I’ve been racing for a few years now (that makes…
You may remember, last November, that I was very excited…
Twelve months ago in Melbourne we were swimming in a…
Sunday is Challenge Melbourne and I’m looking forward to heading…
I was pretty spent after the race as it was a fairly intense 75 minutes. The rain had let up and was done for the day. Most of the American delegation hung out at the finish line cheering on the rest of the competition whom I’d like to thin…
I’ve been racing for a few years now (that makes me wise… not old!) and the more you race, in all kinds of conditions, the more you understand what really works for you. That applies to training programs, race tactics and especially to gear.
For example, the ideal triathlon race suit is high-tech, incorporates state-of-the-art fabrics and is designed by the best brains in the business using the latest research. It looks cool and keeps you cool, protects you from the sun, cuts drag and helps you to perform at your best. Ideally, it’s like a second skin – it’s so comfortable, you don’t even notice it’s there.
It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Scody triathlon race suits. My relationship with Scody goes back a long way. Like their race suits, Scody exists on the cutting edge – of technology, of expertise and of innovation. And that’s allowed me to keep pushing the envelope of performance – competing comfortably and confidently in my custom Optimise A.I.R. Triathlon race suit. It looks good, feels good and gives me the freedom I need to do what I do.
The only difference between Scody and their race suits? Sometimes I forget the race suit is there… but Scody – I’m always aware that they’re in my corner. I’ve appreciated their support in the past and so I’m really excited today to be announcing their continuing sponsorship into the future. Thanks guys!
You may remember, last November, that I was very excited to announce that I’d re-signed with Giant for at least another two years. I had a chuckle when Kelly Minahan (on Facebook) thought that I’d ‘resigned’ not ‘re-signed’. Two very different things! Relax, Kelly, it’s all good!
I’m proud to be associated with Giant, so I was even more excited recently when they sent through a draft of their Press Release. I’ll let you read it for yourself…
Awesome stuff! In response, I just want to say a public thank you to the team at Giant. Thanks for your continuing support, not to mention the promotion – moving up to global athlete status sounds impressive!
Seriously though, I’m loving the Giant Trinity Advanced SL and I’ve got no hesitation in recommending Giant gear to anyone who is serious about riding the best – you guys are at the cutting-edge. And I know you’re always working hard to stay ahead of the game- doing your best for all your riders, sponsored or not.
I look forward to working with the Giant engineers and designers to see what we can come up with in the future. I know there are already some cool things in the pipeline. Exciting times!
So, go hard… and ride Giant.
Twelve months ago in Melbourne we were swimming in a calm, clear Bay, speeding along picturesque Beach Rd and fighting dehydration. And I finished the day standing on top of the podium. Last Sunday Melbourne showed its ugly side – we slogged through half a metre of chop, raced through heavy rain and gusting winds… and fought hypothermia. Talk about a contrast!
I was disappointed not to have been able to defend my Challenge Melbourne title, but my 2015 result was definitely a step in the right direction and a big step in my preparation for the IM Asia-Pacific Championship back in Melbourne on March 22. Here’s how my race went down…
It was dark, overcast and there was a howling on-shore wind whipping up the chop on the Bay for the start of the swim leg. Conditions were rough and visibility in the water was really low. Obviously it’s hard to maintain good technique when you’re constantly trying to avoid sucking in a mouthful of delicious Port Phillip Bay water. I sat in the main group, coming out not too far behind the three guys in the front – which including Clayton (Fettell) who ended up having great swim and bike legs.
Despite the assurances from the commentator that ‘Things are going to fine up… just wait and see!’, the rain set in and was continual through the ride. The wind was coming off the Bay, swirling around in some places to create a serious headwind at times. The combo of rain and wind certainly took its toll on some of the competitors, with Luke Bell retiring in lap 2 of the bike leg. Spectators said he’d turned blue and was shaking with the cold. The wind chill factor can certainly suck your energy in a big way.
With visibility so limited it was hard to keep track of who was where and how far ahead they were. And I definitely had to keep my wits about me when turning – wet roads and lots of competitors can be a dangerous combination if you’re not onto it all the time.
I didn’t feel like I had a great bike leg (2:13) but entered into T2 around 6th and about 3 minutes off the pace.
After getting buffeted on the bike it was good to get out on the run. I started off well and felt really good. Matt Reed took off hard and then Robbo took off. By the end of the first lap I was still only 3:30 back from Griffo, but starting to drop back.
It’s a tough run course, especially when you’re running through the single-track areas. Fortunately running in the wind didn’t bother me, because it was howling!
The Bottom Line
I finished up coming in 6th with a time of 03:54:06. Of course, I’m disappointed that I wasn’t able to defend my title, but in terms of my preparation for IM Melbourne the race has served me very well. Plans for the Asia-Pacific Championship are progressing nicely, but I know there’s still a lot of work to do before then.
