I’m currently at LAX, nibbling at a plate of quinoa and kale, and reflecting on the Edmonton World Champs, it being a decade since my first Junior team in 2004 in Madeira, and six years since my first Elite team, also in Canada, in Vancouver 2008. Reviewing such nostalgic rumination, it’s not a bold claim to posit that this was easily my most unusual preparation ever. The Stockholm exploits detailed in previous narrative meant that an immediate transcontinental migration was required to arrive in Red Deer, our esoteric pre-worlds training camp of choice. Thus, at the lamentable wake up time of 3:30am the day after Stockholm led to a bus, 3 flights, 2 delays and another bus ride, to arrive in Red Deer at around 2:00am on Monday morning, or ?:??am, according to my body clock. Along this route, my bike grew weary of onward progression, and decided to lose itself and was not seen again until late Thursday night, despite me spending more time on the phone than a subcontinental call centre in an effort to get American Airlines to increase their somewhat apathetic efforts in reuniting me with my much required baggage.
Many thanks to Josh White for the borrowed bike, Declan Wilson for the borrowed Brooks, and Ash Gentle for creating the Twitter storm that finally stimulated AA into action and returning my bike. Read about it HERE. So, aside from mild anxiety as to the whereabouts of my bike, and attempting to recover from both a WTS and jet-lag, the week consisted largely of light training and watching various burgers being prepared on the Food Channel.
And then, all of a sudden, it was race day. I started out with a good first lap of the swim, and was in the front group, but started to fight a little during the second lap, and lost the vital feet, and was relegated to the second bunch on the road. Fortunately we didn’t get punished for it this time round, and after some hard riding, bridged up to form a large pack that came into T2 together. I had some decent run legs, and run a pretty smart and even paced 10km to finish in a very satisfying 13th, putting me in for 16th overall in the series.
It’s been a year with some highs and lows, and I was happy to finish off the overseas campaign with two strong races after things hadn’t been going quite as I would have liked over the rest of the tour. Many thanks as always to Mossy, the AIS/QAS and the rest of my sponsors for the support during the year.
From here, I’m heading home at last, which I’m absolutely stoked about, and then aiming to get over another bout of jet lag, before toeing the line at the Sunshine Coast 70.3 in under 2 weeks time, where absolutely anything could happen... Stay tuned...
Stockholm. It’s a course with some idiosyncrasies that mark it as a unique stop on tour. If a viking was to design a triathlon course, this is the one he would have chosen. The swim is bloody freezing, the bike’s got corners with cobbles, hills with cobbles, and cobbles with cobbles. And where there’s no cobbles, there’s more white lines than Charlie Sheen’s holiday house, which would make it exceptionally dangerous if it ever rained on race day. It rained on race day. And the run, well, that continues in much the same spirit as the rest of the race. I’ve raced here once before, and loved the course, even though it gave me a stress fracture. Thankfully, I seemed to have pulled up a bit better this year.
On race day this year, there was a pretty wild wind raging, which added a much appreciated litany of chop to the 14 degree water. Still not satisfied, the Norse gods of triathlon deemed it fitting to start some torrential rain about 10 minutes before race start, just to make the conditions truly abhorrent. I started out with a pretty decent swim, and after a lap of tasting lactate on the bike, was in the front group, behind the raging Brownlees, who again were being antisocial by themselves off the front. The pace was fairly strong for the bike, and we put some time into the group behind us, and I attempted to extract a modicum of enjoyment from blazing over slick cobbles and white lines with very little brakes as the surprisingly weather-resilient Swedes cheered us on. Onto the run, and my legs were as frozen as a Birds Eye Fish Finger for the first lap of the run, but managed to warm up enough to give a decent account of myself for 16th. A pretty solid result, and now I sit at Heathrow, eating a outrageously priced nectarine and awaiting my avian deliverance to Edmonton for the Grand Final. It’ll be a week spent recovering from both the Scandinavian steel, and jet-lag, so probably won’t involve a lot of training, but just enough to keep the legs moving for a good result in Edmonton.
I had my eye on Challenge Gold Coast as soon as it was announced earlier this year. This was not without an element of risk though, as it falls only 2 weeks prior to what is perhaps the biggest race of my season, 70.3 World Championships in Mont Tremblant, Canada. Discussing with Tim we targeted the race as a potential last hard hit-out before dialling it back for worlds. We had discussed swimming and riding really hard and hopefully having a buffer to notch it back a little on the run to avoid the muscle damage that arises from 21 kilometers of pounding pavement. I was also eager to replenish my bank account to avoid potentially living off baked beans and mi goreng noodles after splashing ‘dat paper’ on a trip to the northern hemisphere.
Having already raced a fair bit this year, Tim was keen for me to focus on Mt Tremblant and use this race as a solid hit out to test where the form was at after just completing a decent training block. I was a little apprehensive, as I hadn’t really freshened up as I usually would before a race but given that Worlds is in 2 weeks I knew it was important to keep the training volume up. I had also been battling a chest infection for a couple of weeks which had also left me feeling a little flat, but I convinced myself that a few days of warmer tropical temps would put me back into good health and ready to go for the race.
Due to some unseasonal Gold Coast weather, the race organisers made the tough decision to reduce the bike leg from 90km down to 40km for safety reasons. I was initially disappointed with this call as I was eager to test out my current cycling form over the full 90km. However after riding the roads during the race I know the right decision was made as we weaved our way through moss covered roads that were treacherous to negotiate on a TT bike.
Race morning rolled around and the skies seemed to be clearing for what promised to be a great day, regardless of the course changes. Shane Barrie offered himself up as bull shark bait and left the rest of us in his wake as he opened up a handy lead in the opening stages of the swim. I was content to lead to chasers as we exited around 20 seconds in arrears.
Onto the bike, Tim obviously didn’t want to muck around as he sniffed an opportunity to break up the little pack that might form on the bike. Feeling quite sluggish I went with him for 10minutes before slowly dropping off the pace. I turned around and noticed that Casey Munro and myself was the only one able to respond to Reedy’s watt bomb. Tim managed to get about a 200m advantage but due to some shared work by myself and Casey we managed to claw back onto him by 20km. To give you some indication, at the 20km mark my average wattage was 330w. I was surprised to see a handy lead to the chase pack at the U turn as we set about our return journey. Casey unfortunately punctured not long after, which was disappointing for him after riding superbly.
After sloshing through the rapidly deteriorating transition we set about on the 21km run ahead of us. We got our first time gap after doing a little out and back section and I guessed we had about 3.5minutes to the chase guys. Tim wasn’t feeling that social and opened up a little gap before settling into his pace and I was left hovering about 30seconds in arrears as we completed the first of two laps.
I noticed that Dave Mainwaring was moving quite well in 3rd and had eaten away at my advantage so I put in a sustained surge for about 15 minutes to really put the nail in the coffin, but this had also brought me within 10 seconds to Tim. This didn’t go unnoticed and he quickly crushed any thought of me sneaking into the lead as he increased his lead again to 30 seconds by the finish. The raced pretty much was executed perfectly from my pre race plan and I was happy to come away with 2nd with Dave consolidating 3rd with a swift run.
A huge congrats to Marcus and the guys from Challenge Australia for putting on such a fantastic event despite tumultuous conditions in the days leading up to the event. Also a huge thank you to my homestay Matt and Coleen for their exceptional hospitality over the course of my stay. Thanks also to my team Giant bikes, Shotz, Scody, Blue Seventy, Hawkesbury Physio, 3D Bike Fit, Rudy Project and echelon sports.
I’ve tweeted a few times about the Wollongong Wizard’s ‘Super Saturday.’ I thought I’d expand on 140 characters and give a bit of insight into my biggest training day of the week with my training group “The Wizards”. If we aren’t racing then the following is a very typical Saturday that we’ve been doing for the past couple of years. It is without a doubt the hardest day of the week. All three sessions are quality (as in ‘HARD’) and done in a competitive group environment. The idea is that they are done even harder than what a race would be (or as my coach Jamie would say: “meeting & exceeding the demands of competition”).
My weekend begins:
8:30 – I start off somewhat relaxed with a leisurely wake up time. I have a coffee, some breakfast (normally home made bircher muesli with Greek yogurt and fruit) and I do some mobilization exercises to wake my body up and prepare myself for the day ahead.
Heading in for the warm up. The usual pre session discussion
10:00 – The whole Wizards group depart our apartments and head to the lake, Ullibari-Gamboa, for our open water swim. The swim tends to change every week and we do anything from race-start speed work diving off a pontoon, threshold work or, like today, heart rate work. We had a fairly simple swim today – warming up for 20 minutes or so and then 12 x 90 seconds of maximal effort with 30 seconds recovery in between. We gender separate our open water swims and we make them as realistic to the race as possible. That includes a bit of competition simulating aggression and fighting for position in the water!
12:00 – We are home by midday and I’m already hungry so go out for lunch with my boyfriend Brendan. We go to a nearby café and have tortilla patatas – which is basically a delicious Spanish potato omelette served at almost every café in town. I couldn’t tell you how many of these I’ve ate in the last 4 months! We also stock up on groceries – the shops are closed in Spain on a Sunday (and we tend to need most of the following day on the couch to recover from Saturday!)
14:00 – Back at home I send a few emails, do some chores, eat a little more and then head to bed to lie down and have a nap (it would be rude not to in the home of the siesta!). An hour pre ride I’m up for a coffee and a quick bite and then do some more exercises and stretching in preparation for the ride.
16:00 – Hour of Power (HOP) begins. The Wizards ride out to the HOP start point about 10 kilometers out of town. You can feel the anticipation from the group as we assess wind direction and each others comfort in the saddle. The session of HOP is basically just 40km HARD. Boys and girls go separately (as in comp) and we roll turns (hard!!) for four minutes and followed by a single minute recovery. We continue this pattern for 30 kilometers on a designated loopup until a point that indicates 10km to go – or “Go Time.” From here it’s an effort for the finish with no recovery breaks and anything goes! Breakaways, attacks, even a bit of Oscar worthy acting to fain fatigue and save the legs for the short KOM climb before the final stretch to the line. It finishes off with a sprint at the end (if the group is still together of course!). It is incredibly hard but also very fun. Its fair to say that the assessing of fellow Wizards’ form is turned more towards assessing whether we’ll all make the 10k ride back into town.
18:00 – Within about 10 minutes of rolling back into the apartments I’ve changed and regrouped with the Wizards for a fartlek type run. The session changes every week but its normally short and sweet. Yesterday we had 9x1minutes at a pace quicker than what I’d push in a race. We’re straight into the fast stuff followed by a brief 10 minute cool down. One of the shortest sessions of the week but hardly the most forgettable! For this, I like to wear shoes very similar to my race flats so today I chose my ASICS Gel-DS Racer.
18:30 – Back at the apartment I spend time stretching and go through some of my specific strength exercises, most of which, thankfully, I can do from a horizontal position on the floor.
20:00 – Dinner time! Brendan and I switch up who makes dinner – dependent on physio/massage treatment times and also who appears to be the most tired! I won that today, and so Brendan cooked for me.
21:30 – Physio treatment with Dean Sullivan! I spend 40 minutes on the massage table and have treatment with Dean. We focus on what is causing trouble the most at the time – and today it is my back and neck. I normally also finish this off with a trip across the road to the recovery centre for an ice bath and then make good use of my Scody Swirl Compression tights!
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.
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.
SCODY is the proud uniform supplier for the entire Triathlon Australia team who will be competing at upcoming ITU Triathlon World Championships and ITU World Series Grand Final. With this event just weeks away SCODY picked the brains of professional triathletes Emma Jackson, Dan Wilson and Charlotte McShane who were all selected for the ITU Triathlon Australia Elite Team.
SCODY: How did you feel when you were named as a member of team racing the World Championships?
DAN WILSON: It's a special moment to find out you're going to represent your country. It's been a decade since I made my first junior team, but it was just as exciting to make this one!
EMMA JACKSON: I was very happy to be named in the Elite team for the World Championships and have the opportunity to race for Australia.
CHARLOTTE MCSHANE: I was excited! My focus all year has been to progress throughout the season, so I’m looking forward to having the opportunity to do this in the biggest race of the year!
SCODY: What does it mean to you to represent your country at the World Championships?
DAN WILSON: It's an honor that doesn't diminish with time. Representing Australia is what I train to do, and always feels special to wear the green and gold.
EMMA JACKSON: It is always a great honour to be selected into the Australian team for the World Championships and this year was no different. It is never an easy task to be selected or one to take for granted due to Australia's great depth in the sport of triathlon. It is definitely something I am proud of and I look forward to wearing the Green and Gold.
CHARLOTTE MCSHANE: Its an honor. Australia has such a rich history in triathlon and athletes that have represented at the World Championships in the past have achieved some amazing results.
SCODY: What has your lead up training been like?
DAN WILSON: Training has been really good, we were pumping out some huge work in the lead up to Glasgow, so with that in the bag and a little racing to sharpen up, I should be good to go!
EMMA JACKSON: Training has been going well since the Commonwealth Games and I am looking forward to race day and seeing what I can do.
CHARLOTTE MCSHANE: Edmonton has been my main motivator this season and I’ve had a pretty smooth year in terms of training. I’ve been fortunate not to have had any niggles or illness’s that have set me back. I am almost finished my final block of training before I start the taper for Stockholm WTS (which is only a week before Edmonton) and then the travel to Canada.
SCODY: Do you have any superstitions before racing a big event like the World Championships?
DAN WILSON: I used to have a few weird superstitions in my lead up to big races, but these days I'm different, it's just a moonlight ritual involving a pentagram, wax candles, and copious race suits. Nothing weird.
EMMA JACKSON: Before any event I always like to have a similar pre race dinner, something along the lines of spaghetti bolognese. That is really the only superstitious thing I do.
CHARLOTTE MCSHANE: Not really. I’ve raced 3 times as an Under 23 and I try to treat it like a normal race. Racing regularly in the WTS races means that I am constantly exposed to such a high level of racing already which I guess helps a lot!
SCODY: How do you expect to go in the race and what are your expectations?
DAN WILSON: It'll be the hardest race of the year, so to finish near the front you're going to have to have a great day, and nothing go wrong! I think if I execute well I can run in the top 10
EMMA JACKSON: I am currently ranked 4th in the series so I would love to have a solid performance in Edmonton to try and get the highest ranking I can. I would love to be on the podium both in Edmonton and for the Series so that is the goal for race day.
CHARLOTTE MCSHANE: This is a bit of a transition year for me after moving up from U23 last year. I have been learning a lot this year (and still have a lot to learn!). There are certain aspects of the race I am focussing on, and to be honest I’m thinking more about working at the processes rather than the final outcome.
SCODY: Does the opportunity to wear your SCODY World Championships race suit spur you on to race even faster?
DAN WILSON: Any time you pull on the green and gold it's special, and knowing that it's Scody green and gold gives you confidence that the suit is a cracker!
EMMA JACKSON: It is always great to race in a Green and Gold suit and its even better knowing that you are also wearing your personal sponsor. I love wearing my Australian Scody suit and hope I can do both Australia and Scody proud!
CHARLOTTE MCSHANE: Of course! It’s hard not to race fast in SCODY ;) I’m very much looking forward to putting on my new green and gold Scody suit
SCODY: Any final words or advice to the other Australian triathletes racing in the Junior Elite, U23 and Age Group triathlon events at the World Championships?
DAN WILSON: It's a big occasion, but stick to what you know in the lead up. The lead up to a World Champs is not time to try something new or untested!
EMMA JACKSON: Enjoy the opportunity you have been given to race for Australia as at a World Championships as it is something very few people get to do and one you should be very proud of.
CHARLOTTE MCSHANE: It might be the biggest race of the year, but don’t see it as a stressful time. Use it as the opportunity to show off all the hard work thats been done. Think clearly and forget the pressure! And if it doesn’t go the way you would have liked, learn from the experience and take from it what you can as fuel for next year. And Enjoy representing your country!!! :D
Good luck to the Australian triathlon team competing at the World Championships from all the team at SCODY.
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?
July started with Hamburg WTS . One of the most exciting races on the calendar due to the crazy spectators, unique course, World Mixed Team Relay Champs and this year falling on the same weekend as the Football World Cup Final which Germany happened to be playing in!
So my race wasn’t great, but I had an awesome time racing in the relay and then experiencing the city going crazy that night with Germany winning the World Cup! My parents and brother also came to watch, so it was good spending time with them.
Bermeo2Once back in Vitoria, my boyfriend Brendan and I had a couple of days downtime before the next block of training started. We headed north to the Basque Country coast and did a little bit of sightseeing. It was nice just to switch off for a few days and the weather was beautiful.
I then had a few weeks of some solid training. With so much racing this year, it’s felt like blocks of training are hard to come by, so I really enjoyed burying myself into a hole again!!
I’m now on my way to one of my all time favourite races – Tiszaujvaros World Cup in Hungary. This will be my 5th time racing. I’ve had both highs & lows there, and made many mistakes but I’m really looking forward to seeing how I’ve progressed. Its very unique as there are heats on Saturday – then if you make it through, the final on Sunday. I’ll let you all know how I go!Bermeo3
Last week I was officially announced on the Australian Elite team for the ITU World Triathlon Series Grand Final in Edmonton in 4 weeks time. This is my first Australian Elite World Championship team and I’m honored to be selected. Edmonton has undoubtedly been my main focus all year, and I’m already starting to get excited to race there!
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.
Well, the Comm Games race has come and gone. It’s funny how days/weeks/months/years of work and preparation culminates into less than 2hrs of execution, then a lifetime of reflection. With only a few days of said reflection, rumination and cognation, I’m yet to deviate from my original conclusion - I would have liked to execute better. I didn’t have a howler, but I didn’t have a blinder, and I wanted to have a blinder. Everyone always wants to have a blinder. Blinders are good.
The race result was relatively unsurprising to anyone whose been paying cursory heedance to the ITU scene over the last few years. Actually, there were two races taking place, in one race, the Brownlees were that good that the rest of us competed almost in another competition, one where the guy who got first won a bronze medal instead. My swim started off ok, I copped more abuse than a Volvo driver, which was a little bit surprising considering the smaller field, and meant that I came out a little further back than I would have liked, but comfortably in the main pack. The bike course was lumpier than a school cafeterias porridge, but the ride was relatively uneventful for the 40 kms, and we dismounted around 60 secs behind the Brownlees in the race for bronze. I ran well for the first of 3 laps, but then my legs disappeared like a magicians dove, and I was left to a trench-fight for the rest of the run, and came across in 9th. The brutal Scottish heat (and that is the first time anyone has ever typed that combination of words) and hard run course made it a bloody tough day out there, and consensus was that everyone was shattered post-race.
After the individual, I was on cheerleading duties for the teams race, and was stoked to see our guys bag a well deserved bronze in a nail-biter of a team relay race. Following that, I’ve been keeping the training up over here during by day, and managing to check out some events by night, and we’ve seen some amazing cycling, swimming and athletics so far. I’ll stay here till the end of the week, and head back to France after walking in the closing ceremony, which I’m pretty pumped for as well!
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.
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.
Greetings friends, today’s narrative is being written from a pile of shirts I’m using as a chair, with my computer sitting on an edifice of tracksuit pants. And I’ve got a drink sitting on small table made of clothes over there. Or maybe it’s that one over there. So yeah, we’ve got some kit.
I’ve been in Glasgow since Sunday, when we rolled in from France to the big show. The games don’t kick off until the opening ceremony Wednesday night, but the place is already buzzing, full of the anatomical anomalies that have lead to athletic prosperity in different sports. Indeed, surveying the different body types and nutritional choices at the dining hall have had me postulating on creating a pilot for my new game show, “Guess The Sport” where contestants have to guess which sport an unidentified athlete plays by looking at their body type and dinner plate. It’s currently being pitched to 10, 9 and the ABC.
It’s 2 days until we race, which means we’ll miss the Opening Ceremony tomorrow night, and may well be wearing earplugs and pillows over our heads to block the noise. The team environment both as an Australian, and Triathlon team is fantastic, and the place is positively buzzing. For those of you wanting to watch myself Jacko, Gentle, Moffy, Bugs and Balls roll around, we’ll be kicking off Thursday night at 8pm for the girls, and 12 midnight for the lads (Aussie time!). Really looking forward to getting out there and putting all the hard work into everything I have for my country. Will check back in with hopefully a satisfied race report!
Hamburg was my most disappointing race in 2013, but I was really looking forward to going back as it's an exciting course, in a cool city with an atmosphere unlike any other triathlon I’d done before.
It was once again a sprint distance and with a few warm days leading up the water had warmed up enough to make it non- wetsuit. Hamburg is known to be one of the roughest swims on the circuit and with 65 athletes on the start line and only 165m to the first buoy its no surprise. This is a scenario that I have struggled with in the past and I’ve been working on. It normally takes a lot of mental strength for me to convince myself amongst all the fighting that I won’t drown! I started in the middle of the pontoon, i.e. right in the thick of it. I had a bad start and was pushed and pulled but I managed to get back on track and exited the water relatively unscathed and still in a good frame of mind!
Hamburg 2014 I was just off the back of the first group, so I spent the first lap doing all I could to chase it down. I knew the girls up front would be riding hard from the get-go so I couldn’t let up. I managed to get on to the group at the end of the first of six laps only to realise a few of the girls at the back had dropped wheels and opened up another gap. So I spent the next lap chasing some more with fellow Aussie Emma Jackson trying to again make contact with the lead group. We eventually managed to bridge the gap around 6km through the 20km leg. The ride was very dynamic, with the girls always pushing the pace up the front. I found it incredibly hard even when I was in the group due to the work I’d put in earlier on. But I made the group, which is important.
I could really feel the effects of the ride as soon as I started the run. I kept telling myself that I’ll get better as I settled in – but I didn’t. I am really disappointed as I’ve been putting a lot of effort into my run lately and I wanted to put it into action in Hamburg. I crossed the line in 28th, far from what I had anticipated however I still managed to fight my way back into the race, which is more than what can be said for last year.
I was fortunate enough to have another opportunity the following day racing for Australia in the World Mixed Team Relay Championships alongside Aaron Royle, Emma Jackson and Dan Wilson. The mixed relay is a relatively new format, with 17 countries taking part and each team member does a 300m swim, 6km ride and 1.6km run. It’s incredibly fast and exciting!
Hamburg ITU Mixed Team RelayI started off first and its fair to say I felt a lot of pressure not to let my teammates down! I had a really good swim, which was important in such a short race and it put us in a good position from the start. I tagged Aaron in 6th and not too far from the leaders. Aaron and Emma moved us further up the field and Dan finished off for us to cross the line in 4th! It was a very fun and exciting way to race and I am happy I had the opportunity!
I now have a few weeks to firstly recover before building back up for the back end of the season.
Hamburg has always held a special part in my heart as it was my first World Championships back in 2007 as a little junior and my first World Triathlon Series podium in 2011. I am always excited to head back to Hamburg not only because of the special memories it holds but also due to the race itself and the amazing crowd and atmosphere it draws which is rivaled by no other triathlon on the circuit. This year was no different and I was eager to test out how my form was after being in a tough training block since the London WTS race in preparation for the Commonwealth Games. My coach Steve and I decided early on in the season to skip the fifth round of the WTS series in Chicago to allow for a decent block of training between London and Hamburg to ensure I would be as prepared as possible on the start line in Glasgow. After finishing third in London and having just completed one of my biggest and most consistent blocks of training I was looking forward to getting to Hamburg and seeing how I would do.
Arriving in Hamburg Wednesday afternoon we were greeted by perfect sunny warm weather, a much appreciated change from France which has been a bit cold and wet the last week. The next few days leading up to the race went by quickly and smoothly and before I knew it I was enjoying my pre race dinner of pasta with the rest of the Aussie team. With a late 4:18pm race start I enjoyed not having to set an alarm and sleeping in. I headed out the door at 8:30 for my race morning run and was lucky enough to be able to do it along our run course due to it being closed for the age group races starting later that morning. Running on the course definitely made the nerves kick up a notch but I was loving it and getting more excited for the race by the minute. The rest of the day was filled up by a long sit at breakfast, a skype with Mum and a checking and double checking of my back pack making sure I hadn’t forgotten anything to pack for the race.
The usual pre race routine went by quickly and before I knew it I was getting called out as number 7 to run to the pontoon and take my position. I decided to take the inside starting position next to fellow Australian Emma Moffatt which allowed me to have a clear start. Coming up to the turning buoys I knew it was going to be a bit of a fight with 65+ girls trying to get around four buoys after only 270m. After what felt like forever I finally made my way around them and was on the long straight back to the swim exit. Coming into T1 I knew I had a hard bike ahead of me as I didn’t have the best swim and was just trailing the first pack. After just catching the end of the first pack coming through the transition area after one lap a few girls ahead dropped some wheels and myself and Charlotte McShane found ourselves chasing once again for another lap to catch them. Once on the group I stayed there for the remainder of the bike leg and exited T2 with a bit of work to do. By the end of lap 1 I was running with the leaders and soon Gwen increased the pace and took the lead. I tried to go with her but unfortunately couldn’t quite keep up and found myself running with Kirsten for 2nd place. The closer I got to the finish the more I was thinking back to 2011 and being in the same position with Emma Snowsill. Coming into the final stretch Kirsten had a slight lead but I gave it one last sprint and fortunately passed her and finished in 2nd place.
I crossed the line having given it everything I had and excited to be on the podium for a second time this season. Hamburg is such a unique podium with alcohol free beer taking champagnes place and it is always fun tipping it over the other girls. The following day I backed up for the Mixed Team Relay World Championships with Charlotte, Aaron Royle and Dan WIlson. We finished for a tough fought fourth place and it was great fun competing with fellow team mates which we rarely get to do in triathlon.
It is now 1 week out from the Commonwealth Games and I am back in France doing my last minute preparation for the race. I can’t wait to head to Glasgow on Sunday and race for Australia next Thursday and hopefully do the Green and Gold proud.
I have to say a quick thanks to my support team as I know I wouldn’t be where I am today, one week out from my second Major Championships, without them. Also to my sponsors (Specialized, Scody Australia, ASICS Oceania HQ, Oakley Australia, Subaru, Endura Sports Nutrition, HUUB Australia & Aquadiva Swimwear) who believe in my abilities and provide me with the best equipment possible to get the job done and Triathlon Australia & Queensland Academy of Sport for allowing me to do the thing I love.
Well, I’m currently airborne on board a Lufthansa plane somewhere between Hamburg and Frankfurt, as we leapfrog our way from Hamburg, via Frankfurt, to Geneva, then back to ‘home’ in Aix Les Bains in France. We did have a more streamlined (metaphorically, not aerodynamically, I’m sure this planes airfoils are sound. Or possibly not, thinking back to the rather labored take off...) flight initially booked, but failure to receive convincing confirmation that our bikes would be welcome onboard led to some frantic 5am rebooking by Mossy on a different airline. This proved to be a shrewd decision, as the Kiwi team who booked on the same airline were greeted with blank faces and a staunch refusal to accept the team’s bikes on their flight, and thus their coaches took a bullet for the team and drove their bikes in a 12 hour meandering route across Europe to arrive in Hamburg. A drive, if the Kiwi’s account is anything to go by, featuring a vice-like grip on the steering wheel, wide eyed stares into the distance, and repeated muttering littered with imaginatively descriptive adjectives used to describe the airline in question.
The reason for this ANZAC-based rendezvous in Hamburg was for another leg of the World Triathlon Series, and importantly for those Glasgow-bound, a last hit out before the Commonwealth Games. The 5 week block leading up to Hamburg had us working harder than priest on a sinking ship - it was a solid block of hard work, only pausing to do some tough work, then having a break to do some intense work, followed by some difficult work, and then back to the staple of hard work. Having indulged in a metaphorical buffet of various forms of work, we had a few easier days leading into Hamburg, in which my body decided to undergo some furious adaptation, consequently making me feel as lively as a corpse with a mustache, and had me in the room of mirrors having a good hard look at myself and wondering what the blazers was going on and how the blazers was I supposed to race the quickest race of the year tomorrow. The blazers were either deaf to my questions, or decided their answers were not ones suitable for my ears, however, I got around alright for a 27th in a race that was quicker than a cheetah driving a Ferrari. I felt reasonably strong all round, but not too much spark, which is a pretty good place to be in 2 weeks out from Commonwealth Games.
I was lucky enough to be picked for the team relay on Sunday, and after a fantastic job by the rest of the Aus team, I led off the anchor leg of the relay at the head of a group of 5. In hindsight, it was a pretty tough ask to battle with Brownlee and Luis (who were 1st and 2nd the day before) as well as a Hungarian athlete who was brought in especially for the relay and had not raced the day before, but I was a little disappointed to finish 4th and not win a medal with the Aussie team. Again in hindsight, it turns out the best decisions to make would have probably to be a little less aggressive on the bike, I put in a big effort to bridge to a Brownlee attack, which left me open to a counter attack from Luis, who ended up bridging and leaving me behind with the Hungarian. It’s hard to be a passive in a race like that, but it turns out that would have been the best option.
Anyway, I’ve swallowed that pill, and if I’m included in the relay for Glasgow, will be eager to execute with more sangfroid efficiency! So, from now, we don’t have too much hard work left to do, with two massive hits of intensity this weekend that left lactate in places I didn’t know I had places, we can rest and sharpen up over the next 10 days before Glasgow. Myself and Jacko will be in Aix, and will spend the next week recovering from the races, the last training block, as well as our time in the altitude tent, and hope to improve a bit more before we leave next Sunday for the Athlete Village. It’s an exciting time, just crossing the i’s and dotting the t’s (or possibly the other way around, but I’m sure no-one actually noticed that before I pointed it out...) in the final preparation for the race, and it’s a race and experience I’m really looking forward to! I’ll bring you another update from the Games Village with a few pre-race thoughts!
I started June with the 4th World Series of the year in London – a place I have very special memories of after wining U23 Worlds there last year. I didn’t have a great race – finishing 23rd but there was a lot of positives to take and sometimes the end result doesn’t tell the full story.
The next weekend I raced for my French team, Parthenay, in Valence. It was a relay format and we had a really strong team, and we ended up finishing in 2nd. It’s the first time I’ve been in a team that has made a podium so it was pretty exciting!Next up was Lekeitio Triathlon. Lekeitio is a coastal town an hours drive away from Vitoria. It is one of my favorite races as the atmosphere is crazy! The Basque love sport, and the crowds at Basque races are always huge. The bike course is basically a long climb, shorter and sharper descents, U Turn and back the way you come. It’s a tough bike course which normally works in my favour, and I managed to get away early and take out the win and the famous ‘Txapela’: a traditional Basque hat of the champion!
The next day Gwen and Pat organized a wine tour at a nearby Winery – Eguren Ugarte which our whole training group went to. I don’t drink a lot of wine, but it was very cool to learn the process of making it . We also had lunch out there and they even catered for myself being a vegetarian :)
A couple of days later we began our travel to Chicago for the World Series. My boyfriend Brendan and I had our flight cancelled and changed at the last minute due to air strikes, and we had to leave a day later. When we turned up at the airport we found out that we had been upgraded to business, which was a first for me and quite exciting! It all worked out well in the end and we both had good races both finishing in the top 10. I loved Chicago and we had a good time playing tourist post race – There’s still so much left I want to visit and I’m already looking forward to next year!
It has been nearly 6 weeks since I left home in Australia for my overseas training and racing trip and boy has the time flown by. With under 5 weeks until I race at the Commonwealth Games I can’t imagine how fast the race is going to come around. Since leaving home I have competed in the third and fourth rounds of the World Triathlon Series races, in Yokohama and London. Unfortunately Yokohama didn’t go as well as planned after finishing a disappointing 17th place after struggling with stomach issues during the run. From Japan it was onto our european base Aix Les Bains in France. This is my fifth year returning to Aix and once I was back it only felt like yesterday that I left.
Yokohama WTS Triathlon
After a quick two week turn around from Yokohama it was onto London for the next round of the series. I always love going back to London to compete, not only because it was where I raced at the Olympics two years ago but also because the city and course are one of my favorites on the circuit. I have some fantastic memories from London and fortunately this year didn’t disappoint. I claimed my first World Triathlon Series podium for the year and fourth in my career after finishing third place. It felt great to see all my hard work from training reflected in a race with a pleasing performance and one I am proud of. I am currently ranked 5th in the World Triathlon Series after my performances so far this year.
London WTS Triathlon
It has now been three weeks since London and I am currently in the middle of my training block for the Commonwealth Games. To say I am hurting from training would be an understatement but this is what needs to be done to ensure I get to the start line in Glasgow in the best shape possible and do Australia proud. The last three weeks of training have been great and I am looking forward to the next few and finishing off this block before my final race prior to the Games at Hamburg WTS.
Emma training in her custom SCODY cycle kit
I have had a fantastic time so far with my training group who make even the hardest sessions seem fun. Its always great to have other people there with you hurting but pushing each other through at the same time. And with the amazing scenery around us it is hard to not enjoy training and be motivated to get out the door for every session.
So far we have done three mountain climbs which have previously featured in the Tour De France and its great to have these at our door step, they sure do make for some hard riding! I am very lucky to be able to train in such a beautiful place and get to enjoy a different culture to our own. For now it is back to training, to a bit of baking and counting down the days until I put on the green and gold suit and toe the line in Glasgow.
My 2014 World Triathlon Series campaign didn’t start the way I’d imagined. After 4 races, I’d managed just one top 20, and a 21st, 23rd and 31st. It’s fair to say that I was starting to get a little frustrated that I wasn’t seeing much improvement.
Since arriving in my European base of Vitoria, things started to click a little more. Instead of feeling like I was just managing to get through training, I was pushing it. I started to feel like I was back to normal and ready to race!
So heading in to Chicago I was pretty excited, and I had a feeling I could make something good happen.
The course was quite different to any other Word Series races, in particular the bike course with 48 x 180 degree U Turns and 68 x 90 degree turns over 40km. It was going to be interesting to see how this aggressive course would affect the race.
It was clear that on race day it was going to be ridiculously hot and humid. These conditions are something that I’ve had serious issues with in the past, and it did worry me a little. Heat stress can be dangerous and as I’ve found out is not conducive to successful racing.
I had a plan though and I knew what I had to do to limit the stress and have a successful race: swim hard, ride conservatively and pace my run to within my limits.
Thankfully, the organisers decided to make the swim non wetsuit (even though the water was slightly too cool for that) due to the extreme heat. I was happy with that.
Lake Michigan was really choppy on the day of our race so after diving in I focused on an aggressive initial 200m then getting around the turn buoys in good position. Before I knew it I was diving back in for my 2nd lap in 5th! I ensured I kept my stroke speed up in the second lap and I exited the water and headed for the first transition within the first group of 10. Swim = success
We had a little gap back to the second group and I helped out where I could to ensure we increased our time on them but I also didn’t dig too deep and let my body’s core temperature get out of control. My group of 11 got off the bike with a one minute gap over the chase group where some quality runners were positioned.
I know my limits in the heat, and for me the run was going to be about pacing myself and focusing on my own race. Over the 10km it felt like it was getting hotter and hotter. My position moved around as I began to catch some of the early pace setters and several girls from the second pack caught up. I couldn’t have been any happier to see the finish line and I crossed in 10th place.
I’m happy with how the race turned out. My first top 10 of the year in conditions that I’ve only ever fallen apart in has given me a lot of assurance for the future. For me this year was always going to be about building through the season and I’m confident that this past weekend has been part of that progression.
SCODY professional triathletes Brad Kahlefeldt, Sam Appleton and Sam Betten took 1st, 4th and 5th at Ironman 70.3 Cairns all wearing their SCODY A.I.R Optimise Tri Suits. The race assembled one of the strongest professional fields at any Ironman 70.3 in Australia this year and the race was made that much harder due to the tough course and heavy rain. Brad, Sam A and Sam B give us their race recaps below.
SCODY: What were your thoughts on Ironman 70.3 Cairns pre race?
BRAD K: I enjoyed racing last year up north and really wanted to go one better than my 2nd place last year. It is one of my favorite courses, honest with hills with plenty of twists and turns. Race day came and it was wet. Unfortunately the rain didn’t ease up for the entire race. But I felt more sorry for the Ironman athletes having to race in it for the whole day. But in the end everyone gets wet and at least it wasn’t too cold.
SAM A: I really enjoy heading to Cairns each year. It’s a fantastic week long festival that has a really great atmosphere, culminating with the ironman and 70.3 events, which were held last Sunday. Ironman Asia Pacific do a great job of making the 70.3 feel just as important as the ironman event and not just an after thought as the ironman hype can truly be overwhelming.
SAM B: After racing this event last year and finishing 9th after exploding on the run I was pumped to show that I had what it takes to get onto the podium in 2014. I’d taken a confidence boosting 2nd at Coral Coast 5150 one week earlier and so I knew that the racing form was there. I woke on race day to the sound of heavy rain, something that doesn’t bother me after having some good past Ironman 70.3 & 5150 race results in wet conditions.
SCODY: How did the swim leg go for you?
BRAD K: I was out of the choppy swim in the front group of maybe 7 or 8 guys and avoided being swallowed by a croc which was nice. I was running out to the T1 tent when my wetsuit zipper was jammed, i tried pulling it up then down, but nothing, then I had to surge past mate Clayto and asked if he could help pull it down, was a huge relief to get it off and appreciate Clayto for helping.
SAM A: The swim was choppy, and I found it really hard to get into a rhythm but I still managed to maintain a good position up with the leaders. I came out in third after picking up a little wave onto the shore.
SAM B: My swim leg is always strong so I knew that all I had to do was stay in the top few positions to ensure that I was in the lead pack out of the water, heading out of T1. As many triathletes say, you can’t win the race in the swim but you sure can lose it.
SCODY: How did you manage with the wet conditions during the bike leg?
BRAD K: The pace at the start was set by training mate Joey, he has been injured most of the summer so wanted to surge and make the pace fast from the start as he hasn’t been running a lot yet. Unfortunately like some others I lost my bottle with my nutrition when we rode over about 6 speed bumps at KM 1 on the bike. Tim Reed went with Joey and started very hard. Joey baited a few of them to go with him and I knew what he was doing. Was good to see him back racing. Clayto surged up to Reedy and I decided I would have to go also. The pace continued with Sam Appo and Reedy pushing hard and riding well. Reedy surged again over Rex lookout and I looked back and there were some casualties including Courtney were off the pace. The pace was on for the majority of the ride and knew the surging up front would have to take its toll later on in the race.
SAM A: Out of T1 we formed a pack of about 8 or so guys which included all the pre race favorites. The rain was still coming down and I was pretty cautious around some of the sweeping corners that we had to negotiate on the beautiful coastal ride. Tim Reed put a surge in early up one of the climbs and I came to the front to help him out as I was really eager to try and get a gap on the faster runners, in particular Brad Kahlefeldt whose raw ITU speed is not matched by many in the world. I was feeling really good on the bike and our group had whittled down to 5. I was trying to create an opportunity to get away with another rider perhaps Clayton Fettell or Tim Reed as I was little apprehensive about my run speed as I had sustained a mild but annoyingly persistent foot injury that had reduced my run mileage since racing Busso 70.3 five weeks prior. The reduced run miles had allowed me some more time to focus on my bike, which was paying dividends during the race. I was pushing a higher wattage than I ever had before in a race but I was unsure how the other guys were feeling as well. The last 20km of the bike turned into a little game cat and mouse as it seemed that we all were resigned to the fact that the podium would be decided in a foot race.
SAM B: The first few kilometers of the bike leg through Palm Cove was chaotic, with several speed bumps causing many of the of pro men to lose their water bottles. I rode behind Tim Reed out of T1 and witnessed him lose both his sports drink bottle and water bottle off his bike. One of the great things about my Specialized S-Works Shiv is the integrated fuselage water storage inside my frame, which meant that I had no issues with loosing bottles. I also choose to run the rear bottle wing on the back of my Specialized Sitero saddle which I am also pleased to say held my bottle of Dextro Energy sports drink in securely. I think that I was the only one in the group to keep all my hydration attached to bike through these series of speed bumps. The ride was a true hard mans course leading us over the hills and around the tight corners along the Cairns coastline. Our group of 9 slowly started to drop riders with Joey Lampe the first to drop off the lead group soon followed by Courtney Atkison with a mechanical issue. I never really felt comfortable during the ride leg but stayed with the lead group over the hilly and VERY wet bike leg.
SCODY: What were you thinking at the beginning of run leg and during the race to the finish line?
BRAD K: We arrived in T2 with about 5 of us with some minutes on the rest of the field. I started solid and got into a good rhythm , and just kept an eye on the time I was up on the first lap. Reedy was only about 30 seconds down and Clayto not too far off him after the first lap so I pushed it some more to stretch it to a bit over a minute to Reedy . Half way through the 2nd lap my right calf started to seize up a little and it wasn’t until about 2km to go that it was started getting really painful and I started to get worried it may lock up. I’m not sure if it was because I missed my sodium from my missed bottle but I kept running and no way I would want to loose the race from there. I managed to win with the ever consistent Reedy in 2nd and Clayto in a well deserved 3rd.
SAM A: The 5 of us started the run together and I found myself running with a good stride but locked in a battle for 3rd place with Clayton Fettell. True to form Brad had taking off and had established a slight lead by halfway, Sensei Tim Reed was looking great in second. I was trying to get some more breathing room on Clayto but by 18km we were running side-by-side. I wasn’t able to go with his surge as my legs just seemed to turn off and shut down after the days hard racing. I made it home in 4th.
SAM B: Hitting T2 I had a shocker of a transition and exited just behind the eventual top 4 place getters. The entire run leg I felt very flat and never really found my rhythm which was frustrating after having the fastest run leg at Coral Coast 5150 just 1 week earlier. At the end of the 21.1km run leg I finished in 5th place, which provided me with another consistent top 5 result giving me the confidence I need at this stage of the season.
Congratulations to Brad on his Ironman 70.3 Cairns win and Sam Appleton and Sam Betten on their 4th and 5th place finishes in their custom SCODY A.I.R Tri Suits.
I’ve always loved racing in the tropical north of Australia. Not from just being a beautiful warm part of Australia but allowing me to race close to home. There’s nothing better than having friends and family watching and cheering for you.
Leading into yesterday’s race I’d made sure that my preparation was as good as I could make it, where I headed over to the USA post my win in Busselton a few weeks ago. This 4 week training block was done at higher than normal (sea level) altitude in stunning Colorado. This allowed me to clear the head and stay focused on my training.
To add to the mix of pressure before a big race, my bike nearly didn’t arrive back into the country. It was lost for a little but was eventually found in LA and was re-routed back to Australia. One less headache sorted out.
Given the very nature of tropical weather, it can be either super warm or raining and warm with a good mix of humidity. So yesterday’s race was just that – rain with more rain. Talk about waterlogged – I think I’ll be wet for the next few weeks.
The swim wasn’t going to be a whole lot of fun for anyone. The weather was crap coupled with sizeable waves which just added another layer to the already challenging conditions. Pardon the pun… but hey, we were all in the same boat, right? I was able to swim a good time of 52:11 which put me in 3rd coming out of the water. I could see I had Casey Munro and Peter Robertson ahead of me by around 2 minutes with Courtney Ogden right on my heals.
The wet roads were going to play a roll in the race and heading out onto the bike leg my main focus was to stay upright while crossing my fingers for no punctures. Leading out on the bike was Robbo, Casey and myself. Shortly after, Mat Burton and Cam Brown caught us. I felt gutted for Casey when I knew he punctured – it’s tough when you do as your day slips away.
Matt looked really strong and he and ended up doing a lot of the work out the front. All day long on the bike the rain was going to be there but then we had the wind to content with. The 5 of us came together into T2.
Heading out of T2 I found myself in the lead. I was quickly followed by Robbo and Cam. The 3 of kept pace for the first 12km and then Robbo dropped off. This is going to be a war a attrition.
Around 19km Cam started to turn the screws on me as I’m sure he could sense I was hurting. Each quicker step hurt just that little extra. By 21km he dropped me by a minute or so and that was the race done there. I wasn’t able to put any time back into Cam. And looking at his back half of the marathon, he was very strong.
I’d really like to take my hat off to Cam Brown today. He’s so consistent at this sport and as I said in the press conference on Friday, he’s going to be a hard man to beat, and he was with a 2:44 marathon.
For the curiously minded, here are my numbers from the day.3.8km swim in 52:11. 180km ride in 4:39:35 / avg. 38.63 km/h. 42.2km run in 2:48:15 / avg. 3:59/km. Finished the race in 8:23:23.
