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Brett's Big 20!
CBD Cycles - 12/12/2011
Brett Urwin is known amongst friends as The Chef, Fossil, Geofrow, or Old Man Urwin. ‘The Chef’, one of the nicknames bestowed upon him by fellow CBD Cycles triathlete, and ex-flat mate, Mitch Anderson, in particular has caught on with triathlon commentators around Australia. The Chef has been involved in triathlons for eons, yet still remains a chameleon. He goes about his business flying under the radar with no fuss, no bells and whistles, and he gets the job done. On December 5th, 2011, he joined an exclusive group of people who have raced 20 Ironman races. I had the unique opportunity to catch up with The Chef upon his return from Ironman Western Australia.
Stef Hansen fired up the BBQ and grilled the following Q's at the "Cordonbleu Cook."
The Chef welcomed me into his home with wide arms and a huge smooch, possibly a little unprofessional, but I went along with it anyway. Only to be outdone by his excited four legged friend, and clearly the love of his life, who not only cuddled and kissed me, but presented me with half a tennis ball – score! Fresh from preparing that evening’s dinner for himself and his extremely hard working girlfriend, he proudly showed me how neat and tidy the bike room was before we then sat down for a chat.

Did you feel any different about this race, knowing it was your 20th Ironman?
Uh, I think it was more about the fact that it has been 12 months since my last Ironman. I usually do 2-3 a year, and this was the first time in a long time that I only did the one. I definitely felt more relaxed. I know that for sure.

What do you think made you feel more relaxed?
I think the housemates that I had over there, knowing that I’d been there four times before and had done ok, plus, knowing that I was in 9:30-9:40 shape.

I know your flatmates… THEY were a calming influence?
Yeah… Go figure!

You ended up with a 9:57 on the day, what do you think pushed your time out past your goal?
Probably not enough miles in the legs after Shepparton. I didn’t run as much as I would have liked.

So your run was slower than you would have liked, but what about your swim/bike?
I felt very comfortable in the swim, despite the choppiness. My heart rate was low and I made sure I got half way without using too much energy. It’s not that hard to sight at Busso because of the jetty, but you still get a bit of a current out there, so it can push you across towards it. At the turn around I pretty much held the same pace and didn’t increase towards the end. On the bike, given that the conditions got worse in the latter part of the 180km ride, I rode well. First lap was just over 1:35, and then the wind picked up quite a bit, and of course the heat. The next two laps were about 1:40, and total time without transitions was 4:59.

So how did you go about tackling the run? What were you thinking and how were you feeling off the bike?
With 20km to go on the bike, I backed it off a bit and made sure I got a bit more fluid and nutrition in. I just kept it steady towards the end. When I got off the bike I saw four people in no hurry to get through transition, they were exhausted! I noticed a lot of people walking early on in the marathon, which I don’t see very often! My T2 time was 4:20 – bit of time to get my head together, sit down and get ready. I just thought, take it 5kms at a time, ice under the cap, and ice down the pants.

The first lap of the run was slightly overcast so it wasn’t too bad. The second lap was better. The weather was a little kinder with a small shower or two, and was still overcast, so I still felt pretty good. I went through the half marathon in 1:45 – right on target. I started to feel a little bit rough at about the 28km mark when the sun had come back out. I kept using ice, but then at the 32km mark the legs started to give way a little. I spent the next 10kms trying to walk/run and try to get through the aid stations that had heaps of people queued up at them. I got to the far turnaround, with about 3kms to go and thought, ‘just have to get home’ so I put my head down and shuffled as quick as I could, managing to cross the line in 9:57.

What were you thinking coming down the finish chute?
How the hell do I get up the ramp?! Honestly, it was in the back of my mind for a while. But I think adrenaline gets you to the top of the ramp. BUT, if they didn’t have two handlers there at the end, then I would have been out of it. I ended up spending a while in the medical tent – I had lost 4.5kgs.

You were in medical for about 75mins to be exact.
Were you worried?

A little… Have you changed your training much over the course of 20 Ironman?
Yes, to suit my age! I started to do my long runs off a Sunday 80km medium intensity ride. Whereas I used to ride in the morning, rest, and then run in the afternoon. The change in itself made me mentally tougher, and it was just good to mix it up a bit. Even I can admit that after training for 20 Ironman events, routine can get a little mundane - although generally, I am a creature of habit.

That you are, but your social life has blossomed – has this had a positive impact on your training/racing?
Definitely! I’m more relaxed and low key about things. My mindset in general has changed. If I miss a session I’m not too worried about it. I don’t try to make it up. I used to get on the wind trainer at 3:59am before work to make sure I hit my quota of kms for the week. But now I train a little bit less, but still produce the same results. The base that I’ve built over the years is the key to just being able to tick things over and be consistent.

So where to from here with your training and racing?
I’ll still be training with the group that I’ve been training with every Saturday for the last 10 years – ie. ‘The Mitch Anderson/Giant 7am ride’. Next race is Geelong Long Course, and then Melbourne Ironman. From there, I will have to speak to the social convenor… She’s good at throwing different ideas around.

Who would you like to thank?
CBD CYCLES/Giant, the guys (and girl) from Saturday morning group, my girlfriend for her support throughout the day, and my other roomy, Elly for on course support and the introduction of the white bread pasta sandwich.

Oh, and to the girls for the twitter tutorials – you can follow me at http://twitter.com/ourchefbrett - although I’m not sure how much I have to say…

Looking forward to your 21st next year Chef!
Ed.