Monday, 26 September 2016

70.3 World Championship 2016

This is far from a race report but wanted to get what happened to me across and thank all the people for the messages and support since the accident.

My lead up to 70.3 World's was far from good, it wasn't until Friday 2nd September before the race that I actually made the decision to pack the bags and head up to compete. The knee injury I suffered at Philippines 70.3 had not yet recovered, I hadn't found out what is causing the pain that I feel swimming, riding and running and in the 3 weeks leading into World's I don't think I got more than 5 sessions done. I had tried everything to get this resolved but had no luck until Thursday 1st September, after my 3rd session of acupuncture I felt surprisingly good, had a test run and got 20mins done with no issues. The next morning I had an easy ride and again returned with no issues, that's when I made the decision to race, I couldn't miss the chance to race my first World Championship event, especially when it was on home soil.

Spent Friday packing for the race as I left early Saturday morning with my Dad. I arrived at Mooloolaba mid morning and caught up with my mate Lindsey for an ocean swim, I was pretty excited to see some decent waves rolling in whilst I was swimming and had my fingers crossed that it would be like this come race morning. Checked in to the hotel at lunch and then was out and about catching with friends and going through athlete check-in, it was great to see everyone and them being as surprised as I was that I had decided to race. After catching up with Oakley it was time to head out for a ride on my Cervelo that had just been fitted with the CeramicSpeed OSPWS. So was keen as to get out there.
It was around 4pm I headed out for a quick spin, going north along the road over Alexandra Headland and kept following that, the same as I do every year I come to race at Mooloolaba. The knee was feeling great and the traffic was at a minimum, the CeramicSpeed was working perfectly and all was excellent. That was all I remember.

My dad writes the rest of this report

I was contacted while waiting for Jake to return from his ride it was dark by now and well past his estimated return time, I had rung him and messaged him many times but no answer or reply. I was hopping he had met up with someone and was having a chat or he was getting his bike looked at by one of the mechanics. But the call came through from the front desk and the receptionist asked if I was Jakes father, I replied yes and she said that Dr Hughes from Nambour emergency was on the phone and wanted to speak to me. He said that Jake had been hit by a car and had some injuries including some head injuries.
As I’m driving to the hospital I rang Jakes mum and told her the news and to get up to Nambour. I get in to see Jake and he is not to good, he is still in his bike kit and has bark off him everywhere. His head is bleeding from 3 spots and his face is cut up. Over the next few hours he is in and out of conciseness, he has scans which show bleeding on the brain in 3 spots, fractures here and there and his right shoulder is a mess.
I have a visit from the Officer who is investigating the accident and was assured that Jake was not at any fault as the driver turned into him, the force of the hit has damaged the car badly and the officer is amazed that Jake is still alive. I also get a visit from Dave Beeche from Ironman to see how Jake is.
I believe the care and treatment Jake received that night in Emergency and the nurses who looked after him through the night made a huge impact on his overall condition and recovery. On Sunday Jake was not responding well to some of the pain medications and he was rushed to the ICU ward when he became unresponsive. It was then they decided to transfer him the Neurology ward at Royal Brisbane.
Over the next week Jake had many scans and x-rays to determine the extent of his injuries. He had visits from lots of his friends, unfortunately everything since the accident is a bit muddled. He can’t remember anything whilst he was in Hospital and has trouble remembering daily events since returning home.
I really appreciate all the good people Jake has in his life and the many messages of good will and hope. We are so lucky that Jake is still alive, out of hospital and on the road to recovery. I have added some photos of the helmet and the car that hit him to show how lucky he actually was.                     

Dent from car impact (above)                Impact of head hitting road (above)

Inside showing cracks and compression of high density foam moulding

Vehicle that hit Jake courtesy of Investigating Officer.


