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

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Mandurah 70.3

After Port Macquarie 70.3 I had planned to travel to Noosa to race there for the first time and was keen to get an Olympic distance race in, however, plans changed within that week and ended booking my first trip to Western Australia. I entered Mandurah hoping for another good result and gain some more points. I was pretty excited heading to WA for the first time and had heard a lot of great reports of Mandurah 70.3 from previous years. With such a stacked line up in last year's pro race, I was a little nervous to see what the 2015 race would bring. The course is super fast having an almost dead flat bike leg and I was in need of a disc wheel ASAP. The week of the race I was in touch with the guys from Titan Performance Group who put in the good word for me and managed to organise a Zipp Super 9 which arrived about 8hrs before leaving. Thanks to Elton at Echelon Sports for getting me on one at such late notice, it did it's job superbly.

After spending the first half of the week training in the rain all day everyday I was glad to be getting on a plane to head somewhere else. Left for WA early Friday morning after a 5hr plane trip and a gain of 3hrs time zone I was here. Headed down the coast to Mandurah where I had booked a room in at Una's riverfront B&B for the three nights. It was a pretty sweet spot, was able to jump off the jetty on Saturday to do my pre race swim and it was right around the corner from Transition which would be handy when race start was at 6am.
The swim is known to be a downhill swim due to the tides but we were informed that this wasn't the case for Sunday with tide movement between 6am-9am only .01 The bike was 2 laps out and back with a little side road on the way back which had the only rise of the course. The run also 2 laps out and back with a bit of undulation running next to the coast. There were 16 professional men in the race including high quality International and Australian athletes.

Chilly Sunday morning was here and stoked it was a wetsuit swim so I could suit up in my Xterra Vengeance again. Lined up in the water ready to push myself to the limit it was only 50m or so to the first 90° turn buoy, getting there first was my main priority. Horn was off and we were underway, I had a wicked start and was flying to the first buoy, already leading the way and rounded the buoy ... that's where I made my break. I settled into my pace and after 100m I looked back a couple of times and the sun was right behind me, I could only see the splash from my kick. This remained the same until after 1.2k when I started through the chicane section and was able to see I had a sizeable gap luckily my polarized Zoggs were clear as day. Exited the water with a trip up the steps and a 37sec lead on the chase group.
Out onto the bike I put the hammer down from the start, I was confident after being able to train with power again for a couple of weeks and installing a disc wheel the day before. Couldn't believe how comfortable I was on the flats, Ryan from 3D BikeFit works wonders. Pushed some really good wattage for the first 45k and extended my lead to almost 2mins. Although, I didn't know this during the race as I wasn't getting any splits, I could tell from my judgment I was putting time on them but didn't know how much. If anyone read the report saying I "tried to hold a bit back" this is not true, I gave the bike leg 100% knowing that my current run form was far from ideal and in the process of trying to get some valuable time up my sleeve for the run I completely cooked myself. On the second lap my power was slightly less and the wind seemed to be affecting me more but the Cervelo P5 sliced through the wind all morning. Came into transition with a 3:25min on Bozzone and almost 6min on the chase group.
Started the run feeling pretty average, legs were OK but the stomach was turning and it wasn't happy. I couldn't hold off nutrition so had to take what stayed down and by the first third of the run I was sweet and it was now a case of survival at the fastest pace I could go. I knew these guys could run behind me and thought Bozzone would catch me by the first turn around. It wasn't until after the first lap I could see what was happening behind me, Bozzone had closed the gap a bit but it was Chevrot who was moving. Heading out to make the turn home I could see Chevrot closing in fast and as I turned he was now only 100m behind. He passed me at about 4k to go, I tried to stick with him but the legs were shutting down for the day and there was nothing I could do but watch 1st place slip away. My legs ended up that bad I was worried about Bozzone being on my heels before the finish but next thing I knew I was heading down the finish shute, High5's left and right as I ran down, this was the happiest and best race of my triathlon career coming in 2nd overall in the Mandurah 70.3
My first podium for 70.3 came in my first year of racing at this distance and am very happy with how the race turned out. I used my strengths to extend my lead as much as I could, leading the race until the last 3k of the run. So close to a win but the confidence I gained from this race pushes me even more to chase the win in the near future. I have a local 70.3 next, Western Sydney in 3 weeks time which should be a great race and looking forward to lining up at the start.
A huge thanks to all my sponsors and family, I couldn't do it without them. Being backed the brands I am partnered with gives me a huge confidence boost during training and racing knowing I am using the best equipment available. Also thanks to my travel partner, mum, for being there all weekend for support.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Port Macquarie 70.3

