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Braziliant one day, Better the next!

Sun, sand, surf and soccer with an Ironman to shake things up. That is what sunny Florianopolis was like over the past week, with the running of the 2006 Ironman Brazil.

With a venue like a postcard, it was hard to resist the temptation to do an Ironman in South America. Arriving on Wednesday to beautiful fast conditions and a field to match, with past champions Olaf and Oscar back to try and repeat. The event it self was run fantastically by former Ironman champion Ken Glah and his crew, who made sure everything was covered down to breakfast provided race morning from 4am.

To the race it self, the morning was perfect calm conditions and after checking the fine details, swim entry, bike exit, run exit it was off to the start line. The course was an M shape swim which brought you out of the water at the half way point past the crowd before dipping back into the ocean for the remainder of the swim.

Taking it out hard from the start to obtain a buffer over Olaf and Oscar, I was joined by a local age group athlete who eventually lead out of the water with myself in second in around 45.30. With a quick transition it was onto the bike and into the lead trying to pick up valuable seconds on the challenging athlete’s.

The cycle leg was an interesting one with 10 U-turns, I was conscious of the guys bridging the gap early so I set a solid tempo. As there were so many turns it was possible to keep a close eye on the competition, realizing that Oscar was the only one maintaining the same speed. During the second lap conditions changed as the wind picked up, with average speeds dropping from 40-45km/hr on the first lap to 30-35km/hr on the second lap out the freeway section.

Returning back to town and towards transition, it was all thoughts on the marathon, which was 3 loops (21k then 2 x 10.5k). After slipping on the runners and starting the clock to see the time between myself and Oscar and Olaf it was off and running. Realizing that Oscar was the main threat on the day at just under 3min back, it was going to be a running race and that it was. Maintaining the buffer through the first half on the run, things started to slip a little and the margin became smaller as Oscar picked it up. From the 21k through to around the 31k it was a low point, trying to maintain a steady pace and obtain fluids as the sun was stating to heat things up.

At the beginning of the final 10.5km loop Oscar drew along side and surged to the front, unable to go with him, it was a matter minimizing the margin and staying focused as Ironman nothing is over until you cross the line. As the margin drew out to over a minute the body came good again and with 3 miles to go I started to increase the tempo, with 1-2miles to go he was close and over the last mile the split was 35 seconds. Running as fast as I possible could with Oscar looking over the shoulder, it was a drag race to the finish. Oscar had enough gas in reserve to hold on by 29 seconds in a shade over 8hrs 15minutes.

Wow what a race, the fastest I have ever gone in an Ironman by 17minutes, 8hrs 15mins also. Second again but not with out a fight, I know the time will come in my 4 and a half seasons of Ironman racing to obtain 3 seconds, a third and a 5th at World Championships I was able to walk away very pleased with the result. I was beaten on the day by a better, faster man, I had a fantastic race but Oscar had a better on by 29 seconds! Congratulations to Oscar.

To everyone one else, thank you very much for the support as all this is not possible with out the team that backs you up, To Ken I just wish to thank him for taking care of myself, my family and the rest of the athlete’s at the race. To the other competitors as Mike Riley says “You are an Ironman” cherish that feeling you deserve it.

Train safe and will catch you at the races.
Best wishes from Brazil,
Luke Bell

PS – Brian now that you have completed your first Half Ironman at Wildflower it is time to step it up, the move to California should help the training for Koan.