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. 

Tim Berkel Talks Aero

Stay Cool and Staying Aero
I have previously talked about “the importance of aero” and the things I try and do to ensure I have the edge over my opponents. As I mentioned, being aerodynamically optimal needs to take into consideration your position and equipment, but also factors like comfort and hydration. Another one of these factors for racing is thermoregulation, something which was vitally important in my recent trip to Ironman Melbourne.
Anyone that was at Ironman Melbourne can attest to the extremes in temperatures seen throughout the day. It was single digits when we started in Frankston, and low 30’s (approx 90f) when I crossed the finish line. It was ridiculously hot at some stages. One of the great things about my Scody Optimise AIR tri suit is that as much as it is aero, it is probably the most cooling suit I have ever worn. The sleeves provide added sun protection, and the fabric retains a very small amount of moisture to help cool me down. With this in mind, I do have some tips for everyone racing in the heat, ensuring you stay cool whilst in no way compromising your speed and performance.
1. Trick your mind. Much of our perception of the heat is a central nervous system response, proactively protecting the body. We can actually deal with a lot more fluctuations in heat than you would realise, we just have to trick the mind. A couple of ways I did this at Ironman Melbourne was wearing my Oakleys to create a sense of shade, and putting ice in sensitive areas such as hands, tops of my head, and well, ahh, the genitals.
2. It’s not about flappy clothes. It’s a little bit of a myth that flappy or baggy clothes are cooler in hot weather. All they will do is slow you down as they are extremely susceptible to drag. What you need is ventilation in key areas that will take on as much wind flow as possible, whilst offering no aerodynamic disadvantage. On my tri suit I have a fabric known as Dynamic Mesh through the side panels, and a front zip that when down give me complete cooling on the run.
3. Thin is good. I have been fortunate to learn quite a lot from the guys from SCODY. One of these is the importance they place on thin fabric. Basically, the thinner the fabric, the less restriction to heat transfer. If you feel clammy and restricted across the chest in your current suit, it probably uses fabrics that are too thick for your needs.

Staying down, all the time
Keeping on the aerodynamics theme, it’s important to touch on the need to be able to prepare the body to get in these contorted positions, and stay there. It’s a huge ask on the body and definitely doesn’t come naturally. There is no point wearing the best tri suit Scody has, and having to come out of my “optimal” position all the time because my back cannot handle it. Apart from practising holding this position in training, during the countless long rides and interval sets Gilsey gets me to do, I also spend a lot of time in the gym strengthening and stabilising. Look, you may already be doing this, and if you do then awesome. If you don’t, have a look at the exercises that I do as they will probably help you stay as aero as possible in your next race.
1. Bridge
What it works: Transverse abdominus (TA), Lower Back, Shoulders
Why it works: Helps with maintaining position during long rides and time trials.
How to do it: Come up onto your toes and forearms, keeping back flat.
Side Bridges
What it works: Transverse abdominus and obliques
Why it works: Improves pelvic stability, reducing lazy hips when fatigued
How to do it: On your side. Raise your bottom off the floor, keeping your side straight.
What it works: Transverse abdomius, Rectus Abdominus, Hip flexors
Why it works: Improves pedal efficiency with activation of core muscles during hip flexion and extension.
How to do it: On back. Touch elbow to opposite knee, the alternate, fast.
Ground Climbing
What it works: Transverse abdomnus, rectus abdominus, hip flexors
Why it works: Like the bicycle, only this time more dynamic!
How to do it: On all fours, alternate one leg forward, one leg back. Fast!
Thoracic Extensions
What it works: Thoracic spine and erector spinae
Why it works: Prevents stiffness caused by prolonged positioning, reducing reliance on hips
How to do it: On your back with a tightly rolled towel between shoulder blades and waist.

Now that you are ready to be more aero, I have a great offer for you. For a limited time, my great friends at Scody have provided me a discount that I can share with you. All you need to do is use TIM2015 on the checkout for a 10% discount on any made to order kits. Of course you should be buying mine, right? See it here

Your questions answered: Sleeved Aero Triathlon Suits - The way of the future for Long Course Triathletes

Aero triathlon sleeved race suits are become more and more popular at every race with athletes trying to gain that extra ‘aero’ advantage. It seems that these sleeved race suits have taken over the long distance triathlon community with more professional athletes choosing to wear these aero suits over the more traditional tri suit/tri top & pants option. After over 12 months of research and development including wind tunnel testing Scody launched the all-new Scody JP AIR Optimise sleeved race suit. 

The Optimise A.I.R. Tri Suit has been developed with the aspiration of becoming the world’s fastest non-drafting triathlon suit. Standing for “Aerodynamics through Innovation and Research”, the Optimise A.I.R. Tri Suit will create a significant advantage for triathletes in some of the world’s toughest races, such as Ironman Melbourne, Ironman Port Macquarie and Ironman Cairns.

Developed by the Scody Research and Design Team, the Optimise A.I.R. Tri Suit has a zoned fabric construction to achieve the greatest reduction in drag in specific regions of the body. The dimpled fabric ‘Matrix’ has been used in regions of high wind velocity such as the shoulders and upper arms, whilst ‘X-Opaque’ has been used in those with less wind exposure, such as the torso, to achieve the highest moisture management and breathability. The A.I.R. Tri Suit also features a triathlon specific Italian-made perforated chamois for optimal comfort, Air Flex side panels for even more breathability, and two rear pockets for nutrition storage.

Your Questions Answered:

Many people have asked us questions relating to this relatively new piece of triathlon apparel and so we have tried to answer the most common questions below. If you have any more questions please let us know via facebook or twitter! 

How much faster will the Scody JP AIR Optimise Sleeved Tri Suit make me?

Scody has invested significantly into wind tunnel research and analysis. From the data that was collected it was proven that the Scody JP AIR Optimise suit gave athletes a 6 watt saving at 30mph over a traditional 2 piece tri suit. 

What this means is that over the course of the 90km cycle leg in a half iron distance triathlon athletes can expect to save around 4 minutes and 30 seconds if they are riding a 2hr30min bike split averaging 230 watts. As you can see from this data this is a massive time saving! 

Can you wear a sleeved race suit during the swim leg? 

For most races yes, however for many WTC Ironman & Ironman 70.3 races when it is a non-wetsuit swim you are required to have uncovered shoulders. For many athletes this means rolling down the Scody AIR race suit and wearing it under their swim skin. Once exiting the water the Scody AIR suit is then able to be pulled up and worn for the bike and run. If the swim leg is a wetsuit legal swim then most athletes have just worn the Scody AIR suit as per normal and then just removed their wetsuit in T1. The sleeves have a good amount of stretch to them and so any arm movement restriction is not usually an issue when it comes to swimming in a Scody JP AIR Optmisie sleeved tri suit. 

Does the extra material covering my back and shoulders make me hotter? 

The opposite in fact! Due to the high level of sun protection the suit provides, athletes are essentially more shielded from the suns rays. Many of the athletes who have worn the Scody JP AIR Optimise suit also report feeling cooler due to the evaporative cooling effect with the sleeves. What this means is that because the suit holds a small amount of moisture, during the bike and run if you are sweeting or pouring water onto the suit then the evaporation of this moisture helps to reduce your body temperature. The suit also boasts amazing sun protection which is great news for those racing in hot conditions. 

Can I order a custom 1 off Scody AIR trisuit? 

YES! At Scody we have no minimum order amount and have had many athletes design their very own, custom 1 of a kind Scody AIR Optimise Sleeved Tri Suit! 

Sam Betten - 2nd Hamilton Island Triathlon

  • Thursday, 20 November 2014
  • By Sam Betten
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Hamilton Island is a race that I have been meaning to do for a number of years now. The amazing location was something that really drew me to this event and this year I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to end my 2014 race season with this stunning race destination. Hamilton Island is a short flight from where I live in Brisbane and so I choose to fly in on Friday, the day before race day. First and foremost I must give a big thank you to Stephen Jackson and the entire race organisation as well as my amazing home stay family for hosting me over the race weekend.