I’m currently sitting on an easyJet plane back from London, bound back to Aix, and currently sitting alongside a middle aged French woman, who in what I presume is some sort of avant-garde fashion statement, is choosing to wear her jumper as some sort of beanie. Whilst my expertise limits me from lampooning fashion choices with any modicum of authority, I can say with absolute certitude that given by the frequency with which she chooses to hit me quite vociferously with her elbows, she is surely in training for some sort of MMA bout.
So, London. A small hamlet, largely famous for being the home of Ben’s Cookies, which rates as one of my top 3 cookies of all time, and I can say that with all the expertise of a bogan appraising a commodore. This was my 5th time to London to grace a starting pontoon, and with a nod to Samuel Johnson, I neither tire of London or life, however, I’m becoming increasingly familiar with being tired whilst in London, and this time was no different.
The race fell approximately in the middle of the bell curve of expectations, being neither brilliant enough to warrant vigorous self-patting of ones back, nor terrible enough to extricate concerns from others when venturing close to high, unguarded balconies post-race. Things started off amicably enough for the first few furlongs of the swim, however, the first buoy reminded me of listening to a Korean Top 40 radio station - there were hits everywhere, and I didn’t particularly enjoy the experience. Eventually making around the first buoy slightly dazed and more tenderized than a Gordon Ramsay steak, the rest of the swim was comparatively benign, and I made my egress from the Serpentine a few seconds down on the front of the main pack. This time round in T1, I was fortunate enough to display enough sangfroid dexterity to place my helmet on the correct way around, but I feel that’s not going to be enough to dissuade the litany of gags I’ve copped since Yokohama... but let’s face it, I probably deserve all I receive. It’s a bike course capable of playing host to more speed than a Sydney nightclub, and although the pace was fast, the rest of the bike was more about positioning, throwing elbows, and attempting to be at the front into T2, rather than pure unadulterated power.
Out on to the run, and it was a pyroclastic explosion of footspeed for 5km, in front of a typically endearing, and decidedly obstreperous London crowd. I ran ok, but lacked spark to kick on over the last km, which cost me a few positions to have me finish in 24th. Around 15 seconds either way could have had me in either 10th or 35th, tight racing! This has me currently ranked 15th in the World Series.
So, once I’m back in Aix, we’ll kick off my last hard training block before the Comm Games - 6 weeks of grafting hard, including some time in the infamous altitude tent, making it’s French debut. There’ll be prodigious amounts of hard work, and hopefully a yarn or two to spin along the way. Check back here for such yarns.
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.
We’re lined up, getting called on to the pontoon one by one. The nerve racking ITU music booms over the announcer and it feels like its just getting louder and louder. I’m nervous. Do I really belong here?
‘Number twenty, from Australia, the current U23 ITU World Champion Charlotte McShane’
That’s what has preceded every race start this year. I can’t help but smile and get a little excited as I run on to the pontoon and pick my position in between countless Olympians, WTS winners and former World Champions. This year, I know I belong there.
Yokohama was a two-lap wetsuit swim that happened to be incredibly choppy the morning of the race. My swim performance was almost identical to last year when I raced here: disappointing. I struggled to get stroke speed up and put the pressure on when I really needed to.
I finished the swim leg in close contact to three other athletes with much of the field ahead of us and I knew I was going to have to ride hard to make up ground on the lead groups early on.
YokoBikeAmerican Lindsey Jerdonek came flying past me in the first 1km and I sprinted on to her wheel and spent the next three laps doing all I could just to stay there. At around the 15km mark, we had caught the front group that now contained the majority of the field. Now it was time to ride smart and save some energy for the run.
It was crazy the sudden pace difference one we caught on – I had gone from going as hard as I possible, to what felt very pedestrian. I did all I could to take the time to try and recover and freshen my legs up for the run.
Heading into transition, I managed to make my way up to the front of the large group – a wise move with some girls hitting the deck due to the huge surge for the bike dismount line.
I headed out on to the run and the pace was on from the start. My legs were feeling flat, I struggled to match the initial intensity and for the first 2.5km it felt like everyone had passed me.
I eventually settled into my own rhythm and begun to build through the back half of the 10km picking girls off who were beginning to fade. Heat and humidity (something I’ve struggled with already this year) had climbed throughout the morning, which is something that in hindsight it might have been a blessing in disguise that I wasn’t able to push myself too hard at the start. I was able to finish strong and run back into 19th place.
It’s hard not to be disappointed when there are 18 girls finishing ahead of you. I train and race because I want to win every time I get on the start line. However I’m learning that winning can be a lengthy process and as long as I’m constantly progressing and moving forward it is a different kind of win.
I only have a few months left to enjoy the title when my name is announced on the line up. I quite enjoy being a World Champion. I guess it motivates me that little extra bit to one day earn myself another one..
Well, like a high jumping prairie dog, I’ve got a plain to jump on. I’m currently about to travel from Helsinki to Geneva, to eventually arrive in my second home of Aix Les Bains sometime this evening, no doubt in a haze a jet lag and non-specific, travel-induced grumpiness that one tends to get traveling from Japan to Europe, particularly with a lack of good-race endorphins to feed off.
The mornings in Brissie had started to get a little darker, and the temperature had dropped into the frigid mid-20s, which meant that last week it was time to embark on the triathlete’s idiosyncratic migration to warmer climes. After a melancholic farewell to Brisbane for the winter, the first stop on the intercontinental tour was Japan, home to arguably Japan’s finest export, the Pocky, a chocolate coated pretzel.
Lamentably, the first race of the tour in Yokohama got off to a less than impressive start, a brief and ugly affair which resulted in my first DNF in several years, a fact that leaves a somewhat nasty taste in my mouth, like improperly cooked Brussel sprouts. Or properly cooked Brussel sprouts for that matter. I didn’t swim particularly well, which had me out towards the back of the bunch, but in a position that it turns out would have been salvageable, providing things didn’t go wrong. It was at this point, things started to go wrong. Showing the agility of a hippo, I cannoned into the back of another athlete who had come to a screeching halt in the run to transition, sending me lid over biscuit and sliding all over the blue carpet. Having recovered from this, I then proceeded to put my helmet on back-to-front, in what was rapidly becoming a slapstick comedy routine. Hearing the technical officials outraged bellow, I stopped to fix my helmet, knocked over my bike, and generally made a goose of myself whilst the race went up the road. I chased by myself for a few laps, but in those few precious seconds I’d wasted, the race was gone. Whilst stubborn pride was screaming at me to continue, pragmatic reason dictated that with a season stacked with travel and racing ahead, it was wiser to pull out of a race with any points or result well out of reach.
Satisfyingly, I’ve got only 2 weeks to wait before I can have another crack at a start line, which I’m awaiting with a perfervid determination for a juxtaposing performance at the London WTS. Until then, I’ll be in France, practicing swimming faster, sidestepping better, and putting on my helmet the right way around...
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.
At the recent Ironman 70.3 in Busselton, Australia 3 of the top 4 professional men finishers opted to wear the latest generation of triathlon ‘aero’ apparel. This came in the form of the new Scody A.I.R Optimise triathlon suit (CLICK HERE)
The athletes wearing the Scody A.I.R Optmise suit at this event were none other than Tim Berkel (1st), Sam Applelton (3rd) and yours truly Sam Betten (4th). As a professional triathlete I am no different to any other triathlete when it comes to hearing about out the latest and greatest triathlon gear and apparel. To put it simply, I want to be racing in and on the best and fastest products on the market.
Ironman 70.3 Busselton was my first half distance triathlon in the Scody A.I.R Optmise tri suit and to say that I was impressed is an understatement. Normally I expect some sort of chaffing or rubbing from my race suit as after all, I am racing for near enough to 4 hours! However I was shocked to notice that after the race, when I took my suit off, that I had no chaffing what so ever! The months and months of development have paid off big time for Scody as all the athletes who have worn this suit have the same positive feedback.
Tim Berkel – 1st Ironman 70.3 Busselton
I love my Scody Optimise A.I.R Tri suit. It's fast and the most comfortable tri suit I have ever worn. No more Chafing and I also get great protecting from the sun. When you look good, you feel good, you go good.
The other big benefit that myself and many other athletes have noticed is the way that this suit helps you to feel COOLER. The sleeved arms feel fast with the dimpled matrix fabric and they also noticeably help protect you from the suns heat on the top of your back, shoulders and arms.
This is backed up by professional triathlete Matty White who is an athlete who has always used a sleeved tri suit for the added sun protection.
Matty White – Professional Ironman Triathlete
I have used a sleeve suit a lot throughout my career due to the comfort and sun protection and after consultation with Scody RD they have developed an even better suit with improved breath ability and comfort and with the added speed benefit. It's the best race suit around.
Amongst all the athletes who have had the opportunity to wear the A.I.R Optmise tri suit one comment is always how FAST this suit feels while racing. While no data has been formally released on exact time saving benefits every athlete who has worn the suit has felt a difference over their standard race suit.
Sam Appleton – 3rd Ironman 70.3 Busselton
I love my new A.I.R Scody skin suit. Not only is it the fastest and most comfortable suit I've worn, but it also racks up style points. It helps keep me cooler in the hotter races and feels faster on the bike and run.
The Scody A.I.R triathlon suit is really a no brainer when it comes to looking good, feeling fast and staying cool. After finishing 4th myself at the Ironman 70.3 in Busselton I had these words to say about my own experiences while racing in the Scody A.I.R Optmise tri suit.
Sam Betten – 4th Ironman 70.3 Busselton
A very fast 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. No chaffing what so ever even over an Ironman 70.3 Triathlon lasting close to 4 hours!
If you were considering a new triathlon race suit then the Scody A.I.R Optmise triathlon suit should be on the top of your list. As all the professional triathletes are saying, this is a suit that looks good, feels good and helps you to achieve your goals.
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.
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 bit...talk 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 place...my 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.
What an incredible day. A course record to take out the 2014 Ironman 70.3 in Busselton, Western Australia. I couldn’t be happier right now.
It was a picturesque morning in Busselton on Saturday yesterday and it unfolded as I had hoped it would. But before I jump into how the race went I wanted to share with you how I almost didn’t make it to the start line.
My preparation leading up to the race had been really good. I’d put some solid sessions in and I was feeling comfortable at where I was. As you can see by my data I didn’t end up training during the last week.
I nearly wasn’t able to make the start line at all as my final week of preparation was thrown into chaos. The timing was terrible. Two weeks out from the race I came down with a bug which went through the squad. I ended up having it the longest, which in hindsight, may have done me well given that I had forced rest and plenty of sleep. Hats off to my wonderful wife, Bel, who looked after me while I was ill.
The start gun went off in Geographe Bay for the open water swim beside the famous Busselton jetty. The water was glass-like and not a breath of wind could be found.
Courtney and Sam lead the swim out of the water. I felt like I had a great swim and was able to stay in the front bunch which really helped to set up the rest of the day for me. This is something I have worked a lot on over the last 6 months or so.
Out on the bike Tom Rodgers and James Hodge put some hard work in early. We were very fortunate again to have have any real wind hitting us.
Coming out of T2 and onto the run was a group of 9 which consisted of Guy Crawford, James Hodge, Courtney Atkinson, Sam Appelton, Alex Reithmeir, Tom Rodgers, Sam Betten, Casey Munro and myself. This is where the race is really going to begin as there was only about a minute between all of us.
Halfway through the second lap I managed to shake Sam and now I was moving in on closing down the gap between myself and Courtney. By the end of 2nd lap (14km) I’d passed Courtney and from there, it was up to me to hold on and ensure the win.
For the curious minded, I was fortunate to break the course record by a few minutes which was held by Brad Kahlefeldt at 3:45:38 with my winning time of 3:43:07. I’ve finally got one over my good mate and training partner. This one’s for you!
Throughout my amateur and professional career, racing in Busselton has always been a personal favourite and why I love coming back to support both the 70.3 and full Ironman events.
What I love about Busselton?
- Its racing ‘Down Under’ with my mates!
- The fantastic atmosphere. The local community and regional business support towards triathlon, is always welcoming and friendly.
- Its a great destination race. The tourist attributes of Busselton and south west coast of WA. Its location also within close proximity of the Margaret River wine region.
- The spectator friendly nature of the multi-lap course. There's a great vibe and energy from the sidelines throughout the race. The gorilla playing drums on the run course a highlight!
- Various potential environmental conditions which can be thrown at you, keeping racing honest and a challenge. The unforgiving flat terrain with no hills or rollers to have a breather and common winds gusts are characteristic of this event.
Swim as hard as you can and hang on!I The water was calm and crystal clear. I focused on staying with our pack including Kristy and Michelle, maintaining a consistent rhythm and pace.
Bike like I wanna blow up! Today, both mind and body were switched on towards driving 110% into the best 90km bike split I could, irrespective of where my position would be at the end of it or how shattered I would feel. Trust your training and fitness. With a decent gap between the FPro and Age group swim waves, I could concentrate on riding hard by myself and maintaining my nutrition. Power felt good and I manged to move my position from the back to the front of the race, rolling into T2 with race leaders Anna and Kate. My transition was terrible to say the least. The girls had already shot off like a rocket, while I was still trying to put a sock on, pathetic! Moving on...
Run with no limits….Smashed legs alright! This sport is such a mental game and I love the mind-set challenge of it. Smiling allows me to engage with the atmosphere and to focus on key words and people who inspire me, including Belinda who was also racing with us today – To never ever give up, believe in myself, dig deep, and run with no limits. I don't think I could have given much more on this day, and for me that's racing happy.
Kate has always been an inspiration in my own career. Her drive, passion, personal achievements, goals in this sport and what she brings to this community. As a local WA athlete, to see Kate finally win Busselton 70.3 and achieve the double title in both 70.3 and IM, is testimony to her talent and hard work ethic.
I personally feel I achieved a lot in my own race and really proud to come runner up to Kate. Given my strengths and weaknesses in triathlon and racing from behind. But also, re-connecting over the past few weeks, with the reasons why I do this sport - To simply race hard from start gun to finish line…for the love of it.
The depth, experience and talent of female professionals supporting the event was fantastic. Well done Katy on your podium 3rd place result.
On Sunday I raced in the iconic St. Croix 70.3. It was a bucket list race I wanted to compete in for many years. It has been running for over 30 years and is one of the toughest most honest courses in the world. St Croix is in the US Virgin Islands in the Caribbean a short trip from where I was based in Florida for St Anthony's the week prior.
I was out of the swim in the first small pack of 5 and we stayed away on the bike putting some time into the chasing pack. I survived the infamous 'beast' climb at mile 20. It was about 1km long and averaged around 14%, some sections at the top were 26%! It was great fun but hard! I was into T2 3rd by myself after Josh Amberger and Tim O'donnell of the US broke away with 15miles to go. I caught Josh in the first lap on the hilly and very hot run. Tim stayed away and deserved the win. I finished 2nd and was happy to back up well from St. Anthony's in another strong field.
Sunday I placed 2nd in St Anthony's triathlon in St Petersburg Florida. St Anthony's is one of the oldest races in the US and apart of the 5150 Tri series and draws a quality field as it is apart of the qualification for Hyvee Des Moines with the the most points and good prize money.
I swam with the first group and we pushed hard on the bike riding 54.20 for the 40k ride. I took over the lead at the 4km mark on the run but unfortunately couldn't hold it in the last mile being passed by Swiss Ruedi Wild. Looking back I should of had a gel on the run as a hard non drafting race is a little different to an ITU drafting race.
In the end It was my first big result in the US which was pleasing and now I'm heading down for St Croix 70.3 this Sunday.
In this first episode of ‘SCODY FAST 5’ we chat to World Champion and Olympic Triathlete, Emma Jackson. Emma has just secured her spot on the Australia team for the Commonwealth Games and is also a regular on the ITU World Triathlon Series.
Check out the video to get some great insights into the mind of this World Champion triathlete.
As the first ever ITU WTS race in African soil, heading to Cape Town was like heading into the unknown. The course, the city and the weather was for the most part hearsay so I didn’t really know what to expect.
Beautiful Cape Town scenery
We started off the long trip over last Tuesday. With so much travel and the time difference, I was a little worried about how I would feel going in to the race. As it turned out I had little trouble and felt minor negative effects in the lead up.
The little information I had heard turned out to be true. Cape Town was beautiful, the course was flat & the water was very cold. So cold that for safety reasons the organisers had to cut the swim short by half making it a single lap 750m course.
As always, the swim was on from the get go. I didn’t really have a clue where I was in relation to everyone else until I exited the water. I was well within the front half of the field, and I quickly worked out I was in the company of some strong riders. Our group were around 20 seconds down at the start and I am disappointed/frustrated/angry to say it ended up at over 2 minutes down by the end. The front group of girls worked extremely well together, and it paid off in a big way. Although we had some incredibly strong riders in our group, sometimes that isn’t always enough and literally every single person needed to pull their weight in the group and that just didn’t happen. It’s a situation I’m all too familiar with and one that I’ll do all I can to eradicate.
Cape RunStarting the run, I wasn’t quite sure how many were in our group and how many were ahead. I struggled to start off as quick as most of the other girls, but I built into it and crossed the line 21st. It was far from my best WTS result but if I’m honest, the last few months have been a real struggle for me to get going and Cape Town was the first time this year that I felt like I was racing, and not just trying to get through it … And that for me is a big step forward.
There is a lot left in me this year and I’m excited to finally feel like I’m making progress. I’m determined to make this year better than 2013 :)
I head off to Europe via a quick stop in Yokohama, Japan for the third round of the series in 2 weeks.
A huge congratulations to the podium girls- Jodie Stimpson, Helen Jenkins & my training partner Gwen Jorgensen!
I’ll start this race report by giving you the reality of life as a professional triathlete, which is that this is one hell of a rocky journey. In the last 2 months I have been dealt a very painful back injury that keep me bed ridden for near enough to 3 weeks. This forced me out of what was to be my first big race of 2014, Challenge Batemans Bay. In addition to this the last 2 weeks leading into Ironman 70.3 Busselton I had not done a run longer than 20 minutes without pain in my knees from yet another injury issue.
As someone close to me told me, the road is bumpy and has lots of unexpected ups and downs, which are to be expected and embraced.
In saying all of the above you can forgive me for being just a little bit apprehensive in flying across the country to race IRONMAN 70.3 BUSSELTON. Going into race I wasn’t nervous and more so just wanted to get a lot of frustration out of my system after missing many of my planned early season races and training.
Race day crept up on me like always and I prepared to toe the start line on the famous Busselton course. The start was more of a gentleman’s agreement as the count down began and we all dove into the cold, clear waters together. I quickly found myself swimming side by side with young James Hodge the 2012 winner of this event. James and I rounded the far swim turn together before Courtney Atkinson kicked it up a gear and swam past me. Not one to let him get away I stayed glued to his feet for the remainder of the swim. Heading towards the swim exit I attempted to get past Courtney who wasn’t amused by all of this and also lifted his pace. I made the effort to sprint past Courtney up the beach and cross the timing mat with the fastest swim of the day and also a nice little swim prime bonus. A quick look over the shoulder confirmed that we had a nice two-man gap heading out onto the bike leg.
This gap allowed me to take the time to put my socks on and have a more leisurely T1. I knew that there was a strong pack of men behind who would be unwilling to let Courtney and I ride off into the sunrise so lifting the heart rate and smashing the first part of the bike leg wasn’t in my best interest. I let the pack catch up and settled into my rhythm aboard my Specialized S-Works Shiv. I paid close attention to my position in the pack sitting in 4th for the entire first lap while also ensuring that I was drinking and having my Dextro Energy gels at regular intervals.
Heading out onto the final lap a few keen athletes decided to move up in the pack, which moved me further back than I would have liked. With the large amount of age groupers on the course during this 2nd lap I kept my head up and stayed out of trouble letting others set the tempo.Hitting T2 I was feeling pretty good and ready to see if my legs would make it through a Saturday morning half marathon after a 1.9km swim and 90km ride. Being that I had already put my socks on in T1 and most of the other athletes hadn’t in order to make the front pack I had a very quick transition and went out into the run in 2nd place. Courtney hit gas early and soon enough Sam and Tim also came through and took the podium positions up the road.
After all the injuries and lack of run training I resorted to settling into my own rhythm and pace in order to have the best run I could. Guy soon joined me and we ran together for most of the first run lap of 3. Guy was breathing hard and dropped off half way through lap 2 of the run leaving me in 5th place. With just one lap to go I wasn’t happy with the gap I had on 6th and 7th so I pushed just a little bit harder to make sure that once I hit the final turn my competitors saw that they had no chance of catching me.
With just 2 kms to go I heard a fellow pro on the other side of the road yell something to me, which I thought was ‘they are catching you’. A few hundred meters later and I clued onto what he had really said which was ‘Courtney is walking!’. I was pretty surprised to see Courtney Atkinson walking but it looked like his day was all over red rover.
I crossed the line is 4th which was for me was an amazing result considering the terrible preparation that I had in the lead up to the event. During the entire run I really felt in control and was never out of breath, however with the lack of run miles in training I was a V6 engine in a running race of V8 engines. With some weeks of good run training behind me I am very confident that I can be up there fighting for the win in my other races to come this year.
Next up is Byron Bay Olympic Distance Triathlon this coming weekend. I am really looking forward to getting on that start line again before heading back home to start a very big winter training block.
It only felt like yesterday that the clock hit midnight on December 31st 2013 and we were welcomed into the year 2014. Fast forward three months and I found myself toeing the line in Auckland for the opener of the World Triathlon Series. After having a good summer of training I was both excited and nervous to begin the season. Going into the race ranked 9th the plan was to follow the athletes ranked ahead of me and start on the pontoon the same side as them. After having made this error in my previous race I made sure I didn't make the same mistake again and followed the others to the right hand side.
Once on the pontoon I noticed no one had taken the most right position on the end so I decided to take the gamble and grab that starting position. As soon as the horn went off I was glad I went with my gut as I had a great start and did not get touched by anyone else until the first turn buoy. Like most races it was a fight around the two turn buoys so I lost a few positions going around them but was happy to exit the 2 lap swim within the main pack and only 13 seconds behind the first athlete.
After attacking T1 and the first few kilometers of the bike I was in the front pack by the time we reached the first of three hills on the 8 lap bike course. The first hill was the hardest out of the three and by the top of it on the first lap all I was thinking was how am I going to do this another 7 times! I told myself everyone else's legs would be hurting just as much as mine so not to panic. Other athletes began dropping off in the early stages of the bike before three athletes attacked off the front. It would of been great to try and have gone with them however I didn't think my legs would be able to handle it.
Auckland is known for its hard bike leg and it definitely lived up to its name and I most certainly found it one of the hardest I have ever done in a race before.
Coming into T2 our group of around 20 athletes were over 30 seconds down on the breakaway of three so the main focus was trying to catch them on the run. I was running with a group of six athletes and it was evident that we were gaining on the two New Zealand athletes from the breakaway but not gaining any time on eventual winner Jodie Stimpson. At around the 4km mark I began to struggle and dropped off the girls I was running with.
After never really finding my running legs during the 10km I was relieved to see the finish line and cross in 11th place. It wasn't the result I was after however I know there were quite a few positives to take from the race and that it was a solid start to the season.
Auckland was the final race before the Commonwealth Games selection period ended so hopefully my results from last year and this year will be good enough to get selected onto the team. Racing for Australia at the London Olympics has only made me more determined to race in the green and gold at another major championships as the experience was like no other. For now however I will keep my fingers and toes crossed and get back to training in preparation for round two of the World Triathlon Series in Cape Town.
Scody wishes to congratulate both Emma Jackson and Dan Wilson on their selection to represent Australia at the 2014 Glasgow Games. Both Emma and Dan are Scody ambassadors and we all wish them the best on their quest for gold.
Last weekend marked the Triathlon Queensland State Championships as well as the first race in my SCODY Optimise A.I.R. tri suit. After the highly anticipated release and début of the SCODY Optimise A.I.R.Tri Suit where SCODY athletes Tim Berkel and John Polson placed 1st and 2nd at Challenge Melbourne I was more than excited to get my hands on this new generation tri suit from SCODY.
Upon receiving this new ‘super suit’ I honestly felt like a kid on Christmas. Just feeling the zoned fabric construction in my hands it was obvious that the heart and sole of the entire SCODY R&D team has been poured into creating something very special.
Once I put on the SCODY Optimise A.I.R.tri suit it immediately felt amazing with every panel hugging my body. SCODY offers both an off the shelf white or charcoal version of the suit however the team at SCODY also offer a custom design program. Being a SCODY sponsored athlete ambassador really has it perks, as my SCODY Optimise A.I.R. tri suit is a one of a kind, custom designed masterpiece.
The zoned fabric construction with special ‘dimpled’ matrix fabric helps to reduce drag while the air flex side panels keep you staying cool while racing. The suit also offers great sun protection with the sleeved areas giving you more coverage than your traditional triathlon race apparel. In fact the SCODY Optimise A.I.R. tri suit has a UPF rating of 50+. This is perfect for those hot races where you need to stay cool in order to perform to your potential.
During my first race the SCODY Optimise A.I.R. tri suit performed exactly how I expected it to. The entire suit stayed exactly in place and did I mention how FAST it feels! If nothing else the way this suit feels as it cuts through the air is very different to anything that I have ever worn before. The Italian made chamois provides great comfort even while spending time in the aero position while on the bike leg however it doesn’t chafe at all while running. The two back mesh pockets held my nutrition in place really well while still remaining easily accessible.
In essence, if you are after a tri suit that looks good, feels great and performs amazingly then look no further than the SCODY Optimise A.I.R. Tri Suit.
There aren’t many courses on the ITU circuit that compare to Auckland. I don’t think it matters how your body feels... It’s always going to hurt from start to finish. Its tough. When you’re not 100% on, it’s a very long 51.5km.
A non-wetsuit, 2 lap swim in the chilly Auckland harbor. For the first lap I barely felt like I was swimming... I was just fighting for position desperately trying to find some clear water. I got two big hits to my left eye, which knocked my goggles off. No big deal, we prepare for that. I managed to rearrange them slightly on the short run on the pontoon before diving in to begin the second 750m lap. I could then get a bearing of where I was positioned: just off the back of a big group. I spent the next lap trying to tack onto the back.
On to the ride, I was behind the front group but I was surrounded by some strong riders and I was confident we’d catch the leaders early on. We were closing in on the group significantly when on the third lap (of eight) I was all of a sudden at a standstill. Another girl a few places ahead in the group had hit a side barrier and hit the deck leaving those behind, including me, with no where to go but straight into the pile up.
I didn’t touch the ground. Bikes and bodies became entangled with my back wheel jammed pinning me in the middle. If it’s hard to imagine there is plenty of coverage on the ITU highlights video. It was an awkward situation to say the least.
So after what felt like forever, I managed to become unstuck, got up, checked my bike and off I went. I think I spent maybe half a lap on my own trying to track down some others to work with.
We regrouped and still had five laps (25km) to go. That’s a long way when you’re now a few minutes behind the leaders.
I’d love to say that I then went and busted out the best 10km of my life, but I didn’t. It was probably one of my slowest ever.
So I crossed the line in 31st, demoralized and wondering how I managed to get it so wrong.
I’m lucky though. The lovely people at Liv Giant Australia custom designed my bike for me this year – it’s decked out with the World Champ rainbow stripes. I only need to take one glance at it & I’m reminded of what I am capable of and what I did and how I felt in London last year. Now I’m motivated, not demoralized. My bike means more to me now than ever. So Auckland sucked, big time.
Thanks to my coach Jamie Turner, I was 100% physically prepared and I’m gutted that I didn’t show it.
I head off to Cape Town in two weeks time for Round 2.
Well, much like a long jumper training in a field of trenches, I found myself jumping across the ditch again to New Zealand on the weekend for the World Triathlon Series opener in Auckland. World Series races are of significant consequence at the best of times, and this one had the ancillary importance of being a significant race in the bid for selection for the Commonwealth Games.
A top class field and a bike course of remarkable topographical significance, meant that this race was likely to deal out more pain than a dentist with Parkinson's. As such stems were preparing to be chewed, faces being prepped to scowl, and bombs of lactate hopefully being set to weather.
I started out with a pretty good swim, and was just off the back of Gomez et al once we hit terrestrial transport, and ripped some serious turns early with Frenchman Vincent Luis to get to the front by the first of the hills. This meant I hit the first of the hills with enough lactate in the legs to kill a medium sized horse, but having successfully negotiated the first lap on the bike, I was able to settle into a decent rhythm, as our front group of around 12 grafted out a decent sized gap over the main bunch. Impressively, in a superlative display on two wheels, Tom Davidson bridged up to our group along with the impressively mustached Declan WIlson and Ryan Sissons. It’s a little known fact that TD can pedal enough watts to power a medium sized town for up to a week, and the New Zealand Prime Minister has TD’s number on speed dial should he be required to help out a power failure at short notice. Shout-out should also go to Johnny Brownlee for correcting my lamentable arithmetic, and preventing me the career-ending embarrassment of dismounting the bike a lap early.
Once on the run, and Brownlee and Gomez clearly had somewhere else to be, and excused themselves from company, leaving myself, Royle and Bailie to have an all- Aussie, good-old-fashioned-running-duel for third.
Running together until about 100m to go, notorious sprint-merchant Royle dropped a bomb on us that I couldn’t match, but managed to stay ahead of Bailie to snare 4th, my best WTS result to date, and hopefully a strong performance to show the selectors for the Commonwealth Games team. It was a really satisfying race, and to go 3-4-5 with the other Aussie lads made it a truly special day. Thanks for all the cheering on course, and to the many who’ve sent me messages since the race, I really appreciate the kind words - consider the cockles of my heart appositely warmed.
From here, it’s back to Brissie to continue training for my next race, the WTS Yokohama, and to wait the decision of the selectors, who will name the Commonwealth Games team towards the end of next week.
Adelaide, South Australia (4 March 2014) – The Adelaide World Duathlon local organising committee is pleased to announce the appointment of competition management personnel for the Adelaide 2015 ITU Duathlon World Championships from October 14-18, 2015.
Garry Muir has been appointed as the Competition Manager, supported by Andrew Bartlett as Operations Manager. Garry has extensive experience in leadership and race management, at numerous national triathlon and duathlon events over the past two decades, including International Triathlon Union events. Andrew Bartlett has organised the Barmera Murray Man triathlon in South Australia for several years, which has been Triathlon Australia’s national Long Distance Championships, as well as state participation events. Adelaide World Duathlon General Manager, Jenny Mann, said “I am delighted to work with Garry again, a decade after he was in charge of competition at the 2005 Duathlon World Champs in Newcastle. Garry and Andrew have undertaken a comprehensive site visit and course inspection, and we all share a common vision for next year’s World Championships”.
Competition Management will work closely with New Zealand’s ITU Technical Delegate, Ross Capill, to confirm the inner-city race course and event schedule.
Triathlon Australia’s main national team selection race will test the race course this year at the Australian Duathlon Championships on 19 October, 2014.
I am currently on my way back from New Plymouth after starting off my World Cup season with a pretty strong race. I swam well at the front end of the field, and then broke away in a 2 man breakaway early into the bike leg. We stayed comitted to the breakaway and managed to gain around 25-30 secs on the chasing pack heading into T2. The start of the run hurt quite a bit, but I managed to build the back end of my race and hold on for 9th place.
It was a great start to my ITU World Cup season, and this just shows that I am looking good for the ITU Auckland World Series race in just 2 weeks time. This is set to be the first ITU World Series race of 2014, and also doubles as our Commonwealth Games selection race!
I'm sitting here relaxing at the Yas Marina Waterworld - Abu Dhabi's impressive water park, un-naturally positioned in the middle of the dry, sandy desert. It's the morning after the race and most of the top pros are here, recovering/having a good time compliments of the race organisers. Then there's Greg Welch over on the wave machine by himself (because he's the only one good enough for it) like a little kid let loose. He's been back and forth on his boogey board, dominating the ride for hours, having the time of his life. He's good...but he's gonna be sore tomorrow! Just before this I was talked into going on the scariest ride in the park. The something-or-other "drop". You stand in a tight, clear glass capsule, a voice counts down from 3, then the floor drops away and you plummet straight down. Jared had gone down before me and was waiting at the bottom. But I didn't make to the end to greet him with a big thrilled smile. No, I didn't make it to the end at all. The lady at the top calmly says to our photographer "The light ones never make it". Instead of flying around the loop-de-loop section at the bottom, I made it half way round, slowly came to a stop, then slid backwards to a low point in the slide. A couple seconds of slight confusion later, a nice lady kindly opens a little emergency escape door for me and I climbed out of the slide, through a tiny hole in a fake-rock wall, and back to the real world. It was like I was one of the kids at Willy Wonka's chocolate factory that had to be eliminated. Moments later the green flags went back up from the slide operators and everyone continued on like nothing happened.
The water park was fun. The race yesterday...not so much. Yesterday was the toughest race of my career. One in which I think I'll learn greatly from and has given me extra mental strength of knowing just how far my body will go when on empty. I made some nutritional errors on the bike that I paid for. Also, the week of Abu Dhabi I came down with a head cold. I was quick to get onto the garlic and was pretty confident I'd knock it on the head before the race. I arrived late Wednesday night. Thursday and Friday morning I went for a short spin, while my legs felt unusually stiff and tight I put this down to the long flights and tried to forget about it.
The non wetty 3km swim went pretty well and I exited the water in 4th place. I was about 5:30 behind Jodie, but comparing my swim leg to Jodie's freakish abilities in the water is like comparing my swim to the lead mens pack. Michelle and Svetlana were only 2.30 in front. I mounted my Shiv and as soon as I started pedalling, my legs and gluts were really tight, like someone was squeezing them just like Thursday and Fridays rides. I spent the next hour and a half telling myself they're just tight because the longer swim...that's all...they'll come good. I was still making decent time, I was now about 2.30 behind Jodie and 30sec behind Michelle. By the 70k mark the tight feeling became deep painful stabs and full on cramps. At this point I had passed Michelle, while poor Jodie had missed a turn somewhere, putting me in the lead. I was now leading which was great news...but at what cost, my legs were in pain and I couldn't pedal full circles without my left quad feeling like ripping off the bone.
By 100k the cramping faded, but then returned at 130k . To make things worse, at this point I was getting desperately short on nutrition because I had lost my mars bar at 5k and had lost some gels at 60k. I was having a lot of bad luck trying to get any nutrition from aid stations along the way. The media bike blocked one station, age groupers were all over the next. Then I finally managed to get my hands on 'aqualyte' - a drink that contains no calories! I also managed to get a half-filled water bottle. I rationed it to make it last till the next bottle I got. I was like a fat kid rationing his last smarty. I could have a lick but not the whole thing.
The last 20k was tough, I had no water, no calories and was dizzy, weak and fading. I saw Jared at T2 and asked how long I had (to 2nd place)? He said "a minute and a half an hour ago". That was not good. As I sat in T2, I didn't want to get up but I was in desperate need of water so I slowly pulled myself to my feet and jogged the 500m or so to the first aid statin where I enjoyed everything they had to offer, twice over. I wanted to stay longer but Jared informed me as I left T2 that I had only a 30sec lead.
Usually with the run my strength any lead I would be happy with, but today I knew this was going to get ugly. The run course had several switchbacks so it wasn't long before I saw Yvonne running me down. There was nothing I could do to pick up the pace if I were to finish this race on my feet. At 7km I could hear Yvonne's footsteps so I slowed a little to prepare for her attack. A couple minutes later she joined me by my side and matched my pace. It was a relief when she didn't try to go straight by and I thought she must be really struggling too. We ran together for a couple km's at a slightly slower pace and I tried to refuel with regular doses of water and coke. I thought if she's content to sit around running this slower pace keeping me in the picture I might still have a chance. At the 10km turnaround I managed to get a small gap coming out of the turn cone. I hadn't planned to make a move here, it just happened as I accelerated out of the turn...so I went with it. I went ahead just enough to get a gap. And any runner knows, you spend a lot of mental energy if you have to try close down a gap that you've already closed down once.
The rest of the run was not pleasant but it was better. It still felt like I was running on fumes from aid station to aid station but my legs loosened and felt a bit springier. I was still nervous the whole way that the body might change it's mind and throw in the towel at any point. I was picturing the old footage of the 2 women crawling to the line at Kona. The long red carpet to the finish felt like it went much longer than previous years. When I finally had the finish line in sight I gave a few weak waves to the crowd and I think I only just made it over the line before my body totally shut up shop.
I promised myself at the 15km mark that if I could escape this close call with a win, I would be allowed to fall to the ground after the finish banner. But if I lost I MUST stay on my feet. This, along with every other little mental trick and bribe I used, is what I was thinking about for that last 5km. And throw myself on the ground is exactly what I did. So, of course Greg Welch sat down, had a little rest himself and joined me for the post-race interview...on the ground.
A massive thank you to Simon for once again inviting me back to Abu Dhabi to race and I'm sorry you once again had to drag me up off the ground. Also thanks to Mark, Nicky & Ryan for all your tremendous work putting on the most glamorous triathlon in the world! Give me a few days to forget about the pain I put myself through yesterday and I'll probably say "see you again next year!"
With the large range and styles of triathlon suits on the market today it can often be a difficult choice of what to wear come race day. The fit, design and type of race suit should all be considered based on what you feel comfortable wearing , what looks good and also what best suits your needs.
One of the major choices is whether to use a 1 piece race suit or two piece tri top and bottoms. At SCODY we offer both options in a range of different styles as well as offering a custom design program. The choice between a 1 piece and 2 piece race suit often comes down to what you feel most comfortable wearing. For the majority of athletes racing over the sprint or Olympic distance events a 1 piece tri suit is the preferred choice. This comes down to the fact that more often than not the swim leg is done without a wetsuit so your race apparel should be tight fitting as to reduce drag while swimming. SCODY offers tri suits with and without pockets to suit any triathletes individual needs and preferences.
For women the 1 piece race suit also includes togs which are great for short course events as they are very fast in the water providing next to no drag while swimming.
The 2nd option that long course/Ironman/Half Ironman triathletes most often turn to is the 2 piece tri top and tri pants. This is because over the longer distance races the swim leg is often in a wetsuit or speed suit allowing a less restrictive race suit to be worn underneath. This means that triathletes can wear a tri top with several rear pockets in order to carry a larger amount of energy bars and gels to use throughout the race. The two piece design also allows your lower torso to be exposed, which over the half Ironman and Ironman distance allows for better cooling.
The latest and greatest race suit that has been creating and has had much hype in the triathlon world is the new SCODY Optimise A.I.R Tri Suit. This new generation of non drafting sleeved suit is the go to race suit for those looking for arguably the fastest and most aerodynamic race suit on the market today. The dimpled matrix fabric and zoned fabric construction adds up to a 45 to 67.5 second gain over a 90km bike time trial.
At Scody we pride ourselves on creating the best triathlon apparel on the market and cater for every triathletes race suit wishes whether it be a race togs, race trisuit with or without pockets, two piece tri top and tri pants or even the latest Optmise A.I.R tri suit.
It was my first ITU race (and first WorldCup) back in 2010. I wasn’t quite ready for it, and as a result I was lapped out.
In 2011, after a year of working on my swimming I made my first ever front group only to be taken down in a crash in the first lap of the ride and wasn’t able to finish the race.
In 2012 I had another really good swim making the front group, to be again taken out by another rider about 100m in to the ride subsequently missing the group and ended up backin the chase group. I had a great run that day which just added to the frustration.
Last year, I just had a terrible swim, but rode and ran really well.
I was prepared to make 2014 my year! I love Mooloolaba – I love the course, the spectators and almost everything about it. It’s a course that I believe suits me quite well. Something that my body doesn’t love so much though is blistering heat. I think I’ll blame that one on my Scottish heritage. I’ve managed to get lucky over the last few years that it tended to be cooler and more ideal running conditions for me.
Saturday: not so much (despite being the half (sprint) distance). I had a good swim, quite an improvement on Devonport just 2 weeks ago, and I set myself up nicely in the first half of the 20km of the ride to join what would become quite a large front group.
And that’s when it got tricky. Half way in to the ride I started to experience an all too familiar feeling where my body started heating up uncontrollably, and I start to struggle to control my breathing and heart rate. As you could guess these symptoms add a great deal to the usual physical stress of racing.
I guess I’m lucky it was only a sprint distance, and I was able to get through it (albeit rather slowly & painfully) without too much damage to my body. I finished up 19th – a less than impressive start to the year… But sometimes that happens. I’m happy to move on.
So, 2014 wasn’t my year in Mooloolaba but now I have plenty of time to prepare for 2015!
My focus now lies squarely at Auckland ITU World Series in under 3 weeks time – I’m very much looking forward to it and the cooler conditions
1- Make a list
Before you leave home create a simple race day checklist to ensure that you have packed everything you need for your race. The last thing you want is to arrive on race morning having forgotten your SCODY race suit! By creating this list you will ensure that you have everything you need for the race as well as decreasing your stress levels on race morning. After all failure to prepare is preparing to fail.
2- Know the course
The Triathlon Australia rule book states that it is always an athletes responsibility to know the course. At the end of the day it is always in your best interest to read your race handbook and where possible swim, bike and run the critical parts of the course. In the past I have opted for driving over the bike and run sections of the course to understand where the turns and other major parts of the course are. This allows you to be mentally prepared for any difficult parts of the course and pace your efforts accordingly.
3- Pace your race
Often many athletes who are full of adrenaline start the race way at a pace that is too fast for them to sustain. This spike in heart rate means that their performance is negatively effected for longer than the fast paced start itself. A better plan is to start out steady at a pace you know you can sustain for the entire race. But controlling your heart rate and keeping your effort controlled you are sure to catch those who have burnt themselves early on in the race.
4- Check your bike
Checking your bike in the days leading up to an event is important as it ensures that everything is in good working order as well an identifying any problems that could potentially occur on race day. Taking your bike to any good bike shop a few days before your race for a check is a simple but effective way of making sure that your bike is in perfect running order. If you have a set of carbon race wheels than your local shop will be able to fit them, check your gears and brake alignment to ensure that everything runs as smooth as silk. If any components are worn out and could possibility fail during the race than it is better to replace pre race day rather than having them fail you in the middle of a big event.
Hydration and nutrition are huge factors in your performance come race day. Making sure that you have enough fuel to cover the distance (similar to the principle of formula 1 car racing) is vital in getting to the finish line. Knowing what to expect weather wise will also help you to better plan what type of hydration you will need. For example during a colder race you will not have to hydrate as much due to your decreased sweat loss. Energy gels are a simply and easy way to consume calories during a race and can be carried in the pocket of your SCODY race suit during the bike and run.
I stood on the beach at Subic Bay staring out at the ocean ready for the start of Challenge Philippines. My hotel room, (at the beautiful Camayan Resort) was just behind the start line, less than 20 metres away. Closest I've ever stayed to the start line. Tucked away on a small secluded beach, surrounded by monkey-filled jungles, this was a pretty cool place to start a race. When the starters gun fired I ran down the beach and dived into the warm, clear water. I got to the water first but it wasn't long before the three super fish, Laura, Annabel and Radka left me in their wake. I swam the 1.9km on my own following the marked lane rope the entire way. I passed over some attractive fish, coral and even an old war-time shipwreck. The water was so clear the entire way around which made for a very enjoyable swim.
As I exited the water I thought maybe I'd been a little too conservative in the swim. You know, having time to take in the scenery below me. Hopefully I hadn't given away too much time. I got through transition and mounted my bike at the bottom of a hill. Difficult way to get going straight up a hill with out having your feet in the shoes yet. I kept tightening my shoes as I climbed up but they kept loosening again. It took me quite a while to get comfortable and get up to pace. Although up to pace didn't necessarily mean 'fast'. Jared was standing at the top of the first hill and told me I was only 2:20 down on the leaders. Wow! Must have been my new ROKA speed suit. Swim faster with less effort is their motto.
1k into the bike leg. In-Haus photo
I climbed up and up before a long windy descent. Then it was up, up , up again followed by a bumpy, technical, crazy down. This descent went for a good few km's and was a cracked up old concrete road. Ronny (my bike) and I were bouncing around like kids on a jumping castle. I'd removed my rear XLab drink cage prior to race start because of the bumpy surfaces and removed the triangle fuel cell from my frame to reduce weight for all the climbing. I chose to just use my fuelselage and an XLab cage between my aero bars. I underestimated the roughness of the road surface. As I was descending one of the first hills, my bottle which had all my electrolytes and a lot of my calories needed for the race in it was bopping around and creeping out and then just before it was ready for take-off I managed to catch it. I was flying down this windy, bumpy hill, now with one hand on my bars and one holding my bottle. Luckily, in the morning as I was setting up Ronny in transition I decided to put an empty drink cage on my frame just in case I needed to store another bottle I'd pick up along the way. I moved my front bottle into my frame and survived the first real test.
