Race Report - Sam Betten Wins IRONMAN 70.3 Xiamen

  • Sunday, 12 November 2017
  • By Sam Betten
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One thing that has been a point of frustration over the last few years is that I had not managed to get myself onto the top step of an IRONMAN 70.3 podium. I have had a fair few 2nd and 3rd podium performances at IRONMAN 70.3 events including my 3rd place at the recent IRONMAN 70.3 Sunshine Coast just a few months ago. I knew going into IRONMAN 70.3 Xiamen that this presented itself as a significant opportunity to go for the result that I have been dreaming of

IRONMAN 70.3 Xiamen is the largest IRONMAN event in China, now the home of IRONMAN which meant that there was much hype surrounding this major event. The 1.9KM swim started with a beach start. However, there were some severe ocean tides at play that made for a very fast swim of sub 20 minutes. I emerged from the water in 2nd place in a small but select group. The run from the swim to bike was close to 1km long which certainly got the blood flowing in the legs during this more extended transition. Heading out onto the 90km bike course I planned to hit the gas early and try and establish a solo break; the Maserati lead vehicle provided some great motivation to try and chase.

Unfortunately despite my efforts I couldn’t maintain a solo gap and a small but select group of three including USA’s Justin Metzler and Jonathan Shearon took up the pace setting. At around 50KM, German Johannes Moldan came past our group and despite trying my hardest, I was not able to maintain his speed. Our group of 3 exited transition, down 4 minutes on the German who had extended his lead during the final 40KMs of the bike leg.

At around 5km into the run it was down to Metzler and myself still chasing down the lead, and at just over the halfway mark of the 21.1km run, we ran past Moldan to take up the battle for the lead. We continued to run together until the final 200 meters where I started my sprint to crack Metzler and cross the line for my first IRONMAN 70.3 win. It was a truly incredible feeling with lots of emotions flowing while running down the finish and thank you to my amazing sponsors, coach, partner, family and friends for your belief and support.  

Top 10 Tips For The First Time Triathlete

  • Friday, 27 October 2017
  • By Sam Betten
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1 - Ease into your triathlon training & racing

This sounds basic however like any other endurance-based sport it is better to start off short and establish a base of training first and foremost. The Ironman is the ultimate distance in the sport of triathlon however it is not the smartest move to pick this for your first race. By starting off slowly you will also limit the risk of injuries. 

2 – Keep your triathlon gear basic

People often think that they need to take out a second mortgage to pay for all the fancy gear they see others using. If you are starting out then all you really need are a few basic items such as goggles, swim suit, bike, helmet and run shoes. Once you have done a few races then you can start looking at upgrading to a better bike or invest in that new triathlon race suit. 

3 – Join a training group 

Training as part of a group is not just great fun but it will also allow you to ask the coach and/or other training members questions that you may have.

4 – Pick a local race

Local events mean less travel and less worry. There are always some great triathlon events in your local area, which are usually less expensive to enter than the large more prominent events. A local sprint triathlon race is a great way to try out triathlon for the first time and also race your friends. 

5 – Practice your transition skills before race day

Transition time is counted towards to your overall race time and this is the place where many first timers give away seconds they don’t need to. Practice setting up your bike, helmet and run shoes at home in a ‘mock’ transition zone and go through the process of the swim to bike and bike to run transition. This will give you confidence in your transition process come race day. 

6 – Don’t be afraid to ask for advice

The triathlon community is one of the most giving and positive sporting communities there is. Everyone was once a first timer and so don’t be afraid to ask questions about things you aren’t sure about. 

7 – Fuel your body with the right energy 

Eating right and staying hydrated are two of the biggest influencing factors in performance. When you start training more your energy expenditure will increase and so you need to fuel yourself accordingly. Make sure you keep yourself well fueled with lots of unprocessed foods as well hydrated with lots of water.

8 – Take the rest when you need it 

A smart athlete is a successful athlete so if you start to feel overly fatigued then it might be time to take a few days off training. It is very normal to feel tired from your training however if you find that you are loosing your appetite and feeling fatigued and tired several days in a row then your body might be telling you that it needs a break. 

9 - Work on your weakness

The great thing about triathlon is that is it is essentially 3 sports in one. For most people they always have 1 or 2 disciplines that they are weaker in. This means that your weaker discipline can give you your biggest margin of improvement. 

10 – Have fun

Triathlon is a very positive sport perfect for the whole family. Enjoy the road of improvement and try to involve your family in your training and racing to share your experiences. 

Sarah Crowley - Race Report Kona 2017

  • Wednesday, 25 October 2017
  • By Sarah Crowley
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We have been working on my swim extremely hard this year, and at Kona, I had a fantastic swim that set up my day. I had one of the best performances I have ever had ending up third set of feet in the front pack. This allowed me to make some early choices in the race that I would not usually have the privilege of making. However, it is a very big race to be ending up in a new position that I am not accustomed to I felt a little out of my comfort zone (albeit in a great spot)!

The bike was quite steady leaving town with Daniela Ryf and Annabel Luxford. Lucy Charles was 4m up the road. I was extremely conservative on the bike aiming to take full advantage of my run. At about the 70km mark I was knocked off the bike by a crosswind. It sounds dramatic, but I had slowed for an aid station and was drinking with only one hand on the bars when a wind gust hit me knocked me straight off my bike. Thanks to Annabel for calling out for me to get up because it snapped me out of my confusion quite quickly. This had a significant impact on the rest of my race. Firstly, I had to spend a match catching back up to my original position, but secondly, I was left with the aftermath of cuts and scratches and a shot of adrenaline.