Race Day: After a good nights sleep I woke up on race morning to an amazing view from my bedroom over the water where I would be swimming in a few hours time. Being that this would be my 3rd race in 3 weeks I was unsure on how my body would respond to the intensity of a hilly and hot sprint triathlon. I started towards the right side of the beach at the swim start and had a great run into the water. I even had the chance to spot a nice big stingray on the ocean floor less than a meter below me within the first 50 meters of the swim.

The first few hundred meters of the swim usually gives me a good indication of how I am feeling and I was somewhat surprised to be feeling as good as I did and leading 2 time Australian Olympic triathlete Courtney Atkinson. I continued to push the pace in the swim, feeling good and keen to capitalize on this. I emerged from the water with Courtney right on my heals and made a quick dash up the beach and into transition where I swapped goggles and my HUUB swim skin for my Specialized S-Works Shiv and Evade helmet. I hit the bike leg with Courtney and over the next 20kms we extended our leg over the rest of the field. The Hamilton Island Triathlon is quite unique in the fact that the bike course in held over 3 laps along the airport runway. I must say that I did enjoy pushing the pace along this section of the course and rode extra hard to keep the speed high. The rest of the ride course is very hilly and technical which makes for a very interesting bike course. Coming into transition for the second time I made sure to push the pace and emerge onto the run course in first making Courtney chase. This was short lived and Courtney pushed the pace in the first kilometer over the hills out towards the flatter middle section of the course.

I pushed myself to keep up with his pace however just couldn’t keep up and dropped off after the first kilometer and a half. I continued to push to limit the gap however hit the wall on the final uphill section of the run course and lost some decent time. The final beach run to the finish was pretty special, as I don’t know many races which finish on the beach. I was pretty happy to finish second to Courtney as he really is a world class athlete and I was proud of myself of pushing hard and giving the race a real crack. Another bonus for my riding efforts was that I also picked up the prize for the fastest ride time for the airport runway section of the course.

Sam Betten Takes 6th at Challenge Forster

  • Thursday, 20 November 2014
  • By Sam Betten
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After finishing 7th at Noosa Tri over the very fast Olympic distance course just one week earlier I was feeling very good about my chances of a podium performance at Challenge Forster. I had raced hard at Noosa and I had the feeling in the week of the race that I had a good shot at the win but unfortunately this ‘feeling’ didn’t end up translating over to my race day performance. Ultimately I did what I could on race day and 6th was all that I had. No excuses needed.

Race Day: I was very relaxed for what was my last half iron distance race of the year. I know that when I am relaxed it usually means that I am ready to race hard and am confident in my ability to perform well. 

The swim was two laps over a rectangular course and I had a great start and clear water. Not surprisingly super fish Clayton Fettell hit the lead early leaving myself and Sam Appelton to lead the front pack. Going onto the second lap of the swim I kept the pace up and moved in front of Sam keen not to let Clayton put too much time into me. I hit dry land in second place not too far off Clayton and with a small group in tow behind me. Running into T1 I unfortunately struggled to get my wetsuit off and this extra time moved me from the front of the lead group out of the water to being the last of this group out of transition. 

I chased hard early on during the ride however just couldn’t catch the trio of Clayton Fettell, Sam Appelton and Casey Munro up front. This was a pretty decisive move and I was angry with myself for not being in this group. I am in the front group 99% of the time on the bike so this was unknown ground. I kept trying to reel in the group up front with next to no luck. I had one athlete with me during the next 50km’s and we exchanged a few turns trying to limit the time lost. After the first 50km lap we were joined by a few other athletes which meant that heading into T2 I was in the second group of 3 athletes.

I hit the run and pretty early on felt terrible and unable to find any kind of running speed. Over the first 7km’s I tried hard to keep focused and by lap two of the run started to come good again. I found myself catching athletes who had passed me during my bad patch at the start of the run which keep me motivated to run hard. In the last kilometer I ran past Sam Appelton to run into 6th place.

In a nut shell I swam great, had a shocker T1, rode very average and had a very up and down run. It’s races like these where you really find out what long distance racing is all about… just sticking at it and giving what you’ve got. I had a shocker of a day but still managed to hang tough and find something in me to give what I had and finish in a respectable 6th. At the start of the run I thought that I would be lucky to finish let alone finish in the top 10.

It’s been a long season and I am looking forward to heading up to Hamilton Island this weekend for one final sprint distance race before having a few weeks break from training and racing.

Thanks to Elite Energy/Challenge for a great event in Forster and as always to all of my amazing sponsors and supporters.

Sam Betten on his 7th place at the Noosa Triathlon

  • Tuesday, 4 November 2014
  • By Sam Betten
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I have raced at Noosa since I was 15 years old and since then (I am 26 now) I have experienced some massive highs and huge lows. This year I am happy to say was a positive experience with a 7th place finish. Because I am now targeting long course racing I knew that Noosa would be a tough ask. Competing over the shorter Olympic distance against Commonwealth Games and Olympic Games, short course specialists was sure test my leg speed. 

Race Day: 

Admittedly I put no major pressure on myself for the race and just wanted to race smart and have fun. My plan was to use this as a solid ‘speed’ hit out before the following weekend where I will be racing Challenge Forster (half iron distance) which is one of my major goals for this season. 

I started next to the 2013 champion Aaron Royal in the swim and planned to use his swimming speed to carry me to the front of the swim pack, which worked perfectly. The start was very fast and I was happy just to stay up in the front swim pack and conserve some energy. On swim out to the turnaround the pace was on and I had to push hard to hold my position in the front swim pack. During the last 600 meters or so the pace seemed to slow up quite a lot and then quicken again during the final turn before the swim exit. 

Image: Lucas Wroe 

Image: Lucas Wroe 

I emerged right up with the front pack and quickly went about pulling down my HUUB swim skin and then pulling up my Scody A.I.R Tri suit on the long run to transition. I knew from previous years that the pace would be on right from the start of the bike leg and so I made the decision to leave my HUUB swim skin pulled down to my waist and save some precious seconds in transition in order to ensure I made the front ride pack. This proved to be a smart decision as I was the last athlete in the group of 8 to establish myself in the lead group. I sat tucked away in the front pack for the majority of the cycle leg, noticing that a few athletes dropped off the pack unable to keep pace. Just before the turn around Casey Munro managed to attack the group and put some time into the pack, which was no surprise as he is a very strong cyclist. However I was pretty content to just sit back and save my energy for the run leg. 

Image: Lucas Wroe 

Heading into transition after the bike leg I quickly took off my HUUB swim skin and slipped into my Saucony race flats. I was positioned just off the back of the rest of the athletes who I had come in with due to having to spend some extra time taking off my swim skin. I knew that I wouldn’t have the run speed of the short course specialists and so I settled into my own rhythm trying to maintain my position in 9th. On the way out to the turnaround I was passed by a few other athletes and rounded the 5km turn around point in 12th position. On the final run home I battled with myself to keep pushing as hard as I could and with just 1km left to run surged with everything I had left, passing some of the athletes who had passed me minutes earlier. I moved from 12th to 8th with less than 500 meters left to run and then surged again just 100meters from the line to catch another athlete and crossed the line in 7th. 

Image: Lucas Wroe 

To run from 12th to 7th in the last kilometer of the race was brutally tough and I crossed the line totally spent. Being totally honest I get a lot of satisfaction with races like these where I can find that extra something to push myself beyond what I think I am capable of and finish strong. This result gives me a lot of confidence going into Challenge Forster this weekend and I know that I am ready to race hard and fast. 

Image: Lucas Wroe 

How Triathletes Can Beat Pre-Race Anxiety

  • Friday, 24 October 2014
  • By Sam Betten
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Race day, even for a seasoned triathlete can be a very daunting affair. I have even seen an athlete pull out of a race minutes before their wave start because of their pre-race anxiety. 