Run start. Photo by Nicky Loh
The rest of the bike course was pretty similar. If we weren't climbing up a hill we were usually descending one. There were only a couple of small sections of straight, flat road but these sections were far from smooth sailing. There was no daydreaming or zoning out with this course. If you didn't have your eyes glued to the road you'd probably be off into the trees or tangled up with a chicken. As I was bouncing around I'd occasionally think "I hope my bike can hold up to this". At one point I was sure my crank was gonna fall off but no, Ronny was unbreakable and got me through all the way back to T2 safe and with about a 2min.
As my whole body was still vibrating when I racked my bike I took the time to sit down and put on my bright orange Compressport socks and matching orange Adidas shoes. It was good to be back on solid ground. I ran out of transition and then of course...straight up hill. The first km was straight up followed by a short down before another good 2kms on gradual climbing. The run course was probably the most spectacular I've done. It was through the jungle. We'd run up hill a km then back down a km then up another km and so on. Very similar to the bike course there was rarely a flat piece of ground. We also ran through a couple of tight windy sandy trails with nothing but jungle and strange rustling sounds all around in the trees.
At around 4km I caught up to three of the men. As I went by, one of them, Macca (Chris McCormack) looked across and said "not again!". The course continued to weave in all directions through the jungle - one huge lap, up and down and with no km markers along the way. Jared would pop up here and there yelling encouragement and giving splits. He said that many of the pro's he was cheering for would continue to ask where they were, how far they'd done, how far to go, ect. All trying to get any info to keep them going as the trails and hills went on forever. I passed another couple of men to move into 7th position overall (6th if you minus the minute head start for the men).
I crossed the line and took the win in a very slow time of 4:39. This was one course where instead of people bragging about how fast their bike split was, the talk was more about how long we were out there covering the 90km on the bike or if anyone lost any teeth. This was definitely a race to remember. I think you would struggle to find a bike course this hilly, this technical and this bumpy. Next year I think Ronny might have to stay home and my road bike can come out to race. The run was also very unique. How often do you get a cross country run in a triathlon and monkeys as spectators? It was pretty awesome! We also had the privilege of racing the prince of Bahrain. And his whole entourage of course.
I owe a huge thanks to Dave Voth, Challenge Philippines race organizer, for the invite. He said the trip to the Philippines would be well worth while and he was right. Put this one on your bucket list of adventures!
Triathlon is an ever changing sport and no two triathlons are ever exactly the same. Weather conditions, course profile, transition, water temperatures etc can vary greatly, so in order to get the best out of your performance, you need to be prepared and know what to expect come race day.
First - Know your course and know the conditions.
Second - Actually do something about it to best prepare yourself for these things BEFORE you race. Over the years in both training and racing, through trial and error, mistakes, negligence, and diligence, I have learnt, more often than not, the hard way, how to better prepare for changing conditions, and the better prepared you go into it, the better you come out of it. For example, if the course is hilly, get out there in the weeks leading up to the race and do hills! Check out the course! If you are going into a hot race, stay cool, stay hydrated, stay out of the sun, wear appropriate race attire, and not just race day, in the days leading up to it. The same goes for the cold and challenging conditions, plan ahead, bring extra clothing, wetsuits, do extra warm up, eat more food, etc.The better prepared you are in advance, not only will it help you physically, but mentally you are more relaxed with the knowledge you have all your bases covered. Essentially its free time! Why would you not want to gain free speed in your race?!
With so much hype around about how to best fuel your body, I think one of the best things you can do to fuel your body is to stay hydrated! A loss of as little as 2% body weight, due to dehydration can impair athletic performance, both physically and mentally, recovery and perceived level of exertion. Sometimes it’s very hard to drink as much fluid as you lose during workouts, so it’s so important to make sure you do it when you can. Go into every session and race hydrated, and make a conscious effort post exercise to replace fluids…no beer is not a good choice here!
I used to make the mistake of drinking, drinking, drinking water pre-races to ensure I was hydrated, and all I did was over do it. Dilute my electrolytes and disrupt my sleep waking up to pee 10 times a night! Hydrating is best done with the help of adding salts and electrolytes to your fluid rather than just water. I use salt and Shotz salt tablets to help me stay hydrated. The hotter, and more humid the conditions, and the more you sweat, the more of them I take to help combat dehydration, using them pre, during, and/or post exercise. Do not underestimate just how much fluid you can lose swimming as well!
ALWAYS have a water bottle on standby during workouts, and don’t wait for thirst to be the only prompt to drink. If you are exercising be sure to sip fluids often and regularly, rather than a large amount in one hit. This helps absorption, and is more friendly to your gut. Fresh fruit can be another refreshing addition for fluid replacement.
2014 will be my 4th year living in Wollongong . I moved here in late 2009 to train with coach Jamie Turner and his crew. A lot of people have come & gone, but this year we’ll have a big group of 17 athletes with a healthy mix of males and females!
Training here is very different to Falls Creek where I’ve spent most of this summer to date. The majority of our cycle and run sessions begin and end at North Beach, a buzzing hub of activity in “the Gong.” Said sessions often conclude with a coffee sit at Diggies café or a splash in the ocean. Through the week we swim at the beautiful URAC sports centre and come Friday morning we take part in the infamous Open Water ocean swims back at North Beach.
The past couple of weeks have been quite busy (and it may be possible that I still haven’t completely unpacked yet..) attempting to get organized and fully into the swing of it again. I have however had the opportunity to have a few hit outs at local events. I once again competed in the Australia Day Aquathon with the rest of the ‘Wizards’. I also raced at the Triathlon NSW Sprint in Kurnell this past weekend. It’s not often that I get to race with 600+ people on course simultaneously, definitely a change of format for me! It was a great event and a lot of cobwebs were blown.
I’ll be staying put in the ‘Gong’ until Oceania Championship in Devonport in 3 weeks. I imagine there will be plenty of splashes in the ocean & coffee sits before then… I’ll let you know how it goes.
Hell of the West... the name itself should give you an idea of what you are in for. This race has crowned champions such as Luke Mckenzie and Pete Jacobs and this year it was my turn to give this infamous race a go in an attempt to add my name along side these true champions of the sport.
I drove to the race on Saturday morning and really must say a big thanks to Bevan and Gill for giving myself and my partner Bec a place to stay. Seeing the course the day before I honestly didn't really give it a second thought as the swim was in protected river waters, the cycle held on flat roads and the run on what looked like mostly shaded footpaths. The plan was to go hard from the start, get a good gap in the swim and never look back until the finish line.... this was NOT to be!
Race morning started with a 3:30am wakeup for a 5am swim start in the pitch dark. I started hard and within the first few meters had a good gap which keep increasing with every stroke. Being that it was so dark the only thing keeping me on course was the boat in front which had a bright orange light on the rear. I emerged from the water with around a 1 minute 30 second lead and felt confident in my ability to extend this lead by a few minutes over the next 80km ride.
I rode within my set wattage/power meter limits but just before the turn around was surprised to see 5 other athletes hot on my heels. I stayed in 2nd after the 40km u-turn and really struggled to hold pace with Nick Hull driving the pace up front. My legs were hurting but Ikeep on top of my nutrition and stayed in the aero position onboard my S-Works Shiv for most of the ride back into T2.
I hit T2 feeling quite average with Lindsey Wall having ridden about 30 seconds into us in the final stages of the bike leg. Nick Hull went on the charge early and I had to fight just to hold 4:45min per km pace over the first of the 3 run laps that made up the 20km run leg. By the first lap Nick had chased down Lindsey and now had a good 1 min & 30 sec lead over myself. Despite this gap I still kept telling myself that I was still racing for the win and that I COULD pull back the time over the last 2 laps. I fought hard over lap 2 and managed to get the gap down to just under a minute heading out onto the final lap. This is where I knew I had to kick it up a gear and made myself run at 3 minutes 30 seconds per km or below in a last ditch attempt to close the gap. I could see Lindsey and Nick were starting to really hurt from setting such a fast pace early on and I had to make the most of this opportunity. I finally caught the two front runners with just under 3 kms to go. I kicked at km 18 and put in a big effort (3.20min/per km pace) and followed it up with a 3 minutes 15 second at the 19 km mark to break away and hit the finish line totally spent physically, mentally and emotionally to take the title of 2014 Hell of the West winner!
This was without question one of the hardest races I have done and with the body only giving me so much the mind had to be strong and to be honest I really believe that this was the only thing that got me the win today.
It was great to spend time with family in Melbourne, while I continued training leading into Geelong 70.3. Loved the outdoor 50 metre pool at Aquarena Aquatic and Leisure Centre www.aquarena.ymca.org.au, even scheduled in a massage! I got to know Beach Road & Neapean Highway well on the bike (between St Kilda and Frankston) - a fantastic cycling route and can see why its so popular among Melbourne's cycling community. There are loads of pedestrian/bike paths to choose from for running so training away from home was easy to adjust to.
Friday, I made my way to Geelong and Torquay. A very big thank you to Michelle and Dale Hemley for having me stay and making me feel so welcome in their home. Michelle and Dale have established a dynamic and growing business "Hemleys - Health, Fitness & Sports Development" and it was fantastic to hear about the programs they are involved with and positive contribution to the local sporting community.
Swim: 1.9km, 1 triangular lap in Corio Bay.
Hot and windy conditions set the scene for the day. Professionals raced non-wetsuit. It was choppy and rough ocean water. My surf skills are terrible and I got what I deserved. I swam the course alone which was uncomfortable with the size of the swell. Staying focused, calm and completing the course was priority. Time wise it was a diabolical disaster, a career worst effort. Extremely glad to get the hell out of there and get on with the strengths of my race....
Bike: 90km, (2 x 45km laps). The course leaves Transition at Eastern Beach Reserve and heads out onto the fast and wide open roads, whilst taking in Geelong’s scenic countryside. The return journey features Geelong's waterfront.
I felt strong on the bike, consistent power and my training and race fitness was coming through. It was extremely windy and hot, much like Hawaii so it didn't bother me. I have a good handle of race nutrition in heat, so was confident with that side of things. I was able to build throughout the 80kms and improved my position in the pro field by Transition 2.
Run: 21kms. Finishing in Steampacket Gardens, the run course overlooks Corio Bay, including Eastern Park and the runner friendly paths along the bay trail. Run with no limits - that was the agenda. The wind was unreal, it was a matter of driving through it. I nailed my nutrition and the back end of my run felt good. First time the finish line came sooner than I expected! :-)
What I am most proud of is that I did not give up on myself given such a terrible swim to the start of the day. I raced my own race, the course and conditions and had worked my way into 2nd place through the process, with 2nd fastest bike split and fastest run split of the day. I actually didn't even realise I was in 2nd place until after the finish, a rewarding feeling given how my day unfolded. Race without judgment, maximimise every moment, anything is possible, believe in yourself.
Becoming a full time professional triathlete has been one of the best decisions I have made. I'm learning every day and enjoying the process of improvement in all areas of being a professional athlete. Its a privileged opportunity to be able to do this, with the encouraging support of my sponsors friends and family...Looking forward to seeing what more I can give and get out of myself in racing.
My approach to the race was no different to any other - to race the course smart, hard, with passion and self belief. Hang on for the swim (this was fairly unsuccessful, augh!), bike like I wanna blow up and run with no limits!
The bike course was congested with 3 x 30km laps (@1000 competitors) and I was frustrated by disruption to the pro race. I received a penalty which wasn't clearly communicated (visually by card or reasons for) and wasted further time searching for the unmarked penalty box, causing a further setback. Dealing with events which are unplanned is part of racing. As my husband often reminds me...'keep your head where your body is'. Race without judgment and maximise every moment. I ran as hard as I could, the crowd support a highlight throughout the multi-lap course and finished in 3rd position (fastest run of the day).
To be on the podium with Annabel Luxford (1st) and Caroline Steffan (2nd) was a huge inspiration and personal career highlight. Congratulations to all the girls who raced and took part in the event. Definitely a race I thoroughly enjoyed and loved the Challenge Family atmosphere throughout the weekend.
Thanks to Challenge Australia, SuperSprint, key sponsors including Scody Australia plus all the volunteers for making the weekend such a memorable experience.
Scody athlete Tim Berkel has been at it again in his lastest promotional video. Tim recently won SCODY Challenge Melbourne and is gearing up for Ironman NZ later this month. Keen an eye out for Tim in his brand new custom Optimise A.I.R Tri suit.
The season proper has arrived, like an Ebay delivery that you knew would be here eventually, but had kind of forgotten about, so much so to be somewhat surprised when it finally arrives. The first bike-bag-pack and subsequent plane flight of the year signifies mentally (and hopefully physically) that racing season has started, and it's time to toe a start line with significant purpose. This weekend was my inceptive race of the ITU season, the Australian Champs in Elwood. Despite every local we bumped into grabbing us by the arm and pontificating with some desperation that there had been nary a day of precipitation in the last 15 days/months/years (depending on the local), race day presented conditions that seemed out of a chapter of Genesis. Wild wind and rain meant the swim had more chop than a Bruce Lee film, and guaranteed the bike would be tough.
I tend to relish the way these conditions turn the race in to a dogfight, and managed the swim chop decently to lead out of the swim, with youngster Matt Baker and Ryan Fisher in tow, with around 20 seconds to the main bunch. Fish is a merchant of this sort of trench warfare, and if I could pick anyone to be racing with in terrible conditions, it'd be Fish, and along with Baker, we squinted into the winds and set about chewing some stem, grafting out a 1:20 advantage by the end of the bike.
Onto the run, and myself and Fish ran together for all bar 200m of the run, including a rather 'tactical' last 2.5 km into a block headwind, which neither of us were particularly enthusiastic about leading into. With 200m to go, Fish politely excused himself by dropping a bomb of a sprint, and I was left with his dust in my eyes crossing for second. Satisfied, yet a little disconsolate at finishing 2nd and an Australian Champs for the 3rd time, in a sprint finish every time. However, it was a good blow out of the cobwebs, and confirms my training is going well for my more important race, New Plymouth World Cup, and Auckland World Series, where I hope to earn a guernsey for the Commonwealth Games team.
Dan Wilson - Scody Ambassador
Dan wears the SCODY ITU OPTIMISE Tri Suit available from scody.com.au
Samuel Appleton – Professional Triathlete
Sunshine Coast 70.3 – 4th Place
Another 70.3 and another 4th place to add to a growing collection of minor placings. My race didn't go exactly to plan and I'm left still chasing the elusive podium, nevertheless I'm happy to post another consistent result.
Swim: Held in mooloolaba beach, it was a straightforward loop of 1.9km. Beach start and some swell added an extra bit of spice. Bike: Out of transition there is some sharp hills out onto a flat highway. First lap 50km, 2nd lap 40km. For those that have raced the Continental Cup the course is essentially the same, just two laps and the turn around slightly further down the Sunshine Coast Highway. Run: 2x10.5km laps which included the negotiation of ascending the Alexandra Headland hill twice per lap.
An early start of 6am meant a 4am wake up. I usually like about 2 hours pre race to focus and give my body a chance to digest some food. In this case it was left over risotto that Kat made for me the night before.
The field had some good swimmers and I knew if I let guys like Pete Jacobs and Clayton Fettel get away from me I wouldn't see them again. Thankfully I felt comfortable in the swim and a group of 4 of us formed which included Pete, Clayton, Myself and Casey Munro and we exited the swim with an advantage over the rest of the field.
The start of the bike was tough through the hills and I had to work hard to stay in touch but once we got onto the the flat highway I settled in. It wasn't long before some serious wattage was being laid down by Clayto and Pete. Pete was particularly strong and I was tapping well into my reserves to stay with the group. Post race chatting with Clayton revealed he averaged 345 watts for his bike split, a massive number to sustain for that period of time.
After the first lap we had to head back through town and over the hilly section again. Pete was aggressive and lifted the pace and Casey and myself were dropped like a bad habit. As soon as I got separated I knew I was starting to lose some big time to the leaders but I settled into a sustainable tempo for the remaining 40km with Casey. Pre race I had a nutrition plan from Darryl, the guru behind Shotz nutrition and made sure I stuck to it. It was getting hot and any depletion in calories or electrolytes would be diabolical on the run.
On my way back out of town for lap 2 on the bike i saw the chase pack and estimated we had a significant buffer of around 7mins. I rode 2:06 for the 90km which is quicker than I have gone before but it was no match for Clayton and Pete's 2:01, meaning we lost 5minutes on the second lap. I'm looking forward to watching these guys race the Ironman World Champs in Kona in 4 weeks if this race is anything to go by.
Onto the run I had Casey on my shoulder and I set off at a pace I thought I could build on. I didn't feel great, but I didn't feel bad either. After about 6km I decided I would be more comfortable running alone in 3rd so I put in some 3-4 min surges to try and drop Casey. I tried this for the next 10km but couldn't get rid of him. In all honesty I think all I did was tire myself out. I noticed his form and composure and knew he was running strongly. Up the last hill with about 3km to go I tried to apply more pressure but he was all over me like a rash and exploded the final section to crack me. I couldn't respond and fell across the line in 4th.
As much as I wanted the podium, I'm happy with another 4th place, but I was somewhat humbled by Pete's performance as he crushed the field to win by 7minutes.
I kind of felt like I was stuck in 4th gear for the run and couldn't shift into my top end speed that I usually have. Being the first race I have done for some months I don't think I had that race fitness just yet. I'm going to dial in now and prepare for Port Mac 70.3 in 5 weeks. It's kind of a local race for me now that mum has moved up there.
Thanks for all the messages and support from sponsors Scody, Shotz, Hawkesbury physio, 3D Bike Fit, Blackman Bikes and Bobby Brace for the wheels! Also a big thanks to Kat for doing everything for me and not letting me lift a finger before my race.
World U23 ITU Championships, London 12/09/13 As you would all know by now my race reports typically conclude with my finishing position and my feelings about the result. I’m going to make exception today as my excitement to type out the following sentence cannot be contained for another page and a half. On Thursday I became the World
U23 Triathlon Champion!!!
Ok, that felt good. This is how it went down:
It was a 2 lap (very) cold swim in the Serpentine in Hyde Park, London. With awesome swimmers like Lucy Hall in the race, the swim was extremely fast and we had spread out quite early into the first lap. I exited the water over a minute down on Lucy, who herself had a large gap on the rest of the field. There were around 6 athletes already ahead of me, so I quickly got to work to chase them down. I wanted to ensure I was safely in the front group early on.
Towards the end of the first 5km lap, I had established myself in the first group of 19 girls chasing the lone leader. The ratio of chasers to race distance was not in Lucy’s favour and we had reeled her back during the late stage of the 40km course.
I was SO excited. I knew that if I started the run with the leaders I had a good chance of a podium. On the run a clear group of 9 of us ran together for the first 5km, with no one wanting to make a their move. I felt really good running, and part of me just wanted to go for it from the start, but the plan was always to remain patient. Slowly people were dropping off until only myself and 4 other girls were remaining with 2km to go. This game continued until the last U Turn at 600m to go. Ellen Pennock (Canada) who I’ve actually been training with over the last month took off really quickly. I immediately responded. After feeling super comfortable for 9.5km the pace change was a shock and I briefly questioned if I was able to keep that pace up the whole way to the finish. I quickly reminded myself that if I managed to stick with here until the blue finish carpet (around 100m to go) I had the preparation and the mettle to take anyone in a sprint.
And that’s exactly what I did! Honestly, I couldn’t really believe it had actually happened when I finished! It’s been a massive journey up until now, and I’d be lying if I said there’s not been more disappointments than anything else. But this one race makes absolutely every negative moment worth it!!
Of course there is no way this would have been possible without the support of SO MANY people.
I can’t mention absolutely everyone who has helped me along the way, but a few special thank you’s to :
My family, my boyfriend Brendan Sexton (who not only inspires me but is so incredibly supportive), my training group (AKA The Wizards) including, but not limited to, Aaron Royle, Ryan Bailie, Tamsyn Moana Veale, Grace Musgrove,
Natalie Van Coeverdon & Gwen Jorgensen who are just incredible athletes themselves that it’s always easy to stay motivated everyday, Triathlon Australia, all of the service providers (including Paul Penna, Alex Price, Adam
Radford, Aaron Lean), Craig Redman who first encouraged me to give ITU a crack, my awesome sponsors (Quorn, Scody, Liv/Giant, Spearman Cycles, Lightweight wheels, Saucony, Spiuk) and of course my extremely patient
coach Jamie Turner. He’s backed me more than anyone in the last 4 years, when I didn’t even back myself. His knowledge and support was paramount to my result on Thursday and I couldn’t be any more grateful.
Thank you everyone for the support from your new WORLD U23 TRIATHLON CHAMPION!!!!!!! :D
Ironman 70.3 World Championships Las Vegas
Two years ago at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Vegas I walked the last 6 miles of the course crying as I suffered an asthma attack. It was a turning point for me in many respects. I had been dealing with them often in my training in Austin and had got into a pattern of panicking when I went hard. My breath would go shallow, my throat constrict, my eyes went wide in fear and then relief from the inhaler to get air flowing again. Classic asthma. Always on the run. After it happened in Vegas 2011 I decided that I had to learn how to control my emotions better, practice relaxation, keep my breathing calm. I worked on it non-stop. Zane (coach) had me place a book on my belly just before I slept and work on diaphragm strength breathing in and out moving the book up and down. I visualized relaxing while running. I practiced and lessened the frequency of the attacks significantly. Last year I did not suffer one single attack at a race. This year has been a different story. The culprit in both cases – heat. Yesterday as I started the second lap I had an asthma attack again. Instead of walking/jogging the remaining 9miles or so I pulled out. I have nothing to prove. It was my second DNF in 7 years of racing.
The swim was one I am so very very proud of. I saw two years ago that Meredith Kessler and Leanda Cave had gone to the far left to start. They were out of the mess of the middle pack. I decided to do the same this year. My companions were Leanda and Melissa Hauschildt. Surrounded by greatness is a good place to be. I had the fastest start and most awesome swim. I led the way for the first half, was passed by Annabel Luxford and then Leanda and I sat on her feet. I came out of the water with those 2 women proving that I am one of the fastest women triathletes in the world. I'll claim that. It feels good.
The bike was solid for me. I was not the fastest, not the slowest but somewhere in between. I was passed quickly by women who would come in the top 12 of the race. They had gained some time at the beginning but Bree Wee and I reeled them in slowly coming off the bike only a minute or so behind. I had drank 3 bottles, consumed my 5 gels, was soaked from the rain but happy. I was still in the race and I felt just fine.
The run began and to be very honest I had no expectations. For the first time this season my hip was not hurting and I could run easily. To get to that point though I had to back off my run training significantly to get the inflammation down. I was not run fit to the level for which I needed to be at a World Championship race but I was there and that was good enough. I started with a smile on my face. My only goal – get to the finish. That couldn't be that hard right.... how many of these have I done? This year alone, seven. And so it began. Angela was just ahead and not running like she knows how. She suffered a panic attack. I wisely thought I know this so well. I got her running again, she struggled, we talked, I told her about staying calm, count I said, know how hard you worked to get here, stay calm. In the end finishing the race was not worth it for her. I get it. She has nothing to prove. We did do that lap together though. Starting on the second lap, I started to have troubles, going downhill, the easy part. I felt my airways constrict, started walking, stay calm I told myself, nothing to worry about. I walked and it kept coming. Nothing, absolutely nothing I could do. I saw Dan Smith, a friend from Victoria and I walked over to him. “I don't know what to do, I can't breathe, it's asthma” Of course there was nothing he could do. As I proceeded to get dizzy in the heat for lack of oxygen a total stranger offered me her inhaler. I took it. Two deep breaths. Relief. I was ok. Except I wasn't. I failed to finish the race.
The only difference this time from two years ago was the support I had at the race. My Dan was there. As I cried of frustration into his shoulder I was reassured that it was really ok. He was proud, everyone was proud of me. I know that my future looks different now. My priority to be racing among the best triathletes in the world is changing. We packed my bike, got into the car and began our journey into the Death Valley. By 3pm I was in another world, far from the race, disappointment, absolute elation that Melissa had won, Zipp discs, power, bikes, sweat, tears, gels and accomplishment. I was on what felt like the moon. After going through a flash flood that day closing the road, driving back through another storm, more flash floods, finding myself sitting in the Stovepipe Wells Resort Pub with a burger and beer, Dan sitting across from me, talking about the next adventure we have on the horizon, never felt so good.
What a day. Full to say the least. Hope, dreams, joy, frustration, elation, wonderment, satisfaction and love. I would have it no other way.
Hy Vee 5150 Championships – 22nd Hy-Vee 5150 Championships was a race on my radar all year long. A great stepping stone before my battle at the 70.3 World Championships the week later and of course an opportunity to race for a piece of the $500,000 on offer.
I left Australia and flew into Vegas before driving to St George (2 hours away) to spend the week prior trying to recover from the jetlag and get use to the heat. Once again a big thank you to the Johnson family for going completely above and beyond to make my travel and stay while in the USA amazingly easy.
I left St George on the Thursday before the race and with a delayed flight out of Vegas, I ended up taking an extra 10 hours and 3 flights to get to Des Moines. Another downer was the fact that my new Specialized Shiv wasn’t able to keep up with my flight changes and therefore did not arrive until Friday night.
The days before the race I spent my time doing some light swimming and running (no bike), driving over the course and of course catching up on sleep! The temp was HOT in Des Moines and close to 40 degrees C however waking on race day I was greeted with heavy rain and strong winds causing the race organisation to delay the race start. Lucky enough the rain and wind cleared quickly which only meant a 1 hour delayed start time.
Lining up on the start line being ranked 8th meant that I had the opportunity to start right alongside of some of the stronger swimmers (Russian of course). This meant that I was quickly up the front getting dragged alongside the powerhouse swimmers. The swim felt very controlled and I didn’t really have to exert much energy to stay inside the top ten.
After a quite transition I headed out onto the bike course and positioned myself up towards the front. The pace was pretty quick right from the first mile and I really struggled to keep up. The high speeds (50-55kph) along the flat sections were quicker than what I was able to hold which meant I dropped back into the 2nd bike group. Unfortunately at 30km I dropped from that group as well. It was pretty disappointing being that I usually consider myself a stronger rider however I keep pushing and hit T2 just off the 2nd bike pack. After a quick T2 change as I hit the run course feeling quite strong and passed several athletes within the first half of the run. After that I couldn’t quite push as hard as I would have liked and only passed another 2 athletes on the homeward stretch. I came home in 22nd which was somewhat disappointing result wise however with my major focus being 70.3 World Championships I was pretty happy with where my body was at.
Heading into the race I was ranked 8th on the 5150 World Ranking Points and finishing 22nd at this 5150 championship race in my first season of non-drafting racing is something I am really proud off. With another season or two I have no doubt in my mind that I will be right up there fighting for a podium spot.
I woke up on race morning to see rain outside. Quite a lot of it. Far from the hot, dry conditions seen in the past 2 years. "That's ok" I thought, "the bike course is not technical, I'll just be sure to take it easy on all the corners ...no risks...I should be fine". Sitting here writing this report now a couple days post-race, I have a swollen, pussing right hip, grazed elbow and some odd pain in my chest. And then there's poor old Shivvy who's banged up along his right side and his new disc wheel is scuffed and cracked from a media bike that happened to be by my side/on my bike at just the wrong moment. So this is how it happened...
photo by John David Becker
I'm standing on the bank of Lake Las Vegas ready to enter the water. It's the 3rd time I've been in this exact spot. My 3rd World 70.3 Championship. My 3rd year in the sport of triathlon. I have a good idea now of the pain I'm about to put my body through for the next 4 1/2 hrs. This makes me a little nervous as usual, but otherwise I'm excited to be here on start line fit and healthy and ready to go. The sun has just started to make some light for the day. The American national anthem plays as everyone stands in silence while the rains continues to fall. The announcer calls the pros into the water. Here we go.
As I scull on the start line, I psyche myself up for a fast, explosive start. With many of the ITU triathletes switching to Long Course this year I expect the swim to be even faster than usual. The cannon goes off and I go as fast I can. This year, I decided to position myself far left to stay out of the chaos and get a clean start. I'm in clear water for a 100m or so before somehow I'm in the washing machine. It soon thins out and I find myself in clear waters again. Which means the faster packs have already left me behind. Somehow I manage to find myself in clear water for the majority of my races. Maybe I subconsciously really prefer swimming on my own. It's not the fastest way to get through the swim leg and definitely not the most economical either.
photo by Tririg.com
I get to the exit ramp, pull myself up onto my wobbly legs, take off my pretty pink Blue Seventy goggles that match my black and pink Blue Seventy speed suit...and try to get running. Along the 600m run to T1 I hear that I'm about 3.20 down on the leader. I stay calm. 2min was the dream but 3min was more what I expected. I get to my bike and throw on my new Specialized Evade helmet with magnetic buckle. Yep, magnetic. You know how ya always struggle to get the clip done up fast when you're in a hurry. Well, not anymore!
There's congestion on the mount line as Shivvy and I approach so I keep running past the girls and mount my bike a bit further down the road. I've got somewhere to be people! The first few k's are uphill, through some roundabouts, and then through some narrow turns under a pedestrian tunnel to the other side of the road so I play it real safe here. This is one of the very few technical parts of the course so I don't wanna stack it. Half way up this first climb out of transition I see Jared and he tells me I'm 3:10 down on the leaders and in 13th position. That's ok for now.
photo from Lavamagazine.com
The rain continues to fall, keeping the temps cool. I count down from 13 each time I pass another competitor until I get to 4th position. From here I can occasionally see the lead three together far ahead in the distance. It looks like four of them with a bunch of media bikes around them. Either one of them is a male pro or I've miss-counted somewhere. The bike course rolls up and down long, gradual hills through the National park in the desert so at parts you can see a long way ahead. I really like these type of hills. I can get into a good rhythm, sometimes staying down on my aeros, other times I'll sit up on my hoods and push my weight back and get into a high cadence spin. As I'm approaching the turn around, just over 40km in, I get a chance to see the lead group clearer on their way back. They're not too far ahead. I should catch them soon.
It wasn't until I exited the National park though, at 68km that I finally caught them. Maybe they had picked up the pace after seeing me go past. There was a male on the front of the group, three girls in the middle and another male on the back. All evenly spaced. This means, according to the rules for me to make a pass I have to pass the lot...all in one go. I cannot slip anywhere into the pack as I'll breach the drafting rules. I don't like sitting in a group as I worry that just a small loss of concentration could mean getting a 4min penalty. I drop back quite a bit just in case and cruise for a little while taking stock of how I feel and deciding what to do. I soon see the male on the back drop back and move far right. He's allowing me to pass him and slip in behind the girls. I make the pass and notice the 3rd girl seems to be dropping off the back of the group much further than the 12m. There are motorcycles all around. Media and I'm guessing/hoping draft busters as well. As I pass the 3rd girl I am not 100% sure how close the 12m zone is to 2nd so to remove the risk I go ahead and make the rest of the passes up to the front to take the lead from the male pro on the front.
photo by Trilounge.com
It's now just under 20km to go for the bike leg. Mostly slight uphill. I keep powering on, feeling good. Feeling strong. I take a left turn and get a quick glimpse over my shoulder. Annabel is still on but Lisa and Svenja have dropped. 4km to go and I see a sharp right hand turn ahead. Last real turn on the bike course. I can't make up too much more time from here...be safe...get around...get to T2. The media motorcycle is on my left. 3km to go I hit the turn...I mean really 'hit' the turn. In slow motion, my wheels slide away from under me, I hit the deck and slide into the path of the motorcycle. He manages to stop and swerve enough to miss me but roll up and over the side of my disc wheel. Panic floods my brain and I instinctively yell "Sh*t, sh*t, sh*t... get off". I quickly pick up my bike and jump back on back in pursuit of Annabel again, too afraid to even check if Shivvy's still in working order. A million thoughts start rushing through my head... "do I have a flat, are my brakes jammed on, is my wheel buckled...". And then a minute later "will I be able to run 21km?". I get back behind Annabel and stay there while continually getting in and out of my saddle making sure nothing cramps from the impact of the crash. As I'm approachingT2, Annabel quickly jumps off her bike into the penalty tent to take a stand down penalty (this means you have to get off your bike, put both feet on the ground then you can get back on) so I come into T2 back in the lead.
photo by Nils Nilson
As I upend my bag and throw on my socks I'd planned to also put on my Compressport calf sleeves (new rules last year say we cannot swim in our calf sleeves anymore) but my legs are still wet from the rain plus I want to minimize the amount of time I stop to avoid my hip cramping up from the crash. I leave them behind and get out of there as quick as possible.
Three nice hilly laps would follow. Down 1mile, u-turn, up 1mile, weave past transition, up another 1mile, u-turn, down 1mile, sharp 180deg turns down a ramp, passed transition then repeat two more times. At least it's spectator friendly. I feel pretty good. I don't seem to be sore from my crash, or at least I'm not allowing my mind to believe that. I'm focused, on a mission to get to the finish line in first place. I don't take in much of the surrounds , I don't want to divert my attention from the job. Each lap I'm extending my lead but I still can't relax until the finish line is in sight. I've crashed before like this and had to DNF after my leg starting tingling, seized up and went numb. I get to the top of the last hill, u-turn and start heading down. Downhill all the way to the finish. Finally, I'm pretty confident at this point I have it in the bag. I begin to acknowledge the cheering spectators, the enthusiastic age group athletes and my lead bicycle who congratulates me before pulling off just before I take the last turn into the finishing straight. The smile on my face goes from ear to ear. The feeling is amazing. World champion! And the first time any female has won two world 70.3 Championships. I'm stoked! I'm so happy! Words cannot describe... I DID IT!
Race Report - Hy Vee 5150 Pro Championships
Swim 21:20 22nd
Bike 59:27 2nd
Run 34:52 1st
As I'm setting up my bike in transition the black and white striped official does his rounds - checking our helmets for the CPSC sticker, meaning it has passed the US safety requirements. European helmets won't suffice. Specialized had just sent me the new Evade aero road helmet. Tested in the wind tunnel to be just as aero as the longer TT specific helmets but a lot lighter and with much more ventilation. I was keen to try it out as were many of my Specialized competitors. The stripy dude looks in my helmet but no sticker found. Damn! I look to my left, Angela Naeth has the exact same helmet, sent from the exact same place, California. How can this be?
photo by Paul Phillips
Long story short, 20minutes before race start and I'm still in transition trying to get a helmet. The rest of the pros are on the other side of the lake at the final check in tent waiting to be announced one by one to the start line. 15minutes before race start Eric comes running from the Specialized truck, helmet in hand. I quickly show the official, put it on my bike then run towards the water. At this point I no longer have time to run around the lake dodging all the spectators and age group athletes. So I run down the T1 swim exit chute and dive into the water, volunteers/marshals wondering what the hell this girl thinks she's doing diving into the wrong side of the lake minutes before the race is about to begin. I was wondering the same thing. I quickly swim across the lake, run up the sand to race start and make it just in time for the final intro's. My heart is definitely pounding/warmed up!
photo by Charlie Litchfield
As I stand on the blue carpet near the waters edge I look to my right then to my left. There are a handful of familiar faces, my usual long course competitors. But the rest...no idea who they are. This is because I'm racing a 5150 - an Olympic distance 'non-drafting' race. A lot of these girls are ITU-type racers, i.e. super fast swimmers. ITU style racing is also known as a wet running race. You need to be a strong swimmer, know how to sit in a pack on the bike, then be a gun runner. Luckily here the bike is non-drafting cos Shivy and I will have some work to do.
Bang! The gun goes and I run down to the water. Two strokes of slapping people and being slapped then...they're gone :-( I get through the 1500m lonely swim. I run up the swim exit in 23rd place. I'd like to say there were over 100 pro women in the race but there wasn't. 27 started. Emma Moffat and crew were 2:35 ahead already.
40km on the bike goes super fast! I hardly have time to eat or drink. I'm on a mission to catch as many of these girls as possible. I pass one then another then another...until time's up...pencils down! 40km done. Dismount and put Shivy back in his rack. I felt great on the bike, clocking over 40km/hr average. But I also clocked over 40km/hr a few weeks back in the Boulder 70.3 where I rode 90km. Maybe some more work on my Computrainer will help with that top end speed.
I quickly throw on my Adidas runners, ITU style - no socks! But with Vegas just next week I've got fixomull tape all over my feet to avoid blisters. I grab my GU gel and visor, Scody race belt and take off - back on the chase. I start running girls down but I'm a bit nervous - can I hold this pace? I haven't done an Olympic distance race since Nov 2012 in Noosa, but even there I crashed and couldn't really run properly because of it. I decided on 3:30 pace to start. It feels quick, a good 15sec/km quicker than 70.3 pace but it also feels manageable. Every km split almost spot on. I'm reeling more and more girls in but at 6km I'm still only up to 6th place. Jared gives me another split "50seconds to 2nd place". I have to pick it up. My legs are actually feeling really good. I can get 2nd! I pass another girl just as we turn into a strong head wind. She jumps right on my feet. Not like a runner comfortably 'tucking in'. I mean RIGHT on my feet, clipping my every stride. Never had that before. I zig zag trying to get her off so I don't get tripped. A slightly stronger surge and the tripping hazard is gone. Three more to go to get into second place. I see my next target just up ahead. I pass straight by and zero in on the next. Make another pass and look up for the 2nd place girl as my Garmin beeps '9km' done. Only 1 km to go...I'm running out of k's. Emma Moffatt is too far ahead to consider the win, but 2nd place is still within reach. "Please don't be short" I say to myself...thinking of some of the ITU run courses where the women miraculously run 31-flat for '10k'.
About 800m to go and second place is right there... I relax, slow just a touch and catch my breath before I throw in a 3:14km to make a decisive move. I don't want to risk her jumping on my feet. I run straight past and about 100m later my watch beeps 10km. Perfect! The race is still not over... It ended up being 260m long but I have second place in the bag. As I run down the blue carpet high fiving the Ironkids who raced yesterday I feel pretty awesome. I never ruled myself out of a podium finish here but I really didn't know what to expect racing these super fast short course girls.
I remember when I thought two hours was a long race. Now with so many long course triathlons under my belt it was definitely short. One GU gel, one fuelselage filled with Roctane and that's it. My total time out there was 2:11:52
What I do remember is that to be fast is to train fast and that high threshold work is very necessary to get the top speeds. Considering the lack of this in my current training I had a pretty good race! Old Orchard Beach is just south of Portland on the east coast. The venue is beautiful as the swim is in the cool but relatively calm waters of the Atlantic ocean. The bike/run take you through the slightly rolling agricultural and forested terrain. In doing my pre-ride I definitely wished I had more time on the bike around these parts!
Race morning started at 4am as I ate my regular pre-race breakfast of gourmet oatmeal (recipe below) and drank my coffee. Filled up my homestay Susan, Kevin and I made our way to the race site. Susan was taking on her first half distance race. The air was cool and it was still dark. As the sun rose it became an absolutely perfect day. I headed to the swim start walking along the beautiful beach with the ocean stretching as far as the eye could see. It was so peaceful and calm. I took a few deep breaths in before I reached the nervous and excited energy of the race start.
The swim was one of the worst and the best swims I have ever had. I have no idea what happened but somehow I managed to get incredibly behind the whole field of women in the first 200m. I thought oh dear, this is not a good start. I also heard my mom say to me the day before – your swim will be the best part. This was not a place to begin “my best”. I decided that I had to move it so I took on all the girls ahead of me and one at a time picked them off. I moved through two packs and ended up coming out third (21:47).
Onto the bike I had one goal – have the fastest bike split out there. I was shy of this goal by 20 seconds. I worked hard maintaining my power and navigating through the athletes. Laurel and Rebecca Wassner kept me company for a large part until we caught Lauren Goss who was serving a penalty. Then it was Lauren, Rebecca and I going back and forth, taking over leads, pushing the pace. Eventually they got a little ahead but never out of my eye sight. I watched them together for 10 miles until I decided to just go ahead. I pushed those last 6 miles of riding hard coming in off the bike in third (1:02:34).
Onto the run I had no expectations other than to finish working my hardest. I definitely did this and have a few photos with the look of agony to show for it. I was just very happy it was only 10km.
Finishing the race I quickly recovered and had the funny desire to keep going. I did a nice hour cool-down on the bike and enjoyed some of the half distance course. REV3 did not disappoint once again. They put on a phenomenal race. The community was awesome cheering and supporting each and every athlete. I had a wonderful homestay and Susan reminded me of where and how far I have come in this sport. There was a time that I asked all the same questions.
Next I turn my sight to Ironman 70.3 World Championship race. My final weeks of training will be in Ottawa where I began this triathlon journey. I will soak up the energy of the capital, hook up with old friends and enjoy these last few weeks of hard work!
Whole oats (carbohydrates)
chia seeds (omega 3s, protein, some electrolytes)
blueberries (antioxidant, vitC &K)
maple syrup (a little Canadian
I headed to Sweden last week for my final race in the ITU World Series this year. After a disappointing race in Hamburg, I was ready to have a good hit out and prove myself over the very challenging course contesting of cold-water temps, a tight & technical bike course and both steep hills and heavily cobblestoned roads throughout the bike and run.
As we dove in for the swim, the freezing 14 degree water was the least of my worries with most of the circuit's best swimmers fighting to reach the turning buoy first. I just put my head down and tried not get caught up in any of the fight that is closer to wrestling than swimming. That is much easier said than done and around the first couple of buoys I was once again coming to a standstill trying to make my way through the field. By the time we got onto the second lap it had spread out so I was able to move myself up a few positions by finding clean water and my own rhythm.
I led the second group out of the water and it was then a very painful sprint up to my bike (transition being located on a 20% gradient). The bike course makes its way straight through the Old Town of Stockholm which is predominately cobblestones and is situated on previously mentioned hill of which we would now traverse another 9 times on the bike followed 4 times by foot. Positioning and skills in the bike pack were absolutely vital.
I quickly got to work to try and chase down the lead pack - I wasn’t in the mood for another situation where I’d be starting the run down on the leaders. Fortunately, in a World Series race, there tends to be a few motivated riders in every pack, and we were able to organize a good group of us to work together. By the 4th lap we had caught the main group. The ride was very intense at all times, and I honestly had no idea how many or who was in my group, as I tried to stay up the front and away from any danger.
As soon as I got on the run, it was clear that the hard ride had taken its toll on me. The first couple of laps were a real struggle for me to get going, and I just tried to focus on my own race. I managed to work my way through towards the end and ended up crossing the line in 13th place.
I’m somewhat content with my result. Perhaps at times I rode harder than what I needed to, but at the same time I’m proud of the way I raced.
Overall, I couldn’t be happier with how I have progressed in the past 12 months. Last year I finished 35th here, and I didn’t think that was too bad! I have ended my World Series season ranked no. 17, something I
wouldn’t have imagined at the beginning of the season. I am now 100 % focused on racing in London at the ITU U23 World Championships in under 3 weeks time and this weekend was definitely a confidence booster.
Thank you to Triathlon Australia staff for their support over the weekend.
I headed to Sweden last week for my final race in the ITU World
Series this year. After a disappointing race in Hamburg, I was ready to
have a good hit out and prove myself over the very challenging course
contesting of cold-water temps, a tight & technical bike course and both
steep hills and heavily cobblestoned roads throughout the bike and run.
As we dove in for the swim, the freezing 14 degree water was the
least of my worries with most of the circuit's best swimmers fighting to
reach the turning buoy first. I just put my head down and tried not get
caught up in any of the fight that is closer to wrestling than swimming.
That is much easier said than done and around the first couple of buoys
I was once again coming to a standstill trying to make my way through
the field. By the time we got onto the second lap it had spread out so I
was able to move myself up a few positions by finding clean water and
my own rhythm.
I led the second group out of the water and it was then a very
painful sprint up to my bike (transition being located on a 20% gradient).
The bike course makes its way straight through the Old Town of
Stockholm which is predominately cobblestones and is situated on
previously mentioned hill of which we would now traverse another 9
times on the bike followed 4 times by foot. Positioning and skills in the
bike pack were absolutely vital.
I quickly got to work to try and chase down the lead pack - I wasn’t
in the mood for another situation where I’d be starting the run down on
the leaders. Fortunately, in a World Series race, there tends to be a few
motivated riders in every pack, and we were able to organize a good
group of us to work together. By the 4th lap we had caught the main
group. The ride was very intense at all times, and I honestly had no idea
how many or who was in my group, as I tried to stay up the front and
away from any danger.
As soon as I got on the run, it was clear that the hard ride had
taken its toll on me. The first couple of laps were a real struggle for me
to get going, and I just tried to focus on my own race. I managed to work
my way through towards the end and ended up crossing the line in 13th
I’m somewhat content with my result. Perhaps at times I rode
harder than what I needed to, but at the same time I’m proud of the way
Overall, I couldn’t be happier with how I have progressed in the past 12
months. Last year I finished 35th here, and I didn’t think that was too
bad! I have ended my World Series season ranked no. 17, something I
wouldn’t have imagined at the beginning of the season.
