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Athlete of the week: Michael Besser completes Half Ironman at Mooloolaba

Posted: 29-Aug-2018 by Maccabi NSW

Michael Besser shares with Maccabi a rare insight into the race day thoughts of an Ironman athlete.

Below is Michael’s account of his experience at the Mooloolaba Half Ironman Triathlon.

Overall conditions were poor. It rained intermittently the whole day, heavy at times and I was cold most of the time. Adding to the conditions was a narrow long transition of about 500metres and a complex, technical bike course difficult to follow.

Knowing Kona was in 6 weeks I was in a cautious head space for the whole race.


Water temperature 18C & wet suit swim (I put mine on in the apartment because of the rain). Self seeded rolling start with 2 athletes going every few seconds through a squeeze led for a long lead in time. Lumpy 1.5M swell with significant shore breaks made for a tough swim and I was dumped as I stood up at the end just when I thought "yes - swim is over". Swallowed sea water and some sand for good measure. Mainly walked the 500 odd metres to T1 because of rough gravel surface throughout the long transition.

Time 43' 47"


Putting on bike shoes full of water was somewhat unnerving to say the least. Slick wet road made for a cautious ride especially with a series of complicated technical turns. Some confusion prevailed at times and it seemed the organizers had turned what should have been an easy bike course into a complex maze adding short bits here and there to make up the 90K. Still a solid ride.

Time 3hr 11'  av speed 28k/h.  av hr 121b/m (80%)


Despite covering my running shoes with a towel and turning them over they were full of water as were my socks. But that was nothing compared to trying to take down my wet, Lycra trisuit to have a port-a-loo break. It felt like I was strangling myself with a sheet of wet plastic After what seemed like an eon of struggle I was so desperate to go I managed to wee everywhere but the bowl! It must have cost me 5' and 500 calories.

I was fairly tentative in the run not wanting to aggravate my ankle problem but I gained in confidence as the run progressed and my last 3K were my fastest with 6' 08"/k average.

Time 2hr 27'  av hr 125b/m (82%).

TOTAL TIME: 6hr 37' & Silver medal in age group (oldest athlete on the course).

Happy to finish healthy with no injuries (apart from a few blisters and a black toe nail).

Confidence booster heading to World Ironman Championships on October 13th.

Carnival 2020


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