However, all of this anxiety can be managed to ensure that your race day experience is a positive one. It is very natural to be a little nervous before racing however the key is to ensure that these nerves don’t affect your ability to perform. I believe that it is important to acknowledge your race day anxiety weeks or even months before race day if possible. For most people it is simply a matter of getting your triathlon race day ‘fears’ written down on paper and then working out a strategy to combat these. 

Common fears that lead to anxiety are as follows: 

- Swallowing water during the swim leg

- Being pulled underwater during the race

- Rough ocean waves 

- You will not be able to make the full race distance 

- I don’t want to disappoint my partner/coach/training partners 

- I have never done this race/distance etc 

- A preconceived notion of your performance expectation  

By writing down all of your ‘fears’ you will be able to make a plan to give you more confidence and lessen any race day anxiety. Once you have identified these fears of yours you can then practice strategies to overcome them. Things such as a race simulation swim session where you and your training group do a 50-meter ‘race start’ all together can really help to make you more confident about triathlon race starts. Training in the ocean can also reduce any surf swimming fears you might have. 

As aforementioned come race day it is very natural to be nervous. A few ‘Pro’ tips of the trade that can help you to stay calm and lessen anxiety are listed below. 

1- Keep Busy

By keeping busy on race morning you will reduce the chance of your mind having the time to worry and stress. Arriving at your race around 1 hour before means that you will have just enough time to register, rack your bike and set up transition, go to the bathroom, do a short warm up and then head to your race start. If you get to a race too early then you will find that you will be waiting around for a long time doing nothing, which is the time when you start to think about what is coming up. THIS is when most people unknowingly start to let anxiety build up. 

2- Be prepared 

By preparing your race gear the day before your event you will be less nervous about potentially forgetting any piece of race equipment. They say failure to prepare is preparing to fail so make sure that you are all set with everything you need for race day. 

3- Everyone else is just as nervous 

Remember, it is not just you who is nervous out there! Pretty much every other athlete racing is just as nervous as you are so keep this in mind when you are toeing that starting line. 

4- Have a plan

Having a pre set race plan is a great idea if you suffer from triathlon race anxiety. List your goals for the event as well as a step-by-step plan of how you want to attack each section of the race. i.e Start the swim strong and settle into my rhythm. Breath every second stoke and look up every 8th stroke to make sure that I am still on course. 

Everyone get nervous before racing however being able to manage these fears/nerves is the key to reducing pre race anxiety. 

Good luck at your next race from all the team at Scody

Sam Betten - 2nd Moreton Bay Olympic Distance Triathlon

  • Thursday, 16 October 2014
  • By Sam Betten
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This race was a late addition to my 2014 race plans however the opportunity to race a fast Olympic distance triathlon which is just a 30min drive away from where I live was just too good of an opportunity to pass up.

The 6:30am start meant a very early morning and after a quick double Bare Coffee espresso and my banana and toast pre race meal I felt like I was in decent enough shape to have a real crack at this race. The goal was to get the win and use this race as my final hit out before Noosa 5150 Triathlon in a few weeks time.

I started the swim quite fast and soon established a good gap over the rest of the field. My HUUB wetsuit was great at doing what it does best…. swimming fast! Towards the end of the swim I felt a touch to my right hand, which of course was from a jellyfish (a common occurrence at this event). A few minutes later it was my left hand and then just a few strokes later I copped one to the face. If you have even been stung by one of these creatures before, you know the pain that these sea devils can inflict. I spent the rest of the swim trying to keep my head above the water to reduce the odds of another jellyfish to the face. I was very pleased to hit dry land even with a painfully red face from the sting.

I tried to forget about the terror of the swim and hit the bike with a small lead on the chase pack. The ride was 4 by 10km loops, which meant I could get a time check on my lead after each 5kms.

Despite riding quite hard, young gun cyclist Ben Cook caught me with just 5km’s left to ride and I let him hit the lead and tried to get my legs as ready as I could for the final 10km run. Kye Wylde who had been sitting off Ben during his chasing efforts put in a late surge and hit transition in first with Ben and myself right on his heels. 

Going onto the run Ben put a small gap into me that I tried desperately to shut down. Unfortunately for me my run legs weren’t up to the task and I found myself loosing a few seconds to Ben over each of the 2 by 5km run loops. I crossed the line in a comfortable second overall happy enough with my race effort.

This race was (hopefully) the perfect hit out before Noosa Triathlon in a few weeks time. After looking at my ride power numbers I know that I am pretty much right on the money at this stage of the season.

I can’t finish this race recap without saying a special thanks to everyone who cheered me on while I was racing. It was a very humbling experience and it really does make a huge difference to me when I am racing. 

Dan Wilson claims 2nd at Ironman 70.3 Sunshine Coast

  • Thursday, 2 October 2014
  • By Daniel Wilson
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The Wilson of 3 months ago was undoubtably an optimist. He never doubted the logic of racing a World Series race in Stockholm, jumping on the plane with scarcely enough time to wash the remnants of powerade off his chin, and traveling to Canada to race in the World Championships Grand Final. Additionally, the Wilson of 3 months ago thought nothing of then traveling another 30 hrs back to Brisbane, and try to a) get over jet lag, b) learn to ride a time trial bike, c) find a time trial bike with which to learn how to ride, and, d) figure out how to race his first 70.3 race as a professional.

The current-day Wilson is slightly more pessimistic, and is now somewhat wishing he could go back in time and have some stern words with the Wilson of 3 months ago, who decided to enter the Sunshine Coast 70.3, and explain to him the detrimental effects of traveling, racing, and jet lag. Never-the-less, I’m committed now, and with 3 days to go, actually quite excited about the prospect of trying something a little different after a long season of ITU racing.

My day starts with an easy jog before breakfast, trying with increasing desperation to loosen up my muscles a little, which have been an absolute abomination from the traveling and racing of the last 3 weeks. After that, I have my customary breakfast of fruit and yogurt while staring at my bag, convinced that I’ve neglected to pack something of vital importance. Preparations for ITU races are relatively autonomous these days, but this 70.3 business is a different kettle of fish. I’ve got a boatload of extra nutrition, an aerodynamic helmet I’ve never worn before, and I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that wearing socks is the go among the 70.3 cognoscenti, although I’m not entirely sure. I make a mental note of trying to surreptitiously ask someone before the race, without appearing stupid. Above all, I don’t want to look stupid this weekend...

I pack up the car, pick up Tash from uni, and we drive up to Mooloolaba just in time for the press conference, where I see some old sparring partners in Brad Kahlefeldt and Clayton Fettell. I haven’t seen the fellas in quite a while, but within 5 mins Fettell has brutally appraised my wardrobe and superficially judged the rest of the pro field, so it’s just like old times, and we sit on the couch and continue the banter until it’s time to answer some questions from the media. Taking advantage of the situation, I cunningly pretend to tell a joke, asking if it’s a good idea to wear socks for the event and everyone laughs, whilst I desperately hope that someone takes pity on me. Radka eventually comes to my rescue, and informs me that it’s a good idea, but with the jovial nature of the room, I’m still not quite sure. Looks like I’ll have to do some more undercover research...


I enjoy a bit of a sleep in on Saturday morning, but still employ the services of a single origin espresso to expedite my awakening process, as I wonder down to lend a hand at the Ironkids event at the river. The kids are absolutely tiny, and are cuter than a puppy holding a ballon, so I have a whale of time handing out medals to the finishers. I cast a shrewd eye on the ratio of socks to no-socks being worn, although when one young lad crosses the line wearing sailboarding shoes, I decide that perhaps emulating the equipment choices of 8 year old first-timers might not be the most salubrious of decisions for my race. Never-the-less, I ask my sailboarding friend how his feet feel, and he tells me he is in a lot of pain, which surprises me, more so because of the broad grin on his face rather than my faith in the cushioning properties of his footwear.

