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Posted on 16. Nov, 2013 by in Personal thoughts

Defending my Australian 70.3 Championship, Mandurah, Western Australia

This year I was heading back to Mandurah, Western Australia, to defend my title against a field of competitors who were much stronger than last year. I’ve focused a lot of my year on being fit and ready to come back to Mandurah and defend my Aussie title, while trying to keep the race in perspective and treat it like any other day.

As a course, it suits me to a T, with the canal swim, flat and fast bike segment and the hot and windy run and I was feeling good going into it.

The start of the race went well, coming out of the water with a time of 21:19. I was on par with the main front pack which included, Bozzone, Reed, Kahlefeldt, Appleton, Bennett, Munro and Jurkiewicz.

Onto the bike the pace was fast, I pushed it pretty early trying to split the field up a little bit and by the second half of the bike I was really starting to feel it. The wind was picking up on the second lap and the heat was coming at me from every angle. I made good time of 2:03 with a couple of the boys absolutely flying along. Bozzone was super strong and really showing why he is number 2 at 70.3 world champs.

Off the bike, Bozzone was the first to get running. It was down to us, Appleton, Bennett, and Jurkiewicz, we were only separated by a few seconds at the start of the run. I was off in 3rd position and it took a while to get my legs going. I was really feeling the pace of the bike start to bite and a few of the guys were really taking off and began to leave me behind.

I slipped back to 4th position during the first half of the run. Finally, when my legs came good, more than half way in, it was a battle to try and shake a few of the boys off. I gave it my all and managed to push my way back up to second. I was moving in and out of bad patches all day and the standings continued to swap around through the second half of the run.

Once I firmly made my way into second position it was then a battle of wits and a few mind games with the young pup Appo to get rid of him and put a bit of space between us. I pushed to catch up to Bozzone who’d made his way up the road in front of me. Unfortunately, he’d been able to get a good minute on me and there was no chance of catching him. He made it to the finish in 3:42:58 and I came in at 3:44:30.

He managed to steal the Aussie title off me and I had to settle for second place this time around. Although he is a kiwi, so I’m still technically still the Aussie champ…right?

Thanks to the Asia Pacific team for a great weekend. I look forward to going back to Mandurah next year and trying to steal the championship back.

Samoa Half Ironman & Yeppoon 70.3 Ironman Race reports

Originally Samoa was not on my race calendar however Guy Beasley convinced me to head over and try out this new race. Samoa was a destination I had not been to before. It wasn’t a long trip so figured I’d give it a go. Samoa was some what an eye opener for me. The Samoan people were lovely, there food was really tasty and I loved drinking there fresh
coconuts.

The temperature on race day was hot and it was a non wetsuit swim. I had an ok swim then onto the bike where my day ended. I had a flat and I was one of the many casualties during the day. I was able to fix the first flat with a pit stop but after it blew completely so that my day over. I was in second place and was lucky enough to receive a police car escort back into town. To make the trip not a complete waste of time I decided to do the run.

Overall my experience was great and I thoroughly enjoyed the race and the people. But all in all I would recommend this race. PS: I highly recommend taking your training wheels with some seriously good tyres on them. I think my Giant cross bike would have even been more appropriate. I want to thank Seti and Emily for making me feel so welcome in there country.

The following week I headed up to Yeppoon which is based in central Queensland, Australia. Race morning was lovely and Yeppoon really turned on the weather. My swim wasn’t too bad coming out in the tail end of the first pack. Onto the bike I set out on my merry way chasing down the boys. I caught the them and moved into 3rd place only having to catch Casey Munro which I did and of course Tim Reed was up the road.

I was then riding on my lonesome on the third lap and this is where the controversy started. A Technical Official (TO) rode up to me and gave me a blocking penalty. I questioned this by asking “WHO”, as there was only a bunch of age groupers near me, riding 2-3 abreast on a narrow course. I thoughtfully moved to the middle of the road to pass them (common sense) which obviously was what he was trying to pull me up on.

I got off the bike some 3 and a half minutes behind Tim Reed. I served what felt the longest 5 minutes of my life which of course caused my legs to seize up. I slowly watched my place get eaten up, dropping me back to 8th spot before I was able to going again.

The boys took off quickly with Mitch Robbins pulling up the road at a very fast pace which I knew I would have my work cut out for me in order to catch them. I slowly started to tow the boys all in and I managed to get my second spot back again around the 8km mark.

I ended my day with a disappointing 2nd place, 4 minutes behind Tim Reed. I take my hat off to him, and credit where credit is due, he ran a professional race and well done on back to back victories.

So back to my questionable penalty of 5 minutes. I feel that the TO could have observed the situation and responded more accurately. Anyway what’s done is done and I’m now back training and looking forward to competing at Metaman in two weeks.

Thanks again to my amazing team; Wife & fur babies, Scody, Giant, Newton, Daikin, Endura, Shimano, Oakley, Garmin, Blue Seventy, Altitude training systems, Continental Tyres, Scicon and my coach Grant Giles

Cheers Berks