I am now 100 % focused on racing in London at the ITU U23 World
Championships in under 3 weeks time and this weekend was definitely a
Thank you to Triathlon Australia staff for their support over the weekend.
So it been five days since the Ironman and I’m finally beginning to feel human again and have enough brainpower to write this blog. I decided about 5 weeks ago that i would do this race as it offered big points and the only possible way of me securing a Kona slot. From our calculations a top 7 would probably assure me a Kona start.
Glen and I travelled from Boulder to Montreal on Thursday and took the 90 minute drive up to Mont Tremblant. We had an incredible homestay – an amazing log house on nearby Lake Ouimet. Bill and Anne Herbert were wonderful hosts and we wanted for nothing. Thankyou Herberts! We especially enjoyed our sunset “booze” cruise on their boat post race.
The area is stunning – gorgeous lakes you can swim in all you want, great (very hilly) riding with the race roads having been recently re-paved and the beautiful, shaded, famous smooth gravel Le P’tit Train du Nord trail to run on.
Sunday morning we set of early at 6.37am. When the gun went off i went out hard and felt great in the swim. I exited 2nd in 49min + , 20 seconds behind Hayley Chura – an ex-collegiate swimmer. Mary Beth Ellis – the race favourite – was 2 minutes down on me and Bek Keat was 5. So this gave me a good buffer to get into my rhythm on the bike. Being an early start it was quite cool so i’d put a few clothes in T1 to put on to stay warm. In my hussle i got my jacket zipper jammed, once, twice, three times and squandered away a minute of my lead – idiot!! Hayley dropped her chain early on and stopped to fix it so i was leading the race until about 20km when Mary Beth came by. I lifted to ride her pace for a while. Soon Anja Beranak caught us and went to the front. She was storming. I knew the pace wasn’t sustainable for me and at about the 40km mark when we hit a 2km climb out on the highway i let them go and settled into my own pace. I felt ok, not amazing but not bad either. After 1 lap (90km) I was 4 minutes down on the lead girls and 7 minutes up on Bek in 4th place.
I could feel the fatigue setting in over the challenging bike course. The hills were relentless with almost no flat sections. The last 20km of each lap was the hardest with some really steep little kickers. I was really glad of my Shimano Di2 to be able to change from the handlebars whilst out of the saddle. This was my first race on my new Fuji Norcom and the lil beauty did great:) At about 150km i was really starting to hurt and knew i was loosing big time. My legs were gone and i could no longer get out of the saddle – they would just collapse! I wasn’t bonking or anything- just knackered!! When the last 20km hilly section came it very nearly broke me. Even with a 28 on my cluster i could barely get over the little climbs. Every time i would go to get out of my saddle my legs would crumble beneath me. So i was trying to climb seated and at one point nearly came to a standstill and my whole body began to shake uncontrollably! I simply had no strength left. I’ve never had that feeling before and it was really strange. Even stranger i started laughing. There was some of the slowest 50+ age group women going up the hill at the same time and i was pretty much loosing time to them!! I limped into T2 wondering how the heck i was going to run a marathon. Mary Beth was 12 minutes ahead and Anja was 9. Bek Keat was 1.30 behind me.
I set of shuffling, just trying not to trip over my own feet with my wooden legs. Bek came flying past within the first 2km and offered me some words of encouragement (thx Beka!). She looked great and it seemed like she was running twice the speed i was – it was demoralising!! So i tried not to think about it and reminded myself i felt this way in my first IM in Cairns just 10 weeks ago and my legs eventually came around. The run course begins on some undulating roads before getting onto the flat, shaded Le P’tit Train du Nord trail. Hitting the softer surface of the trail at about 6km and my legs started to feel slightly better. There was never a “snap – o my run legs are back” but they just gradually came back to me over the first 30km. I almost didn’t want to hear splits as i was feeling so rubbish. However after the first 21km lap i was told i’d lost around 3 mins to Bek and was 6 mins down on Anja. Mary Beth was way out front and not looking like faltering – she had this in the bag and it was left to us girls to fight out the podium. The volunteers and fellow competitors were amazing out there. Other athletes in their own world of pain but cheering me to chase the girls down.
I had to make a decision. It was going to require every last bit of my effort if i hoped to catch Bek or Anja or i could keep steady, hold my 4th place fairly comfortably (as comfortable as an IM is!) and still secure my Kona spot. I worried that if i pushed too hard to try and catch i may completely screw myself and not get my top 7, or worse – DNF. Kim Schwabenbaeur, Jennie Hansen and Erika Csomer were a fair way behind but running strong in 5th to 7th. I could not resist the relentless encouragement and as my legs became less wooden i found myself chasing hard. I was closing and closing – in the last km’s I could see Anja just up ahead. I ran out of road and finished a mere 18 seconds behind Anja in 3rd and just 48 seconds behind Bek who took 2nd. Frustratingly close! I’ve lost sleep this week thinking about where i could have made up those small deficits over 9hours17! That stupid jacket in T1!! Ah well.. Lessons learnt and Ironman number 2 under my belt. But most importantly i secured the points i needed and am almost certain to be offered one of the final Kona slots. They go out early next week.
Congrats to Mary Beth on a dominating performance – definitely in brilliant form and a true contender of the world title in Kona. And to the amazing Luke Bell for winning the mens, showing nice guys do finish first! Also to every other person out there – just finishing these things is a true achievement.
From here it is 7 weeks until Kona – not long at all. I am racing HyVee 5i50 champs in Des Moines next Sunday. I wont be expecting much of myself (i am only just re-mastering walking properly!) but it will be fun to do this race I have done for the past 5 years and something that will now feel relatively short. Then it will be some more recovery, a bit of training and head to Hawaii. I’ve decided not to race Vegas 70.3 World Champs. I am gutted to miss it as i have never raced 70.3 Worlds but know that a) i wont be fully recovered from this Ironman and b) I need to focus on Kona.
Just like everyday out there in training i couldn’t have got through this race without my wonderful sponsors – Scody, Enlighten, 32Gi, Blue Seventy, Shimano, Fuji, ISM, Louis Garneau and Oakley. Also thanks to coach Mat who didn’t know what to say when he saw me struggling so bad on the run “keep fuelling..!” And to all my friends and family who send me wonderful messages in the days pre and post – thankyou! It means the world and makes me all fuzzy inside;) And last but definitely not least thankyou to my number one supporter, bag carrier, bike mechanic, wannabe coach, personal film producer, masseuse, chef, motivator, training partner, best friend – hubby Glen:) xox
Swim 27:22 (5th)
Bike 2:21:39 (1st)
Run 1:20:48 (1st)
Zip lining down Gunstock, climbing on the Monkey Trunks fort, jumping out of the sky onto a giant air pillow or maybe riding the water dodgems. This is what's running through my mind prior to race start. Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire is an amazing place. I had no idea of its beauty before I arrived. Our arrival wasn't all smooth sailing though with our 9am flight from Denver being cancelled and the next available flight to Manchester Airport not leaving until 5:30pm arriving near midnight. That'd be almost 10hrs waiting in Denver airport then with the drive out to Gilford, it'd be the early hours of Saturday morning before we get our head on a pillow. Far from perfect prep. We had to come up with some other plan. So instead, we flew to Boston on a 10:30 flight. We changed our rental car pick up from Manchester to Boston and drove two and a half hours to Gilford. We grabbed dinner along the way and managed to get to our hotel just after 9pm. It was worth it when we saw the place in daylight Saturday morning.
Sunday morning I got a good warm up in the clear waters of Lake Winnipesaukee prior to race start. As the horn sounded I took off fast, quickly jumping on someone's feet. I didn't need to sight at first as the water was so was clear I could see the kicking feet in front of me. The girl I was sitting on soon slowed so I went around her to discover I'd been dropped from the pack. I surged ahead solo till I caught the group of 3 girls at the first turn bouy (~600m). I would spend the rest of the swim with this group (trailing the amazing super swimmer Amanda Stevens). As I practiced sitting on feet (something I unfortunately very rarely get to do) I realized just how much easier it is. I started to think maybe I can go around the girls and try to minimize my gap to Amanda. But once I moved wide I realized I'm not going any faster than them so I tucked back in and conserved energy.
Four of us came out of the water together, trailing Amanda by almost 3mins. On this course, out of T1, there's little time to put your feet in your bike shoes before hitting the first climb. It's maybe a hundred metres from mount line to the climb! The first climb is around 6%. I got into a good rhythm and pulled away from the other girls on the hunt for Amanda. The course is full of rolling hills, some quite long so even though I was still a couple of minutes behind at 30km I could actually see Amanda up the road. She had a couple pro men (that she probably smoked in the swim) near her but her bright orange Rudy Project helmet stood out like a neon light bulb. Another 10 or so km and one of the pro men dropped off and I passed by. Just when I thought I was closing in, Amanda would disappear around a corner. At 53km I finally made the pass. It was then back up the long gradual (maybe 2%) climb. I couldn't drop Amanda and at 58km she took back the lead. Another few km's and we hit a steeper incline so I passed again and started to slowly pull ahead.
With about 20k to go, the urge to pee was becoming too great. I was now officially busting! I couldn't save it for the run - there's no way I can pee while running - and I didn't want to waste time in a porta-loo. And if I hold on I might get stomach pains. I HAVE to go. It's pretty hard to go when your pushing hard though. I need to relax. With less than 15km to go I approach the top of climb, the other side is straight down! Perfect. I get up some speed before throwing my weight forward over my bars to fly down the other side. I can now stop pedaling and relax!
Onto the run I had only around 45seconds lead. This was only my third IM 70.3 distance for the year, my first being Geelong early in the year after I crashed out in my previous race and was still sore, and my second was two weeks ago in Boulder at altitude. The rest of my races this year have been all odd distances. So, what pace could I run? What pace was I capable of? This was the main reason for racing Timberman 70.3. I wanted a good hit out before Vegas, to see what pace felt comfortable. 3:45/km was the benchmark I was after and it felt good. I ticked off the km's - super even and in control. A few friendly spectators offered some advice along the way "you've got it, relax, enjoy it, take it easy". I guess mentally I could relax but I still wanted to keep a solid pace to the finish to make a good session out of it. To make sure the pace would be fine all the way to the end and to see how I pulled up after. The run course was nice, two out and back laps with rolling hills throughout, tall trees on either side, lots of spectators and I think one of the loudest, happiest bunch of volunteers at the aid stations. My Garmin beeped '20km' just as I hit the '12mile' marker. That's not right. 1600m to go? You tricked me... My Garmin measured the course to be an extra 610m long. At least we know we covered the distance on this one! Definitely putting this on my list again for next year. Loved the course, the atmosphere and especially the location!
Swim 6th 27:26
Bike 1st 2:12:16 (bike course record)
Run 1st 1:22:38
If anyone knows Boulder and their water safety policies you'll know that it's almost impossible to get a 'safe' warm-up done before the race while 2000-odd triathletes attempt to warm-up in the one available 40x40m roped off box. Chaos. I tried it! I then opted to jump up and down on the spot instead, swinging my arms around like wind mills in an attempt to replicate some sort of swimming movement. This year however it was a beach start instead of deep water. I much prefer this. Just that 10m run down to the water followed by some dolphin dives helps me get warmed up before it's head down for the next 27 or so minutes.
The pro men took off first with the pro women 3min behind. The race organizers not only changed the bike course to one 90km loop this year instead of two laps but they also sent the age groupers off 10min behind so as to not interfere with our race. GREAT ideas! As I began swimming, I found myself sandwiched between two girls who I wish swapped sides before we started. The girl on my right wanted to go left and the girl on my left wanted to go right. I just wanted to get outa there. After a few hundred metres I finally pulled ahead. Pheeww! Clear water. But clear water it was indeed. I couldn't see anyone up ahead. Damn! How far behind am I? I panicked a little thinking I was 5 or so minutes behind but I also enjoyed just swimming in clear, still, open water on my own. No bashing. No trying to follow someone. Just me on my own practicing my own sighting. And Boulder definitely did a good job with plenty of sighting buoys.
As I ran out of the water and into T1 I listened nervously to Barry on the mic who was about to announce how far down I was. Just before he said it I was saying to myself "3 minutes, please say 3 minutes" but in my head I was sure it was going to be 5. After all, I had Amanda Stevens, I think the fastest swimmer in long course triathlon in my race as well as 2012 IM and IM 70.3 World Champ and super swimmer also, Leanda Cave. Barry continues "...and Mel Hauschildt is now in T1, Mel set the bike course record last year here, she is definitely one to watch and she is... 2 1/2minutes down on the leaders". My face lit up. That was music to my ears. I jumped on Shivy and took off up the road to catch them. The first 8km is all a gradual climb - just around 2% but enough of a climb that if you bolt out of the water and smash the first 8km you could really put yourself in a hole for the rest of the ride. As I was only 2 1/2minutes down it was easier for me to control myself at the start.
At 18km I passed Leanda on a small climb. I felt great, still on my bars, powering up the climb. Leanda was up out of her saddle. This gave me a confidence boost that I was riding well. At around 35km I saw Jared and he yelled out 40seconds. "40seconds" I thought... "to who?". I assumed Amanda must be further up the road than that...it must be someone else just up ahead that I can see. But at 41km I passed Amanda and then saw the lead motorcycle up the road. I'm in the lead? Awesome! What to do now? Either relax a little and try to make the run easier by being fresher off the bike? Or push the bike hard and make the run easier by having a good lead? I opted for the second option. I tend to think I run the same off a hard bike or a steadier bike anyway. I may as well get a good lead.
The bike course was great. The roads are smooth. There are nice rolling hills and the scenery is beautiful. It was just me out there on my own. No age groupers to contend with. Just me and Shivy in the fresh, thin air of Boulder. The only part where I could see my competition was an out and back section we did to make up some kms. A gradual climb up Niwot St before a sharp u-turn back down. I saw I had a decent lead but kept pushing the pace. As I jumped off Shivy and ran into T2 Barry's loud cheerful voice was again beaming from the mic. "Wow! Our first female into T2 is Mel Hauschildt, not only did she catch up 2 1/2 minutes, she put another few minutes into the next girl! And this isn't even her strongest leg, just look at her, she's a runner!" Barry was awesome. If you were ever going through a tough patch he was sure to get you out of it by making you feel great.
Helmet off, socks and shoes on. Salty the Yeti (my trusty 'dessert' GU gel) in my pocket, visor and race belt in hand. And I'm out of there. Boulder 70.3 run course is one of my favorite. The only bitumen you run on is in and out of transition. The rest of the run is all dirt/gravel trails. I love it. One of the big reasons I love training here in Boulder is for their awesome dirt running trails. So we head out of the Reservoir over some rolling hills on a dirt road where you'll spot just as many top pro triathletes spectating as there are in the race. A u-turn and then back into the Res via some narrower gravel trails and then along the water back into transition for another lap. I had my Garmin 910XT flashing km splits to me so I could control my pace. Also out on the course was the great photographer Timothy Carlson who would apologize for interrupting me as he'd take several photos of me running. I couldn't help but smile at him. Jared would also pop up and instead of telling me how far down I was he didn't know what to say... "your just out for your Sunday long run". I kinda laughed to myself... so maybe they're not catching back up I thought.
The last 2km was probably the toughest mentally. It's where I do my 2km reps in training and it's dead straight. You can just see the end but it drags on forever. Finally I see the chute... That's when you get this extra burst of energy, like you could just keep going. The crowd somehow does that. The waving arms all hanging over the barriers hoping to get a high 5, the commentator screaming over the mic. It's an amazing feeling. I crossed the line in 4:04:36, 12min 51sec ahead of Leanda in 2nd and with a new course record. A bike course record and the perfect way to start the US season after arriving to the States just a few weeks ago.
Jared was at the finish... again no idea how. I last saw him 3km out. He's just a show off...must've ran back faster than me or taken some cross-country short cut somewhere. Also there waiting was my awesome Boulder Homestay hosts who have helped me out since my first time here in 2011. Jevgenij and his young son Teo, who, by the way destroyed the field in the IronKids the previous day!
A big thanks to Eric from Specialized for getting my bike ready to roll! GU nutrition for your awesome nutrition out on course as well as the whole IM team - race organisers, officials, sponsors and volunteers for doing such a well-polished job. Thanks Barry for your commentary, Jared for...where do I start...coaching, massaging, looking after me! My manager, Phil Stoneman and all of my sponsors for your tremendous support!
Well a busy two weeks! From sunny beaches of Palamos Spain, to the Cote d’azure, sparkling Lake of Geneva, Switzerland, then up to the breathtaking (literally) views of the mountains of Alpe d’huez, add some road tripping between destinations and a visit from one of my best friends from home, training and racing at each pit stop, and it has been all systems go, and fair to say I definitely needed a few days R & R. Lucky coach Landers was on the ball, and was one step ahead already.
Palamos spain was destination 1. A cool little city which staged an awesome World cup course! The water was a beach swim in beautiful clear water, a technical, hilly and challenging bike course through the city made for great spectating, as did the run. Food is great in the Cataloni region, though I’m pretty sure every restaurant sported exactly the same menu! But good food it is, and I would definitely return back here to race again...Even if it is just for some potatoe tortillas! J As I just start to get the gears in motion again, this race was my first I have started to feel I was getting a bit of my swagger back. I knew it would take a few races, and there was the hint of it shining through to finish 8th.
No time to waste, home, a tout suite! To have an exciting two day visit from my mate from home, some more food and although I promised not to kill the basil plant they left me, I think I may have drowned it when I left to the
Alpes! L in fear it would die in the hot summer St Raph heat, I think I went a bit overboard in the watering, maybe just showing my mothering skills definitely still need some time yet!...oops !” Basilico” is currently in ICU, I will keep you posted on his progress…:)
Off to Geneva, for the European Cup next! Fond memories from a win here 2 years ago, I was lucky enough to have some déjà vu here and run away with a win again. Two from two I can’t complain! And always nice to share a
podium with my friends Charlotte and Anne, good day out for the crew from St Raphael!
Now to save the best for last! Alpe D’huez triathlon 4 days later! Geneva is one tough bike course to start so what better way to cap it off than race up Alpe D’huez a few days later! A sensational race I recommend to everybody! But come prepared for it, there is no hiding out there!
The Alpes are stunning. No two ways about it. The views, the sounds, the smell, the trails, the fresh mountain air..(or lack of) either way, high from lack of O2 or the environment? It’s so relaxing up there! So much so I felt I was put into a sleep coma for the few days leading into the race, or some physiologists may argue their crazy science saying it may have been the altitude, meh? J It’s definitely tough on the body to go up for only a few days as I felt I was swimming with a wheelbarrow tied to my ankle, nearest flat ride is a 10% incline mountain, and an easy jog is at 1900m altitude with only up and
down to choose from, it’s just a matter of which you want to come first! Either way, it was very cool to be up there and it’s places like that I feel so privileged to be able to do these things. Needless to say
come race day you curse the altitude, hills, and privilege, as you suffer up the mountain, but the reality
is its worth it :)
So a quick spec on the course for those interested, you swim down below in a 14 deg lake, ride around town before making
the 14km climb up Alpe D’huez, and capping it off with a 7km run at altitude. Guaranteed to make your legs jelly, it’s an amazing course and I will happily be back again to tackle the course. 3rd again this year, I would like to win this race…I’ll be back!
Winter update- Time to stop and smell the roses- with a couple of podiums in between!
It’s been a very different couple of months for me since my last major race at Ironman Australia in May. Unfortunately I’ve had to take some time out from my normal training and race routine after having a shoulder injury, a few hip issues and then more recently some surgery. I’m on the mend now thankfully and looking forward to getting back into the full swing of things, but must say it’s been a unique change to not be so structured during the colder months. I’ve really enjoyed sharing some downtime with friends and family though, and of course getting some extra sleep. It’s also given me a lot more time to focus on developing other areas of both my corporate and coaching career- so there’s lots of exciting things going on there!
Given I’ve been limited with the amount of training I’ve been able to do I decided to have a bit of fun and get involved with supporting some Community Running events, for something a little bit different.
First stop was a last minute visit to the Inaugural Wingello 25km Trail Classic. Located halfway between Canberra and Sydney, it was a well organised event with both a 6km and 25km to choose from. As a charity race it was nice to know that a percentage of proceeds went to a local children’s charity, as well as the Rural Fire Brigade and funding towards helping junior athletics. I competed in my first ever off road run, which was a very new but challenging experience. Competing against some seasoned trail running professionals across the 25km event I was happy to finish 2nd place female. I had heaps of fun but definitely need to work on my technical running skills if I want to succeed in these types of races!
Last weekend a group of us escaped from Sydney to the Hunter Valley Running Festival and enjoyed a great training weekend, with some fine wine, amazing food and lots of fun amongst the vineyards. Bern and a couple of the boys cycled the 195km up from Sydney on the Saturday as a lead in to the Sunday race. It was a fantastic family event with various distances including the Kids 2km, 5km, 10km, Half Marathon and the Marathon, which were all run through the beautiful Hunter Valley Gardens, across various wineries and over some off road and hilly terrain. I competed in the Half Marathon and was happy to come away with another 2nd place finish. As a wine lover I adore the Hunter Valley region, only a couple of hours north of Sydney and a great location for a race, offering a unique mix of experiences for everyone. This festival is another official charity event, supporting the Leukaemia Foundation in 2013, which I highly recommend adding to the winter race agenda.
Next up, I am joining my colleagues and team of sporting celebrities as part of Westpac’s Team Alpha and competing in the City2Surf on Sunday 11th August. This time I get to give back to the organisation that helps me and also support a great cause as a Chopper Champion for the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter.
I’m currently finalising my race schedule for the rest of 2013 so stay tuned.
Dreaming of the BIG Island!
Posted on July 27, 2013
Hi all, a quick update on my race plans for the rest of 2013 and what I have been up to since IM Cairns.
I took a few very easy weeks after racing Ironman Cairns to really make sure that I had recovered not only from the Ironman itself but also from the the month of ups and downs and illnesses before Cairns. So I chilled for a few weeks back at home on the Gold Coast before heading over to Boulder to crack into training for the rest of 2013.
I have now been in Boulder for the past 4 weeks and my training has been going great guns. I think I am getting the rewards for taking my recovery time after Cairns. I had originally planned to race New York and Racine 70.3 but decided to pull the pin on them to concentrate on a big block of training in prep for my next race – Ironman Mont Tremblant in Canada.
Yep, after saying I wasn’t going to do another IM this year I have changed up my plans and decided to chase a start on the big island in October. So I will race the Ironman US Champs in Mont Tremblant Canada on the 18th of August. The plan being to gain a good chunk of points and qualify for Kona. If I can manage a top 6 result in Mont Tremblant I should gain enough points to qualify in the second round of the Kona points ranking system. For anyone interested you can see the details here-
It’s a hard gig to qualify for Kona, especially your first time without any points from Kona the year previous and especially for the women. Only 35 women qualify where as the men have 50 spots. Personally I think this needs to be sorted out. There are women with 2 Ironman wins who may not have enough points to qualify. Mary Beth Ellis was the prime example of this a few years ago, where she had to go and race (and win) a 3rd Ironman in one year to simply qualify for Kona.
Anyhow it’s definitely a challenge and one i think i am up for, so wish me luck as i prepare for IM number 2.
On sponsorship news i have signed with Fuji bikes and during my last few weeks on the Gold Coast, i picked up my new, lush Norcom Straight TT bike:) check out the video of the build here -
Ben at Pave cycles did the build for me with my new 11 speed Shimano Di2 and ISM Adamo TT saddle. As soon as i got to Boulder my coach Mat Steinmetz (fit guru) tweaked a few things and the bike felt instantly sweet and dialed in.
So thats pretty much it, dreaming of the Big Island!
So after a slower start to the season, things are starting to heat up and form is returning:)
This is evident as I won my second ITU race for the year on Sunday. Winning Geneva ITU European cup, and my third ITU podium for the season.
Sumatra ITU Asian cup 1st
Gamagori ITU asaian Cup Japan 3rd
Geneva ITU European Cup Switzerland 1st
I have fond memories of this race as I won it 2 years ago also, and entering the race race ranked number 1 for the first time I had a little more pressure, for this and my own reasons.
However Geneva is a super tough course, one of the hardest ITU bike courses I've done, which essentially plays in to my favour, as I like the tough bikes.. It has a very long steep climb in it that pretty rapidly sorts out who and who cant ride.
...then lets no one hide for the run either. A type of course I really like. Anyway it played out very favourably for me again in Geneva with a comfortable win.
The weekend Prior to Geneva I raced a World Cup in Spain, Palamos, and finished 8th, though a bit tired for Geneva the following week, the course was a good hit out, and each race I have done I have certainly improved on form .
I am now up at Alpe d'huez for the triathlon on Thursday.
its a 1.2km swim at seal level, 30km bike, finishing with the 14km climb up Alpe d'huez, and and a 7km run at altitude.
A strong contingent of elite athletes are racing this year, predominatly long course athlete who will be very strong on the bike so the race will be good but very tough this year!
Thanks as always for the support,
Medals wouldn't come without help. :)
Little late on the race update from last weekend. Sorry..
I was 3rd in Norway 70.3 from Ospaly (CZE) and Ritchie Nicholls (GB). I decided to travel up from my base in France for this race to chase some more points and experience. The trip itself wasn’t too long Geneva-Copenhagen-Haugesund. It was my first time in Norway and I was impressed. Well my wallet wasn’t too impressed. It is by far the most expensive country I have been to. But a beautiful country it is, so probably worth it..
The course was quite undulating on the bike on smaller roads and a multi loop run course. The crowds were big and the biggest I have experienced so far in my 70.3 racing. The feeling during the race wasn’t great however I managed to push on and ran a 1:11 to move up to 3rd by the start of the run.
I am now off to the US. I race this weekend in Racine 70.3 not too far from Chicago. I will then head to Boulder Colorado for a training block.
Just what have TDU been up to : We started the year off in Perth with the first National Road seriers event, this was a well organised tour and for its first year we had a fairly successful tour
From here we started the Queensland Road Team Series where we have raced in Boonah, Gatton, Warwick were we are currently sitting in third spot in the teams classification and holding the King of Mountain jersey. Sandsky Developments has jumped on board as a sponsor for this series and without their help we wouldn’t have been unable to attend.
The team introduced a New Zealand rider Darcy Ellerm-Norton to the mix this year were he won the overall KING of Mountain jersey for the Battle on the Border Tour NRS. Darcy has been our most aggressive rider so far in the history of the Team Downunder. Tour of Toowoomba was another great tour for the team where we finished high on team’s classification and had a fantastic Teams Time Trial which is a sign of things to come.
Santos Tour last month saw Jayden Copp on stage 1 an ITT get second which was our first podium for 2013 at the NRS level. The team defended well and saw an awesome team effort to see our overall Team classification at the National Road series level improve to 6th overall out off 23 teams.
The second half of the year is about to start for the team where we will be riding tours like Tour of Murray, Goulbourne-citi, Canberra Tour, Tour of Tasmania and Tour of New Caladonia.
British Super Series, Liverpool UK 14/07/13 Over the past 4 years, I’ve been fortunate enough to be invited to take part in British
Triathlons very competitive Super Series events. This weekend, we travelled to Liverpool for
one of their sprint distance events, which was held at a brand new location just off the
Mersey River. The event also happened to be the British Sprint Distance Championships so
I expected tough competition from the start.
I went into the race aiming to have a really good swim – and I couldn’t have been happier
with how it went. I got myself into second position within the first 200m behind British junior
Sophie Coldwell. A decent gap opened up behind me to the rest of the field and hanging as
close to Sophie as I could our lead had grown when I exited the water just shy of the front.
It was clear to both Sophie and I that neither of us wanted to hang around and we quickly
got to work attempting to extend the difference over the large pack behind us. Being vastly
outnumbered by some motivated chasers we managed to stay off the front for 2 of the 4 laps
before eventually being caught and becoming part of a larger lead bunch. From there I just
tried to stay towards the front – the safest place to be, particularly on a somewhat technical
I led out of bike/run transition and to be honest I felt pretty terrible for the first 2km or so. I
knew there were a couple of strong runners there, including former X-country runner Emma
Pallant who is currently leading the series. We ran side by side until the 3km mark when I
decided to make a move and step outside my comfort zone. I felt a slight gap open and
didn’t look back for the rest of the run continuing to push into my next level until I ran into the
finish tape with a 40 second advantage.
I am really happy with how my race went. I approached the race with some clear goals and I
definitely felt like I achieved them all, a huge positive going into Hamburg ITU World Series
It was a great weekend for our squad with Brendan Sexton and Aaron Royle finishing 1st and
2nd in the men’s event. Hopefully we will be back next year to try and defend our titles!
July Update 09/07/13 I’ve spent almost every day of the past month in my base of Vitoria–Gasteiz in the Basque region of Spain. Since Madrid, I have been in a heavy training block with a few little races thrown in here and there.
One of these races was in beautiful San Sebastian. San Sebastian (or Donostia as it is known in Basque) is a coastal city that lies on the coast of the Bay of Biscay, 20km away from the French border. The swim is in the beach itself, and the cycle
heads out of town onto a tough little course, which has one very long and steep climb in it. The run is along the esplanade, and like all Basque races, it is lined with spectators cheering! It’s awesome.
I managed to take the win in San Sebastian, and was honoured to receive my first Txapela of the year!
Aside from my trip to San Sebastian, the rest of my days have been spent training here, which isn’t so bad. The sun has been shining and roads and trails are perfect. In my spare time, I like to venture around town and attempt to source out some
vegetarian dishes. There are a couple of vegetarian restaurants in Vitoria, which are my saviours! They serve ‘Menu del Dia’ at lunch, which is basically a 4-course meal, and each week their menu changes. Unfortunately I have to plan my trips there in advance as it is definitely not a good idea to eat that much when you have a hard run
in the afternoon!
I was also lucky to have a BIG Quorn product delivery a few weeks ago, which has kept me stocked up on vegetarian goodness! The focus for me now is on Hamburg ITU World Series in less than two weeks time. I am incredibly excited and eager to race again, and can’t wait to see the progress made. I’ll let you all know how it goes!
Below is the latest update from Brad Kahlefeldt on his whereabouts for the next few months.
Bonjour from Morzine France!
I arrived here a couple days ago. I have had a busy week post Cairns 70.3. I stopped over in Hong Kong and Macau to visit some of the junior athletes there and to do a couple sessions. Was fun but now in Europe and back into the full swing of things.
The first week was Coral Coast 5150 in Port Douglas. Was a tough race in the heat and 10k on the sand. Clayton Fettell got away on the bike. I chased hard on the run to bring him back but couldn't quite get him. I ended up 2nd in my first 5150. So it was a good hit out the week out from Cairns 70.3.
I had the chance to visit Daintree Rainforest then the Great Barrier Reef after the race which was nice.
I headed to Cairns on the Tuesday to prepare over the course in Cairns.
Race day and it was very windy with some showers. I was out of the swim in the lead group of about 8. There was a front group of about 4 that built their lead up to 2.30-3mins by the end of the 90k. I rode with Pete Jacobs, Sam Appo and a couple other guys until they could no longer follow. The course was quite undulating but incredible scenery next to the coast, not that I really had time to enjoy it. I pushed hard in the run to bring back the leaders. We had a headwind for most of the point to point run. I caught Tim Reed at about 17k and tried to bring back Courtney Atkinson but was unable to finishing in 2nd 50 seconds back. I was happy again to have another good result over the Half ironman distance in testing conditions and a strong field including the reining Ironman World Champion. I enjoyed my time in Cairns and was surprised actually how big the race week was.
I am now in the French Alps at a place called Morzine. Team Sky are living up the road in preparation for the Tour.
I will race a French Grand Prix next weekend then I have Norway 70.3 on July 7. I will then head to the US for Racine 70.3 then train out of Boulder in preparation for the 70.3 Worlds in Vegas.
Cairns 5150 and Ironman Cairns Race Report About a month ago, I had a rethink of my season, and made some midseason alterations to my calendar, and my focus for the remainder of 2013. Rather than bore you with the details of the next six months, I’ll try to cover these races as they happen.
Several weeks ago I began my preparation to do an Olympic distance race (i.e. Port Douglas 5150) on one weekend, then back it up the following weekend with the Cairns Ironman 70.3. The reason I decided to do these races is that it had been such a long time between races and also coming off a chest infection, I just wanted to see where I was at in terms of fitness. The 5150 was mainly a hit-out event, and I was preparing myself to have a good crack at the Ironman 70.3.
So the 5150 race was great, I felt good and enjoyed it, I got a 6th place there, which was what I expected for the field of athletes, and my ability in short course racing. I spent the week in Port Douglas (about an hour drive north of Cairns, Queensland) training with Clayton “Clayto” Fettel and Joey Lampe. I had recovered so well and was feeling on top of my game. Clayto was racing the full Ironman, while Joey and I had booked our start for the Ironman 70.3, which was being held simultaneously with the full distance event in Cairns.
Then, in a moment of sheer stupidity, the thought came into my mind to give the Ironman a crack. With no proper Ironman-build in my training, and only six days from race start, I tossed out the idea to my Team. Weirdly enough, I got the support of my coach, manager, and wife, which mutually supported the idea, and with less than six days to go, I got the go ahead to do Ironman Cairns. My preparation for this race was not what I usually do, as it was all about the 70.3 distance, so it was to be interesting to see how the body would hold up.
Race morning/wife’s birthday, I was lucky enough to see a nice clear ocean , which I was told was infested with Croc’s (the reptile, not the fluorescent foam shoes) and only a little whisper of breeze. My swim was pretty crappy and I came out further back than I normally do due to missing two weeks of swimming (as I had a chest infection leading into this race). So after a quick transition I was onto the bike and looking forward to a scenic ride up the coastline and seeing the gorgeous tropical North Queensland …I wish!!!
It was “balls to the wall” to play catch up to just get back onto the main pack of riders I was expecting to come out of the water with. So I caught New Zealand ‘s Cam Brown, Matty White and Todd Israel around 15km mark. Knowing that Luke McKenzie, Clayto, and Chris “Macca” McCormack weren’t in that group, I knew I had caught onto the group riding in equal forth.
Another 15km up the road we caught Macca. Feeling quite good, I was driving the group up into Port Douglas. Macca took a turn up front and I was sitting second with Cam, Matty and Todd still intact. We approached a bit of a tight spot on the road, and we naturally bunched up, and there was a Technical Official sitting off the back of our group. He rode up to me and issued me a drafting penalty. It was a silly mistake, where I wasn’t able to drop back quick enough in a technical section of the course. He might not have had the best angle to see it, but he made the call, and I had to cop it.
It was a little disappointing as I felt I had been off the front of my group for most of the ride and this happens in such a silly spot. So I then decided to surge forward and haul a$$ up the road as I had to get into the penalty box, knowing I didn’t want to lose the ground I made to even catch these boys in the first place. Plus I knew I still had Luke and Clayto out front, which is a scary combination, as they both are strong cyclist. In my angered state, I was able to gain around 2 mins by the time I jumped into the penalty box (…with a gorgeous view might I add).
When I saw the boys go past, I might have uttered a few choice words, and I apologize to the Technical Officials which were staffing the Penalty Box. My emotions may have gotten the best of me in that situation, but I had already worked so hard after a poor swim, to have to claw myself back again. After my penalty was served, I was out of the box on a mission. I caught the boys back at around the 130km mark.
On the ride back into T2 us boys were having a little friendly banter when Matty White decides to pull a turn… Coming past me, he says “I’m a #@%ing cheat”. LOL. Makes the ride a lot more enjoyable when you have good guys out there, keeping you motivated, and talking a bit of smack.
Back into the transition I was told a few splits and McKenzie was 21:58 up the road. Geeeeezzzz, I thought to myself – I’ve got a bit of work, and it was going to have to happen quick smart. So Macca and I ran together for a bit, before he took off. I let him go, but soon caught back up to him. Macca didn’t seem his usual self, which was understandable due to him being in hospital at the start of the week with a Kidney infection.
We ran together for around 4km and Macca was feeling worse, telling me he was pissing blood (…maybe that’s too much information), poor guy. I then dropped Macca and whilst running I saw McKenzie on the way back from the Yorky’s Nob loop, and it was pretty clear to me he had a massive lead. I thought to myself the only way I was going to make time up was to run hard into the head wind.
I overtook Clayto which put me in second place. I kept getting splits from the awesome spectators lining the course. It’s a long run into town, then multiple loops along the foreshore, so the end of the race is full of spectators. I was consistently reducing the 21:58 deficit that Luke built on his Swim/Bike combination.
I ended up crossing the line in second, and was only 4:38 back, taking over 17 minutes of Luke’s lead at T2. I ran a 2:44:24 marathon which was over 10 minutes faster than the second fastest Marathon of the day. I guess looking back now the results it could have been a little different if I didn’t get my drafting penalty. As I could take 4 minutes off my time, and possibly fresher legs at not having to play catch up twice during the bike leg. But all-in-all, I can’t complain and I have lived and learned from my mistakes …until next race!
Well done to Luke McKenzie on a champion effort. Also, I take my visor off to Macca – legend, and tough as nails!
So for me now the game plan is a few easy days then back into it as I head back to the states for a couple of races in a few weeks.
Thanks again to my wife-Bel, family and supporters, my Manager (Mike), the doggies. Sponsors; Scody, Giant, Newton Running, Daikin Air Conditioners, Endura, Shimano, Oakley, Garmin, Blue Seventy, Altitude Training Systems, Continental Tyres, Hypnotic Zoo, Scicon.
Special mention to my coach-Grant Giles. Thanks for always believing in me and pushing me to succeed when I thought I possibly couldn’t. He is a great mentor, friend, and supporter and the number one coach. Go Team Aeromax!!!
I arrived in France Tuesday, 4 days before the world champs. It was cold, a lot colder than I'm used to. But nothing some warm clothes and a wetsuit wouldn't fix (or so I thought). There was some talk that the water was cold and that the swim could possibly be reduced or cancelled. NO WAY! I thought to myself. I've been training hard for this. I flew all the way to France to compete in the World Long Course Triathlon Champs - 4km swim, 120km bike, 30km run. I want to do the full course, the accurate distance.
On Thursday I went to race start for a practice swim in the lake where I'll be racing on Saturday morning. Standing on the sand with my wetsuit on, neoprene cap plus silicone cap on, a jumper and jacket over top and still in socks and shoes, I was shivering uncontrollably. Jared said "you don't have to do this". How will I do it for 4 whole kilometers if I can't even jump in now. I stripped off and dived in and it felt like I'd face planted straight into a cold hard rock wall. I swam like a stiff robot trying to avoid any water getting into my wetsuit. After a few strokes my frozen face was so sore that I had to start doing polo. I gritted my teeth and told myself to just make it to the first buoy. I got a little over half way there before I started to panic... What if I can't get back? What if I freeze out here? I can't yell to anyone cos my mouth is too frozen to get words out. I turned around and tried to get back as fast as I could. When I reached the sand Jared was there to put my jackets back on me. I didn't remove my neoprene cap. I was shaking like crazy and couldn't move my fingers. Jared had to put my shoes on me before throwing me in the car with heaters blasting. I didn't get out of my wetsuit for over an hour. I lasted less than 5minutes in the water. Maybe I wouldn't mind if they cancelled the swim after all.
That night at race brief we were informed that "the swim is cancelled, it will now be a duathlon". I didn't know whether to be disappointed or relieved. I guess I was a little of both. Disappointed that I couldn't put the training I'd done to the real test. I'd increased my Sunday long runs, I'd worked on longer race pace runs off the bike. 30km is a big jump from 21km (IM 70.3 distance) and I was up for the challenge. I raced this same distance 6 weeks ago off my normal 70.3 training and I was really looking forward to seeing how much I'd improved. I'd also been doing swim sessions in my wetsuit in preparation for almost an hour in it. BUT... I was very relieved I didn't have to get back in that water.
Race day arrived. I was prepared. I'd ridden up the mountain pass earlier in the week and I'd ridden 3 out of the 14km down. I knew how many layers I'd need. I had long tights, arm warmers and three jackets on for warm up. I started the race in arm warmers and a vest on over my race kit.
1st run leg - 8k mark
The first leg was a 9.5km run. I'd planned to sit on around 3:30/km pace. Minus the two very steep hills where I'd naturally slow a little. I was wearing my new Garmin 910XT which came in handy because It's been some time since I've done a "running race". How fast should I run? How much should I save for the rest of the race? The first 10km felt very comfortable and I entered T1 with decent lead. I upended my bag in the change tent and all sorts of goodies fell out. Now, for the hard bit, remembering the order to layer them on. First I started putting my bike shoes on, then the full Specialized booties over my bike shoes so I had to sit down to zip them up. They took a while. I had practiced this over and over but when under pressure with cold fingers it always seems to take longer. Next I threw my Scody thermal jacket over my arm warmers and vest. It was then I saw my leg warmers. Damn! I needed those on for the descent but I couldn't take my booties off, they took too long to get on. I left them. Then I put my full fingered gloves on. I threw a muesli bar in my pocket, grabbed my helmet and awkwardly ran in my bike shoes through mud to my bike. I fiddled for a while with my helmet clip as I'd completely messed up my dressing order. Helmet before gloves cos I can't feel properly with gloves on. Then I fiddled around for even longer trying to zip up my jacket. By the time I got on my bike I was in second position. Camilla, who entered T1 about 1min 40 behind me was now in the lead by 30seconds.
Part of climb. Was cloud-covered race day.
The 87km bike leg started with a slight climb out of town. I caught Camilla at 10km and took the lead. I worked hard on the bike for the first half but couldn't drop her. On a few of the corners I would peak over my shoulder to see if she was still there...she was. At the 45km mark we started the steep part of the mountain pass. From here, it was almost 10km up at an average gradient of 10%, topping out at an altitude of 1250m. And freezing! The last few k's to the top, we were in thick clouds and my Rudy Project sunnies started fogging up. I tried to take them off to see where I was going but they were wedged under my aero helmet. I grabbed a new bottle at the aid station on top of the mountain, refilled my fuelselage and prepared for the long, chilly, 14k descent down the sketchy switchbacks on the other side of the mountain. I couldn't see a thing. Not more than a metre in front of me. Camilla had come right up on my shoulder. I had try again to take off my sunnies for the descent. I pulled on them but they didn't budge. I tried again a little harder but this time my sunnies slipped through my fingers and I dropped them. Bugger!
Bike leg - 85k mark
I was now chasing. Camilla was flying down the hill like a demon possessed. She'd approach the switchbacks like they were nothing. I followed her lead but by the bottom of the descent I could only just see her in the distance. We powered over some rolling hills and I tried to keep her in sight but my legs felt like they no longer wanted to co-operate. Was I toast from the climb? Or were my quads frozen and seized up from the descent? I still don't know. I tried to pick up the pace but it wasn't happening. Camilla was long gone. The last 20km was technical with slightly wet roads. I hoped I wasn't losing too much time as I saw how good Camilla was technically.
2nd run leg - 8k mark
As I approached the dismount line I had to think for a bit... I had booties on, I couldn't slip out of my shoes. I un-clipped and stepped off my bike then ran the long way to rack my bike (a lap and a half of the entire transition area...a long way). Boy was it hard running in bike shoes after jumping off a hard bike ride. I racked my bike then got confused as to which way to head to get my T2 bag. I back tracked a couple of times before spectators helped me out. As I began running still in my bike shoes I saw there was still quite a way to go so I ditched my bike shoes and helmet and threw them back to land under MY bike. I put my Adidas Adios runners back on and made my way to the change tent. One jacket off. Gloves off. Visor on and GU gels in my pockets. Damn! I had no pockets. I didn't think to check my new Aussie race kit before race day. I put my gels down my pants.
photo by 'Flickr'
The final leg was a 20km run. Soon after I started the run Jared called out "3min down".
