Ironman New Zealand 2024 Race Report
Ironman New Zealand 2024 Race Report


My journey to Ironman New Zealand (IMNZ) began in July 2023.  It was just two weeks after I returned home from Challenge Roth, where I put up a personal best time of 9h09. Still riding high on life, I decided it was time to sign up for another race of course. Although I was already heading to the IMWC Nice in September, I wanted to get something else on the books, so I looked at the available races on the IM 140.6 calendar. Scheming, I saw I could fly directly from Dallas to Auckland. The flight was long but there were no connections and New Zealand is awesome. Also, since the 703 WC was going to be there, I had hopes that the course and experience would be unforgettable. 


A few people had told me the IMNZ course was not amazingly fast so I internally did not set a time goal but instead decided to focus on inching towards the numbers I believe I will need to be hit one day to set a PB in an Iron distance race. Also, I had never before trained for a 140.6 through winter so I was curious to see what my fitness would be like and if the experience was any better when compared to training through the inferno of Texas summer. 


Ironman New Zealand was my 8th full distance race since 2019 and my 3rd international full distance race in a row.  Put simply, my goal was to have the highest average power I’ve ever raced during a full distance to run a personal best off the bike.  To put specifics, my goal for this race was to ride 230-240w average power and break 3h20 in the marathon, both would be performances beyond what I accomplished at Roth 2023.  


The preparation I did was not that special in my opinion but was merely an expression of the years of work that led to this race. For the last 6 months I’ve been mostly focused on improving my run. That being said, I am still swimming around 10-12 km a week and hating every second of it.  For the run I averaged about 70-80 km most weeks.  During the end of 2023 I focused on improving my run LT2 by training to run a 10 mi foot race in under 60 minutes.  In November 2023, I was able to accomplish that goal with a time of 58:51 and 8 days later ran a marathon in 2:55 in Philadelphia, pushing the last 10 km in around 39 minutes.

For the bike, most of the training load was centered around accumulating time at LT1, which for me is around 230-250w, depending on the day.  In the period from Jan 10 2024 to Feb 20 2024, I did 5 long rides in the 4h30 to 5h30 range with average power between 220w and 245w.  During this time frame I also did 5h at 243w on the trainer (non step pedaling in erg mode). That session was insane and it took me longer than I’m willing to admit to recover from!  I definitely cooked myself but hey it happens.  243w for me is 3.35 w/kg, not insane but still pushing it for me, given the duration. 


For overall training volume I was averaging around 25 hours a week for the main build, lasting about 6 weeks.  Unfortunately, during this time period, I also developed dual sided achilles tendonitis and started going to PT 3x a week.  My run training suffered, but when I cannot run I just ride, so I was able to keep my total training volume where it needed to be.  During one of the weeks, I did 22 hours on the bike but for the most part I averaged around 18 hours per week with 3-4 quality rides (quality being defined as some work above LT1), and 6-7 easy rides in the 60-70% FTP range.

training log

Prior to the race I spent 2 days carb loading, you can read about my approach here if your curious.

carb load

 Race Day

My Airbnb was within earshot of T1/2, about a 4 minute walk, so that was extremely nice.  At 6am I set up my bike with nutrition and aired my tires, then went back to the bnb for a bit.  The 70.3 started at 7am so there was no rush.  IMNZ has a mass swim-start at 8am where 100% of competitors start at the same time.


 At 755am they signaled for everyone to enter the water.  There were 4 swim caps provided at check in with pink being the faster swim group.  I headed out with people in that group and waited for the gun. BOOM, gun goes and we’re off. I’ve been part of a few mass swim starts before, most notable at Ironman World Championship and Challenge Roth. The difference with these are they are deep water and “mass” but within your specific cohort.  At IMNZ, everyone in the full started at the same time. 

