Tinman a pretty damn rad race. It was choice to do a 'big' race, where I actually had people to race with (well, sort of, I still spend the whole race time trialing...). Feeling happy with the result too.
The water was a lot warmer than the preceding evening, and there were a lot of people around! The tide was quite strong too, and was pushing us out to sea. We took off, and for the first couple of buoys, I was barely swimming, I was basically sucked along with a mass of people (actually, I did swim, and swam reasonably hard, to try and get in a pack of reasonable swimmers). I was constantly trying to draft, and did an OK job, but I kept on losing people, and having to find new ones (easy enough with the number of people). So the lesson is to work harder at staying with the people you are with after the first couple of hundred metres. I missed the timing board, but when I got to my bike (almost as far as you can get in transition - being as I was number 33) I saw it was 8:25, so knew I must have done OK. I had a reasonably quick transition - given I have to put the Garmin on, the aero helmet is harder to get on, and I had to pack the back pocket - and I was out of T1 in 26:30, which I'm pretty happy with, given the swim at Rotorua a couple of weeks ago (it must have been a lot shorter mind!). Maybe it's the new wetsuit... (swam in it for the first time the day before the race - I'd started getting some nicks in my old one, which was annoying).
On the bike I settled into a good rhythm, and tried to hold a constant power output. I was passed by a few people, mostly team and a couple of sprint cyclists, but other than one guy, I had no one to pace (not draft) off for the bike. I stayed with him for about a third of the race, but lost contact, and finished on my own. I should perhaps have pushed harder, but I wanted to have something in reserve for the run. Averaged 199 watts (normalized 203) - should really be higher than that. AHR 171, max 183. 1:10:50, which is a little annoying, because I wanted sub 1:10, but then the course was 42km, not 40, so I'll live. The aero helmet and disc cover were both good (and the disc looks hot, albeit that the covers don't make the same sound as a proper disc wheel), as was the newly build up rear wheel (I got Tristan, from Wheelworks, to re-build my Powertap into a light, stiff, semi-aero wheelset, with bladed spokes, which is an improvement on wheel the hub came built up in).
I had a fairly quick transition, and I was off. I was feeling pretty good off the bike, and quickly got into a decent rhythm (and very quickly passed my friend from the bike). I was passing people left, right and centre, and holding sub 4:00 minute k's, although the average pace was slowly dropping. I did the first 5 km in 20:20 (normalized pace of 4:02), and was feeling good. After the turnaround, I got a slight stitch, and my left ankle was feeling odd, but I was still going well, but a tiny bit slower. Then I got to the base track. Which was hard. And slowed me a lot. I still kept passing people, but it was not a comfortable run. I had one guy in my sights, and I kept pushing, and pushed the last straight really hard (I did the last 600 metres in 3:40 k's), and was spent at the end. Oddly enough, my normalized pace for the last 5.568 km (the run was long) was 4:03 km, so I did pace myself fairly evenly effort wise. AHR first 5K 174, max 177; rest of run AHR 175, max 188.
All in all, pretty happy. I was able to actually run well(ish). I was only a couple of minutes down on two guys who were in the NZ Age Group team for the standard distance champs (and one also in the long distance team), the main difference being the swim, when I was more than 10 down on them at Contact. In fact, if I could get a bit faster on the swim and bike (and hold or get better or the run), I would have been competitive (in a slightly upper level, non elite, age grouper sort of way...). That's not to say I'm completely satisfied; I want to get better, and I know I can. Just that I'm happy with my effort yesterday.
So, with the combination of the Contact race and Tinman, I've had pretty damn good prep for the Rotorua Half. I'm feeling good, and think I'll do better than last year. I dunno whether I can go sub 5, but I'll be going out to try =)