Patience may well be a virtue for many but for Brendon Vesty impatience is becoming the ideal catalyst to propel him to triathlon success in a brisk time.
Vesty claimed silver in the 45-49 age-group category during the Santa Rosa Ironman in California, United States, on May 12 to book his flight tickets to the Kona Ironman Championship on October 13 this year.
"I've had two years in triathlons now and one year of probably serious training, so to get to the Tour de France of triathlons has happened pretty fast but that's kind of me because I'm impatient," he said with a laugh.
The 45-year-old former professional cyclist from Hastings (9h 44m 20s) finished behind Declan Doyle, of Ireland, who won in 9h 29m 40sec. Roman Prochazka, of Czech Republic, was third in 9:47.46.
The day before the event, Vesty had the symptoms of influenza but "just had to suck it up" to accomplish his mission.
"The swim was a little bit hard because of breathing, because my nose was a little blocked," said the co-director of Stortford Auto Sales in Hastings after coming out of Sonoma Lake in what was supposed to be a 3.8km race but was more like a 4km one on a 29C day.
Some athletes felt the lake was a little choppy but Vesty had encountered more testing times in Napier and Lake Taupo last year.
He clocked 1h 11m, which was slower than he had envisaged but he had done his homework on the ensuing steep 1km boat-ramp climb that had enabled him to shave off 2m 30s against the leaders.
He finished 280th overall after the swim but his mettle with the pedals saw him claw his way back to third overall after the 180km ride and first in his age group with a time of 4h 36m.
"I averaged like 42km/h in the first 60km so it was a lot faster than I had expected," he said, putting it down to his training and "fast roads".
While he had dropped to 39km/h when the wind picked up after he had come around the hills, he didn't fret after picking up a yellow card (one minute time penalty) for hugging too far left on the bumpy roads.
"I was passing a lot of people so I had to move over to pass them legally so I had to wait for a minute but it wasn't too bad because it [time penalty] wasn't going to hurt too much," he said, after having to dismount to fix his chain as well.
He embarked on the 42.2km marathon run with a 3h 30m goal but at the 13km mark his calf muscles started crying for mercy.
"It was so bad that I thought I'd have to pull out. I ended up stopping, stretching and walking a little bit," he said, drawing on his mental fortitude to keep a focus on the bigger picture.
It worked. He had started 18 minutes in front of the second-placed Doyle, who caught up with him around the 30km mark in the three-lap race.
An American mate had given him a split time to factor in so Vesty was quietly confident he wasn't going to lose that buffer, finishing second in his age group but 35th overall.
"Had I stuck to my initial plan of 3:30 I would have won the event but I still managed to get a trip to Hawaii."
Not wanting to leave things to chances, Vesty had gunned for a top-two finish but, as it turned out, the organisers gave the top four place-getters in his age group a trip to Kona because of the size of their field of about 350.
Former-Kiwi pro rider Glen Mitchell, living in Santa Rosa, had helped him as well.
Vesty will now forgo the standard and sprint distances for a Gold Coast event in September, which he qualified for after winning the inaugural Kiwiman Xtreme Triathlon in New Plymouth late in March.
The world championship 70.3 in South Africa in September also is out, which he made the cut for after winning the Kinloch Triathlon-NZ National Sprint Championship crown for the age category in Taupo in February.
"The travel is too much to risk for fatigue and sickness for Hawaii and it's easier on the family to cut back to half Ironmans," he said.
However, he will instead compete at the Ironman 70.3 Bintan, Indonesia, on August 19.
"It's a half Ironman event and it's hot and humid like Kona so, for me, it'll be a good indication of how my body will handle the heat."
Vesty intends to remotely consult coach Jina Crawford, of Invercargill, who has competed in 37 long-distance races and is a former professional.
"I've got the bike ride sorted but putting it together is a different kettle of fish."
He will be in Hawaii three days before the Ironman but has already booked accommodation about 50km away from the venue to avoid all the hype and the cost.
"The family's going too and then we'll try to have a little vacation in America or something like that, if we can."
Vesty is hoping to raise funds, including applying for sports grants and through a quiz night.