Stay Cool and Staying Aero
I have previously talked about “the importance of aero” and the things I try and do to ensure I have the edge over my opponents. As I mentioned, being aerodynamically optimal needs to take into consideration your position and equipment, but also factors like comfort and hydration. Another one of these factors for racing is thermoregulation, something which was vitally important in my recent trip to Ironman Melbourne.
Anyone that was at Ironman Melbourne can attest to the extremes in temperatures seen throughout the day. It was single digits when we started in Frankston, and low 30’s (approx 90f) when I crossed the finish line. It was ridiculously hot at some stages. One of the great things about my Scody Optimise AIR tri suit is that as much as it is aero, it is probably the most cooling suit I have ever worn. The sleeves provide added sun protection, and the fabric retains a very small amount of moisture to help cool me down. With this in mind, I do have some tips for everyone racing in the heat, ensuring you stay cool whilst in no way compromising your speed and performance.
1. Trick your mind. Much of our perception of the heat is a central nervous system response, proactively protecting the body. We can actually deal with a lot more fluctuations in heat than you would realise, we just have to trick the mind. A couple of ways I did this at Ironman Melbourne was wearing my Oakleys to create a sense of shade, and putting ice in sensitive areas such as hands, tops of my head, and well, ahh, the genitals.
2. It’s not about flappy clothes. It’s a little bit of a myth that flappy or baggy clothes are cooler in hot weather. All they will do is slow you down as they are extremely susceptible to drag. What you need is ventilation in key areas that will take on as much wind flow as possible, whilst offering no aerodynamic disadvantage. On my tri suit I have a fabric known as Dynamic Mesh through the side panels, and a front zip that when down give me complete cooling on the run.
3. Thin is good. I have been fortunate to learn quite a lot from the guys from SCODY. One of these is the importance they place on thin fabric. Basically, the thinner the fabric, the less restriction to heat transfer. If you feel clammy and restricted across the chest in your current suit, it probably uses fabrics that are too thick for your needs.
Staying down, all the time
Keeping on the aerodynamics theme, it’s important to touch on the need to be able to prepare the body to get in these contorted positions, and stay there. It’s a huge ask on the body and definitely doesn’t come naturally. There is no point wearing the best tri suit Scody has, and having to come out of my “optimal” position all the time because my back cannot handle it. Apart from practising holding this position in training, during the countless long rides and interval sets Gilsey gets me to do, I also spend a lot of time in the gym strengthening and stabilising. Look, you may already be doing this, and if you do then awesome. If you don’t, have a look at the exercises that I do as they will probably help you stay as aero as possible in your next race.
What it works: Transverse abdominus (TA), Lower Back, Shoulders
Why it works: Helps with maintaining position during long rides and time trials.
How to do it: Come up onto your toes and forearms, keeping back flat.
What it works: Transverse abdominus and obliques
Why it works: Improves pelvic stability, reducing lazy hips when fatigued
How to do it: On your side. Raise your bottom off the floor, keeping your side straight.
What it works: Transverse abdomius, Rectus Abdominus, Hip flexors
Why it works: Improves pedal efficiency with activation of core muscles during hip flexion and extension.
How to do it: On back. Touch elbow to opposite knee, the alternate, fast.
What it works: Transverse abdomnus, rectus abdominus, hip flexors
Why it works: Like the bicycle, only this time more dynamic!
How to do it: On all fours, alternate one leg forward, one leg back. Fast!
What it works: Thoracic spine and erector spinae
Why it works: Prevents stiffness caused by prolonged positioning, reducing reliance on hips
How to do it: On your back with a tightly rolled towel between shoulder blades and waist.
Now that you are ready to be more aero, I have a great offer for you. For a limited time, my great friends at Scody have provided me a discount that I can share with you. All you need to do is use TIM2015 on the checkout for a 10% discount on any made to order kits. Of course you should be buying mine, right? See it here
You could have mistaken this race for something completely different after seeing triathletes entering a F1 circuit. Knowing that this has been a custom built course for super fast cars to go whizzing around on just makes me want to jump into one for a few hot laps. Anyone have Daniel Ricciardo on speed dial? But the fun didn’t stop there.
Ohhh Challenge Bahrain, I can’t convey the overwhelming excitement when you stay in such a beautiful hotel and then to also have your very own driver who will take you anyway at anytime. You may think that all this travelling and racing we get to stay in 5-star hotels. I hate to burst the bubble, but this isn’t the case, usually. The attention to personal service was just breathtaking and something I’ve not experienced anywhere before.
Screen Shot 2014-12-07 at 10.46.20 pmThe whole Challenge Bahrain team have produced a spectacular event, one that has not just impressed the athlete’s but has also gone a long way to supporting the spectators. As you know, online viewing of events seems simple, right? But it seems a lot of people can’t get it right. Challenge has nailed the online broadcasting. They did it without any problems which have hampered many other events in the past. What a way to ensure fans all around the world can watch the best athletes hit it out. Also throw in Jan Frodeno and Macca and you’ve got some really knowledgeable people to talk tactics and give great insight.
Let’s now move away from the all-day buffet and get into my race and how it unfolded.
Don’t be fooled by the calm and warm conditions here in Bahrain. Thankfully I went for a full wetsuit as the water temperature was a little cooler than first expected. The swim took place in the bay with an out and back format. Sometimes I can be lucky and not get involved in any water carnage, but this time I didn’t. Hands, elbows, legs, you name it, hit me during the first few minutes – not intentionally though. Then add in the fact that my goggles were hit hard a few times and even filled up with water twice. Ahhh well, that’s racing for you.
Heading into the turnaround point, we were single file. I’d finally got myself into my race rhythm and slowing getting the arms turning without incident. I was happy to sit by why others made a few changes in the group. Coming out of the water and into T1 I was in the second bunch. I did a quick check as to who was a head of me – I counted about 6 guys, including 3 Aussies, Brad, Luke and Tim. All of these guys are fairly strong swimmers compared to me. Thankfully I wasn’t too far off the pace with a 22:41 either – around 1:30 down.
The bike course was something I was really looking forward to. Super smooth roads and the new 20 meter non-drafting rule. More on the non-drafting rule a little later on. This course was designed for one thing and one thing only, go fast. There certainly wasn’t much in the way of hills either with around 220 meters of elevation over the course.
During the first part of the ride I was getting dropped like a hot potato. No sooner had I got comfortable and I would get passed again. I felt very sluggish.
My tactics to this point as I was starting to mentally checkout were;
- just get through the bike and look forward to the run
- draft zone is harder but works in my favour
- a tailwind
- check the road markings as I don’t want any penalties
Could someone remind me when and where was the tailwind as I must have missed it? The first half of the bike I managed to push out around 273 watts for an average speed of 42km/h.
The back half of the bike I seemed to pull it together a little. My legs and mental attitude were both going in the right direction now and I settled in for a good last half. Coming into T2 I averaged 264 watts with an average speed of just over 42km/h.
Onto the run and where I was hoping to peg a few places back, or so I had pictured doing that. I came out of T2 in 12th position and had a bit of work to do to at least make the top ten. For a course like this, you are going to need to stay very fast and run an average 3:30/km to stay in the hunt for a good result.
Just like the bike leg I’d felt fairly flat and was being past like I was standing still. I just kept telling myself, “run consistently in the back half and you’ll make some ground up.” I kew after the heading out of T2 with a deficit of around 8 minutes I’d need a miracle to get a podium.
Ticking off the first 3.5km mark and I wasn’t showing great signs of speed running an average of 3:43/km. Thankfully the sun hadn’t really reared its head and was a pleasant 21 or I was going to be in for a long day in the sun. Again, getting halfway through the run I felt better and was picking up the pace. I was now ticking of the kilometres in around 3:38/km and had made up some places that I’d lost at the start of the run.
Towards the closing part of the run is where I made up a few places with a few 3:30s/km. Overall, my finishing time was 3:47:01 which put me in 10th position.
Huge congrats to everyone especially my mate Tim Reed who killed it out there to come home in 3rd place. Business class home for you now.
So that closes out my 2014 season and what a joy it has been. I really look forward to coming back here next year for another go.
Aero triathlon sleeved race suits are become more and more popular at every race with athletes trying to gain that extra ‘aero’ advantage. It seems that these sleeved race suits have taken over the long distance triathlon community with more professional athletes choosing to wear these aero suits over the more traditional tri suit/tri top & pants option. After over 12 months of research and development including wind tunnel testing Scody launched the all-new Scody JP AIR Optimise sleeved race suit.
