March 11, 2019 - Amazing country, venue, course and volunteers! It’s challenging training for a full in NE Ohio during the winter! Taupo is fantastic! The water of Lake Taupo is amazingly clear! My favorite swim by far! I had to keep reminding myself to keep swimming and that I was not scuba/snorkeling! I actually enjoyed the mass start and single loop course. I was sad when I hit the last turn buoy. Bike course kept us honest. A few climbs, nice flats, and then I hit the wall of wind at the turn around! Relentless headwind for 18 miles back into town and then crazy crosswinds and headwind on the second loop. I thought I was a strong cyclist and I was humbled immediately! The views on the run were spectacular! Doubt and uncertainty of my joints kept my first loop very slow, lots of walking, especially the hills. My lack of running due to my arthritis was evident. Got into a rhythm finally and second and third loop were more consistent. Knee got wonky after the second loop so took some meds and kept moving. The volunteers were amazing the entire race. Crowd support was fantastic! Kiwi’s approach fanning differently then here in the US but their support was outstanding! Venue and transition were organized and staged very well. Made the entire weekend flow smoothly. Parking was easy and accomodating. Huge shout out to Huka Cycle who got a piece ordered, delivered and installed on my bike to get me out on course for the race. Seat posts are essential?? IM New Zealand is the longest standing race (35 year anniversary), only second to Kona (40 years). Bucket list race and adventures ticked off the list! I will be back for sure! So much more to explore and see of this amazing country! Travelled with fabulous friends and made so many memories to last a lifetime! Blessed to be so lucky to experience this with them! Cheers mates!