Wednesday, 25 September 2013

French Grand Prix 4

After Cognac I returned back to Issy Les-Moulineaux to spend my last week in Europe and I was also lucky enough to see some of the sights in Paris including the Effiel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, The Louvre and Notre Dame. Spent five days training in Issy before we headed Noeux Les Mines for the last FGP race, was very glad this place was only a two hour drive away but will still stayed the night before the race. As we came into Noeux Les Mines, we saw an artificial ski slope which was pretty cool and the swim was in a wake board park, pretty awesome place. The weather was a little cold when we arrived in the afternoon but still got in an hour ride before heading to the hotel. The team picked a sweet Italian restaurant for dinner and had a round of ten pin bowling afterwards. Race start was at 1400 so we could have a little sleep in before heading to transition check in at 1100.

Race day was perfect, a lot warmer and no wind, although I found out that French professional triathlete Laurent Vidal was here to race and a lot of other tough competition. After check-in we chilled in the shade for a while to watch the racing and then it wasn't long before I started warming up. Another solid run warm up and this time a solid swim as well. The teams were called up by their ranking and placed into the gates, Issy was 7th, we managed to get about 4 across from the side so it wasn't too bad. With over eighty athletes lined up for a beach start race, it was going to be pretty hectic. We were underway, short run, one dolphin dive and I was in clear water already. The beach we started on was slightly curved so the two outside teams had a little advantage as I saw on the left and right side the guys got an early lead but I was able to swim over to the left lead pack and get on feet as it was a left turn first. The first two turn buoys I swam wide as the fight close to them was crazy and I wanted none of it. Came out of the water in about 10th position and with the best transition I have ever had, I was onto the bike in 4th. Was now in the lead pack of about ten or so and the first couple of km was insane but held a good position in the pack. There was a small chase group just behind and it wasn't long until they were in amongst us. The pack rode strong but there was a lot of people who didn't want to do any work at the front, I did my fair share of turns, even if they were short. On the 3rd of 4 laps, two guys broke away and no one reacted hoping that they would reeled in by the end of the bike, this was not the case, they kept putting more and more time into the group. Last km of the bike I moved my way up to the front and got off the bike in the top five. Super quick transition and I was onto the run with a small group. This run course did not suit me at all with 75% of it being cross country, it was extremely hard. A few guys had got a bit of a gap but throughout the run I got quicker and quicker and started pulling them back. Around half way I was running with two guys and it was not long till I dropped them both, I was now on the heels of 7th place in the last 500m. The finish consisted of a few corners before the final straight, I picked the last one to try and pass him but someone in the crowd called out and he saw me coming, it was very close but he had another gear and just pipped me at the line.

Overall very happy with 8th in FGP4, good end to the French Grand Prix series and also my European trip. With the results from other Issy members, we finished 5th and also 5th overall for the season which was really good. Hopefully next year we will finish in the top three and be promoted to 1st division. Huge thanks to Issy triathlon for the past three months, they have been great for travelling me to each race, feeding me and being awesome to be with. Cant wait to come back next year.
I Arrived back in Australia on the 11th of September and have 1 more race before I will break. In October I will compete in the Neapean Triathlon in Penrith, NSW. Really looking forward to that race as it is non-drafting and a very strong field is expected to turn up.


Sunday, 22 September 2013

French Grand Prix 3 (teams)

Could not believe my time in Vitoria-Gastiez had come to an end, I had an awesome three months with the Aussie crew and everyone else who came to stay. I had perfect weather 90% of the time, fair bit of rain the first couple of weeks when I arrived but a great European summer with one day peaking around 43 Degrees Celsius on my 3hr ride. On the 26th of August I left Vitoria-Gastiez to travel to France to spend my last two weeks with Issy triathlon and compete in the last two French Grand Prix races, I was lucky enough to have two weeks accommodation free with Issy members Regis Marchand and Linda Guinoiseau. During my stay I was able to see the sights of Paris and get some training done around Issy Les-Moulineaux, only 15min away from  Paris.
The third race of the FGP was in Cognac, five hour drive South West of Issy so we had to travel the day before and stay overnight in Cognac. We arrived late afternoon, just enough time for ride course familiarisation. The course was very undulating and technical which is not suited for a team time trial but there was a couple of straight roads we were able to get moving. Back from ride, off to dinner then bed, although we could have a bit of a sleep in as race was not until 1430 but had to be up to transition check-in at 1100.