The Optimise A.I.R. Tri Suit has been developed with the aspiration of becoming the world’s fastest non-drafting triathlon suit. Standing for “Aerodynamics through Innovation and Research”, the Optimise A.I.R. Tri Suit will create a significant advantage for triathletes in some of the world’s toughest races, such as Ironman Melbourne, Ironman Port Macquarie and Ironman Cairns.
Developed by the Scody Research and Design Team, the Optimise A.I.R. Tri Suit has a zoned fabric construction to achieve the greatest reduction in drag in specific regions of the body. The dimpled fabric ‘Matrix’ has been used in regions of high wind velocity such as the shoulders and upper arms, whilst ‘X-Opaque’ has been used in those with less wind exposure, such as the torso, to achieve the highest moisture management and breathability. The A.I.R. Tri Suit also features a triathlon specific Italian-made perforated chamois for optimal comfort, Air Flex side panels for even more breathability, and two rear pockets for nutrition storage.
Your Questions Answered:
Many people have asked us questions relating to this relatively new piece of triathlon apparel and so we have tried to answer the most common questions below. If you have any more questions please let us know via facebook or twitter!
How much faster will the Scody JP AIR Optimise Sleeved Tri Suit make me?
Scody has invested significantly into wind tunnel research and analysis. From the data that was collected it was proven that the Scody JP AIR Optimise suit gave athletes a 6 watt saving at 30mph over a traditional 2 piece tri suit.
What this means is that over the course of the 90km cycle leg in a half iron distance triathlon athletes can expect to save around 4 minutes and 30 seconds if they are riding a 2hr30min bike split averaging 230 watts. As you can see from this data this is a massive time saving!
Can you wear a sleeved race suit during the swim leg?
For most races yes, however for many WTC Ironman & Ironman 70.3 races when it is a non-wetsuit swim you are required to have uncovered shoulders. For many athletes this means rolling down the Scody AIR race suit and wearing it under their swim skin. Once exiting the water the Scody AIR suit is then able to be pulled up and worn for the bike and run. If the swim leg is a wetsuit legal swim then most athletes have just worn the Scody AIR suit as per normal and then just removed their wetsuit in T1. The sleeves have a good amount of stretch to them and so any arm movement restriction is not usually an issue when it comes to swimming in a Scody JP AIR Optmisie sleeved tri suit.
Does the extra material covering my back and shoulders make me hotter?
The opposite in fact! Due to the high level of sun protection the suit provides, athletes are essentially more shielded from the suns rays. Many of the athletes who have worn the Scody JP AIR Optimise suit also report feeling cooler due to the evaporative cooling effect with the sleeves. What this means is that because the suit holds a small amount of moisture, during the bike and run if you are sweeting or pouring water onto the suit then the evaporation of this moisture helps to reduce your body temperature. The suit also boasts amazing sun protection which is great news for those racing in hot conditions.
Can I order a custom 1 off Scody AIR trisuit?
YES! At Scody we have no minimum order amount and have had many athletes design their very own, custom 1 of a kind Scody AIR Optimise Sleeved Tri Suit!
I had decided to race Western Sydney 70.3 about 4 weeks ago as I knew my main focus was Ironman Western Australia, which is this coming weekend. There were several reasons why I did.
Firstly it is exciting to be a part of an inaugural event so close to home. It was also so great to share the course and event with the six-time ironman world champ Dave Scott who is one of the most down to earth guys you'll ever meet.
I knew my training was going well, I had no expectations, just wanted to see how fast I could race. Training is great , but there's nothing like practicing a swim/bike/run, especially with pacing and nutrition.
The field was very high quality and for me it was about building confidence against the best. For an Australian based race, the international status was fantastic.
Once again, Ironman Asia Pacific know how to make events runs smoothly, easy and they create such an unreal atmosphere. Congratulations on a job well done!
I travelled to Penrith known as the "Riff" where the world wide known PIS team are based on Friday for the press conference. The day before the race was the standard registration, bike check in and carbo loading.
Race start for us was 6.02am, in nice warm water temperatures of 26 degrees. The swim course was a rectangle shape and so easy to follow. My swim has been a hit or miss in training, which is still quite good overall.
My goal was to stay as close to Gina Crawford as possible as I knew she loved non wetsuit swims. I was successful for about 300m then she took off. I ended up side by side with a few other girls until the first turning bouy. It was about 50m to the next and then a straight line swim again.
I managed to sit on some feet for a while and the paced slowed up. So I went out wide to overtake but no luck. I was side by side again with three or four girls, then turning around the last bouy I was on feet again. A pack of 5 of us exited the water including Melanie McQuaid and Anja Beranek. I knew these girls could ride and I had to stay with them for as long as possible. Gina was out front for us to hunt down.
The bike was course was two flat loops with smooth roads, only 1 short climb which wasn't steep at all. Anja started to slowly put time into Melaniea and I and Gina was within sight. I worked with Melanie and we slowly closed the gap to Gina.
I felt great on the way back into town and took the lead for our 2nd loop. most of my races have been solo riding so it was nice to be able to work with some girls. Coming back into town one of the TO pulled up and had showed me a yellow card. I asked what it was for and she said littering. I disputed the call as I know we are allowed to dispose of our gel wrappers at aid stations and she said she would get back to me.
It played with my head for a bit and I wasn't sure how to respond to the situation. She finally came back to me and said I was in the clear. I got over this quite quickly as, of course, I had a 21km run ahead of me.
I had cramps going on the bike and small ones on the start of the run. I led out of T2 and was in 2nd for about 3km until Gina passed me. I didn't know how far back Melanie was but I knew I had to keep my pace and stay strong until the end in order to hold third.
The run course was 2.5 loops out and back around so you could see who was in front, and who was behind. Andrea Forrest was running fast and in 4th behind me. Gina was out of sight and Anja was so far ahead she could have jogged to the finish.
I really felt the heat during the 2nd half of the marathon and my legs were becoming really stiff. The crowds were awesome as I got so many cheers, the music was pumping so loud that you could hear it on the whole of the run course. I was hurting but safe in 3rd position in a time of 4.25.
Recovery is key this week for me and I'm excited for the last race of my year before a break.
1 - Ease into your triathlon training & racing
This sounds basic however like any other endurance-based sport it is better to start off short and establish a base of training first and foremost. The Ironman is the ultimate distance in the sport of triathlon however it is not the smartest move to pick this for your first race. By starting off slowly you will also limit the risk of injuries.
2 – Keep your triathlon gear basic
People often think that they need to take out a second mortgage to pay for all the fancy gear they see others using. If you are starting out then all you really need are a few basic items such as goggles, swim suit, bike, helmet and run shoes. Once you have done a few races then you can start looking at upgrading to a better bike or invest in that new triathlon race suit.
3 – Join a training group
Training as part of a group is not just great fun but it will also allow you to ask the coach and/or other training members questions that you may have.
4 – Pick a local race
Local events mean less travel and less worry. There are always some great triathlon events in your local area, which are usually less expensive to enter than the large more prominent events. A local sprint triathlon race is a great way to try out triathlon for the first time and also race your friends.
5 – Practice your transition skills before race day
Transition time is counted towards to your overall race time and this is the place where many first timers give away seconds they don’t need to. Practice setting up your bike, helmet and run shoes at home in a ‘mock’ transition zone and go through the process of the swim to bike and bike to run transition. This will give you confidence in your transition process come race day.
6 – Don’t be afraid to ask for advice
The triathlon community is one of the most giving and positive sporting communities there is. Everyone was once a first timer and so don’t be afraid to ask questions about things you aren’t sure about.
7 – Fuel your body with the right energy
Eating right and staying hydrated are two of the biggest influencing factors in performance. When you start training more your energy expenditure will increase and so you need to fuel yourself accordingly. Make sure you keep yourself well fueled with lots of unprocessed foods as well hydrated with lots of water.
8 – Take the rest when you need it
A smart athlete is a successful athlete so if you start to feel overly fatigued then it might be time to take a few days off training. It is very normal to feel tired from your training however if you find that you are loosing your appetite and feeling fatigued and tired several days in a row then your body might be telling you that it needs a break.
9 - Work on your weakness
The great thing about triathlon is that is it is essentially 3 sports in one. For most people they always have 1 or 2 disciplines that they are weaker in. This means that your weaker discipline can give you your biggest margin of improvement.
10 – Have fun
Triathlon is a very positive sport perfect for the whole family. Enjoy the road of improvement and try to involve your family in your training and racing to share your experiences.
It’s official – my ‘off season’ is over!