I think I also overcompensated with eating my nutrition and with 20km to go I had run out of solid foods in my front food storage and was left almost feeling a little hungry (not optimal). I took a gel from my back pocket at an aid station and was not concentrating for a split second and Dani had taken the opportunity to do another surge. She just unleashed.

I got off the bike in fourth overall. Lucy and Dani were 4m ahead, and my body was feeling average. I took an extra minute or so in transition because of the injuries and then headed out onto the run quite gingerly. This was when my battle with Heather Jackson began. After jamming in some nutrition (a banana and a gel) within the first two kilometres, I started to feel better. I ran conservatively with Heather in my sights until the long moderate slope before the Energy Lab. This was when I clawed heather back. We ran shoulder to shoulder through the Energy Lab. When we exited the Energy Lab, I felt good enough to put a solid last 40m effort in to get home. Approaching the finish, I knew that Heather was not far behind so I pushed hard through to the finish.

It was such a thrilling result not possible without the support of my family, coach, supporters and sponsors. The best thing is that immediately after the race I knew I could do better and am excited about the next opportunity.

Korupt Vision - Sarah Crowley at Kona 2017  

Paul Trotter - So Why Do Brisbane to Gold Coast on a Brompton

So why do Brisbane to Gold Coast on a Brompton?

I am not sure, but I use mine almost every day as a commuter craft and don't have another suitable bike. I had also designed some bike jerseys with Scody Australia, and I was keen to get them seen along with my magpie proof helmet. Maybe I just like the attention because, in combination, it was an unusual setup but still well short of the efforts of the two guys on unicycles!

On the Saturday before the event, the rain was coming down, and conditions looked grim for race day. I put out all my kit the night before including two bananas, four muesli bars, two water bottles, dry change of clothes, towelette, raincoat and spare tube. I was ready for anything but vowed I would stay in bed if the course were covered in yellow and green on the BOM radar.

I awoke at 1:30 am having experienced a realistic nightmare. I dreamt my alarm did not go off and I awoke at 6 am missing the race!!!!

Thankfully I did arise at 4:30 am as planned and I went through my regular morning routine, and I was ready for action.

My mate Cookie drove me in with his wife Amanda looking good in his magpie jersey! We were dropped off at Roma Street Station and made our way over the Kurilpa bridge and down to the marshalling area adjacent the ABC studios.

I have never been before, but I suspect numbers were well down on previous years. We had time for a team photo with our fellow magpie mates before joining the cue and heading into the busway tunnel.

My legs felt fresh, and I kept up with Cookie (on a real bike) all the way up the 80-metre ascent to Mt Gravatt. I passed two guys on unicycles and mucked around with my raincoat as we got hit by some heavy showers.

I finally dispensed with the raincoat idea to rely on my new Scody jersey, and the rain just got heavier and heavier. Near Springwood in an unusually heavy burst the cold water made it down to puddle in the padding in my cycling nicks and puddles were forming in my shoes! However, we were still doing fine!

James from my office (I had persuaded him to come along) then also joined Cookie and I so we could all suffer together in the deluge.

Later we flew down a hill near Loganholme to a roundabout full of water at the bottom. I squeezed the brakes hard....NOTHING and ploughed through the water at some sub 60km /hr but amazingly kept on track.

Would the 40km / hr rest area ever appear? We headed through some lovely green farm country near the Albert River, and I felt I was a world away from the city with full dams, grassy paddocks and happy ducks.

Just as we arrived a stop No. 1, the heavens opened again in time to enjoy a muesli bar and the best banana I have ever eaten in my life all in the heavy rain. We did not hang around long, and we were on our way again, and before long we reached the 50km halfway mark and a large hill that just kept on giving.

This was the point I lost my colleagues, and I was left to fend for myself. Some cyclists elected to walk the top of this hill, but I was having none of that, pushing my Brommie hard!

The course moved out into the canefields and some lovely flat country, and as I went every few kilometres there would be a man in a truck serving a broken bike or someone struggling with a new tube in the rain! There were also exhausted couples sitting on the side of the road and two distinguished gentlemen wrapped in foil standing and staring out into space.

At the 60km mark, Strava tells me I hit 'The Wall' with my average speed of just under 20km/hr dropping down to 15km /hr with more hills and then that diabolical headwind after we crossed the Coomera River.

Its a fascinating ride passing through some places you never knew existed with some delightful country scenes and industrial sites and some major boating operations.

After the Coomera River, we headed into the most dangerous part of the ride on a dual carriageway with lots of roundabouts and 'nuts' in big utes keen to cut you off as you exit the intersections. The bridges were also very narrow so for an exhausted cyclist it was critical to keep a straight line to avoid being collected by passing traffic.

The route eventually finds you near the Broadwater with excellent exposure to that gusty South Easterly breeze that almost knocked you off your bike.

With three kilometres to go my knees finally said they had had enough so the wind was an unwelcome guest and it was a relief but confusing when we reached the finish line. In my delirium at the end, I had strayed into the park and entered the finish from the wrong side. Nothing was going to stop me finishing so I doubled back and came back through the finish line to complete the course.

Strava says it all with a race time of 5:41mins being one of the slowest with an average speed of 17.4km / hr but all on little wheels. Maybe next year I should race a 'real' bike and see if the time improves?

Congratulations to Bicycle Queensland and all the volunteers, marshals, police and photographers for putting up such an event in what were challenging conditions.  


Paul Trotter and his Brompton