Lake Taupo is amazing.  I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to swim in it during the week leading up to the race when the water was much calmer.  Even when 100m offshore, you can see the bottom, it’s amazing.  So blue, so clear!  The morning of the race, the water was not so calm.  Waves, wind, chop, flailing arms and feet.  The swim is always a sh\*t show for me.  I am not a strong swimmer by most metrics and I usually am just in it to survive and not fall too far behind. My desire to swim hard is zero and my care about falling behind people in front of me is also zero.  My swim time was pretty crap and also my HR was very high (reviewed the data as I ran into T1).  1h06 in a wetsuit for 162 BPM (83% MHR).  In IMWC Nice, without a wetsuit, I did 1h05 for 152 BPM.  Oh well, onto the bike.

imnz swim


IMNZ is a 2 loop course with 2 climbs per loop.  The first climb is from T1 up and out of town and the second is climbing back into town at the end of the lap.  The course is about 3600 ft elevation total, not insane by any stretch but what the course map does not tell you is about the road. The entire way is chip seal, meaning high rolling resistance and bumpy.  I estimate that the route is 50% tolerable, 30% horrible, and 20% good.  By tolerable I mean if I was riding at home I’d maybe ride on it 1 of 10 rides to mix up my training but there is no way I would choose to ride such a surface on my TT bike.  The direction of the course meant that there would be a tailwind on the downhill section on the way out of town, and a headwind on the uphill on the way back to town, lovely!

My plan for the bike was to ride the first lap very hard in both directions and then recover on the tailwind+downhill section of the 2nd lap and push it back to town with everything I had at the end.  I did the first lap in around 2h25 at 240w, so far so good!  However, as I descended back into town at the end of the first lap I noticed my right quad and glute were in significant pain, basically cramped up.  This was a very strange sensation and I have not experienced this very frequently, if ever. 

Riding back up the hill on the 2nd lap was excruciating. Every pedal stroke hurt and I felt weak.  I panned over on my bike computer to the screen with the left right power balance and I was doing 62% left and 38% right on the climb and subsequent descent! Holy sh\*t, this is bad!   Due to the tailwind and downhill there was basically no reason to pedal as I was flying at 35mph and in pain with every stroke.  I regrouped mentally and thought I should intake as much water, carbs, and salt as I could during the downhill with the hope I could banish this cramp/pain.  

Somehow by the time I got to the flat out section on the second lap, the pain level had gone from an 8/10 to 5/10.  I lapped my bike computer and began pedaling.  After about 10 minutes I checked my balance and it had returned to 55/45, not amazing but much better.  I could still feel discomfort in my right quad but I tried to put it  out of my mind. Unfortunately during this crisis 2 guys had passed me and there was nothing I was willing to do to respond.  

The tailwind was good and I was averaging 25 mph at 220w on the out section, a welcome reprieve.  At the turn around I knew it was going to be about 75 minutes of suffering to get back to T2.  I took a caffeine gel and pushed into the headwind.  Bumpy road, headwind, and slight uphill in hour 5 of an Ironman ride, this is what nightmares are made of!! Around mile 90, another guy passed me! Turns out he won  the 50-54 age group with a time of 9h16, what a beast!  I held 240w for a while until I approached the final climb, a 8 mile stretch with 500 ft of gain, straight into a 13-15 mph headwind.  Does not sound like much but it took me around 30 minutes in aero position at 260w.  During the climb I passed 3 guys and a pro female. Then into town I descended and onto the run! 

Stats: In the end I averaged 234w with 244NP.  Average cadence of 76 RPM which is an all time best for me for an Ironman with a HR of 160 BPM which is 89% of LTHR and 82% MHR.  Bike Nutrition: 650g of carbs, 9 grams sodium, and 500mg caffeine. 

imnz bike


IMNZ features a 4 loop run course with total gain of around 900 ft from the provided course map. Not an easy run course by any stretch. There was one feature of this setup that was going to be to my advantage.  On each lap, we got a wristband to show what lap we were on.  This is one thing I hated about Nice’s 4 lap run course. You had no idea who you were competing against!  Some guys could fly by  you on the run but I had no idea if they were on lap 1 or 4!  At IMNZ, you know where every single person is and you all started at the same time, this is so unique and amazing.