I had a crazy busy but very enjoyable couple of months. I spent the majority of time back home in East Gippsland at my parent’s house. Since I left in 2009, I haven’t spent more than 2 weeks there at a time so it was nice to get settled back in to my old room!
After the Edmonton Grand Final, I entered Xterra World Championships in Hawaii which was in late October.
My Dad, Sister and partner Brendan had decided earlier in the year they were going to race so I signed up to join them. I had around 5 weeks to prepare on my mountain bike and considering I hadn’t been on one since I left home, there was a lot of work to be done! It was so much fun training for it though. I entered some local mountain bike races in the lead up, and it was great to do something so different. 5 weeks wasn’t quite enough for me to keep up with the top girls but I did improve my skills a fair bit.
The race itself was awesome. The Xterra atmosphere is very different to ITU and it was honestly so nice to go in to a race with absolutely no pressure or expectations on myself. It was incredibly tough and I made quite a few mistakes (including a dramatic crash!) but I crossed the line in 7th elite female, which all things considered I’m happy enough with. More importantly though, I got to watch my Dad and sister Colette cross the finish line ! It was a super painful 3 hours, but I’m fortunate for the opportunity.
I spent another week in Hawaii with Brendan and my family in both Maui and Honolulu relaxing and exploring post race. I’ve been to Hawaii twice before and it is definitely my favorite holiday destination, its beautiful. I loved our time there – we had so much fun and I’ll never forget it.
Not long after arriving back in Australia I had my wisdom teeth taken out which was quite an experience itself. It wasn’t super painful but I didn’t handle not being able to eat what I want very well …. Especially during the off season. I enjoy food too much! Thankfully I recovered quickly.
I also had the opportunity to catch up with friends, spend time with my nieces and nephew, visit some of my wonderful sponsors, take up Pilates & yoga and attempt stand up paddle boarding, which made for an eventful couple of months!
This week I’m back to normality as I officially started back training for 2015 in the usual pre season spot of Falls Creek. I’m excited, happy and in a very good place. I can’t wait for next year!
Thanks for all the support,
Hamilton Island is a race that I have been meaning to do for a number of years now. The amazing location was something that really drew me to this event and this year I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to end my 2014 race season with this stunning race destination. Hamilton Island is a short flight from where I live in Brisbane and so I choose to fly in on Friday, the day before race day. First and foremost I must give a big thank you to Stephen Jackson and the entire race organisation as well as my amazing home stay family for hosting me over the race weekend.
Race Day: After a good nights sleep I woke up on race morning to an amazing view from my bedroom over the water where I would be swimming in a few hours time. Being that this would be my 3rd race in 3 weeks I was unsure on how my body would respond to the intensity of a hilly and hot sprint triathlon. I started towards the right side of the beach at the swim start and had a great run into the water. I even had the chance to spot a nice big stingray on the ocean floor less than a meter below me within the first 50 meters of the swim.
The first few hundred meters of the swim usually gives me a good indication of how I am feeling and I was somewhat surprised to be feeling as good as I did and leading 2 time Australian Olympic triathlete Courtney Atkinson. I continued to push the pace in the swim, feeling good and keen to capitalize on this. I emerged from the water with Courtney right on my heals and made a quick dash up the beach and into transition where I swapped goggles and my HUUB swim skin for my Specialized S-Works Shiv and Evade helmet. I hit the bike leg with Courtney and over the next 20kms we extended our leg over the rest of the field. The Hamilton Island Triathlon is quite unique in the fact that the bike course in held over 3 laps along the airport runway. I must say that I did enjoy pushing the pace along this section of the course and rode extra hard to keep the speed high. The rest of the ride course is very hilly and technical which makes for a very interesting bike course. Coming into transition for the second time I made sure to push the pace and emerge onto the run course in first making Courtney chase. This was short lived and Courtney pushed the pace in the first kilometer over the hills out towards the flatter middle section of the course.
I pushed myself to keep up with his pace however just couldn’t keep up and dropped off after the first kilometer and a half. I continued to push to limit the gap however hit the wall on the final uphill section of the run course and lost some decent time. The final beach run to the finish was pretty special, as I don’t know many races which finish on the beach. I was pretty happy to finish second to Courtney as he really is a world class athlete and I was proud of myself of pushing hard and giving the race a real crack. Another bonus for my riding efforts was that I also picked up the prize for the fastest ride time for the airport runway section of the course.
After finishing 7th at Noosa Tri over the very fast Olympic distance course just one week earlier I was feeling very good about my chances of a podium performance at Challenge Forster. I had raced hard at Noosa and I had the feeling in the week of the race that I had a good shot at the win but unfortunately this ‘feeling’ didn’t end up translating over to my race day performance. Ultimately I did what I could on race day and 6th was all that I had. No excuses needed.
Race Day: I was very relaxed for what was my last half iron distance race of the year. I know that when I am relaxed it usually means that I am ready to race hard and am confident in my ability to perform well.
The swim was two laps over a rectangular course and I had a great start and clear water. Not surprisingly super fish Clayton Fettell hit the lead early leaving myself and Sam Appelton to lead the front pack. Going onto the second lap of the swim I kept the pace up and moved in front of Sam keen not to let Clayton put too much time into me. I hit dry land in second place not too far off Clayton and with a small group in tow behind me. Running into T1 I unfortunately struggled to get my wetsuit off and this extra time moved me from the front of the lead group out of the water to being the last of this group out of transition.
I chased hard early on during the ride however just couldn’t catch the trio of Clayton Fettell, Sam Appelton and Casey Munro up front. This was a pretty decisive move and I was angry with myself for not being in this group. I am in the front group 99% of the time on the bike so this was unknown ground. I kept trying to reel in the group up front with next to no luck. I had one athlete with me during the next 50km’s and we exchanged a few turns trying to limit the time lost. After the first 50km lap we were joined by a few other athletes which meant that heading into T2 I was in the second group of 3 athletes.
I hit the run and pretty early on felt terrible and unable to find any kind of running speed. Over the first 7km’s I tried hard to keep focused and by lap two of the run started to come good again. I found myself catching athletes who had passed me during my bad patch at the start of the run which keep me motivated to run hard. In the last kilometer I ran past Sam Appelton to run into 6th place.
In a nut shell I swam great, had a shocker T1, rode very average and had a very up and down run. It’s races like these where you really find out what long distance racing is all about… just sticking at it and giving what you’ve got. I had a shocker of a day but still managed to hang tough and find something in me to give what I had and finish in a respectable 6th. At the start of the run I thought that I would be lucky to finish let alone finish in the top 10.
It’s been a long season and I am looking forward to heading up to Hamilton Island this weekend for one final sprint distance race before having a few weeks break from training and racing.
Thanks to Elite Energy/Challenge for a great event in Forster and as always to all of my amazing sponsors and supporters.
Time is nearing to my final race of the season, still 2 to go, but the biggest of them all is in 4 weeks time in Western Australia.
We are pretty lucky these days as triathletes living in Australia as there are so many races to go to 11months of the year, thanks to Challenge Family for offering more races in Australia.
Raising a child on my own is pretty hard as it is, and if I didn't get these opportunities to do what I love in the sport of triathlon without having to travel very far, I'd be looking at something else to do.
Forster is a 4 hour road trip for me, I enjoy road trips as it's time to myself. I enjoy the scenery and listen to the music I want to hear. In addition, Forster is pretty special to me. It's where I began my journey in this sport, thanks to my friends from the Concord tri club back in 2002. I had a pretty hard week of training ahead of this race so it was really an unknown as to how I would be feeling come race morning. I was nervous, which is a good sign that I'm ready to race, and I was excited.
We were lucky enough to have clear skies. It was a bit windy, but it was warm and sun rise came at 5.30am. Our wave start was 2 mins after the men, which looked like a visible and pretty straight forward swim, 2 loops around a square shape with big red Challenge buoys for guidance. I knew I had to try and stay with Liz Blatchford in the swim as I felt she was my main rival for this race. She was coming of a 10th place in Hawaii only a month ago and 4th place in Noosa a week ago, so she was in excellent form. I trusted and felt confident as to where I was at, having some solid good races leading into this one.
Photo: Korupt Vision
Once we were off, Liz disappeared. I don't think I even got any of her draft - unfortunately. Still, I felt great and had my normal feel for the water. We did have a current going with us to the first turn, then it was against us with some choppy water on the way back.