That's some work to do. I felt terrible. My legs were like heavy stumps. I could hardly move them and my splits were showing that. I plodded along almost convinced I could not catch Camilla. The run course was awesome. Nice dirt trails with beautiful green trees on either side. The first 10km went rather quick because of the tight trails and continual turns but it didn't help the fact I still felt terrible and I wasn't catching Camilla as fast as I'd hoped. The split Jared gave me at 8k was still about 1min 30 down. Jared popped up again at the 12km mark at the top of the 2nd last hill and told me I was still 1min down. I thought "It's all over, second place it's going to be". Then he yelled "you can still win this". It was then that something finally triggered in my head.
photo from ITU
The next 500m these are just some of the thoughts that ran through my crazy brain - "Pull ya finger out Mel, you can do this. Your not going home with a silver medal. You didn't come here to come second. Your going to regret this if you don't get your act together, you're not buggered, you're being soft. If you think you're hurting, ask Camilla how she's feeling. Chrissie can win an IM from minutes down with a torn pec and gravel burns down half of her body. Pick yourself up and DO SOMETHING!". I took off. And my cyclist (the guy that leads the second place getter) knew it. Everyone knew it. People/other competitors started yelling at me "you can catch her, she's only just up ahead, you've got this". I went from shuffling along at over 4minutes/km to 3:45 pace. At 14km Camilla was just up ahead. I threw my vest off so that my Aussie uniform was showing. Camilla and I exchanged some friendly words before I took the lead. I passed by Jared for the last time at 1k to go, gave him a smile and thought to myself "I hope he can get to the finish line to see me win the WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP!".
When you sit down after a race its always the dilemma of where do I start and how much information and detail do I go into? Well after debuting in my first Ironman on Sunday in Cairns and winning I am filled with so much emotion (and pain!) I’m going to start with the thank you’s!
So firstly thank you to all my family and friends. The support from you over all my years of triathlons make win’s like Cairns even possible and all the more special to share it with you. The messages since the finish and the calls and texts to Glen during the race were overwhelming and I loved all of them. Thank you to Mum and Dad and my sisters for all the love and support and of course my biggest fan and supporter, my husband Glen. To be able to travel as a professional athlete and have your partner their for support and comfort is something very special and Glen definitely makes the travel and racing that little bit easier and way more fun.
Of course my sponsors play a major roll in my career and victories like Sunday’s. Scody, my amazing apparel sponsor, thanks Bernard and the team for the comfiest and best looking race suits around. Enlighten Software, thankyou Brent and team for signing me post Olympic campaign and sticking with me in my transition to long course. My new nutrition sponsor for 2013 – 32Gi, Mark, Kristen and the team have been fantastic, the nutrition advice from Mark has been invaluable.
Also thanks to Shimano, ISM, Blueseventy, Louis Garneau, Oakley and Glen Duggan from Volosport. My coach Matt Steinmetz from 51 Speedshop, I’m looking forward to getting to Boulder in a few weeks and ripping into the next training block! Jason from Kronk Remedial Massage on the Goldie, Ben at Pave cycles, Mark at Physiologic, Greg Cox and a special thankyou to my training buddies over the past 5 months Moffy and Ash. Think I got everyone in!
So now the race.
Swim: went well despite a little navigational error when leading and missing a bouy. Didnt take me long to realise and get back on track. 2 laps with some significant wind chop, I made it to T1 with a 1.30 min lead over Gina Crawford and 4 minutes to the next group.
Bike: heck of a long way….! Only my second time ever riding the distance and the time previous was a cruisy bunch ride where we stopped for a burger for lunch! Gina caught me at around 40K and took the lead. We then rode together for the remainder of the ride. Gina lead most of the way and I paced my ride off her, knowing she was well experienced but i was careful to never get close to the 12m draft zone, often sitting 30m back. Stunning course along the coast which helped the time pass but a seriously strong southerly blowing which made heading back to T2 slow going. At around 150K I hit a low, a combo of the distance taking it’s toll and having run out of all my nutrition. I grabbed 2 bottles of coke at the last aid station on the bike, but the bottles were only a quarter full and left me a little short on energy and starting to bonk. Time slowed down exponentially and the last 10k felt like 50!! I made it to T2 just in touch of Gina but in pretty average shape. Lessons learnt!
Run: off the bike with only a marathon to run…what the…..!! how was I going to make it back to Cairns, let alone the additional 20km?? I started out slow and felt terrible. Gina lead out and was up the road running away from me. Every one had told me the first 20k of this run course was the worst and they where right. Last year they had the heat in the cane fields of Cairns, this year it was a block head wind the whole way back to town. I thought I was gone. Gina got out to a 2 minute lead at one point and I was just hoping I could finish and at best hold onto 2nd. Stephanie Jones and Anna Ross were 3rd and 4th on the road about 6 mins behind after the first 5k and gaining. Getting back closer to town the nutrition i’d been shovelling in over the first 10-15K of the run was starting to kick in plus hitting the crowds and support and my run legs came back to me – HALLELUJAH! Gina also seemed to be struggling a bit. I ran back up to her and think i passed her but she soon was on my shoulder and passing me again. We then ran the next 12K in town shoulder to shoulder. I like this style of running/racing and my years of ITU running in packs started to pay off. The crowd through town and transition were amazing and so uplifting. Also the other competitors offering words of encouragement as we passed them on the multi-lap section. Thank you to all the supporters who were yelling for me, you made a huge difference!
With about 10k to go Gina had asked me to run in front, so I did and lifted the pace a little and opened a small gap. From there I just kept pushing and started to believe that I could win. Once again the crowd was amazing on that last lap and coming down the finishing chute as an Ironman Champ on debut is something I will never forget. The people of Cairns really got behind the whole event and made racing my first Ironman all the more special. Gina held strong to finish 2nd with Steph Jones taking 3rd.
My last round of thank you’s must go to everyone who help make this event happen. All the volunteers out on course doing such a wonderful job, USM events and Ironman Asia Pacific doing a superb job, professional as ever. Thankyou for looking after me at the event. It was great to win my first Ironman with the USM team who i have got to know and love over my years of racing in Aus.
So where to from here? Once i’ve recovered and got a couple of uni exams out of the way i’m off to Boulder for the next few months. I’m looking at my racing options and seeing what it may take to get me to Kona this year. I am pretty much qualified for HyVee and Vegas and have always said Vegas would be my focus this year. So if Kona happens then that is great but i dont intend on racing another IM to get there. So it is a points game now and depends on what other girls do over the next months as i am right on the borderline. I may be able to increase my points with another 70.3 result but only marginally. Will have to wait and see!
Ironman 70.3 Cairns was set to be my last race of my very ambitious 8 weeks of racing both in Australian and the USA. The last 8 weeks have been crazy with 3 x Ironman 70.3 and 2 X 5150 events. So as you might be able to imagine, my body was feeling a little fatigued. Heading into the race I was surprisingly feeling quite good in the days before and swimming especially felt better than it had in many weeks. A big thank you to David and Juanita for taking care of me and letting me stay with them in Cairns. Seriously amazing people and a big thank you!
Race morning started early along with some very wet roads due to the heavy rain the night before. After setting up the day before for an ‘Ironman style’ transition (which means going through the change tents grabbing your gear bag) it was time to rock and roll. Most of the strong swimmers started towards the far left side but I stuck to the inside right which proved to work to my advantage as it meant that I soon had clear water and no flying arms to deal with. Once the strong swimmers on the left side merged towards the turn buoy on their right I slotted nicely into the top 6 swimmers finding a good set of feet to sit behind. To be honest the swim felt really slow and not much quicker than my usual warm up pace in training. I exited the water in 6th and headed out onto the bike course feeling great.
After working through some tight turns I hit the main highway at 3km’s in. I noticed that Courtney Atkinson was up the road with New Zealand bike powerhouse Graham O’Grady. For me there were 2 choices, play it safe and sit in the big chase group with the likes of Brad Kahlefeldt and Pete Jacobs amongst others…. or hit the gas to establish a breakaway group and make the others chase. For me the choice was easy and I lay the pace down and made the move up the road being the first to catch Courtney who was leading the race at 8kms in. This move proved to be the key as it meant that Courtney, Graham, Casey and myself were now building up a good lead over big players such as Pete Jacobs & Brad Kahlefeldt. Graham and I worked well to push the pace out to the bike turn around and on the return trip I noticed Tim Reed pulling out the ride of his life. Full credit to Tim to making the move and riding like he did to bridge all the way up to our lead 4 to make it 5 men. The final 10km’s were brutal with the wind really picking up.
Hitting T2 with just our small group of 5 I was feeling pretty good about my chances for a podium finish. Heading though T2 I went to grab my gear bag only to see that mine was missing! My heart skipped a beat until an official shouted to me that he had seen someone else take mine. I ran into the change tent just as Courtney Atkinson ran out again with my bag having mistaken mine for his. I quickly put the run shoes on and grabbed my run nutrition heading out of T2 in 3rd. The legs were feeling good and I was running comfortably at my pre planned half marathon pace. After 4kms I was in 4th and really content with how the race was unfolding. At kilometer 5 however the wheels fell off completely! I went from running at 3.30per/km pace to walking the aid stations and just trying to get home. I was passed by a few more of the pro men and was struggling just to keep the body moving. After so much racing over the last 2 months the legs were fried and this run was the straw that broke the camels back so to speak.
The entire run I battled with myself to just keep running and put one foot in front of the other. I came across the line 9th which was quite disappointing result wise.
Honestly through after so much racing and traveling I expected Cairns 70.3 to be a battle. I made the key move on the bike and once again put myself in the position to stand on the podium. There are a lot of athletes out there that aren’t willing to make the big moves and always play it safe… but I am not one of them. I’d prefer to do what I did and blow up going for a podium spot rather than sitting back and running for 5th or 6th. I am sure that racing this way will reward me sooner rather than later with hopefully my first 70.3 win. As Chris McCormack once said ‘a win comes about by making a move at a critical point of the race’.
Thank you for all those who have supported me and for the people that took time out of their race to cheer me on while I was racing. I was really amazing about how many people were cheering and yelling out my name while I was racing on the course. There had to be at least 30 or more people I heard yelling out ‘GO SAM’. I really appreciate it and I can honestly say it makes such a big difference while I am out there racing. I wish I could thank everyone personally for it and I hope this blog is some kind of thanks if you’re reading it. I think it just goes to show how great this sport is and the support we all give to each other.
Madrid ITU World Triathlon Series 01/06/13 It’s been almost a month since leaving Australia and living in my European base of Vitoria Gasteiz, Spain. After my race in Yokohama I had a steady build up to Madrid World Triathlon Series and I had determined some specific aspects within
the race I was focused on refining as I build through the season.
Madrid has a strong reputation for being an aggressive, brutally tough and wickedly fast course. This year was not an outlier from this history. I climbed out of the lake (more of a pond) of the city’s Casa de Campo around mid-field. Not as close to the front as I would have preferred but still a big improvement on my swim in Yokohama. Almost immediately out of transition the bike course kicks up the hill that makes this course famous and for the first lap the pace caused the whole field to string out in single file. When everyone got organized and settled slightly I found myself in the chase group around 40 sec from the leaders.
Working constantly, my group got to within 15 seconds but we ran out of road and weren’t able to void the deficit before the final transition. I made a couple of silly mistakes through the bike leg which at the time were a hindrance but are lessons now learnt will benefit me in the future. The ride was definitely one of the toughest I’ve ever done. As we climbed the hill so too did the central Spanish heat and heading out onto the run leg I now felt the effects of the exposed, unforgiving bike course.
For the first 2 laps running I felt pretty terrible so started off conservatively and made the conscious decision to build my pace throughout the 10km. I managed to run through a number of girls from the lead group pushing through to finish 18th.
I am disappointed with my result, but have identified plenty of positives to take from the day. I continue to perform at a
level beyond that of past years and improvement is the simplest goal to chase but always the most rewarding. Now
with a few weeks to redefine my focuses and keep chipping away at them I am very much looking forward to the next
round of the World Triathlon Series in Hamburg.
With 2 races done over 3 weeks in the USA I headed to Orlando Florida for Ironman 70.3 Florida. The race was made famous last year with Lance Armstrong winning the event during his quest for triathlon domination. I had been basing myself in LA post St George 70.3 and spend my time doing a lot of ‘recovery’ sessions in an attempt to freshen up for what would be my 2nd 70.3 within 2 weeks. With the hot weather in LA I felt that I had got well acclimatized to the hot weather and was ready for Florida heat.
After a decent day of travel across the USA I arrived in Florida late Thursday afternoon ready to checkout the course the next day. After driving the course I quickly saw that this would not be an easy task on race day. The swim was held in Lake Eva was in what could be described as bath water (hot!), the cycle over some decent hills and the run consisted of 3 loops up hills and undoubtedly what would be very hot temperatures. Being that the lake also contained alligators (according to a few locals up to 14ft in size) I resisted the urge to do my usual swim over the course in the days before the race.
Sunday approached and after my usual breakfast and warm up I was on the start line ready to give my final USA race a solid crack. I positioned myself closest to the inside swim buoys and within the first few hundred meters took the lead. I kept the pace solid around the M shaped course being passed by a few keen athletes in the last 200meters before the run into transition. I kept me cool and emerged from the water right up with the front group.
Heading out on the bike
Heading out of transition I saw that there was only about 8 of us in the lead pack with a decent gap to the chasers. The others must have seen the same thing because as soon as we hit the bike leg with pace was on like donkey kong! The first 10km’s was very fast and I was forced to spend some extra energy having to move past some of the pro men who were dropping off the group. Half way through the bike the pace lifted once again up one of the larger hills and myself along with a few others dropped off the main pack. I spent the remainder of the bike watching the leading 3 men ride up the road and disappear into the distance. I hit T2 in 5th place and with the 4th fastest bike time of the day. Interestingly I only rode 5minutes slower than Lance Armstrong did last year.
Onto the run I was quickly past by 2 other athletes before hitting the first hill. It was at this point where I really felt like I was in trouble. The legs felt cooked and with the Florida heat building I had serious doubts as to if I would even be able to make it to the finish. For the entire first lap all I was telling myself was to just make it past the first of 3 run laps. Surprisingly I actually started to feel better going onto the 2nd lap and heard the announcer mention that I was in 7th place at this point. The final lap were a true battle and I made the most of every aid station consuming large amounts of cola and pouring water and ice over my head and down my Scody tri singlet along with ice in my tri shorts (which at one point the entire crew at the aid station had a good laugh about).
I crossed the line exhausted and was prompted escorted into the medical tent. The run was brutally hot and hats off to everyone, amateurs and pros alike who all made it round the course.
All in all I was pretty stoked with the result being that there was some really talented athletes racing. As always I put myself in the position to get on the podium. Being so young in comparison to the rest of the pro men racing meant that at this point in time I struggle to match their pace and endurance. It’s really interesting to see how much the level of racing had increased. Looking at last year’s results I saw that if I had recorded the same time at last years event I would have finished in 3rd place.
With this result I have now moved into 17th on the Ironman 70.3 professional men’s points rankings, which I am really happy about.
Next on my radar will be Coral Coast 5150 and Cairns 70.3 which I will be leaving for next Friday. I have heard nothing but good stories from those who raced last year and I can’t wait to test the mind and body once more against what is looking like a very solid field.
Dan Wilson is one of Australia's up and comming Triathletes. Heading home from Japan after a solid race he will tackle 7 weeks solid training at his home base of Brisbane before taking off to challenge the world's best on the ITU circuit!
Dan does regular write ups in Australian Triathlete with Words with Dan.
He Loves his Lightspeed Tri Suit especially in the Celtic design
and you can follow him on http://danwilsontriathlete.blogspot.com.au/
Yokohama ITU World Triathlon Series 12/05/13 After a 4 week block of solid training since Auckland WTS, I prepared for my second World Triathlon Series race of the year in Yokohama, Japan. I was interested to see where my form was at on a course very different to Auckland.
Yokohama is known for being hot and humid, however race day was uncharacteristically cold. As we were on the pontoon, it started to drizzle and appeared as though it was only going to get heavier.
I dove off the pontoon and I found myself immediately quite a bit further back than I would have liked. I really struggled to get going the whole swim and unable to get myself up to the front, and I exited the water having given the leaders more
advantage than I’d prefer. The ride is a 9 lap, very technical course and fortunately I found myself with a couple of motivated people and we quickly got to work in an attempt to catch up to the front group. Each lap, we were making small gains on the leaders, and it was important to stay positive and keep pushing.
The rain got heavier throughout the ride, which made it very dangerous. Each corner and turn had painted white lines that, when even slightly wet, were like ice, so riding good position was vital. We managed to catch the front group… but with only 1 lap left which wasn't ideal! It was, however, encouraging to know that I'd be starting the run with the leaders, and I was ready to see what I could do after being disappointed with my run in Auckland.
Again, I found myself feeling a bit flat from the get- go, and having to ride that little bit harder to catch started to take its toll. I hung on for 10th (my second top 10 this year!). A positive result for an 'off day' knowing I’m still building and have plenty left in the tank for the long season ahead.
I'm now in my European base in Vitoria, Spain where I'll be here for the rest of the season. Next up is Madrid WTS in 3 weeks time, where I'll be in search of that 'perfect' race ;) !
Thank you to Triathlon Australia, Thea Dillon and Jamie Turner for their support over the weekend.
As many of you know I grew up in West Oz, where i first developed my love of triathlon and cut my teeth in the sport. As a teenager i never raced any further than Olympic Distance but watched every year as my friends from the triathlon scene prepared for the annual Half Ironman. At this time it was “Rotto” or Rottnest Island, a gorgeous vehicle free island 20km off the coast of Perth. It also served as the end of season party so is filled with good memories of fun times. “Busso” replaced “Rotto” quite a few years back but has continued as the biggest race on the WA tri scene, selling out every year. It took me a while but i finally got back to race it and was thrilled to take the win in front of so many old friends.
Since my last race in Koh Samui, 3 weeks ago, my health hasn’t been the best. I’ve been fighting a couple of infections and finished my 2nd course of antibiotics the day before the race. Earlier in the week i was unsure if i would make the startline, but i was so determined to that i think my body listened to my mind for once!
By my ‘living an endless summer/tropical’ standards it was a little on the chilly side as we set off swimming in Geographe Bay, so i didn’t hang about in the swim. I led out to Lisa Marangon by around 40 seconds and took a bit of time rugging up in T1 – donning my Scody thermal cycle jersey over my race suit. Lisa rode up to me around 10-15km and i stayed in contact with her until the end of the first lap when she had to serve a blocking penalty. The marshals out there were not messing around – they were enforcing every rule and they knew how far 12m was!! My second lap was a bit of a lonely affair and to be honest i wasn’t feeling too sprightly! I saw Kate Bevilaqua and some of the other pro girls at the turn around a few minutes back and decided i would do just enough to get off the bike in front, trying not to bury myself too much. I managed to do just that and took the same approach for the run. I couldn’t relax too much though as i could see Kate was running well and another girl who i didn’t recognise looked to be running strong too. The 3 lap run meant we shared the path with plenty of agers which made for a fun run with so may fellow competitors giving me encouraging cheers – thankyou!! (I did my best to grunt back) Upon finishing it was revealed that the unknown girl on the run was infact the leading AG woman Rachel Smith, who started 5 minutes behind us pro women and is obviously an incredible talent and ended up out-splitting me by over a minute! So kudos to Rachel and i hope she takes up the opportunity to become Pro because it would be great to be able to race her in the same race if that makes sense!!? Kate Bevilaqua finished in 2nd, an impressive effort just 6 days after finishing an IM – WOW! Kiwi Anna Ross also had a good day to take 3rd.
In the mens race Brad Kahlefeldt absolutely annihilated the race, setting a course record and smashing the run record in 1.10. Massive Congrats to Brad who is new to the 70.3 scene. Tim Reed had another great race to take 2nd with young James Hodge taking a gutsy 3rd.
Luckily for me my personal nutrition sponsor – 32Gi was also the official race nutrition so made for easy fuelling for me out there:) Thanks also to my other sponsors Scody, Enlighten Software, Volosport, Shimano, Blue Seventy, ISM saddles and Louis Garneau for your constant support.
Big thanks also to Triathlon Western Australia and all the selfless volunteers (my dad included!) for running an incredible world class event in beautiful Busselton – it’s a no brainer why this race is so popular.
And THANKS to my mamma, my incredible sherpa for the weekend – love you to bits, happy mothers day:) xox
70.3 US Pro Champs St George - 19th St George was going to be my biggest test thus far over the 70.3 distance. This was not just because of the 53 professional men racing and arguably the strongest field ever assembled outside of the 70.3 World Championships but also due to the fact that the course was quite possibly the toughest 70.3 course in the world. Looking at the start list it was clear to me that the race would be on from start to finish. Being so young in comparison to the other pro men racing (I was the 4th youngest in a field of 53) I was admittedly nervous but felt like I could consolidate a good result.
Race day quickly approached and I was greeted with the usually 4:30am alarm. I downed my usual banana and honey on toast, dextro sports drink and a dextro carbo bar and headed out the door. The course consisted of 2 different transitions, one at the swim exit of the lake and the other in town. This meant dropping off the saucony fastwitch shoes in town before heading out on the bus to the lake.
After setting up T2 and a small warm up I headed down to the lake for the race start. The water was freezing measuring just 15.5 degrees C (60F). I positioned myself at the start right next to gun swimmer Andy Potts and once the gun went off just tried to stay on his feet. I dropped back ever so slightly but didn't really face to many issues and exiting the water in 9th position. Due to the cold water I spent the extra time to put the socks on heading out onto the bike leg. Onto the bike I wanted to establish myself at the front of the group and thus moved up just behind Bevan Docherty to ensure that I wasn't stuck behind many of the 25-30 strong group which all seemed to head out together.
The first section of the ride wasn't that fast but as soon as we hit the hills a few miles later it was a different story all together. The group really splinted over the first few hills and I quickly found myself in the front group of 8 with just 3 other athletes up the road from us. The bike course was totally crazy with only the first 7km's being flat and the rest either up or down hills. It's by far the hardest course I have ever raced on. On the final long climb up snow canyon I ever so slightly lost touch with the group and spent the final stretch down the highway after the climb hitting 60-80kph+ chasing back up to group. I headed into T2 just 20 seconds down and despite the hard bike felt quite fresh in the legs.
The first 6kms of the run was straight up hill and hearing IM World Champion Craig Alexander cheering my name and offering some words of advice really helped spur me on. The entire run course was really relentless with zero flat sections. At the run turn I could see that I was headed for a top 15 finish if I held onto my current position. A few of the fast runners from the 2nd chase pack ran past me just after the turn around and despite trying my hardest to stay with them I just couldn't keep up with their pace.
Over the final 6kms down hill to the finish I was cramping worse than ever and found those final few miles the hardest of the entire race. I crossed the line totally stuffed! I don think that I've ever run that hard for 19th in my life but I can honestly say that this was the hardest race, over the hardest course against the fastest athletes that I have ever done. The results list showed the toll that this course took on the pro mens field with just 38 from 53 athletes even finishing the race.
Mid way through the bike & post race thoughts
For me it's another great result and a step into the right direction.
Ironman Australia- Port Macquarie, Sunday 5th May. 2013
3rd place professional
Last Sunday I raced my 5th Ironman Australia in beautiful Port Macquarie. I have been a huge fan and ambassador for this iconic event over the last few years. Pushing KPR points and prize money aside, for me nothing beats the huge crowd support and team spirit of racing with all my friends and supporters in stunning Port Mac.
This year I was fortunate to be invited to participate in all of the pre-race events; including the Carbo night and Iron Kids race. I was especially moved by both, young Matty from the Kids Foundation as well as blind triathlete, Nathan Johnston, who demonstrated so much courage and inspiration. I also had so much fun joining Ironman legend Jason Shortis in handing out medals to all the little cuties and future superstars in the Iron Kids event!
Race day came about quickly and before I knew it we were toeing the start line for the big day. I got off to a fantastic start in the swim and sat in with a good group, swimming a solid but comfortable pace. I’m still not sure exactly what happened but I do recall on the first lap that the group I was in was directed well off to the left of the course around a boat which I believe cost us some time. I’ll just say that unfortunately I didn’t get the lead that I was hoping to out of the water which was disappointing. Anyhow, I hit the bike leg and felt great riding out of town but just didn’t have the same zip and power that I felt in my legs in the last few weeks leading into the race. I rode into the lead but was overtaken on the first 90km lap and gradually dropped back into 4th and then 5th place on the bike. I faced many personal challenges and emotions throughout the 180km bike leg but used my sensational support crew to battle through and just kept pushing as hard as I could. Although it was both a mental and physical battle I pride myself in finishing a race even when things aren’t going my way so just kept plugging away.
Coming back into town for the last section of the bike leg I saw my friends and family and started to feel a lot better. Soaking up the energy from the crowd and my supporters, I decided I was going to go to work and leave it all out there on the run. I took off out of transition quite conservatively but gradually built my pace over the marathon. Whilst I hit a few of the usual low points, I focussed on staying in a solid rhythm, holding good form and utilising the positive energy from all the amazing supporters both on and off course. I made up a lot of ground on the run and was stoked to come away with a 3.16 marathon split on a tough day, the fastest female run, and with only 16 boys running faster than me!
I went into this race with great expectations and unfortunately the day didn’t unfold quite the way I hoped. One thing is for sure though- I am not a quitter and no matter what, I complete what I set out to do. You never know what obstacles are going to be thrown your way over the course of such a long race but it’s about how you rise to these challenges that makes you stronger. Both before and after the race I was blown away by receiving so many beautiful messages of support and encouragement from those who know how much this race means to me- you guys rock!
Triathlon can be a very selfish and individual sport, but for me it’s a sport about team work, family, passion and friendships. Over the last few years I have started to coach my own athletes and it was so wonderful to see them out having spectacular days. A special mention to my girls, Sonya and Laura- who both had absolute blinders. Sonya did a 20min PB, with a 3.33 run in her 2nd ever Ironman (after working some extremely crazy hours might I add). Young Laura led her age group from start to finish in her first ever Ironman, coming away with the win and qualifying for Hawaii. Awesome work ladies!
I truly feel grateful to be surrounded by so many supportive and remarkable people. I have been competing in Triathlon for over 7 years and my passion and involvement in this sport continues to grow. I must admit it’s been a tough gig juggling my crazy corporate career with Westpac, with training and now throwing in the coaching, but I wouldn’t change the opportunities that I have been able to experience for anything. I especially would like to thank the following people for always believing in me; my loving husband Bern, my wonderful family, my incredibly knowledgeable coaches Christina and Bruce Thomas (Energy Link Coaching), and all my Balmoral Triathlon Club training buddies, who continually make training so much fun! A huge thanks to my wonderful sponsors who have stood by me over the last few years to provide me with the best of leading edge products and support:- Shimano, Scody, High 5 Sports Nutrition (Fastgear), Blue Seventy, Oakley, Turramurra Cyclery, Trek, Foot Levellers. I would also like to recognise some of my other support crew for keeping me in top shape- Dave Steven (Bay Chiropractic), Paul Collins (The Body Coach), Paul Penna (Focus Performance), Lisa Cash (Massage), Clare Walsh (Quay Therapy), Kira Sutherland (Uber Health) and my awesome swim coach Narelle Simpson.
Thanks for taking the time to read my race report and for your continual support.
Keep following those dreams and keep smiling!
Lots of love,
Bachelor of Sports Science- Exercise Science
Level 1 Triathlon Coach
Well it was another last minute decision on Tuesday to race Busselton 70.3 over in Western Australia.
I felt good after Hervey Bay the week before and thought my form was ready to compete over the half Ironman distance.
I've heard great things about Busselton 70.3 over the years from fellow athletes and thought it would be a good opportunity to compete over in WA.
Race day arrived and I was comfortable in about 3rd or 4th around the swim course and avoided being eaten by a great white. Swim/bike specialist James Hodge was out in front by about 30 seconds, with myself, Sam Appo and Micheal Fox forming a group behind. Out on the bike Sam, Micheal and I were caught by Tim Reed who was riding like a man possessed, he rode up from a minute down out of the water and bridged across by himself. I watched Tim in Melbourne IM bridge across to the front group so I knew he was riding well and also a threat on the run. The pace was quite solid on the bike with a lot of surges from Tim and Sam trying to shake me off. I kept the head down and tried to stay relaxed. There were drafting officials with us for 90% of the ride and we kept our 12 meter distance. On the way home at about 15-20km home Micheal, who I was behind at the time, was held up from an age group competitor over taking wide so we had to wait a few extra seconds to get around as we didn't want to cross the centre line of the road. Tim and Sam sensed we were off the back and went for it. Before we knew it we were 200m down and losing time. At this point I decided to move around Micheal and for the next 15k I rode hard to catch the guys again 500m before the bike/run transition. We arrived 2.30 down on Hodge who had another great ride and over a minute up on the chase pack behind.
Out on the run I set off at a solid but sustainable pace that I thought I could maintain until the finish. The feeling wasn't too bad and had my sights set on bringing back Hodge. After about 6km or so I passed Hodge and backed off a little to ensure I didn't blow-up before the finish. I brought gels from 3 different companies which I used throughout the bike/run experimenting during the race to see which would be best in the future. Im starting to get my nutrition on track with each long course race I do. This all comes down to gaining experience. I usually would never experiment during a race but another 70.3 is another opportunity to see what works for my body.
I finished in 3:45, a new course record and a new run course record of 1:10. With Tim running well for 2nd and Hodgey hanging in for 3rd. I feel as though i'm still learning. But my ability to ride hard over 90k and run off a hard ride is still improving. I feel as though I can still gain more strength over the next 6 months and also hope to take some more minutes off my run time.
It was a relief to finally finish a 70.3 without anything major going wrong.
Many thanks to my major sponsors, Giant, Scody and Asics who backed me for the long course and also the support along the way of good mate Tyler Butterfield and also some help from Craig Alexander and Dietician Greg Cox.
I made the sojourn to the east side of Australia for Busselton 70.3, which I had heard is a fantastic
event from numerous people in my club who have raced there before. I can confirm that Busselton
is one of the most professionally organised races and perhaps my favourite 70.3 event I have raced
(albeit I haven't raced all that many). I want to thank the organisers for putting on such a fantastic
weekend and generously looking after the professional athletes.
Busselton had been copping rubbish weather for the past week when I arrived and the heavy rain
and windy conditions continued for the majority of the time leading up to race day. The morning of
the race rolled round and we woke up to still conditions and clear skies. After setting up my
transition I made my way to the chilly waters of the Indian, which was far more inviting on this
morning than the previous days murk and chop.
We assembled in the water, and after trying to remove all shark fears we were on our way to the tiny
speckle on the horizon, that was the swim buoy, 800m off shore. James Hodge started to my right
and I tend to favour breathing to my left, which resulted in him getting away from me at the
beginning of the swim without me noticing. I was a little annoyed with myself but emerged second
out of the water, about 30 seconds down.
Brad Kahlefedt and Michael Fox joined me at the beginning of the ride, and soon after Tim Reed
made the junction across, thankfully without towing anyone else up. I was super pumped about this
as I knew we needed to do some damage control because Hodgey was up the road lighting it up like
it was Christmas eve. Tim was really strong on the bike and I tried my best to share the work with
him in order to cage the beast that was running rampart a couple of minutes ahead of us.
Into T2 and the official time gap was 2:52. Brad and Tim took off pretty quick and the pace was a
little too hot for me so I settled into my own pace which I thought I could sustain for the half
marathon. I felt stronger as the run progressed but I was wary of Dave Mainwaring who was
making some serious inroads into our advantage off the bike. With about 4km to go I made a push
for the line to hold him off, and at the final u-turn with 3.5km to go I noticed that James, in 3rd place
was only about 40 seconds in front of me. I gave it everything I had for the last section into the
headwind to bridge up but as we came into the finish chute, he just had enough gas in the tank to
keep me in 4th by 5 seconds. My lacklustre sprint lived up to its name and my footing was less
stable than a toddlers first steps. Not pretty. Stay tuned for some photographic evidence.
4th place is always a hard pill to swallow, especially when coming so close to my first podium in
70.3 racing. However, I am actually really pleased as I believe I assembled my best 70.3 race to
date across all three disciplines. Congratulations to Brad, Tim and James for their respective podium
finishes, and Dave for rounding out the top 5. I really enjoyed the race these guys provided up front.
Thanks to everyone who has sent me messages, I really enjoy reading them all, also thanks to the
race organisers who have established one of the best races I have been to. I would also like to thank
a few people:
– Shotz Nutrition who provide me with the best products on the market and a flawless
nutrition plan to follow. Race day nutrition can sometimes be a hard nut to crack but
thankfully I have this area taken care of.
– Scody who provide me with my race gear. Stay tuned for my new custom suit which will be
making an appearance next race!
– Hawkesbury Physiotherapy for ongoing treatment of this belting that this body cops week in
and week out.
– Glen from VoloSport for the ongoing support.
– Rod and Andrea for helping me with transfers to and from the airport(Congrats to Andrea
who finished 5th in the pro women as well)
– Also thanks to major supporters Mum, Dad and Kat for their ongoing belief in my ability.
Thanks for reading.
Until next time,
“Wildflower” is not the image that the name implies. The race is in the foothills around Lake San Antonio. There are yellow and light green hues set against the blue lake. The earth is dry and rocky but with the lack of rain has become sandy. It is far enough from the city that at night you can see the stars. It is beautiful.
This is my third time to the race yet only second time racing. That first evening as the sun was setting I went for a swim. Last year when I was injured, exhausted, broke and not able to race, I wondered how it was I could carry on “living the dream”. It was there while screaming to the fish in the deep water that I found courage to believe in myself, that there was so much more ahead for me in the sport and that I was not done. Learning about the tragic death of the Tri-California race director Terry Davis' son made the privilege of racing and being so fully alive all that more appreciated. I was not alone this past weekend to feel this way.
The day was very hot. I knew that for me staying hydrated and pacing myself was critical. I was ready with my GU 2x sodium fluid and Roctane gels. My Zipp 404 and 808 tubular wheels were only at 115 PSI to absorb the VERY bumpy county roads. My SRAM Red gearing was smooth like butter to meet the demands of a very undulating course. The swim was non-wetsuit for pros so I got to sport my Nineteen speed suit.
I was very relaxed in the swim and actually spend 99% of it sitting on Kristin Peterson's feet. She deserves credit for pacing and working the long swim (1.32 miles/2.1km according to my trusted Garmin 910xt). I was sneaky and in the final 50m pulled just slightly ahead and took the swim prime. Starting out onto the bike Kristin and Laurel Wassner took off. The first 4 miles are pretty much straight up and I was not prepared to put myself in a hole that early in the race. The bike went smoothly for the most part and while I was entirely on my own for the whole 90km I pushed a pretty steady wattage. On a course like Wildflower I can not say enough about having smooth gearing that can enable steady cadence as you demand your body to go up and down hills efficiently (Thank-you SRAM for making stellar components!). Hydration was good and I was so thankful for the integrated hydration system in the Shiv. One straw to increase drinking is good but two is even better! It was overall a really slow day though. Perhaps the wind, the heat, not sure but I was slower than two years ago and pushed about 10 watts more. I eventually passed Laurel and Kristin again but had been passed by Kat Baker and Heather Jackson who took first and second.
The run was hard and I gave it everything I could. The course is 40% trails, goes up (a lot) and is actually somewhat technical. Even though there were water stations every mile there were times when my mouth felt like the sandy dirt we were running on. I counted to four on every hill and thought about pulling a rope to get myself up. What I learned in this race is that I need to re-work on going downhill. My turnover was too slow causing me to brake and not allow gravity to bring me down. I tried to bring it up but it is a little late to train your body to do that while in the middle of a race. It was on the downhills that I was passed - twice. When Jennifer Tetrick passed me in the last 200 meters of the descent I willed my legs to go. I did not give up trying to regain ground until she actually went across the finish line. Sadly it was ahead of me.
Wildflower is not just another long distance triathlon. It is the essence of what is good in the sport of triathlon. It is the community of pros, recreational athletes, volunteers, sponsors and incredible race organizers coming together to have an incredible experience of athletic excellence, inspiration and fun. The race was for Nick, Terry's son, who lost his life but whose spirit was present for all of us. Each day we have is precious and cannot be taken for granted. I gave the race everything I had. I executed it to the absolute best I could and so I am happy.
The Nitty Gritty:
Scody Kit: 2-piece suit
Swim: Nineteen Skin Suit
Bike: S-Works Shiv TT, SRAM Red Components, Zipp 404 & 808 -Tires @ 115 PSI, SRM powermeter
Other: Rudy Project Noyz Sunglasses, Garmin 810 Edge, Garmin 910xt
Nutrition: GU! Went with an assortment of 5 caffeine free and 2xcaffeine gels on the bike, 3 on the run and GU Brew. Never cramped despite it being 30+C – yahoo!
Recovery: Compressport Socks and a few beer!
WA Pro Triathlete to defend State Championship after coming back from two career-ending injuries.
• Professional Triathlete and current WA Long Course Triathlon Champion, Mike Gee, will defend his state title at Ironman 70.3 Busselton.
• Mike was hit by a car during a training ride in September 2012, suffering serious fractures to C7 and T1 and was just millimetres from being paralysed.
• In 2009 Mike was told he would never run again after his femur smashed through his pelvis, the result of another cycling accident. He now has 8 titanium pins holding his left hip together.
This weekend Professional Triathlete, Mike Gee, will defend his WA State Long Course Championship title at Ironman 70.3 Busselton. It took the better part of three years for Mike to return to top form and take the 2012 state honors after a horrific cycling accident in 2009, which left him with a smashed pelvis. Mike was on a training ride in the Perth hills when he hit a bump at high speed and lost control. “The day after the crash the doctors told me that my career was over, but I
was determined to get back,” Mike says. Having only been granted his pro license three months earlier, Mike was nervous about taking anything on the ban list and even refused painkillers for the first six hours following the accident saying, “I didn’t want to do anything to jeopardize my triathlon career.”
During this long recovery time Mike focused on coaching with Stadium Tri Club and set up a successful High Performance Squad, with multiple athletes qualifying for Kona and Las Vegas World Champs. Then, after the successful comeback at Busselton last year and while preparing for the 2012 Australian Professional Championship at Mandurah, Mike was struck by misfortune once more. Again on a training ride, he was cut off at high speed by a car and this time he suffered fractures to his neck (C7) and back (T1). Rehabilitation included wearing a neck and back brace for 8 weeks. “I lost all the fitness I had regained, it was incredibly frustrating,” Mike says.
This weekend’s Busselton 70.3 will launch Mike’s 2013 comeback season, which includes Cairns, Philippines and Mandurah 70.3s, as well as Ironman Busselton.
Seeing the names on the start list in the weeks before I knew that was going to be one of the races of the season with 45 of the best male triathletes assembled. St Anthony’s would mark my first time racing in the USA and I was keen to show my cards and get a good result on the board.
I flew into Tampa, Florida on early Tuesday morning and for the week leading up to the race spilt my time between recovering from the crazy jetlag and doing some light training with not too much intensity. St Pete, where the race is held really is an amazing part of the world and I am already keen to come back next year and spend even more time here. Speaking of which, I must give a big thank you to Tim, who I had the pleasure of staying with for the duration of my visit.
Race day started early (and dark) with the start time set for 6:50am. The swim conditions were extremely rough and the choppy seas made for a challenging but fun swim. The great thing about having a swim like this is that it really broke up the field heading into T2. I emerged from the swim in around 15th place and right next to all the major threats. Being that this was my first time racing a 5150 event in the USA I was keen to see just how the stagger/drafting rules played out as the USA ruling is quite unique and very different to anywhere else in the world. I held my spot on the bike in the lead group trying to conserve my energy for what would be a very quick run! The cycle leg didn’t feel overly fast but a 43.5kph average speed showed that the pace was in fact quite respectable.
I hit T2 feeling good and the legs ready to go for the final 10km foot race to the finish. I passed a few other athletes during the course of the first 5km’s of the run and at the turnaround was sitting in the top 10. In the final 3kms I was passed by a few of the quicker athletes who rode with the 2nd chase pack. The final km couldn’t come quick enough and I was happy to cross the line coming home in 13th place with a 33.30 final run spilt.
Ultimately I would have loved to have been further up and inside the top 10 but with some of the best of the best in the sport present I can’t be disappointed. I have no doubt that I will be back for more in years to come as the race is impeccably organized and run with the upmost professionalism.
With this result I have now moved into 6th place on the 5150 Elite Men’s World Points Ranking.
Next up for me will be St George US 70.3 Pro Champs next weekend and with another stacked field its going to be another cracker of a race against some of the worlds best half ironman athletes. Bring it on!
Race Report - Koh Samui International Triathlon (4k/122k/30k)
Swim 1:00:10 2nd
Bike 3:04:49 1st
Run 2:07:06 1st
Seconds before race start I give the dog that is standing right in front me on the start line a nudge in the backside to move over a little. I'm in Koh Samui, Thailand!
photo by Aimee Minahan
I dive into the beautiful, perfectly still, warm water and start swimming out following the 'lane rope' on my left. Yep, finally! A race where we have a lane rope. The swim is 4km, two by 2km loops with a 140m 'Australian beach run' in between. The entire 2km loop is marked out by a continuous rope with small buoys every few metres and larger buoys on each corner AND half way along the straights. That's what I'm talking about. These guys know how to make me feel comfortable in the water. As I'm swimming out for the first lap Michelle is next to me. Four more up ahead (Liz, Caroline, Carrie and Belinda). I'm a bit slow off the mark again but I soon catch up to Carrie and Belinda and the four of us exit the water together to complete the first lap. I dive in first out of our group for the second lap and now I'm feeling JUST like I'm in a pool. Nobody in front on me, nobody kicking me. I get into a good rhythm and start reeling in Caroline. I catch her by the final straight and we exit the water together with Belinda just on my feet. As we run up the beach I look to my right, I'm coming out of the water with Caroline Steffen, what the! Then Jared yells 1:30 to Liz. WHAT the...! Liz usually puts over three minutes into me in a 1.9km swim. In transition I take my time - I've never been in this position before - what do I do?
photo by Aimee Minahan
Caroline, Belinda and I jump on our bikes together. I sit up for a bit to see how the girls will attack this. Usually I jump on my bike and get straight into it....head down, powering up the road making up the time I've lost in the swim. They seem to be dawdling a bit here today though. They know what their doing I think, so I give it a bit longer. I start to get a little worried that we are dawdling a little too much and Liz is getting away so at 18km I take the lead and reel in Liz. Within 10km I'm right up on her. Ok, maybe they weren't dawdling. Maybe I was just getting a bit ansty riding with people. Now what? The four of us ride together. This was something different to what I'm used too. I sit up and take in the scenery, munch on my muesli bar, watch the spectators yelling out as we ride past, watch for the buffalo, dogs, and chickens that seem to pop out of nowhere.
We go through the first lap, Whits' deep voice blasting from the speakers and volunteers everywhere. I'm getting a little too comfy for racing so at 65km I take the lead and pick up the pace. I get down on my bars. My new, super low, custom-made Specialized aero bars. After a few minutes it's straight up a hill, probably the longest and steepest one on the course. Nice! As I get to the top I can't hear any gears changing behind me. Where have they gone? Instead of looking back I fly down the other side and then keep the pressure on when I hit the flat. I hit an aid station and they all start clapping. I pass and the clapping stops. I listen carefully but no more clapping. I keep pushing the pace. Three against one - keep on it.
As I rack my bike in transition I'm told I have a lead of 4:40. Whoa... Nice! I start to quickly put my socks on while standing then I realize... 30km run. Relax. In transition the adrenaline is pumping and my main thought is always to get out of there as quick as possible. But not today. If I do that I'll probably bolt out way too quick. It's as hot and humid as hell and this will be my longest ever run. I sit down!
I slowly put my socks on, then my shoes. I get up and grab my cup - yep, we were told in race brief that we have to carry 'our own cup' and the aid stations are 'do it yourself'. I load my GU gels into my pockets - four of them, just in case. I'm lucky to take one in an IM 70.3 race. I jog out as I continue to tell myself RELAX! I get to 6km before my Garmin loads up so I have no idea what pace I'm on. But after that I just start ticking of the kms. There's aid stations every km. And no I'm not still carrying my cup anymore. There is in fact water, coke and electrolytes in cups that the volunteers are handing out. I take a drink at EVERY aid station. Most aid stations water in the mouth then another over the head. At half way it's now water in the mouth, followed by coke in the mouth then water over the head. You couldn't pay me to drink coke on any other day but boy did it taste good today!