Inspired by the youngsters enthusiasm, I head out for a ride myself, and spend half the time tinkering with my still-not-quite-comfortable-position, and the other half practicing taking waterbottles in and out of the waterbottle mounts on the aerobars and behind the seat, which is all new to me. By the end of the ride, I’m super-hydrated and have the bike-position in the right ball park, so I have a idiosyncratic pre-race lunch of an amalgamation of simple carbs, largely involving banana’s, white bread and honey. It’s a meal choice bereft of nutrients, but a good choice for pre-race as a precaution against unwanted gastrointestinal ailments for tomorrow, and strategy I use for my ITU racing as well. After lunch, I stroll down to the beach for a swim, and am pleasantly surprised by my arms, which feel vaguely fresh after spending the last 2 weeks feeling heavier than a Metallica riff. Feeling optimistic, I spend the rest of the afternoon prepping my race gear, and googling ‘70.3’ and ‘socks’, with ambiguous results. I start to ruminate about how sore I could be at this time of the day tomorrow, and raise the possibility with Tash of getting a small bell I can ring to alert her when she can bring morsels of food and drink to my position on the couch. Her reply is surprisingly polite, but get the impression that it is an unlikely eventuality...


When the alarm goes off at 4:15 am, I seriously consider DNS-ing in favour of staying in bed. This is really early! I give myself a stern talking to, and partly because I envisage the future humiliation I would endure when explaining why I didn’t start, I extricate myself from the blankets and nibble on a few energy bars whilst thoughtfully eyeing off the socks sitting on top of my race bag. Still undecided, I saunter down to transition area, banter with Fettell for a while and note that everyone else has laid out socks in their transition area. Deciding that it would be overly paranoid to suggest the entire field was laying out fake socks to send me down the wrong path, I too put out my socks, then complete my warm up.

The start line is definitely a bit less intense than an ITU pontoon, with no helicopters or heart beat music to contend with, yet there’s clearly an abundance of nerves around, and I’m as edgy as a dodecahedron. The gun goes off, and we’re off and swimming. I’m sitting comfortably in third, and not interested in pushing the pace early. It’s a 4 hour race, and unchartered territory for me, and am trying my best to ignore Fettell’s ‘advice’ to race it like an ITU race. As I run up the beach, I come to the startling realisation that in all this constant rumination about whether or not to wear socks, I’ve neglected to consider which transition I’m supposed to put them on! Trying to see what everyone else does leads to me absolutely butchering my transition, first losing a water bottle and then realising I’m not sure if I can clear my rear water bottle when I leap on to my bike. Once I’ve mounted, the rest of the bike goes relatively without incident, the pace is pretty strong, with Fettell, Munro, and Bell putting out enough Watts to power a medium sized village. I come to the realisation that my seat height is a bit higher than ideal, and spend the 90 kms on the front 2cms of my saddle to try to reduce the effective seat height. Finished with 2 wheels for the day, we’re a group of 7 as we hit T2 and rip through transition, Atkinson, I note with interest, doesn’t put on socks...

The pace on the first lap is pretty strong, and it quickly becomes myself, Sticksy and Atkinson at the front of the race. I’m content to bide my time a little longer, still a fraction fearful of a Wilson-shaped explosion littering the course if I go on the charge too soon. Courtney surges up the hills at the end of the first lap, and Sticksy drops off the pace, leaving just the two of us at the front of the race. I decide the time is nigh to see what my legs are made of, and try to inject some pace over the next few kilometres. I’m feeling pretty strong, but Courtney is all over me like a rash, so I slow a little and hand over the pacemaking to him for a while. Or not. He’s not too keen to lead either, and, and doesn’t come round me. After the pace has slowed quite significantly, I’ve had enough of dawdling along, and start to push the pace again until the last turnaround. I’m aware that there’s a bit of a headwind on the way home, which I’m not particularly keen to lead into, and so I slow the pace again, trying to lure Courtney into taking up the pace. Once again he declines, and the pace slows and slows, and we jog along at little over 5 minute pace for quite a while. At this point, we’re both probably stifling a giggle at the ridiculousness of the situation, and even engage in some dialogue articulating this point. It fails to resolve the issue of who’s responsible for setting the pace, and I eventually blink first, reasoning that I don’t flog myself in training everyday to jog come race day. I vary the pace the whole way back, trying to drop a bomb big enough to rid myself of Atkinson, but we’re evenly matched, so with 1km to go, we’re still on top of each other. I keep throwing attacks in, before pulling the trigger with everything I have with around 100m to go, and lead right the way up until the last 30m, where Courtney gets a shoulder in front, winning by a purported 0.1 of a second.

It was an absolute cracker of a race, and although I would have liked to be 2 steps quicker, I had a ball out there, although much to my chagrin, it now means I’ve lost a 70.3 title, as well as two Australian titles to Courtney by a combined total of about a second! Dude’s got a sprint on top of an all-round package, and rightfully claimed a well-deserved win. It was a great weekend out, thanks to the guys for having me up at Mooloolaba for a fantastic event, I’m looking forward to having another go at another 70.3 soon! In the meantime, with all the experience of a single 70.3 under my belt, I’ll be happy to answer any sock-related queries anyone has for their next race...



Sam Betten - 8th ITU Long Distance Triathlon World Championships

  • Thursday, 2 October 2014
  • By Sam Betten
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This race had been on my mind since late last year. I always knew that for 2014 this would be my major race focus and understandably I wanted a good result. I have always performed well in China and actually won my first ever ITU Olympic Distance here many years ago.

Leading into the event I had finished 2nd at Ironman 70.3 Philippines, 1st at another half iron distance triathlon in Samoa (setting a new course record) as well as another win over the sprint distance in Airlie Beach. The form showed it was there and I felt confident going into the race. I knew that the only thing working against me would be the longer distance. Racing for close to five and a half hours especially over a brutally hilly ride course and with a world class field of athletes was always going to be a good challenge however I felt confidant that my training had me well prepared to go the distance.  

Race morning came soon enough and I felt ready to go into battle. The race started from the beach and was held over two by two kilometer loops making up the 4,000 meter swim course. I started well and tried to stay comfortable swimming in around 7th spot. Going onto the second lap a small gap opened up in front of me and I lost touch with the front group. I didn’t panic and stayed comfortable swimming at my own pace just off the back of the group.

I put in some effort on the run from the swim to the bike transition and reduced the gap before eventually catching the lead group at around 10minutes into the bike leg. Soon after a big surge came from two of the French athletes which I was tempted to go with however I choose to hold back with the group and settled into my own tempo. After this another few athletes tried there luck in breaking up the group and also disappeared up the road. Just before the end of lap two of three of the bike leg I made the call to put a small surge in and distance myself from the group. I jumped away with a Russian athlete who stayed with me until about 20 kilometers to go. The bike course was hilly, hot and windy and I honestly just didn’t get comfortable at any point. In hindsight I probably should have made a move earlier on to stay in the hunt for a medal.

I came into transition off the bike in 6th place and hit the run feeling every minute of the race which had so far gone past. The run leg was four by five kilometer loops over some decent hills. On the first lap I struggled to find any kind of speed and honestly felt shocking. During each lap I started to feel better and better and slowly found my running legs. I had Craig Alexander pass me at the half way point of the run who was tearing up the field with a blisteringly fast run leg. I tried to stay with him, which happened for all of ten meters before I felt like my heart was about to explode out of my chest.

Crossing the line in 8th was honestly disappointing. I went into this race with the expectation of being in the hunt for a world championship medal. The race panned out a lot differently to what I was expecting with the bike leg sorting out the medals. I can honestly say that I stuck to my race plan so I can’t be too disappointed with the final result on the day. I learnt a lot about this 4k/120k/20k race distance which no doubt will put me in a lot better position come next years ITU Triathlon Long Distance World Championships if I choose to race this event again.