My return from the US saw me have a break for a few weeks to relax and rest the body, by the end of my break I was keen to get stuck into training again with plenty of racing lined up before the year end. Unfortunately my return to training wasn't great, after a week running I suffered a minor foot injury and didn't run for 10 days, lucky enough I was still able to keep swimming and riding in preparation for my first race of the season.
Port Macquarie 70.3 was at the top of the list for the 2015/16 season, this was the first time I would race in Port Mac and had heard a lot about the challenging course and strong competition in previous years. Drove up the coast Friday mid-morning after picking up the bike from Endeavour Cycles, couldn't thank George enough for getting it race ready, fitting new chainrings and a power meter thanks to Sam at Power2Max Australia. Saturday I went through the usual with athlete briefing and pre race training which included course familirisation, from what I was told the bike is tough but I didn't realise how tough it actually was until I rode part of it, however, I would prefer a course like this over a dead flat road any day. The swim has been know for some current movement and the run is flat with a short climb each lap.
The Pro list had some good names amongst it with two time Champion at this race Josh Amberger and Tim Reed who is one of the fastest runners in the sport, 24 Male Pros turned up for Port Mac 70.3 this year and it looked like it was going to be a tough race... I was right...

Men's start was first at 06:45, top seeded guys were called into the water first which included Amberger and Fettell which were both regular front pack swimmers. They made their way over to the far right start buoy and so did 90% of the other guys, following the strong swimmers. I watched everyone swim by and crowd one another in that right corner, I decided to start furthest left and not take anyone else with me. We were off and I could see straight away Amberger leading out the right side, I kept my line for the first 200m and slowly drifted over to Amberger's line, I was only 20-30m behind him and was slowly catching him with Fettell on my feet. It wasn't until just after the U-Turn maybe 1.2-.3k I finally caught his feet and was able to relax a little, not long after we came across a shallow section where Fettell and myself were able to porpoise for 50m or so and I got a little gap, once we started swimming again Amberger took the lead to exit out of the water first, myself 2nd and Fettell 3rd.

We had a 50sec gap on the chase group, I exited transition first and was pushing hard on the bike from the start. I felt good through the rolling hills but once we got onto the flats and Amberger passed me it was a struggle to keep him in my sight, I noticed a big difference not having a disc wheel and was pushing 340-50W for the first 20k. After taking a lead just before the first U-Turn Amberger passed me on an uphill and I cracked, I had to let him go and with the chase pack not too far behind I decided to sit up take some nutrition and start again. The chase pack of nine guys caught me and I wasn't going to sit back and watch I stayed at the front with Reed and Munro to keep the pace on to make sure we didn't lose to much time on Amberger.
Heading up Matthew Flinders Dr for the first time was brutal, the gear ratio on my bike wasn't ideal for that hill and pushed over 900W to get to the top although I was able to recover for a bit having broken away from the pack. We were now out on our second lap and about 3min down on Amberger, I rode solid that 2nd lap, the pack losing no more than 45sec on the leader. Back into town with a huge pack and I was a little nervous heading into the run with so many guys as my run training in the lead up was far from good. Was so happy to finally have a race with continuous power and no dropouts, turned on the Garmin as soon as I got to my bike, Power2Max Auto Calibrated straight away and it worked from start to finish. Very happy with this and cannot wait to use it throughout training now.

Out of transition around 5th place and wasn't feeling too bad, first few k's had me running at 3:35-40min/km but had other guys fly past me making it look easy. Between km 3-8 was terrible, I couldn't keep anything down, having a little spew every couple of minutes and I was losing a lot of time, now in 8 or 9th position but then it clicked just before the first hill, good timing. I started to feel great, form was good and pace had picked up dramatically, slowly picking off the guys that had passed me earlier. I was now stoked to be back in the top 6 with only a few km's left but I could see ahead what looked to be Amberger, I passed him to move into 5th position, unfortunately he has been suffering injuries this year and his run has been letting him down but all credit to him for smashing the swim bike. Was really happy to be coming down the finish in 5th after a shaky first 10k and only 90sec separated 2nd to 5th, Congrats to Tim Reed who dominated the run leg to take the win by 5mins.

Stoked with my first race for this season, came away with some positives and a couple negatives to work on in the coming months. That was the last year Port Macquarie will hold a Pro field for the 70.3 as it will be on the same weekend as the Ironman next time so was glad to get that race in. At the moment I'm deciding on the next race to do but will be racing again within the next 3 weeks.
Huge thanks to all my sponsors for their support, honoured to be using the best brands in the business, over the moon to be finally racing in my very own custom Trisuit thanks to Nimblewear and Titan Performance Group, very happy with how it looks.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Cervelo and Garmin onboard for 2015/16 season

Two weeks out from the first race of the 2015/16 season, it's time to get the page firing again, stay tuned for plenty more posts. Very confidient going into this season knowing I have the backing of Titan Performance Group, I really enjoy working with these guys and look forward to the future with them.