Photo: Korupt Vision
I felt great in 2nd place, not knowing who was behind me, and trying to keep Liz in my sight. It was a quick swim; I exited in 21 min down 1min 20sec to Liz. My legs have finally come good on the Specialized Shiv bike I now am using and with the relatively smooth Forster roads, I was into a good rhythm straight away. We had a nice tail wind behind us going out and a tough headwind back. The course was 2 loops with some flat fast sections, and some rolling hills. I really enjoyed the bike and rode solo the whole way.
Liz was riding really well and I couldn't catch her. Jess Fleming was also flying riding solo behind me I think 2 min down.
Photo: Korupt Vision
I was focused on the task ahead and felt strong the whole bike ride, maintaining 2nd to Liz. I was told she had a couple of mins on me, so I got straight into a comfortable rhythm on the run. It also was a 2 loop course, running across the famous Tuncurry bridge out to a break wall, then returning past the finish shoot with another out and back on some off road with some beautiful ocean views. It was starting to get hot as the morning progressed, and a little breezy but I was feeling great.
Jess was closing the gap on me during the first loop and Liz was putting more time into me. I had flashbacks of Port Macquarie 70.3 again where Jess caught me, then I dropped her, then I caught Anna Russell and had a sprint finish with her. I wasn't too sure if I was up for another sprint but if I had to, I was preparing for a fight for 2nd. By the 2nd loop I was running so consistently, feeling like I could run like this all day. Jess lost time on me, and Liz was too far down the road. So for the last 1/2 loop I stayed strong and enjoyed the rest of the run. It was a nice feeling to be stepping up on the podium again, getting closer to that number 1 postion.
I have Western Sydney 70.3 in 3 weeks time as a real good test before the big race.
Well, that’s it for the year for me. The last few footsteps of racing at the Noosa Triathlon, were the last racing steps I’ll take until next year. Fittingly, they were bloody painful footsteps as well, an apposite way to takes one’s last strides in anger for the year.
But lets get to those strides with some meandering narrative first. Since my last post, it’s been 6 weeks of prodigious amounts of work, with the aim of getting myself as fit as a butcher’s pup for my last two races of the year, Nepean and Noosa. All had been going quite swimmingly until the Wednesday before Nepean, when on an innocent enough 30 minute jog I strained my calf. This put me out of Nepean, much to my chagrin, and had me somewhat perturbed about getting to the start line at Noosa as well. Fortunately, I gave it a bit of rest, and resisted from putting it through it’s paces until the day before the race at the Celebrity Noosa Tri, where it felt ok at race pace in what, I must add, was a fruitless effort, as my team got totally pumped. I’d like to say this didn’t bother me, as it’s mainly just a fun, entertaining race. I’d like to say that...
Image: Lucas Wroe
Anyway, harboring minor melancholy post-defeat, I was able to move onto the also fun and entertaining, but somewhat more serious, and most pertinently well-paid race of the weekend. The swim was relatively uneventful, my arms were kind enough to propel me out pretty comfortably in 4th, and the brutal pace set by Shane Barrie had been unrelenting enough to see a few of the main contenders off the back early. Out on to the bike, and things started to get interesting for me at this point - and not the good sort of interesting either. Pretty much with the first few pedals strokes, I could tell I was in a bit of trouble, with my legs feeling heavier than Kim Kardashian’s make-up bag.
Image: Korupt Vision
For the rest of the ride it was a game of survival, my tactic of trying to spark myself up a bit by surging up the main hill almost saw me get dropped from the bunch, and I was in difficulties and dangling off the back for most of the ride. At this stage, my increasingly desperate inner monologue was telling me to hang in at the front of the race, and fervently praying that I’d come good at some stage. Out on to the run, and there was a bunch of 5 of us, featuring the usual suspects of Good, Kerr, Bailie and Royle. My legs were yet to ‘come good’, but I was moving ok, so once again my plan was to hang around, keep myself in the race, generally be a nuisance, and see what happened. Pete threw down some big surges from around 4km in, and was joined by Bailie and Royle in changing up the pace, which saw Good drop off at about 6km, and then Pete at 8km. At this stage, my legs were still hurting, but at the 8km mark, with a chance of a Noosa crown up for grabs, I felt that at least a bit of pain was to be expected, and somewhat warranted. Nevertheless, I decided to veto any further suggestions of pain from my legs, and decided that I was going to win the race in a sprint finish. Lamentably, Royle and Bailie were obviously also thinking the same thing, and I finished in a Wollongong Wizard sandwich to grab 2nd, in a race I was pretty happy to hang tough and graft out a good result.
Image: Lucas Wroe
Image: Lucas Wroe
Following the race, I had my last uni exam for the year yesterday, and can now officially switch off both the body and mind for a while, and as such, today’s plan involves drinking coffee, eating peanut butter out of the jar with a spoon, and watching Man vs Food all day in my pajamas. Let the good times roll.
Take care friends,
I have raced at Noosa since I was 15 years old and since then (I am 26 now) I have experienced some massive highs and huge lows. This year I am happy to say was a positive experience with a 7th place finish. Because I am now targeting long course racing I knew that Noosa would be a tough ask. Competing over the shorter Olympic distance against Commonwealth Games and Olympic Games, short course specialists was sure test my leg speed.
Admittedly I put no major pressure on myself for the race and just wanted to race smart and have fun. My plan was to use this as a solid ‘speed’ hit out before the following weekend where I will be racing Challenge Forster (half iron distance) which is one of my major goals for this season.
I started next to the 2013 champion Aaron Royal in the swim and planned to use his swimming speed to carry me to the front of the swim pack, which worked perfectly. The start was very fast and I was happy just to stay up in the front swim pack and conserve some energy. On swim out to the turnaround the pace was on and I had to push hard to hold my position in the front swim pack. During the last 600 meters or so the pace seemed to slow up quite a lot and then quicken again during the final turn before the swim exit.
Image: Lucas Wroe
Image: Lucas Wroe
I emerged right up with the front pack and quickly went about pulling down my HUUB swim skin and then pulling up my Scody A.I.R Tri suit on the long run to transition. I knew from previous years that the pace would be on right from the start of the bike leg and so I made the decision to leave my HUUB swim skin pulled down to my waist and save some precious seconds in transition in order to ensure I made the front ride pack. This proved to be a smart decision as I was the last athlete in the group of 8 to establish myself in the lead group. I sat tucked away in the front pack for the majority of the cycle leg, noticing that a few athletes dropped off the pack unable to keep pace. Just before the turn around Casey Munro managed to attack the group and put some time into the pack, which was no surprise as he is a very strong cyclist. However I was pretty content to just sit back and save my energy for the run leg.
Image: Lucas Wroe
Heading into transition after the bike leg I quickly took off my HUUB swim skin and slipped into my Saucony race flats. I was positioned just off the back of the rest of the athletes who I had come in with due to having to spend some extra time taking off my swim skin. I knew that I wouldn’t have the run speed of the short course specialists and so I settled into my own rhythm trying to maintain my position in 9th. On the way out to the turnaround I was passed by a few other athletes and rounded the 5km turn around point in 12th position. On the final run home I battled with myself to keep pushing as hard as I could and with just 1km left to run surged with everything I had left, passing some of the athletes who had passed me minutes earlier. I moved from 12th to 8th with less than 500 meters left to run and then surged again just 100meters from the line to catch another athlete and crossed the line in 7th.
Image: Lucas Wroe
To run from 12th to 7th in the last kilometer of the race was brutally tough and I crossed the line totally spent. Being totally honest I get a lot of satisfaction with races like these where I can find that extra something to push myself beyond what I think I am capable of and finish strong. This result gives me a lot of confidence going into Challenge Forster this weekend and I know that I am ready to race hard and fast.
Image: Lucas Wroe
Race day, even for a seasoned triathlete can be a very daunting affair. I have even seen an athlete pull out of a race minutes before their wave start because of their pre-race anxiety.
However, all of this anxiety can be managed to ensure that your race day experience is a positive one. It is very natural to be a little nervous before racing however the key is to ensure that these nerves don’t affect your ability to perform. I believe that it is important to acknowledge your race day anxiety weeks or even months before race day if possible. For most people it is simply a matter of getting your triathlon race day ‘fears’ written down on paper and then working out a strategy to combat these.
Common fears that lead to anxiety are as follows:
- Swallowing water during the swim leg
- Being pulled underwater during the race
- Rough ocean waves
- You will not be able to make the full race distance
- I don’t want to disappoint my partner/coach/training partners
- I have never done this race/distance etc
- A preconceived notion of your performance expectation
By writing down all of your ‘fears’ you will be able to make a plan to give you more confidence and lessen any race day anxiety. Once you have identified these fears of yours you can then practice strategies to overcome them. Things such as a race simulation swim session where you and your training group do a 50-meter ‘race start’ all together can really help to make you more confident about triathlon race starts. Training in the ocean can also reduce any surf swimming fears you might have.