      Click photo to enlarge
Further to Dad's appreciation, I would just like to say a huge thanks to all those who cared for, visited and sent messages to me over the past few weeks. Whilst I'm still coming to terms with what happened and have suffered some serious injuries, all things going well, I am determined to get back to training as soon as possible.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

70.3 Cebu, Philippines - Asia Pacific Championships

I had made a last minute decision to race 70.3 Philippines during my last week in the US, as it would be two months before World Champs and this race was only a month away and would be great preparation. A few guys I had spoken to about the event couldn't speak highly enough of it which made me even more keen to head over, the location sounded amazing and the atmosphere of the event had to be seen to be believed. The main thing to take in account was the heat and humidity of the place, said to be one of the hottest races you'll ever do.

Training hadn't been going so smooth the couple of weeks back from Boulder, CO but managed to find some good form two weeks out from the race, however this didn't last long. The Friday week before the race I started feeling some pain in my knee and unfortunately had to have the weekend off training. I started back easy on Monday and it felt alright, I was tempted to push it through my normal pre race training but was more inclined to get to the race pain free so took it easy all week and boarded the plane Wednesday night not having felt the pain again. I had a quick stop over in Hong Kong Airport and then touch down in Cebu. Off the plane and I was greeted by a bunch of very friendly people from Sunrise Events who helped me with my bags and provided a transfer to the hotel which I would be staying at for the next 4 nights. I arrived at the Mövenpick Hotel in Cebu and was blown away, it was amazing, was really excited to be staying here. My roommate was Eric Watson, another athlete, who I had never met before but after the first afternoon it felt like we had know each other for years.

The schedule for Friday was pretty full, first up we had a run to the local school for the Alaska Milk Promotion, next up was an interview with ABS-CBN Sports which they then videoed my through athlete check in which was pretty cool. After lunch we had pro's briefing and then a "Meet the Pro's" session and also medal awarding to the Irongirls. It was a big day but I had a lot of fun and met a whole bunch of new people. First thing Saturday morning we were back out giving medal to the ironkids and then it was time to focus on the race ahead the following day with usual pre racing training and bike racking. 

Up at 3:45am Sunday morning ready to get prepared for the morning ahead a bus transfer at 5am to transition. Everything was sorted and onto the bus, headed straight for transition, we got about 200m down the road and then was stuck in the traffic jam, we sat there for 10mins until everyone decided to get off the bus and scramble to transition which was just a couple of km away. Got in and out of transition as quick as possible as the line was building up to the swim start which was another trek. I decided to jump fence and a few gardens to avoid missing my race start. Swim warm up was done and was now on the beach ready to be called out to the start. The Asia Pacific Championships brought some of the best names in the sport and the field was stacked with over 20 guys. The first few got called up and into the water, I was one of the last to enter and slowly made my way to the start line. The field was bunched right on the inside line next the the buoy rope but I had planned all along to start far left and it payed off. I felt great through the first 100 and found myself going straight into the lead, I continued to hold good speed and started to break away from the main group. By the first turn I would of had atleast 30m on everyone else and was confident I could get a good gap out of the water. Coming into the 2nd turn (about three quarters through) I started to feel the knee and eased off the kicking about hoping to conserve it for the rest of the race, I was soon caught but the chase group of swimmers and decided to sit on feet for the remainder of the swim. Out of the water in 3rd and into T1 with quite a big group.

 The first 10km of the bike was the craziest thing I have ever witnessed in a race, the amount of people on the side supporting was unreal, either side was packed 5 deep full of locals. The noise they were making was ridiculous. 
The pack I was in was quite large and full of some big names, the hill up to the bridge around the 10km mark was probably the only chance I had to get away. I tried my luck and made an attack as soon as we hit it, I went to the front and managed to break it up and get a small gap. I was followed closely by a group of 3 and the next pack was down the road. I could see them creeping closer and closer and it wasn't long before I was caught and the group was together. Reed, Mcmahon, Costes and Myself all had attempts at a break away but it would be one of us that would shut it down again. The bike was pretty much flat for the laps with a head wind on the way out and opposite on the way back. The entire bike leg remained the same with surge after surge trying to break anyone we could, by the last half it was Reed, Mcmahon, Costes, Crowie, Betten and myself. The surges didn't help my knee either, the back half of the ride it hurt every stroke but luckily it wasn't stopping me from riding hard.
Around km 75 I started to cramp terribly whilst in the lead, so bad that I had to unclip and try and shake my muscles loose. One side went and as soon as I got that in control the other side went, I ended up out the back and was left with some chasing to do back to the tail end of the pack. I caught them back up at the bridge and it was not the final run through the wild crowds into T2.

