Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Racing in Asia

The last 2 weekends I have competed in 2 70.3 races in Asia. One in Subic Bay, Phillipines and one in Taitung, Taiwan. Both of these races went let's just say 'not as planned' and has meant that I have had a disappointing end to the last 5 months of races were I have done 6 Ironman 70.3 distance races. Subic Bay race was tough, hot and really competitive. I felt pretty worn out and couldn't quite get myself into the groove but was able to get across the line and tick off another race, and get a 'free' towel! Taitung, was much the same, with an ok swim just dropping off the front pack, leading me to riding solo and again not feeling like I had much power in the legs. Got on the run and just wasn't feeling my usual self both physically but more importantly mentally. I decided to pull the plug and DNF. I believe it was the right thing to do, as if our head ain't in the game, how can your body be. It's a learning about periodising racing and especially early in my career, I cant expect to compete against the best in the world not firing on all pistons. These were early season races for these dudes, they were hammering.
BUT, instead of reflecting more on the races and where I didn't go well specifically, I think it's best to look at the experience of racing professionally in Asia. As my sister said which I think is a good way to look at it all, I got some really good 'market intelligence.' Both events were very different, apart from that the field of athletes which was high quality! The whole idea of going to Asia was to race second tier pro fields, but that was thrown out the window pretty quickly and at the end of the day it was a good case of 'baptism by fire', and I believe it's better to race against the best, in environments I'm unfamiliar so that I know what to expect when I come back in the future, as a real contender for the win.
In both locations the weather played a role and especially in the Phillipines it was punishing! Learning quickly that it's far more than just swim, bike and running well in these locations but also managing the weather, the different cultures, which had a big effect on the food you can eat. Being to picky about Gluten free doesn't really work, especially for a leaner guy like myself. I can't afford to miss or minimise my food intake. By talking and observing the guys in the pro races they have been racing for a long time, even the younger ones, and have the experience to know how to manage all aspects of racing, where I still am a rookie finding my feet in the sport. It was cool to be able to meet other pros and good dudes like Guy Crawford (NZ) Johannes Molden (GER), power house on the bike and Kevin Collington (US), fellow Hoka Athlete. Kevin said to me that it takes time to find your groove in professional racing and that it will take a few seasons of racing to start to feel comfortably and understand the dynamics of racing, especially on the bike. Was nice to hear this from another pro, who has been doing it for a while and has had good success in the sport. Which made it cool to see him have a great race in Subic. Of course all of this has already been told to me by my coach and reaffirming what he has told me about being patient but I am the kind of guy who learns best through first hand experience, good and bad! There are some really clear priorities that have come out of the whole trip and again I am very lucky to have been able to go and see two more parts of the world I hadn't seen. It is because of this trip that I definitely know what the target is and where I need to get to. 'Research is all about understanding the current situation to help grow and capitalise on opportunities in the future.' I believe these races have been fundamental for me in my progression within Triathlon/Ironman. Time to reboot and go into a solid training/ training trips.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

IM 70.3 Geelong

70.3 Geelong

Another tough day out yesterday at 70.3 Geelong 19th February. This race marked 2 years since my first 70.3 which was the 2015 70.3 Australia champs in Geelong where I got third in my age group.

The day started out pretty well with a decent swim which positioned me comfortably with the 2nd pack going into the bike. I was able to this race get a better start on the bike and get out the front of the group I was with and put myself in a position to ride with them for the full 90km. Unfortunately that didn't happen and I was spat out the back as they were pushing a pretty solid pace for the first 20km and I wasn't able to maintain in the cross wind as well as them. This lead me to cutting my losses and just conserving as much as I can so I could have a solid run off the bike.

That luckily is what happened and I was able to have another good run. Was third fastest run split I think and run 74min 20sec. Was able to make up a few places but still only finished up 21st due to the ride.

The race itself was pretty stacked and was cool to race with a lot of the top guys even if it was for the swim and a brief moment on the bike! Sam Appleton and Josh Amerberger are machines and impressive to see them going toe to toe, full throttle for the full distance! Kudos to Jake Montgomery for coming back from real bad crash to finish 5th.