Very excited to announce that I have now signed with Cervelo and Garmin for the upcoming season. Both these brands have been a long time favourite of mine, having used Garmin products for several years and admiring Cervelo bikes since I first started Triathlon it is an honour to be receiving support from them and stoked to be using the best brands in the business. I am now riding a Cervelo P5 LTD with a Garmin 520 cycle computer and use and Garmin Forerunner 920XT Tri for swimming and running. Also very happy to have continued support from Xterra Wetsuits- fastest suits on the planet, 3D BikeFit- will get the most out of you and your bike, Zoggs- best goggles money can buy, Qoleum- essential pre/post creams/oils. Looking forward to receiving custom kit from Nimblewear for training and racing for this season.
I also had the opportunity to travel to Adelaide a couple of weeks back to undertake the 'Titan Experience' which is a very personalized service tailored to your individual needs. All training facilities are right at the doorstep from Olympic pools to run trails and scenic rides so you can continue your training program as normal. Between session they will take you through acquiring any new equipment that is needed from wetsuits to bikes and run shoes, stocking only the best brands you can't go wrong. Bike fitting and ride/run analysis is also provided down there to take your training and racing to the next level.
The guys down there are very friendly and have your best interest in mind providing a first class service to ensure you will come away the complete athlete.

Monday, 7 September 2015

GoPro: A Day in New York City

Check out this video from my last few days in the US, took a trip to NYC to do some exploring and sightseeing (CLICK HD)

Monday, 24 August 2015

Timberman 70.3

From Vineman 70.3 it was back to Boulder for another 4 week training block, feeling more comfortable at altitude I was able to explore more (venturing up to 4000m), nail the harder session and get some solid back to back weeks of training. However, my time in Boulder had to come to an end, it was unreal and really looking forward to heading back there in the future. To finish off my racing in the US I headed to New Hampshire to race Timberman 70.3, with World Champs coming up and some other racing on I was thinking it may have been a quite field but little did I know guys use this for Kona prep and the pro start list was stacked, 46 deep and some huge names in the sport. The course was challenging and I had plenty of confidence coming off a few solid weeks in Boulder so I was keen as to hit the start line.

I flew out of Denver on Friday and  headed for Boston, after a slightly delayed flight and losing a couple of hours due to time difference, I didn't get to the hotel until 23:30 but was out as soon as I hit the bed. Headed to athlete village on Saturday morning for briefing and check-in before doing my usual pre-race training at race site. The location was awesome, plenty of green everywhere and the lake was crystal clear. The swim was a point to point course, bike was out and back over a very undulating route, also throwing in a couple of short,sharp hills and the run was 2 laps also undulating and a little bit longer than a accurate half. 

Race start was at 0700 Sunday morning and being the first time having the single transition over here, I had plenty of time in the morning to setup and relax.
Race morning had perfect conditions, couldn't ask for better, maybe a little less humid... I was a bit shattered when I racked my bike and went to turn the Garmin on and nothing, dead flat, no power. Realized there was nothing I could do and got on with the morning.  Probably the biggest Pro field I had lined up with so far, I was positioned furthest right, inside line and as expected the majority of the guys were there also, ready to go in knee deep water. We were off and straight into porpoise, I got about 5 dives before I was swimming at the front, equal with about 5 other guys. The pace was fast and it stretched out pretty quickly, I missed being overtaken on my blindside and a gap of 20m was created between myself, Dye, O'Donnell and Potts. Dye attempted to bridge O'Donnell came around me at the half way point and I decided to stick on his feet as Potts was just behind me and I knew these guys could ride. 

NZL was out first with a 30sec gap and Dye with 10sec on our group of 3. Super quick transition and I could see both the riders up ahead, Dye was getting away fast and I was on the rivet trying to keep O'Donnell in my sights and Potts was behind me. We caught the lead swimmer within the first mile or so but that was the last we saw of Dye. Once I hit the hard climb I was able to start doing some work and passed O'Donnell, the hilly courses have suited me and this was no different. I rode hard with the guys trying not to lose much time on Dye, he had put 3mins into us by the half way point. We had the motorbike with our pack several times and no dramas, a couple of times I got stuck at the back where it would compress at the base of a climb and I had to go hard and pass all the guys to avoid getting penalized. Definitely burnt some matches doing this but far better than being in the box for 4mins. We were able to maintain the 3min gap on the way back coming into transition with Potts and O'Donnell. Thanks to the guys at Colorado Multisport for the loan of the Zipp Disc again, awesome shop to deal with, very helpful. 