Dismounted the bike and I was in big trouble, my knee could barely function at all now, I was already running with a limp. I put the shoes on and headed out onto the run in 6th position, hoping I would be able to atleast get around the course jogging. I felt like I had loads of energy but my knee just wasn't cooperating, I started walking through each aid station to rest it and also get enough nutrition down. By km 4 I couldn't even make it to each aid station running and had to walk at times it was hurting that bad. At times I could run for a few minutes and others not even for a few seconds, I was now getting passed by the other guys who had been chasing on the bike and by km 7 found myself in 10th position and couldn't even run another stride so walked it into the finish and had to call it quits for the day. I really didn't want it to come to this but I physically wasn't able to continue, I hate a DNF next to my name and I hope it never happens again.

After a long couple of days traveling I am back home, luckily I was able to get straight in to see my physio Rick at Gold Coast Physio and will find out what is going on with my knee. I have 70.3 Worlds coming up in a few weeks and hope that I will be 100% for this race. 
I would like to say a huge thanks to everyone at Sunrise Events and Ironman Asia Pacific for having me at Cebu, Philippines and making it the best experience possible. I have not been to a race that is anything like it before and am already looking forward to making my return next year. The support from the locals is incredible and thank everyone out there who was watching and cheering.


Thursday, 14 July 2016

Vineman 70.3

I'm writing this on my way down the west coast of California, spending a few days to see the sights of the coast before I fly back home to Australia.
Training was back in full swing a couple of days after Boulder 70.3, surprisingly I had pulled up pretty good and had a great few weeks of training leading into Vineman 70.3. Heading to California meant my time in Boulder for 2016 had come to an end, I had an awesome time there, met a bunch of new people and explored plenty of new places. I put together an extremely good block of training being in Boulder for a full two months and look forward to seeing the benefits down the track. I was really looking forward to heading to Vineman 70.3 again, the race location is beautiful, the course is challenging and the competition is tough, this year was one of the toughest the event has seen with some of the biggest names in the sport including 4 world champions over this distance. I was as keen as ever to toe the line and the stacked start list didn't bother me at all.
I flew out of Boulder Friday lunch time to arrive in San Francisco late evening with a short drive up north to Guerneville which is where my accommodation was for the next 3 nights. I was lucky enough to get a room at Johnsons Beach again this year which is a short stroll to T1 and swim start which is ideal come race morning, the cabins I stayed in are a pretty cool experience too. The usual pre race training and briefing took place on Saturday, it was good to see a few familiar faces around from back home and the US. 

There was 21 pro men lined up ready for the 06:25am start. The water temperature was absolute border line, 72°F so it was speedsuits on. Pace wasn't too crazy at the start and no one attempting to break the 50m record. I had a clean start and found myself sitting at the pointy end of the lead group. It started to string out a little before the half way mark which also served as the first turning point but I knew the water was extremely shallow at that end of the river and I'd be able to make up some time. We hit the shallows around 50 out from the turn buoy and the diving started, I was in about 5th but by the turn it was Appo leading the way and me right on his feet. At times it was even too shallow to dive so had to do an awkward wade as the bottom was all sharp, loose rocks. Another 50-75 of dives after the U-Turn and we were back swimming. I felt great at this point and took the lead down the final straight of the swim, just as we rounded the last buoy to hit the shore I was pipped by another athlete to gain an advantage of 2sec out of the water. I was in the perfect position but then disaster struck... My speedsuit zipper got caught a quarter of the way down and it wouldn't budge. I tried numerous times trying to zip it back up or down but nothing, all I could here was the bikes wheeling out of T1 behind me, it was the worst. The only way this was coming off was to rip it, it took some effort but I ripped it entirely in half and I was free. My transition was 1:10min longer than the group I was swimming with.

