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Nathen "D" Hill race rep. IM Melb
CBD Cycles - 02/04/2012
14 weeks to Ironman Melbourne:
Training is going great! Had a fantastic lead-in, to Christmas. Then onto a three-week surfing trip (with virtually no training). Two days before I left, I discover the mother of all cracks, in the seat-stay on my race bike (we will keep the manufacturer out of it, but for those people who know me; you know what brand of bike I USED TO ride!). So, I head of to Indonesia, not knowing when my new warranty covered frame would arrive.....

Eight weeks to Ironman Melbourne:
The trip was great! Feeling refreshed and relaxed. The integration back into training has been seamless. And, the new frame has arrived.

Four weeks to Ironman Melbourne:
After a flawless preparation, I discover the GRANDMOTHER of all cracks, in the chain-stay of my new race frame. Panic starts to set-in, as I think about how long it took to get the last one replaced and how long I DON'T have until race day.

Lots of late night calls, emails, waiting, frustration etc etc. Then, in steps Anth and CBD Cycles.....

One conversation with Anth, who told me to, ".....be here in half-an-hour!" and I found myself with the promise of an equivalent bike, all measured up to my dimensions and ready to rock! A day later, Anth is true to his word and with three weeks to go until the race, I found myself on a shiny new (ish) Giant Trinity.

Fast forward to race day.....

Ironman and I have never really got along. For every good one, there have been three horror stories. I'm sure plenty of people could share that ratio. But, determined not to let "Frame-gate" derail my preparation, I arrived last Sunday, feeling very relaxed and confident in my strategy and fitness.

The swim was quite uneventful. Although, at that time of the morning; buoys were very difficult to spot. I guess there are benefits to being a mediocre swimmer. I have heard a five-time World Champion (who may have broken eight hours last Sunday) mention the best way to execute an Ironman, is to feel like you're on auto-pilot. Well, that's how the swim felt. A little slower than I thought I would swim, but it wasn't the fastest day in the water.

The bike leg was fast and a little boring. Not to mention, bloody cold. The best parts being the speed generated through the tunnel (both out-and-back). Nutrition, hydration, heart-rate, wattage etc were all spot-on. Again, fairly uneventful. That said, the turn-a-round in Frankston is one of the best I have experienced. The buzz of the crowd was amazing. The other thing I noticed was how fast everyone was riding. Wow! Some guys were absolutely motoring!

Onto the run and the buzz of the crowd seemed to get me through the first eight kilometres or so. Being very familiar with the course was probably a relief. The trip to Mordi seemed to go quite quickly. As we climbed the ramp, back up to the road, approaching Beaumaris; the race started to get a little.....testy! Al the nutrition and hydration was still staying in (which was rare, for this time of the event), so I was confident I had enough fuel on-board.

The closer we got to Sandy, Brighton, Elwood St Kilda etc; the thicker, louder (and probably more inebriated) the crowd seemed to get. The last 4-5km are a blur. The 41km mark saw DMac and the troops pumping everyone up, outside The Great Provider, which was amazing. Although hurting, I just seemed to float from there, all the way through to the finish.

A PB for me (same as everyone else), no gut issues, finish-chute all to myself and my beautiful boy waiting for me at the finish. A great ending to a great day!

Ironman Melbourne is and was a fantastic race. I am already looking forward to next year!

A MASSIVE thank you to Anth and CBD for helping me with a spare bike and offering unqualified support. A fantastic gesture from a great bloke!