Those guys nailed their transition and were out on the run together, I was a bit off and hurting. Trying to remain composed but still run solid was tough, the first mile was all uphill. Going through each aid station all they were handing off was water or Gatorade and I desperately need coke or a gel. I hit the turn around feeling slightly better and grabbed a gel soon after, although cherry-lime didn't sit too well and finally grabbed a coke just after mile 4. I didn't get any faster and was passed by Wurtel, Griffin and Reed on lap 2 but my pace remained pretty consistent to come across the line in 7th position with a time of 3:58

Stoked with my result at Timberman against a very strong field, awesome experience to race alongside these guys. Good way to top off my very successful season in the US, I spent a few days exploring New York but am now writing this back home in Australia. I have one last race at Sunshine Coast 70.3 before I will have a couple of weeks off and start preparing for the 2015/16 Australian season ahead

Huge thanks to all sponsors for their support and keeping me kitted out and fast. Also couldn't do this with the support of my parents, can't thank them enough.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Vineman 70.3

After racing in the extreme heat at Challenge Williamsburg I took a few days off to travel for some sight seeing and to celebrate my 21st birthday. First stop was Las Vegas, took a day trip out to the Grand Canyon, the Red Rock Canyon and the famed Vegas Strip. Then headed to the West Coast and road tripped Newport Beach up to Malibu. Saw a lot of cool places and it was a great experience. It wasn't long until I would be back on the plane to where I would base myself for the next 7 weeks... Boulder, Colorado. From what I have read and heard, this place is great for training and was keen as to get there.  

I arrived in Boulder on the 22nd of June just short of 3 weeks before I would  race Vineman 70.3, fingers crossed it would be enough time to gain some benefit and I would come down from altitude fine. I picked up a cheap commuter the 2nd day I got there that would allow me to cruise around town and get to the pool each morning as I was only staying 2mile away from the 50m pool which was a bonus. Was happy to be back swimming long course again, I was getting dizzy swimming in a 25yrd pool. Next was exploring on the bike, after a couple of short rides just out of town it was time to hit the hills and no better way to do it than have a guided tour from Craig Alexander. We rode 110k which included a 38k climb up to 9250ft, the roads and scenery were unreal. Riding up the canyons made time pass quickly while climbing. Plenty of options for running, my favourite being Boulder Creek Path. Although I didn't get too many hard sessions in before the race I was cautious not too over do it but still get plenty of hours done.

I came down from Boulder on the Friday before the race, landed in San Francisco just before lunch and headed up to Petaluma where I would spend the first night. Driving over the Golden Gate Bridge for the first time was awesome, glad the Famous Fog wasn't too bad and was able to catch a glimpse of Alcatraz. Got some dinner in Petaluma and was off to bed early ready for the next leg of the drive. From here we travelled further up to where the race start was and our accommodation for the next two nights Johnsons Beach, Guerneville. Mum and I were very lucky to book a sweet cabin right at the beach just two days before due to a cancellation. Did my usual pre race swim at the race location in my new Xterra Vengeance wetsuit, my first swim in it and I was speechless. I've tried many wetsuits but nothing compares to this, the buoyancy and flexibility is unreal, it's like wearing nothing at all and the wetsuit is extremely fast to slip off for those quick transitions. The guys at Xterra have created a masterpiece. Was off to race briefing next and T2 setup before heading back to the cabin to prepare for Sundays race.

The men's Pro list was stacked full of big names and some of the world's quickest over the half distance, I was pretty nervous but very excited and honoured to have the chance to race alongside these guys. The start list ended up 25 by race morning and go time was 6:25am. Quick swim warm up down to the start line and I was in deep water shoulder to shoulder with some extremely fast guys... literally. Horn was off and the 100m sprint was on to the first buoy, I was leading out the left side but a quick breath to the right I saw the middle and far right was pulling away, fast. I knew they couldn't possibly hold this pace for long. After 200m I was sitting in 2nd or 3rd on the feet of what seemed to be a boat, his kick was wild and he ended up gapping the field early on. We passed under the bridges where the shallow section started and the leader had about a 20m gap, the river bottom was right there and it was porpoise time. It wasn't long till myself and a few other guys bridged the gap and we were back on his feet. We remained behind him until the turn around, his kick stopped and Appleton and I took the lead side by side with a trail of guys behind us. We kept even all the way to the shore until I just got the edge with a few porpoises to exit the water first with a time of 22:42. 

We pretty much exited the water and were in the transition, out onto the bike, the mount was a little tricky being up hill so I decided to run it up to the flat where I could mount easily. The pace was on straight away and it was fast, there was no let up. It took me over half an hour before I realized I should take some nutrition because I was so focused on trying to ride hard and stayed tucked in aero. Once we hit some hills I was able to sit up and starting consuming fluid and gels, I tried a different strategy of nutrition on the bike this time and hoped it would pay off in the back end of the race. The course was hard and the pace was harder, I was feeling good but the rest of the guys were up the road and I was chasing for the first hour until an attack was made 'at the spot' . I was unaware of 'this spot' and was caught off guard falling off the pace and lost sight of the front group. Even though I was feeling great on the bike the pace was just too quick. I rode strong by myself for the second hour and tried not to lose too much time. Finished the ride in a time of 2:09:2.