Sam Betten WINS Samoa Half Iron Distance Triathlon with a new Course Record

  • Thursday, 21 August 2014
  • By Sam Betten
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Samoa Warrior Half Iron Distance Triathlon – 1st (Course Record)

When planning my race calendar at the start of this year I must admit that I had never planned to race this event. A chat another athlete several months ago during my time up in Cairns for Coral Coast 5150 (2nd place) and Ironman 70.3 Cairns (5th place) sparked my interest. 13 days prior to this event I finished 2nd at Ironman 70.3 Philippines in very hot and humid conditions and so I thought that another half iron distance event in the heat and humidity would bode well for my ITU Long Course World Championship preparations.

I had heard what lay in front of me from those who raced the event last year and was looking forward to racing this very challenging course. Tim Berkel and Cam Brown had raced this event last year with Tim suffering 3 flat tires and Cam with 2. After hearing this I made sure that I was very well prepared and chose to ride my Specialized S-Works Shiv with Roval CLX60 wheels front and rear. For racing I almost always use the S-Works Turbo clincher tyres however with rough roads ahead I swapped these for a brand new set of Specialized Roubaix tyres which I hoped would provide just that little extra security of the added puncture protection.

Race Day:

The swim course was held over two by 1km loops on a triangular shaped course. I knew that last year’s winner and course record holder Graham O’Grady would be the man to watch in the swim and sure enough Graham joined me at the front end of the field early on. The water temperature was very warm and so I didn’t swim particularly hard due to the fact that I didn’t want to cook myself too early on in the race. I exited the water right on the feet of Graham and made the call to put on running shoes for the 600 meter run into transition. Over this run I pulled up my Scody A.I.R tri suit which I had tucked into my HUUB swim skin during the swim leg. I have been loving racing in my custom Scody A.I.R sleeved raced suit as I feel like it actually keeps me cooler by keeping the sun off my back, shoulders and arms.

I came into transition in first and hit the bike leg with a small gap over Graham O’Grady and Ollie Whistler. The ride consisted of four by 5km loops in town before heading out onto the very rough roads of Samoa. I felt strong early on during the bike leg and so I pushed the pace and established a small gap within this first 20kms. The rest of the 70kms was out and back over some of the worst roads I have ever ridden. The entire ride was littered with potholes making it very hard to keep a high average speed. I went through the first hour with an average speed of 39.7kph and keep the pace as high as I could. The heat and humidity were now starting to take full effect and I made sure to keep on top of my hydration. I had some good company during the ride in the form of two police motorbikes (one in front and one behind) which came in handy as they helped to flag motorists off the road that I caught which gave me a clear path. The added bonus was that they also helped to stop the many dogs and one large pig from crossing the road in front of me. The last 4kms towards the bike turn around was up a very steep mountain road and with the humid and hot weather it was quite tough and a total sweat fest. I had a chance to recover on the downhill before the final 30kms flat section back into town over the pothole filled roads. I got off the bike with numb hands and sore shoulders due to holding onto my bars so tight during the ride. The entire ride I pushed as hard as I could to build my solo lead and so I finished the bike feeling quite spent. 

At the half way point of the first of four by 5km run loops I had my first chance to see what kind of lead I had on second place. Ollie was looking strong holding onto second place with the gap being around four minutes. The run was scoring hot and reminded me a lot of my race at Ironman 70.3 Philippines just 13 days earlier. I made the most of every aid station grabbing ice and cold sponges to cool my core body temperature down. If I have learnt anything about racing in the heat it is that keeping your core temperature down in extreme heat is by far the most important factor in getting to that finish line.

So in saying this my goal on the run leg was simply to stay as cool as I could and hold onto my lead (two of the pro men were forced out of the race on the run leg due to heat exhaustion). Over the four out and back laps I was able to get a good idea of my time gap to second place and managed to keep this at around four to five minutes for the entire run. I was very happy to hit the finish line and take the title of 2014 Samoa Warrior Half Iron Distance Champion in a new race record time. This course was totally brutal and one of the most honest and hardest courses that I have ever raced on and well and truly worthy of the ‘warrior’ title given to this race.


1. Sam Betten, 4:20:26 (COURSE RECORD)

2. Ollie Whistler, 4:25:48

3.Stephen Farrell, 4:49:11

4. Jared Bowden, 5:24:58

5. Darren Young, 5:33:28

*Photo Credit MeadNortonPhotography *

Melissa Hauschildt WINS Ironman 70.3 Timberman

  • Thursday, 21 August 2014
  • By Melissa Hauschlidt
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1st 4:12:52

Swim 7th 26:41

Bike 1st 2:21:02

Run 1st 1:22:39

I kept up with Amanda Stevens in the water! That was until I started swimming. We started in waist deep water so when the gun went off I took advantage of dolphin diving through the shallow. Right beside me was Amanda already swimming - AS FAST AS ME DIVING! After that, the usual happened - I probably don't need to spell it out AGAIN so in short - pack gets away. Mel gets spat out back. Mel swims solo until first turn buoy where she eventually gets back in contact with a couple of others. From there Linsey Corbin and I swam side by side just in the draft of another athlete the whole way. We both ran out of the water together in 7th & 8th position only 2:30 down on the leader but we sure took our time to have a cuppa in T1. I actually opted for socks again on the bike hence the longer T1 time. By the time I finally left T1 I realised Linsey had taken just as long. That was nice of her to wait around and keep me company while everyone else ran off, I like Linsey.

Soon after we mount, it's straight up hill. A nice long gradual up. I like these kinda hills and immediately got into a good rhythm. I passed a few athletes (men as well) so wasn't sure what position I was now in but I figured Amanda was my target up the front of the race. Such a speedy swimmer I assumed she was in the lead. So I got to work trying to reel her in.

I saw Jared at about the 8k mark on the bike where he yelled out '30 seconds'. Sweet! I thought to myself as I guessed he meant I was only 30 seconds from the lead at this point. I felt good and kept ticking off the k's, but still hadn't seen Amanda yet. Later in the bike, on the way back to T2 I could see 3 athletes in the distance but they all looked like men. But I was convincing myself that one of them HAS TO BE Amanda. But nope, still no Amanda. I'm not making anymore ground on her! Towards the end of the bike leg with 8k to go, Jared was at the same point again and this time it sounded like he yelled out "3mins". What! I'm now loosing time to the lead. And why such a specific time. And far out, how fit is Amanda at the moment...she's getting faster the further we get into this ride. She's smashing it!

As I roll down the final hill and turn into T2 the crowd was amazing. Cheering so loudly. The commentator was all enthusiastic and making it sound like I'd had this amazing bike leg. Meanwhile I'm thinking "how much time has she put into me by now?". I racked my bike, slipped on my shoes and was outa there. I had work to do! As I ran past the crowd and out onto the run course I heard Jared yell from the crowd "three minutes". Omg! Are you serious. That HAS to be wrong, maybe that wasn't Jared yelling. Maybe it was someone that had majorly mis-timed the gap. Either way, I had to get going - Amanda was up ahead and she was on fire.

The crowd continued to cheer loudly as I ran past and the aid station volunteers were amazing. One spectator yelled "you've got this". It's so nice how they have so much confidence in me but I'm bloody THREE minutes down! It wasn't until I was approaching an aid station almost a quarter of the way through the run that I realized something was up. I surged slightly ahead of my lead cyclist and then turned back to have a look at the sign on the front of his bike. 1st PLACE FEMALE it read. I let out a little chuckle at the same time as telling myself I was a bit of a doosey. When I passed Jared not too far into my second of two run laps he said "you've got over 4 1/2 minutes to Linsey. Apparently all along, all the times I was hearing was the lead I had on second place (which changed a bit along he way) not the time I was down on Amanda. Silly me!

