Tavis Johannsen Ultra Triathlon

Tavis 2016

It’s 4:31PM and I’m in the bath tub listening to Coldplay, relaxing in a Muscle Detox scrub, smelling a Yankee Candle Fresh Mint Candle, and drinking  a recovery shake consisting of: Brown Rice Protein, Vega Recovery Nutrition, Frozen Bananas, Frozen Mangoes, Chia Seeds in Almond Milk, and additional Soy Milk. And I feel awesome! It’s been a great day and one that I got through with the aid of 21.6 cups of coffee! Well, no I didn’t drink 21.6 cups, I friggen hate coffee. Ever since I was dragged into the coffee shops by my mother as a child I couldn’t stand the stench. I only had coffee one time in my life and that was in cub-scouts with a fresh brewed cup over a campfire. In fact, I even won a bet against my step-father who assured me that I’d take up coffee by the time I left college by not actually ever falling victim to the black stuff; he didn’t realize the energy revolution that was set amongst us and how I could find wings from other beverages; it cost him $100.

Carbo Load

Friday night we had a bit of a carbo-load dinner. I made “Macaroni & Not Cheese” and Fi made some pizza bagels. We enjoyed some great company with some awesome red wine, talked triathlon and life and gave respect to the race before us.

Saturday morning, 10AM wake up. I had a 2hour run test but instead decided to do 1 hour on the Tavis Johannsen Ultra race course outside, at noon. I intentionally had no warm up and went right on into it. I made it 12.1K in 56min3sec or 4:37/km. While the run at Ironman Race Pace shouldn’t have been that hard, the desert sun and heat of the day as well as the drinking night and other reasons made my HR 149 or Zone 4; it was the highest intensity run of this distance in 6 years and my Garmin 920XT told me to recover for 26 hours…. oops. I did a 33minute, 1500meter recovery swim and headed to the store. It was not my intention to carbo load for this race since but did buy 2.5liters of sprite and 4 boxes of LCMs. I finished a box of LCM’s and 1.25liters of sprite over the next hour during some errands and headed home. I continued to get in the carbs to at least build up some of my glycogen levels.

I made Fiona dinner. I grabbed all of the Silverbeat from the garden, found 5 string beans, and then made a homemade pesto with basil and parsley from the garden, walnuts and almonds, a little bit of left over cheese, and EVOO. Another bottle of red wine and some videos. Off to bed around 10:15 after some vanilla slice… no wonder it took me at least 30minutes to fall asleep.

Race Day

5:15AM wake up for the 7AM race. Medium Redbull (118g Caffeine), english muffin, banana. Music, stretch, nutrition, out the door at 6:15AM.

Rack the bike, hello to my mates, water is 25degrees, damn I wanted to do a wetsuit. Thankfully the RD allowed us to use wetsuits since nearly the entire field of athletes were heading to either Busselon 70.3 next week, Cairns 70.3, or Ironman Cairns. 30min to go: Vega Energizer down followed by 1 package of Clif Shot Bloks (50g caffeine). Wetsuit on, race brief, in the water. 100meter warm up swim. Kiss to wifey sharing same lane, as always and we’re off.

SWIM 2,000 Meters (2,000 Meters Garmin)

On BDO I swam 2K in 29:38 and the 1.5K in 22:02. On Thursday I had a 1.5K swim test and went 22:04 after a massage. My goal was to go sub 30minutes. [In 2012 I swam 35:14 and in 2013 I swam 32:40]. There was no race in 2014 and in 2015 I was on the East Coast in transit to Ironman Australia. In non-wetsuit swims I drafted off of Fiona nearly all season long but she taught me all her tricks and with the aid of a wetsuit (which adds 5-10s/100meters for me), allowed me to just race my own race. Besides Fiona, my main competition in the race would be Tim Bourke who raced against me in the 2016 Alice Springs Sprint Triathlon. Although he and fiancée just had a baby, always respect a great athlete. I wouldn’t count him out until I crossed the finish line and that would be critical about an hour later.

