Michelle Bremer, who has based herself in the States with her coach Siri Lindley and their team for a few months, checks in from her race at The Rev3 Quassy Half Ironman, where she raced amongst ‘the mega stars’. Here’s her view and race wrap up from the day.

Last weekend the Rev3 team put on another awesome event in Connecticut – The Quassy Half Ironman. We traveled from the West to the East coast of the States a few days earlier, and were homestayed by a wonderful family.

The few days before the race were spent exploring the super scenic and extremely hilly course, a couple of lake swims and lunching at the Panera breadhouse. The day before the half was the olympic distance event, where the athletes were greeted with bucketloads of rain! My homestay, Amy, braved the freezing conditions, so we rugged up and headed down to the finish line to watch her come in. It was great to see so many people out there with smiles on their faces despite being drenched and covered in mud.

Thankfully the next day I was greeted with a perfectly calm day – chilly, but sunny. I was feeling excited to race, as it was a super tough course. A hilly ride, followed by a hilly run, and against the most competitive field I have ever raced. Many world class athletes were toeing the line including Mirinda (Carfrae), Angela Naeth, Heather Jackson, Kelly Williamson, Heather Wurtule and several others at the top of the game. So it was kind of like a mini world champs!

The lake was flat like a big swimming pool and just warm enough to be a non wetsuit swim, so I got to try out my new Blue Seventy swimskin, which I loved. The air temp was pretty cold, and with it being a beach start I opted to skip my normal swim warmup, as I was shivering enough standing on the start line dry let alone wet! The gun went and off we raced – well for a whole 20 metres or so. I found myself in the midst of a panic attack/hyperventilating about 5 strokes into the swim, unable to breathe! I tried to continue swimming for a few more strokes, but it wasn’t a happening thing. It felt like my breathing tube had been twisted into a massive knot and any air that was passing through my mouth was going nowhere near my lungs. So next step was to try a bit of backstroke which was no help. So I stopped and just sat there, watching everyone swim away from me. I looked back at the beach and couldn’t believe that here I was in a race I was so geared up for, lying in the water, just off the beach, as the race went on beyond me. As a kayak proceeded towards me, I tried to take a few more strokes to get back into the game but same thing again. So back to the ‘floating and waiting for it to pass’ game. A thought crossed my mind that my day was over, but was quickly erased by “like hell it is! I haven’t flown across the whole of America, and lined up against the worlds best to swim a mere 20 metres!” Anyway, I dont know how long I floated for, it seemed like an infinity, but what was probably a minute or so. I then managed to get my breathing under control and get my game underway. I ended up feeling really good in the water and got myself to around mid-field, but swum the course solo. This is normal for me, but in this race I had a goal to stick on the feet. I had “the feet” marked from the start! Oh well, next time! So, I dont know why that happened. It hasn’t happened before, it wasn’t nerves as there were none. Perhaps going from shivering to diving into the cool water set off a reaction? All I can hope is that it doesn’t happen again!

Into T1, my trusty steed was awaiting me, rearing to go. After a few quick words of dissapointment and frustration to Clay, the swim was behind me and forgotten – now onto the bike, yay!

The bike was super fun and super tough, with relentless climbs. I rode parts of the course in the days leading up to the race, but just at an easy pace, so I had an idea of what to expect. Not having raced the course before, I often found myself overgearing on a lot of the climbs and in turn, doing a lot of standing climbing, of which I could feel the calfs were being overworked. Of course this was going to kill my running legs! But, I was having fun out there and riding alongside Angela Naeth and Rinny (Carfrae) for a lot of the course, so I wasn’t paying as much attention to my gearing as I should’ve – tactical error!

I entered T2 in 5th position, with the 3rd fastest bike split, only outridden by Angela Naeth and Heather Wurtele! Onto the run, sure enough I could feel the calfs were going to struggle. The run course is really beautiful. It goes on the road that surrounds the lake where we swam, with an extra loop at the end. There are tonnes of trees, so it’s pretty shaded, which meant it didn’t get too hot out there. My main battle were the hills to come and my quickly fatiguing calves. I did what I could, but knew there were some super fast runners closing in from behind.

I crossed the line in 8th position, happy with my total result. It was made up of a frustrating swim start, followed by a reasonable swim, an awesome and fun bike, and a run that was slower than it should’ve been, but got me to the end!

At the front of the field a big battle was on for the top spot. Heather Wurtele was first off the bike, followed by Naeth who both quickly hit the road. Rinny was shortly in the chase and picked off Naeth around halfway through the run, managing to run to the front within the last mile. Wurtele didn’t let her pass by easily though, as she fought right to the end, only coming in 17 seconds behind Rinny.

Top 10 results of the day were:

Mirinda Carfrae 4:27:42

Heather Wurtele 4:27:59

Angela Naeth 4:28:24

Heather Jackson 4:34:08

Laurel Wassner 4:36:18

Kelly Williamson 4:39:12

Madeline Oldfield 4:41:03

Michelle Bremer 4:41:17

Malaika Homo 4:42:02

Jessica Meyers 4:42:20

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