As aforementioned come race day it is very natural to be nervous. A few ‘Pro’ tips of the trade that can help you to stay calm and lessen anxiety are listed below.
1- Keep Busy
By keeping busy on race morning you will reduce the chance of your mind having the time to worry and stress. Arriving at your race around 1 hour before means that you will have just enough time to register, rack your bike and set up transition, go to the bathroom, do a short warm up and then head to your race start. If you get to a race too early then you will find that you will be waiting around for a long time doing nothing, which is the time when you start to think about what is coming up. THIS is when most people unknowingly start to let anxiety build up.
2- Be prepared
By preparing your race gear the day before your event you will be less nervous about potentially forgetting any piece of race equipment. They say failure to prepare is preparing to fail so make sure that you are all set with everything you need for race day.
3- Everyone else is just as nervous
Remember, it is not just you who is nervous out there! Pretty much every other athlete racing is just as nervous as you are so keep this in mind when you are toeing that starting line.
4- Have a plan
Having a pre set race plan is a great idea if you suffer from triathlon race anxiety. List your goals for the event as well as a step-by-step plan of how you want to attack each section of the race. i.e Start the swim strong and settle into my rhythm. Breath every second stoke and look up every 8th stroke to make sure that I am still on course.
Everyone get nervous before racing however being able to manage these fears/nerves is the key to reducing pre race anxiety.
Good luck at your next race from all the team at Scody
12 months ago I said that I'll never do another Port Mac half. Windy, rough country roads and punchy hills that will leave you thinking your running on stumps. But fast forward a year and I was able to place on the podium so I was definitely happy with the result.
Coming back was more of a test for me, if I can get this right, a race which really doesn't suit my strengths I know I'd be on the right track.
A pretty uneventful swim saw our main group exit the water down around 40 seconds to the lone leader.
The ride in the chase group was very up and down with the power as we tried to limit our losses to Amberger, the concertina effect on the hilly course was in full effect so I made my way to the front by about halfway. Being able to control my power I found a good pace in the last 30k and with 10k left put a good effort in coming over the final headland hills to try reduce any further loses to Amberger and was able to give myself a buffer over the chase group of 6 but more importantly to Kahlefeldt the fastest runner in the race. I came into T2 in 2nd around 6:30 down on the leader and a minute a head of the main pack.
It was a good strategy but the run legs were hurting and only came good midway through the half marathon after having been passed earlier for 2nd by Kahlefeldt. It was fairly warm on the run so I was glad that throwing some water over my Scody Optimise suit instantly cooled me down and I was able to run fairly smoothly in 3rd for the majority of the run and extend my gap on Appleton in 4th. Once I knew I had 3rd in the bag I was able to cruise home and be mindful to limit the damage as I'm in the final race block of my season with another 3 halfs in the next 6 weeks at Mandurah 70.3, Challenge Shepparton and Western Sydney 70.3.
Thanks to my sponsors: Scody, Xterra Wetsuits, HED, Rudy Project, Pearl Izumi, HPT and Endeavour Cycles.
This race was a late addition to my 2014 race plans however the opportunity to race a fast Olympic distance triathlon which is just a 30min drive away from where I live was just too good of an opportunity to pass up.
The 6:30am start meant a very early morning and after a quick double Bare Coffee espresso and my banana and toast pre race meal I felt like I was in decent enough shape to have a real crack at this race. The goal was to get the win and use this race as my final hit out before Noosa 5150 Triathlon in a few weeks time.
I started the swim quite fast and soon established a good gap over the rest of the field. My HUUB wetsuit was great at doing what it does best…. swimming fast! Towards the end of the swim I felt a touch to my right hand, which of course was from a jellyfish (a common occurrence at this event). A few minutes later it was my left hand and then just a few strokes later I copped one to the face. If you have even been stung by one of these creatures before, you know the pain that these sea devils can inflict. I spent the rest of the swim trying to keep my head above the water to reduce the odds of another jellyfish to the face. I was very pleased to hit dry land even with a painfully red face from the sting.
I tried to forget about the terror of the swim and hit the bike with a small lead on the chase pack. The ride was 4 by 10km loops, which meant I could get a time check on my lead after each 5kms.
Despite riding quite hard, young gun cyclist Ben Cook caught me with just 5km’s left to ride and I let him hit the lead and tried to get my legs as ready as I could for the final 10km run. Kye Wylde who had been sitting off Ben during his chasing efforts put in a late surge and hit transition in first with Ben and myself right on his heels.
Going onto the run Ben put a small gap into me that I tried desperately to shut down. Unfortunately for me my run legs weren’t up to the task and I found myself loosing a few seconds to Ben over each of the 2 by 5km run loops. I crossed the line in a comfortable second overall happy enough with my race effort.
This race was (hopefully) the perfect hit out before Noosa Triathlon in a few weeks time. After looking at my ride power numbers I know that I am pretty much right on the money at this stage of the season.
I can’t finish this race recap without saying a special thanks to everyone who cheered me on while I was racing. It was a very humbling experience and it really does make a huge difference to me when I am racing.
The Wilson of 3 months ago was undoubtably an optimist. He never doubted the logic of racing a World Series race in Stockholm, jumping on the plane with scarcely enough time to wash the remnants of powerade off his chin, and traveling to Canada to race in the World Championships Grand Final. Additionally, the Wilson of 3 months ago thought nothing of then traveling another 30 hrs back to Brisbane, and try to a) get over jet lag, b) learn to ride a time trial bike, c) find a time trial bike with which to learn how to ride, and, d) figure out how to race his first 70.3 race as a professional.
The current-day Wilson is slightly more pessimistic, and is now somewhat wishing he could go back in time and have some stern words with the Wilson of 3 months ago, who decided to enter the Sunshine Coast 70.3, and explain to him the detrimental effects of traveling, racing, and jet lag. Never-the-less, I’m committed now, and with 3 days to go, actually quite excited about the prospect of trying something a little different after a long season of ITU racing.
My day starts with an easy jog before breakfast, trying with increasing desperation to loosen up my muscles a little, which have been an absolute abomination from the traveling and racing of the last 3 weeks. After that, I have my customary breakfast of fruit and yogurt while staring at my bag, convinced that I’ve neglected to pack something of vital importance. Preparations for ITU races are relatively autonomous these days, but this 70.3 business is a different kettle of fish. I’ve got a boatload of extra nutrition, an aerodynamic helmet I’ve never worn before, and I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that wearing socks is the go among the 70.3 cognoscenti, although I’m not entirely sure. I make a mental note of trying to surreptitiously ask someone before the race, without appearing stupid. Above all, I don’t want to look stupid this weekend...
I pack up the car, pick up Tash from uni, and we drive up to Mooloolaba just in time for the press conference, where I see some old sparring partners in Brad Kahlefeldt and Clayton Fettell. I haven’t seen the fellas in quite a while, but within 5 mins Fettell has brutally appraised my wardrobe and superficially judged the rest of the pro field, so it’s just like old times, and we sit on the couch and continue the banter until it’s time to answer some questions from the media. Taking advantage of the situation, I cunningly pretend to tell a joke, asking if it’s a good idea to wear socks for the event and everyone laughs, whilst I desperately hope that someone takes pity on me. Radka eventually comes to my rescue, and informs me that it’s a good idea, but with the jovial nature of the room, I’m still not quite sure. Looks like I’ll have to do some more undercover research...
I enjoy a bit of a sleep in on Saturday morning, but still employ the services of a single origin espresso to expedite my awakening process, as I wonder down to lend a hand at the Ironkids event at the river. The kids are absolutely tiny, and are cuter than a puppy holding a ballon, so I have a whale of time handing out medals to the finishers. I cast a shrewd eye on the ratio of socks to no-socks being worn, although when one young lad crosses the line wearing sailboarding shoes, I decide that perhaps emulating the equipment choices of 8 year old first-timers might not be the most salubrious of decisions for my race. Never-the-less, I ask my sailboarding friend how his feet feel, and he tells me he is in a lot of pain, which surprises me, more so because of the broad grin on his face rather than my faith in the cushioning properties of his footwear.
