Fox’s Fifth @ Forster

Michael Fox, our sponsored hero, sent us this race report from Forster where he placed 5th.

Pre-Race

Nice sleep in with the later start. Good breakfast then relaxed around the room and got our gear ready. Felt pretty relaxed with the late start and felt like I had managed it well.

I was bit nervous about my bike ability after really underperforming at Port Macquarie 70.3. I didn’t even feature in that race I would have made more of a mark handing out drink bottles at the aid station. On that note, I had decided today was going to be different I needed to throw some curve balls at everyone even if it meant hurting myself.

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Swim

The gun went off and I took off like a rocket. My Speedo wetsuit is my favourite and it really allows me to open up and get my arms moving. The fast rating I got from the start allowed me the opportunity to have some options in the swim and meant I could grab some fast feet to swim on.

Part way through I looked as we turned the can and had noticed a gap with one 3 of us making the front group. The athlete leading the swim kept surging and changing directions in an attempt to break free. I had countered this for a while and decided to let the 3rd athlete at this point overtake me and take over this role. This meant I could conserve some energy and have a smoother swim.

We exited the water as a group of 3 and I had a feeling we had a good gap but not big enough because the swim had felt short.

Bike

I hopped on the bike and got moving straight away. I got away from the guys I came out of the water with and tried to break up the chasers. I rode around my threshold for about the 12 mins. At this point, I was on the way back out of town and the eventual winner caught me and was riding stronger than I was going to be able to maintain. At this point I saw a group of 4 behind and decided I’d sit up and wait.

At this stage, I joined the group, watched what everyone was doing and recovered from my earlier effort. There were a number of surges, which made for a challenging ride to the turn around. I thought I had gotten a flat and sat up to check. The group attacked when they saw this and left me chasing very hard until it settled after the turn around. I noticed we now had lost contact with the leader, but build a 3 min lead on the next group.

The surges continued into the headwind as we returned to town. After we turned in town again the bike really started to settle. I took a few small turns to keep myself towards the front of the group. The final lap was a lot more settle and really allowed me to take full advantage of my Token Disc Wheel. With less surges and a very steady pace the Disc helps maintain speed.

At the turn around we had around a 4.5 min lead. At this point most of us knew we were not going to be in contention for the win but if nothing went wrong, we had to sort out 2nd-6th amongst us. I saved energy waiting for the surges to come into the headwind again, however they didn’t occur with everyone already spending their cookies for the ride. I was happy to be getting off the bike with the main contenders since Port 70.3 this wasn’t the case. I had more confidence in my run than my ride and I was coming off the bike in the mix.

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Run

I got my gear on and headed out onto the run like a rocket. I knew it was going to be the run now that decided the minor places on the podium. I was running around 3:30 per km for the first few km. Then reality hit and it hit hard. I was in 2nd and I paid for going too hard too soon with a stitch. All of a sudden, I was struggling to hold 4:10-4:15 per km. I’d gone backwards into 4th and had to walk an aid station to regroup. Straight after this my one of my teammates had caught me and there was no chance at me going with him until I lost the stitch.  My coach, Pete Clifford from HPT, was calling out with others get your legs moving and increase your turn over.  Their encouragement was great, but I knew if I didn’t get this under control I was going outside the Top 5 and maybe out of the race. I thought I’d overcooked it and I was gone. It took me around 4kms to lose the stitch and at that point I hard inspired some of the chasers by showing them I was in the hurt box.

Fortunately, after losing the stitch I was able to open up again. The next 10km had me back run the way I thought I could holding my kms around the 3:45-3:50 mark. I slowly gained a little on my teammate and managed to establish that I wasn’t going to be overtaken for 5th. On the final part of the 3rd lap I had come to the conclusion I wasn’t catching 4th and 6th wasn’t catching me and I could enjoy the run into the finish.

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Overall

It was good to be back in the Top 5. Port Mac 70.3 had been my worst result/race all year. It certainly left doubts of where I was at leading into this race.

Challenge Forster was a great event. The Challenge Family really lived up to the name and the reputation in some very average weather conditions. Lets hope its nicer next year because I’ll be back.

My parents came up to watch which was cool, now that I’m older I often travel solo to races so it was nice to have them there too. Thanks to my Teammates from HPT and Coach Pete in particular for the support and guidance. I certainly wasn’t a happy person after Port 70.3, but everyone has their ups and downs.

To my supporter and sponsors Speedo, Token Products and Endeavour Cycles thanks for your ongoing input!

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