Coming off the bike I was 4min down on the pack of 7 and Appleton had another 2min on them. I wasn't sure what the gap was behind but I was chasing that group ahead, going out confident in the run. Looking down at my watch and the pace was good and I was feeling in control, the miles were ticking by and soon enough 8th position was in sight, I passed Bell on a short climb around mile 3 and I kept pushing on. I took a whole different approach to my nutrition this race and it looked like it was working, slowing down though the aid stations making sure I took on board what I needed helped a lot. Now over half way and still running strong, in the back of my mind I was waiting to hit the wall which I had suffered the past few races but as the miles went by and the pace kept the same I was thinking I could finally finish with a decent run. The course was tough and there were plenty of rolling hills but now only a km to go and still running the same pace as the first few k's I was stoked and finished strong to hold an average of 3:43min/km for a slightly long half marathon.

Very happy to finish 8th overall in a very strong field at Vineman 70.3, first time under 4hrs with a finish of 3:55:38. Congrats to the other Aussies Appo and Crowie taking 1 and 2 on the podium and Collington 3rd. Some big positives from that race, even though I couldn't keep up with the pace on the bike, my run was very pleasing and heading in the right direction for faster times in the near future.

Massive thanks to my parents for allowing me to travel to this race and all my sponsors that provide me with the best equipment. Also quick shout out to Colorado Multisport for chucking on a Zipp disc before flying out, I don't think a 2hr 10 bike split would have been possible without it.
Back to Boulder now where I will spend the next month preparing for Timberman 70.3 on the 16th of August.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Challenge Williamsburg- 14th June

A couple of days after racing Raleigh 70.3 bags were packed and I was off to the next state for Challenge Williamsburg Virginia. I arrived at the accommodation in Richmond, Virginia on Tuesday to significantly colder weather and rain, this continued for the next 4 days and forced me to resort to indoor training. Luckily I got in contact with Aaron from Endorphin fitness and was able to use their facility for the two weeks leading into the race which was great. Was also able to swim at a 50m pool for the first time since being away which was a relief, thanks to Jay Peluso for letting me jump in with his Open Water squad during my stay. The weather finally cleared on the weekend and I got the chance to start exploring the area by bike/foot and get in some longer rides. It wasn't long until the days started to heat up again, the 3 days leading into the race hit highs of 36-40°C (100°F) and humidity around 85-90% which made it feel a lot worse.

Headed to the race site on Saturday for some pre race training and athlete briefing. I had a swim in the morning which felt like bath at 28°C (81°F), got out, dried myself, next minute I was dripping wet again, humidity was out of control. Off to the briefing tent which Challenge Family had set up great for the Pro's with food and icy cold drinks. After briefing I finished up my last bit of pre race training and headed back to the accommodation for an early dinner and bed before the 3am wake up the next morning.
Race morning was here and at 3:30am on the way to the race, temp was already 27°C (80°F), today was going to be hot. This was another race with two transition so there is a little more running around to do before race start. First stop was T2 to setup run shoes and then off to swim start to setup bike and warm up. Everything was done on time and I was in the water warming up before race start. During the warm up I noticed how low the tide was and that I would be able to porpoise for the first 150m even though it was a knee deep start. The tide also pushed pretty strong out the back so it was going to be an interesting swim (non-wetsuit).

We were off and I was straight into porpoise getting and good couple of body lengths head start out to the first buoy. By the time I started swimming I was exhausted from the constant diving and jumping but had rounded the first can in the lead and settled into my pace. The length along the back straight was hard and I wasted a lot of energy leading the way into the current and small chop going against us on the water. Now rounded the 2nd buoy and heading back to the beach still in the lead but was struggling, I lost my lead at the 3rd buoy heading back along the beach, I sat on feet for the next few minutes to recover some energy and I was now feeling composed again and made a break when the leader started swimming a bit off course, back in front and not long to the finish. About 50m before the last buoy to turn and come into the beach we were in knee deep water and porpoise started again, all the way to the beach. I managed to get an 8sec advantage out of the water and now it was ride time.

