Cairns presented great conditions over the weekend for the Ironman and 70.3 races and the MEC athletes took full advantage of them. With cloud cover and lighter winds from previous years the 2017 edition of Cairns offered an opportunity for pb's if they had done the work.
The morning started with the 70.3 event and a quick swim was to be expected with a downwind swim.
After a good block of training Andy White executed his race to plan. Exiting the water comfortably in the top 5 overall and 1st in his age group enabled him to take charge on the bike and have clear road. Riding to plan got The Captain off the bike 1st in his age group and 2nd overall and a strong half marathon had him crossing the line in a pb time and maintaining 1st in his age group and 2nd overall.
Hayley Tuck lined up for her 2nd 70.3 after her first race in Ballarat last December. Hayley did a great job getting ready for this event having to balance like many a full time job and young daughter yet continued to show up to training with a smile. A strong swim got her onto the bike in good shape. Some quick thinking on the bike sorted a mechanical issue promptly and on her way. Hayley was all smiles (mostly) on the run and got to enjoy the finish line of her 2nd 70.3.
To the Ironman distance and all 6 MEC athletes had strong days.
Angelo Bonacci was on the hunt for a great day. A slower than expected swim was quickly put behind and onto the bike to get the majority of the day done and set up for the run. Ang has worked extensively on his bike strength over the past 18months leaving him able to ensure he is in the mix come the run. He did just that riding well within himself allowing a chance to crack the run. At one stage with 7 in Angelo's age group within 2 minutes of each other it was a tight race and he played the patience card. Ang cracked the 3hr 30min mark for the run for the first time and finished in a pb time 9hrs 40min. Aiming for that lucrative Kona spot brings its ups and downs. Ang had a great day and showed he is knocking on the door.
Mon Liston took home some great lessons from Cairns realizing the value of consistent training over years to gain improvements. A less than ideal preparation due to ongoing knee trouble, much of what Mon did was modified to get training done pain free rather than what 'should' be done to get ready for Ironman number 2. The choice was hers to decide which way she wanted it to go and fortunately Kiddo rose to the occasion. Experience means a lot in endurance sport where smart is fast. A good swim had her out of the water 4th in her age group. Mons riding leading in consisted of flat riding to keep her knee happy. She rode smart which meant loosing some time but would benefit for the run. Getting off the bike Mon followed her run plan to a T finishing the marathon in 3hr 50mins and taking off around 16mins from her run time at Busselton last year. A credit to her and her strong mindset to make the most with what she had which resulted in a 5th place finish in her age group.
Shridevi Vasudeva barring a mechanical was in for a good day for her first Ironman. Shri proved early on that she is a quick learner in training taking on advice promptly which made for a relatively steady progression. Like many in their first Ironman Shri was unsure what to expect but certainly ready for the challenge. She had a great day in Cairns across swim, bike and run apart from some mild nausea mid run was quoted post race as saying 'it wasn't as hard as I had expected'. Preparing well will do that and Shri dotted all the i's and crossed the T's in training and earned her 8th place in her age group.
Adrian Polidano came to Cairns to learn more about Ironman. With one ironman under his belt 3 years ago it was time to get back and experience it again with long term goals in mind. With plenty of improvements had by Buddha over the past 18 months it was time to test out the Ironman again. A 10min improvement in the swim and over 30mins off his bike he made big gains in his second IM race. Buddha has a great work ethic and after a spell now will get back to the axe and keep chopping away. Consistency and hard works pays off and he is more than happy to dish it out.
Stacey De Bono also lined up for Ironman number 2 and all things looking good with great training leading in. Stace learned the importance of rest and recovery at the beginning of the year where on a training ride she came off her bike and broke her hand. With forced time away from what is a very stressful and busy job, Stace saw the importance of proper recovery and how this would improve training rather than just 'doing the work'. Baring mechanical issues it was a matter of how much time she was going to knock off her previous Ironman effort. An improvement in her swim, bike and run leg saw her take 30mins off her last attempt and with things starting to click for MM in training and in particular her running, more improvements are on the way.
David Lloyd is simply coming into his own and thoroughly enjoys his endurance training and the lifestyle it brings. Completing his first Ironman 12months ago at Cairns and a solid 12months of training under his belt David put together a great day. A big improvement on both his bike and run legs saw David stop the clock 55mins quicker than he did last year at Cairns. A quicker day or not, this is a fantastic improvement for anyone let along someone in the 55-59 age group.
A great day of racing from this group of athletes. Well done all.