Australia’s, Kate Bevilaqua, reminisces of her race at Hawaii 70.3. Fighting the nasty crosswinds, dealing with her internal voices during the race, and putting the positive spin on a race day that didn’t quite go according to plan.

I love going to Kona and racing there. The Ironman, the Half Ironman, it doesn’t matter, there is always something so special about it. It had been four years since the last time I raced Honu 70.3, and I remember it being a tough day. But, I was so excited to be back racing it again in the shape I was in. The run course had changed slightly, but everything else was pretty much the same.

Guy and I arrived in Kona a week before the race and got some great training in. The plan was a short taper for Honu as we have an Ironman three weeks after the race. We headed out to Hawi for our long ride on Saturday, and ran the Energy Lab on Sunday morning. The winds were up during our ride and in some sections it was difficult to stay aero, but bearable.

Andy Tyack arrived on Monday from Perth, so we headed out again Tuesday to the Mauna Lani for another ride up Hawi. I really struggled this time. The winds were stronger than the weekend and the “mini me” and I were being blown all over the place. Head wind/tail wind – no worries! But the gusty cross winds were causing me some issues. But hey, it was going to be the same for everyone!

The woman’s Pro Field was the best they had ever had. It was deep with talent from ITU to Ironman, which was going to create some interesting racing. Linsey Corbin and Melanie McQuaid (Former Xterra World Champion) had both had solid starts to the season in Oceanside and Wildflower. Hillary Biscay was backing up after Ironman Brasil, and Bree Wee was last year’s winner and home town hero. Then you had the “speedy” ITU girls stepping up in distance, so who knew what was going to happen.

Like every race, there is always a plan. Well, some sort of plan. In a dream world, I would love to be first out of the water, dominate the bike, and run to victory – but who am I kidding?! We can all dream though.

Mum and dad arrived Thursday and we moved out to the amazing Hilton Waikoloa where we had to catch a train from reception to get to our room – I could write an entire blog just on the resort!

Saturday morning was here before we knew it and I actually felt quite relaxed. I had slept well for a change and was ready to have some fun! Yes, the wind was up but I wasn’t really expecting anything different.

The Pro’s were given a three minute head start over the rest of the age groupers which I was glad for. At 6.57am we were off! The water is gorgeous and there was so much to look at, but no, the focus was on swimming fast and staying with the group. The lead men were off and it seemed like all the woman settled into a group except for Hillary who was with the men. When I caught her out of the corner of my eye going past I wanted to jump on. I needed to be there but got bumped out of the way. I was comfortable in the swim and with no where else really to go stayed where I was. We all came out together and it was a mad dash up to transition.

A little mishap getting onto my bike didn’t help – just totally dented my pride and confidence. But, it didn’t take long to get myself going again. I was feeling alright and was glad to be spending some time in the aero position and dealing with the conditions. I was pleased to get to the bottom of Hawi and start the climb though – I love going up. By then I was riding in 6th and I had some idea of what was going on at the front. Melanie and Linsey were riding together with Julia, Beth and Bree fighting it out behind them. There was no one around me though and only a few top age group men starting passing towards to the top. But, unfortunately, the issue was the way down, where I lost way too much time. A couple of girls passed me back and I was mad with myself for letting this happen. The number of times I nearly hit the ground or landed in the Lava fields began to freak me out. With the calibre of athlete out in front, the hopes of a podium were slowly slipping away. I needed to toughen up! Back on the Queen K and I was loving it, felt great, and could have kept going, but the damage was done.

The self talk began to take over in a good way, “okay, the day hasn’t gone the way you planned. So what! You never know what is going to happen. You are racing in Hawaii, you need a good tough hit out, so time to run hard. Give it everything and see what you can do!” This is what I would do anyway, but I needed a bit of encouragement this time.

I was pumped to run! The course, although extremely tough and challenging, is amazing as well. Golf course, roads, head wind, tail wind, incredible volunteers and aid stations. Up hill, down hill. One kilometre at a time, I aimed to catch the person in front of me, until the very end.

There were sections where the head wind was so strong, I was wondering if I was actually still moving forward. Finally at about mile 10 I saw Linsey dominating and looking great, and gave her a cheer! Julia and Beth were next, with Bree also looking strong and taking 10 mins off her winning time from last year.

I pushed on to finish in 6th, and only a minute down on Melanie in 5th.

Although the thought of quitting crossed my mind many times on the bike, it was never going to happen. I have had to pull out of a couple of races due to illness/injury and hated it. I will always finish what I start. I crossed the finish line disappointed, but also with a deep sense of satisfaction of knowing what went on out there, and how I dealt with it. I’m even more determined to work harder and become stronger – ready to race again!

To my amazing sponsors who make living the dream possible: K-Swiss, Novatron, FELT, SRAM, Quarq Power, Rolf Prima Wheels, GU, blueseventy, Ryders Eyewear, Paul Newsome SwimSmooth, Swish Design, Lazer Helmets, Computrainer, Recovery Pump,Rock Tape, Coach Jeff Shilt and Triathlon Western Australia!

And of course Mum and Dad for their cheering and support! Who wouldn’t want to come to Hawaii?

Results:

NAME COUNTRY TOTAL SWIM BIKE RUN
 Linsey Corbin USA 4:26:09 0:27:10 2:25:02 1:29:58
 Julia Grant NZL 4:30:17 0:27:01 2:28:37 1:30:49
 Beth Walsh USA 4:31:47 0:27:44 2:32:25 1:27:54
 Bree Wee USA 4:32:45 0:27:01 2:29:10 1:32:51
 Melanie McQuaid CAN 4:38:57 0:27:16 2:28:47 1:39:17
 Kate Bevilaqua AUS 4:39:53 0:27:07 2:39:13 1:29:14
 Karen Thibodeau CAN 4:44:12 0:27:01 2:37:39 1:35:17
 Hillary Biscay USA 4:53:50 0:25:21 2:41:06 1:42:31
 Angela Axmann USA 4:55:16 0:27:26 2:41:01 1:43:03
 Tatiana Vertiz USA 4:56:12 0:27:20 2:46:16 1:37:36
 Naomi Fergusson NZL 5:00:09 0:33:45 2:40:31 1:41:17
 Teresa Nelson USA 5:11:17 0:27:15 2:49:34 1:49:23

About The Author

KateBevilaqua

Professional Triathlete and 2 x Ironman Champion http://www.katebevilaqua.com

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