New Caledonia was relatively short notice for me. I had always wanted to do it, but information about the event is limited and it had slipped my mind.
I landed on Friday night after a long transit from Sydney. There is a one hour drive from the airport to central Noumea. I didn't end up getting into the hotel until 11pm (10pm Brisbane time). I built my bike and went to sleep. I was glad for a sleep in on Saturday. Packo and I decided to ride at 8am. The week leading up was hectic; with a super session and a awesome conference in Noosa earlier in the week, coupled with working on the go in transit on Friday, I was pooped.
We rode the course in the morning. I would have to describe the location as stunning. Very clean, very organised and very Euro! French speaking so "Palez Vous Englie" is useful. I treated myself to a sensational croissant for breakfast and a stack of other pastries and chocolate sauce..so good.
Short swim in paradise then race briefing and pasta party for lunch. Everyone in the race was provided with a sit down lunch. Off for another short swim and then a nap. I also did a quick twighlight run before pizza for dinner.
It was easier preparing for this race than the super session the week before. I just filled the front bottle on the rig, stuck on some stickers and a jammed in a gel and spare. That was it.
Swim (2 x 750m)
The race start was hilarious, all the Aussies and kiwis could not make out a word they were saying and were really jumpy before the start. It is a mass start. I wasn't keen to tussle and got a bit pommeled. Such is life, I moved on.
Ride (3 laps)
I used the new Scott Plasma Premium 5 for the race. Given the geometry is very similar to Plasma 3, I was pleasantly surprised with the improved performance. The course is stunning. It is relatively flat (one small climb x 6) and follows the island coastline for the whole ride. I passed for the lead after the first lap. I continued on my way and tried to conserve on the final lap before the run.
Run (4 laps)
I was tailed by a Segway for the entire run. It was cracking me up. I had a decent lead and so attacked for 4kms and then relaxed for the last two laps. I did get hot on the last lap but the race had bottled water and cool sponges. The real battle was going on behind me. I saw Rach get passed for third and thought that would be the outcome but she battled on and showed real guts to pass back into third for the final spot on the podium.
If you are after a little Europe on a tropical Island within 3 hours (direct flights) from Brisbane and possibly a tri, this is the place for you.
Shout out to Scott from Flight Centre Active Travel for working out the best flights. Thanks Russell at Scody for getting my new custom kit sorted, No More Knots for fitting me in and the rest of the support crew Brooks, Endura, Reddog Tri Training, Orca, CompressSport, Aussie Tom, Avanti Plus the Valley for the new rig.
Anyone intereted in a bit of retro tri, check out this video of the Noumea Tri in 1987. Its pretty much the same course. If you what to the run leg a guy actually shoves a 2L water bottle down his top.