Inspired by the youngsters enthusiasm, I head out for a ride myself, and spend half the time tinkering with my still-not-quite-comfortable-position, and the other half practicing taking waterbottles in and out of the waterbottle mounts on the aerobars and behind the seat, which is all new to me. By the end of the ride, I’m super-hydrated and have the bike-position in the right ball park, so I have a idiosyncratic pre-race lunch of an amalgamation of simple carbs, largely involving banana’s, white bread and honey. It’s a meal choice bereft of nutrients, but a good choice for pre-race as a precaution against unwanted gastrointestinal ailments for tomorrow, and strategy I use for my ITU racing as well. After lunch, I stroll down to the beach for a swim, and am pleasantly surprised by my arms, which feel vaguely fresh after spending the last 2 weeks feeling heavier than a Metallica riff. Feeling optimistic, I spend the rest of the afternoon prepping my race gear, and googling ‘70.3’ and ‘socks’, with ambiguous results. I start to ruminate about how sore I could be at this time of the day tomorrow, and raise the possibility with Tash of getting a small bell I can ring to alert her when she can bring morsels of food and drink to my position on the couch. Her reply is surprisingly polite, but get the impression that it is an unlikely eventuality...
When the alarm goes off at 4:15 am, I seriously consider DNS-ing in favour of staying in bed. This is really early! I give myself a stern talking to, and partly because I envisage the future humiliation I would endure when explaining why I didn’t start, I extricate myself from the blankets and nibble on a few energy bars whilst thoughtfully eyeing off the socks sitting on top of my race bag. Still undecided, I saunter down to transition area, banter with Fettell for a while and note that everyone else has laid out socks in their transition area. Deciding that it would be overly paranoid to suggest the entire field was laying out fake socks to send me down the wrong path, I too put out my socks, then complete my warm up.
The start line is definitely a bit less intense than an ITU pontoon, with no helicopters or heart beat music to contend with, yet there’s clearly an abundance of nerves around, and I’m as edgy as a dodecahedron. The gun goes off, and we’re off and swimming. I’m sitting comfortably in third, and not interested in pushing the pace early. It’s a 4 hour race, and unchartered territory for me, and am trying my best to ignore Fettell’s ‘advice’ to race it like an ITU race. As I run up the beach, I come to the startling realisation that in all this constant rumination about whether or not to wear socks, I’ve neglected to consider which transition I’m supposed to put them on! Trying to see what everyone else does leads to me absolutely butchering my transition, first losing a water bottle and then realising I’m not sure if I can clear my rear water bottle when I leap on to my bike. Once I’ve mounted, the rest of the bike goes relatively without incident, the pace is pretty strong, with Fettell, Munro, and Bell putting out enough Watts to power a medium sized village. I come to the realisation that my seat height is a bit higher than ideal, and spend the 90 kms on the front 2cms of my saddle to try to reduce the effective seat height. Finished with 2 wheels for the day, we’re a group of 7 as we hit T2 and rip through transition, Atkinson, I note with interest, doesn’t put on socks...
The pace on the first lap is pretty strong, and it quickly becomes myself, Sticksy and Atkinson at the front of the race. I’m content to bide my time a little longer, still a fraction fearful of a Wilson-shaped explosion littering the course if I go on the charge too soon. Courtney surges up the hills at the end of the first lap, and Sticksy drops off the pace, leaving just the two of us at the front of the race. I decide the time is nigh to see what my legs are made of, and try to inject some pace over the next few kilometres. I’m feeling pretty strong, but Courtney is all over me like a rash, so I slow a little and hand over the pacemaking to him for a while. Or not. He’s not too keen to lead either, and, and doesn’t come round me. After the pace has slowed quite significantly, I’ve had enough of dawdling along, and start to push the pace again until the last turnaround. I’m aware that there’s a bit of a headwind on the way home, which I’m not particularly keen to lead into, and so I slow the pace again, trying to lure Courtney into taking up the pace. Once again he declines, and the pace slows and slows, and we jog along at little over 5 minute pace for quite a while. At this point, we’re both probably stifling a giggle at the ridiculousness of the situation, and even engage in some dialogue articulating this point. It fails to resolve the issue of who’s responsible for setting the pace, and I eventually blink first, reasoning that I don’t flog myself in training everyday to jog come race day. I vary the pace the whole way back, trying to drop a bomb big enough to rid myself of Atkinson, but we’re evenly matched, so with 1km to go, we’re still on top of each other. I keep throwing attacks in, before pulling the trigger with everything I have with around 100m to go, and lead right the way up until the last 30m, where Courtney gets a shoulder in front, winning by a purported 0.1 of a second.
It was an absolute cracker of a race, and although I would have liked to be 2 steps quicker, I had a ball out there, although much to my chagrin, it now means I’ve lost a 70.3 title, as well as two Australian titles to Courtney by a combined total of about a second! Dude’s got a sprint on top of an all-round package, and rightfully claimed a well-deserved win. It was a great weekend out, thanks to the guys for having me up at Mooloolaba for a fantastic event, I’m looking forward to having another go at another 70.3 soon! In the meantime, with all the experience of a single 70.3 under my belt, I’ll be happy to answer any sock-related queries anyone has for their next race...
Exactly 12 months after London ITU U23 World Championships I thought now would be a good time to reflect on the last year.
If you’ve been following my updates I think you’ll know that I’m not too happy with how the year turned out. I struggled to get going in the beginning and just when things started to go right in the middle of the season I started to go backwards again. It was a tough year for me.
The season didn’t end well at all and I was disappointed with my performance in the Grand Final in Edmonton, Canada. I have no excuses. I have had consistent injury free training over the whole season and no real reason not to perform. 2 weeks post Edmonton I am able to reflect on my year with a little less emotion and a bit more positivity!
If 2013 was about learning from others, then 2014 was most definitely about learning about myself.
I started the year with huge expectation – from myself. I didn’t feel pressure from outside and for that I feel very fortunate. I was given time and space to develop and if I’m honest I probably didn’t make full use of that. I wanted to build on what I’d done last year & I wanted to win races. People were looking at me now and I wanted to show that I could perform consistently every race.
In the past, I’ve never thought about those things before and clearly it doesn’t work for me… It only took my whole season to work it out :)
I finished each race with disappointment. I struggled to take positives. Even after a top 10 in Chicago after swimming front group (something that a couple of years ago I would never have believed possible!) I still left with dissatisfaction. I was too caught up with the outcome rather than the process and appreciating what I’d done.
It’s taken me a year to realize that the reason winning in London meant so much to me last year was not because I won, but because I’d challenged myself and made the race mine through my own actions and I’d done something that not every athlete can do (and I’d never done before!) and performed under pressure when it really mattered.
I’ll never forget how I felt as I was about to grab the tape. My first ever ITU race win. Throughout the whole race, every decision was process driven. A metre from the finish when I knew I was going to win, I felt this rush of emotion. I wish I had a bit longer to savor it! Every session I’d done in the last 4 years, every mistake, every disappointment, every 4th place finish (!!) had been worth it. I thought of my family, sponsors, coach, TA , friends who had backed me from day one. I am so grateful to have such a huge support group, and this felt like the biggest way to say thank you.
I have no doubt that had it been easy, had I won every race then I would not have experienced that feeling before I grabbed the tape.
And that’s what motivates me.
I might not win every time and it could even be another year before I win my next race… and I’m Ok with that. As long as it’s a big one :)
Thanks to everyone for the support this year – Particularly my amazing sponsors, my coach Jamie Turner, Triathlon Australia and all the support staff, the Wollongong Wizards and my friends & family.
50 of the best guys in the world took on a new Northern American venue for the 2014 70.3 world championships at Mont Tremblant, Canada. Featuring a typical tri swim with a hilly ride which included 900m of climbing over the 90k.
The run was again undulating and thrown into the mix twice running up the village hill which reached a gradient of over 15% was sure to spread the field out and produce a worthy world champion.
Something different for a starting gun was a jet fly over and fire works. A pretty cool way to start a race!
I got a good start and was in the first 10 or so after a few hundred before getting shuffled back in a tight pack by about half way. The last half was basically single file due to the calibre of swimmers up front stretching everyone out. I exited in 23:09 which is the quickest over the 1.9k I've done coming out 1 minute down on the first group while other contenders would come out 2- 4 minutes down.
At the start of the ride I found myself in a group of Scody athletes (Polson and Appleton) working hard to set a good pace early on but the front ten were slowly pulling away. A train of about a dozen athletes swept us up at the 30k mark which I was surprised to see Kienle was at the back of.
The up and down course made it hard to ride consistently with a group of over 15 guys continually accelerating and sitting up due to the concertina effect but Jesse Thomas and Aermouts were driving a solid pace. The last 20k had some serious quad sapping pinchers which turned into a down hill roller coaster ride the last 10k. The closest thing to fun you'll get at the end of a 90k tt.