Onto the bike and it was head down, I was determined to catch back up to those front guys and had a lot of confidence that I could do it. I was feeling great on the bike, numbers were looking real good and it wouldn't be long before I saw the front group. After passing numerous athletes along the way I finally got a glimpse of the front of 5 at mile 15. I caught them at mile 17 just at the base of a short hill and continued straight to the front. I dropped it back to normal race watts and kept a steady pace. Appo and myself shared the lead, what I thought was the lead until I got a time split of someone 40sec up the road, I completely forgot about Bozzone who was powering away ahead of us all. I then kicked it up a gear and went in search of Bozzone, at one point I had closed the gap to 20 sec and he was in sight but I was starting to feel the affects of the first 20miles and he disappeared again. I led the group for the last 20miles and noticed that it was getting strung out a lot and almost dropped them at times but then they would be right behind me again. I just couldn't shake them. Came off the bike in 2nd place closely followed by Appleton, Alexander, Reed, Hoffman and Potts, 1:15 down on Bozzone. Was happy to post the 2nd fastest time of the day with a 2:07:41

Out of T2 was the best I had ever felt, the pace was red hot and I was somewhat comfortable running alongside some of the fastest guys in 70.3. I was hopeful that I could hang onto these guys bit when Reed made a surge just before mile 3 it broke me, my breathing became real heavy and I just couldn't hang in there anymore. Hoffman and I ended up off the pace and settled into our own race now. Around mile 5 I hit a rough patch and my stomach started turning, this was a first and I was immediately looking for that next aid station, I had a huge gap behind me and unfortunately I had no other option but to use the portaloo. As I sat in there I just hoped I wouldn't here the words Water, Gatorade etc. yelled out as that meant another athlete passing. Few minutes later I was back out on course and remained in 7th position. I now felt 10x better and was knocking over the miles at a much faster pace. The last mile was a bit of a struggle but managed to finish 7th well off the front guys but with a sizeable gap behind me also.

Congrats to the guys up front who where all class in the run, I was fortunate enough to run with them for the first few miles to get a taste of the speed they're at. With Vineman done that wraps up my training and racing in the US for 2016.
I'm looking forward to my return home to catch up with the rest of my family and mates. I will train on the Gold Coast all the way to Worlds in September which I cannot wait for.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Boulder 70.3

A lot has happened since Geelong 70.3, I had resumed training within the next couple of days and had my focus set on racing Putrajaya 70.3 in April. On March 8th, everything changed...
I was riding home on my cruiser after a swim at Palm Beach, riding along in the bike path just a few hundred meters from home a garbage truck came up beside me and without any warning turned left into a carpark, cutting me off and I had no where to go but underneath the truck's rear wheel. I remember watching as my foot went underneath the tyre and the noise of my bike being crippled. The pain was excruciating and I had no idea what injury I had sustained, I couldn't walk let alone move and layed on the side of the road until the ambulance arrived. After many X-Rays and an MRI I had completely ruptured two ligaments in my right ankle, bone bruising throughout the foot and other internal damage through the ankle and hip. I saw the specialist and his first thoughts were that I wouldn't be running for a very long time and the rest of my season was not looking good. I was not going to allow this to be the case..  this wasn't going to get the better of me so I set my sights firmly on my recovery.
With no other choice, I spent the first 3 weeks laying in bed all day everyday, even going to the bathroom on crutches was a struggle, luckily Dad was there to look after me and keep my mind in the right place. At the 4th week I moved into a boot which allowed me to move around home freely and get to the edge of the pool to start swimming, one thing that really helped me here was my Xterra Lava Pants, I wasn't able to kick for the first week and these pants worked a real treat. By the 5th week I was kicking in the pool and doing a few bike trainer sets, progress was coming along really well and my physio Rick Bain at Gold Coast Physio was making sure I would return to running as soon as possible. Week 6 I was back running which was a lot sooner than expected, I put this down to my physio and also Qoleum. I was using the Qoil Arnica Injury Oil every day on my ankle to help promote healing , this stuff is truly liquid gold, without it I'm certain my recovery wouldn't have been as rapid as it was.