Out onto the bike leg closely followed by Chrabot, Collington and Alessandroni, we had a 2-3min gap on the next group and pushed hard from the start. We remained in close contention for the first 14 miles but I stared to lose concentration and fade a little creating a gap between myself and the 3 leaders, I pedaled around in no man's land for a couple of miles but took on some nutrition and managed to bridge back up. About 3/4 into the bike Alessandrino was sitting in 2nd and started sitting right behind Collington, the race used the 'Staggered' rule and it was making it difficult for Chrabot and myself to continue in staggered formation. Having the head official on our tail the whole ride he was quick to pull Alessandrio up and make him serve a 2min penalty. The 3 of us continued to push hard for the rest of the ride through the hills, I was absolutely loving the new bike setup up, had just fitted some ski tip extensions and managed to get a lend of a Disc wheel for the first time a couple of days out from the race, combined with a few more hours on the 3D Bikefit I rode 2:06hrs. We came into transition together ready for the hot run ahead.
 Out onto the run and straight into the trails, the temp was now about 38°C (100°F), I felt great for the first mile or so and even snuck into first for a little while but as soon as we exited the trail and out into the sun it hit me and I started to fade quickly, slotting back into 3rd. The run was tough, only one small stretch of flat running and that was in the blazing sun, the rest was very hill though the trails and I couldn't  find any rhythm. 1 lap done, 3 to go and I was hurting, I had ran out of energy by start of lap two and it was now a physical and mental battle to get to the finish. Alessandrino had now passed me and I was running in 4th. Aid stations were few and far apart and I started walking through each one taking on water, Gatorade and a few cups of coke. Through lap 3 I had drank about 7 cups of coke and lost another position to Leifermann but early lap 4 my body started working again and was able to finish with a strong last lap to come across the line in 5th.
Overall still happy with 5th Pro at Challenge Williamsburg, another solid swim and bike but the run was just survival for me. That was definitely the hardest run I have ever done, the hilly course combined with the 'feels like' 42°C (107°F) heat wrecked me. I had thoughts of pulling out but I knew I would regret it at the end of the day even if I resorted to walking the last half I was still going to cross that line.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Raleigh 70.3 and U.S. 2015

2015 has brought some big changes to my triathlon career, after having a couple of good results at the half distance early on in the year I was given the opportunity to travel to the US to race. It was such a dramatic and sudden step but as they say "a ship in harbour is safe but that is not what ships are built for". I jumped at this opportunity and immediately looked for races to do that would work around a stint in Boulder for a couple of months with some friends.
Not long after making the decision flights were booked and I was leaving the country with mum on the 22nd May, just before winter hits. I was lucky to have a few weeks of perfect Autumn weather before heading off, however a few days before, I rode in 4°C (39ºF) poring rain, it was time.
First race lined up was Raleigh 70.3 in North Carolina on the 31st May. After a 23hr transit from Syd-LAX-RDU I was on US soil for the first time and Apex, NC had turned on the weather, clear sky's and a balmy 28°C (82°F). To my luck the weather remained like this for my whole stay, it was hot but much more enjoyable than cold wet condition back home.
This was only the 3rd time Raleigh hosted a 70.3 and I was hoping for a quite Pro field but when the list came out it was stacked. This made me a little more nervous but I was too keen to get my first race done.
The race was set out a bit different to what I am use to, the swim and T1 was at Jordan lake about 40mins out from Raleigh, the bike course started at the lake and weaved through the undulating back streets to Raleigh city center where T2 was and the 2 lap run course which was all uphill with a couple of spikes on the way out and the opposite on the way back. Having two different transition meant a 3am alarm to drive to Raleigh, leave the car, setup T2 and get the shuttle out to the lake for T1 setup and swim start at 7am.
Pros only allowed a 5min warm up before we were waist deep ready for the start. Bit of an awkward start being waist deep but a little dive and I was up to speed leading the way on the right side, watching James Sear lead from the left side. After 100m both lines had come together and another athlete had come up the inside on my right, I jumped straight on his feet and was battling with two other guys for his feet. We were 3 a breast behind this guy with a motoring kick all getting dragged along. This jostling for 2nd position continued for the first 2/3rds of the swim until we turned the final can to start heading back to shore and I picked up the pace coming around the first guy and on his other side Matt Chrabot also moved up. Chrabot and I dragged raced each other all the way to the exit ramp but I just got the upper hand in the last few meters to exit the water first. Stoked on my Xterra Speedsuit, first time I have used it and the suits slices thriugh the water. It was a small group of 4-5 I exited the water with, having an advantage of just over a minute on the chase group and several minutes on others. 
Sear had a lightning fast transition to exit first and I closely followed in 2nd. The pace was already on, no time to sit up, feet in shoes and I was off. Sear led the way for the first few miles but I had settled and made an attack coming to the front to lead the way. I pushed on the front for the next 15miles with a short lead by Chrabot in there. I hit Old US 1, fast stretch of short rolling hills, moving along around 30+miles/h. Out of no where Drietz passes me at least another 5mile/h quicker, he was just rolling over those hills at that speed. Chrabot immediately responds to try and chase him down but he was long gone. I had lost site of Drietz and Chrabot was edging away on the fast flats. Around mile 35 I was 4mins down on Chrabot but it wasn't long until I hit the last 15mile of hills to try and make up some ground, into T2 I had reduced the deficit to 2mins from Chrabot. Was really happy to find out I had the 3rd fastest ride of the day in 2hrs 10min, massive thanks to 3D bike fit for dialing in my position two days before leaving. 
It was super hot now and the hardest part of the race to come, the run. The first 3.5miles was all up hill, 30°C (86°F) and hardly any shade. I felt good coming off but as soon as I hit the sun and the hill it shattered me, I just had to focus on keeping composed and taking on nutrition at the aid stations, thanks to all the volunteers at every station, they do a great job and provide so much support. By the time I hit the turn around I was in 4th and I couldn't utilize the downhill like I should to pick up the pace, even splitting the first 7mile. The next 3.5miles was the worst, back up the hill and I was hurting, had too keep reminding myself I have downhill all the way home to get me to the top. I had lost another three positions by the final turn and another closely followed, passing me 2.5miles out from the finish. Had a look behind to see no one within sight I decided to ease off a bit for the last couple of miles so I wasn't completely wrecked when I was finished. Came over the line in a happy 8th position with a 4:01:45 overall time.
 Pleasing result overall, little disappointed I lost so much ground on the run after having come off the bike in 3rd position but still trying to work it out but stoked with that result for my first race in the US, next stop Virginia for Challenge Williamsburg on the 14th of June.
Massive thanks to Fred and Lisa Arnold and everyone from Inside Out Sport for allowing me to train with them and showing me around the Triangle. Thanks to Cary Family YMCA for having me at their pool and huge thanks to all my sponsors and parents for making this trip happen.

