Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Challenge Almere - End of season

I lined up at the inaugural Challenge Almere this past weekend. The conditions where similar to Ironman New Zealand a few years back when it bucketed down with rain, but there was also some big winds to deal with.
After Copenhagen I bounced back really quickly and was hoping to have a big performance here, unfortunately that was not the case and I scraped in with a top 10 placing. The bike course really took it out of my legs, it was dead flat with probably 30m total elevation change total, but with a lot of corners where you would come close to a dead stop, and then have to accelerate away again. If I was preparing again for this race, I would definitely do some criterium racing or similar.
It didn't help that I rode on 30psi for quite a section of the ride, I just thought my legs had gotten really bad! and it wasn't until I picked up my bike that night from transition I realised the problem.

On to the run and I was in a pretty terrible state from the beginning, which didn't improve, the 3rd lap of 4 was really bad. I thought I was going to have to lie down for a little sleep but thankfully made it to the next aid station, where I refuelled and got going again.

I cant wait to get home to see Tracy and Ava and have some time off the legs. Only two flights and about 30hrs of travel and I will be there :)

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Ironman Copenhagen

So this past weekend I was on the start line for Ironman #4 for the year in Copenhagen. I have a strong attraction to this race as I had a real breakthrough performance there a few years back when I went 8hr12min.
Race week went well with no dramas like in Brasil! Tamsyn had multiple flats in her tubular race wheels that we needed to fix, but it was good practise for her, as she learnt things were not straight forward changing them. Add to the fact she got lost 2k from home and a 90min ride turned into a 3.5hr mission you take for granted when you are training in familiar locations. I think Denmark must be one of the most puncture prone countries I have been in, a few days back on a 2hr ride I passed 4 people with punctures.

Back to the race, we were all on the start line for the 7am start along with the Prince of Denmark. Last year I made the mistake of not keeping my head down when diving in and off come the goggles, well I did the same thing again this year! I need some more practise there...
Two guys, Andreas and Henrix where straight off the front and I settled into a group with 3 others including Lucie Reed my ex team mate from TeamTBB towing us around. I knew Henrix was the Kerin Doe of Danish triathlon so to hear the split of only 2.5min down was quite encouraging out of the water.

Onto the bike and the legs felt pretty good, the plan was to take it pretty easy to start with as I was expecting a big group to come up early in the ride. The group came up at about the 40k mark with maybe 8 guys in it. The ride was really start-stop and no one wanted to ride consistently at the front, I am sure we could have rode another 5min+ faster easy if we had worked legally together. I had to laugh to myself as on the 2nd lap we had age group men who we had lapped which where riding past us! Then with 40k to go one of the Danish guys Frandsen put in a big effort and split the group. I was too far back to follow but led the chase once I got to the front for maybe 15k and kept the gap quite close, but then the elastic snapped and it was back to the group.

Rolling into transition I was really looking forward to the run. I was super pleased when Jens and Esben took off like rabbits at 3.30 per k pace as I was hoping that would come back to bite them :)
I got moving at 4min ks and started clicking them off, Nick Baldwin came up to me and we ran together until about the 25k mark. I felt totally under control and was thinking I can have a big second half marathon, but then reality hit. I went from running along fine to really struggling, after a little pitstop I started to feel better at about the 35k mark, but the damage had been done and all I could do was get to the finish line in one piece for 5th place. The Danish guys up front Jens, Henrix and Esben all had super runs to complete the podium.

During the run I heard some Kiwi voices telling me to hurry up, and I was wondering who it was. So it was great to see some friends John and Kerry who have been travelling around Europe and just so happened to be in Copenhagen for the week. I also have to say a big thanks to Uffe and family for letting me move in for 5 weeks. Its a really good setup here, with a pool close by, forests to run in on the door step and some nice roads to ride on.

Tamsyn who I coach had a great race for 5th place. Some more consistency over the next year and she still has plenty of improvement to come.

Post race I have bounced back really quick. I have Challenge Almere-Amsterdam coming up in 3 weeks which should be fun. I have never raced in the Netherlands, and the last time I was there was on a Contiki trip with 30 other drunk Kiwi's and Aussies :)

Finsh Line Action

Big Screen at finish line

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Ironman Brasil - Explosions

Anyone reading this would of seen the results from the past Sunday's race in Florianopolis. Looking at my run you can see I had a massive explosion which wasn't the first of the race.