Woke up around 0900 for breakfast with the team and a little briefing. This race was very different to anything I have done before as it was a team time trial triathlon. Each team had five athletes and had to finish the course in the quickest time possible with at least the top three athletes finishing together. Race start for the first team was at 1430 and each team started one minute after the one before. Issy Triathlon was off six minutes after race start. Long run warm up and only a short swim, I was now lined up with the team ready to start, Issy had a bit of team tactics for the swim. Myself and the other strongest swimmer was to dive in last and the weaker before, the aim was to fill the gap between the weaker swimmers around half way so they could sit on feet,  surprisingly this worked quite well. All five of us came out of the water together and was onto the bike leg fast. Most of the team had the clip-on bars while the strongest cyclist had a TT bike and disc which was a huge benefit to the whole team as he was able to drive the pack along those flat straights, then myself and the other guys would swap turns up the hills. We worked awesome through the bike leg even though we lost one of our athletes early on, we posted the 2nd fastest ride time for the whole race. The guy on the TT bike was now spent and decided he would not run and leave it to me and the remaining two guys. The run course was very undulating with a bit of cross country, steps and road running. One of they guys had been having a bit of trouble with his breathing the past few weeks so I was there to push him along during the run... and I don't just mean encouragement, I was running beside him with my hand on his back pushing him along, up and down the hills and grabbing extra water for him, luckily I was feeling really good. Just after half way we were going strong, still the three of us together but then the other guy started to battle and I was now running between the both of the pushing them along to the finish line. Coming into the last couple of hundred meters, every second counted so I decided to 'slingshot' them for a sprint and finished just behind them. I was absolutely stuffed after that run, one of the hardest runs I have ever done but we did good and ended up finishing in 5th overall.

The team was very happy with that result and I was glad that I am getting back my strength in the run after my injury. Back to Issy Les-Moulineaux for five days before I will race my last French Grand Prix which will also be my last race of the European season.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Tiszaujvarous Junior European Cup

Shortly after San Sebastian triathlon I got myself an Injury and was not running for almost four weeks, it wasn't until the end of the second week I actually found out what it was, posterior tibialis tendonitis. During this time I still competed in two races but was only able to do the swim and bike, went to France to race for Issy Triathlon and also Liverpool for the British Championships. Once I was able to run again it was very slow and only managed to get a weeks worth of running in before heading to Hungary for the Junior European Cup. This was one of my main races for the season as it was the only junior race I would compete in. My preparation was terrible for running but still had a lot of confidence that my swim and bike would be strong enough. The race format was a sprint distance, four semi-finals, the quickest seven from each semi and the next two quickest times qualified for the final the next day. Each semi had around twenty five athletes.

Was feeling fine before the race, my swim has been going great, riding strong and hoped to just hold on for the run. As soon as I dove in for race start I was in trouble, under the water for too long and came up underneath two athletes. With only one hundred meters to first buoy the fight was intense and I struggled big time. After the second buoy I was towards the back, a lot of energy wasted and I couldn't come back. Out of the water in the third pack. Straight onto the bike and put the pedal down, no time to waste. Went to the front of the pack and rolled turns with the boys, the group consisted of bout eight or so and the pack ahead was not far away. By half way we had caught the second pack and dropped some along the way. The group we caught had about five and we were down to the same so we now had a group of ten and kept pushing to catch the front pack. I was able to communicate with the group to roll through properly and we were flying. Unfortunately I couldn't catch the front pack but came off the bike under ten seconds behind. They only had seven and thought I still have a chance here.... got off the bike and I felt terrible. I was passed by the whole pack within the first two hundred meters, I didn't think I would be running this bad, the bike hurt but. The whole run was a battle but had to finish. Finished 18th, very disappointed as I expected a lot more, although it was first race back running I should have been out of the water in first pack but outcome focus took priority over process and it did not end well.

