Northland's Bruce Cole-Baker on form at Coast to Coast

By Andrew Johnsen

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Bruce Cole-Baker finished 15th at the 2017 Coast to Coast. Photo/Supplied
Bruce Cole-Baker finished 15th at the 2017 Coast to Coast. Photo/Supplied

Northland's Bruce Cole-Baker has finished inside the top 20 at the iconic Kathmandu Coast to Coast in Greymouth.

Racing against a highly talented field, Cole-Baker came home 14th in 13 hours and one minute.

Cole-Baker said he had a great time and gained valuable lessons as he covered the mammoth 243km course, which traverses the width of the South Island.

"I learnt a lot out on the course - especially on where to use energy - and also found some room for technical improvement," he said.

"I was hoping for a faster run, but after going out fast early right from the beach I paid later in the day.

"A rough roll out of the kayak and through the Rock Gardens cost me some time, also a portage out of the wrong channel was more time."

The course sees racers first run 2.2km before a 55km cycle. Once off the bike, the competitors journey over a 30.5km mountain run, climbing more than 1km upwards along the way.

After that is a 15km cycle and a 1.3km run before arguably the toughest part of the course - a 70km kayak down the Waimakariri River.

A gruelling 69km cycle is the finale, but Cole-Baker said the kayak was definitely the toughest part.

"The toughest hours were spent in the kayak. I was in a lot of pain for the last 20k," he said.

"Was great to get back on the bike for the final 70km and move up through the field, but I had lost a lot of time by then.

"I over-cooked myself in the first 20 minutes in the darkness trying to bridge a 15-second gap to the leaders which cost me later in the day."

Defending champion Sam Clark took out the title in 11:02:43secs to beat three-time champion Braden Currie, who held a 12-minute lead going into the kayak leg.

Cole-Baker said he had a great time out at the event, but was unsure whether he would return for the 2018 edition.

"It's fair to say that it was a big day out. I was very happy to get to the east side, it's a true test across some amazing terrain," he said.

"I would love to come back, although will be tough as it is a big haul from Northland, especially as more specific training on the course would be needed and that's a big expense and time away from family.

"But going forward I am excited to hit the local events in the next few weeks, the Kai Iwi triathlon and the Wild Kiwi event."

- Northern Advocate

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