Unfortunately I missed Putrajaya 70.3  I was now focused on getting to Boulder, CO for the summer. I booked my trip only 3 weeks from leaving and was so determined on getting there ready to train hard and do a couple of races. Training the week before leaving was great and I couldn't wait to get back to Boulder to continue it with the plan to race Boulder 70.3.
I arrived in Boulder on the 9th of May to a very cold week of training, lots of rain and day max. temperatures of 5°C. The 2nd weeks onwards was great, weather was awesome and training was going really well. The numbers were looking good heading into Boulder 70.3, the field was stacked but I was confident I would be able to have a good result.

The weather of race morning was perfect, although I was a little worried about the non-wetsuit swim mainly cause the temperature was borderline but upon entering it wasn't so bad. The swim was a waist deep start with 34 Male Professionals ready to race. The first couple of hundred meters was full gas and at altitude it felt like 110%, with one guy setting a solid pace no one was able to match, I actually started to panic a bit as my breathing started to feel harder and shorter and was worried about blacking out so had to settle it down a bit before I ended my day early. I finally got it under control and settled into the main lead pack, the first guy had quite a gap on us the whole way and exited the water with a 40sec gap on my pack of 5 guys. I had a terrible transition and found myself at the tail end exiting T1.

Onto the bike I was at the back until we had gone under the first underpass and once back on Diagonal Hwy I worked my way to the front, we had already caught the lead swimmer but Von Berg was a little way up the road. After passing the group of 4 I continued to push, looking to take the lead early. After crossing the 63rd Street Intersection there is a slight rolling hill on the Diagonal Hwy and I was carrying a lot of momentum heading into it and Von Berg slowed right up as we hit and I made the pass for the lead and knew this was the time to go. I put my head down and went to work, this didn't last for long. A couple of minutes later I was pushing hard in the lead and a motorbike pulled up alongside me and the official on the back pulled out a Blue Card and pointed it in my direction, I thought no way, I looked behind me and the group was back a fair way, I couldn't understand what was happening. I asked the official if that was for me and what had I done wrong, he couldn't tell me anything other than report to the next penalty box. I was shocked and sat up trying to find out why he was giving this to me, it wasn't long until the group passed me and I found myself off the back still trying to get a reason from the official, still nothing other than I was to receive 5mins at the next penalty box. I was absolutely furious and shocked at the same time. Once it actually sunk in that it had happened there was no other option other than to ride hard. I found myself pushing over 450W to get back to the front of the race which I did and was giving 100% until wherever that next box was. I served my penalty at 54km and just watched as the athletes passed by, 5mins is a really long time. Time was up and was determined to try and make up some time but my legs had other ideas, they had seized up after standing still and it felt like I was pedalling squares, it was horrible. I managed to make up a few places within the next several km's but everyone else was too far gone.

Came into T2 placed 14th and almost felt like calling it quits for the day, I was so frustrated. I couldn't do that and decided to head out on the run to finish off the race, being quite hot and a tough course anything could happen. I found myself running ok considering how sore my legs were, the more I got through the run the better I felt and I started reeling in some Pro's one by one. Cross Country had never really suited me but luckily on this day I was enjoying it, I managed to run my way back into 10th position by the end of the race. Still fuming, I went looking for the official straight away to find out what I had done and to protest the penalty. He tried to tell me I came to close to the wheel before making the pass into the lead "slingshotting" was the word he used, at no point did I get and advantage passing an athlete as I was just getting to the front as quick as possible to pull away from the rest of the group. He wouldn't not let me protest and there was nothing I could do.

