Monday, March 5, 2007

Cam Brown Checks In......

Hi there everyone,

Well it would have to go down as one of my toughest wins and races ever. I didn't think I would actually make the start line after coming down with a tummy bug on Wednesday afternoon. The next eight hours the toilet and bucket became my best friends. At 9:30pm my wife phoned Mark Bone, my swim coach, to talk to Sue his wife, who's a doctor to see what the heck we could do. I was completely drained, in every sense of the word. By midnight I'd progressed from the bathroom to the bed and there I stayed till later on Thursday.

By Thursday afternoon I was counting the hours till the race, knowing that with each hour I'd feel better. That evening I managed to get a couple of McDonald's cheese burgers in, and then on Friday McDonald's was on the menu again. I don't think I'd advise this as a pre-race carbo-loading strategy, but I was just trying to get something in my tum and it felt good. It wasn't until Friday night that I started feeling like human. I had my normal pre-race homemade salmon pasta, and retired to bed early, confident that I'd feel better again on Saturday.

Race day dawned calm and not a breath of wind and I can assure you that was a welcomed relief for the 1100 competitors. I had a great swim to reach the shores of Lake Taupo 30 seconds down on the leaders. After the warm 20 degree swim, we descended into the forests and farm land out the back of Taupo and that's where the temperature dropped and the mist rolled in. I could hardly see in front of me and visibility was down to 100m in parts. Australian Luke Bell made a flying start in the early stages of the bike and opened up a 1:50 lead early on. Dane Torbjorn Sindballe started off slowly but was planning to tear the legs off the field in the last 90kms of the bike.

I rode with the Dane for the first 70km where we caught Luke and rode together for a few kms and then that was when Sindballe had had enough. As the kms went by the minutes to Sindballe kept growing and by the transition I found myself 7mins behind. My other major concern was that Luke Bell had 1:50 on me off the bike as well.

The crowd of spectators was incredible. I've never seen numbers of this kind in Taupo before. They were so vocal and I was very thankful for that.

I caught Bell after 5kms and together we set off to try and reel in the Dane. Half way through the run I think Luke and myself were starting to get a little worried, we had halved his lead to 3 mins but then Torbjorn lifted his game and was now holding us at that deficit and the kilometres were decreasing rapidly.

Finally up the last long climb coming back towards Taupo we passed Sindballe, it had taken some 27kms to do so and now it was a two man race between Luke and I. We were trying to drop each other on the final 10km leg back to town - unsuccessfully I might add. I didn't fancy a sprint finish with Luke who's 6 years my junior, so I tried a few more surges to try and drop him, but he still just ran on my right shoulder. At around the 38km mark of the run I put in one more surge and that finally ended the partnership. I had to take a few glances back to make sure he wasn't coming back at me, and thankfully he wasn't.

I was trying to enjoy the last couple of kilometres, I was hurting badly. The finishing chute was a welcomed relief.

I was absolutely exhausted at the finish line and needed to be stretchered off to the medical tent for oxygen and 2 litres of IV fluid. I think my body was still feeling the effects of being sick, and pushing myself to the limits for the entire race only added to this.

It was a win I will enjoy for quite a while, it doesn't get any easier winning these races and I don't recommend a tummy virus as race week preparation! I will now have a couple of weeks off training to recuperate and re-focus and in 2 days time the family and I fly over to the Gold Coast of Australia for a well-earned holiday - my first ever family holiday without any triathlon paraphernalia!

Thanks again for all your support.
Best regards
Cameron Brown

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