Braden Currie's Ironman New Zealand training run results in perfect performance and victory
Braden Currie went into Ironman New Zealand looking to learn.
It wasn't about turning up and winning the thing. He knew the field contained a Kiwi legend in Cameron Brown, so it was about soaking up all the details of the race in his debut and taking that into a title tilt in 2018.
Turns out, Currie didn't need a year to learn the ropes. He was good enough on his first attempt.
Currie swam among the lead group, then was second off the bike as windy conditions battered the competitors in Taupo. On the run, he was able to chase down a spent Terenzo Bozzone and never look back.
There was never any doubting Currie's ability to win the event, but that it came in his debut was a shock for him and everyone else involved.
"It's amazing. I never expected it," Currie said.
"I just came here to figure it out, and just to race it really well next year. I probably couldn't race it again as well as I did [Saturday]."
Currie clearly thinks the conditions worked in his favour, and perhaps that is his multisport background coming through.
The swim was rough and choppy. In fact, Brown described it as the hardest swim in the 19 years he'd competed in Taupo.
On the bike it wasn't any easier. A stiff head wind on the way back to Taupo was a mighty struggle for the riders, but helped Currie out.
"I quite enjoy it, when you get that real stiff head wind," Currie said.
"My power numbers are never very big, so at least when you get a stiff head wind they don't actually have to be that big as long as you're sitting low. I managed to keep working and it paid off."
On the up hill sections of the bike, his mountain biking background saw him gain ground on those ahead, and march away from those behind.
That gave him valuable minutes over people like Brown and Marko Albert in chase, and ended up keeping him within a couple of minutes of Bozzone as he blitzed the bike course.
All that left was the run, and Currie admitted he was terrified Brown would chase him down despite passing through the cycle-run transition about nine and a half minutes back.
"Cam is just a legend. He's so ridiculously strong and competitive and consistent," Currie said.
"I knew I could go fast on the run, but I didn't know how consistent I'd be in the second half of the marathon, so I was just running scared that this guy would chase me down.
"It's incredible. To be here, to have a good race and race against Cam."
It also helped that his pride and competitive spirit saw him lift the pace during the midway point of the marathon, with Albert on the charge.
"I got into that second lap and Marko took about 30 seconds out of me.
"I'm a pretty competitive guy, I don't really like that happening, so I decided to try and extend that gap and thought he might pop. I pushed it quite hard for three or four kilometres there, and sure enough, he popped."
Given his performance in what was a training run for Currie, it will be intriguing to see what he can do with a bit of knowledge during the 2018 edition.