At 14km a feeling comes over me I always hope won't. I need to go to the toilet. I have the camera motorbike with me. There's not a toilet in sight. In fact no porter loo's for the entire 30km run course. Next thing, the camera bike finally scoots up ahead (to take footage of a buffalo beside the road). I look behind - no-one. Up in front - no-one. Thick bush either side. I use my pit stop as a quick recovery. Mentally and physically. I don't rush it. I jump back on course and feel like new. Well not quite. But mentally the run starts again which means - 16km! Not 30km.
photo by Rudi Nudi
What goes through your head when running for over 2hrs (after already having swum 4km and ridden 120km)? Is this ever going to end! I go through good periods and bad periods. My Garmin beeps every km and I'm right on goal pace - this isn't too bad. Then mentally I fall in a hole - this is hard! I can't do this! I want to stop! Then beep - 4:13! Still on pace- I'm feeling good. Only 10km to go. I've got at least a 5minute lead. Then I flip... Am I gonna make it, it's still a long way to go, why would anyone want to do this? I chuck a gel down - you're all good! I'm talking gibberish to myself the entire 30km. Finally I'm approaching the last aid station with 1km to go. All the other aid stations I'd slow down and get the fluids in. This one... I practically stop. I gulp the WHOLE cup of coke. Followed by a cup of water. I am soooo hot and thirsty! I continue on, burping for the next few hundred metres. Then what I've been waiting for ALL day - the finish chute. That awesome blue carpet. How GOOD is that blue carpet. The crowd cheering on either side. The local kids running in behind me. Then Whit screaming over the mic "...and here comes our winner... Melissa Hauschildt...". As I throw the banner up over my head I'm hanging out for someone to throw a cold bottle of water over me. 6hrs 14min and 49seconds. #didnotdie
The 2013 season started where 2012 finished - Auckland NZ. I had very mixed feeling about this race as I had come away disappointed last October. We had once again prepared for the demands of the course leaving no stone unturned. Training had been going great. Motivation was high to prove myself on one of the more demanding circuits of the
year with the experience I’d gained over the past 5 months.
This year, the biggest change was that the water temperature was a dramatic 6 degrees warmer,
making it a non – wetsuit swim. Across the board, the times for the 1500m were a lot quicker than the previous year, as was mine. Most importantly though, with what I consider one of my best swims at this level, I climbed out of
Auckland Harbour easily within striking distance of the lead. The 8 lap ride was a technical and very hilly course, with 3 steep hills per lap. It has been described as the toughest course on the circuit, and it’s definitely the toughest I’ve done. Luckily I’ve got the technology of Giant’s new Envie (which from all reports looked amazing ;) and the 24 ascents of
Auckland CBD had me seemingly dancing on my pedals.
As anticipated the intensity was red hot straight away and hardly let up for the 40km. I positioned myself up toward the front of the whole ride and ensured I was well placed to go forward if any splits in the group happened. I was getting quite excited to start the run. After a series of races fighting to chase the lead I was now at the pointy end of the race. Unfortunately my legs weren’t quite co-operating with me and I didn’t have much to give in that first 5km. I started to pick myself up again half way through and ran the last 5km with my training partner, Natalie Van Coeverden. In a strange way, it was nice to run with someone familiar! Training together everyday means we knew how to push each other and keep the pace high. !
It ended in a sprint finish, with myself just edging out Nat. I ended up 9th, my best result at this level, which is a good start to what I hope to be a big year. Thanks,
Article by Erin Greene http://www.triathlon.org/news/article/ryan_fisher_storms_to_first_world_cup_win_in_ishigaki
Wet weather conditions couldn’t keep Ryan Fisher (AUS) from storming to his first ever World Cup title in Ishigaki with a monster performance on the bike and run courses. The rising star capitalized on a breakaway with fellow countryman Dan Wilson on the bike before he attacked on the run to claim his first major ITU title.
“I’m absolutely stoked. I came here in 2011, it was my first ever World Cup, so to come back here two years later and win is pretty cool,” Fisher said. “Winning any race is good but to come here and win at a World Cup like this, and it’s my first one, so it’s a huge confidence booster and first real race of the season.”
Bryan Keane (IRL), who attempted to stay with Fisher on the bike breakaway until he crashed in the final laps, clocked the fourth fastest run split of the day to come from behind for silver. After going into the run in prime podium position, Dan Wilson (AUS) held strong for bronze.
The men’s competition got off to a congested start, with Wilson leading a 15-man group out of the water within 14 seconds of each other. Korea’s Jung Min Park and Min Ho Heo were right on his feet, followed by Fisher.
Early on the bike, the men split into three groups, with 12 leaders out front on the first lap. However, athletes dropped quickly, with the group dwindling down to 11 by the first lap and the chase group 30 seconds back.
Pre-race top contenders Fisher, Keane, Tony Dodds (NZL) and Yuichi Hosoda (JPN) led, making it a challenge for the chase group to bridge up. After a crash forced Dodds and Ju Seok Kim out of the race, Wilson, Keane and Fisher took advantage of the the situation and established a breakaway on the third lap, leaving Min Ho Heo and Hirokatsu Tayama (JPN) to ride solo. Meanwhile, the remaining men joined the 12-man chase group.
By the fifth lap, the leading trio increased their lead to 50 seconds before Fisher and Wilson again took advantage after Keane crashed, losing him valuable time. The Irishman was then left to ride on his own for the final laps, frantically working hard to bridge the gap to the Aussies, but still held nearly two minutes over the third group. By the time the Aussies hammered for the run course, they owned more than a minute lead.
“You crash in any race your lucky to get up thankfully, it was a silly crash, I’d been careful throughout the race and came down 3 laps to go so had the bones of 14km or so by myself, I was so far behind I just had to put my head down and keep chasing,” said Keane.
“The race is never over if you crash, just get up and keep racing you never know what’s going to happen when you get off.”
With his sights set on gold, Fisher stormed through the first 2.5km and never looked back. By the final lap, he extended his lead to over a minute for an easy victory in the end. He became the seventh Aussie to win the World Cup, doing so in a time of hour, 52 minutes and 46 seconds.
Behind Fisher, Keane labored to decrease the gap between himself and Wilson, pulling even with the Aussie with just two kilometers to go. In a last-ditch effort, Keane overtook Wilson in the final stretch to earn silver in 1:53:50. Wilson earned bronze in 1:54:02.
“I was pretty much paranoid for 9.8km to be honest I really couldn’t believe it till the end, I felt pretty good going out. I ran out with Dan obviously and just sat on him to see how his legs were and I felt strong.”
“Winning any race is good but to come here and win at a world like and it’s my first one so it’s a huge confidence booster and first real race of the season,” said Fisher.
It was third time lucky for the Irishman this year after crashing out in Auckland last weekend, then just missing the podium in Mooloolaba, finishing fourth.
“Yeah, second podium you’ve always got to be pleased with, it’s my second World Cup, fourth at Mooloolaba, sort of messed that one up and missed the podium there so it’s pretty sweet after a crash last week in Auckland to come back and get a second opportunity, crash again but still come second.”
After a tough two years of frustration and injury Dan Wilson made a welcome return to international racing.
“I’m real pleased with that performance, it’s been a long time between podiums at a World Cup level, I’ve had a bit of a rough two years with a few injuries, so it’s great to come back and for the first World Cup of the year I couldn’t be happier.”
“Me and ‘Fish’ (Ryan Fisher) came ready to swim, bike and run, there’s three legs out there and we wanted to establish a bit of dominance on the bike and that was the plan and we managed to use the conditions and toughness of the course to our advantage and really be aggressive out there.”
“I was just trying to keep Bryan off for as long as I could over that last lap it became clear that he was going to catch me so I gave myself a little rest just about 10secs before he caught me and the plane was to stay with and let him know the race wasn’t over the try and hang on for a sprint finish.”
“But he was running really strongly and he was just a bit too strong over that last kilometer, the elastic band broke but I’m really happy with third place.”
1. Ryan Fisher AUS 01:52:46
2. Bryan Keane IRL 01:53:50
3. Dan Wilson AUS 01:54:02
4. Grégory Rouault FRA 01:54:31
5. Ivan Ivanov UKR 01:54:46
6. Ryosuke Yamamoto JPN 01:54:57
7. Nick Kastelein AUS 01:55:25
8. Yuichi Hosoda JPN 01:55:50
9. Hirokatsu Tayama JPN 01:56:16
10. Min Ho Heo KOR 01:56:21
View Full Results >>
Mooloolaba World Cup 17/03/13 With a small, but incredibly strong start list in Mooloolaba, it was clear that the race was going to be
hard from the get go.
Due to dangerous surf, the swim this year was moved from the beach to the Mooloolaba river, where
it was a one lap, non wetsuit swim. There were some really strong swimmers in the field, and I was
looking forward to testing myself out.!
I got off to a great start and was comfortably within the front group until the last 300m or so. I lost feet
and a gap opened up. The last 200m tends to always be the hardest part of the whole swim, and
unfortunately I let the gap open up way too quickly and before I knew it I was on the bike chasing.
There ended up being a small group of 4 of us riding together. It was an incredibly hot day, and
Mooloolaba is a tough course on its own. The ideal scenario would be to ride as ‘easy’ as possible to
save yourself for the run. However, it doesn’t exactly work out that way if you aren’t in the front
I spent the majority of the ride up the front of my little group, trying to encourage and motivate the
others to help out. At half way, it was clear that we were not going to catch them, however I still had
faith that if we kept it close enough, anything could happen in the run and perhaps I could catch a
I did a lot more work on the ride than what I had intended, but in a situation like that, I didn’t have
I had no idea how I was going to run. In the past, I have really struggled in the heat, so I was very
wary of starting out too quick. I headed out as ‘comfortable’ as possible and surprisingly, I easily ran
away and quickly gapped the girls I had been riding with. From there, it was all a battle with myself. I
ended up catching two girls who were in the front group with 2.5km to go, to put myself into 7th.
I started to really lose it physically and mentally in that last lap, and all I wanted was that finish line.
I have pretty mixed emotions about the race. Mooloolaba is a race where I honestly think I can one
day do very, very well at. Everytime I have raced here, things haven’t gone to plan, and I’ve made a
crucial mistake. Every year, I go back wanting more. 24 hours later, I am already excited to race there
again next year, knowing that I am going to be even smarter and stronger than last time.
Next up, I am racing Auckland World Triathlon Series in 3 week time.
It’s 6:49 on a Sunday afternoon, and I’m sitting at a desk in my room in Toowong, Brisbane. My legs have that dull ache, a result of spending 5 hours on the bike this morning, featuring Brisbane’s notorious bastion of hard training races (I mean rides), the Zupps ride. The race (I mean ride), this morning was classic Zupps, featuring equal parts, banter, smack talk, prodigious physical exertion, and detailed dissection of the race (I mean ride) at the coffee shop afterwards. It’s a warm summers afternoon, and the heat is juxtaposed pleasantly by subtle South-East breeze in through my window, and a not-so-subtle South-West breeze from my fan.
There’s a menagerie of wildlife outside my window, whose inter-species confabulations provide a mellifluous soundtrack to my syntax, as I gently sip from a small glass of Pepsi Max (Potential product endorsements welcome). Granted, the wildlife inspiring the nostalgia ridden narrative to come, will also be the recipient of extreme malevolence tonight as I hurl insults, and the occasional running shoe out into the bush, demanding silence for my nocturnal slumbering...
In between gazing out in the greenery and enjoying some dates (The edible kind, not the kind with female interaction), I have been pondering life in general, and turing points in life in particular. Specifically, what watershed moments have lead me to where I am today, living the esoteric, and from my point of view, enviable life as a triathlete. So, in lieu of further environmental descriptions, allow me to paint you a picture of my first triathlon, an experience which seemed unlikely to lead to a career choice.
It was year 8 in school, and having dabbled without success or proficiency in swimming and cross country, it was with only mild enthusiasm that I responded to my friends bold claim that he would partake in a triathlon in a months time. With suggestions that started subtle, and grew increasingly blatant, it was clear that my mate would feel considerably more motivated and at ease if your truly raced as well, to keep him company. So, with nominal interest, I dusted off my old mountain bike, took the dog for a few runs, and declared myself ready to conquer this multi-disciplinary concoction.
Now, the night before, I called my ‘friend’ to confirm details of the following days itinerary, and he informed me, in a voice bereft of guilt, that he hadn’t thought about triathlons since that bold statement in Maths, let alone trained, or for that matter, entered. So, feeling as unloved as Peter Garrett's hairbrush, I packed the mountain bike in the car and headed out to Redcliffe for my first attempt at a recreation that was to become my profession, some 8 years later. The usually tranquil waters of Redcliffe had been enraged by gale force winds, and as such, the swim start was more similar to Pipeline than anywhere on the Queensland coastline. Despite maintaining a veneer of flippancy towards the tsunami-esq conditions, I was slightly flummoxed to learn of the ‘covered torso’ rule. With no appropriate clothing on hand, I became quite possibly the first person to race in budgie smugglers and quite a smart looking polo shirt.
In a marked display of ignorance, I presumed that the advertised start times would remain accurate throughout the day, and at 7:43am, lined up beside a cohort who, on reflection, were probably outside my age bracket. If the average height and weight didn’t exclude them from the Under 13 age group, their wives and children should have. However, my suspicions remained as dormant as Paris Hiltons modesty, and I started with my ‘contemporaries’. This meant I promptly had entered the wrong race, proceeded to do the wrong number of laps, over the wrong course, and due to extremely depleted distances, ended up crossing the line 3rd in the Elite category, narrowly out-sprinting a slightly confused, and unequivocally suspicious professional.
I was still oblivious to the fact that I had started in the wrong race, completed the wrong number of laps (cheated!), and embarrassed the elite fraternity by unwittingly accepting tributes from benevolent officials, praising what appeared to be the greatest race by a polo-shirt-wearing 12 year old in triathlon history. Needless to say, at presentations, I was ousted as a cheat, stripped of my prizes and frogmarched out of the venue, with threats of life-time bans ringing in my ears, if ever I should pull such a stunt again. I was hooked.
“So what do you do all day?” It’s a inquisition that gets thrown my way a lot, given my somewhat esoteric profession of athletic endeavor. It’s one that also garners significant reciprocal interest, as the life of 9-5 worker fascinates me (I’ve never had a ‘proper’ job!). Fascination aside, I’ll stick to plying my trade for the meantime, and leave further investigation of the mainstream working scene until age prevents me from paying my bills through triathlon. So, sit back and enjoy the ride, as I take you though a Wednesday With Wilson...
The alarm goes off at 4:53 with the volume and urgency of a submarine evacuation siren, which starts my day with just enough panic to bestir myself and commence the day’s activities. After tripping over some stretching tools whilst rubbing the sleep from my eyes, I congratulate the Wilson of last night for packing the car with everything I need for the morning, thus streamlining my preparations for this morning, a benevolent bonus at 5 am.
I jump in the car, and with the amalgamated efforts of coffee, food and Romanian metal, I’m awake enough to be ready for a little pre-swim banter by the time I’m at the pool. I’m swimming at Lawnton Pool, with the best open water swim squad in Australia, and this mornings set is a tough one. After the warm up, we pre-fatigue ourselves with 6 x 500m at solid aerobic pace, then go straight into 20 x 100m max effort. I try not to embarrass myself over the 500s, then start the 100s with what could be described as ‘admirable ambition’. After providing some excitement early, this ‘admirable ambition’ is suddenly bereft of vigor, my arms disappear quicker than Kim Kardashians wedding certificate, and I struggle home over the last 10 reps, pausing only to dissuade a concerned lifeguard that a rescue wasn’t necessary. The swimmers push on for a 10km set, a workout I politely decline, and drag myself to dry land at 6.5km amid some light hearted howls of derision from the swimming cognoscenti.
I’m back in the car and make my way over to the QAS running track for session number 2, inhaling a delightful breakfast at Wilson’s In Car Restaurant. We are retooling my running form at the moment, in an effort to enhance my speed and injury management, so today’s session is focused on technique and form. I run through around 20 mins of drills with one of the QAS biomechanists, who confirms that after a few weeks my running drills no longer resemble a new born foal struggling to walk. In my head this makes me Usain Bolt, and my walk takes on a little more swagger, and I resist the urge to pose to an imaginary camera. We then run through some 300m reps at race speed, and childishly visualise an imaginary crowd marveling at my superlative technique.
After running, I head to gym, and commence my weights session at the stroke of 9:54. Just as I’ve started to convince myself that my biceps are getting a little bigger and my glute strength is improving, the QAS Athletics team roll in, whose proficiency and power with weights provide a lamentable juxtaposition to my own abilities. I retreat to the other side of the gym and avoid eye contact, vowing to one day become proficient enough in at least one gym exercise to impress the track and field fraternity.
By 11:40, gym is vanquished and my glutes are burning, and I enthusiastically mix my protein shake, lamentably forgetting to secure the lid whilst shaking, and cover myself and my cars interior in a film of chocolate whey protein, and add several new words to my days vocabulary. I drive home in a puddle of milkshake, and its almost 1pm, so I throw down a quick lunch, read a few emails, and gnash my teeth at the news that my beloved Boston Celtics have lost in overtime in the NBA, then head to the physio and fight back tears as I get my ITB’s trigger pointed into submission.
By this stage, I’m starting to feel a fraction lethargic, but still have a twilight criterium race as a final night-cap of lactic for the day. I decide that some caffeine is in order, and ride via the coffee shop for some ingestable inspiration. I meet with one of my swimming comrades, and offer a litany of excuses as to the speed (or lack thereof) of my last 10 x 100m, none of which are deemed valid, and so after 2 short blacks and muffin, I realise I’m slightly late for my race, and have to ride a little harder than I would like to arrive punctually. I’m early enough for some pre-race banter with the cycling fraternity, and I declare myself to be the greatest sprinter since Mario Cippolini, which garners more laughter than I would like, but these guys know how I really sprint...
At 5:45, the race goes off, and after 10 minutes I find myself in the early break of 4 riders. The pace is torrid, and soon my legs are burning like a celiac in a flour mill. We stay away for the lucrative mid-race prime (a 6 pack of beer!), where curiously, my sprint is only good enough for 4th out of 4. We are riding hard, but with the average speed pushing 48km/hr, trying staying off the front turns out to be like Captain Cook’s ship with no banana’s (i.e. A fruitless Endeavor), and we are caught at the 35 minute mark. I sit in for a few laps, then try to get involved with a few late breaks, but by this stage my legs are about as feeble as a teenagers beard, and so my attacks are largely acts of defiance to the peleton rather than legitimate threats for the win. After 50 minutes of pain, it boils down to a sprint finish and, as usual my triathlete-esque sprint is a sight which Mario Cippolini would be ashamed to witness, and I finish towards the end of the pack, but satisfied with the workout.
I throw some lights on my bike and ride home in the failing sunlight, sending wave after wave of mental gratitude to the Triathlon Gods, who have blessed me with a raging tailwind the whole way home. Once home, I give myself a metaphorical pat on the back for preparing dinner in advance, and need only to defrost some turkey lasagna for dinner, which I promptly destroy whilst watching an episode of A Moody Christmas, some sublime Australian comedy. At this point I realise I haven’t eaten any peanut butter yet today, so I make myself a slice of toast and sneak a spoonful straight from the jar, without a shred of guilt or remorse, then head for bed. At 9:04, I wince slightly as I set the alarm for the morning, then quietly fade out for the night to the reverberation of some post-metal from my favorite band Neurosis.
Atypical, perhaps, enjoyable, certainly! That’s a day in my life - ‘my 9-5 in the office’, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
ITU UNIFORM RULES As of 11.3.13 please refer to the
ITU website for updates and changes
You can find the official rules at triathlon.org under the tabs – inside ITU – documents. You should read them. We have provided the following as a practical summary for your information.
Generally speaking an ITU compliant suit is a suit:
1. Which covers the chest, has a back zip and does not cover the arms below the shoulder or the legs below the knee;
2. Has the country code, the ITU logo and your name on it. Each has to be the correct size and in the correct position.
3. That has sponsors logos (if any) in the correct positions and in the correct sizes. When SCODY manufacturers suits its reserves two sponsor spots for the SCODY logo (sponsor spaces designated “A” and “E” in the rules).
The suit can be any colour for most ITU sanctioned events including World Cup and Continental Cup events. For a few events the approved country suit must be worn. The events where the approved country suit is required are the World Championships, the Continental Championships and for the top professional triathletes from each country the World Series events.
The following diagram depicts the various positions for logos and names:
SCODY produce three suits in the Australian colours:
1. For elite athletes selected to represent Australia
2. For age group athletes selected to represent Australia (you must have been invited to represent Australia at the world championships)
3. Any athlete who want to show they are Australian
These are shown below:
Remember that you don’t have to where green and gold for most events. You may choose different colours to reflect your individuality. Please visit our website to see the range.
If you are skilled enough or lucky enough to be an Australian or World Champion you will receive at the prestigious Triathlon Australia Awards your own memorabilia with the National /World logo as arrange through Triathlon Australia.
Race report - Abu Dhabi International Triathlon (3km/200km/20km)
Swim 41:17 5th
Bike 5:17:45 1st
Run 1:16:42 1st
As I sprint down to the water and dive in I find myself with the leaders. I'm swimming right next to Tenille Hoogland. She edges ahead a little and I jump on her feet. This pace feels ok so I put my head down and just concentrate on following the bubbles. I veer a little to the right and accidentally end up on someone else's feet. I keep following what is now a big pack. But as I look up to sight I see Tenille and another competitor far left. Damn! I drifted off her feet and onto a following pack. She gets away. I follow this pack for a while before I decide to pass them and catch up to the next. I soon get onto the next group of girls but the leaders are long gone. As I enter the beach and run around for my second lap I find myself diving in first from my pack. Sighting is hard. There is only two buoys, one on each corner of the triangle. Soon a couple girls pass me so I can now follow. As we turn the last buoy and head for shore I pick up the pace but again I find myself out in front and I cant see a thing. I have two other athletes swimming next to me and we are all trying madly to sight. At one point I think the three of us were all doing polo frantically searching for landmarks.
I emerge from the water and run to the change tent. I'm in 5th. Tenille, Michelle and Caroline are 3 minutes ahead. I need to work hard on the bike and catch Caroline. So off I went, powering down the road. It might have slipped my mind I was riding 200km today and not 90km. The road headed out 40km into the desert to the YAS F1 circuit where we then ride 3 laps, each around 6km. I passed Tenille on lap 2 and this gave me a lot of confidence. I expected Tenille to be first out of the water (she was, just seconds ahead of Caroline). Riding around the Formula 1 circuit was awesome. The only problem was finding your way out. Lap 1 I looked for an exit (so I'd know where to go later on) but couldn't find one. Lap two I carefully scanned the perimeter for a way to get out and again failed to find it. Lap three I was gettig worried that I wouldn't be able to get out. When I thought I'd nearly completed my last lap I was yelling out to every photographer and official "where do I get out?". The ONLY point on all three laps that I thought could possibly lead out was a road off to the side saying 'pitstop'. I took it and luckily it was right. I had no-one in front of me to follow. I weaved my way back out and was soon up to 60km. Now the race begins.
photo by Paul Phillips
We start heading back in the direction of the finish and have a massive tail wind. This was nice after a head wind the entire way out. I thought I could make up some serious time here. Maybe my competitors won't know it's such a strong tail wind and won't keep pushing hard. I put the pedal down and cranked it up to 48km/hr and sat there. I kept watching my speed to make sure it didn't drop. When I was approaching the turn around - 75km in, I was shocked to see Caroline just up ahead. From here we have three laps of out, back. Each lap being 32km. I u-turn and head straight back into the headwind where the speed drops down to 34-35km/hr. I can see Caroline and I madly try to chase her down. I catch her just as we approach a slightly twisty point in the course before we u-turn again to head back. When I finally catch her at around 85km I roll right up to her through the twists and turns and go passed her to take the lead. I stay in front for the next 32km loop.
As we head back with the tail wind again to complete two laps, Caroline takes over. Not very often (only at Abu Dhabi last year) am I in a position to sit in (legal distance apart is 10m) so I'm still not confident of how far back to sit. Again, I play it safe and sit at least 15m back. We have the draft busters as well as camera crew with us almost the entire time. I'm still working hard and several times I get dropped but I manage to keep grinding my way back to within 15m of Caroline. We u-turn again and head out for our last lap into what is now a super strong head wind (the wind usually picks up throughout the morning/day). Caroline is too strong and drops me at an aid station. I frantically pedal to try and get back on. We still have 50km to go. I can't afford to get dropped. There is still so much further to go. I work my butt off but Caroline is pulling further and further away. I lose sight of her and now all the camera men leave me as well. I must be way behind now "they don't even wanna stay with me" I think. When I approach the final u-turn I see Caroline way ahead. Crap! What have I done.
The next 20km or so is now a tail wind so I use it. Caroline saw she had dropped me "hopefully she thinks I'm cooked". I crank up my speed again and hit 48km/hr. Our last lap with Caroline leading was around 44km/hr so I'm hoping she is only sitting on that pace again. Its not long before she is back in sight. We then climb up this small bridge. Caroline jumps out of her saddle and I stay seated on my bars and power up it. She is now so close. I keep working hard. The next small climb we do the same and this time I get right up on her. Finally I'm back on. I sit in for a whole 5 or so km before I get dropped again. Damn it Mel. Get back on. Sometimes I think I ride better chasing than I do 'trying' to sit in - maybe I panic that I'll accidentally enter the draft zone. Fat chance of that when I'm too afraid to even sit 10m behind.
I see Caroline pulling further and further away AGAIN. It's now 20km to go. Lots of time can still be lost so I work my hardest to get back on. At 185km I'm back again and Caroline seems to be tiring. Thank god! Cos I'm wrecked. THEN... Out of nowhere I get almost paralyzed in my right quad with cramping. I never cramp (only time I've ever cramped was at Vegas last year when I went into the race sick and obviously dehydrated). I jump out of my saddle to relieve the cramp but we are now heading back into a head wind so it seriously slows down my speed. I quickly sit back down but the cramp comes back. This time in my left quad as well. I jump up! Sit down! Jump up! I watch helplessly as Caroline pulls away from me. I sit back down, get back on my bars and start pushing hard determined to not let her get too far away. I feel the cramping coming but I decide to stay seated and try and push through it. It doesn't go away. Both quads are now seriously cramping as well as my right hip flexor so I jump back up. The last 15km was a nightmare. How much time will I lose? Will I even be able to run when I get off my bike? I pushed these thoughts out of my head and just kept focussing on that dismount line. 2km to go... This was the longest 2km of my life. Can't it just be short a couple of kms, c'mon I HAVE to get off this bike. Nope, dead accurate! 200km.
Finally, I jump off Shivy and land on my paralyzed stumps/aka legs. I awkwardly run my bike into transition. I hear the commentator say that I am 1:20 behind Caroline. As I start running I notice I'm not cramping at all but I hardly feel like I'm running. I can't feel my legs. They're completely seized up. But they're not cramping! I see Jared at 3km and he yells out 31seconds down. What! Either someone has a time wrong here, Caroline is hurting more than me, or I am actually running a decent pace. I had no idea what pace I was running, I couldn't judge it AT ALL cos I couldn't even feel my legs. I forgot to turn my Garmin watch on when finishing the bike so the satellites took a few k's to load up.
I could now see Caroline just up ahead so I backed off a little, hoping I'd feel my legs soon. We passed through 6km and Caroline was only seconds ahead. At 7km I was right on her heels sitting in for a bit. I don't think she knew I was there. I was tucked right in and I land really quiet on my feet. Jared was just up ahead and I wondered if he'd yell anything out. He didn't. I tried to hide a little longer but then... BEEP BEEP! My Garmin tells me a 1km split. Caroline looks back to see me sneaking up on her shoulder. Thanks Garmin... I have to pass now. As I take over, Caroline nicely says "good job". I felt guilty passing her so instead of putting on a small surge I kept it steady and gave her the chance to tack on to me. But I can hear her slowly dropping off. As we get to turn around with 10km to go I start to feel a little better. Maybe because I'm in the lead and my dream of winning such a prestigious race is now looking even better. Anything can still happen though... 10km on tired legs... Who knows...
photo by Paul Phillips
As I approach 13km Jared is there again... I yell out "how far do I have?". I could see at turn around I had some distance on Caroline but I wanted to know in time. That way I can judge what pace I need to run the remaining 7km. Jared knew exactly what I meant and yelled back "I can't see her". A little later "I still can't see her". A little later "1 minute, 1second". That's how precise he is. I quickly did the calculations and based off what I was running Caroline would have to be running at least 10sec/km faster than me to catch me.
5km to go and I was getting excited. I'd really extended my lead now and started to feel alright. I hadn't experienced any cramping on the run. To win here in Abu Dhabi would mean so much to me. This is one of my major goal races this year. I wanted to win it so bad that I turned myself inside out to do it. 2km to go and I think I had a smile on my face. I was hurting but I was happy. I wanted to cry, I wanted to laugh, I couldn't believe I was going to do it. It was such a long day and here I was... Now 1km from the finish. As much as I was hurting I actually didn't mind that last km dragging on and on and on. In a weird, twisted way I wanted it to last... As I hit the red carpet I didn't know what I was gonna do when I crossed the line. Hopefully stay on my feet. I started waving to the crowd and then I grabbed the banner and thrust it up over my head. I held it there for a bit then threw it down and put my head between my knees. My legs were shaking. I made my way to the ground where I sat to do the majority of my interviews. My bum was sore, my quads were dead. But I was over the moon!
Geelong Multi Sport Festival raised significant support for Give Where You Live
Geelong, Australia (March 8, 2013) Over 3000 sporting enthusiasts descended on Geelong’s waterfront for the third annual Geelong Multi Sport Festival, February 8 to 10, 2013 taking part in events designed for the entire community to participate in.
The 2013 event raised a notable total of $51,885 for Geelong’s premier philanthropic organisation, Give Where You Live.
The festival targeted a broad range of ages and abilities ensuring that there was an event for everyone and encouraging the community to engage in the fun and sporting action.
“We know from experience that engaging with our community is one of the key factors in the success of events, encouraging locals to take some ownership and have involvement at any level translates into a product Geelong can be proud of.
“The support of the local community is paramount to the ongoing growth and development of this event and why we place a large emphasis on the festival events that are essentially aimed at local participation,” said Mr Geoff Meyer, USM EVENTS Chief Executive Officer.
Included on the festival line up were the Target Foreshore 5km/10km Fun Run supporting Give Where You Live and Target Enticer Corporate Triathlon supporting Give Where You Live both proving to be successful events with record fields.
Give Where You Live is Geelong’s leading charitable organisation dedicated to reducing education, income and health disadvantage in the Geelong Region, and works on one simple yet powerful concept: together, we achieve more.
Give Where You Live is a major priority as it will benefit the region. 50 per cent of each of the entry fees into the events was donated to the community partner, Give Where You Live.
“Give Where You Live is proud to be the Community Partner of the Geelong Multi Sport Festival; it’s a great event for Geelong.
“There is an event for every member of our community to participate in and the funds raised for Give Where You Live are fantastic,” said Bill Mithen, Chief Executive Office of Give Where You Live.
Geelong Speed Golf, Family Cycle Treasure Hunt, Geelong 1000 Bay Swim, Geelong Independent Superkidz and The Carter Group Special Tri were also on the 2013 Geelong Multi Sport Festival event line-up.
Race Report - Geelong Long Course (70.3) - Aust Champs
1st - 4:11:20
swim - 26:23
bike - 2:21:43
run - 1:20:34
Standing on the start line next to Canadian athlete, Tenille Hoogland, who is staying with my husband and I for two months, I look across to see the mass of men also on the start line. In the US, men and women start separate. Here, no such luck. This isn’t good for me. I’m up against Olympic bronze medalist Emma Moffatt and super fish Anna Cleaver. Also up there in the swim will be Tenille. An alarm goes and we all bolt down into the water, I’m in a great position, right with the men so far. But then… we are called back. False start.
Bang! This time we are off for real. I run down, dive in then start madly turning my arms over. I look up… where is everyone. I don’t panic, I’ve been in this position before, only almost EVERY race. It’s all good. I see splashes up ahead and I work on chasing. I turn the first bouy and pass a lone swimmer. I then work on the pack up ahead. About ¾ the way through the swim I catch the pack. It’s a big pack and I try to pass - left, right, through the middle. I find myself wasting energy trying to get around them to I sit in for a bit. As the shore line is getting closer I pick it up and run out of the water at the front of the pack.
I mount my bike in 5th. Emma and Anna a good 3:30 up the road. Tenille 2min ahead. Perfect! Well, far from perfect but that was what I expected. I had a clear race plan here and so far it was on track. I visualized just how I wanted it to go. Obviously I sometimes get side tracked and dream a little - seeing myself come out of the water next to Emma! But anyway, back to reality! My plan for the second transition was to get off the bike at least 1min in the lead. I really wanted some sort of a buffer going into the run.
Three weeks ago in Auckland I crashed out. I was unable to finish and spent the afternoon in hospital. The next week I could hardly run. My butt was broken. My hip was a mess. Luckily my husband is a physio and every night I was on the table getting treatment. 1 week out from Geelong my manager Phil mentions this race. By now I’m running ok but anything too fast sends stabbing pains into my glut. I’m keen to race, to get a good hit out before Abu Dhabi but I’m not so keen on backing off training. Abu Dhabi is a 3km swim, 200km bike and 20km run. I need to get some long rides in. So I decide to race but my taper will be two days (one day to fly and one day to check in and get ready to race). I continue to pump out some big rides - 200km from Brisbane to Sunshine Coast Friday then another 200km back on the Monday, less than a week out. I attempt a fast run session on Wednesday and my butt is not happy with it. Oh no! I’d just booked my flights that morning. More treatment and I’m back on my bike so I hit the hills on Thursday.
Back to Geelong - Out on the bike I move into third after not too long and work on chasing down Emma and Anna. I can see I’m gaining on them with some out and back sections but I’m not gaining fast enough. 1 of 2 laps down and I think to myself “I’m not gonna catch them” but then I tell myself “I HAVE too… DO SOMETHING MEL!”. It was like I flicked a switch… before I knew it, I was approaching a long hill and I could see both girls climbing up it. I passed Anna mid way up and came up on Emma towards the top. I didn’t want to just roll past incase they tried to latch on so I put on a surge and made a clear break. I had about 30km to go… now I have to
get that 1min buffer.
As I dismount and head out onto the run I find myself in the lead by well over a minute (I later find out 1:46). Now I just need to take it easy and build into it. Any faster than 3:45-3:50/km could trigger the stabbing pains in my butt so I’m on strict instructions to keep it under control.
The run is two laps of the gardens with a few out and backs so I can see my competitors and then a 3km loop out along the water then back to the finish at the end. I hit 4km and Emma is closing in. By 6km she is very close and I’m getting worried. But I’m clocking every km and I’m sticking to my plan. The conversation starts running through my head, “I’m running 3:45's, she’s gotta be running 3:35-3:40… she CAN’T hold that...can she?...she is.” I try convince myself that 3:35's is too quick. I so wanted to increase my pace just a little but I held back and for good reason. One. I could flare up my butt and not finish or Two. I might blow up. By 10km Emma is 9 seconds behind me. Ok, be prepared for the attack Mel. Instead of thinking about increasing my pace, I was now preparing myself to jump on when she passes. From here I’m not sure if I slightly picked up the pace or Emma started to fade but one thing I knew… my lead was slowly extending again. With 3km to go there is no more sighting your competitors so I put on a surge for home at that point. I took off and didn’t look back. I crossed the line for the win in 4:11:20, 1min 16ssec ahead. This was Emma Moffatt's (Olympic bronze medalist) first time racing over this distance. She is an amazing athlete and one to watch out for if she decides to step up to the 70.3 distance for good.
While I was in Geelong I stayed with my good friends Kristy and Brandon and
their little new bub Baxter. They put both Tenille and I up, ran us around, cooked us delicious meals and were at the finish line to cheer us on. My whole trip went as smooth as possible thanks to them. Also at Geelong were some of my sponsors, Scody, Specialized, Blue Seventy and Compressport. Thanks for the cheers and thanks to the whole Specialized crew who made sure my Shiv was in tip top shape. Also a big Thank You to USM and Ironman for putting on a fantastic race and in such a beautiful location. The race officials, sponsors and volunteers pulled off yet again another great event. And finally, a big thank you to my husband and physio Jared and my massage therapist Bruno for getting me to the start line after seriously hurting myself a few weeks prior.
Elite Energy- Husky Long Course- Sunday 17th February 2013
Just call me Popeye! Overcoming obstacles to achieve another Top 5 finish
(Photo of me and Carley Thomas- daughter of my awesome coaches Chris & Bruce-before she did the enticer race, what a cutie!)
On Sunday I raced one of my favourite long course races in the stunning town of Huskisson, Jervis Bay. Pretty much every Sydney triathlete I know was heading down to Husky for the Elite Energy Multisport festival which has events for all the family including; a miniman, sprint and enticer held on the Saturday before the major Long Course race being held on Sunday. This was my first hit-out for the year and I was really excited just to be out there racing and testing where things are at with my training, after taking a month off in December and working on a slightly different training regime over the past month.
The women’s field was super strong and with many of the speedy ITU girls such as Liz Blatchford in the field I knew the pace in the swim was going to be on. I haven’t been really working my swim speed much in training but I was determined to swim hard and stay with the lead group. I got off to a great start but somewhere in the first 500m I scored a hard whack to my left eye and swam the rest of the swim leg with my goggle leaking and squashed up against my eye ball. I didn’t think much of it as I have experienced this kind of thing previously, however as I ran out of the water I noticed that my vision was really foggy and I couldn’t see out of my left eye as I ran up the stairs toward transition.
The crowd support was awesome and I ran hard to stay in touch with the girls heading into T1. I had a shocker trying to mount my bike and almost came off which was pretty embarrassing but my balance was all over the place. I lost touch with the lead girls and ended up riding the first loop of the bike course completely solo. I was really struggling to work out what was going on with my eye as it just kept getting more and more blurry but I was completely in race mode now and just focussed on going as hard as I could. In the second and third laps it was great to pace off Michelle Wu and Rachael P and it actually distracted from the pain in my eye. Given my challenges I felt strong on the bike today, but as the race went on my main focus became to stay upright and get through to the finish in one piece!
Onto the run and surprisingly I felt much better than expected, I lacked some top end speed but my form felt really strong. By this stage though it was pretty frightening how bad my vision had become. I had to keep closing both eyes in sections and running blind as my eyes were watering and stinging uncontrollably. It was a comedy of errors as I also rolled my ankle at one point quite badly but didn’t let that stop me either. There was no way I was pulling the pin!
Overall I took away many positives from the race and achieved my own personal goals for where I’m at with my training. I'm happy with 5th place in a solid field, and I did a couple of minutes quicker than my last race in 2009 at Husky. Unfortunately I haven’t pulled up well from the race with a very swollen and extremely sore eye. I have suffered quite a bad eye injury which was sustained from the kick in the head but mainly from the use of anti-fog solution which has given me an extremely painful chemical burn. I have been a frequent user of anti-fog and have always followed the instructions but I want to warn everyone to be extremely careful when using this product, and to ensure that you wash it out thoroughly.
I’m still smiling though and proud of myself for sticking it out until the end. It’s these types of challenges in racing which really teach you how tough one can be and the importance of mental strength, and always fighting till the end. Thanks for all the cheers out there- I feel so privileged to have such amazing supporters and it was you guys who kept me going on Sunday so thank you!
Thanks also to my fantastic sponsors and key support network for your continued support, particularly; Shimano, Scody, High 5 Sports Nutrition (Fastgear), Blue Seventy, Oakley, Turramurra Cyclery, Foot Levelers, Energy Link Coaching, Volosport and of course all of Team Ward. You guys all rock!
It has been some time since my last update. I have been busy training and had a couple races since my last update.
My first race this season was Benella Triathlon down in Victoria a couple days after Christmas. It was my first non drafting race for years and I managed to win by a few minutes and was 1 second outside the 6 year course record.
I decided to race Geelong 70.3. I have been on the time trial bike for a couple months before and thought this would be a nice introduction to long course racing.
The race went to plan in the swim, i was out in the first pack out of the water but unfortunately my rear tyre blew apart with some glass on the course at the 20k mark while in the lead pack of 8. I was stuck out on the course with a shredded tyre and no way of getting back into Geelong. Usually I just ride half a lap in the ITU races get the spare wheel and keep soldering on a minute behind getting the slow clap from the spectators and the rev up from the coaches. Not this time. I flagged down a nice local with a ute, put the Giant in the back and he dropped me back. It was disappointing not to finish. I had heard that there was Husskisson Long Course 2/83/20 the week after so it was another chance to get some Long Course experience under the belt. I decided to travel home to Wagga the week in between to catchup with everyone again and continue training.
I exited the swim in about 5th position and moved into the top 3-4 in the pack positioned 12 meters apart. I felt strong and Tim Reed pushed the bike and Sam Appo and myself and some others didn't want to let him go. It was a nice course with rolling undulations throughout the 3 laps. After about 50k we caught and passed an age group competitor who decided that he wanted to start mixing it up and pushed for the front for a couple minutes until he couldn't hold pace then dropped back then try again. I had a laugh as it was great to see him having a go. He continually chopped in front of us guys trying to hold an accurate distance behind the guy in front. I asked the draft buster who followed us guys around on the back of the motorbike for the race a couple times if he could ask him to sit behind, but he didnt. Long story short I got done rolling too close to the guy at the start of the small steep climb at the end of the second lap. It was my own fault, but realise sometimes you need to put the breaks on coming into corners and hills to hold the distance.
I had to take my 5 minute penalty at the end of lap 2. I rode the last lap by myself and didn't lose too much time to the leaders, but the chance was gone getting off the bike 5mins down.
I was frustrated by the decision and ran with too much emotion early trying to bridge back some of the 5mins lost in the penalty box. I ran solid the first 10k in 32.30. But unfortunately bonked the last 6k a little. I cramped in the legs which wasn't a great feeling and haven't really experienced that before in Olympic distance racing. I guess i didn't have enough fluids on the bike . I've never had coke before in a race but everyone tells me it is a must. Another thing I learnt that there are signs saying water,coke,food at each station. I did learn that quick as throwing coke over the head and in the eyes isn't the best and hurts a little. I had the fastest run split with an 1.08 for the 20k. I know next time to pace myself a little better and hopefully be a little quicker.
I enjoyed my day out though. I finished up 4th. Was a huge learning experience. It was great to get a lot of support out there on course from all the competitors cheering you on.
I would love to do another 70.3 soon but have to sit down and put a plan in place. Right now my legs i feel as though i have raced in two Mooloolabas back to back. Usually I can't walk after Mooloolaba but this is a new level.
I will keep you all updated with my racing and training.
I also just want to thank those sponsors who have backed me for my crossover into some different racing. I appreciate it.
What and Where I have been I am back and settling into Wollongong after spending most of January at altitude in Falls Creek. The second block we
did at Falls Creek was just slightly more intense than in December, and with an increase in running km’s. I was pretty
happy with how it went and everyday I gradually felt fitter. After spending a few days in Canberra, we arrived back in
Wollongong just in time for the Australia Day Aquathon. This is an event our group does every year, and it’s always a lot of fun. I have since moved into my new home for the next few months, which is just outside of Wollongong itself. It’s great to be able to unpack and know that I’ll be settled for a few months. As the intensity in training increases, I am beginning to feel
quite fit again. My first race will be in 2 weeks at the Oceania Sprint Championships in Devonport, Tasmania. I’m pretty
excited to see how I responded to the training block in Falls Creek and to have a good start to my 2013 season. I have built
up a lot of frustration and anger from mistakes I made last season, and I am ready to go out there and do it right.
I’ll keep you all posted on how Devonport goes.
Ironman 70.3 Geelong - 9th Geelong has always been a happy hunting ground for me. In 2006 I won my first ITU Junior Elite Australian Championships at Geelong. At the time the race was a turning point in my development as a young triathelte as it qualified me for the ITU Junior Elite World Championships in Switzerland later that year and also awarded me a scholarship into the ‘Queensland Academy of Sport’ triathlon program. Coincidently it was also my first race under my coach Stephen Moss.
The race was announced as the Australian Long Course Triathlon Championships and with this title up for grabs I was motivated to produce a result worthy of the title. The course was a fitting battleground with a hilly and windy ride and an even tougher hilly run. Add this to the 40 men racing and what was described in the days before as ‘the best 70.3 men’s field ever assembled in Australia’ and I knew I was in for a hard and fast race.
I arrived in Geelong on Friday afternoon and used Saturday to catch-up with some of my fantastic sponsors who were at the event as well as doing some light training.
Video of the Friday and Saturday before the race:
Sunday morning soon approached and started with a 5am wake up. I had my usual pre race meal of toast with banana and honey along with a bottle of Dextro Energy sports drink. With a quick warm up done it was time for the gun to go off to start the 2013 Australian Long Course Championships. I started hard and found myself as per usual in the front swim pack swimming alongside Commonwealth Games Champion and Australian Olympian Brad Kahlefeldt. The swim felt solid but not overly fast which I took as a good sign of things to come. I exited the water in the front group of 10 men with gun swimmer Clayton Fettell who had around a 30 second solo lead.
