Ironman 70.3 Lake Stevens – Chris Willett

Way back in August of 2014, WTC announced that the 2016 70.3 World Champs was awarded to the Sunshine Coast – Mooloolaba. From that instant a plan was hatched with the Canadian Crew, that we would all travel down with the aim of gaining a slot to the ‘local’ race (for Chris at least…).

The crew (Todd, Martin, Ian and John) got packed up early on Thursday morning to roll the 7hr drive down to Snohomish County, just north of Seattle, Washington. With the ‘normal’ border issues for Chris dealt with in due time, the drive was spotted with amazing views of the Pacific Northwest and surrounding mountains.ls #1  We navigated to our accommodation and were met with an amazing location that we would call home for the next 4 days.ls#2The weather up till this point had been HOT HOT HOT, riding in 36 degrees and suffering from the NZ Winter of riding…..thankfully by Friday a forecast front hit and we had rain with cooler temperatures in which to explore the course and work through all the normal rigmarole that comes with racing….

Race day dawned misty and cool…. but the day promised to get hot t some point!!

With a chilly race morning it was tough to keep warm in transition – I got the wetsuit on earlier than I normally would to keep a semblance of normal temperature and conducted my warm up in the suit too. Everything was feeling good and ready to go…just time to execute a good race. The swim start was in Age Group waves – with the old-farts off in the 7th and 8th waves. It was a really clean start with about 40-50 in the group and I quickly found some good feet and settled in to the first leg of the out and back swim. They run a cable under the water to attach the bouys to, so there was no need for any sighting other than picking out the last bouy to make the turn. It all went pretty smoothly really and came out of the water in 30mins flat which is about what I ‘earnt’ from having a broken swim lead in with shoulder issues.

Out onto the bike course and the chilly start made for some good goose-bump riding for the first 10mins. Luckily the Lake Stevens course is super undulating with 1300m of total climbing

LS bike courseThe temp slowly rose to about 12degrees which actually made for some pretty nice riding. At 70km Todd pulled up (we started in the same wave) for some cheeky banter, and we rolled the last 20km together. We caught Ian (the wave ahead of us) and we all rolled up to the dismount line together – it was pretty surreal to be 3hrs into the race and all of us being together!!!!!

T2 went without incident and the 3 of us started the run within 10secs of each other. Ian (historically a VERY STRONG runner) put in some early hard work on the run while Todd and I tempered the early effort to settle into what I gauged to be my best possible pace on the day. Todd was like a limpet at that point and every photo I saw had him on my elbow for about 18km of the run…….Ian succumbed to the hot pace he set early on, and I was slowly fading now that the heat of the day was coming. We passed Ian at 16km, and I cramped at 18km whilst climbing the last hill on the run course. Todd soldiered on to finish 1min ahead of me, and I couldn’t believe that another guy in our AG was between us – ARGH!!!!!!

John and Martin both had great races to podium in their AG – so as we stood in the finish area everyone was pretty stoked with the race.ls#3The best part of the trip was gaining that world champs slot along with John and Martin……so the dream continues!!!

ROLL ON 2016 – look out Malooloolaba!!!