Got Subic Bay and Taiwan 70.3 coming up so hopefully can put a better bike together and position myself so my run can put me more ahead of some guys rather than help me catch up!

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Ironman Article Feature


Friday, 6 January 2017

Port of Tauranga Half Ironman

Just finished racing Port of Tauranga Half Ironman, new PB of 3 hour and 55 min....including a 3 minute penalty, and a distraction time of who knows! Was pretty rough getting my first penalty from a ruling which didn't seem fair (guy made a pass then slowed down, causing me to be in the '12m' spacing and apparently not giving him enough room within 30 seconds?) especially after riding 75km solo after missing the front group of riders out of transition, but thats racing and shit happens.

Back to the start of the race though, the swim was choppy conditions which I actually quite like! Was able to get a good start, get into the front group and get into a rhythm. My goggles got pretty fogged up after a about the first 500m so the rest of the swim was lets say, more finding feet than sighting the buoys. New goggles on the to do list!

Came into transition with the group so was looking up at the stage, but the this is where the big learning from this race came (pretty much over learning stuff now lol), I was to focused on getting into my bike shoes when I should just get on the bike and put feet on pedals and haul ass...worry about the feet in shoes once at speed! Seems pretty practical right...

So missed the group on the bike again and didn't have the power/strength to put in the effort to catch them, like Simon Cochrane did....good man!  Anyway, road the rest of the bike basically solo, few guys providing help for a few minutes..and thought when Cam Brown came passed I might be able to pace with him to the front group but there was no shot in hell I was holding that terminator for any serious length of time!

So along came the Tech official and the penalty.. shitty shit shit... but got through that mental battle and sat the penalty, finished the bike and got on the run. Plan was to pace the run out and try to have an even split for the 21km but that had gone out the window, so just thought "stuff it" and buried myself. Pretty happy with that decision though as I was able to run myself back into 8th place from 15th (I think) and have shared equal run split with Cam Brown (74min) and 9 seconds behind Braden, who again had a sweet race and got a new course record..legend!

So, again good learnings...but over learning now, so next up in Geelong 70.3 and you'll be sure I am going into that one with even more fire in my belly!

Loved the new bike, went super smooth! Thanks for the support from friends, fam and sponsors!! SKINS, HOKA ONEONE, DIMOND BIKES, BALANCE SPORTS NUTRITION.

Friday, 9 December 2016

Ironman 70.3 Taupo

Well had an interesting day out swim, bike and running around Lake Taupo. Finished up in 12th spot in 4 hours 7 min.

Nice refreshing swim in Lake Taupo to kick it off. Pretty quick start but once it settled I was able to slot into the 2nd pack and come out of the water in 25.15 min with 6 others, 1 minute off the pace from the leading 5. It's a long run up to the transition from the swim exit and was pretty quick pace running to the bike. Had a slow transition and meant I just missed holding onto that group out of transition but being honest with myself I think they were again pushing watts that are just out of reach at the moment.

On the bike course, and after the big climb out of Taupo I tried to get into the feel of the bike but just wasn't getting into my mojo like I had at Western Sydney 70.3 2 weeks ago. At about  the 20km point on the bike, I was caught up by the boys who were behind out of the water, the likes of Dougal Allan, Cam Brown and about 3 others. I was able to hold onto the group for about 5km but when you have a bloke like Dougal at the front, it's always going to be a tough ride. Ended up finishing the ride in 2hr 18min with a Normalized Power of 285w which is a big difference from my NP at West Sydney of 297w. Looking at the splits, it was that first 46ks which saw me lose time but the 2nd half was comparatively not too far off the pace.