Rewind a week before the race and little Ava has been spewing up and drenching her nappies every half a hour with some massive explosions. I thought I was going to be fine as she been sick for a few days and neither Tracy or myself had showed any signs of picking it up. But the day before I left for the trip to Brasil, everything turned up and started coming out both ends, I didn't even think I was going to be able to fly to be honest. I woke up the next morning feeling a lot better, everything was still exploding, but felt ok to fly.
So a day later I am in Brasil, a not very enjoyable 3 flights, getting up and down every 30min to relieve myself. Its still 5 days to the race so plenty of time to sleep things off. So two days before race and I am finally functioning normally again, just in time. A couple of easy sessions and then race day has arrived.
The swim at IM Brasil is still a mass start with the pros getting a 20m head start, but the age groupers running into the water so its quite a cool atmosphere. I get quite a good start and settle into a group, which is where i stayed for the rest of the swim. Run through transition and see Sturla beside me, he normally has the fastest bike split at Brasil so I new I had some good company for the start of the ride at least.
I hop on to the bike and the legs feel super straight away, this is a good sign I am thinking. I let Sturla set the pace and we pick up a few guys imediatley, with a small group ahead and Tim O and the convoy doing a smashing job at the front.
So I am rolling along feeling really comfortable only 30min into ride, thinking this is good, I have something to eat. And then BOOM, my stomach just starts turning in knots, inside and out, then next thing I know I am power chucking like I used to do at University on a Friday night. A couple of massive spews later, and I am thinking,  am I going to be able to make it to end of bike? what should I eat? etc etc
I decide to not eat or drink until it settles down, and about 30min  after and another couple of chucks later my stomach is feeling back to normal. I decide just to drink the gatorade on course and try some bananas as there are no gels where on the course. I knew I would be low on fuel but hoped if I ride conservatively it would be ok.
I get to the end of the ride and feel a little empty but not to bad, and then get a coke down me in transition. The first couple of ks running where pretty ugly, but then my legs felt good and I started ticking off the ks at a good clip, I ran my way up to 5th,  with 2nd to 4th not far ahead, but by the 21k mark, the wheels where starting to slow, and the next explosion happened. I grovelled my way to the finish and was very pleased to see that line!

Not exactly the race I was hoping for, but if you had asked me a week before, I would of been very happy.

So  I am now looking forward to building some more fitness and heading over to Europe in August

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

New Zealand Ironman

Going into Ironman New Zealand I was feeling very good a week out, and I ended up racing as best as I could for 7th but feel I left a lot of time on the table. Next time!

I hate making excuses but race week Ava ended up getting sick, I started to feel pretty average, wed,Thursday and Friday I was having midday sleeps, never the best indicator when you should be jumping out of your skin with energy.  Saturday morning was much the same, but I just tried to convince myself if was nerves.
That pretty much sums up my race as well, I wont go into a blow by blow account, swim felt hard, bike felt hard and run felt harder! Congrats to fellow Saucony athlete Meredith for taking out the women's race and Bevan the men's, I am sure he will be in the mix in Kona.

So some positives from the race, great performances from some of the athletes I coach. Erin had a real breakthrough race for 6th overall, 2yrs ago she went 11hr15min so has chopped off nearly 90min. Shes just been chipping away slowly and its starting to come together now.
Candice got onto the podium with 3rd overall behind two very good athletes in Gina and Meredith, some more work and tweaks and she can be on the top of the podium.
Julie 2nd in her age group and the Kona spot in her first attempt at IMNZ.
Melanie a very good debut, she will still be smiling now I bet :)
Davina also, even though she didn't finish and just missed the cut off, she doesn't realise how far she has come, 1yr ago she was in 9hr half Ironman shape. Next year she will finish it off I bet.

Also got to mention Graham racing on Sunday, 2nd at Escape from Alcatraz just behind Gomez and in front of some very good athletes. A very good start for a series of races in the US.

We had a wonderful stay at the Baywater Moter Inn . They made a banner for each competitor staying there on race day and if you don't want to pay for photographs this is the place to stay. On check out you get a disc and some prints of the day, see some of mine below. Also big thanks to Saucony and Louis Garneau for super fast gear to perform in.

Start of run with Terenzo

On bike

Sunday, February 10, 2013

3hr47min Half Ironman Training

Here is a little snap shot of some of Graham's work just before his course record at the New Zealand half Ironman Championships in Tauranga.
Gog works best old school and likes it on the recycling paper :)

Sunday, February 3, 2013

New Zealand High Preformance

As seen in the media recently Cambridge has acquired another high performance program to go with the already very successful rowing program and the cycling program which is due to kick off once the new velodrome is completed.

Cambridge is a perfect option for the triathlon program, it has all the facilities you need.

There are several swimming pools and lake access.

Cycling wise it arguably has the best riding options in all the places I have lived in New Zealand, quiet roads, flat roads, hilly roads, rough chip and a fair amount of wind for compulsory strength training. It was obviously a good place to train as shown by the amount of past Olympians to come out of places close to Cambridge including Sarah Ulmer, Tim Gudsell, Pete Latham, Michelle Hyland to name a few which have went to recent Olympics.

Running wise, there is a beautiful grass 400m track (which could do with some rolling J though), several hard packed gravel paths and numerous trails beside the river and grass options on the outskirts of town. Then my personal favourite, the Sanatorium loop, which is 29k of some big hills and wonderful scenery, the Waikato equivalent of the famous Waitaks circuit. Dick Quax, New Zealands 5000m world record holder did many laps around this circuit and I expect the triathletes coming to town will do the same.

