Sunday, March 17, 2013

Ironman New Zealand 2013 (Part 4): A Photo-Commentary

As this day unfurled over 15 hours (and more for me), allow me time to upload the commentary and illustrations. It was an awesome day, especially for the more than 500 first-timers. We are proud of their achievements and accomplishments, regardless of whether they finished or not. Next year will be the 30th Anniversary of Ironman New Zealand. Entries opened this week, and organisers are optimistic of the participation level.
My competitive race finish. Both of us shared the same sub-13 hours, finishing-time! (Check out my Crowie-Heel Click)
The swim-start: Fast, fluid and furious. Fast swimmers in the front, and slower ones (like me), parked behind patiently.
Pre-swim warm-up: Not as cold as 2012, after the infamous 'weather bomb' that cancelled the full-distance race into a 70.3. You can see fishes and creatures once the sunlight beams in. Thirsty: drink from the lake!
Exit from the one-loop fresh-water swim; unfastening the strap from my wettie (US$199, bought from the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in 2009).
Bike Exit: Happy with my relaxed swim, and improved transition time (T1). The game is afoot, and months of indoor-riding will test my preparation. It appears to be a slight warmer day than in 2012.
That's mainly the nutrition I carry: Hammer Nutrition 'Perpeteum', salt-tablets (Endurolyte) and full water-bottle. I sip at least twice per hour from the self-made gel, chased with water. Result: no cramps and fatigue.
On the way to completing my first leg (90km) of my ride. I am, conservatively three hours into this discipline. The 90-km loop is rolling, with gentle climbs, and one steep initial climb at Napier Road (once you depart Lake Terrace, which faces the beautiful Lake Taupo). There are adequate aid-stations to keep you going. Thank you, Volunteers!
Part of the race-course circumvents the retail stores of Lake Taupo.
The inspirational, multiple-Ironman NZ winner, Cameron Brown runs his way to a strong third place. He has great running posture, wears his signature head-scarf, and proves why he is the 'Boss' on the course. He has placed as high as 2nd in Kona.
Shifting into new gear. Here is where 'ride-run bricks' matter. The transition from ride-to-run is laden by heavy legs. 
The new surge of adrenaline as I emerged from the Run Exit. 42.1km to go!
I just aimed my wrist into a loop, like I was taking a water-bidon on my ride-leg. Volunteers (marathon) were bedecked in yellow.
On my first-loop, I was given a coloured-loop to dress my wrist. Three loops meant that you were on your last 14km leg. My posture was confident until I faded slightly on my second.
A bird's eye view of the marathon and ride exit/entry. Spectators lined up on this street for a vantage view of the professionals and age-groupers. 2,000 volunteers enhanced the race experience.
The Iron-Man or 'M-Dot' logo is omnipresent - one of the strongest brands to emerge and grow rapidly in the last 35 years. Ironman began in 1978 as a 'personal dare' by SEALS officer Jim Collins and friends.
Imagine that: An angry burger! These were some of the pleasant distraction from staring at the road.
The strange but mesmerising 'Orange Couple'. They stood out as Supporters and Iron-Mates.
John 'Cookie' Cooke from Club Exceed, Perth. He is a 10-time Ironman finisher with a great competitor attitude, and mental toughness.
The marathon chain: all lined-up to attack the hills and 42.195km. I managed to regain my composure and pride by earning about 300 spots ahead of the field.
Making the rush-hour traffic, to finish in day-light. My third lap was as fast my first; marred by a poor second lap where I hit a bad patch.
My private moment of glory.
My grateful, twilight, return. Just 200 metres from the end-point, and Mike Riley's proclamation. 
All Video and Photo-Credits: MEL C, Singapore


Kevin Siah said...

Well done and congrats on your great racing, Enrico! Those pictures really capture the moments. The jinx has been broken so IMNZ 2014? Can't say I'll be joining you though haha.

Enrico Varella said...

Thanks Kevin for your encouraging words. I think the jinx has been, officially, removed. Just to be sure, I will head back for the 2014 edition. All the best at IM Canada, mate.