My second lap on the run I was still feeling really good but just before 10mile I thought I better suck on a little bit of my gel to keep me feeling good - don't wanna run out of energy and ruin it now. I've never been real good digesting gels on the run (bike - no problems but run... not sure if it's the extra intensity or what!). I ripped off the top and had the smallest amount (maybe not even one fifth). My stomach automatically churned. "I'm ok! Just back off the pace for a second. Ok, I'm good. Back into it". At mile 11 I attempted a bit more but this time it was not good. The porter potty was only 20 meters away, I could see it right there, but could I make it? I  bolted across the road and jumped into the moulded-plastic stink house. I jumped out, still re-adjusting my pants as my lead cyclist and I had a little laugh "sorry about that" I said to him. "We're ok, we've got plenty of time" he reassured me. 

The rest of the run was good! No more toilet stops and I extended my lead to over 7 minutes. Linsey finished 2nd with Valentino Carvello coming in 3rd and Amanda 4th. I let Amanda know after the race that she had managed to push me for most of the race...she just didn't know about it.

A special thank you goes to our wonderful home-stay hosts, Paul and Moira and their 2 dogs, 1 cat, 3 birds, 1 fish and a tortoise. Yep...a tortoise. This was the most well-mannered menagerie we've ever come across. Paul and Moira took us in and helped us sail through the weekend without a hitch. Also, a big congratulations to Paul who raced Timberman 70.3 and managed a massive half hr PR! Impressive. Another half hr next year?

Sam Betten - 2nd Ironman 70.3 Philippines

  • Thursday, 7 August 2014
  • By Sam Betten
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It’s crazy to think that this is just my second year of 70.3 racing since making the switch from ITU/short course racing. In just this short amount of time I have finished 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th & 6th (one of each) at various Ironman 70.3 events around the world. With this being said I must admit that I am pretty desperate to get on that top step of the podium as soon as possible. Ironman 70.3 Philippines I hoped would be the place to finally get that elusive win I have been chasing. I had spent the last few months since Ironman 70.3 Cairns in a rather large training block and therefor knew that I was in great form leading into this race.

After flying into Cebu on the Thursday prior the race I had stayed pretty relaxed and come race morning felt ready to get on that start line and go hard right from the gun. The swim course was without question the most amazing swim leg I have done as it started on the resort beach with a coral reef filled with fish just meters below you. Once the gun went off I started hard and quickly took the lead within the first hundred meters. I have been training with a great swim squad over the last few months, which has really transformed my swimming ability making me a lot more efficient and faster in the water. I enjoyed setting the pace up front and managed to gap most of the field quite early on with just Brent McMahon, Casey Munro and Michael Murphy able to stay with me. I exited the water first feeling very relaxed and picked up a nice swim bonus paycheck for being the first athlete to reach dry land. 

After the swim to bike transition the four of us hit the open road together with Brent setting the pace up front for the early part of the bike leg. I pulled through and did my share of the work up front with Casey keen to sit back and let Brent and myself do the majority of the work up front. Casey after the race told me that he felt quite sick during the ride, which made sense, as he is usually a very strong rider. With guys like Cameron Brown (10 time IM New Zealand Champion) behind I was eager to keep riding hard to extend our gap to the rest of the field chasing hard behind. After 20km’s Michael Murphy dropped from our group of 4 with, what I found out later was a bike mechanical issue. The back end of the course consisted of a 8 by 6km out and back ‘double M’ course which meant that we had a good mix of head wind and tail wind with each out and back section. I have never taken onboard any extra bottles during a half distance race before but with the extreme heat and humidity I decided to grab 2 ice cold water bottles to pour over my head and drink as much as I could at the 30km and 60km sections of the bike ride. I also took onboard another bottle towards the end of the bike leg, which I poured over my head in an attempt to cool my body down only to discover that this wasn’t in fact water but Gatorade. The entire ride was very windy not to mention scorching hot, which made for quite a tough 90 kilometres.

Getting off the bike I was ready to run hard and was feeling quite good even after such a hot and windy 90km ride. The 2 loop run course had spectators lining both sides of the road and the support and cheering was totally insane. Brent hit the gas as soon as we left transition and I pushed myself hard to try and keep the gap to a minimum however the duel Olympian showed me a clean set of heals and was just too fast.

The heat on the run was totally crazy and I felt like I was melting into the ground on each lap. At the aid stations there were small buckets of ice-cold water that people poured over your head to cool you down. This effect lasted for about 30 seconds before you were scorching hot once again. In addition to this there were also large baseball sized chucks of ice given out on the course, which I shoved down the front of my Scody tri suit. These large chunks of ice lasted roughly 4 km’s before completely melting. After the first lap I got a few words of encouragement yelled at me from Jensen Button (Formula 1 driver) who was just heading out to start his run leg. Hats off to Jensen for taking the time out of his race to give me some words of encouragement.

The run was a real war of survival and was more about just making it to the finish line than running fast. I held 2nd place and crossed the line feel totally cooked from the insanely hot run. The event organization had put small swimming pools just after the finish line (filled with cold water, big slabs of ice and cans of beer floating around in them), which I spent a good amount of time in to try and bring my core body temperature back down post race.

All in all I was very happy with 2nd place. I went into the race wanting the win badly but Brent had the goods on the day to take the win in the Philippines. Unfortunately this means that I am still chasing my first Ironman 70.3 victory, which I hope will come in 2014.

A huge thank you once again to all my sponsors, coach, family, support team and supporters. I honestly wouldn’t be where I am today with out all of your amazing support.

Image credit: BurnSports.PH

Melissa Hauschidt WINS Ironman 70.3 Racine

  • Thursday, 7 August 2014
  • By Melissa Hauschlidt
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  1st   4:11:51  (course record)

  Swim  28:05     (5th)

  Bike   2:20:08  (1st)

  Run  1:20:04    (1st)  (run course record)

When I dived into Lake Michigan for my warm up I lasted about 10 strokes before I had to roll over onto my back to defrost my face. It was like slamming into a concrete wall. So cold! Once the cannon fired though I was fine, adrenalin fixes everything!

As usual I was a bit slow off at the start and pretty quickly spat out the back of the women's field. By the first buoy I had got into my rhythm and started chasing down the two girls I could still see in front of me. I eventually caught them about half way through the swim and then practiced 'staying on feet' for the rest of the swim. I'm still not good at all. I came out of the water in 5th place, close behind the 2 I'd been trying to 'sit on'. After exiting the water there is a long beach run to get off the beach and then a long run on concrete to weave into transition. This meant that by the time I got to my bike and out of T1 I was into 3rd place already. Malaika Homo was 1:20 ahead at this point with Helle Frederiksen putting a good 2 1/2 min into me.

I immediately cranked up the pace and by 55km I had finally caught Helle. I took a couple minutes to get in some nutrition, water and then went past to take the lead. I kept pushing hard off the front but Helle was holding on. I tried putting on surges but no matter how hard I tried I could not shake her. With 7km to go we hit a super bumpy section on cracked up concrete road that would last right until transition. Like riding over continuous speed ripples for the next 10mins, I knew there was no dropping her through this rodeo section so I backed off and cruised the rest of the way safely into T2. I unstrapped the shoes and coasted down the last short hill to T2 with Helle close behind. We got off and racked our bikes together. It was exciting to be back under the blaring loudspeakers, in such a tight battle for the lead, with the crowd cheering all around.

I had made the decision earlier in the race, when getting out of the water that I would put socks on for the bike instead of putting them on just for the run leg. My feet were cold and numb from the water and the run to the bikes on the hard concrete wasn't that comfortable on them. Added to that I still had big blisters under my feet from last weekends race. This allowed me to have a faster second transition than normal. I slipped my shoes on, grabbed my Salty Yeti GU gel (which I lost about a mile later when he jumped out of my pocket to begin his own little adventure to where ever he was going. Salty always has fun adventures where ever he goes. GU gels were offered at the aid station anyway, so lucky me) and Zipp visor and was out of there quick, keen to get a little head start.

