Ironman Malaysia had a a huge start list that included approx 25 female pros and 30+ males. I had had a mixed preparation with the Adelaide Duathlon in-between a number of other races, but I was ready to go and really looking forward to my second Ironman.
The swim was a two lap swim. The final water temp reading was 29 degrees, so the event was strictly no wetsuits. For me I had a great swim and got out right near the front. Below is a quick clip of the host hotel the Meritus Pelangi Resort (where the finish was) and the swim course. A sensational place on earth.
The ride was 180ks around pretty much all of Langkawi Island. After the swim, a group of five formed pretty quickly on the bike. Diana made a move at around 40k and I decided to go. The pace was on. The heat at mid day was climbing and I left my visor on my TT helmet. I struggled to cool myself, which coupled with over-cooking the speed on the bike, hurt me for the run. I knew in the back of my mind that I would be able to hold the run together enough to stay at least in the top 5.
I was of the bike in second place.The run reached as high as 38 degrees with 85% humidity. This is where it all came a little unravelled. The heat was brutal along the section near the airport (we had to cross this section 5 times). This was the toughest conditions I have ever raced under so far. I really underestimated the impact of the heat and the intensity of the bike on my run.
I ended up dropping back to 4th but hung in there. My time was slow 9.58 however, of the 60 or so professionals only around 20 went under the 10 hour mark. Considering 4 were women, I think the girls did really well.
It wasn't fun being passed from 2nd to 4th at 28ks but I was in good company and could not argue with the end result. Thanks to Lifeproof we scored some cool iPhone cases and mounts, which I am sure will be fun to use.
It was great to see so many Aussies out on the course. It was nice to see a painful smirk and wave from Tommy, Andy, Kevy and Chloe as well as some of the other pro girls Kate, Mim and Jess. The aid stations were amazing. Ironman did a road show on the Island a few weeks before we arrived and the locals were pro at handing out bottles on the ride and also had freezing water for the run.
It is a simple trip to either Singapore or KL and then a one hour connection to Langkawi, so a number of people made the trip. I think I heard that 90% of the field was international! So IM Malaysia represents a great opportunity to race the world.
A couple of things to remember for hot races:
1. Take a cool neck tie
2. Have space in your helmet to pour water on you head to cool down.
3. Get to the race site as early as possible to get accustomed to the heat.
I will now sitting back and consider the races I need to do over the next six months. It is not easy, with a lot on the calendar, it is difficult deciding. Thanks to to my sponsors for getting me to the start line, particularly Flight Centre Active Travel. Now for a break.