Sunday, March 27, 2011


My Super fast Orbea Ordu has just turned up. Very nice lines and paint job to go with a aero and very stiff frame. Pro bars, Durace wheels and groupset and I am ready to roll fast :)

Check out some photos below.......

Nice Lines!

Love the Kiwi flag

Elevation view

Up and close

Pro bars - very comfortable

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Who said older people are not competitive

TAUPO IRONMAN, Saturday 5 March 2011

A GREAT ARTICLE BELOW>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

The Contest of the Calliopeans Taupo 2011

Most of the media coverage before Ironman this year focused on the contest between the two race favourites, would the young pretender Terenzo Bozzone knock the reigning champion Cameron Brown, 13 years his senior, off his throne. In the event once Cameron caught up with Terenzo on the bike halfway through the race that proved to be the end of the challenge with the pretender having to settle for second once again.

Zero media attention was given to the contest between two Calliope athletes. Little wonder as the younger of the two 72 year old Tony Jackson had always won in the nine ironman they had both competed in together. Not only won but won comfortably. But, as the Tiger Wood incident shows, every champion is human. One week out from race day rumours were rife amongst the running community in Auckland that Jackson had been admitted to hospital; that he was back home;that he had had some sort of stroke; that he had been ordered to have absolute rest for two weeks. Nobody however was brave enough to say out loud what they thought; that he would not be able to compete in the New Zealand ironman on Saturday, something he had done on the first Saturday in March every year for the last 26 years.

But rumours are not always fact. When Jackson was asked at the pre event pasta party  how his training had been going he replied "absolutely perfectly" and credited his fitness to his hard driving coach (his wife). Like a true champion not a whisper of any reason for a sub par performance. Later in the evening Cameron Brown took centre stage. Instead of dwelling on his own disappointments and setbacks he spoke on how much he admired those further down the field who had to struggle to make it. Like Tony Jackson who just a fortnight ago was admitted to hospital !  A sympathetic gasp went up from almost all the 1500 people present. One person who did not gasp was Garth Barfoot, a fellow member of the Calliope running club. His mindset had already moved to that of a hunter who senses his prey is wounded, this year of all years was the year to make history. The contest was on.

The swim start saw Barfoot getting over-hyped up by the noise of the cannon and take off like a younger man. Jackson took his time, reeling in his club mate at the 3 km mark. Barfoot retaliated by infecting Jackson with his cramp so that Jackson was forced to stop and stretch his affected leg down towards the lake bottom. Recovering quickly Jackson took the lead again but became disorientated in the near white out conditions created by the torrential rain hitting the lake surface. Barfoot meanwhile put his effort into seeking out the pole line. After the race Barfoot confessed that had seen Jackson swimming out to sea but at the time his thoughts were more about beating his friend  than saving him. And beat him he did, by just 12 seconds in an 106 minute swim.

Watching this drama shoreside were their wives. The taughtness on Verna Cook-Jacksons normally smiling face face betrayed the extent of her concern, understandably as her husband was 20 minutes outside his usual time. In contrast Judy Barfoot was visibly pleased to see her husband finish, with 5 minutes ahead of his last Taupo time being the bonus on the cake.She yelled out as loudly as any lady of her age can "Well done, well done". Her husband did not even hear her, perhaps because another hundred people were yelling the same thing.

On the 182 km bike leg Barfoot, showing the fitness he had achieved in his recent once round Lake Taupo and twice around Coromandel Peninsular endurance cycle races, put the hammer down in the wet and cool conditions. Jackson struggled as best he could, no doubt regretting the wonderful six months holiday they had just had in England and the Continent. By the time he got to  the exit of the bike transition to start the run he was 42 minutes down on Barfoot, one minute to make up on every kilometre of the run. On whom was the smart money going now?  It was definitely a case of "hold on to your tickets folks".