I will put that race behind me and focus on my run for the next 2 weeks before travelling to France to compete in the last two French Grand Prix Races.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

San Sebastian Triathlon

It had now been just under a month since I raced my first Basque race which I crashed out and broke my bikes forks. Thanks to Ruben Gonzales at VIBIkE for lending me his bike since then, I only just received my replacement forks on Friday night, just in time for San Sebastian on Sunday. I was very keen to do this race, heard a lot of good things for example the weather and epic ride course. The drive to San Sebastian was only an hour away from Vitoria so we didn't have to leave until 6:30am. Also making the trip was training partners Charlotte McShane and Natalie Van Coevorden, they both raced this event last year and had a very good result. I was unsure about my competition, there was a few people the coach pointed out that were pretty good but other than that I had no idea.
Jamie dropped us at the top of the hill so we could ride the last 10k into San Sebastian as the ride down was very sketchy and the rain did not make it any easier. We got to the bottom, weather was slightly better than up top, registered and prepared for warm up. This was an Olympic distance race, swim was in the bay, just a 1500m loop around the boats. The bike course was very hilly, 40k loop with several short sharp climbs in the first 20k and a 6k climb which was brutal but finished with a 8k downhill back to race site. The 10k run was 3 laps just along the beach front.

The girls were off first at 9:15am and men at 9:30am. With over 500 men lined up ready for race start, I was ready to go. The athelets saw smoke from the horn but no noise, I didn't stop them from running out into the water for race start, it only took the official another go about a sec later and the race was on. I love beach starts, especially when there are a couple of little waves rolling through, had a very clean run and was out in the water 1st. After a couple of 100m I could see one of the athletes pointed out earlier about 50m to the left of me, he turned around first buoy about 10sec before I did. I maintained this gap through the rest of the swim and exited the water in 2nd position. It wasn't until after the race I realised I was not urgent enough through T1 which could have saved me riding 40k by myself, as I just missed Godoy and could not bridge the gap in the first few km's. The ride was very tough, the small hills at the start hurt the legs early but with 15k of relatively flat road, I had time to recover before hitting the 6k climb up from Orio. It wasn't too bad the first few km's but slowly started to feel the effects on having a 23 cassette on, although it was raining on the way up so I kept nice and cool. Finally over the top and ready for the sketchy descent which we rode earlier. I was very lucky though as the road was dry on the descent so was able to ride down solid. Last 500m I turned around and noticed 2 riders just behind me, I saw them about 2k into the ride and they must have been just behind all race. If I knew that I could have saved the legs and got off the bike fresher. In and out of T2 no dramas and it wasn't long until one of those guys caught up and I began to run with him. I ran with him feeling quite good until about 5k which he made an attack and left me for dead, he only managed to get 100m up the road and then kept that gap for the rest of the run. Crossed the line in 3rd position not too far behind 2nd place.

Very happy with my race, placing 3rd overall and first U23 with a time of 2:01:08. Was very suprised when I saw the splits, having 2nd fastest ride time overall, even doing the full 40k solo.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

French GP Race 1

Soon after I found out about coming to races overseas I was in contact with a French triathlon team Issy Les Moulineaux. After a few emails I joined their team and will race for them while I am in Europe.

Last Friday I took my first flight into Paris to meet up with the team, that night was the annual Paris Music Festival so I took a short trip into Paris with a few of the athletes to see the sights and have an excellent dinner. I stayed with two other athletes at their house that night as we had to drive to La Rochelle the next morning which was just over 4 hours away.
We arrived in La Rochelle to cold and wet weather but we still managed to fit a ride in before dinner. After a good feed at a local restaurant we headed back to the hotel so the coach could give the team a race brief and have an early night.
Up at 7am for a buffet breakfast with the team and then off to race site which was just across the road to put our gear in transition. Our race was not until 10:30am so we headed back to the room to relax before heading back to race at 9:30 for a warm up.

