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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Island Migration: Part 3

It's hard to remember what you're on Hamilton Island to do, a race or a holiday? Well I wont deny either, because the race has an atmosphere and course that inspires majesty, but it's still strikingly relaxed. All the while, the island itself is beautiful, amazing flora & fauna with the exact kind of rugged landscape that I love, which is of course is contained by crytal blue waters. Mark 'Sharky' Smoothy, a 25 year veterean of the sport says the race on Hamilton Island is just like the good old days, relentlessly tough, but with a nuturing and fun atmosphere.

Now getting down to the nitty gritty, Asha and I arrived on Thursday and settled into our little 5-star nest at the Beach Club. Thursday and Friday was all about relaxing while waiting for the metaphorical gun (air horn of course) to go off on Saturday morning.

I was joined by perenial sparing partner Jimmy Seear, whilst Pete Jacobs was also starting amongst a hundred or so other male contendors. Unfortunately Craig Alexander decided not to bring his bike with him so a race with him was null and void! It would have been great to race (and beat of course :p) him as well as Pete, but I guess a 3-time Hawaii champ doesn't have much more to prove!

For those that don't know already, this is a sprint distance race. Don't get put off by that you uber-distance fanatics, everyone is always glad that it's only a sprint. The course is truly brutal: ocean swim with chop, beach running, serious vertical ascent on the bike, more vertical ascent on the run and more beach running to finish. Leading into this race, I really struggled with recovering from Port Mac 70.3, and I knew my body had expired for the year. It's been a while since I took a break, but had planned this to be my send off for the 2011 season anyway.

Pete Jacobs interestingly wore a wetsuit for the 750m swim, something I didn't even think about brining to the race. By default, Pete was assigned the duty of pulling me around the swim course, but Jimmy and I instantly gapped him at the start of the cycle because he had to take the thing off! There's not much else to add about the bike (watch the video below if you haven't already), just the fact that Jimmy absolutely tore me to bits and dropped me around 12km in. I kept putting chunks of time into Pete however, and with each lap of the bike I longed for the run to start, wanting to move onto new (hopefully fresh) muscle groups. It's funny how I was thinking that though, because the run was just as tough. There's not many courses around that make you think about walking in a sprint race! Last year I had a 200m sprint finish along the soft sand with Ryan Fisher (who just picked up 3rd in Auckland ITU), so I was happy to pull onto the finishing straight by myself this year, even if it meant I was still in second place.

Swim start

 Jimmy and I on the runway

Group shot!

Pete Jacobs


Pete, Ash, Jimmy, Burg

Crowie finishing in teams

Here's some shots from the rest of the weekend, including the return boat trip from the 2km Whitehaven Ocean swim.


 Thanks goes out to Hamilton Island for the amazing weekend. You can view them at their website here or follow them on Twitter here.

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