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Challenge Batemans Bay 2015

After a pleasing result at my first long course race at Huskisson back in February, I was keen for the next one. Straight away I looked at Challenge Batemans Bay as it was another close to home event for me and had heard great things about the race from the previous year. I was pretty happy with my training through March even though I caught a virus that lasted a week, I managed to get some longer runs in and maintain the km's on the bike. The week leading up to Challenge BB was great, feeling strong in every session and everything was falling into place nicely, it definitely boosted my confidence for the race.
Headed down to Batemans Bay Saturday morning for some pre-race training and registration, quick swim before lunch and headed out on the bike course afterwards to familiarize myself with the 'hills'. First few minutes was OK, some rolling hills, then made a turn into what was almost a wall, wasn't long but just real punchy and a grind to get over the top of, for the next 10k it was rolling hills before 2 laps on the flats, the same type of wall was to be climbed on the way back.

Woke up to a dewy morning, pitch black and quite cold. Transition was setup pretty quick, short run done and had to wait a bit for more light before I started a swim warm up. Got in the water for about 15min before race start which was at 7am. After watching the tide and currents at 7pm night before I had a good idea of where to start and which way we would be pulled as we swam. I started far left and noticed it was quite bunched on the right but wasn't fussed as I was confident where I was. I had a clean start and was feeling comfortable putting some pace on for the first couple of hundred meters, it wasn't long until I was leading the train of swimmers, I kept the pace pretty firm the first lap having the lead paddler navigate to each buoy but on the second lap I was on my own, I had lost anyone sitting on my feet and I was weaving in and out of the AGs trying to spot the next buoy ahead. I felt great throughout the whole swim and was able to ease off a bit on the 2nd lap. I came out of the water first with a 20-30sec gap on the next bunch of athletes, this job was made much easier in my new Xterra Vector Pro wetsuit, my arms didn't get fatigued one bit and it is extremely buoyant.

Leading the way, perfect morning (http://www.photomcmillan.com/-/galleries/blog/batemans-bay-challenge-triathlon)

I was not giving up my lead yet, very smooth transition and out onto the bike course ready to put the pedal down. I was over the rolling hills with ease feeling good and as I made the turn ready to climb 'the wall' I could see I still had a decent gap between myself and what I could tell was Appleton and another athlete. The numbers were looking positive early on and was not holding back, unsure of what groups had formed or who was chasing. I was still leading after 10k but could see Appleton closing in fast and by himself, I hit the flats and he took the lead, there was no keeping up with him. I had to keep calm and ride to what I was capable of and watch him vanish up the road. Now that the HR was even and breathing was controlled I started trying to take some on some gel and fluid, what I put in just came straight back out, it was like the water level was at my throat and I couldn't hold any more. After a few little spews and 45min later I finally was able to take in some nutrition but only in small amounts. I was still sitting in 2nd with Robertson a little way behind, Bittner was next and then a group of 5 or so, I started to struggle a bit after the first turn-around heading back north but when I hit the next turn and saw I had put good time into the main group my confidence shot back up and I found a second wind heading out for the second lap. A couple of km's out from the hills Robertson had caught me and I was able to keep him in sight and overtake him again once we hit the hills. Again I was feeling strong over the hills and realized I had put a 7min+ gap into the main group behind, would this be enough...

Out onto the run in 2nd place and I was feeling excellent, checking the watch and seeing that I was running 3:10min/km pace was a shock and had to slow it down quickly to around 3:30min/km. Robertson passed me about 3k into the run and provided some good words of encouragement to me which kept my head strong. I passed 10k in just over 36min and everything was looking good, sitting in 3rd with a decent gap, I knew the guys in the pack run fast and their legs would be fresher than mine. At around the 14k mark, I started to struggle big time, pace was slowing down and minor cramps were frequent. The little hill out at the turn around really hurt the 2nd time and I was in trouble, now running around 4:10min/km the chasers were quickly gaining. Bittner passed me not long after the final turn around, then Kastelein and Waddington only a few km's out from the finish. Although my run diminished so quickly I was still very happy to finish 6th Pro and overall for the day with a time of 4:10:04.

