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Mitch's IM Race Report
CBD Cycles - 09/05/2011
IM Australia
Port MacQuarie 2011

Post mortems are never fun. Especially when you’re the subject (i.e. the dead guy). I think it might be ok for the coroner or the pathologist, but really no one likes the slicing and dicing. Unless you’re the winner!!!

Port Mac was a culmination (resolution?) of 18 months of pretty hideous luck for me. I had an average Hawaii in 2009, where I copped a penalty and finished 30 something…pretty forgettable. And that was off the back of a 10th place at IM Australia after a crash which landed me in hospital needing plastic surgery on my face. The redeeming feature was winning Strongman Japan for 2009. Then it just rolled on and on- I fractured my collarbone late in 2009 missing IM WA and needing surgery to have it plated. Then my comeback race in 2010 (an Olympic distance) saw me tear my hamstring off the bone, leaving me needing more surgery and a prolonged period of rehabilitation. My career in triathlon was pretty much curtailed for 18 months and I was looking down the barrel of moving into medicine full time.

So coming into Port left me apprehensive and with more questions than answers. I needed some kind of sign that I still had some good strength in my hamstring, but more importantly, some fortitude and confidence to race with the elite. My move to the age group ranks had been forced by WTC changes in Kona qualifying- there was no chance I could do 5 races and earn enough points to make the grade this year. And another year missing Hawaii just wasn’t going to cut it for me or my sponsors! Watching Hawaii year after year from the bench is like serving up some ice cream and then being forced to watch it melt on the bench top!

Luckily for me, agers started with the elites (or 20 metres behind), so I could gauge my day from my (former?) peers. Pete Jacobs streeted the swim, but I was in touch with the lead pack (or 30-40sec back) out of the water. A 50min swim was a great start and meant I had hunted down all but PJ by the 20km mark. Even better- the wind was getting stronger by the minute, meaning gaps were going to be massive by the end of the bike. I hit a nasty bolt on a bridge and my front tyre started spraying goo over my leg for about 20 revolutions. I thought it was a goner, but the hole plugged with about 70psi in the front. I stopped pedalling and let Adam Holborrow and Patrick Vernay pull turns until I could stop at the Shimano tent for a spare. They declined a front wheel, but offered to help me change a single. I declined and rode off, 130km to go on a soft single couldn’t be too bad…

I dropped Vernay and later Holborrow after I had re-caught them, then set about consolidating a strong bike. Indeed, I managed to secure the prime (4h 40m) from PJ, but he was having a banner day leading me into t2 BY 3mins. As a consequence, my thoughts turned to maintaining good turn over for a 3 hour marathon, which would place me on the podium. For laps 1 and 2 (of four) this was very successful, but my guts weren’t playing nice. The third lap saw me slip to third (to Vernay) then with 12km to go, I was passed by Shortis (into fourth). The wheels fell off and I walked and run with a sloshing gut and heart rates in the low hundreds. I slid into 7th, coming home in 8:55.

All up, I can’t be displeased. I held the podium for all but 12km on a long day at the office, on legs which have only recently returned to long running. I also took a Kona slot (by winning my age-group), where I think I can perform well with another 5 months of measured effort. If I can climb into the top 20 overall, then I’ll reset my sights on winning IM WA as a professional again at the end of the year. Otherwise, it’s Sports Medicine and training for pleasure in my immediate future! Thanks to my tireless supporters, Giant, Shimano, Powerbar, CBD Cycles, Cannibal, Rudy Project, Blueseventy, Breakyourlimits.com, Polar and the ASIS.

Next stop is Busselton Half (THIS Saturday!), to try and win a few bottles of wine on any number of wagers…the legs are feeling good already! OK, truth is, the mind is willing, will the legs be able?

See you on the road,

For the Muppet report also read
comments at the bottom from bottom to top for chronological order.