A silent spectator to this contest of the Calliopeans, Cushla Barfoot, was sitting in front of her computer in an apartment in Istanbul. As her father passed the electronic measuring point at each quarter his running speed  flashed up on the screen; first quarter 4..41miles per hour, second quarter 3.63 mph, third quarter 3.51 mph. Her heart began to sink. To take her mind off the memory of her fathers last ironman race at Taupo when he missed the official finish by 3 minutes she looked up Tony Jackson another competitor still out in the field and  whose name she could recall. His comparative speeds were 4.15 mph, 4.11 mph and  4.26 mph. She thought of that normally delightful story of the hare and the tortoise but the problem was her father looked like he would end up being the hare. Meanwhile out in the misty rain on airport hill with 6 km to go the hunted passed the hunter. Not a word was said; neither had the energy left to create an appropriate comment. Back in Turkey the results flicked effortlessly onto the screen. Jackson finish time 16 hours 34 mins (last quarter 4 .27 mph), Barfoot finish time 16 hours 43 mins (last quarter 3.43 mph).. The contest was over, one was the victor, the other was the loser.

In the recovery tent the medical assessment team sat the two Calliopeans beside each other. Barfoot, as a good loser should, congratulated a subdued Jackson on his win and on his record breaking 28th New Zealand ironman finish.

"Thanks Garth but what has got into you, why are you looking so happy?"

"Well Tony, the answer is easy. I have finished the race with 16 minutes to spare, I am not the last ( there were 9 finishers behind  plus another 58 starters who did not finish)  but best of all I am now, at the age of 74 years and 9 months, the oldest New Zealander to have finished an ironman.

contributed by a special correspondent

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Ironman New Zealand Race Report Part 2

Part two – race day
Well I could sum it up in a couple of words, RAIN + RAIN + RAIN
But you probably want the blow by blow account. The day started with hearing the rain beating down outside and some scrambled eggs for breakfast. Next it was off to body marking where I was lucky enough to be body marked by my mums Vet who is also the wife of a athlete GOG coaches (YES, New Zealand is a small place!)
Next step, get the tyres pumped up, make sure everything is in order and down to the lakeside.  It’s still pitch black and the rain is steadily coming down, I am hoping the sun is going to come up soon as my choice of goggles to bring was probably not the best, slightly black tint! Normally at 6.45 the sun is up and there is a small glare which I really hate but I didn’t account for the rainy conditions.
I then jumped in for a short warm up and then a wait on the start line. The few minutes to go and its still pitch black, I was seriously thinking about ditching the goggles but decided to keep them on and hope for the best. I hung with the front bunch including Bozzone, Hecht, Hiro etc for about the first 500m then drifted off the back of the bunch, I then waited for the second bunch and settled in, it felt very easy and I was scared of a big deficit once we excited the water, so was very surprised to hear the call of only 3min down, and Cam Brown was in the same bunch so I knew I had some good company.
The run to transition at IMNZ is the longest I have experienced being about 4-5 hundred meters long. It was still raining and but the spectators were still doing a great job in cheering on. I had a good transition and was first from our group out on to the bike. Cameron came past me at the top of the Taupo Napier Hill and I let him set the pace. We rolled past a few of the faster swimmers, then about 30k in I thought I heard a split to the front of 6min30sec, thats good I thought, Terrenzo is on another suicide mission like last year J But next thing I know is I can see all these flashing lights in the distance, they kept on getting closer and closer and I then realised we were riding up to Hecht and Terrenzo with the super swimmer Brent Foster just behind, by the 45k turnaround we had caught them and Scott Curry came past at the same time very very fast. The rest of us looked at each other and then let him ride off the front hoping he would come back later on.
My legs felt good and I rolled back through Taupo feeling under control at the front of the group, James Bowstead had rode up to us and I was expecting some fireworks from him but he settled in with the rest of us. (and it was still raining HARD)
About the 120k mark Cameron stamped his authority on the race and opened up a gap quite quickly. The rest of us looked at each other and couldn’t do anything about Cameron riding away, Hecht chased and opened up a small gap over me and Terrenzo and James slipped off the back of us. It wasn’t that pretty riding back into Taupo over the last 40k J
Riding up Taupo Napier Hill for last time

I was still looking forward to a really good run as normally if I feel good for the first half of the ride I will have a good run no matter how hard the last section is. So into transition and T got a gap straight away and I didn’t see him again. My legs were not good from the start and I felt really bad from the 10-20k mark so got in a lot of coke and started to feel a little better (and it was still raining HARD). At the end of the first 21k I was still in striking distance of Hecht, T and Curry if I ran well. I tried to get going and picked up Curry at about 8k to go.
It stayed like this to the finish and I ended up 4th again (same as last year). I was a little wobbly at the finish so had a lie down in the med tent, they said my temperature was quite low (34.7 degrees) so wrapped me up in a blanket. I never felt overly cold during the race, but must of been a little frosted. Some hot soup and blanket time and I was good to go in not too much time.