As I ran out of transition my left achilles was bothering me and I was pretty afraid I was going to be in pain the entire way!  Luckily this pain was fleeting and did not present an issue.  One bad thing was I did not see any toilets in T2 so I had to run out about 1 mile before finding one. Due to the massive headwind and hills on the way back of the bike I was not able to pee on the 2nd lap so was in desperate need of that in T2!

I started running and was holding 7:20 per mile with relative ease.  There was also significant wind on the run course but luckily it was not hot. For some reason I only put 6 gels in my T2 bag as opposed to the 9 I normally have, I don’t know what I was thinking. I decided I would take Maurten on course to supplement my PH30 gels. 

The run was mostly uneventful until the last lap. Everyone slows down in an Ironman run, it’s just a matter of who slows down the least!  I was slowing down myself quite a bit, as I started the final lap my average pace had dropped from 7:21, to 7:26, to 7:32 per mile.  I was still on track to run a PB off the bike but I was entering “it’s gonna be close” territory. 

Queue the last lap. I hit 37 km, about 5km to go, and I feel ok.  I have something left and I can feel it, it’s time to go. Now or never!!  I push ahead and see a few people with their 4th wrist band on off in the distance. It’s easy to see lap number 4 wrist band as it’s hot pink.  There is a slight downhill at 40km and I take the opportunity to pass someone!  Not 90s later I see someone else!  This guy had passed me around 20 km and I am pulling him back in, wow! I surge by him up the hill into town, looking back and there is no response from him. 

I am now running as hard as I can into the finish area.  There is a slow uphill from about 1km out to the finish line. I feel like I’m running at threshold but obviously I am not lol.  But still, no one is running with me and I enter the finish chute alone. I sprint to the finish line and I am done in 9:28!   It turns out that the two guys I passed with 3rd and 4th in M35-39 and I ran myself onto the podium in the 26th mile of the race, Hell F*cking Yeah!! 9th overall and 3rd M35-39!! Stats: HR 157 BPM, 87% LTHR, 81% MHR.  Run Nutrition: 300g of carbs, 1000mg of sodium, and another 500mg caffeine. 

imnz run


Finish Line Clip: Youtube

Post Race

I chatted with a few guys in the finishing tent and left quickly.  As a vegan there is not much in the tent I can eat anyway.  I grabbed my morning clothes bag, took my finishers swag, and walked back to the AirBNB.  I felt fine, just amped up.  I showered, turned on my phone, and welcomed the slew of messages from family and friends.  It was pretty late back home, so I was surprised to see so many people following along so closely.  I ended up taking around 1000 mg of caffeine during the race, so I was still pretty wired.  I walked back over to this falafel place I had enjoyed during the week leading up to the race.  It was near the finish area and there were so many people still around cheering, it was awesome.  I ate my falafel wrap, headed back, and tried to sleep.  I teetered in and out of consciousness for about 3-4 hours before I decided to get up and dismantle my bike. 

At around 930 am I headed over to the award ceremony and roll down.  They played a video and presented many awards for locals and legends. Some people have completed IMNZ 20 times, that’s crazy!  Eventually they got my Age Group and called my name.  3rd place M35-39! 

Not long later, the rolldown.  I was hoping there was going to be at least 3 slots in M35-39 and thankfully I was right, 3 slots for Kona.  They called my name, and I screamed ALOHA!!! Kona baby, finally one race my wife will not complain about 😀. 

kona baby

 What’s Next

I flew back to USA the next day.  I have my next race as Ironman Texas on Apr 27, 2024. That’s about 7 weeks and 2 days from writing this report.  Some of the post Ironman high has worn off and my body is tired but it’s slowly coming back online.  Luckily my mom has a great sense of humor and knows I’ll be back to form soon enough! 

dopamine valley