It was now 10:20am, warm up done and waiting with the team up on the boardwalk ready to be called down to the pontoon. Issy had 10th pick on the start and with at least 5 athletes per team the pontoon was very congested. We picked right in the middle to ensure shortest line to first buoy which was under 200m away that narrowed underneath a bridge. The buzzer was off, no warning but luck I was ready and had a very clean dive. I put everything into that first 200m and found myself in clear water placed about 5th. After reaching the U-Turn buoy my arms felt like they were dead and I started losing some places. Came out of the water in the front half of the second pack, the lead group consisted of 6 or 7 athletes including world class French triathlete Laurent Vidal. We only had a gap of around 30sec after lap 1 but the gap increased each lap as the pack was not working strong enough to catch them. I sat in most of the ride and tried to avoid any crashes as it was a group if 20 or so athletes on a slightly technical course. I came off the bike placed about 10th in the group and about 1min behind the leaders. Quick transition and I was off onto the run feeling good. The first km was crazy but it wasn't long until I started passing other athletes. The run course had a lot at turns and one stretch was extremely windy but still managed to run myself into 12th position and 1st Junior.

Happy with my first French Grand Prix race, was a very good experience and can't wait for the next one. Issy Triathlon is an excellent team, the athletes and Coach are great, very helpful (a few also know a fair bit on English too). They made my weekend very enjoyable and I look forward to racing for them again. Now back in Vitoria-Gastiez for a week's training then I'm off to San Sebastian for a local race

Friday, 14 June 2013

ITU European Cup Cremona, Italy

After my crash last weekend I was keen to get back racing and couldn't think of a better place to go than Cremona, Italy. This was my first major race in Europe and with 83 elite men on the start list, it looked to be a tough race. Travelled to Italy alongside Tamsyn Moana-Veale (from my training group) on Friday morning with a short stop over at Frankfurt. We arrived late Friday evening, for some dinner and off to bed. Saturday consisted of some pre-race training, seeing the sights and race brief in the evening. Race start for the men was 12:25 Sunday afternoon. This was the first race which has two separate transitions. Had to put the shoes in at T2 at 7:30am and rego/T1 opening wasn't until 11am at the race start which was a 15min ride from the apartments. Arrived just before 11 to register, rack bike and warm up. Just before the start we lined up and it was officially announced there was 75 starters, I don't even know if the pontoon fits that many athletes.

Each athlete was called down in order of their number, I was ranked 27th. Ran down to the pontoon after being introduced and decided to start on the left as there was only a few athletes. Everyone was now lined up and ready for the start. After a minutes silence for a soldiers death in Afghanistan the race was off. Had a clean dive in the water and the fight was on, others were swimming ontop of me, grabbing me feet, elbows, legs, I copped a bit of a beating but wasn't long until I found some cleat water. After about 150-200m of swimming, athletes just stopped swimming and yelling out stop, I looked up and the boat was in front telling us we had false started, that's just great! Everyone started swimming back ready for 2nd attempt, when I got a bit closer I notice about 30 athletes were still on the pontoon. Climbed back up and ready for race start, only took a couple of minutes and we were underway again. Very similar start a lot of getting bashed except this time I could not find clear water and struggled until I found myself out the back by the first buoy and was hurting, couldn't find any rhythm and knew my position was not good. It felt like I put everything into the swim but found myself coming into T1 towards the back of the field and just missing a big pack ahead of me. Had 3 other athletes to ride with but after a lap it came down to only 2 others as one couldn't keep up the pace. Didn't feel very comfortable on the bike, think it may have been only doing one ride this week and also being on a different bike because of what happened last week. Came off the bike and with a very quick and smooth T2 I was out onto the run. Felt ok on the first lap of the run, by the end of first lap I could see a couple of groups from bike pack that got off over a minute ahead. Lap 2 I was starting to pass some athletes and gaining a couple of extra positions. Although the back half of the 2nd lap my shoulders started to get really tight and I felt a little fatigued and started to slow up. I shook it off pretty quickly and started picking off more athletes. By the finish I had gained several extra places but was still a long way back thanks to my poor swim at the start.

