Thursday, November 5, 2015

70.3 Taiwan "Finally"

Job done!!

For me winning a 70.3 was a dream come true. It’s been a long road from working in the triathlon industry to pro triathlete. It’s taken 5 years to get the win I’ve sort after!!

Simply put, I am STOKED to have this title under my belt!!

I’ve had a string of good races in Taiwan including a 2nd in 2013 and a 4th in 2014. With the best field assembled here I was really hoping for another top 5 result!! To come away with the win was beyond my expectations. I say mine because Kate and Jeff (Coach) weren’t as surprised having watched my progress over the  the last 5 months.

The day:

Race day rolled round EARLY.. 3am I woke up and lay in bed watching Kate organise her gear and get herself ready for the day… Then in classic “Me Fashion” I got out of bed late, ran round the room eating, putting my body numbers on and packing up my gear all at warp speed ” It’s a routine Kate deals with every day” She’s a lucky girl!

We actually made it to the bus by 4:15 and joined Jarrad (athlete and friend we coach under the GK Endurance banner) for the 20min bus journey to the swim start! When we arrived the wind was blowing HARD and they decided to shorten the bike to 77KM. The right choice given the strength of the wind and the exposed areas of the bike course!

While getting our gear ready it started raining and some of the other pro’s started wearing plastic bags to warm themselves. It was very strange to have such crazy weather in what is typically a hot and humid race!! Paul Ambrose kept things light breaking out some classic one liners that had me laughing. Sorry they are R rated so can’t be typed into a race report!!

The transition area was roughly 800 meters in length. So we started walking down to the swim start at 5:35am to get a pre race warm up in. Once on the beach there was a cool little swell coming in so I warmed up by body surfing in and out about 6 or 7 times!!We were then called out of the water and waited 10min before the start!! Always the most nerve racking moments before a race. I gave Kate a kiss as we do before every race and it was time to get my head in the game.

Soon enough we got a 10sec count down and we were off. The joys of being 6”3 means my lanky frame can wade well into the water. So once we were through the small breakers I had the lead with Harry Wiltshire about 25m to my right coming very quickly. I wasn’t alone, I felt a few taps on the feet and figured most of the contenders were in the group behind. About 300M in Christian Kramer pulled along side me and then past with Frenchman Jonathan on his feet. Thankfully I got onto his feet. At this point Harry had about a 15m gap on us and it remained roughly the same size for the duration of the swim. During the last 100m of the swim I stopped and body surfed into shore on a small breaker, passing Jonathan and Christian in the process. Apparently luck was on my side early. Then it was the long run from swim to bike. By the time we were out onto the bike course we were a group of 4 with the chasers about 1min back!!

As soon as we started riding I knew I had good legs. I was riding with Jonathan and Harry early on and felt really good. Around 8km in Christian came round the 3 of us at a much faster pace and once he got out to about 100m lead I knew I had to bridge up to him if I was going to stay in contention. It took about 3min’s and one very big match to get across the gap, but I managed it. Once across I turned around to see if the other guys had come but they hadn’t and I rode past Christian shortly after and let him know we had a gap. For the remainder of the first lap I stayed at the front pushing pretty much as hard as I could. Once through the first lap, Christian took the front again and for the rest of the ride all I could do was follow his lead. I knew it was hard, and my stomach couldn’t handle it  when I proceeded to throw it up it's content. I wasn’t feeling sick at all, it’s just a result of going really hard and staying in the aero position. I kept topping up the calories, taking in salt tablets and focusing on smooth pedaling. Christian lead off the bike (Also riding a Ceepo Viper) with me a few seconds behind. By this point the weather was getting hot and the wind had dropped off. A completely different day to what we woke too!

I put my socks and shoes on, grabbed a gel and some salt tablets and started the long T2 run. I ran T2  slowly taking in a few calories and trying to cool myself off with my water bottle. Once over the timing mat I settled into what I thought was an uncomfortable but sustainable pace. Christian and I were running shoulder to shoulder and as the other guys, Freddie, Paul, Harry, Cameron came off the bike I glanced at my watch to get rough splits!! To my surprise we had about a 5min gap.

At this point I changed my focus to smooth running and hydration. I thought Christian or myself would crack in the first few KM’s but he seemed comfortable and very in control so 5km came and went with us running side by side, then 7km, then 10km, then 12km, 14km . I started thinking, “are we seriously going to have to sprint the last 500m??”