Stoked to finish 6th Pro at my first Challenge event and my first proper half-distance race, very well run event and awesome course. Surprised myself in the bike leg posting the 3rd fastest pro time and riding solo for 95% of it. Look forward to the next Challenge event on the calendar and coming back to Batemans Bay next year. Big thanks to my sponsors providing me with the best gear and support from family and friends. Thanks for reading

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Qoleum Ambassador

I have never been a big believer in pre and post workout rubs/creams after trying other brands with little to no effect but after being introduced to Qoleum products at a race late last year I was instantly hooked and was overwhelmed with the results. Suffering an injury for all of January I was desperate to get back running as soon as possible before my first long course tri on 22nd February, using the Q-Rub made this possible. Rubbing Q-Rub into the injured muscle before every run to warm it up, I could feel it actively working and no pain was present during or after, I was able to get a good 3 week block done prior to my race. I went on to run 20k in the long course triathlon with no pain after only 3 weeks back from injury. If you have any questions about the product please contact myself (jmontgomery294@gmail.com) or Goodness Emporium (link above). Do your muscles a favor and checkout the Qoleum range, you won't be disappointed, I am offering a code to my readers for 10% off. Click on the link above and type in JAKE2015 at checkout.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Huskisson Long Course Triathlon

After racing the Nepean Triathlon back in October last year I was keen to do more non-draft racing after borrowing a friend's TT bike. It sat in the back of my head for a while until I came across a cheap TT bike, this was a sign and have found myself training for long course/70.3 racing for the past couple of months. I have been enjoying the change in training, the increase in bike k's has been good and the swimming has eased off a bit. I suffered an injury which put me out of running for almost all of January but still had a few weeks prep before the race.
I had been planning to race Huskisson long course at the start of the year but wasn't sure how long this injury would take to recover, ended up entering a week out after getting the all clear. I was really keen to head down to Huskisson, especially for a different event, it's such a great place and the atmosphere down there is awesome. I put myself in the Elite category backing myself for the swim, bike and to see what the run brings. Quality field in the Elites, some strong athletes listed and a total of 19 turned up on the day.
Headed down to Husky on Saturday for registration and some pre race training. It had been overcast all day but a couple of minutes into my ride the rain started to come down and didn't stop until I had finished, perfect timing. Bike into transition, quick dinner and off to bed ready for an early start.

Up at 0445 ready to go straight into transition, still pitch black outside it was a bit tricky setting the bike up. Had a short run and headed down to the water for a good swim warm up. Everything was now done and ready for the 0630 race start, little nervous but keen as to get going.
There was a bit of confusion as to where the swim start line was, the field was a bit staggered and a lot of us (including myself) got caught off guard when then gun went off. I was a bit behind at the start and had to sprint my way to the front and ended up taking everyone with me. For the first lap I lead a long train of swimmers but on the start of the second lap I darted off course for a bit to shake some of the guys and ended up with only one left on my feet. The second lap was a lot harder, passing through wave after wave of other athletes scattered all over the course. Exited the water 1st with Russell closely followed and a 20-30sec gap on the rest. Smooth transition but by no means my fastest, out onto the bike ready to tick over 83k.
Appleton had a speedy transition and was off in a hurry, he wasn't seen again. The bike course was 3 laps and quite undulating making it hard to hold a constant pace, I rode towards the front of the guys chasing Appleton but he was putting 2mins into us each lap and there was no reeling him back. I was happy with how I rode, paced myself well and felt strong throughout. Wasn't happy though when my power meter dropped out after 1:20hr. Came off the bike, legs feeling a bit shaky, much faster transition and was out onto the run just trailing 2nd.
A few guys went out hard but I settled into a pace I had hoped to hold for the next 20k. Legs were feeling alright... for the first 10k but then it got real ugly heading out onto the second lap. Stride rate dropped right off and calves started to burn, I slowed down a lot and had to focus every little bit on turning the legs over the get to the finish. I didn't think I was going to make it with 2k to go and had a quick walk to re-gather and finish off the last part.
Finished 7th Elite in 3:47hrs. Bit of mixed emotions at the end, stoked to finish my first long course and especially in 7th position but disappointed my run let me down so much. Deep down it was kinda expected considering I didn't run  through January due to injury and haven't ran near 20k in over a year. Really keen to get my run going and look forward to the next one.
Thanks everyone for the sideline support and my awesome sponsors. Such a great event in Huskisson, look forward to returning next year.

Results-  http://www.multisportaustralia.com.au/Home/QuickResults?clientId=1&raceId=1200&raceName=Husky%20Long%20Course