Finished a bit disappointed 58th in my first ITU European Cup, the race started bad and was very hard to recover. I now have 2 weeks training and on the 23rd of June I will compete in my first French Grand Prix race. Very keen for a good result there, very lucky to be apart of an awesome team Issy Triathlon who I will race for the first time that weekend.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Arrived in Europe

Earlier this week I took the long journey from Sydney to Vitoria-Gasteiz, Alava. Left last Sunday night and had a very smooth trip to arrive at my apartment in Vitoria just after 9pm the following night. The first thing I noticed is how late the sun goes down, it was still light when I arrived. Settled into training early the next morning and lucky I did not feel any effects from my travels.
Needed to settle in quickly as I had race that weekend in Ondarroa, Spain with another aussie, Nick Kastelein, who is staying at the same place. On Friday we left Vitoria to travel to Biarritz, France to see some sights and stay the night before the race on Saturday. Biarritz was very nice but the weather was extremely cold and windy, would like to go back when the weather warms up. We left Biarritz around lunch to drive to Ondarroa for a 3:45pm race start. The race was Olympic distance starting at a fishing harbour and the ride followed the coast until coming back inland, through the hills and the run was 3 laps around the harbour. The water temp was 13 degrees Celsius so was definitely not getting in for a swim warm up. With over 450 males lined up on the beach ready to race, I was keen to get my European race season underway. 

With a little sneaky help from one of the local race officials he pointed Nick and I to the best position for the swim start. The race was on and after a 30m run down the beach I hit the icy cold water of Ondarroa which was a big shock. After 30 sec I was in clear water and already had a gap on the field with Kastelein sitting on my feet. The water was cold but didn't bother me too much as I was feeling great swimming and continued to put seconds into the rest of the field. Come out of the water first along with Kastelein just behind. When I got up on the bridge I could see we had about a 30sec gap on 3rd and a huge gap on the next bunch. Smooth T1 and started the climb out of transition. It wasn't until after 5min of climbing I came across a flat section to put my feet in my shoes, right foot in no dramas, as I attempted to put my left foot in the shoe somehow unclipped went into the spokes of my front wheel and jammed into the forks throwing me over the handlebars. I got up un-injured but I picked my bike up and the front wheel was only just hanging on by a couple of fibers of the fork. The shoe had clean cut the fork in half and that was my race over. Couldn't believe it and could not believe how it actually happened, I was so angry considering I led out of the water and had just finished a big cycling block before coming over, the bike would have probably been my strongest leg. The ambulance came to pick me up and the bike was brought down by one of the motorcycles. No injuries, just a couple of bruises and a broken bike.

Big thanks to the ambulance officers and race officials for their help and getting me back down the mountain. I have my second race for the trip at Cremona, Italy this weekend so main focus is getting my bike sorted and coming back strong over there.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Continental Cup Mooloolabah, QLD

Since I started triathlons I have always wanted to travel up to mooloolaba to compete. Finally I had the chance to race there and also compete in my first Continental Cup race. I have heard really good things about the mooloolaba race, including the surf swim and the warm weather. Unfortunately this year only had the warm weather. Due to the forecast of dangerous surf conditions, the swim was moved into the lake which meant the run to transition was not 100 or 200m but 500m along the hard pavement.
This was also my first draft-legal Olympic distance event, I have done a couple of non-drafting Olympic before but this would be a whole lot different. The swim course was 1500m around an island in the lake, after a 500m run from the swim to bike we had to complete a 40km ride (1 lap out and back) which was mainly flat with a few small hills at the start. A 10km run followed which was one of the hardest courses I've been on as there was 3 climbs and extremely hot. The field was very strong with a big variety of age, 30 competitors from countries such as Australia, Germany, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Columbia and Japan looked to be a good race.