As soon as I started running I hit my Garmin to start the clock but instead of starting to tick over it was busy 'loading satellites'. Damn! I forgot to load them up in the last few kms on the bike. Every km or so I'd check if they'd loaded up but still nothing. I have no idea which satellites they were trying to load, but they never loaded them, so I was without a watch for the rest of the day. The run was two out and back laps so I got my first indication of the lead at the first turn-around about 5k 's in where Helle was about 1min30 back.  The first 10km I felt really strong and fast. The next 5 I still felt really good but I was starting to feel the big blister under my left foot filling with blood. The pressure wasn't bad enough to effect my pace or foot strike YET but I was well aware it was quietly taking a beating down there.

Thoughts started running through my head... "6km to go, I've got a good lead, should I slow down a little and reduce the pounding to the foot? OR should I pick it up (if I can) and try to get home quicker?". I was trying to work out which would make sure not to repeat the pain of last weekend. I think the blister decided for me as I kept up the same pace until it started affecting the way I was landing then I think my pace might've dropped from then on. Every now and then I'd grit my teeth and put in a surge then I'd back it off and try to land anywhere but on the blister. I was very happy to see the finish chute at the end. For the 2nd weekend in a row, I couldn't wait to kick off my shoes after the finish tape. At least this time, they were not as bad. A few minutes later Helle came through to take 2nd and Lauren Barnett (with energy to spare) for 3rd.

Jared and I were so lucky once again to be hosted by such a wonderful family for race weekend. Kristine, Daryl and the family showed us how good Midwest hospitality can be. They were 'homestay professionals' in managing to comfortably accommodate 3 of us athletes (yes 3!), help us with airport transfers, pre-race and post-race commitments, meals etc... and all in a welcoming homely environment. They made our trip seamless. Thanks again. Can't wait to return.

Felicity Sheedy-Ryan 2nd at Banyoles European Cup

  • Thursday, 7 August 2014
  • By Felicity Sheedy-Ryan
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Hey Guys,

Just filling you in on the first races back of the season. I appreciate your support and patience through my time out but happy to announce I was back on the podium last weekend finishing 2nd at Banyoles European Cup.

Though still far from my best shape yet, but getting stringer day by day, it was great to be back on a podium, and out racing again. 

The week prior is a tough race on a good, very tough course, and I really suffered out there finishing 9that Geneva European cup, but it definitely blasted a few cobwebs out! and helped me refind some legs  for last week in Spain.:) 

I'm am trialling some new training atm, in the mountains, before a French team race then back down to prep for the next big one.

Thanks again!

Flick :)

Sam Betten Claims Silver at Coral Coast 5150

Coral Coast is a very unique event and is actually Australia’s longest running triathlon beating the Noosa Triathlon by a few months. The race always attracts a lot of the Cairns Ironman and Cairns Ironman 70.3 pro athletes, as these races are both held the week later. This means that Coral Coast 5150 is hotly contested and although used as a lead up race for the pro’s is still very competitive.

After finishing 5th at last years race I was motivated to improve and at minimum get myself onto the podium in 2014. Race morning I made the 1 hour drive from my homestay in Cairns to Coral Coast. I was feeling good and ready to race hard knowing that I had experienced what this course had to offer 12 months ago at the 2013 edition of the race.

The swim was a straight shot out, across and back in along the beach. I started quickly and sprinted into the water to ensure that I hit the first turning buoy right up the front of the pack. The swim leg was very rough with the waves and I found myself drifting from equal 2nd at 100 meters in to 4th position after 1400 meters of the swim leg. Honestly I didn’t find my rhythm during the swim leg and felt very sluggish. I excited the water just off the lead 3 athletes and hit T1 with a small group on my tail.

Onto the bike Clayton Fettell (last years winner) hit the gas and established a 1 man lead on Tom Davison and Brad Kahlefeldt with myself in a small group just behind. I saw the danger of leaving Tom and Brad riding hard together and tried everything I could to limit the loss of time spending a good 80% of the next 40km’s leading my group over the course. Going onto the 2nd lap I spotted Brad on the side of the road with a flat front tire, which meant just Clayton and Tom remained in front of me.

Hitting T2 I felt good about my chances for a podium spot and hit the gas pretty early on in an attempt to catch both Tom and Clayton. The entire run is along the sandy beach of Coral Coast so it is always going to be a real battle. This year the wind played a big factor providing a very tough out and back, 4 loop course.

I managed to reel Tom in faster than I though catching and going past him early on during the 2nd of 4 run laps. Clayton looked to be hurting and so I keep pushing hoping to close the gap but in the end I ran out of runway despite having the fastest run split of the day.

Overall I was very happy taking 2nd place and it was a great sign that everything is well on track for Ironman 70.3 Cairns next weekend. 

Why Aero Triathlon Suits Are The Way Of The Future

The new generation of aero triathlon suits first made their way onto the bodies of professional athletes at the 2014 Ironman World Championships in Kona. Several of the professional athletes pre race found them-selves in the wind tunnel testing the aerodynamic benefits of such a revolutionary garment for the sport of triathlon. The idea stemmed from professional cycling where teams work hard in order to reduce drag during time trial events by wearing a 1-piece aero skin suit. The time gains that have been proven by some of the biggest cycling teams in the world highlighted that these new generation ‘aero garments’ were the way of the future.   

Come the Ironman Triathlon World Championships it was evident that many of the pro athletes racing had seem the gains themselves in the wind tunnel while wearing an aero triathlon race suit. Being that it was a non-wetsuit swim at the Ironman Triathlon World Championships sleeved garments were not allowed during the swim leg. However, the time gains from wearing this type of apparel were so evident that it warranted athletes taking the time in transition to put on their aero suit or aero race top before the cycle leg. 

The Research and Development team at SCODY worked extremely hard in order to develop what many athletes are saying is the fastest triathlon suit that they have ever worn. The suit's world premier at Challenge Melbourne, 2014 contributed to the First (Tim van Berkel) and Second (John Polson) result in the professional men’s event. Other successes 2014 Busselton 70.3 First (Tim Van Berkel), Third (Sam Appelton)  and Fourth (Sam Betten).

Why are they so fast?

The Optimise A.I.R. Tri Suit has a zoned fabric construction to achieve the greatest reduction in drag in specific regions of the body. The dimpled fabric ‘Matrix’ has been used in regions of high wind velocity such as the shoulders and upper arms, whilst ‘X-Opaque’ has been used in those with less wind exposure, such as the torso, to achieve the highest moisture management and breathability. The A.I.R. Tri Suit also features a triathlon specific Italian-made perforated chamois for optimal comfort, Air Flex side panels for even more breathability, and two rear pockets for nutrition storage. It provides excellent sun protection.

Feedback from professional athletes

The feedback given by those who have chosen the Scody A.I.R Optmise tri suit has been of outstanding. Athletes have commented on the great fit as well as how fast the suit feels, the breathability as well as the way the sleeves repel the sun helping them to stay cool. 

John Polson – 2nd Challenge Half Melbourne Professional Men

This is easily the best tri suit I have worn. Yes, it does feel fast, but it is the most comfortable suit I have worn (Swim, bike, and run). The added sun protection is also really important for me.


Sam Betten -4th Ironman 70.3 Busselton Professional Men

A very fast triathlon suit that fits perfectly. The sleeves are a great addition and help you to feel cooler on the bike and run. This suit feels very fast on the bike leg with the dimpled sleeve panels. This is the way of the future for triathletes of all ages, shape and abilities. 

Sam Betten - 5th at the Byron Bay Triathlon

After racing IM 70.3 Busselton just a week ago I knew that backing up and racing a tough Olympic distance triathlon at Byron Bay was going to be a tough ask. Truth be told I found it pretty hard to recover post IM 70.3 Busso and only just started to feel somewhat normal again the day before the race.