I'm still in disbelief that this actually happened as it has cost me both money and the principal of the way I race.
The positive I can take away from this is that my body is race ready again after the accident and my fitness it there to still be at the front of the race. I will now continue my training in Boulder until my next race which is Vineman 70.3 on July 10th.
Thanks to the pro athletes behind me at the time that witnessed the penalty for acknowledging that it was wrong call. Massive thanks to all my sponsors I wouldn't be able to race without and my family for their support.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Geelong 70.3 - National Long Course Championship

I had a great finish to 2015 having placed 2nd at both Mandurah and Western Sydney 70.3, just missing top spot both times my training over the Christmas/New Year period had plenty of fuel. The weekend after Western Sydney 70.3 I headed up the coast to defend my title at the North Curl Curl 3 Points Challenge, my body was pretty sore but there was no chance I was missing this great event. The conditions on race day were ideal and the competition in the elite category was stacked. During the race I felt a lot better than anticipated and manged to take the win for the second year in a row. It is always a great event and will be back again this year.

After that I headed up to the Gold Coast to spend some time training on new ground and surfing a bit more than I probably should have due to the pumping swell over New Year. I had a great time there catching up with mates and making new ones, getting some solid back to back weeks of training done and most of all getting plenty of waves. I headed back home mid January so I could make the trip down to Adelaide to watch the Tour Down Under with Titan Performance Group, I headed down there for the last 3 days of the tour which was great timing. I was lucky enough to have dinner with Cadel Evans and ride in the Bupa Challenge thanks to Flight Center Active Travel for lining that up, I also witnessed the women's hour record broken in VIP style thanks to Cervelo and watched the Willunga Hill stage which was a great experience. It was a great trip, I managed to clock almost 400k in 3 days and enjoyed every moment of it, surrounded by awesome people. From there it was back home to Scarborough, NSW where I would do my last bit of training before heading to Victoria for Ironman 70.3 Geelong.

My training in the 2 weeks prior to Geelong 70.3 was going a little better than expected and was making me nervous to try and hold the form until race weekend. All sessions were great and the confidence kept building up, the week prior was very good and I had to control myself to not over do it to ensure I would be right for the race. Next thing I knew everything was done and I was on the plane to Melbourne to kick off racing for 2016.
Landed in Melbourne first thing Friday morning and got a lift with Foxy from TPG to our team house in Torquay, it was really cool to hang out with the crew on Friday, everyone was so relaxed before the race and it settled my nerves a bit. Saturday saw me go through my usual pre-race routine, having a swim with the Xterra Wetsuits crew, athlete briefing and then a short spin on the bike before racking. My Dad had made the effort to drive down to watch me race so I stayed with him on Saturday night, he always helps me keep calm and get ready to race.
This was my first time racing Geelong 70.3, I had heard a lot about the course before arriving and a few changes this year looked to suit me well. The swim was a 1 lap wetsuit legal in pretty calm waters, the 2 lap bike course was slightly undulating and technical in parts and then run was 2 1/2 laps along the half being on the undulating road and the other along the Geelong Waterfront. The Men's Pro list was stacked, 30 guys with some of the world's best fitting into the top 10.