The start of the run was alright, feeling a bit tight but was able to loosen up and start running 3.35min per km pace, which was the plan (try have a more even run throughout the 21k). I was able to pick up 5 places to come in 12th which seemed to be my Magic number for the day. (Bib number, 12th out of water, 12th overall)

Really cool to be competing in my second race as a pro with the likes of Cam Brown, Braden and Dougal! All guys I really admire. Kudos to Braden for backing up after a crash a week before the race and taking the Win 2nd year running!

Race of the day has to go to Mike Phillips, who came out in the same group as me in the swim but had a hammer of a bike and managed to hold on with a solid run to take a resounding second place!

Time to get on my new bike and work on my power! Look forward to mixing it up with the Kiwi boys on Port of Tauranga half on January 8!

Thanks for the the support from friends, family, sponsors and my coach Bevan at FITTER COACHING!


Monday, 28 November 2016

IM 70.3 Western Sydney

Sunday the 27th was Ironman 70.3 Western Sydney. This was my first Professional race and was fitting as was out at Penrith Regatta Centre where I did one of my first triathlons back in school, the distance just a bit longer this time!

Was up early race day, 3.40am, to get there as was just over an hours drive away from Bondi. Start time was 6.15am and was a non wetsuit swim. Little nervous but more anxious and excited to get underway and see what it would be like to race with the pros and have a pretty flexible race plan as was going to be a good test race, gather a bit of data going into the start of my Race season.

I started the swim on the feet of Dan Wilson and Ryan Fisher as thought why not sit with the fastest guys in the pack. I was fine for the first 400m but lost touch with them and ended up swimming between the front pack and second. I decided to join the second pack and came out of the water 90 seconds off the front guys, so not a great swim but felt pretty fresh coming out of the water because of easing it up. T1 transition was super quick, being a non wetsuit swim. 

Was out in the bike and happy with how I was able to settle in quickly to the bike and was riding with 2 others, one being last year’s winner. I stayed with them for a good 15km but then felt like they were pushing about 15 watts more than I could manage for the 90km. I then road the rest of the 75km solo and finished with a Normalized Power of 297. Nutrition on the bike went well and felt good coming off the bike.

Coming into T2 got a 15 seconds time penalty for undoing helmet before racking my bike, little brain snap there.  Out of the run , felt good first few kms, running at 3.25 per km pace but then started to feel a little heavy and couldn’t  get myself to run under 3.35s. Maybe feeling the half marathon a week ago in the legs. It was pretty hot half way through the run so nice bit of hurt towards the end, was able to pass a few guys in front and get from 9th to 7th. Pretty happy to go under 4 hours, time of 3 hour 59min.
Few lessons learnt would be, hold onto that front pack in the swim even if means pushing it a little harder than 70.3 pace. On the ride, now that I know I can manage holding 300w for the 90km and still run 78min, stay with them as means I’ll be able to run with/ run down more guys.

Next up is Taupo 70.3 December 10! 

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Queenstown Half Marathon

Stoked to take the win in the Queenstown Half marathon yesterday, Saturday 20th November. Been keen to race a half marathon for a while now and was awesome that it was a home race. The Start line was literally 1km down the road from home so pretty cool to be able to my warm up from home to the start line. Think there were around 10,000 people racing both full and half marathon.

First couple of kilometres were pretty quick before the things settled down and I locked into a good rhythm, running around the 3.15 to 3.25min per km pace. The majority of the run is on the Queenstown Trail, which makes it a little tougher but far more scenic and entertaining running. Was running with one other guy Mike Phillips who won the race last year, until about the 10km mark, where there is a steep climb. I made a move there and was able to create a gap between us and then built a substantial lead from there.  Felt strong the whole way, a little tender for the last few kilometres, but all round good race and executed to the plan I had set out.

Took the win in 1 hour 12 min 23 sec (new course record), 2min30sec in front of second. Was wearing the Hoka Claytons, which were perfect and Skins tights and socks so was in complete comfort. 

Western Sydney 70.3 is next and is my first professional race so has given me a nice confidence in my running before that race.

Thanks to my coach Bevan (fitter.co.nz) and thanks to my sponsors, Hoka One One, Skins, Balance Sports Nutrition