Onto the bike I made the brave call to go after Fettell and really put the hammer down to hurt the others in our group and try and get away. I was quickly joined by James Hodge, Christian Kemp and Luke Bell and I made the call to ride hard early to catch Fettell and establish a lead over the rest of the field. Honestly the first 10km’s of the bike were insanely fast with speeds over 50kph being held. Fettell and Hodge really pushed the pace with Kemp, Bell and myself all content to sit back and hang onto the coat tails of these two amazing cyclists. The hilly and windy course was a real battle but despite this our group managed to ride through the first 45km lap in an hour flat.
Going onto the second lap I was forced to dig deep to stay with the boys and fought through a really bad patch.
The entire ride took its toll on me and by the time we hit the run my legs were in a less than ideal state. I pushed hard to stay with the boys however my legs were having none of it and so I just pushed as hard as they would allow.
Battling with Estonian Marko Albert on the run
I was getting passed by athletes that I would usually run away from which was hard to take but I started to come good again with 5km’s to go on the run and gave these final km’s everything I had. I managed to catch one athlete with just a km to run to move myself into 9th place overall.
Honestly I was really happy with how I went about the race. I swam hard and initiated the move on the bike that took 5 athletes up the road and put myself in contention to be on the podium. The run wasn’t there on the day for me but I gave it everything I had and didn’t die wondering so to speak.
At risk of sounding cliché I’d prefer to come 9th and put myself in the position to win, than sit back and watch a chance for the win escape up the road and then run for at best a 5th place.
As Chris ‘Macca’ McCormack affectionately titled his book ‘I’m here to win’
In the quest for WTC 70.3 and 5150 world ranking points I made the decision late last year to add the 70.3 Asia Pacific Championships to my 2013 race calendar. Another big draw card for me to enter this race was that I wanted to challenge myself to race some of the best athletes in 70.3 and Ironman game. In the weeks before, seeing the names on the start list like Bevan Docherty, Paul Ambrose, Luke Bell, Cameron Dye, Cameron Brown, Tim Berkel & Terenzo Bozzone admittedly I was a little star stuck. These names amongst others on the start list have had numerous 70.3, Ironman wins along with 2 Olympic Games medals in their résumés. I knew that this would be both a challenge as well as an opportunity for me to establish myself as a true contender over the 70.3 distance.
With the USD 75,000 pro prize purse on offer I was very keen to claim a share along with the aforementioned WTC ranking points. Being a young pro athlete my financial situation is less than ideal at this point in time and thus there was also the added pressure of being able to pay for my return international flights and accommodation in New Zealand.
Simply put, I was hungry for a good performance, prize money and world ranking points.
Having the weather being stupidly hot where I live in Australia in the weeks before I left, stepping off the plane onto New Zealand soil was a welcome change with the temperature being around the 20 degrees C mark.
Race morning soon approached and the body was feeling good. After setting up transition and heading down to the swim start I completed a quick warm up before the start. Soon enough the gun went off to begin 4 hours of racing against some of the best names in the sport of Ironman 70.3 triathlon. I attacked the swim start quite aggressively and found myself leading the 40 or so pro mens field. Unfortunately I spotted the wrong swim marker after the first swim turn heading towards the second turning can and by the time I corrected for my mistake I slipped back into around 8th spot. My goal for the swim was just to emerge with all the main contenders so rather than pushing hard to get myself back in front I played it smart and sat on a good set of feet emerging from the swim only 15 or so seconds off the lead.
After a quick T1 the front group started pushing the pace over the northern part of the course, out and back over the Auckland Harbour Bridge. With 40 or so kms in the bank we heading back towards transition to complete the 2 southern loops of the bike course just as the rain began to fall. This is where the pace really started to heat up and I noticed that we were hitting 50kph consistently despite the rain and very windy conditions. Others in the group really started to hurt at this point and riders in front of me started dropping wheels, which forced me to bridge a few gaps that opened up. Add this to the many athletes receiving drafting penalties, flat tires and a few crashing on the wet roads and by the time I hit T2 there was only a handful athletes left from a group that started out as close to 15 athletes.
As I started the run I played smart and held a pace I knew that I could hold for the 21.1 kms. Admitted it was slower pace that I had planned to run but I knew that because of the tough bike course my legs were not capable of running the pace I had in my head before the race. I let a few other athletes escape up the road knowing that if I played my cards right I would bring some of them back in the closing stages of the run. The run ended up being closer to 23kms than 21.1kms (I found this out at the finish) and this played into my hands well, as I was able to lift the pace towards the finish and catch a few runners who had started to blow up in the final kms. I crossed the line in 6th place, $2000 richer (paying for my trip and then some) and claiming 560 ranking points towards the WTC 5150 and WTC 70.3 ranking points.
It’s easy to forget that I am new to the game of 70.3 racing only having raced 3 times over this distance. But with a 2nd at Ironman 70.3 Yeppoon, 3rd at Ironman 70.3 Canberra and now a 6th at Ironman 70.3 Asia Pacific Championships I can see that I’m heading in the right direction.
The other good news is that I now move into 15th on the WTC Ironman 70.3 world ranking points table.
Thanks to everyone who sent me messages on twitter and facebook after the race. Its really means a lot and I love reading them.
Next up for me is Ironman 70.3 Geelong in 3 weeks time.
I can't say there were too many positives to take away from my Auckland 70.3 race besides the x-rays being clear of any significant bone damage. That part was good news I guess. For this reason I didn't have much intention of writing a race report. That was until I came accross more and more 'interesting/creative' stories others had come up with for how my race unfolded. Some that I found were; she crashed out and didn't make it to the run leg, made it to 5k from the finish then pulled out, had cramps, strained a muscle, pulled out from head/neck pain, fell over on the run and hit her head. A popular one seemed to include a bike crash rounding a slippery corner. I even had one person confidently let me know how I'd blown up on the run leg from going out too fast.
Pre-crash. Start of bike leg
So what happened?? I came out of the swim about 3.30 down on the super-fish swimmers up front, jumped on my Shiv and headed out onto the roads. The bike course was technical, windy and wet with a few speed bumps thrown in for good measure. Heading out along the water I couldn’t stay on my bars, the wind was almost picking me right up and tossing me off the road. I survived the first 50k loop of the course, over the Auckland harbor bridge, through some roundabouts, over some hills and back over the birdge. The next section of the course was a straight, smooth (well, almost smooth) stretch of pitch-black bitumen. The mist was beeding on my clear-lense Rudy Project sunnies from the drizzling rain. "2 minutes down" Michelle Wu's mum yells out. I'm down on my aeros pushing hard above 40kph when it happened...in slow motion from my angle.
My front wheel dropped into the pothole, I instictively gripped harder onto my aero bars as my back wheel lifted into the air. As the front end dropped away, the right side of my handlebars smashed into the pavement and slid along the road. My elbows were first to make contact, just before my right hip and ankle smacked the ground. Finally my head flung back and hit (thank god for helmets) and then Shivy somehow flipped back over and landed on me giving me one massive cork in my left quad. I was in pain. Usually it doesn't really hurt when I crash while the adrenaline's pumping like in a race but this one hurt me in a few places. The cork in my quad made my leg collapse when I tried to stand. I felt like I’d broken my ankle. My forearm was dead and useless for a little while and I had a splitting headache. It seemed like I was down for a little while before I could get my senses and check over my body making sure everything was still attached. Once I could focus I climbed back on my bike. If the guys that helped me get back on are reading this - thank you so much. Before I was even ready my bike was back up standing, my bottles were back in and it was all ready to go.
The next few km’s were slow. Once I started pedaling other places started hurting. My right gluteus medius in particular and I my elbow was too tender to put on the aero bar pad. I thought about it for a bit and convinced myself it's just like ripping a band aid off...you've gotta go all in and do it real quick, so I gritted my teeth and pushed my elbow down hard and got racing again. “6 minutes down” was the next call I heard. “Damn!” I thought. “All that hard work…down the drain”. 40km to go.
I racked my bike back in T2 in 4th place and the pains through my body didn't seem as bad as an hour ago. I just had a killer headache still. Soon after I started running, my head pain went away (maybe as other pains started to move their way up the priority list in my brain). I got some confidence and thought maybe I can get through this. I moved into 3rd after a few km’s and 2nd was only about 2minutes ahead. I got to about 6km when my body started playing up. It started with stabbing pains in my right glut med, then progressed to shooting pain across my sacrum. It didn't take long for the pain to started radiating down my right leg. At this point it was painful but I could still run. It was when the pain changed to weakness that things became very difficult, my ankle had gone weak, and it felt like it was going to give way with each step. I tried doing running drills, high knees, butt kicks, quick feet to try 'wake things up' again. It was kind of helping. I looked like an idot but I was moving forward. If I could just get back to transition I thought, maybe I can get one of the medical staff to manipulate my back, trigger point my glut med, something, anything.
By the time I got back to transition for the end of the first lap I could barely feel my right leg. At some stages it was completely numb, others it was tingling. I’m asking every official/volunteer I pass “where’s the medical?”. They all just told me to carry on. I kept looking and asking but was funnelled through the course turn-around and back out for lap 2, now about 11km down. I stopped at one of the barriers and hung my head over it in disappointment. The friendly spectators asked me what was wrong and I quickly told them and before I knew it one of them - Andrew Mackay - took off to find medical while his mate was helping me out with some stretches. At this point I was still in 3rd place. As much as Andrew tried, he had no luck with finding medical either so I tried to carry on … few more running drills, stop… stretch… run… stop… game over!
An hour later I was laying in the medical tent getting some treatment on my hip when I started to get really drowsy. I mentioned it and the sore head when asked and before I knew it I was in a neck brace staring at the cieling of the ambulance. I spent the next few hours at the Auckland hospital. I was released back out to the fresh air again at 3:30 in the afternoon, back to the hotel, got cleaned up, went to the awards ceremony, then had dinner because I was starving! So that’s how my race went down (so to speak)!
I’d really like to thank everyone who helped me out throughout my race. Unfortunatley I didn't make it to the finish, as much as I tried, the body was shutting-up-shop piece by piece. In a day like this it really shows as competitors, just how much we are all in this together. And how much others (while still competing themselves) are willing to lend a helping hand however they can to fellow competitor in distress. For this I'm so grateful to all those who helped along the way. Firstly the guys that helped me get back on my bike (and they eventually put out a cone at the pothole after a couple others crashed after me). Then there were all the friendly and generous participants who offered me salt tablets thinking I was cramping. The competitors that stopped to walk with me. Andrew and his mates for trying to get me some medical attention. And then the medical staff and the ambulance crew that helped me at the end. Tim from Compressport who picked me up from the hospital. And thank you Liz Blatchford for patching up the wounds all over my body the following day. Also, I’d like to send out a special thanks to the ‘Dream Team’, A youth tri squad in Georgia who made up this small 'get well Mel' clip (below) within minutes of hearing I was lying in hospital! These guys rock! Get Well Mel VIDEO
This race wasn’t on my calendar a few months back, but after posting a pleasing result in Port Macquarie in October I immediately consulted the 70.3 calendar and eagerly planned some more races. After outlaying a small fortune on Triathlon Australia and WTC pro licenses I was armed and ready and set about entering upcoming races. My bubble of eagerness was somewhat burst when I was told I couldn’t race Shepparton and Canberra 70.3’s due to the races being at capacity. Canberra had 16 pro men on the start list, 3 of them I knew 100% did not intend to race. I was baffled and told by the race organiser that they would not be accepting replacements for withdrawn athletes. I had to look internationally for my next race, and Auckland Asia-Pacific Championships was offering delicious USD 75,000 and some major 70.3 and 5i50 points. I wanted to grab myself some of that pie.
I was pretty relaxed before the race. With a cracker start list toted as “the best startlist outside of Vegas”, I wasn’t too sure how I’d fare. When the cannon sounded, myself, along with several other athletes almost lost their fingers due to over enthusiastic surf patrol in rubber duckies getting up in our grill trying to push us back.
This perhaps turned out to be an advantage for myself as they turned and sped away I was sucked out and suddenly had a body length on the field. At the first turn 300m away I was joined by a contingent of good swimmers. I settled in for the rest of the swim and emerged in around 5th place.
Onto the bike I was content to let some of the more experienced athletes take control as I sat in. The New Zealand 7m drafting zone was not well received by many critics. Adding insult to injury, this zone was measured front wheel to front wheel, further reducing the distance between riders to approximately 5 meters. This made it harder for strong riders to establish significant advantages, and also provided added difficulty for those chasing. Our bunch resembled something out of a Tour de France team TT as our group swelled to about 12 riders which included the main players. However, this didn’t equate to an easy ride as speeds exceeding 50km/h were reached on the out and back section. Added cycling complexity could be found with light drizzle slicking the roads, along with a very technical section that had to be negotiated 3 times. The ride started to heat up with about 20km to go as Joe Gambles and Paul Ambrose were laying down some serious pace. Our pack started to splinter and the technical official started handing out penalties like they were hot off the press.
I came into T2 with the main pack but there was a couple of athletes a minute or two up the road. I was pretty rattled but I knew with a good run I could post a red hot result. My gut felt pretty ordinary during the first part of the run, and I didn’t have my usual running legs. I spewed up a mix of coke, Gatorade and gels (which I’m ashamed to admit actually tasted pretty good)at about 7km. Sam Betten and Fraser Cartmell caught me at this point and we were running in 6th, 7th and 8th. The last of the money spots.
I was weary of some fleet footed athletes coming from behind and I lifted the pace and dropped the other two guys after about 9km. I ran in 6th position up until about 2km to go and I was well and truly searching for the tape. Betten came back past me but I had nothing in the tank. I stumbled to the finish line in 7th, managing to just hold out the angry gnome Tim Reed who had a superb run despite some earlier misadventures.
Not my best but all i could find on the interweb :(
I was happy to post this solid result against a stellar field and managed to snag myself some valuable points and a little bit of the prize purse to cover my trip and then some. Thanks to everyone who sent me messages, it means a lot and I really enjoy reading them. I’d like to thank Glen Duggan from VoloSport for his continued hard work and support of my progression as a pro athlete, Paul Dukes from Duke's Real Estate for giving me a helping hand with nutrition, Sterling Ashbee for letting me borrow his equipment, Scody Apparel for the last minute race kit and Rodney Forrest for his belief in my ability. Without these guys it would have been alot harder for me to get up there on the weekend.
Big ups to my mum who won here age group and has booked her ticket to the big island in Kona for the ironman world championships later this year.
Next up is Geelong long course in 2 weeks time. Thanks for reading.
Are you going to the Geelong MultiSport Festival this year? SCODY not only will be there with all the exclusive merchandise to buy but will have our own SCODY Media team making a great video of the event...
If you haven't seen what we have done in the past check out our youtube channel
The future stocks of Australian triathlon are locked in neck-and-neck battles for overall supremacy after the first two rounds of the Scody Australian Junior Triathlon Series.
The men’s pointscore sees opening Super Sprint weekend winner Jacob Birtwhistle (TAS) and Sydney’s sprint round winner Luke Willian (QLD) tied on 19 points ahead of Matt Baker (NSW) 15 and Christian Wilson (QLD) 13 points.
While in the women’s field, Jodie Duff (QLD) has stolen an early march on her rivals, winning the first two rounds, to lead the field on 22 points, seven clear of defending junior champion Jaz Hedgeland (WA) on 15, Anna Coldham (QLD) 13 and Holly Grice (QLD) 11.
All eight athletes will represent Australia in Friday’s Australian Youth Olympic Festival after last Friday’s successful test event staged at the Sydney International Regatta Centre, Penrith.
Brisbane-based Willian, who grew up in the wilds of Warialda, revelled in Sydney’s 30 degree plus heat to dominate the final lap of the run to race away from Kristian Blummenfelt (NOR) and Birtwhistle with Wilson fourth and Baker fifth to set the stage for what should be a thrilling AYOF race.
Duff showed she had fully recovered from the hip injury and glandular fever which plagued her in 2012 with another dominant display and a perfectly-timed run to race away from ever-present defending champion Hedgeland, with Sumire Ohara (JPN) third and other AYOF representatives Coldham (fifth) and Grice (seventh).
The Scody Series will now move to Devonport for the Australian Junior Championships, a double points race which also acts an automatic selection race for the ITU World Triathlon Championships in London in September.
The final race in Wellington (NZ) for the Oceania Junior Championships will also be worth double points and will give athletes a second chance at automatic selection for London.
An athlete’s best three results from the four events will count towards the overall Scody Australian Junior Championship Series.
The points series after two rounds:
Pl NAME State Age in 2013 Gold Coast QLD Penrith, NSW TOTAL 1 Jacob BIRTWHISTLE TAS 18 11 8 19
1 Luke WILLIAN QLD 17 8 11 19
3 Matt BAKER NSW 19 9 6 15
4 Christian WILSON QLD 17 6 7 13
5 Matthew ROBERTS QLD 17 7 5 12
6 Kristian BLUMMENFELT NOR 17 9 9
7 Brayden CLEWS-PROCTOR ACT 18 2 4 6
8 Ben ANDERSON VIC 18 5 5
9 Jonathan BUTLER TAS 19 4 4
10 Leighton COOK WA 16 3 3
10 Jesse THYER WA 19 3 3
12 Ryousuke MAEDA JPN 18 2 2
13 Nick MCGUIRE VIC 18 1 1
13 Calvin QUIRK QLD 16 1 1
Round Two Scody Australian Junior Series, Penrith (750 swim; 20km bike; 5km run)
MEN 1. Luke Willian (QLD) 53.03
2. Kristian Blummenfelt (NOR) 53.15
3. Jacob Birtwhistle (TAS) 53.42
4. Christian Wilson (QLD) 53.57
5. Matt Baker (NSW) 54.13
6. Matthew Roberts (QLD) 54.18
7. Brayden Clews-Proctor (ACT) 54.22
8. Jesse Thyer (WA) 54.30
9. Ryousuke Maeda (JPN) 54.32
10. Nick McGuire (VIC) 54.52
It is with much gratification that I inaugurate a humble column on the hallowed pages of Australian Triathlete. Having dabbled in amateur word-smithing, to now share ink on this mag’s lauded parchment has me as chuffed as a cyclist with a late-ride tailwind. Indeed, my surprise at the offer to contribute my scribing skills to AT was only outdone by my clumsiness, spilling the best part of a double espresso over my Mac in my haste to take up the proposition. An exciting
undertaking to be sure. At the very least, I’ll now be referring to myself as a writer, journalist and reporter. Maybe leave novelist out. For now...
What to expect? At best, some hastily constructed puns, shallowly illustrating my irreverent, and at times irrelevant take on triathlon life. So – fans of rambling anecdotes, flippancy towards traditionally accepted narrative stylings, and gratuitously eloquent language, rest assured you will find literary satisfaction here. Perhaps a brief introduction is in order, for the vast majority of readers who are at this point querying both my journalistic and triathlon credentials.
I followed the seemingly traditional triathlete’s voyage into the sport – lack of mastery at any singular discipline led to me diversifyinguntil my shortcomings were hidden across the spectrum of three activities. Since then, I’ve represented Australia through the Junior, U/23 and Elite ranks from 2004 to present, amassing a bevy of race results, both good and bad, the former providing satisfying bank balances, the latter providing little but the odd entertaining anecdote. Some might say this gives me a predisposition to having more yarns than stock options... Still, it’s an idyllic career choice. As one non-athletic friend recently exclaimed, “I can’t believe you get paid – just for exercising!” I’ve had the fortune of spending the last seven years following the ITU junket and, more importantly, the summer, across the globe.
During this time I’ve almost been arrested for riding on a highway in Japan, been mistaken for Jesus by a religious Frenchman, and crashed into a creek racing in the Bundesliga. I’ve flooded a French apartment, been interrogated by machine-gun wielding heavies before a race in Israel, and come across an early morning suicide attempt on a fartlek run.
In more recent times, side stories to the 2012 assault on the triathlon circuit has seen me try to explain to non-English speaking Koreans that I needed an MRI (lots of funny noises and demonstrations of magnets) whilst politely
declining their offers of a tomato based milkshake. I’ve almost started a France-wide manhunt after getting lost on what was supposed to be a 3km jog, and had the undeniable pleasure of watching the Australian Olympic team go through their final preparations for the games – a fly on the wall in my position as reserve.
Races this year have included Gamagori (starting up), Hamburg (blowing up), Alpe d’Huez (going up) and Stockholm (just trying to keep the bike up) in a season spent finding some form after a somewhat interrupted preparation. The last 18
months of racing has presented me with more hurdles than the Grand National in the form of various injuries and niggles, however, such is the life of one who “exercises for a living”. And so, armed with some anecdotal evidence and a decent
smattering of triathlon know-how, I’ll aim to dish up a taste of life in the elite triathlon scene, brought to you from ground zero (I plan to start racing with a notebook and pen strapped to my top tube as of next year...)
In this age of 140 characters, my affinity for verbose script is in danger of rendering me obsolete, and as such I’ll bring this post to a close. Granted, I’ve hinted at more stories than I’ve told, but think of this edition as a tasting platter, a
prefix to the narrative banquet to come. Once again, it’s a pleasure to be working with the crewat Australian Triathlete, a team who have been described as similar to bored farmers standing in their favourite paddock (i.e. out-standing in their
chosen field). Stay tuned for next edition, for more gags, superfluous literature, and hopefully more adherence to the subject matter!
Ironman… Posted on January 8, 2013 by lizblatchford I’ve been holding out a while to write this blog but it’s with great excitement (and a definite amount of fear!) that i am announcing i will be doing my first Ironman in Melbourne in March. After making the switch in 2012 to racing 70.3s i knew Ironman was in my future, it was just a matter of when.
I have watched Kona for years now and like many of you out there have felt incredibly inspired. Knowing i was getting closer to this path i decided to take the plunge and try to get there sooner rather than later. So i will be aiming to qualify for Kona in 2013. Without having raced either Vegas or Kona (hence no points) i know i have a considerably ambitious task to qualify and then also perform well in my first outing in Kona. However i am truly excited by my new goals. Aside from Kona, i also want to race Vegas 70.3 Worlds and HyVee 5i50 Champs in 2013. For me, Kona will undoubtedly be the most difficult to qualify for.
So right now i am 5 weeks back from a month long holiday in somewhat of a hurry to get ready for Auckland 70.3 Asia Pacific Champs on Jan 20th and then Melbourne in March. Even though it is still triathlon i feel there is so much to learn, so many miles to swim, bike, run and plenty learnt from years of ITU racing that i need to let go of. To guide me on this path i have decided to start working with Mat Steinmetz. Mat lives in Boulder and i will be basing myself there for the warmer 6 months of the year.
Exciting and motivating times for me, bring on 2013:)
The 2012 season not only produced some of the most prolific racing triathlon has ever seen, it also provided the backdrop for some of the sport’s most iconic photos. Shot in eight different settings across four continents and eight countries, ITU photographers truly outdid themselves this year.
Though we found it painstakingly difficult to choose the top shot, the people spoke and their voices were heard. Championed by a host of fans, the most popular photo of the year goes to Janos Schmidt’s image of Charlotte McShane (AUS) bringing it home in the final ITU World Triathlon Series event of the year. Her commanding body position and focused stare won over the public with 27.57% of the votes.
January Update 10/01/13
After a couple of weeks at home, I’m back in Falls Creek. I spent Christmas with my family back in my hometown of Bairnsdale in Victoria. It’s my favourite time of year and the only time where my whole family really get together.
My sister has recently had a little baby girl so it was great to spend time with her before I headed away again. Not much else has changed up here. Training is slightly getting more intense and I’m slowly getting fitter.
I like it in Falls. There are no distractions and life is so easy. There are endless running trails and great roads for riding right on our doorstep. We travel 30km down the mountain 4 times a week to swim in a little town called Mount Beauty in a 33m pool which keeps things interesting.
It’s also been hot enough that we’ve been able to swim in the lake up here. There’s a gym that I use regularly just a 5 minute walk away, and we are lucky enough to have Beata Komlo treating us with massage.
I’m up here until the 24th of January and then will head back up to Wollongong for the Australia Day Aquathon. It’s always a fun morning and we normally all end up back at Aaron Royles house for a BBQ as its his birthday. I’m excited to head back to Wollongong and to start training more specifically for races, but at the moment
I’m quite content on living the simple life here. On another note.
A picture of myself from Auckland recently won ‘Photo of the month’ and is now in the final for ‘photo of the year’ ! It’s currently leading, but I’d love your votes! It’s a pretty cool picture.. Check it out below. You can vote for it on
I have a couple of months before my first race, but I’m already very motivated and excited for the year ahead. Once again, thank you for the continued support and I can’t wait to share another season with you all!
Story by TRIZONE: http://www.trizone.com.au/20121123/2011-world-champion-melissa-hauschildt-signs-up-for-ironman-70-3-auckland-triathlon/
World champion Melissa Hauschildt from Australia is the latest triathlon star to sign up for the inaugural Ironman 70.3 Auckland in January.
The race on Sunday 20 January that doubles as the official Asia Pacific Championship, boasting US$75,000 in prizemoney, has already signed 10-time Ironman New Zealand champion Cameron Brown and two-time Olympic medallist Bevan Docherty, an Ironman 70.3 world champion podium placegetter this year.
Arguably the premium female runner in long distance triathlon
Hauschildt, nee Rollinson, is a former Australian champion steeplechaser who made a remarkable switch to triathlon three years ago. The 29 year old won the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in her first full year in the sport last year along with the Asia Pacific Championship.
After an injury-affected 2012 season, Hauschildt is aiming to defend her Asia Pacific honours in Auckland on her way to a return to the top of the sport next year.
“Auckland is a big one for me because it is the Asia Pacific Championships,” Hauschildt said.
“I won the Asia Pacific Champs last year and I would like to defend it. It is good to be able to win the title races and I expect it will be a really tough field in New Zealand like it was in Phuket last year.
“I had an ankle injury for most of the year which has been a pain but it has still been a reasonable year. It has been disappointing not to have been able to run more but I managed to spend more time on improving my bike and swim.
“I set some bike course records this year so hopefully with my running coming back next year should be really good.”
Hauschildt was a successful school cross country athlete before moving to steeplechase where she won several Australia titles, a Commonwealth Games silver medal and also a junior world record. Only injury prevented her from fulfilling her Olympic dream as well as the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi.
That led to her decision to switch to triathlon.
“”I really enjoy triathlon and I am glad I made the switch. Most of all I enjoy training for three disciplines. There’s so much variety in the training and less chance of injury too.”
She won her first three triathlons and was second in the Ironman 70.3 Asia Pacific Championship in Thailand in 2010, giving her the encouragement to attack the sport fulltime last year, moving with her husband to the training mecca of Boulder, Colorado.
A foot injury thwarted her chances in the biggest races this year although she recently chalked up wins over the Ironman 70.3 distance in Augusta, USA and most recently the Australian championship in Mandurah, Queensland.
“I haven’t looked at the course in Auckland yet. I have Phuket in a couple of weeks so I am just focussing on that and then after that I will get on to looking at Auckland.
“The big aim for 2013 will be Las Vegas (Ironman 70.3 World Championship) and Auckland will be an important way to start next year.”
Organisers expect to name several other world class athletes in the coming weeks.
IRONMAN 70.3 Auckland will take place on Sunday 20th January 2013. Event Village is based at the Viaduct Events Centre. The spectacular city course will have athletes completing a 1.9km Viaduct Harbour swim, a 90km bike course over Auckland Harbour Bridge and a 21.1km run along the waterfront with the finish line in the heart of Wynyard Quarter. For more information www.ironmanauckland.com
Custom Cycling Clothing – Design That Adds Spirit Cycling! For some it is hobby and for some others it is the life breath. Yes, for the professional cyclers who are in the track with sports spirit, it is certainly the factor that makes them to live with a goal. There are several factors that prompt and add spirit to the cyclers when they are in the tracks. Custom cycling clothing is one of the important factors.
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Evening friends. This edition is brought to you, once again, by the much appreciated free wifi at Hong Kong airport, thus neatly bookending my European sojourn in the same fashion in which it was initiated. Stockholm was the last stop on the European calendar, and given the Scandinavian’s ability to produce a litany of avant-garde musicians, I was keen to check the place out, and half expected to see a Viking brandishing a guitar on each corner. Whilst this didn’t come to fruition, nor did I see the lads from Amon Amarth (Stockholm’s finest - listen to soundtrack of visuals below), Stockholm remained a sublime host - easily the most pick-n-mix friendly town in the world (not the foremost of the towns charms, but appreciated none-the-less).
Having escaped without much attention in my last few swims, the laws of probability kicked in, and I battled though the swim, coming out a little off the pace. The bike course showed a somewhat more neoteric slant than most ITU circuits, and comprised of roughly 60% cobblestones, 39% corners over white lines, and 1% really easy, smooth, flat roads. I relished the idiosyncratic terrain, and worked well with ITU hard men Gemmell, Gomez, Riederer, Chabrot and Justus to ride away from the second pack, and come within a bad-transitions-length of the lead bunch. Out on two feet, and I moved the best I have in some time, getting closer to ‘running’ and further away from ‘fighting in running shoes’ to move through to 10th, with star-of-the-future Aaron Royle racing well in 11th.
From here, I’m heading for an Asian Tour of Duty. I have a training base in South Korea, and races in China, followed by Tongyeong and Yokohama, before finally arriving home in October. Asia could be a test of both my palate and patience, so feel free to send me an email, as I could be craving some English conversation...
Chris McCormack and Melissa Hauschildt make it an Australian Triathlon Double at Ironman 70.3 Laguna Phuket Ironman 70.3 | Trizone | December 3, 2012 4:28 pm http://www.trizone.com.au/20121203/chris-mccormack-and-melissa-hauschildt-make-it-an-australian-triathlon-double-at-ironman-70-3-laguna-phuket/
Triathlon legend Chris McCormack of Australia shrugged off the disappointment of his Laguna Phuket Triathlon (LPT) debut last weekend with a gritty performance to win the final Ironman 70.3 Laguna Phuket.
It was a transformed “Macca” who held off the challenge of last weekend’s winner Ruedi Wild of Switzerland – almost 10 years his junior – to complete the 1.9km swim, 90.1km bike ride and 21.1km run in 04:04:40.
In a morning of topsy-turvy weather in Phuket, the 39 years-old two-time Ironman World Champion stormed out of T1onto the bike course and was then among a charging breakaway pack with Wild, American Chris Lieto, Alberto Cassadei of Italy and impressive young German age grouper Tim Meyer out of T2 into the run.
McCormack and Wild pulled away and only 18 seconds separated them at the
halfway mark of the two-lap run, but the Australian stepped up a gear to stretch his lead and cross the finish line almost three minutes ahead of Wild, who followed in 04:07:17.
Cassadei, third in last weekend’s LPT when McCormack could only manage eighth place, again took the third men’s pro podium spot in 04:08:06 with Meyer third overall in 04:07:32 and winner of his 18-24 age group.
“I was more focused and better prepared for this race,” said McCormack, who changed his bike’s gear set this week after experiencing Phuket’s legendary hills for the first time in LPT.
“With the conditions today it wasn’t about speed, but I played smart and it feels really great to win here, a place I’ve heard so much about and always wanted to race,” he said.
The overall 2012 winner Chris McCormack
In a women’s field opened up by the last-minute withdrawal due to illness of double Ironman and Ironman 70.3 World Champion Leanda Cave of Great Britain, Melissa Hauschildt made it a one-two for Australia with a solid defence of her 2011 title.
Hauschildt fought back against a plucky performance from last weekend’s LPT Champion Radka Vodickova of the Czech Republic, who led out of T1 into the bike course as she aimed for two Laguna Phuket victories in a row.
But Hauschildt – whose bike and baggage were delayed by her airline and only arrived in Phuket on Saturday morning – overhauled her at the 40km mark and was almost seven minutes ahead of the Czech Olympian coming out of T2 into the run. She finished in 04:23:30, with Vodickova second in 04:31:46 and Laguna Phuket veteran Belinda Granger of Australia third in 04:41:53.
“Radka managed to get a good lead on me but I passed her at the top of the first steep hill and I was pretty stoked by that,” said Hauschildt. “From then on I just focused on staying in the lead and I’m so pleased to have won here again – it’s the best race,” she said.
This year’s third and final Ironman 70.3 Laguna Phuket registered 947 individual entries and 19 relay teams, a total of 1,004 athletes representing 55 nationalities. The race offered a pro prize purse of US$ 25,000 and 35 slots for the 2013 Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Las Vegas.
Canadian reality TV endurance duo Simon Donato and Paul “Turbo” Trebilcock managed to finish the race without mishap – Donato in a creditable 05:23:16 to place 147th overall, and Turbo in 06:14:42 at 379th overall.
Melissa Hauschildt adds to her impressive resume with only three years of triathlons under her belt.
Their efforts will be screened in North America and elsewhere around the world in the “Boundless” TV series, showcasing Phuket to a global audience of millions.
Top Thai finisher was Phuket’s Jaray Jearanai in 04:37:00 and 19th overall.
The 6.30am swim start saw the athletes battling strong swells and two-metre crashing breakers on the beach at Laguna Phuket, with some struggling to get their swims underway.
Later in the morning torrential rain brought cooling relief for the leading pros on the run course and hazards for those still on the bike course, but the sun was out again as a grinning McCormack came down the finishing chute accompanied by Laguna Phuket’s traditional baby elephant.
6th place Professional Female
The roller coaster of racing...
On Sunday I competed in my final event of what has been an amazing year, in the beautiful coastal town of Busselton. Renowned for the stunning azure waters and having the longest jetty in the southern hemisphere, Busselton really knows how to turn on a spectacular race. As one of the first Ironman events of the 2013 season there was a strong international field; including contenders from Australia, NZ, USA, Germany, UK, Japan and the Netherlands, which was going to make for an exciting women's race.
After a restless night with minimal sleep I woke up and something just didn't feel quite right (unfortunately one of the detriments of being a female athlete). I went through my normal pre race routine, had a great warm up and just wanted to get things underway trying to keep my mind positive about the day ahead. The professional race had a beach start which made it more exciting for the spectators and TV cameras and we got underway 15 mins before the mass age group wave. I got off to a fantastic start and sat in the lead female group which was exactly where I planned to be. The swell made it like a washing machine out around the jetty- with lots of hits and kicks, and swallowing water it was a challenging swim but I felt comfortable and was really pleased to come out of the water with Keat, Weerd, Harper and Wee and with a snappy transition I was first onto the bike course and off to a perfect start.
I knew that all of the main contenders were strong riders so my goal was to ride solid and keep as close as I could to the leaders. There was more wind up than predicted but with a headwind one way, thankfully, there is always the reprieve of a tailwind. I rode really well for the first 90km or so and then hit my first bad patch, and dropped back into 6th position at around 100km. I had a slight headache already from the swim but it started to get worse throughout the bike leg. The 'bad patch' unfortunately continued and I could feel my body was overheating. I also started to get blurry vision and even more fatigue set in from about 120km. I was getting through all my nutrition, but today for some reason I just wasn't getting the energy I needed to push the pace required. I lost a lot of time on the last 60km loop of the bike- feeling so uncomfortable that I struggled to even ride aero and had to mentally break the distance into small segments just to get to the end of the 180km. One thing was for sure I was so glad to be getting off the bike! Even though I still had 42km of running ahead of me I was determined to never give up and make the most of the opportunity, as you just never know what's around the next corner in an ironman. I took some panadol towards the end of the bike leg in hope that would get rid of what had become a throbbing headache.
Thankfully the painkillers kicked in and my headache subsided slightly for most of the run, but my stomach was still cramping and I just lacked the energy I needed for the fast run split that I was hoping to achieve. I tried so hard to stay positive and focused and pushed as hard as I could to get through. It was the positive energy and encouragement from my extensive support crew, both on course and back at home that got me through each of the 4 gruelling laps. By the closing stages it became a case of focussing on putting one foot in front of the other until the finish line. The last few kilometres I found it hard to hold back my tears of pain and disappointment. I don't remember much of the finish line experience apart from being taken by a wheelchair and straight to the medical tent.
It was certainly not the end result that I hoped to achieve but as I have learnt from my 7 years of racing you need to take the most that you can from the good, the bad and even the ugly days. I had a fantastic swim and whilst I battled physically, especially through the last 5 hrs of the race I learnt a lot about myself and my mental strength which is so much of the challenge of ironman racing. On a tough day and with 5 amazingly talented athletes ahead of me, I managed to hold on to 6th place and still finished on a hot and difficult day in a respectable time of 9hrs 43 mins. I really pushed myself to the limit so my body was absolutely shattered. I am looking forward to a well earned rest now and the opportunity to enjoy a nice break over the festive season.
There are so many people that I would like to thank personally for their continuous support and belief in me. There are too many of you to name individually but you know who you are and how much you mean to me. I want to make a special thank you though to my incredibly supportive and motivating coaches, Chris and Bruce Thomas, who have invested so much time in to helping me be the best I can be. Bern and I feel incredibly grateful to be able to work with such passionate, knowledgeable and humble people who continue to give so much to this wonderful sport. I am also so lucky to have such a fantastic team of sponsors behind me in Shimano, Scody, High 5 Sports Nutrition (Fastgear), Blue Seventy, Newton, Oakley, Turramurra Cyclery, Foot Levelers and Volosport, and so many other supporters, family and friends who continue to be a huge part of my triathlon journey.
Those who know me well understand I wear my heart on my sleeve, I'm so passionate about this sport and I make a lot of sacrifices with balancing a hectic work schedule and high commitment to also training and racing at a professional level. I can't help but feel like I failed to achieve what I set out to do on Sunday. I wanted to share my feelings though as I think it's important to realise that it's okay to feel this way as long as you can also put things in perspective, learn from your experience, and understand that sometimes it’s just not going to be your day.
Just like Life itself, racing in any competitive sport is a roller coaster ... It has its ups and downs but it's your choice to either scream or enjoy the ride! I know what my choice is and I look forward to seeing what exciting challenges lie ahead for me in 2013.
Thanks for all of your continued support. Have a fantastic Christmas and best wishes for a successful year ahead!
Bachelor of Sports Science- Exercise Science
Level 1 Triathlon Coach
Just shy of 2 weeks ago now, I made the short jaunt from France up to Hamburg, for my first World Tri Series race of the year. Still aware of a gaping hole where my running form should be, I was a tad pessimistic (or realistic) as to how I would hold up in such strong company, but keen to sink my metaphorical teeth in the the Schnitzel of Triathlon the only the Hamburg race can provide. Thus, with one eye on getting a little head start onto the run, and another eye much more firmly focussed on the sweet $10 000 US bike prime, attack was the order of the day after a relatively calm swim and first 5 km of the bike. Quickly joined by a strong ANZAC alliance of Clark Ellice and Courtney Atkinson, and later by (excuse my lack of a more eloquent superlative) a bloody strong Reinaldo Colucci, we forged out almost 30 seconds by the end of the bike. ‘Almost’ 30 seconds, as distinct from ‘actually’ 30 seconds, as the more astute of you may have noticed. 3 seconds short of sharing 10 grand between the four of us, I quickly discovered exactly how long 5 km feels, and faded throughout the run, but was reasonably content with my effort and progression.
Then, on 4 days of recovery, myself and AIS dietician and age group World Champ from 2009 Greg Cox, made the pilgrimage down to the mythical Alpe d’Huez Triathlon, a monument of a race known to be tougher than a 2 cent steak. Coxy and I had an arrangement, if he beat me we’d swap professions, I’d pick up the calipers and Coxy would finish the season in my race suit. Given that Coxy is quite an athlete, and had been cagier than a fox about his training, the 2 hour road trip was filled with more banter than a year 5 school lunch time.
Fortunately for the Aussie teams future dietetic advice, I was able to get over Coxy, as well as the rest of the field, as the tough swim/bike suited my training, and I rolled into T2 over 6 minutes ahead of the field. Running after climbing Alpe d’Huez, and at over 2000m, actually didn’t feel too bad, and I finished the day over 7 mins in front, to win one of the most idiosyncratic races I’ve ever done, and Coxy had a strong race to finish top 15. Seriously folks, if you’re ever in the Alps in July, check out the Tour, and then race the Alpe d’Huez triathlon, you won’t regret it, there is no race like it on earth. Hell of a race, and hell of a trip with Coxy, who is always a delight to hang out will, although throwing a stein of beer on me post race didn’t do too much to endear himself to me...
From here, another 3 weeks till ITU Stockholm, a new jaunt on the ITU circuit, pretty excited to check it out!
Finally good luck to our Olympians! Emma Jackson, Erin Densham, Emma Moffatt, Courtney Atkinson, Brad Kahlefeldt and Brendan Sexton. Started getting nervous for those guys as we saw them off from Aix this week!
The siren goes. I run down the beach, start jumping over the waves then dive in and start swimming. Pro men and women start together. I'm now last. Yep, already. How? Geez I need swim lessons or something... I get smashed by a wave and dragged back then another hits me and almost stops me in my tracks. "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming" I sing to myself like Dory sings in Finding Nemo. I can see ONE cap up in the distance. Must be the second last swimmer. No-one behind me. Bugger! How embarrassing. I'm not just last. Im last by a long way. I have a nice paddle all by myself. After the 1300m triangle in the ocean I run out and up the beach, over the little hill where the commentator is yelling out each athletes name. "This athlete has no number" he says. Phew! That's why I forgot to get numbered. Then I run down into the lagoon for the final 600m straight across to transition. I'm not concerned I'm coming last, actually I'm pretty chilled out. Maybe because it's my last race of the season. Maybe because I know I'm in good shape (in the other two legs).
As I run out of the water I hear people yelling to me that I'm about 2:50 down. That's alright I think. I expected a lot more. Now my race begins. Now I become competitive, aggressive and know how to push my body. Less than 5km in I'm passing people. Alright, back in the race. By the time I reach the first real hill - a 21% incline at around 40km - I take the lead. By 50km I've picked up quite a few men as well as the lead media motorcycle. It's a bit like Forest Gump, the further I go the more 'followers' I seem to accumulate behind me. As they all jump on board I take them for a tour around beautiful Phuket. "...to your left you'll notice the stunning waters of the Adaman sea...and just up ahead on your right keep your eyes peeled for ever-enthusiastic primary school kids out cheering and jumping out of their skin...". Yes, things like this actually do run through my head. There's not a dull moment on this technical, hilly and soon to be drenched bike course. As I reach the last 20km the rain hits. And when it 'rains' here, it really rains! The final 15km is extremely hilly. Pretty much either up, down, windy or a combination of two. As you could imagine, I slow down considerably and play it safe. The up hill is steep but too wet to stand. I started out standing but soon my back wheel was spinning out so in the lowest gear I went, sat down and got into a nice high cadence rhythm. I actually really like hills. I guess my power to weight ratio helps a lot. It's not long before I drop my trailing 'tour group' and I pull into T2 alone.
I offload my bike to the bike catchers and run down to the change tent with my helmet still on my head. I never know the rules when it comes to helmet when bike catchers are involved... Can we take our helmet off and carry it to the tent or do we still have to keep it on? I'm not taking any chances, I keep it on. In the change tent I quickly up end my bag. Helmet off, socks on, shoes on then I run out with gel and visor in hand. The rain is easing but the course is well and truley soggy.
First we head out on the grass/sand track through the elephant park. Then we hit road for a couple of out and backs. Through our hotel where the friendly Banyan Tree staff are cheering us on. Past the wedding chapel, through the sand and out along the pot hole filled road, u-turn... Actually I'm not exactly sure of the order. This is the third year I've done this race (it was one of the first tri's I did) and I still couldn't tell you where exactly I went. It's good, you never know what's coming up next. At one point I passed Chris Lieto heading in the other direction. "Slow down" he yelled. "Your going to beat me". I gave him a laugh. Chris is an amazing athlete and great guy. He's had an achilles injury for I don't know how long and this is his longest run in a long time. He's out here to finish in one piece, not to break records. My second lap I'm definitely closing in on Chris. I can't see any other girls so I'm judging my pace off the guys ahead and behind. With just over a km to go I see Chris just up ahead. He stops to let me pass. "C'mon, run in with me" I say to him. He didn't wanna run in with Lucky, the baby elephant so politely declines.
I hit the final straight. About 100m of Nice blue carpet. I'm handed the Aussie flag which I wave over my head and then Lucky jumps in the race with me. We slowly jog down to the finish line together. She gives me a congratulatory tap and I give her a thank you pat. THEN out of nowhere her trunk moves right up to my face. She plants it smack bang on my lips and gives me the biggest kiss, sucking my lips off. My eyes open wide as I look to the media in shock. She then releases her trunk and looks at me with a quirky smirk. Lucky you're cute Lucky!