Very early race start on Sunday morning, 6:30 was our race and also the first wave of the day. Didn't have much time for a solid warm up so had to make the most of the time we had. I was ranked last as I have not done a Conti cup before and was a bit worried if I was going to get a good position on the sand. After watching the men's world cup the day before I decided I wanted to start on the right side, lucky enough there was one position left on the very inside right, yes! About 3sec after I got my position we were off. I was off to a flying start, couple of steps through the water before diving in and I was out in front away from the chaos. I led out the right hand group while I could see Dan Wilson leading the left hand group. It was about 300m to first buoy so the pack had time to straighten out before turning. About half way through the swim I was now sitting in the top half of the pack and Wilson had a gap on the rest of the field. Coming in from the swim there was a sand bank about 50m offshore that I had checked out the day before which enabled athletes to porpoise for about 20m before it went deep again. Came out of the water in the middle of the pack and had to sprint to transition to ensure I didn't have to do any chasing on the bike. Very quick transition and was out onto the bike sitting comfortably in the pack. The group rolled over the hills at a hard pace but even so the pack stayed together. As it stood, Wilson had a big gap ahead of my pack which had about 20 riders there was another pack behind of about 15 riders and also a few solo riders at the tail end. The packed worked really well on the way out, majority of people were rolling turns and we were catching Wilson. On the way back it was a bit scattered, several poor attacks didn't help as the group would catch back up and we would be freewheeling for 10-15sec. The last km is very technical, very fast and some tight bends. Just as we were going up the last hill I got on the wheel of another rider who rode up to the front, I overtook him just as the corners started and had a clean run all the way through to transition. I had the 2nd fastest ride time for the race leading my pack onto the run but still 2nd overall as Wilson still had a big lead. Felt pretty good coming off the bike although a pack of 4 came past pretty quick about 2k in and wasn't able to kick to stay with them, a few others had also passed but couldn't stick with any of them. Going up the hill for the first lap was really hard, it was long and the turn around was right at the top. Sitting in 8th position with a group of 3 not too far behind, it looked as though they were gaining but I would have been disappointed to miss out on top 10 so I picked up the pace and pushed for last 3km. The hill 2nd time round wasn't so bad, knowing that when I got to the top it was only a km downhill to the finish. I managed to hold that group off and put more time into them coming over in 8th position with an overall time of 1:54:20.

Very happy with the result in my first continental cup race placing 8th out of 30 athletes. Will be doing a lot more of these when I travel to Europe later this year. I nw have NSW club champs on the first weekend of April then preparation for Europe will begin.

ITU Junior Race 4, Oceania Championships New Zealand

The last race of the Australian Junior series had come around very quickly, the end of my Australian triathlon season was very near. Headed down to Wellington, New Zealand on the 7th of March with the TRINSW squad. We arrived early afternoon to extremely good weather for NZ, a little cold compared to what I am use to but a lot better than the first time I went there. With a day and bit of training we were scheduled to race at 10am Saturday morning. The majority of the field was Australian athletes but was good to see a few NZ athletes. This was a sprint distance race 750m swim in Wellington Harbour, 20km bike leg (3 laps) along Oriental Parade with a 300m climb each lap with some windy conditions and 5km (2 lap) flat run along the footpath.

35 U19 males lined up at the start ready to go in very different conditions to what I arrived in, very cold, windy and overcast. Race was off and I had a terrible start, bit hesitant off the pontoon and I dived in a tad late to get an absolute thrashing out to first buoy which was under 200m away. The start cost me big time for the rest of the race, only got my rhythm in the back half of the swim and it was too late by then. Come out of the water 10sec behind the lead pack (which consisted of about 10 riders) with another athlete, we worked really well on the bike picking up another athlete who had dropped off the main group. Going up the hill for the first time I felt strong and stuck with the other guy but 100m before the turn around at the top he managed to get a little gap and left me for dead on the downhill. Within the next couple of km's he caught the lead pack and I was still pushing my hardest to chase them down, got close with the tail wind behind but as soon as I turned into the headwind I realised I had no chance so had to make the decision to hold up and wait for the chase pack who was close behind. Pack caught me with Just under a lap and a half to go and sat in to save the legs for the run. I knew there was a lot of fast runners in this group so I made sure that I gave myself the best chance to stick with them. Off the bike and onto the run, within the first 100m 2 runners came past and I was able to kick and run with them. Stuck close to them for the next lap and a half and picked off quite a few athletes from the lead group, it wasn't until the last turn around one of the athletes kicked and broke away, the other guy and myself tried to chase but he had set a quick pace. The last 500m I passed another athlete from the front group but both athletes I was running with had got away, almost caught another front group athlete but finished 2sec behind in 9th position.