The damage to our group was already done though as we reached t2 6min down and with my legs feeling cooked I wasn't expecting anyone to run super quick either.
My first lap of run was messy as my legs readjusted from the pounding they just received but after a quick toilet stop I got my mojo back. I was able to pass about 5 athletes the last 5k and come home a solid 19th. Not the position I was looking for but splits wise it was better than I expected and importantly was able to get the most out of myself on the day.
I ended up 13 minutes behind arguably the best triathlete in the world. For an interesting stat of the unbelievable speed up front Frodeno did a 22:10, sub 2:06 to break away from Gomez and a 1:10 on that hilly course and it still wasn't enough to win really says it all.
Well done to Gomez, Frodeno and Don for the podium!
There was a lot to take away from the race. Mainly the bike strength needed to be a major factor. I've improved leaps and bounds from 2 years ago but there's probably 10% missing. You might see me this summer at Kurnell or the Royal national park doing a few more tt efforts.
This race had been on my mind since late last year. I always knew that for 2014 this would be my major race focus and understandably I wanted a good result. I have always performed well in China and actually won my first ever ITU Olympic Distance here many years ago.
Leading into the event I had finished 2nd at Ironman 70.3 Philippines, 1st at another half iron distance triathlon in Samoa (setting a new course record) as well as another win over the sprint distance in Airlie Beach. The form showed it was there and I felt confident going into the race. I knew that the only thing working against me would be the longer distance. Racing for close to five and a half hours especially over a brutally hilly ride course and with a world class field of athletes was always going to be a good challenge however I felt confidant that my training had me well prepared to go the distance.
Race morning came soon enough and I felt ready to go into battle. The race started from the beach and was held over two by two kilometer loops making up the 4,000 meter swim course. I started well and tried to stay comfortable swimming in around 7th spot. Going onto the second lap a small gap opened up in front of me and I lost touch with the front group. I didn’t panic and stayed comfortable swimming at my own pace just off the back of the group.
I put in some effort on the run from the swim to the bike transition and reduced the gap before eventually catching the lead group at around 10minutes into the bike leg. Soon after a big surge came from two of the French athletes which I was tempted to go with however I choose to hold back with the group and settled into my own tempo. After this another few athletes tried there luck in breaking up the group and also disappeared up the road. Just before the end of lap two of three of the bike leg I made the call to put a small surge in and distance myself from the group. I jumped away with a Russian athlete who stayed with me until about 20 kilometers to go. The bike course was hilly, hot and windy and I honestly just didn’t get comfortable at any point. In hindsight I probably should have made a move earlier on to stay in the hunt for a medal.
I came into transition off the bike in 6th place and hit the run feeling every minute of the race which had so far gone past. The run leg was four by five kilometer loops over some decent hills. On the first lap I struggled to find any kind of speed and honestly felt shocking. During each lap I started to feel better and better and slowly found my running legs. I had Craig Alexander pass me at the half way point of the run who was tearing up the field with a blisteringly fast run leg. I tried to stay with him, which happened for all of ten meters before I felt like my heart was about to explode out of my chest.
Crossing the line in 8th was honestly disappointing. I went into this race with the expectation of being in the hunt for a world championship medal. The race panned out a lot differently to what I was expecting with the bike leg sorting out the medals. I can honestly say that I stuck to my race plan so I can’t be too disappointed with the final result on the day. I learnt a lot about this 4k/120k/20k race distance which no doubt will put me in a lot better position come next years ITU Triathlon Long Distance World Championships if I choose to race this event again.
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...
Take care friends,
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.
Take care friends,
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.
Next time I will be checking on from the USA!
Thanks for reading.
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.
1. Sam Betten, 4:20:26 (COURSE RECORD)
2. Ollie Whistler, 4:25:48
3.Stephen Farrell, 4:49:11
4. Jared Bowden, 5:24:58
5. Darren Young, 5:33:28
*Photo Credit MeadNortonPhotography *
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.
Swim 7th 26:41
Bike 1st 2:21:02
Run 1st 1:22:39
I kept up with Amanda Stevens in the water! That was until I started swimming. We started in waist deep water so when the gun went off I took advantage of dolphin diving through the shallow. Right beside me was Amanda already swimming - AS FAST AS ME DIVING! After that, the usual happened - I probably don't need to spell it out AGAIN so in short - pack gets away. Mel gets spat out back. Mel swims solo until first turn buoy where she eventually gets back in contact with a couple of others. From there Linsey Corbin and I swam side by side just in the draft of another athlete the whole way. We both ran out of the water together in 7th & 8th position only 2:30 down on the leader but we sure took our time to have a cuppa in T1. I actually opted for socks again on the bike hence the longer T1 time. By the time I finally left T1 I realised Linsey had taken just as long. That was nice of her to wait around and keep me company while everyone else ran off, I like Linsey.
Soon after we mount, it's straight up hill. A nice long gradual up. I like these kinda hills and immediately got into a good rhythm. I passed a few athletes (men as well) so wasn't sure what position I was now in but I figured Amanda was my target up the front of the race. Such a speedy swimmer I assumed she was in the lead. So I got to work trying to reel her in.
I saw Jared at about the 8k mark on the bike where he yelled out '30 seconds'. Sweet! I thought to myself as I guessed he meant I was only 30 seconds from the lead at this point. I felt good and kept ticking off the k's, but still hadn't seen Amanda yet. Later in the bike, on the way back to T2 I could see 3 athletes in the distance but they all looked like men. But I was convincing myself that one of them HAS TO BE Amanda. But nope, still no Amanda. I'm not making anymore ground on her! Towards the end of the bike leg with 8k to go, Jared was at the same point again and this time it sounded like he yelled out "3mins". What! I'm now loosing time to the lead. And why such a specific time. And far out, how fit is Amanda at the moment...she's getting faster the further we get into this ride. She's smashing it!
As I roll down the final hill and turn into T2 the crowd was amazing. Cheering so loudly. The commentator was all enthusiastic and making it sound like I'd had this amazing bike leg. Meanwhile I'm thinking "how much time has she put into me by now?". I racked my bike, slipped on my shoes and was outa there. I had work to do! As I ran past the crowd and out onto the run course I heard Jared yell from the crowd "three minutes". Omg! Are you serious. That HAS to be wrong, maybe that wasn't Jared yelling. Maybe it was someone that had majorly mis-timed the gap. Either way, I had to get going - Amanda was up ahead and she was on fire.
The crowd continued to cheer loudly as I ran past and the aid station volunteers were amazing. One spectator yelled "you've got this". It's so nice how they have so much confidence in me but I'm bloody THREE minutes down! It wasn't until I was approaching an aid station almost a quarter of the way through the run that I realized something was up. I surged slightly ahead of my lead cyclist and then turned back to have a look at the sign on the front of his bike. 1st PLACE FEMALE it read. I let out a little chuckle at the same time as telling myself I was a bit of a doosey. When I passed Jared not too far into my second of two run laps he said "you've got over 4 1/2 minutes to Linsey. Apparently all along, all the times I was hearing was the lead I had on second place (which changed a bit along he way) not the time I was down on Amanda. Silly me!
My second lap on the run I was still feeling really good but just before 10mile I thought I better suck on a little bit of my gel to keep me feeling good - don't wanna run out of energy and ruin it now. I've never been real good digesting gels on the run (bike - no problems but run... not sure if it's the extra intensity or what!). I ripped off the top and had the smallest amount (maybe not even one fifth). My stomach automatically churned. "I'm ok! Just back off the pace for a second. Ok, I'm good. Back into it". At mile 11 I attempted a bit more but this time it was not good. The porter potty was only 20 meters away, I could see it right there, but could I make it? I bolted across the road and jumped into the moulded-plastic stink house. I jumped out, still re-adjusting my pants as my lead cyclist and I had a little laugh "sorry about that" I said to him. "We're ok, we've got plenty of time" he reassured me.
The rest of the run was good! No more toilet stops and I extended my lead to over 7 minutes. Linsey finished 2nd with Valentino Carvello coming in 3rd and Amanda 4th. I let Amanda know after the race that she had managed to push me for most of the race...she just didn't know about it.
A special thank you goes to our wonderful home-stay hosts, Paul and Moira and their 2 dogs, 1 cat, 3 birds, 1 fish and a tortoise. Yep...a tortoise. This was the most well-mannered menagerie we've ever come across. Paul and Moira took us in and helped us sail through the weekend without a hitch. Also, a big congratulations to Paul who raced Timberman 70.3 and managed a massive half hr PR! Impressive. Another half hr next year?