So Cambridge has all the facilities for high performance but will it produce the next Hamish Carter or Bevan Docherty? Probably not in my opinion, looking at the last couple of Contact series races where the future champions should be racing, there is a clear lack of entrants. Forget about the performance for an instance, there is just not enough young athletes racing to create a base from where the next Olympic champions will come from. Look at sprint nationals yesterday, 20 under 19 men and women racing in total in the elite category. So from those 10 men tri NZ has to find a medallist, that’s making things difficult right from the get go.  Go further back to the Whangamata and Rotorua Contact races and it was even more disappointing. Graham Ogrady and Clark Ellice clear winners without any young guys clipping at their heals. Rachel Hamill , the 42yr old mum of three winning the womens race in Rotorua with not even a young lady in sight.
Some people might say Whangamata and Rotorua where non drafting races therefore its different to a draft legal race.  But you only have to look at the Brownlie brothers, they are two of the best bike riders on the circuit, that’s one reason they can run sub 30min off the bike. Mikayla Nielsen was the only young athlete out there learning her trade in those races.

So what can TriNZ do to create a bigger base of competitive athletes?

1 - Direct recruitment from the swim clubs , there are plenty of skinny swimmers out there that are built like runners who have never actually ran in their lives. Give them a pathway to get to the top.

2 – Discounted/Free entries to all Contact races for the U19s athletes. Where is the money going to come from? Sell some of the SRMs which are not actually used for any benefit

3 – Get some decent coaches involved in each centre who can look after and mentor the younger athletes. Most kids and teenagers like nothing better to be involved in a squad and if you can create an environment where there is good advice been given and some healthy competition champions will be created.

4 – Any members of the Tri NZ youth/performance teams be contracted to race the contact series

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Challenge Wanaka

Well it was back to Wanaka again this past weekend. This was my 6th time in Wanaka so I am getting to know the place pretty well. As Mark Watson put it, I have been beaten up a few times in the last few years there, but as I tell my athletes persistence is key so I again towed the start line.

After having health problems all of last year I only got out of the rut with a month off including zero exercise in October and changing a few lifestyle things. That meant it was always going to be a pretty short buildup. I also did the Rotorua Half Ironman about a month before which was not very good for my confidence, look up the results if you want to see why J

Well, fast forward a month, and I was waiting for the gun to go off in Wanaka. The morning reminded me of two years ago, I was awoken about 2am with some howling winds blowing against my window, and here we go again I thought. Well the winds stayed and produced a good sized chop on the lake and a swell with a period of about 2sec! So the race started I was in a great position, in the first group after a couple hundred metres with Dylan and Rhodsey already off the front and then the waves seemed to get bigger and I got into all kinds of trouble. Suddenly there was a lot of water been swallowed on every stroke, me wondering if I had been chucked in the washing machine and then even some breastroke to try and get things under control. I have never been so pleased to get to first buoy and change direction and get the swell hitting from a different direction. Finally I emerged from the lake, I knew the time gaps where going to be bad but tried not to think about it.

Onto the bike and out to the first turn around and I could assess the damage. I didn’t bother looking at the watch when Dylan came past, he had given a lesson on how to swim and waited till the group of Chris McCormack, Jamie Whyte, Leon Griffin and Rhodsey come part. It was about 6min and with no one coming from behind I knew I was in for a long solo time trial.

So I got on with the job, the legs felt pretty good, and just did my own thing. The wind was howling, and the 53-11 was getting a good workout in the tailwind sections. This meant on the way back to town it was 39-17 into the head wind! So I got a time split at the 90k mark and it was about 7min so that gave me some confidence as I didn’t think I had been pushing too hard, just riding at my pace. I really thought the group riding at the 7m draft zone would rip some time out.

Back out onto the last lap, big tail wind down to the turn and then the last 30k into the headwind. I saw the group had broken up which was good for my motivation. I arrived in transition in 6th having taking time out of all of those in front, Macca was only 90sec up the road with Jamie and Dylan about 6min with the other in between.

On with my Ipod (got to love Challenge rules) and into the run, I felt very good the first 10k and tried to hold back. But come the 12k mark I started to get that dreaded fuzz which I went in and out of to the finish. I got past Rhodsey at the 18k mark and then got some encouragement when I could see the Macca, Griffin and the 3rd place bike at the 28k mark. I got pass Leon up the big climb up outlet road then up to Macca’s shoulder at the 32k mark. Unfortunately once I got there the body didn’t have much left and I couldn’t finish the job. So I ended with another 4th, I think my 6th time in #4 position at a Ironman distance race! Big congrats to Dylan for getting the win.

So I am very pleased to be on top of things and moving in the right direction again.

The ladies I coach both had good races, Candice was 2nd in a sprint finish with Jo Lawn and Tamsyn rolled home in 5th.

Tracy, Ava and I had a great stay at the Wanaka Edge Apartments so check them out if you are ever in Wanaka. Also if you want a Challenging race and a great holiday destination Wanaka is the race for you.