Up early Sunday morning, I was the first one at transition at 5:20am waiting for entry at 5:45am. Got in and set up, everything was sweet, time to warm up before a 7am race start. Was able to fit in a few run drills and a swim before lining up on the beach, ready to go. I had to control my excitement a bit before the race knowing it was a beach start, I love them and they are very rare these days. In the starters hand and behind me I could here the countdown, which is not always good, especially when the guy next to you is real edgy and leaves on 1 instead of the gun, but all good, I got him within a few strides into the water and a couple of dives later and I was leading out the left side of the race. I could see to my right though there was a couple of leaders forming apexes and it wouldn't be long before we would all join toghether. Around 300m the front group had formed of myself, Amberger, Munro, Jacobs and Kerr. Ambereger continued to push the pace, kicking like a motorboat and managed to bridge a 20m gap by the first turn buoy, I sat on feet in third position from 700m onwards and made sure the gap between us and Amberger didn't increase. The top 5 exited the water all within 10sec of the leader and we were all out onto the bike together.
Photo Credit: Dad
Amberger and I wasted no time, pushing hard up the first couple of climbs and took to the front. We managed to shake Munro early and then Kerr and Jacobs by the first 10km, it was no looking back from here. The course was as still as it gets with no wind early and the average speed was in the 44km/h range, I was feeling great and the numbers were reflecting that. We both knew we hard to ride as hard as possible and put as many minutes as we could into the chasers that consisted of some very quick runners, not to mention defending champ Crowie. We were kept under the watchful eye of the TO's, happy to see they were out there doing a great job.
Completed the first lap and headed back out for lap 2 amongst the Age-Group athletes, once I got out on the main road I could see the clouds coming over which brought with it some strong wind gusts. The nature of the course saw me get a fair share of head, tail and crosswinds which really shook the legs up, and started to drain energy fast. I'd be pushing hard, head down, then look up and my head was spinning, regardless of how much water or nutrition I took this was the case for the last 30km. I knew if the wind was effecting me it would be also splitting the guys up behind and hurting them for the run later on. Came into transition followed closely by Amberger and a time gap of over 3:30mins to Viennot.
Photo Credit: Delly Carr
Out on the run together trying to make the most of our lead off the bike, I was definitely hurting after breaking the bike course record by over 2mins but I was so determined to get to that line first after being pipped in the last few km's twice late last year. The first couple of hills were crossed fine and I was able to start on nutrition early thanks to my stomach being good to me. After a few km's I had left Amberger and had my sights set on increasing my lead, I bridged a gap of a few hundred meters pretty quickly but it then remained the same, my next worry was the time gap to Viennot. The hill at the back end of the course was a killer, I was almost walking through the aid station and by the time I had reached the top I was to buggered to carry any momentum back down. After running through transition and past the expo again, receiving so much support from everyone I was back and pushing hard. The thought of being caught again in the dying stages was in the back of my head the whole run but I was not letting that happen again. The splits I was getting I realised Viennot was not closing the gap quick enough and that I might actually have this. Coming back on the pier I could see him heading out, he wasn't too far behind and it wasn't until I saw the black/red carpet that I knew had it. Coming down the chute was such a good feeling, one that I will never forget. I couldn't believe it, that I had actually put together the perfect race, and had won Geelong 70.3.
Photo Credit: Delly Carr

It still hasn't really sunk in, getting my first 70.3 win within 12months of my first crack at this distance, especially at this race having Craig Alexander 4 time champion here made me very nervous prior (unfortunately he had a mechanical on the bike). It wasn't until presentation that I realised I would also be crowned 2016 Australian Long Course Champion, what a great day.
Would like to say a huge thanks to all my sponsors for kitting me out in the best and my favourite gear, shout out to everyone from Titan Performance group for the support in the lead up and out on course, you guys are legends and most of all my family. 
Photo Credit: Dad

