. I still a lot of training to do with popping champagne bottles - I got smashed!
I'm now back home in Sydney and enjoying a short break before building for Western Sydney 70.3 to close out 2017.