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.
Image credit: BurnSports.PH
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!
Take care friends,
1st 4:11:51 (course record)
Swim 28:05 (5th)
Bike 2:20:08 (1st)
Run 1:20:04 (1st) (run course record)
When I dived into Lake Michigan for my warm up I lasted about 10 strokes before I had to roll over onto my back to defrost my face. It was like slamming into a concrete wall. So cold! Once the cannon fired though I was fine, adrenalin fixes everything!
As usual I was a bit slow off at the start and pretty quickly spat out the back of the women's field. By the first buoy I had got into my rhythm and started chasing down the two girls I could still see in front of me. I eventually caught them about half way through the swim and then practiced 'staying on feet' for the rest of the swim. I'm still not good at all. I came out of the water in 5th place, close behind the 2 I'd been trying to 'sit on'. After exiting the water there is a long beach run to get off the beach and then a long run on concrete to weave into transition. This meant that by the time I got to my bike and out of T1 I was into 3rd place already. Malaika Homo was 1:20 ahead at this point with Helle Frederiksen putting a good 2 1/2 min into me.
I immediately cranked up the pace and by 55km I had finally caught Helle. I took a couple minutes to get in some nutrition, water and then went past to take the lead. I kept pushing hard off the front but Helle was holding on. I tried putting on surges but no matter how hard I tried I could not shake her. With 7km to go we hit a super bumpy section on cracked up concrete road that would last right until transition. Like riding over continuous speed ripples for the next 10mins, I knew there was no dropping her through this rodeo section so I backed off and cruised the rest of the way safely into T2. I unstrapped the shoes and coasted down the last short hill to T2 with Helle close behind. We got off and racked our bikes together. It was exciting to be back under the blaring loudspeakers, in such a tight battle for the lead, with the crowd cheering all around.
I had made the decision earlier in the race, when getting out of the water that I would put socks on for the bike instead of putting them on just for the run leg. My feet were cold and numb from the water and the run to the bikes on the hard concrete wasn't that comfortable on them. Added to that I still had big blisters under my feet from last weekends race. This allowed me to have a faster second transition than normal. I slipped my shoes on, grabbed my Salty Yeti GU gel (which I lost about a mile later when he jumped out of my pocket to begin his own little adventure to where ever he was going. Salty always has fun adventures where ever he goes. GU gels were offered at the aid station anyway, so lucky me) and Zipp visor and was out of there quick, keen to get a little head start.
As soon as I started running I hit my Garmin to start the clock but instead of starting to tick over it was busy 'loading satellites'. Damn! I forgot to load them up in the last few kms on the bike. Every km or so I'd check if they'd loaded up but still nothing. I have no idea which satellites they were trying to load, but they never loaded them, so I was without a watch for the rest of the day. The run was two out and back laps so I got my first indication of the lead at the first turn-around about 5k 's in where Helle was about 1min30 back. The first 10km I felt really strong and fast. The next 5 I still felt really good but I was starting to feel the big blister under my left foot filling with blood. The pressure wasn't bad enough to effect my pace or foot strike YET but I was well aware it was quietly taking a beating down there.
Thoughts started running through my head... "6km to go, I've got a good lead, should I slow down a little and reduce the pounding to the foot? OR should I pick it up (if I can) and try to get home quicker?". I was trying to work out which would make sure not to repeat the pain of last weekend. I think the blister decided for me as I kept up the same pace until it started affecting the way I was landing then I think my pace might've dropped from then on. Every now and then I'd grit my teeth and put in a surge then I'd back it off and try to land anywhere but on the blister. I was very happy to see the finish chute at the end. For the 2nd weekend in a row, I couldn't wait to kick off my shoes after the finish tape. At least this time, they were not as bad. A few minutes later Helle came through to take 2nd and Lauren Barnett (with energy to spare) for 3rd.
Jared and I were so lucky once again to be hosted by such a wonderful family for race weekend. Kristine, Daryl and the family showed us how good Midwest hospitality can be. They were 'homestay professionals' in managing to comfortably accommodate 3 of us athletes (yes 3!), help us with airport transfers, pre-race and post-race commitments, meals etc... and all in a welcoming homely environment. They made our trip seamless. Thanks again. Can't wait to return.
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!
Take care friends,
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!
Until then, take care friends,
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.
Check out a behind the scenes look at Scody athlete Brad Kahlefeldt in Cairns for SCODY.
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.
Take care friends,
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..
Thank you for all the support
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...
Take care friends,
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.
SCODY professional triathlete Sam Betten shows what he packs in his bag for an IRONMAN 70.3 Triathlon.
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.
Swim 3rd 50:46
Bike 2nd 5:19:57
Run 2nd 3:13:57
We were created with pain receptors. These pain receptors go off when we are hurt or injured or when we push our bodies to the limit. They are there for a reason, to warn us that something is wrong and you must stop. What a great system. Makes good sense doesn't it. But then there's a small minority of us with our twisted, messed up brains that have discovered we don't have to stop if we don't want. We can keep going as long as we are mentally strong enough to continually tell our brains to "shut up". Why would we want to do this? No idea! For some reason the more we push our bodies the better we feel 'after'. So, some crazy person came up with the idea of an Ironman. Arguably the hardest one day endurance event.
For some reason the Ironman distance is seen as the ultimate goal or the pinnacle of achievements in triathlon. Maybe because it's the longest distance available (in 1 day) or maybe because the legend of the Hawaii Ironman. So 3 weeks ago I decided I'd give it a go. It worked out to be a good time of the year to try it without disrupting anything else in my season. Lucky for me, if I want to compete in Kona later in the year, I didn't have to win, I just had to finish. I just had to 'get through'. That being said, it was still a race, and I'd be crazy if I said I didn't want to win it. So this is how this crazy Ironman thing works.
First we swim 3.8km. That's 76 laps of an Olympic size swimming pool. Booooring! Thankfully we don't swim in a swimming pool though! With the air temp a freezing 5C I wrapped myself up in my ROKA wetty and couldn't wait to get into the 19C water. Half way through the swim leg was a weir we had to climb up and over. This isn't usually part of an IM but added something different and made for some good photos!
After emerging from the water it's time to run through the spectators, listening carefully for vital split times. In the change tent you are treated to an impressive team of helpers that assist in just about anything you need. You just throw yourself on the ground and the strippers pull your wetsuit off and start dressing you for the bike leg. Before you know it your back on your way out the door and into the 'real world' again. The second leg comprises of a ridiculous 180km of cycling. I started the bike leg 1 minute down - I had a great swim!
I'm not sure who upset the weather gods on this day, but they were whipping up some cyclonic winds, up to 50kph. I held on tight as I worked my way through the bike leg. Gritting my teeth till my jaw was cramping and clenching my abs to stay tight on the bike made for a long 5-plus hours of riding. All the while, Lisa was up ahead, ploughing through the dead roads and getting a good lead. By the time I rolled back to T2, I was 8minutes down, hungry, and tired.
Back in the transition tent, this time the volunteers help us get ready for the final leg - an insane and totally unreasonable 42km run. As if 3.8km of swimming and 180km of riding wasn't already enough. I sat there munching on my mars bar wondering how I could get out of doing this marathon. Meanwhile the volunteers already had the green flags up and were ushering me out of the tent. My shoes were on, my visor, run belt and gels nicely laid out. But I didn't wanna leave. It was warm and comfortable in here away from the wind. Can I just stay a little bit longer!
I got up and walked out of the tent...all the way out...I walked till the big sign said 'Run Exit'. That's where I started my loooong shuffle. No extra running for me today thanks! This was the part of the race I was most unsure about. 42k of non-stop running is a long way for me. Added to that I was already pretty worn out from the freezing, windy bike leg meant I would be taking these first couple laps as conservatively as possible. The run course did 4 laps of just over 10km each. One decent hill per lap, the rest flat, cold and...did I say WINDY. As I ran along the rock wall along the river the cross wind was so strong I was sure this could be my ticket out. I'll get blown overboard. But nope, that didn't happen either. I just kept shuffling. After one lap I got to run through the '1st lap' gate to collect a cool IM wrist band. That brightened my day for like a second. Back up the hill again (that seemed to get a little bigger each time). On this lap, the down hill really got me needing the loo. I stopped at the toilet and when I sat down I thought "This is surprisingly nice in here. I could comfortably stay here for quite a while I think. No-one knows I'm in here right". After a bit I thought I better keep trucking on.
At about 24km I shuffled on past poor Lisa who seemed to be having a bit of a rough patch at the time. I wanted to stop and walk with her for a 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.