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Western Sydney 70.3

Post Mandurah, training was pretty ordinary after coming down with the flu and every session was becoming a battle to get thorough, I was even re-thinking my start at Western Sydney but luckily I found my form again early pre-race week and the confidence boosted straight back to the top. The weather was hot in the lead up to the race which gave me every chance to train for the predicted temperatures at Penrith, this year top was just over 30C which was nothing compared to last years event.
Western Sydney 2015 featured a solid pro list including names like Tim Van Berkel and Mark Bowstead which I was lucky enough to share the Pro Panel with. I was a bit shocked to have been asked to come along to the Pro Panel but jumped at the opportunity and was very excited to take part. I had a lot of fun being in great company and having Pete Murray as the interviewer, hope to get the call up again in the future.
I was at Penrith all day Saturday for the usual pre-race training and briefing, had a chance to swim at the Atmosphere Health/Fitness Center pool which is an excellent facility, highly recommend you check it out if you're in town. The rain was on and off all day and it wasn't looking promising for the race either, racked my bike in transition and made sure to cover it up to protect it as much as possible from the weather to ensure a clean drivetrain. Unfortunatley I wasn't able to get accommodation in Penrith for Saturday night so had to make the drive home Saturday night to prepare for a 2:45am wake up Sunday morning.
The course as follows; Swim 1.9km, 1 loop in the freshwater Regatta (non-wetsuit), Bike 90km, fast 2 laps and Run 21.1km 2 1/2 laps, as flat as it gets. 18 Pro Males lined up on the start for a drizzly Sunday Morning race start at 6am

Definitely not the best deep water start I've had, bit slow off the mark and I wasn't able to create a gap early having Munro and Kastelein sitting on my hip for the first couple of hundred meters. I felt pretty average for the first part of the swim, however, the three of us manged to create a decent gap on the rest of the field by the first turn buoy. I came good heading back down the lake and swapped turns at the front with the two other guys, we continued to increase our lead and exited the water with a 1:10min gap on the main group.
Out onto the bike I took in some nutrition straight away to prepare for a solid ride, as soon as we got out of the Regatta I attacked hoping to leave both of them behind, although Munro being behind me he was able to react and latch on but I left Kastelein unprepared for my break away. I quickly settled into my rhythm and went to work on creating the biggest gap possible on the chase group which was full of some very fast runners. Rounding the first few corners was a bit sketchy as I was getting sideways due to the slick roads and had to slow it down a notch to keep myself upright to avoid hitting the deck which the lead moto managed to do at one of the U-Turns. Crossing paths with the chase pack for the first time left me pretty frustrated seeing 9 guys spread within only 50m, I knew these guys were going to be hard to hold off having a couple of strong riders at the front but was determined to stick to my race plan. After having a strong first lap my lead was now over 3min 30sec, unfortunatley I still had Munro on my tail and headed onto next lap to try and capitalise on this gap. Second lap was very congested out on course but was still feeling strong and averaging the same as the first lap, roads had dried up a bit and was able to attack the corners with a little more speed. The chase 'pack' must have got their act together on the second lap which prevented me from putting anymore time into them, coming of the bike with a 3:30min gap.
A lot going through my head in transition, I left my watch behind and headed out onto the run going on feel, chasing the finish line. Felt great coming off the bike, form was great and speed was there, by far the best my body has felt coming off the bike all season. I was able to start on nutrition early and was confident that this was my day. The worst thing about the course is that you can see everyone all the time on the run, I got around the other side of the lake for the first time and saw the chaser's moving along fast. I could here Pete Murray across the lake on the mic counting down the closing gap and it was lessening quickly, by half way he was only 1:30min down, this was going to be too close. It was at 17km he came past, quietly, not a word. I tried to stick with him for as long as I could as I wasn't giving it up without a fight, the gap just kept growing further and further and with a km to go there was no chance. Was always going to be hard to hold off a runner with fresh legs. Settled for another 2nd place to finish off 2015
Very happy with my race, probably the best to date. I'd be lying if I didn't say I was disappointed with the outcome but pleased to say I am improving with each race. I came to this distance looking for a more individual style of racing and unfortunately this wasn't the case on the weekend after hearing much feedback from other athletes and spectators on course. This makes me more determined heading into the new year, with that said I will continue to race with all I've got until it's enough. Thanks to everyone out on course for the support, especially Josh Amberger and Ironman for the live updates and photos. Huge thanks to all my sponsors, providing me with the best equipment possible on race day and George from Endeavour Cycles for once again getting my Cervelo P5 race ready.
That wraps up 2015 for 70.3 racing, I look forward to some ocean swim events and cycle racing through the summer and seeing what 2016 brings