4th Place in the Rain
It was then great to see Candice who I coach come in 9th overall and take nearly one hour of her time from last year and be first amateur from NZ, and then Scott who is also a Vo2coach athlete get a PB by over 25min.

A big thanks to all the supporters who braved the conditions and a special mention to elite race rentals who sorted me out some super fast race wheels for the day. They hire out wheels and powermeters for events and training.
One little story from after the race, when we went to check out of our motel, the Baywater Inn, our host Adelaide had taken photos during the event of all the guests racing and then printed out the photos and made a little postcard, how is that for service! (you can check out the photos below)
Postcard from Baywater Inn
Photos from Baywater Inn

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Ironman New Zealand Race Report Part 1

Ironman New Zealand done and dusted for another year. The time seems to go so fast as I can still remember my race from the year before like it was yesterday.
Anyway, Tracy and myself drove down Wednesday afternoon to a little drama with our accommodation. The motel we had booked had somehow not put us into their computer system when we booked last November and they didn’t have any spare rooms so we didn’t have any accommodation! Taupo, is not the biggest town, and it’s always fully booked out on Ironman weekend so Tracy was getting a little nervous or should I say annoyed J
So the motel staff rings the Taupo information centre which can see all the hotels/motels accommodation vacancies and comes back with the answer, sorry there is no rooms available in Taupo!
Next try, they ring one of their friends who own a lodge, and it was our lucky day, they had a mix up with one of their bookings so a room had become available in the last 1hour or so. And best of all we drive down to the new place, the Baywater Motor Inn, and it’s a BIG UPGRADE, a really nice studio unit with a big spa pool and views over Lake Taupo. All good I thought.
I had a great view of the Taupo Road so I got to watch a heap of  athletes testing/screwing their legs before the race, wearing next to no clothing the days before the race, swimming in speedos......
Check out the photo below, now I could be wrong, but these guys must be triathletes, I am not sure many of the locals go swimming in speedo’s when its 20 degrees outside

View from Motel Room

Wednesday night I had a great massage from Dot, every time I go to Taupo I get a light massage from Dot, and my body always feels better for it, she is one of the few therapists I have ever had who actually knows where to apply pressure and how to loosen the muscles without just getting in and pushing as hard as possible!

So the few days before the Race I got to meet up with the Timex crew who had a booth at the expo and were sponsoring the event. Tracy was a happy girl, as she turned up with a *competitors brand watch* and obviously they couldn’t have her walking around with that. So she got a great sleak looking Timex watch J
Rudi from Compressport was also in town so I got some nice new compression socks for the race which not only worked great in the run, but also helped with the warmth on the bike which everyone else was struggling with.
So Thursday and Friday I had some media commitments , got my bike racked, wrapped my bike up in my $20 BBQ cover from Bunnings to keep it nice and dry and before I knew it was less than 12hrs to race day (I also did some light exercise to keep the legs loose for race day J)
So that’s part one of my race report, time for me to go to swim training, so part two will be up tomorrow. Like my swim this morning it involves getting very wet!
Pre Race with Hiro and Maki

Media Conference

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Ironman New Zealand

Its Wednesday here in New Zealand, race day fast approaching on Saturday. My body is feeling good and I am ready to give it a good go!

I always have the wednesday off, before a saturday race, and then do some light training on thursday and friday. I am sure I will see a few people leaving there legs on the training course the few days before the race. You just have to remember to relax,  you cant loose form in 3 days! neither do you have to test to make sure its still there every session.
I like to get some movies out or bring some good books to read, reading some hard man stories on Magee, Snell, Lydiard etc always gets me fired up and ready

We have a couple of athletes racing from Vo2coach, you can check out some very short profiles and my thoughts on there up and coming race days here

Remember to pop into the Timex stand at the expo, I am going to be there on thursday at 11 and friday at 11.45. We have a few giveaways and great products to check out.