My favorite Pic

At 15km I felt Christian having a bad patch, as I had earlier on and so I put in a small surge. It was enough to get a small gap on him. At this point I was pretty much running at max and while the mind was good the body started to reject the effort and at 16.5km I got really dizzy and thought “you’ve blown it Crawford” I backed off and ran really slowly for about 45sec allowing my body to recover just a little.
Then I was into the add station at 17km where I must have looked like death. I walked it which was a risk being I only had a 30sec lead or so. I drank two full cups of coke and was desperately asking for a gel (Nope, none at this aid station) argghhh. Then we went through this tough little out and back section of the course. Running up one of the hills you cross back over the course and at that point I saw Christian run across in front of me and knew I had about 45sec…."45sec 3.5KM to run… Ok ok.. you can do it"…I walked the next aid station another two cups of coke. Then I started feeling good again. Maybe it was the adrenaline of potentially winning my first 70.3 or maybe the coke, probably both.
As I was running back to the finish Freddie, Cam, Paul and Harry all said well done or something similar which is a true testament to there professionalism and who they are as people “good dudes”.

Once I passed the 20km marker I allowed myself to look back, I couldn’t see anyone and knew I had it in the bag!!! However I didn’t allow any early celebrations until just before the finish shoot!! Once I heard Pete Murray calling out, "here is your knew Taiwan Ironman 70.3 Champion Guy Crawford from New Zealand" I knew I could throw a few fist pumps!! I think the finish line photo's show it all.

I’m Over the moon to get the win, Stoked to finally tick that box. A dream came true for me!

The Thanks:

A lot of people have backed and supported me over the years. Most of all Kate. She’s always believed in me,(even when I don’t) she always kicks me out of bed in the morning and most mornings I don’t want to get up!! She even helps with the coaching aspect!!
Jeff Shilt: The Coach. Puts up with all my crap!! A lot of PB’s this year and no injuries. Couldn’t be done without you buddy!! Sorry about giving you all those headaches.
Family: The Bevilaqua’s and the Crawford’s. They feed me, House me, love me and I couldn’t ask for more. Thank-you

The AWESOME Sponsors:
blueseventy: It’s been 12 years of awesome. Employer, Sponsor, Friends. Plus they make the fastest most comfortable swim gear in the world.
Ceepo: Always a privilege to ride my Japanese born Ceepo Viper. Great team who are VERY supportive and encouraging.
Rolf Prima: Eugene based and USA made!! Fast wheels with a low spoke count and built to last. Brian, Brooke and the team have been too good to me!!
Profile: Versatile bars and hydration system that has saved me on numerous occasions. Not to mention the Great team behind the products. Thanks Ian & Rich
Wattie INK: Rad people, who make the highest quality triathlon apparel you’ll ever wear!Thanks Wattie
Infinit Australia: It fuels me in every race and something I encourage our athletes to use. It’s the real deal and will change your life if you’ve had nutrition issues. Cheers Jase
Vision: My cranks are second to none. I also rock there Mountain bike gear, brakes included. Mike and the team have provided fantastic support over the years!!
Mizuno Australia: I feel like a fleet footed ninja every time I put my mizuno's on. Thanks Ashley
Therapeutic associates: keeping the body moving and healthy in the city of tree’s. Boise!! Cheers Matt.
Challenge Tires: Rolling resistant what? Great tyre’s. Currently rolling around on Challenge record clinchers. Very fast, very versatile. Many thanks Chris.
Computrainer: Can’t hide on my computrainer. Big thanks for helping increase my FTP Chuck.
ISM: I refuse to ever ride another seat!! They are THE BEST!! Thanks Greg
Ryders Eyewear: Very light, very clear, very awesome! They also have some GREAT casual sunnies that you’ll find me rocking in most races!!Cheers Nev
Churchill Cycles: Tolerant of me hanging round the shop for hours on end. ha. Great guys, best service in town, genuine good dudes. Cheers Rick & Matt
Tri-Town Boise: He lets me sit on his bench and distract him. Gets both myself and Kate’s bikes race ready. He’s like Mcgyver with a set of allen keys and he also trains with me day in and day out. Thanks for being my training side kick Antonio. Your nose bleeds got me here!! 
Swim Smooth: Without Swimsmooth I wouldn't have learn't the skills necessary to swim at or near the front. Thanks Paul

Next up is Ironman Malaysia in just 10days time! The race will be super challenging as we face very hot and humid conditions. However I'm excited to race again in a new beautiful location and hopefully a good result will follow.