Race start was set for 12:10pm, which meant that I was able to sleep in on Saturday morning and then drive to the race mid morning. The male open category saw 60 men toe the start line ready to race in a non wet suit swim. With a big current and choppy seas the swim start was all about tactics and the large group started the swim by running 60 meters down the beach. This allowed the current to sweep us towards the first swim turn. 
I stayed close to the fish that is Clayton Fettell and swam the majority of the swim side by side with Clayton. Bryce McMaster another front pack swimmer stayed glued to our feet. The swim felt quite long with the general consensus being that the strong tide had moved the turn buoys further out to sea. The water in Byron is pristine which made for a very enjoyable swim leg looking into the depths of the ocean below. Clayton managed to get the jump on Bryce and myself heading towards the swim exit by catching a small wave that gave him a few seconds head start for the run up the beach.
Swim exit with Clayton leading, myself 2nd and Bryce 3rd
Hitting T1, I was feeling pretty good about my chances with the longer swim helping me to put some good time into my competitors. I rode a controlled first few kilometres of the bike leg and soon enough held onto 2ndposition. Clayton, who lives minutes from the race quickly disappeared up the road hitting T2 with a 2min 50sec lead on the rest of us. Young gun Ben Cook along with Lindsey Wall joined me just before the turn around and I spent the remainder of the bike leg sitting off the back of these two athletes trying to freshen up my legs as much as I could before I hit T2. The bike course was held on a very rough and quite hilly out and back course, which made for a very fair bike leg between all of the athletes racing.
Once our trio of 3 hit T2 I quickly resorted to letting Ben and Lindsey storm up the road. My legs felt very fatigued and cramped up quickly within minutes of running. I wasn’t sure how the body would feel after last weekend's effort but quickly knew once I put on my runners that this wasn’t going to be my day. I held onto 4th for 3 of the 4 run laps before being run down by 1 other athlete. 
The entire run was really just a battle for survival and I was very glad to cross the finish line. 5th place was far from what I wanted but the legs just hadn’t recovered enough from last weekend's race.


  • Wednesday, 14 May 2014
  • By Melissa Hauschlidt
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1st 9:28:43

Swim 3rd 50:46
Bike 2nd 5:19:57
Run 2nd 3:13:57

We were created with pain receptors. These pain receptors go off when we are hurt or injured or when we push our bodies to the limit. They are there for a reason, to warn us that something is wrong and you must stop. What a great system. Makes good sense doesn't it. But then there's a small minority of us with our twisted, messed up brains that have discovered we don't have to stop if we don't want. We can keep going as long as we are mentally strong enough to continually tell our brains to "shut up". Why would we want to do this? No idea! For some reason the more we push our bodies the better we feel 'after'. So, some crazy person came up with the idea of an Ironman. Arguably the hardest one day endurance event.

For some reason the Ironman distance is seen as the ultimate goal or the pinnacle of achievements in triathlon. Maybe because it's the longest distance available (in 1 day) or maybe because the legend of the Hawaii Ironman. So 3 weeks ago I decided I'd give it a go. It worked out to be a good time of the year to try it without disrupting anything else in my season. Lucky for me, if I want to compete in Kona later in the year, I didn't have to win, I just had to finish. I just had to 'get through'. That being said, it was still a race, and I'd be crazy if I said I didn't want to win it. So this is how this crazy Ironman thing works. 

First we swim 3.8km. That's 76 laps of an Olympic size swimming pool. Booooring! Thankfully we don't swim in a swimming pool though! With the air temp a freezing 5C I wrapped myself up in my ROKA wetty and couldn't wait to get into the 19C water. Half way through the swim leg was a weir we had to climb up and over. This isn't usually part of an IM but added something different and made for some good photos!

After emerging from the water it's time to run through the spectators, listening carefully for vital split times. In the change tent you are treated to an impressive team of helpers that assist in just about anything you need. You just throw yourself on the ground and the strippers pull your wetsuit off and start dressing you for the bike leg. Before you know it your back on your way out the door and into the 'real world' again. The second leg comprises of a ridiculous 180km of cycling. I started the bike leg 1 minute down - I had a great swim!

I'm not sure who upset the weather gods on this day, but they were whipping up some cyclonic winds, up to 50kph. I held on tight as I worked my way through the bike leg. Gritting my teeth till my jaw was cramping and clenching my abs to stay tight on the bike made for a long 5-plus hours of riding. All the while, Lisa was up ahead, ploughing through the dead roads and getting a good lead. By the time I rolled back to T2, I was 8minutes down, hungry, and tired.

Back in the transition tent, this time the volunteers help us get ready for the final leg - an insane and totally unreasonable 42km run. As if 3.8km of swimming and 180km of riding wasn't already enough. I sat there munching on my mars bar wondering how I could get out of doing this marathon. Meanwhile the volunteers already had the green flags up and were ushering me out of the tent. My shoes were on, my visor, run belt and gels nicely laid out. But I didn't wanna leave. It was warm and comfortable in here away from the wind. Can I just stay a little bit longer!

I got up and walked out of the tent...all the way out...I walked till the big sign said 'Run Exit'. That's where I started my loooong shuffle. No extra running for me today thanks! This was the part of the race I was most unsure about. 42k of non-stop running is a long way for me. Added to that I was already pretty worn out from the freezing, windy bike leg meant I would be taking these first couple laps as conservatively as possible. The run course did 4 laps of just over 10km each. One decent hill per lap, the rest flat, cold and...did I say WINDY. As I ran along the rock wall along the river the cross wind was so strong I was sure this could be my ticket out. I'll get blown overboard. But nope, that didn't happen either. I just kept shuffling. After one lap I got to run through the '1st lap' gate to collect a cool IM wrist band. That brightened my day for like a second. Back up the hill again (that seemed to get a little bigger each time). On this lap, the down hill really got me needing the loo. I stopped at the toilet and when I sat down I thought "This is surprisingly nice in here. I could comfortably stay here for quite a while I think. No-one knows I'm in here right". After a bit I thought I better keep trucking on. 

At about 24km I shuffled on past poor Lisa who seemed to be having a bit of a rough patch at the time. I wanted to stop and walk with her for a about how crazy-windy the bike was...and how long this run is going on for. I had so much to share with her. But as I went passed, she was walking and I was on a small mission to find the the next loo. Another toilet stop later, and I popped out still in the lead and couldn't see Lisa behind. On my way back to completing my third lap I took a nice long walk through an aid station. I'd been told by a number of people beforehand that I should take my time at the aid stations and even walk because that's what a lot of the best do. This seemed like a good time to try it. It was alright. I got to have a chat with a friendly age grouper for a little while. They were all very friendly along the course. I felt bad that I didn't acknowledge a lot of them while my head was down, shuffling along. I was trying to devote most of my mental energy to staying on track, conserving energy, ticking off my 4.30 k's and repeating the advice Belinda Granger had given me and that was "shut up brain, just keep going".

On my last lap my stomach was very angry. It wasn't used to functioning on just gels for this long. Although I'd only got 3 down on the marathon it still wasn't happy and I seemed to spend a lot of time planning my next toilet stop. I took my last toilet stop about 5km from the finish. After this I walked through the whole aid station before I got back into my shuffle. I heard Jared yell, "you've only got 1 minute". In other words "that's enough stopping, go!". From that point I started to feel pretty good again (relatively speaking) for some reason. Maybe the refreshing water at the aid station, maybe it was that I suddenly realised I only have 5k till I'm finished, or maybe it was that my mind just realised I was 'racing' again. Whatever it was, I broke out of my shuffle and I felt like I took off.

Over the last 500m or so, the crowd was getting thicker and thicker and louder and louder. I finally made it onto the red finish-chute carpet and took in all the excitement from the crowds. I did it! I conquered this crazy thing called an Ironman. I ticked the box. The bitter-sweet thing is I stamped my spot to Kona. The good thing is now I can decide to go if I want. The down-side is I would have to go through all that again. Seems like a pretty twisted reward to me. But I guess that's why I did it in the first mind is twisted...just like everyone else who finished the race. You're all crazy!

Special thank you to the team at Ironman Asia Pacific for helping guide me through my first Ironman experience.

Race Hightlights