Bit disappointed with that result as another few seconds in the swim would have put me in lead pack and would have been looking at a lot higher position. Finished 9th out of 35 Junior males, only 17sec between 4th and myself. Have my first Continental Cup race this weekend over the Olympic distance, really looking forward to that.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

ITU Junior Race 3, Devonport TAS

After having a couple of disappointing races earlier this year, I approached this race at a completely different angle. My training lead up, diet (morning of the race) and race preparation had a change for the better. After training with Jamie Turner's group down in Wollongong from the end of January to this weekend I was confident going into the race. During this time I saw massive improvements in my training and especially my run which has been my let down each race. A couple of weeks back I did a 5km run Time Trial where I ran a 15:15.7, over a minute PB. This gave me a huge boost of confidence for my run.
Race 3 was the first world team qualifier and Oceania Sprint Championships. I have been down to Devonport a few times now and the course has always been very similar. It's a 750m ocean swim but normally the surf is flat, this time it was very choppy and 1ft waves were rolling through due to the strong NE wind. The bike course is 20km (4 laps), mainly flat with a few slight rises and a very strong crosswind. Run is 5km (2 laps) and is on the Eastern end of the bike course. Race time was at 12:45pm on Saturday, wind was up all day and temperature was around 20 degrees. The ITU Junior male field consisted of 39 competitors including a couple of New Zealand athletes.

A short run along the sand before entering the water made it very congested, the waves did not help either. My start was smooth but definitely not quick , by the time we got out the back it was swimming at the tail end of the lead pack. On the way back in I had found my rhythm and started picking off other athletes, I was unfortunate to have not caught a wave all the way in but managed to get a few smaller ones to help me to shore. Out of the water in 9th position and onto the bike. There was a small group about 30sec in front and another group of 2 between my group and the leaders. After lap 1 we had caught the 2 just in front and continued chasing the front group. The bike leg felt a lot harder than it should have been, I was in a pack of 6 or so and struggled to hold a turn for more than 5 sec. I had been riding really strong it the lead up but definitely did not show in the race. By the last lap the front group had put another 10sec into my group. Come off the bike 2nd in my pack with some of the fastest runners in the race but a quick transition put me out onto the run ahead of the group. Just as I came out of transition, about 5 guys from my pack sprinted past me, I decided not to chase and run my own run. Shortly after I started picking off those guys who ran past me a the start, one by one. After the first lap I had caught 3 guys from my pack and 2 from the lead group which put me in 5th and continued to put time into them. Held my position to the finish line placing 5th in the Oceania Sprint Championships and 4th in the Australian Junior series race.

Very happy with this race, hard to remember the last time I was overtaking people in the run. Big thanks to Jamie Turner for getting me back up to speed, it goes to show what a few weeks of training with him and his squad does, thanks guys. Also Stevens bikes for their support with the bike, Zensah and Injinji.

I now look forward to resuming my training with the group to prepare for Race 4 of the ITU Junior series in Wellington, New Zealand which is also the last chance to qualify for Junior Worlds Team.


Friday, 1 February 2013

Australia Day Aquathon

It is now 2013 and what an exciting year it will be. My last year as a Junior Triathlete and the first year that I will be travelling overseas to race in Europe. The annual Australia Day Aquathon was held last Sunday at Wollongong Harbour, this was my 5th time racing here and enjoy it every time. This year saw the strongest field the Aquathon has ever had, with International triathletes from France, USA, UK and Australia's best. The long course event consisted of a 900m swim and a 7km run which saw over 360 competitors.

The first wave for the morning was the U30 males at 8am.
My start to the swim was good, kept out front with the lead pack for the first 300m and was feeling strong. On the way back to the shore I suddenly started to feel very fatigued and the lead pack began to get away. It felt like I had already been swimming for an hour and made it a lot harder as competitors started to pass. Out of the water and a short run on the beach to start lap 2, dove into the water and was swimming amongst the second pack. This lap felt no better than the first and slowly lost more ground. Finally the swim was over, out of the water in 13th position. Started my run feeling not good, very fatigued and legs felt extremely heavy. The first few km's was a battle to get through but the next 4k's was really good. Pace picked up and legs started to feel strong, was able to close the gap a bit between myself and the runner ahead but ran out of time before the finish was in sight. Across the line in a slightly disappointed 12th and 2nd U20.

The NSW Institute of Sport squad has now arrived back in Wollongong and have started my training back with them this week. Really looking forward to this months training in preparation for my next race in Devonport, Tasmania.