Despite the crap weather, Challenge Melbourne was definitely a worthwhile outing. Congratulations to Griffo for a well-deserved win in very trying conditions. And thanks to the Challenge Melbourne team for putting it all together. Good job, guys!
Oh, and a special thank you to the guys from First Off The Bike who tweeted about my ‘coordinated colours’. A bloke’s got to look good out on the bike, right.
Sunday is Challenge Melbourne and I’m looking forward to heading south to defend my title. Mind you, you always feel like a bit of a marked man in these situations!
Auckland was a bit of a shocker, but the last few weeks have been really good, getting my head together and just getting back into the routine. I definitely feel a whole lot better prepared than I was for my last race.
The Melbourne course is great – very fast swim and bike legs. Water temp at Brighton will be around 20˚C and the weather prediction is warm but not too hot. Mind you, Melbourne is well known for serving up four seasons in one day. Last year it was really hot. This year – well, we won’t really know until we’re racing and even then it can change. Just got to be prepared for anything.
The ride is three laps along Beach Road – it’s undulating, fast and it’s a classic spot for Melbourne cyclists. The run leg heads out towards Sandringham and is a bit different. Most of the way it sticks pretty close to the beach and it’s a single track, which can make it a little tough when it gets congested.
For all the age-groupers competing – my advice is to keep your wits about you on the run. It’s twisty, there’s some loose dirt, so watch your footing and be careful. Don’t forget to have fun, go hard and I’ll see you at the finish!
At this point, we hadn't been given any indication that there wouldn't be any amateur awards and since Amy had won the female division, we packed up our gear and rode over to where the elite awards ceremony was to take place.
We didn't have to wait long to witness history. The American National Anthem was played for Renee's win in the elite women's race. I have to believe that this was either the first time or certainly one of the very few times that song has been played on Cuban soil. Certainly since the revolution. I don't get goose bumps often, but man, I sure did then.
All the Americans who'd remained at the conclusion of the awards ceremony gathered for a group picture with the president of USAT, Barry Siff, and the president of the ITU, Marisol Casado.
With all the rain, the ride back was very wet and very dirty. We tried to capture just how dirty our legs were but the photo doesn't quite do it justice.
We used the same racks as the elites, but more were set up. We discovered shortly that they weren't actually stable, being held together by zip ties and duct tape. As more bikes were racked, the problem erupted with all the racks (and thus, bikes) falling down in domino fashion. After a conversation between the ITU officials, it was decided that we would use the ground as our transition area which meant the bikes were lying down too.
Because everyone and everything was so wet, body marking was impossible and was effectively nonexistent. We had timing chips, but in retrospect, I'm not sure what for as no age group results for the sprint were ever posted. I managed to get in a very brief warm-up swim near the water exit ramp.
Unused to the current transition situation of everything lying on the ground, I completely miss my bike, but not by too much. Not trusting the situation for leaving my shoes clipped in, I'd unclipped them and left them on the ground. I slap them on and proceed to mount too early. I'm used to a clearly marked and labeled mount line. Running a bit further, I find the correct mount line, mount a second time and headed out on the bike.
The rain had stopped, but only temporarily. At some point during the first of four laps on the bike, the skies opened up again and didn't stop. I recall a Cuban kid riding up ahead but continuously looking back, like he was waiting for me to bridge the gap. We were told it was not a draft legal race and so I remember thinking this odd. He hops on my wheel and I just hammer on. Turns out, it was a draft legal race and so he got to recover in my draft while I, being so worried about a penalty, dropped back out of the draft zone every time he pulled ahead. We eventually overtake another rider somewhere from Central America, I don't remember where. He hops on our wheel and a little later I hear a yell from whom I think is the cuban and feel someone rubbing my back wheel. I turn and the second kid has pulled off to my right. I yell something about keeping his line and to pay attention. He takes off and I don't know if I scared or motivated him (or even if he finished), but I never saw him again.
A few km into the run, an American passes me and I can't keep up. My Cuban biking buddy is long gone up the road. The rain continues to pour. A little while later, the lead female, also an American, passes me. I remember when my run used to be strong and vow that this year my run results will be different from 2014. Three years off from racing and two knee surgeries did their job well. I stay mentally strong and gut out a finish. The run was long by nearly 500m but I'd managed a sub 8:00 pace. Not great, but for January, it was fine.
Results were never posted so I have no idea on placing, but I was fairly close to the front.
Swim: 12:29, 750m
Bike: 37:14, 20km
Run: 26:36, 5.5km
|The view from my room|
|Russian Embassy (courtesy Wikipedia)|
|Russian Embassy (courtesy Wikipedia)|