From the 5th stroke, I was leading the field and moving. I started moving on Fiona and Tim and then just focused on myself. 500m, 1K, 1.5K. 7:10, 14:47, 22:36… By this point I realized that I was slower than BDO and my test and I didn’t think I was going to break 30min for the swim but I kept gaining on Fiona and with 100meters to go I made my move into her draft. We turned at the far wall and I went on her wake, then I pushed harder to jump out in 30:18. I knew I had a solid time and thought it possible to be ahead of Darryl who completed his first ever Olympic Distance race today and who may be joining our squad heading to Ironman New Zealand next year! (I caught his tail 5KM later down the road).

In T1 (1:20), standard process with wetsuit off although I took off my Garmin 920XT since I haven’t yet cut the sleeve of the wetsuit to solve that issue. Helmet, shades, and go.

60KM Ride (59.8KM Garmin)

3 Loops of the Olympic course. This goes out of town, down the Stuart Highway and on to Col Rose Drive. I like this course because it’s pretty much exactly 60KM, there are less turns, and you can really open it up. I might have gone less due to cutting tangents and taking better lines on the sanctioned course. With my FTP on 300-311, my goal was 90% – 95%. I wrote on my hand that the goal range was 270NP-295NP. This would have dictated my highest intensity ride I’ve ever done. The only previous rides to come close would be The Hatt Rd Duathlon 271NP for 40KM and the Olympic Triathlon that was 2 weeks before Ironman Busselton in Nov’15 at 288NP. (The Olympic from 2 weeks ago was a pretty poor performance at only 258NP).

The Heart Rate was high for the first 15min near 140-145 which was much higher than my 135 goal but at the 10KM and averaging 40KM/hour at the turn around my HR finally dropped. I was in a rhythm and already had a 10minute lead on Fiona and Tim who was shortly behind Fi.

The 12minute intervals for 8KM were on target: 281, 282, 283. But on the way out on Loop 2 I thought I had a flat as the tires felt different. I wasn’t going to go from 45KPH to 0 to test it out so opted to check at the 180 degree hairpin turn on Col Rose Drive. No flat on the back. Up I go. 2 minutes down the road I look at my front wheel. Shit.

I quickly stopped and said “I can’t believe I have a fucking flat.” But I stayed calm and told myself not to rush it but get it done right. I knew Fi was coming and Tim would be close behind. All I was thinking was to not let Tim see you. I didn’t want to give any hint of weakness. I mean, if I were him and I saw me with a flat, I would immediately start firing on all cylinders. So all I was thinking was get back on your bike ASAP. Fiona came, Tim had to be close. 4minutes and 15seconds later I was back on board and trying to get distance out there. I knew breaking my record was dead then. After all, that record was set on a 55km course. So if it was close before, now it just wasn’t going to happen. I don’t know if Tim saw me, but I just went back to work. 270, 277, 264, 262. Riding time averaged 39.4KPH and 273NP for the ride so at least I held the power where I wanted to be. Even better my HR was 135/avg which is also where I wanted to be. I saw everyone out there and was able to use some of the other girls as motivation to stay strong. I had a lot of bloks in the first 30minutes and rushed it a bit much; I’d pay for that on the run. By the end of the bike I finished 4 packages of shot bloks (double shot) or 400g of Caffeine. I flushed it down with a bottle of electrolytes and a bottle of Endura which was another friggen mistake but I didn’t want to carry 3 bottles, 1 being water. What I loved about my metrics is that my HR was in Zone 3 for 91% of the time and power was split between Z3/Z4 at 41% a piece. This was by far the best executed race yet even though yea, no shit, my power was sliding down.

Phew, finally into T2. Down on the butt to put socks on (since this is a 15KM run). It also gives me a chance to get a good stretch in while putting on the socks. I pounded half a bottle of ARO which has another 200g of Caffeine. Now, I knew I would win but obviously needed to seal the deal. But I wasn’t going to back off. Every race I do I am going to bring my best and it was really nice for Sean Loader to recognize that in his speech at the end. More importantly, this race was the TAVIS! Dedicated to a multi-ironman athlete, the founder of Cyclezone Mooloolaba. A family man who I never had the pleasure of meeting but would be lucky enough to meet his wife Fiona after the race. Tavis tragically died in his sleep at 42yrs old leaving behind 2 kids and a wife. Their family still mourns over the loss and I saw a lot of myself and ironically enough the name of my wife, Fiona, in Tavis and his wife, Fiona. Tim Pearson had given a great speech before the race and it touched me. So through various times through the race I gave thanks and respect to Tavis, and thinking about him by giving my best effort. I trust that I honored their family by following my #1 passion and giving it my best.

