Back to Busso. Great place! I knew the competition would be very fierce down there, and clearly way higher than a ‘simple’ 500pts race! This is Australia, even age groupers train more than many pro athletes! Seriously! And they’re all natural born swimmers…pffffff But I need some points for the rankings and we had to go down to Perth anyway for holidays. It’s 6.20am on race day, i’m all set and ready for a warm-up swim…it’s still dark out there and no one in the water. I know I need at least 30min to get warmed up for this kind of frenetic start, especially in a rough sea like today. But there’s no one in the water…yet! And with the recent shark alerts these past few weeks, i feel better on the beach! That (no warm-up) wont explain my poor swim but I was expecting way better than my 33’49 split…very ouch! To be honest the sea was pretty rough and not really for weak swimmers. Anyway I found myself with another pro and we swam more or less together the whole way. Pro women started 1 min behind and 2-3 girls passed us at the half way point. The rough sea made it hard to spot the buoys so we did a bit of zigzaging along the way. Not happy with that swim at all but it happens and there’s still 3h30 to go to catch up. The bike leg in Busso is just fantastic. A bit of tailwind/headwind to keep you fresh…for once i was not alone as i was with the other pro and we kept a good tempo throughout the bike leg (12m draft zone, but still good to have someone to follow when you lose some focus). 2nd lap is a bit more tricky with many riders who started after us (waves start). Also while i was at 48/49kmh on a tailwind section at the beginning of the 2nd lap I heard a huge detonation, it was obvious for me that I had blown out a tyre…so i jumped on the brakes to avoid crashing . Stopped. checked my tyres…nothing!? I am looking around for other riders or anything…but can’t find any explanation and jump back on the bike. Shame I lost my pacer…Who rode a bit faster than me at the end, i’m sure he’d have helped me push harder. Still rode 1’05’36 and 1’05’46 so quite steady (2h11 total) -> thanks to the Blue Triad SL, and Tony for my fitting! OK… and to me too for putting a lot of miles in the bike since Jan (no running I even got caught on the bike by an age grouper (open? AG?) which meant he put at least 5min on me…ouch, i knew my swim was crap but still…So while I was supposed to pass people on the bike, I actually got passed by people…very ouch Luckily on the run I pass that guy pretty quickly. And it was a 3-lap course, where you could often see where you were (at least at the beginning while only 1st waves were on the course). I felt good. Fresh. No cramps, nothing…and a decent pace (which i found out after the turn around was only due to the tailwind! The way back was much harder…). Anyway I did not check my watch much as my target here was just to finish, and if possible not to get passed too often (but there were not many pros behind anyway) so I started very conservatively. Tried to get faster on the 2nd lap, but simply could not…not because of tiredness but clearly a lack of training, i could not go sub 4′ pace…no way. And then I hold a similar pace on the final loop. I was quite surprised with the 1h26 half marathon run given i’ve maybe run 10 times 45min since I am back in running 2 months ago. I did not have much pain during the run (Achilles forever) but I was struggling with my posture, stride, cadence…still many things to work on in the coming weeks Results online 33’49 swim 2’11 bike 1’26 run -> 4h15’06, 12th pro, 15th overall, 160 KPR points Thanks to my personal family support crew Thanks to friends who shared this beautiful course with me and 2000 other participants! Thanks to the weather (the day before was pouring rain and the day after very windy with showers…Sat was just brilliant) Well done to Ash and organizers/sponsors for putting such a great event. Thanks to the volunteers, you can see how into sports and how passionate they are. Awesome support! And thanks to my sponsors of course -> O2 CREATION, SportsWorld, BLUE, Powerbar NOTA: IMPORTANT remember for next time! DO NOT travel the day before the race! Night flight on Thursday meant I arrived with less than 2h sleep in Perth…for a 3h drive to Busso at 7am! Off to briefing, registration, assembly the bike, check in….all before 5pm And the gun went off on the next morning at 7am Between 5pm on Friday and 5am on Sat I’ve been sleeping non-stop like a baby! (Sleep 1st nutrition 2nd) Not sure I was 100% on Sat but it was an holiday trip and so much better to travel with family than alone anyway No regrets, happy with that, 1st race of 2012, tendon held, it seems to be heading in the right direction See you in 2013 then…we’ll fly one day earlier this time!