Towards the end of 2012 I was in contact with a compression company called Zensah through a mutual friend, Andrew Hedgman (Ultra Marathon Runner). He mentioned how good the compression garments are and that I should get in contact with them to try and gain some support. After correspondence with Corey Gill, I was lucky enough to have been asked to join team Zensah and promote their product through the sport of Triathlon. I have been wearing their compression since the new year and have definitely noticed a difference in my recovery after each day of training. I wake up with my legs feeling fresh every time I use the compression socks, the calf sleeves are awesome for those long runs and the compression top is great to wear underneath the jersey on cold morning rides and after hard swim sets. Thanks again to Zensah for accepting me on their team and I look forward to working with them in the future.

Be sure to have a read of my post below to find out what I was up to towards the end of 2012, some great training and racing.

Thursday, 31 January 2013

End of 2012

10 weeks have now passed since my last blog entry and what a busy 10 weeks it has been. On the 28th of November I headed down to Falls Creek, Victoria with the National Talent Academy and the NSWIS squad to engage in some quality altitude training. This was the second time I had been to Falls Creek and it is always a great opportunity to be asked to come down as the standard of athletes/coaches is extremely high with the likes of Aaron Royle (U23 World Triathlon Champion), Brendan Sexton (2012 Olympic Triathlete) and Bobby McGee (One of the worlds best run coaches).
I was in Falls for 2 weeks prior to my first major race of the Triathlon season. I left Falls on the 12th of December and flew Straight to the Gold Coast, Queensland to compete at Race 1 of the Scody National Junior Series at Runaway Bay on the 14th. The temperature difference between Victoria and Queensland was insane, a couple of days before I left it was snowing and in the minus degrees, upon arrival in Queensland the temperature was over 30 degrees Celsius. Only had 2 days to adapt before I went into competition.

Race 1 of the Junior series was a Super Sprint Weekend, 7 races in 3 days. Day 1 included 50m, 100m and 200m swim time trials, 8km criterium race and a 1km run time trial. Day 2 included an Aquathon (400m swim, 2km run), Super Sprint Tri (300m swim, 6k bike, 1.6km run), Ultra Sprint Tri (200m Swim, 4k bike, 1.2km run). Day 3 was the Grand Final Triathlon (400m swim, 8km bike, 4km run). After each race athletes were awarded points depending on their position, top 16 gained points.
Day 1 went really well, huge PB's in the pool (50m= 26.5, 100m= 58.1, 200m= 2:06.6). The criterium race was not as good as I hoped, the run before and after let me down. There was a 200m sprint into transition before getting on the bike and then 300m after the bike leg. Got off the bike in 1st but due to my lack of speed in the run ended up in 5th. Run time trial was very impressive for me, ran a 2:35 in my heat which put me through to the final in which I ran a 2:36 placing me 9th. After Day 1 I was sitting in 6th position.
Day 2 had the Aquathon in the morning, was pretty happy with my race in the heat but when compared to the other heats I was placed 10th, picking up only some points. The Super Sprint Triathlon was a terrible race, had a really bad swim coming out of the water mid pack, bike was OK and suffered on the run after getting cramps just after two laps. Managed to finish but did not pick up any points for that race which put me back to 11th position overall. The Ultra Sprint that afternoon was a better result able to pick up some points but not enough to move up the ranks. Recovery was a major focus that night with the last race the next morning and keen to give it a good crack as I was in the A Final.
Day 3 had finally come around, Grand Final Day. The best 16 Juniors were put into the A Final to race each other one last time. I was feeling quite good that morning considering what I had done the past two days and keen to get racing. Come out of the water in the lead pack and had a strong bike leg coming off in first. My legs were shattered as soon as the run started but as the laps ticked over my pace kept getting quicker and started catching back up. Was glad to have passed a couple of people in the last laps but was enough and had to settle for 7th.
After the race weekend, the best 45 Australian Junior Triathletes were selected to attend a development camp. This was my 3rd time at the camp and was really looking forward to it once again. The standard of coaches that attend this camp has always been really high and was definitely the best this year without a doubt; Bobby McGee, Sara Carrigan (Olympic Gold Medallist) and Craig Walton (2000 Olympic Triathlete) just to name a few. Learnt a lot form the camp and gained many new techniques to incorporate into my own training.