Brendon Vesty wasn't going to mince words after claiming the bragging rights to the inaugural Kiwiman Xtreme Triathlon in New Plymouth this weekend.
"I'm not too bad but I'm pretty banged up, I guess," Vesty said after taming the 235.8km course in a scorching time of 12h 30m.
Body feeling like a truck had left him for roadkill, the 45-year-old director of finance for Stortford Auto Sales in Hastings overcame the testing Lake Rotomanu in four laps of 900m loops first up in the 5am start of an event touted as the hardest in the southern hemisphere.
"The swim was in the dark," he said, revealing a staccato of flashing bulb lights and floodlights had signalled the start. "For some people it was just a challenge to swim in the dark."
Vesty then tamed three mountain climbs from the well-worn saddle of his bike ride before running over sand, concrete and more than 4000 steps to finish at the top of the Pouakai Ranges Hut about 5.30pm, making the cut-off point by almost 90 minutes.
His sizzling time had "blown away" a few preconceived notions the organisers had coming into the event of 17 entrants, including four women and two teams.
"They had a set fast time they thought people would go to and I kind of blew that away," he said, crunching the cycling in a time that even caught him by surprise all the way to the transition point.
With the ambition of taming the Kona Ironman Championship in October this year, he thought the southern hemisphere leg of the Xtreme Triathlon world series would have been ideal yardstick to accomplishing his goal of getting to Hawaii.
"I just saw it on the Facebook page and I thought it's going to be a real tough, long day for Santa Rosa in May to try to qualify for Kona," he explained.
No doubt, Vesty felt the extreme aspect of the gruelling event in the final 30km.
While he has qualified for the standard and sprint distances for a Gold Coast event in September, the bigger picture is to compete at the Santa Rosa Ironman in May.
He also has made the cut for the world championship 70.3 in South Africa in September after winning the Kinloch Triathlon-NZ National Sprint Championship crown for the 45-49 male category in Taupo in February.
However, Vesty aims to nail the top two placings in his age group in Santa Rosa which will give him a passport to the Kona championship, which he regards as the ultimate of triathlons. If he does that then he'll forgo the other events.
But if the Kona plan goes awry he'll switch to the Gold Coast and South Africa events in September.
"I'm hoping that now I've done a harder event, I'll go to the Ironman [Kona] — similar distances, maybe a little bit shorter — but a lot faster and a lot straighter."
The Xtreme event at the weekend, he hoped, would have helped build up that level of strength and endurance required for Kona, albeit for more than nine hours.
Needless to say, Vesty has put quote marks around the Napier Port Harbour to Hills triathlon as a maybe this Sunday.
"At the moment my ankles pretty swollen and my knees sore ... I'm pretty panned out and nails are fall off and that so, at this stage, I want to do it but I've just got to see how the body is."
The Napier event starts with a sheltered 2km ocean swim with Napier Port as its backdrop.
A 95km bike beckons, taking in the panoramic views over Cape Kidnappers and around the picturesque Tukituki Valley. The final leg offers a 21km run, comprising two laps of the Rotary Pathway past myriad Napier city attractions.
Vesty suspected a decent pair of shoes might be the catalyst for the Napier triathlon.
"I probably picked the wrong shoes. The ones I used were a little bit small," he said, mindful he hadn't had any issues with the pair in smaller events but the Kiwiman Xtreme Triathlon on Friday wasn't the right fit for traversing diverse terrain that included beaches.
Vesty said the views at the Xtreme triathlon were spectacular, taking in the lakes, rivers and breathtaking scenery from the hut at Mt Taranaki, sitting majestically across from the Egmont National Park.
"It was an amazing race, you know, not that I had much time to take in the scenery."
It didn't help that he had a sleepless night before the race, waking up about 3am to have humble portions of food.
He saluted his support crew of Murray Pimm and son Kairon, of Napier. The younger Pimm ran the last 5km with Vesty.
Yesterday, the father of four simply put his feet up, slurped up partner Jessica Harris' pancakes smothered in syrup and watched Joseph Parker take on Anthony Joshua with a couple of mates.
Professional British triathlete Alison Wilson, based in Tauranga, impressed the former cycling professional in finishing about 50 minutes behind him in second place.