Phuket 70.3 is one race that will stay in my mind forever. The location is beautiful. The race is unique. The race organizers are like family. And the volunteers and locals are ever so friendly and helpful. We've all said it before but I'll say it again. This is truly the best race in the world. And it's not just the race that keeps me coming back. The place and people are amazing. It was such a breath of fresh air being around such happy and positive people. Some of the local people don't seem to have much more than the shirt on their back but they are so grateful for it. The workers in our hotel are the friendliest staff in the world. They don't hate their job. They are grateful they have a job. They don't expect a tip like some countires but they still go out of their way to be nice and helpful. They are always in a good mood. You can't walk past a staff member without them giving you their full attention, saying hi and nodding their head. I wish more of the world could see how amazing these people are and how much healthier and happier they are by just putting a smile on their face.
November Update 2012 After Auckland, I flew straight back to Melbourne to head home for my break. I don’t get to come home very often, so it’s pretty exciting when I do!
My parents live 3 hours east of Melbourne on the coast in a place called Bairnsdale. It’s beautiful down there and there is no where I’d rather spend my downtime. It’s incredibly peaceful and very easy to relax. I spent quite a lot of time in the first couple of weeks doing nothing but lying on the beach in the sun!
I’ve also had the opportunity to head down to Melbourne for a while and spend time with friends and family there. I became an auntie (for the 3rd time) as my sister and her fiancé had a beautiful baby girl last week, and it was very special to be home and meet her. Her name is Isla Grace, and she is so adorable! I can’t wait to watch her grow up.
I’ve really tried to use this time to do things that normally I can’t – although I haven’t been overly adventurous! But it’s really made me realise how strict you are as an athlete when you’re training. Things like staying up late, being spontaneous, going
out with friends, ordering desert aren’t exactly risky activities, but it was nice to have no restrictions for a while.
I did however manage to (finally) pass my driving test! I don’t think I’ve ever been so nervous for anything before as I was for that, but it feels like such a relief to finally get it done!
Anyway, I started back some light training a couple of weeks ago and I am now on my way to Falls Creek to officially start preparing for 2013. My body and mind are well rested, and I couldn’t think of a better place to start. I’m excited to have some
normality back in my life… ;)
Thanks for all the support,
Evening friends, this edition of the blog is brought to you by the free wifi at Hong Kong airport, and also the neighboring coffee shop owner, whose kids I have just put through college by procuring vast quantities of espresso. I’m currently whiling away a few idle hours in transit to where I join some Aussie comrades is Aix Les Bains, and am currently dividing my time between a little blogging, sampling caffeinated beverages, and observing the middle aged gentleman to my left read a comic book that he seems far to old for, loudly snort mucus through his nose, seemingly oblivious to my acrimonious eyebrow-raises.
I’ve just departed from Gamagori, Japan, or ‘Where Robbo did THAT race’. Anyone with more than a trifling interest in triathlons who does not know of Robbo’s exploits in 2005 should make it a priority to familiarise themselves on this piece of triathlon history post-haste. Fittingly, Robbo himself was present as part of the coaching staff this time round, as the race formed part of a junior tour for some of the talented youngsters making up the future of Australian triathlon.
Excuse me whilst I make an exaggerated stare at Nose Snorter, and let out a distinctly audible sigh. No reaction, he turns another page on the comic book, which features a large elephant holding a trumpet of some description.
Gamagori was my long awaited return to racing for 2012, and I managed to kick things off with a win. The race went pretty well, I managed to lead out of the water with fellow Aussie and all-round-good-guy Shane Barrie, and we were soon joined by 2 others, including fellow Aussie, training partner, and all-round-good-guy Mitch Kealey. Unfortunately my compatriots drifted back to the main pack, which left me with Irish youngster, and all-round-good-guy Ben Shaw, for most of the 40 kms. After pulling solid turns with Ben, a cheeky late attack had me heading in to T2 with 30 secs on Ben, and a ‘handy’ 4 mins on the rest of the field, allowing me to ease my very green running legs back into the less-than-benevolent eventuality of running 10 kms in 35 degree heat.
Nose Snorter has just let rip another cracker. Unless he is dictating sound effects from his comic book ‘MucusMan’ to an unseen deaf friend, I’m going to have to get a little more blatant with this guy. This time I raise my eyebrows and frown. My social cannonade is again repelled by his wall of ignorance.
It was a pleasure to be back racing, although it took a moments rumination to get the order of the disciplines correct, although some may argue that 2 minute transition runs was worthy of calling this race a swim/run/bike/run/run. From here, it’s a few more weeks of training in France, hopefully moving the running legs from ‘not running out of sight on a dark night’ to at least, ‘getting a little difficult to see on a dull evening’.
That’s it, I’ve clearly just mimicked Nose Snorter, letting rip a snort that rivals the 747’s warming up to my left. Once again, he feigns incomprehension. I’ve had a gutfull, time to relocate next to the screaming baby...
Cozumel is a beautiful little Island off mainland Mexico. Definitely a race to do and place to go. The swim is in the crystal clear ocean. 100% visibility - that's clearer than most swimming pools. The local Mexicans are all friendly and excited about all the commotion. The event itself is not quite the well-oiled, smooth-running Ironman production that rolls in and out of each host city in America, but what the Mexicans lack in polish, they make up for ten-fold with flair, excitement and genuine good intentions. The weather was warm but not crazy hot and there was some humidity in the air. Perfect for racing!
As the athletes line-up around the starting pier on race morning, the locals wake up the dolphins for a quick dolphin show to get the festivities started. What a way to get things started before the race hey! 15minutes before the scheduled pro start the organizers send off 1 lone competitor, he's got the tough task of completing the days 70.3 with his disabled daughter in tow. For swim leg, he's dragging a large green raft with his daughter in it. As we see him start out we get a little concerned that he's going to get trampled by the 2000 competitors starting soon behind...or that he'll maybe end up being a large road-block in the middle of the swim course.
I position myself on the start line sandwiched between the two fastest swimmers in the field, actually two of the fastest swimmers on the circuit. Maybe I can hold on for a few minutes... Ok, a few seconds! As we take off, almost immediately I lose sight of Liz and Jodie. But I find myself swimming in the pack. The water is amazing. We reach the first turn bouy at the far end and head for the second. As we approach I see the bright yellow turn bouy to the left and the big green raft of the man with his disabled daughter to the right. Ok, I think to myself, he's waiting for us to pass...safe...sensible. The pack, including myself head straight for the yellow buoy trying to find the shortest route. A few get through but then the gap begins to close. The green raft is getting closer to the yellow buoy and the opening is disappearing. By the time I get to it I see a rope linking the raft to the buoy. The man is pulling himself into the bouy. The girls ahead are madly rushing to climb over and under the rope before it completely closes. Most got through... I did not! I'm bashing at the raft but it wouldn't budge. I had no choice but to head far right and swim around the raft. I've completely lost contact with the pack. I put on a massive surge and luckily get back on. From there on I just sit and follow them back to the exit.
Not a great start, it definitely got my heart racing as it caused some panic. But I emerge with the pack, run past them all and mount my bike first (fourth overall with Emma-Kate 2mins up the road and Jodie & Liz 4mins up). As I begin cycling I hear this constant - bang, bang, bang! Oh no, my wheel is gonna come off. I pull on my handlebars to lift my bike slightly to see if my front wheel is loose. It doesn't seem to be but the bang! Bang! Bang! just won't stop. What is going on? Soon I see my front drink bottle positioned between my aero bars is slipping back and almost hitting my knees... My drink bottle cage is slipping off! I try madly to tighten it but fail. I try not to let it get to me... bang, bang, bang... I push the bottle forward so it doesn't fall right off... bang, bang, bang... Another push, no difference. I cannot get into a rhythm. I feel like I'm stuck in first gear. That's when my mind wonders for a little as I start singing "...you're stuck in second gear, when it hasn't been your day, your week, your month, or even your year...". The mount cage is not helping things as I'm thinking "How much damage is this doing to my bike?", "Should I just stop and fix it?" but moreso, the road is so rippled that I'm bouncing all over the place. "Maybe I can stop and let some air out of my tyres and at the same time fix my bottle?". My mind was going a million miles an hour but then just up ahead I see Emma-Kate. I put my head down, power past her and think, maybe Jodie and Liz are not too far ahead. After about 20k through the trees, we turn a slight corner to see the ocean again, we've made it across the other side of the Island already. I feel this massive sting in my thigh. Weird. It's pretty damn windy on this side of the Island so I think it must be the sand being blown up across the road whipping me in the legs. But then I realize the sting is confined to one small point. I look down and see the stinger from a bee is still stuck in my thigh. I wobble over the road as I frantically try to pull it out. The sting soon goes away but it remains itchy for the rest of the ride.
50km in and I see what looks like two more cyclists up ahead. I slide my sunnies down to the end of my nose like a granny looking out the top of her reading glasses. The sea salt has made my sunnies impossible to see clearly. But yep, there's Liz and Jodie just up ahead. At 55km I pass them both, still bang, bang, banging my way along. I get to 75km where we u-turn and head back the final 15k back to T2. As I turn around I see Emma-Kate, Jodie & Liz all sitting in. Damn! I slow down, move over and let Emma-Kate lead the way back into T2.
The four of us dismount together. We all throw our bikes towards the bike catchers and start yelling our race number. For those who don't know, when there are bike catchers 'usually' after you hand over your bike another volunteer will hand you your T2 bag (with your running shoes in it) then you will run to the change tent (separate male and female tents) before up ending it. Only when you are in the change tent can you begin to get changed. Several volunteers are standing there, some point straight ahead so Liz and I, first to dismount run straight ahead frantically looking for our bag. Meanwhile another volunteer points to his right so Emma-Kate and Jodie begin running to their right also frantically yelling out their race number. After what seems like minutes (probably only a few seconds) the four of us are doing a dance on the spot not sure where to go or what they want us to do! We didn't speak spanish and they didn't speak english. It would've made for some amusing footage if anyone got it. We all laughed about it after the race. After this little episode was all sorted I had to get a volunteer to help untangle my necklace from my helmet strap (probably due to the constant bouncing). Finally...I was all set for the run.
On to the run... I told my legs to go but they wouldn't budge. I shuffled on. Out and back and then again for another lap. It wasn't until 15km that my legs started to feel ok. It's coming to the end of my US season and I'm finally able to start putting some decent run training in now, so instead of backing off through this week I've been keen to continue building up for the future now that I can. Maybe this had something to do with the run leg here. And maybe also the long ride the Saturday before might've contributed too - where we rode a solid 204k from Boulder up to the highest continuous paved road in North American. An amazing ride that I'm glad we got to do before the cold weather set in to the Rockies.
It's been a tough year with a lingering injury and although it healed midway through the US season it was difficult to build enough mileage in the short period leading into key races while still tapering where needed. I managed a second place in Cozumel and although I really wanted the win I need to keep reminding myself that I was lucky to even make it to so many start lines this year.
THREE years after quitting triathlon because his passion ran dry, Brian McLeod's smile returned on his face as he captured one of the biggest wins of his career yesterday.
The newest Hervey Bay 100 champion, who has only attempted one triathlon - a 750m swim, 20km cycle and 5km run - since switching from triathlon to cycling in 2009, blitzed the field to complete the arduous 100km event in a time of 3hr 43min 42sec - more than 10 minutes ahead of his closest rival, Ben Wriede.
"This was my first crack at a long- course tri and I'm pretty happy with how I went," the 22-year-old said.
Almost 350 competitors took part in the toughest endurance event on the Fraser Coast, an epic that featured soaring heat and choppy waters making it even tougher for competitors.
The former Australian junior representative handled the 2km swim, 80km bike ride and 18km run skilfully, taking the lead in the swim then used his cycling experience to pull away from his opponents.
"On the bike I rode strong and kept the pressure on," the Rockhampton product, said.
"But I still rode within myself because I wanted to put the whole race together.
"I didn't want to blow it with 6km to go on the run, so it was a solid race."
McLeod, who trains at Lennox Head with renowned coach Grant Giles, has targeted the Ironman 70.3 series race in Auckland in January before heading to the United States in May.
"I've never put a long course triathlon together so to do that regardless of the result to start with, I can draw a lot of confidence from that," he said.
"I want to make it as a professional and make a career out of it."
But will McLeod be back next year to defend his title?
"I will definitely try to make this an annual race to do," he said.
"This is the first time I have been to Hervey Bay and there is a good atmosphere here.
"I'm not saying it is bigger than Mooloolaba and Noosa, but it has got the same vibe and has the potential to grow and become something like that."
In the women's event, Noosa Heads' Jessica Fleming used a blistering run to hit the line in 4:15.49 ahead of Susan Langley (4:17.56) and Kirra Seidel (4:19.48).
After spending a few weeks doing some light training post Noosa Triathlon 2 weeks ago I set my sights on race 2 of the Queensland Gatorade Triathlon Series at Robina on the Gold Coast. The race distance was a 400m swim, 15km ride and a 4km run over what was a very flat course. In addition to the race I was asked to present the medals to the kids triathlon participants at the finish line. It really was great to see how hard all the kids raced and helped add to my motivation minutes before my race start.
After a short warm up I positioned myself on the start line next to training partner Drew Box. After leading the 200m swim to the first swim buoy Drew Box and Bryce McMaster took the lead and kept up a solid tempo for the rest of the swim. On the run into transition I lost a little time and really pushed hard to make up the seconds lost on the first straight towards the bike turn around. After passing the riders ahead over teh first 2kms of the ride I pushed hard aboard my Specilialized S-Works SHIV and established a solo lead of 1min 20 seconds by the time I hit T2.
I knew that the run would be a real battle after pushing as hard as I did on the bike but kept cool under the pressure of the quick runners moving their way through the field . After the first of two laps on the run I could see eventual 2nd & 3rd place finishers Drew Box and Matt Brown pushing the pace but knew that the gap I had established on the bike would be too much for them to overcome over the 4km run.
I enjoyed the final finishing shoot jogging the last hundred meters to claim the win in event 2 of the 2012/2013 Queensland Gatorade series. These events have become quite competitive in recent years and winning one of these races is by no means easy so I was really happy to take the win. Congratulations must go to my training partners Drew Box & Matt Brown for their 2nd and 3rd places respectively. It's great to share the podium with these guys, as I know just how hard we all work in trianing pushing each other each and every day.
I raced one of my favourite Aussie 70.3 events in the friendly country town of Shepparton. This was my forth visit to Shep and another worthwhile and enjoyable road trip adventure from Sydney with hubby Bern. It has been a roller coaster few weeks, with an injury scare last week and the week prior being bedridden with a savage virus, so my goals for this event were somewhat adjusted, with my training volumes and major focus being for Ironman WA in 3 weeks time.
I didn't get off to my usual solid start in the swim, I struggled to get going and my arms were heavy. I came out of the water a few minutes off the pace from where I was hoping to be. It was pretty chilly heading out on to the bike leg and whilst I took a while to get moving I felt strong and my form felt great. Although I lacked the top end speed to mix it up with the big girls today I felt like I was riding a sustainable ironman pace and I felt better as the km’s ticked over. Onto the run and I felt awesome, again I lacked some top end flair but this definitely gave me the confidence boost that I need leading into Busselton.
Overall I took away many positives from the race and achieved my own personal goals. I'm happy with 5th place in a cracker field, and I did 3mins quicker than last year. That was my first 70.3 race since Canberra last year and its fantastic to see the depth in the girls racing has really stepped up to a completely new level in these last 12 months. Shepparton 70.3 is a must do event- definitely one of the greatest races in Oz with amazing community support and events for all the family. Congrats to all the team from the Shep Tri Club for once again nailing a superb weekend and for your warm hospitality. I will certainly be back again next year.
My body has pulled up really well and I'm confident and excited about racing Ironman WA in a few weeks time!
Thanks to all my wonderful sponsors and extensive support network for your continued support, particularly; Shimano, Scody, High 5 Sports Nutrition (Fastgear), Blue Seventy, Newton, Oakley, Turramurra Cyclery, Foot Levelers, Energy Link Coaching, Volosport and of course all of Team Ward.
What a way to finish off my US season. I picked Augusta, Georgia because I wanted to meet my 'Dream Team' youth tri squad, whom I was appointed team Captain last year. Set up by Harvey and coach Kim a year ago, they have established triathlon squads in Atlanta, Athens and Augusta for kids under 18. I flew into Atlanta Friday afternoon and Harvey picked me up and drove me to Athens for a little training session and Q&A with the kids followed by photo's and autograph signing. We had a great time as I shared stories with the kids and met all the parents. The following morning Harvey and I went for a spin around beautiful Athens before Kelly and Marcus (parents of some Dream Team kids and also triathletes themselves) drove me to Augusta where the three of us checked in for the Augusta 70.3. They then dropped me off at Tony and Kristen's house who would be my Homestay hosts for the night. Tony would also compete and we enjoyed a little jog together Friday evening. Everything went so smoothly with Harvey's meticulous planning.
Race morning, 3500 competitors, the largest IM 70.3. As we were treading water on the start line, instead of sculling on our stomachs we were constantly pushing ourselves back. We're swimming downstream, point to point. Not that I noticed the extra push as I was swimming but I did notice I exited the water quite a bit quicker. The time I saved in the water, I think was added to the extra long run to T1. I didn't mind this at all because I'd definitely got the blood back into my legs by the time I'd reached my bike. Harvey was at the mount line and informed me I was two minutes down on the leaders.
The bike course was nice - flat and fast at the start, rolling hills through the middle and then flat and fast to finish. I took one wrong turn as the official seemed to be pointing for a sharp left. I was on the wrong side of the road but managed to bush bash my way across the grassy ditch dividing the road. I'd taken the lead at 38km. With a few corners and switchbacks I could see Emma-Kate holding on. At 65km she went past and took a turn. But slowed up about 10km down the road for a hill and then aid station. I decided to take the lead back and remained in the lead right into T2 with Emma-Kate only a few seconds back. We had made a pretty large gap to the rest of the field so unless something seriously went wrong it looked like 1st and 2nd had been decided.
I racked my bike and not so quickly put my socks and shoes on, grabbed my gel and visor and made my way out of T2. Another super long run transition gave me some time to get my watch working to give me some mile splits along the way. Out on the run course Harvey popped up again and told me I had a 30second lead. Then again a couple of miles down the road he tells me I'm a couple of minutes up. By half way I had about a 5minute lead. The run course was pretty cool. Some might think boring but I liked it. It was two laps and each lap snaked up and down the local streets. There were specters everywhere including Harvey and the Dream Team crew. At one point on each lap Harvey had organized the whole street practically to sing and cheer for me all at the same time "Go House!". I couldn't resist waving as a huge smile covered my face.
At 5 1/2 mile however I was a little worried. I started to get the urge to use the bathroom. By 7 mile I was getting pretty desperate. My lead cyclist was just up ahead, occasionally looking around to make sure I was still there. Approaching 7 1/2 mile I spotted some porta loo's. I bolted off course and straight into one. Did my business and and jumped back into the race. My lead cyclist had stopped around the corner, obviously thinking "where'd she go?". I put on a little surge to catch her and apologized. We shared a little laugh before I got back to focussing on winning the race
I felt pretty good on the run. I felt like I was totally in control for the first time this US season. That was exciting. I had enough time up my sleeve to back off the pace a little, have a pit stop and give Harvey and team a good wave and smile. Coming down the finish chute I tried to give every little kid (and adult) a high five before grabbing that winners banner and thrusting it up over my head.
After my race I sat on the back of Harvey's truck watching the rest of the competitors run past on their way to completing their race. When Marcus and Kelly ran past we jumped up and gave them a good yell. Marcus was funny as he ran past. Harvey was running along next to him giving him his placing but all he kept yelling back was "how'd Mel go?, did she win?". Both Marcus and Kelly raced amazingly . Kelly secured her spot for Vegas and Marcus broke 5hrs setting a new personal best. Tony also set a record, knocking over half an hour off of his last years time.
It was an amazing day and weekend! And such an awesome way to wrap up my US season. Next stop - KONA! To watch Jared, my husband compete in his third ever triathlon and second full IM.
Thanks to race organizers, sponsors and volunteers for putting on yet again another supperb race. And a huge thank you to Harvey, Julie & family for sharing their home with me and organizing such a wonderful weekend. Tony, Kristen & family for welcoming me into their home and Kelly & Marcus for the fun road trip to Augusta. Also the entire Dream Team for their continual support.
So this is my very first trip to the good ol’ US of A. As you can imagine, I went straight to The Big Apple; the amazing New York. Central Park? Check. World Trade Centre? Check. Empire State Building? Check. A foot long pastrami sub with extra cheese and cheesy french fries… and a vanilla thick shake? Check (plus heart palpitations). Oh, and I had a win in my first run around Central Park in the Fitness Magazine 4 Mile...
??So the natural course of this trip is to continue seeing the sites. Places you read about, hear about, some even dream about! Straight to Branson, Missouri please. Oh, and if you don’t hang onto the Braaaan for at least five seconds you can’t get past the diner at the airport.??So the natural course of this trip is to continue seeing the sites. Places you read about, hear about, some even dream about! Straight to Branson, Missouri please. Oh, and if you don’t hang onto the Braaaan for at least five seconds you can’t get past the diner at the airport.
From a birds eye view you would't think you could go too far wrong with this swim leg. Just follow the canal. Houses on either side. But once in the water you may as well be the size of an ant. The canal is still fairly wide. As we arrange ourself on the start line I'm searching for a sighting buoy. I see ONE in the distance. I'm swimming along next to Belinda Granger. Belinda has been doing this for years so I'm confident she'll keep me on track. We reach the first buoy and turn right around it. From there I don't see any more buoys. I lose Belinda as another athlete crosses my path. I assume the person I'm following now is on Belinda's feet so I remain calm. But before too long, it seems like I'm zig zagging all over the place to try stay on the feet. How can I be going so far off track? Jared ran down to a bridge where he could see us pass under. When I was telling him after the race "I just couldn't swim straight today", he informed me "it wasn't you... there were four in your pack. The leader was zig zagging and each of you just kept looking up when you lost the feet in front and zig zagged to get back on". Lesson learnt - if you think your zig zagging more than normal get off the feet you're following! The swim was tough in that we all had no idea where we were going. There were three buoys in total as we wound around the canal.
As I ran out of the water Jared yelled out that I was 2min 40sec down on the front pack - three former ITU triathletes, in other words, amazing swimmers and then a small gap to Lisa Marangon. I had to ask Jared to repeat it as I was expecting it to be more like 3:40. This gave me a lot of confidence as I ran into T1.
The bike was flat. The one hill that we rode up twice was not steep enough to get out of the aero position and off your bars. The only time I did was around the round-abouts and towards the end which was a tight little square back into transition. The wind was fairly kind the first lap but the second it had picked up. The way out was a head/cross wind and back a tail/cross. The road surface was nice and smooth for half the lap before you hit that dead bitumen that zapps your speed. I was getting blown around as I was searching for the smoothest line. Both laps had two turn arounds points plus the end of lap one so I could see my competitors up ahead. Radka was leading Liz in the front with Lisa chasing them down. The second lap saw Lisa had caught them and was on the front. I felt good on the bike but wasn't closing the gap as fast as I hoped.
Just before we hit T2 Liz must have put on a surge and dropped the three she was riding with or must've just had a lightening quick transition. I racked my bike and it wasn't long before I moved into second place with Liz a further 30sec ahead. At about 3km I came up on Liz. My initial plan was to 'catch and sit' but when I approached her I was running at a faster pace so didn't want to slow down in case I got comfortable and couldn't then build on it later. I went straight past and opened a gap. The course was two laps. Each lap had a long steady incline in the middle of the lap with the rest fairly flat. By 12km I was surprised to see Liz had caught back up and was on my heels again. Instead of trying to increase the pace I slowed for a bit, quickly recovered and then got ready to respond to Liz if she attacked.
The next 6km was something neither of us had ever experienced in a race this long. We ran side by side with both of us slightly testing the other putting on small surges then slowing it down. With 3km to go I made my move. I knew it had to be a clear decisive move so I put the accelerator down and didn't look back. After 1km we turned a sharp corner so I used this to quickly look over my shoulder. I could see I'd made a enough of a gap so I could relax a little but you never know what's coming and the race isn't won until you cross that line so I kept the pace on. With a couple of hundred meters to go we u-turn then head for the finish. Only then did I know I had it won. I could finally slow down, wave to the crowd, give some high fives before running through the Ironman arch
as Australian 70.3 Champion.
It was great to be back home, well back in Australia. I've been in the US for 5 months so after all the travel to get to Perth and then out to Mandurah all I was thinking about was how close to home I was. When we arrived Friday afternoon it was hard to get motivated to race again. I just wanted to go home. But after I went for a spin on the Saturday and felt great I was confident I could put on one last show before heading home. Looking back now, Mandurah is a beautiful place and a great location for the Australian 70.3 Pro champs. The swim was unique and the laps on both bike and run made it more spectator friendly which helps make the race more interesting for everone. USM & Ironman have teamed together now and they showed it is working really well.
Noosa is unquestionably my favorite race of the year and one that any die hard triathlon aficionado must do. It’s a race that I desperately want to win before the end of my triathlon career as it is arguably the biggest triathlon race in Australia.
The caliber of elite athletes racing Noosa this year was undoubtedly the best seen in its 30-year history. Ironman World Champions Chris 'Macca' McCormack, Craig Alexander and Pete Jacobs along with ITU athletes Courtney Atkinson & Kris Gemmell just to name a few.
I positioned myself towards the right side of the start line next to 2 of the quickest swimmers in the race. This enabled me to get through the first 300 meters of the swim without dealing with the carnage usually associated with the dogfight to the first swim turn. Trying to save as much energy as possible I sat quite comfortably in the front swim pack emerging with all the major players in a time of 17.20 for the 1.5km swim.
As soon as I was on bike it started pouring with rain making for some of the most treacherous conditions I have ever experienced while racing. Because of the camber on most of the roundabouts that the Noosa bike course goes through, it was a real mission just to stay upright. Every corner I was feeling my rear wheel sipping just holding enough traction to keep me on the road. Coming back into Noosa I managed to avoid Courtney Atkinson and a few corners later James Seear who both went down hard. The ride was slightly disappointing as it was without question the easiest 40km I have done in a race. It would have been nice to have a harder ride to take some of the edge off the stronger runners in the group but due to the aforementioned conditions it really wasn't possible.
Onto the run I sat with the lead group for the first few kms before my lack of run training started to show and I slipped back into 7th place where I stayed for the entire 10kms.
All in all I was happy with my race. I raced smart and did what I had to do to put myself in the best possible position for a great race. Sure it wasn't the result I was after but I think that it was reflective as to where I am at this point in time with the relatively low volume of run training behind me.
SCODY has all you need clothing and accessory wise to get you looking good for your first every triathlon.. but what else do you need to know ? We let the expert tell you:
From the ITU - http://www.triathlon.org/agegroup/gettingstarted/
Getting Started in Triathlon
Triathlon is an exciting multi-discipline sport involving a continuous race over various distances in the three disciplines of swimming, cycling, and running. A standard triathlon is made up of a swim, followed by a cycle ride, followed by a run.
Competitors race against the clock, which starts as they enter the swim and stops as they cross the finish line after the run.
For this reason, triathlon is often reported as having a ‘fourth discipline’ known as the transition. The transition is the point in the race when competitors change from swimming to cycling, and from cycling to running.
Distances of individual events may vary from race to race, but there are some standard triathlon distances, quoted in terms of swim/bike/run:
Super sprint - 400m/10km/2.5km
Sprint distance - 750m/20km/5km
Standard distance - 1500m/40km/10km
Middle distance - 2.5km/80km/20k
Long distance – 4km/120km/30km
Ironman distance - 3.8km/180km/42km
Joining a club is an excellent way to get more involved in triathlon. Many clubs cater to all levels of ability and experience, and either have their own coach or access to one.
Apart from the coaching and camaraderie, being a club member also entitles you to club competitions and allows you to find new training partners.
Triathletes fit into one of two categories -
1. Elite - professional triathletes who compete at an international level
2. Age Group - triathletes who are non-professional. The Age Group system allows you to compete against other triathlon entrants of the same age (within a five year band) and sex.
Triathlon and duathlon World Championships give all triathletes the chance to enter - they have an Age Group category as well as an elite category.
What Do I Need?
You don’t need to spend a lot of money on all the latest triathlon gear, a few of the basics are all you need to get started. It couldn’t be simpler:
Novice events are often pool-based, although some may be open-water swims. The type of event will affect what kit you need.
Goggles are essential; they protect your eyes from the water and improve visibility, helping you stay focused on the task at hand. Try out a few different types of goggles to see what fits your face best, making sure to select a pair with a proper seal. To test the goggles, hold them to your eyes, press the eye cups into your eye sockets and let go. A good fit will stay in place by suction alone.
A swim cap keeps your hair from getting damaged, helps keep your goggle straps in place, and lowers water resistance. Both goggles and swim caps can be picked up at low cost in any sports store and are well worth it.
Cold open-water swims longer than a couple of hundred metres call for the use of wetsuits, which are compulsory in water temperatures below 14 degrees Celsius. Although summer is the official triathlon season, a full-length wetsuit is still advisable for cold open-water swims. Not only do wetsuits keep you warm, they also increase your buoyancy making it easier to swim. Very few beginner triathlons will require wetsuits.
A triathlon-specific tri-suit is not essential, but you will require something close-fitting and comfortable, a singlet and shorts will serve you just as well. If you are taking part in an open-water swim, clothing that can be worn under a wetsuit is ideal.
As mentioned above, a tri-suit or singlet and shorts can be worn, but extra padding in the saddle area is desirable.
Helmets are mandatory; you’ll never see a triathlete riding without a lid, not even an elite. New helmets are comfortable, reasonably priced, simple to use, and offer proven protection.
A bike is an essential piece of triathlon equipment, but until you get to a more advanced level you need not worry about having a tri-speicific bike, any bike will do. Be sure to give it a good service - check the tires, fill tubes with air or replace if need be, oil the chain, and check to make sure the brakes and gears are operational.
Cycling shoes are a luxury if you’re just starting out, more important is having shoes that are easy to get on and off during transitions. The advantage of cycling shoes is that they attach to the pedals giving you better cycling stability and power.
Again, there is no real need for investing specialized running gear at the beginner level. Swim, run and bike kit can double up; just make sure that the outfit you choose to wear is comfortable, even when you’ve been cycling in it. Breathability is always an advantage.
Shoes are the most important part of your running equipment. If your feet are well supported and comfortable, it will make your run seem much easier. Consult a running shoe expert before you buy, as your foot-type and running style will dictate specific requirements.
Having survived Branson 70.3 and feeling ready to leave the land of the Republican and the Mormonites, I headed back to the east coast of the US and to the ‘old’ stomping ground, NYC. In fact, I only spent a night there, but I stayed in my beloved Brooklyn. Whilst not partaking in drug dealing or gang fights, I still made the most of NYC’s finest borough.
On Tuesday I rented a matchbox and headed east. Through Jersey City and the rest of New Jersey, through US customs and across the border into the republic of Pennsylvania. This place gets a bad rap. Having been here for all of three days, the region is spectacular. The landscape, scenery, the people. It’s all worthy of a place that is a ‘must see’ on traveller’s itineraries. My destination was Stroudsburg, at the foot of the ‘Poconos’. This is the playground of NYC’s rich and famous, and during the week, the home of Jersey City’s outcasts (don’t ask!).
I was lucky enough to be invited to stay with a family that has now earned the title of “World’s Best Homestay”. Ingrid, Jeff and their family have not just opened their home to me, but also to Ali and Stu Fitch, and Mr Multicultural, Balazs Csoke (he is a mixture of Hungarian, Swiss, and soon to be Texan). The course here in The Poconos, like Branson, is spectacular. The topography makes it another challenging course, but that defecates all over the excessive amounts of flat and mind numbing courses we have on the circuit. Here is my preview to Ironman Pocono Mountains 70.3 – with a world exclusive Miley Cyrus/Deadmau5 mix! I have no idea why I used Miley Cyrus, it really doesn’t give this fine region and their people much respect.
Hawaii Ironman: What they didn't mention in the brochure. (Jared's race report)
“Like lambs to the slaughter” someone whispered as we were slowly funneled like cattle down the stairs toward the water. It was still the dim twilight of early morning. With the sun just beginning to peak over the imposing volcanic mountains in the backdrop, 2000 mentally twisted Kona qualifiers cautiously wade into the chilly waters of Kailua-Kona Bay. The ominous beat from the local Hawaiian drummers thump through the airwaves creating a cult-like scene as this years’ batch of sacrificial athletes are presented to the Kona gods. Thousands of on-lookers perched high on the rock walls watch the mass of swim caps maneuver themselves behind the start line. Moments before the cannon fires, an eerie calm hovers heavy over the bay. Like soldiers prepared to leap from the trenches into enemy fire, the floating challengers are twitchy to go, yet uncertain of the impending pain and suffering they will undoubtedly need to endure for the daylong battle that lay before them.
The cannon booms across the bay and it’s on for young and old, no rules, no witnesses, no holds barred! To describe the swim leg in one sentence… It was an hour-long, hypoxic breathing drill (just enough oxygen consumption to stay alive), using no more than half a stroke-length, laced with a surprisingly abundant quantity of blindside punching, kicking, elbowing, dunking, grabbing, pulling, and what would best be described as crowd surfing in water. Suffice to say the swim was nothing but chaos buried away somewhere in the middle of the man-made white-water rapids ride.
Out of the water, up the stairs and dumped into the circus tent that is transition. Akin to passing directly through the heart of an emergency room…with the power out. Stress levels and decibel levels seemed to be off the charts. Countless volunteers darting back and forth, doing seemingly anything for the athletes. The procedure seems pretty simple in here: peel off speed suit, cap, goggles, put on socks and bike shoes, throw swim gear in bag, go! But in that tent it would appear that many athletes are not their usual cognitive and coordinated selves immediately following the thorough open-water beating. Understandable.
Onto the bike and into natures own wily wind tunnel. The Queen K and its brutal hurricane-grade winds showed me who’s boss from the get-go. Up down up down, riding the relentless waves of evil black tarmac paved in one lonely never ending strip across Earths dried up lava fields. Soul-crushing all the way. The 8mile climb up to the turn-around point in the remote town of Hawi was one of the slowest and toughest piece of riding I’ve ever done. Not that I have much cycling experience for comparison. The brutal winds relentlessly attacked like a burley prizefighter bullying his unworthy opponent. They bashed from left, from right, an uppercut from the front, straight down from above somehow. The mood on the course changed dramatically from this point as athletes shifted their focus from racing each other to giving each other ample room for maximum safety. Making a pass from this point was a risk most weren’t willing to take. For a good hour plus we were all in this together…this part was survival only, and everyone knew it.
I’d convinced myself that making the turn at Hawi would be the relief I needed to regroup. After the turn, it became apparent that this misguided, simple logic does not apply out at Hawi. The demoralizing wind patterns never seemed to get any better on the way back. At times I was honestly concerned that I might not make it back to Kona…not on my own 2 wheels at least. Midday came and past, hallucinations of big thick burgers and greasy pizzas came and went in the distance through the heat haze. By early afternoon I was thoroughly cooked, both figuratively and literally. Hot, burnt, hungry, tired and aching I rolled back into Kona, unraveled my body from the ridiculous time-trial position and wobbled back through the transition circus.
Shoes and helmet off, run shoes and hat on. Simultaneously an overly helpful volunteer smothered sunscreen on every patch of bare skin I had. He was obviously well practiced in the art. Like a one-man pit crew changing wheels he was in and out, signifying the all clear with hands up in the air before I even wanted to get back up. The volunteers never failed to impress during the entire Kona experience. I don’t know where they find them all, but they were incredible. Out of the tent and back onto the melting tarmac…it was go time again.
As a whole, the run leg was relatively uneventful. By this point it was difficult to entice the body or mind to do anything more than ‘just get through’. The first 10mile was a reasonably pleasant, gently undulating trip out and back along the coast. Filled with a hype of spectator activity I can see how a lot of athletes would get carried away with the enthusiasm oozing through the streets and forget about the rest of the marathon ahead. After the first 10mile ‘warm-up’, the course turned up the infamous Palani climb. If you weren’t looking up paying attention at this point, Palani would whack you square in the nose. From here the course rolled onto the Queen K where things started to get a lot more interesting.
For years watching the Hawaii Ironman on TV, the lasting images were always the agony of runners suffering along the never ending stretches of the Queen K. Black lava left and right, long gradual hills of pain in front and behind, and the intense Kona sun beating down from above. This was the part I was looking forward to the most. In reality it was a fair bit milder than the mythical creations on TV and in my mind. The hills made the course tough, but the heat didn’t seem to be a concern. The lonely lava fields turned out to be more a novelty than a grueling struggle. Out through the Energy Lab and back home into Kona for the last time, down the steep quad-shattering Palani, and fed through the final finish chute.
The finish chute was an effervescent cocktail of loud, colorful, uncontained excitement that was quite difficult to take in at the time. It was sensory overload after spending most of the day mentally locked away in the sensory-deadening confines of the mind's self-induced mental asylum. To be honest I was more looking forward to bypassing the ecstasy gauntlet and going straight out the back to a nice quiet patch of grass where I could peacefully lay down to die.
All in all, it was a very long day out there. It was one hell of an experience that had been fading away on my bucket list since the early 90’s. It was a drawn-out battle between mind, body and the Kona gods. Like lambs to the slaughter indeed, it baffles me how anyone could possibly be willing to offer up their soul as mincemeat to the Kona gods more than once! Memories fade I guess…
As Jared and I stepped off the plane in Kona we immediately felt the warm humid air. What a difference it was to what we had just experienced in Boulder a few days earlier - zero degrees and snow. The airport was all outdoors and all the air crew were in bright colourful shirts. Rudi, one of my sponsors from Compressport rocks up in a white jeep with the top down. Somehow we managed to fit two bikes, two luggage bags, a spare set of wheels and two backpacks as well as the three of us in there. First stop was Target where Rudi pulled up, chucked it into park and jumped out yelling back "grab the wheel, gotta get some ice". Jared climbed over before finding a park. This must be how it's done is Kona!
We head down Queen K. It's busy. Thousands of athletes are arriving. We get close to where the expo is, where Rudi is setting up stall. He asks Jared to turn into a servo and before we know it he's outa the car again... This time with a bag of ice in each hand, "take the car, I'll call you later" he says as he runs down Palani Drive.
Wednesday morning Jaz and I head out for a run. We jog 20min before Jaz leaves me at the base of a nice long hill. He heads home. I've got a hill session to complete. I stretch a little before I decide there is no point stretching anymore, I'm dripping with sweat. Let's get this done! Up and down the hill I go... First rep is a 3minute hill, followed by a 1minute hill. I repeat this 6 times. I then jog home. I scull a whole 26oz bottle of water as soon as I get in the door. Quickly shower. Have two pieces of toast with peanut butter and banana. Then we're on our bikes spinning down the road to the Specialized house (only a few km away). I was excited to have brunch with the Specialized crew. The majority of them I'd never met in person. We'd sent several emails back and forth, skyped and talked on phone but most I didn't have a face to put to the name. It started off well... First I got round to quickly meet them all before Jared and I digged into the french toast with macadamia nuts while we pulled up a piece of wall and chatted with Bobby and David. As Jared was talking I started seeing black dots. Oh no... Don't do this now Mel. I quickly put down my plate and tried to focus... Next thing I'm sliding down the wall. Luckily David saw me go and they managed to grab me before I hit the gorund. What a first impression! Obviously a little dehydrated after my run session.
Thursday morning started off with a nice ride out along Queen K through the lava fields. It was amazing. A long straight hyway with nothing but lava on either side. I was flying along the silky smooth rolling hills. It should have triggered I was riding with a tail wind but no, I just thought I was feeling fantastic. I turned around after about 50km and let's just say... I was no longer flying! Did I tell Jared what he was in for when I got back? I couldn't but I did change the advice I first gave him of "give it all on the bike, your running legs will be there". "Save a bit in the first half Jaz, it could be tough coming back", I said to him. Jared is a runner. He's done one IM/one triathlon. IM Cairns in June. He came 4th which secured him a spot for Kona. The bike is his weakest leg. He's a thin lanky runner with amazing endurance but he's still developing the strength needed for the bike. I knew it was gonna be a tough day for him if the wind picked up.
Friday was a busy day, making sure Jared's Specilaized Shiv was in tip top shape and getting it racked and all ready for the big day. I was getting excited.
Saturday 13th October 2012. It's 5:30am. Justin (Jared's best mate) and I ride our bikes down to the start in the dark while he gets a lift down. He gets everything sorted in transition, I kiss him good luck then we let him go. Justin and I run to the pier where we watch the swim start. I won't go into detail about our exciting day of chasing Jared around and watching him from wherever we could. He is going to post his own race report about his Kona experience.
I wanted to beat the heat Sunday morning so I headed out early'ish for my ride. As I'm heading down Queen K I hit a rock on the road. I immediately hear my front tyre go down. Damn! As I'm changing it, I think to myself - I better head back, pick up another tube then head out again. I only had one tube with me. As I chuck my gas canister on, it goes straight up then to my disappointment straight down. What! I rip the tube out. It was faulty. Before I can even think what to do a bike stops and offers me his only tube. I couldn't leave him stranded with no spare so I refuse to take it. The next bike stops and offers me a puncture repair kit. That'll do I think. It's brand new. I puncture the lid on the glue and squeeze it... And squeeze it... There is nothing in it but air. I look at the patches. Maybe one will stick without the glue, just to get me home. But they are no longer sticky. I guess the kit was too old. I remember Rudi saying he was setting up stall at Lava Java this morning. I must be less than 10km from there so I call him to see if he's close. He is. He's on his way so he offers to swing by and pick me up. I start walking back. It's the day after the World IM champs. I didn't think there would be many bikes out, especially not early. If I knew more than a dozen bikes were gonna ride past me I would have just waited for the next kind cyclist to stop. As I'd already rung Rudi and by now he must be almost here I turn down every other offer including a lady who stopped in her truck on the other side of the road willing to give me a lift. This really made me aware of how friendly and helpful our fellow cyclists are. Anyways... I'm still walking. And walking. I walk right back into town. Long story short - Rudi got lost. I walked over an hour in my cleats and Jared, the day after his second IM rode into town and brought me another tube. By now it's hot and I'm tired from walking so we grab a coffee then head to the pier for a swim. The water was beautiful. I think if I lived in Kona I could almost get to like this swimming thing. As I swam parallel to Ali'i drive I could see the massive volcano mountain one side, the never ending ocean to the other and down below the beautiful coral, fish and even turtles. Yes, I swam with a turtle. Amazing!
Monday was the day we tried our hand at Stand up paddle surfing. So much fun! And such a nice place to do it. We didn't mind falling off into the crystal clear blue water. We rode our boards like paddle boards, surfboards, kayaks, you name it. We tried to jump on each others board when they weren't looking. See who could stand the closest to the end of the board before it flipped us off. We rode waves. We raced. We had a ball.
Our last full day in Kona was Tuesday and we definitely made the most of it. At 7:15am I was out the door on my bike headed for Volcano National Park. It was about 160km away. I had a brick session to do this morning - 100km ride followed by a 30min run. As I was out cycling the boys took off to get a hire car. At 98km they pull up beside me as Jared yells out "how much more you got?". 2km I reply so they pull up a couple of km's up the road. I trade my bike shoes for my runners, my nicks for running shorts. Take a quick pit stop in the bush then head off for my run. Our transition couldn't have been in a better spot. Just down the road was 'black sand beach'. The boys drove down there to take a quick look while I opt to keep heading in the direction of the volcano. I run up and over the hills for 30min before jumping in the car for the last 50 or so km.
When we arrive in the national park the first thing we stop to see is the steam vents. Massive holes in the ground with really hot steam blowing up. Pretty cool. Next stop is a ginormous crater with steam pouring out. We couldn't get too close to this one - I'm guessing the surrounding areas could be dangerous and mighty hot. But we still got close enough to get some great photos. We then stopped at another massive crater where we had our packed lunch of, you guessed it - peanut butter and banana sandwiches. The bottom of this crater is hard smooth cracked lava. It looks just like the earth has dropped down leaving a huge hole in the middle of the forest. There are people walking over it way down below. They look like little ants. We then drove on to see more craters where we got out and walked over them. I even brought back some lava. There's two different types of lava. Smooth lava that looks like a wet wrinkled towel that's set then there is the honeycomb type that glitters in the sun to show rainbow colours through it. Oh, then there is the chunked up lava that looks like poo! Our last stop was pretty amazing - the lava tube. A long tunnel of lava that we were able to walk through.
On our return we headed straight for the snorkel beach where I got in a good swim while the boys watched the turtles nibbling on the rocks and getting washed up and flipped over constantly as the waves rushed in. What an awesome week! One I'll definitely remember.