15KM RUN (14.5KM Garmin)

I took off with my Challenge USA Visor on that was signed by Chris McCormack and Dylan McNiece when we met them in Atlantic City, the week after Fi and I got married. My cadence was nice and quick around 175 but was short-lived and settled on 170 for the rest of the run. Each 2.5K loop of the 5K long Figure 8 course I put water on the head, neck, and 2 down the tube. I absolutely Love my USA Scody Sleeved Tri Suit. It definitely keeps me cool, has aero advantages, and is a great looking suit. But it really did keep me cool on the run. I had a Winners gel at 20min and 40min. The HR started out at 135 and slowly climbed as did my pace the rest of the run. By the 30-45min I started to feel great! Surely this was the second round of major caffeine dosages but I was certainly getting faster.

I was quite surprised with the run considering I was running at 4:32/KM which was faster than yesterday but HR about 15BPM lower. Not only is this due to the tri suit, a “warm up”, and proper nutrition, but I was running 2 hours earlier in the day as well. I saw Fi 3 times as she was now 10minutes behind me and we saw each other at the aid station but I was gaining on her. With 1 mile to go I started pushing and averaged 4:17/km. But when I saw Tim and friends with 400 to go, I was running 4:08/km and feeling awesome. I sustained it through the finish in a time of 3:12:55. The run of 1:05:13 was run at 4:29/km. Again, this is the best performance I’ve had on a run with 98% of my time spent on Zone 3. It was my fastest run of this distance or longer, outside, since the Aug’15 Alice Springs Marathon where I ran 3:02:33.


Fi and I ran another 4KM in reverse supporting the many first timers to this and the Oly. We cheered em all in and then celebrated (with 2 cokes) after, as everyone crossed the line. Unfortunately, Tim was unable to complete the race so 2nd place was future IM’NZ finisher Mark Russell, 31minutes behind me, and Ironman Athlete Chris Turner a further 15min back. Fiona would take her 2nd Tavis with a winning time 13minutes behind me and 2nd overall followed by Lani, Shaye (1st Triathlon), Helen, Kathryn, Liz, and Kate whom are all coming to Cairns for the 70.3. Love and support to Dee and Lynnie who had a flat and was sick respectively, but will definitely do Fiona, myself, and ASTC proud as they compete at Busselton 70.3 this week.

The sun was out, the heat was up. No another 90 min test wasn’t going to happen. But, we went home, put on Netflix The Departed and got in nearly 2 ½ hours on the trainer and another coke. J That’s where I started this report but headed to Church to thank God for this weekend and such an amazing life. We were then joined by some mates at “The Vietnamese Restaurant” for Green Tea, Veggie Spring Rolls, Tofu Vegetables with Cashew Nuts, and a massive bowl of Vegetarian PHO.

So now it’s 11:15PM, Coach Sydney is snoring in her kennel, Fiona has stopped shaking while sleeping and dreaming of a can of coke running her down the Tavis Course and I finish another glass of Jansz Tasmanian Premium Cuvee. (The Yankee Candle Fruit Fusion candle is lit now, One of the best!)

For so many reasons it’s been an interesting season but on September 9th, 2015 I wrote down one goal. “Win everything in Alice Springs”. The Hatt Rd Duathlon, Olympic Triathlon (PB), Sprint Triathlon, Get Physical Teams Triathlon, 32nd Alice Springs Sprint Triathlon (4X Champion), Olympic Triathlon #2, and the Tavis Johannsen Ultra (3X Champion). I’m proud of myself to say that I stuck to my promise. But none of those races are what I have been training for, for 6 years now. No, the goal is the same goal that I wrote on a postcard and sent to myself, one that I just found yesterday from December 15, 2010. “3A – Qualify for Kona”. I look forward to your continued support and love. 49 Days to go.

God Bless.

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