It’s been over a month since I’ve given my last update, and I sincerely apologise for that. Life has a way of getting ahead of you, but really there’s no excuse. I last left off with a bittersweet update. I got engaged to my sweetheart Belinda Coates, but I also faced a disappointing DNF at the Abu Dhabi Ironman. I simply wasn’t prepared for the extremely high temperatures we faced over there.
As an athlete, you never quite know how to approach a situation like that. I was as prepared for that race as ever, but no amount of preparation can get you ready for something so unexpected. After a DNF like that, you tell yourself to train harder, but that isn’t always the best solution. In triathlon, it often makes things worse.
So I just kept charging on, trying to put it behind me in the best way I can. I went up to Lennox Head to do some training with Team Aeromax and I spent a good four weeks with Clayton Fettel, Mitch Robbins, Joey Lampe, and Josh McHugh. My training for the Port Macquarie 70.3 started five weeks before the race, so I had plenty of time to prepare and get my mind off of things.
The Bussleton 70.3 was six days after the Port Macquarie 70.3, so I had to be a little more careful about not wearing myself out. I got back to Port Macquarie one week before the race to do a little light training, visit with the family, and get fully recovered before the race. Much thanks for Coastline Chiropractic for the adjustment, and of course to my mum for her amazing home cooking. Exactly what I needed to get race fit.
2011 Port Macquarie 70.3
The field was fairly well stacked for the Port Macquarie 70.3 this year. At the top, you had Joe Gambles, who has won several 70.3 events in the past few years, and 10 time New Zealand Ironman Champion Cam Brown. All of my favorite Aussies were there too. Matty White, Josh Rix, Leon Griffin, and Tim Reed all made an appearance.
Overall, I was happy with the way the race progressed. I came out of the swim with the main contenders, Gambles, Cam Brown, Tim Reed, and Matty White. I knew I had four people ahead of me, but that didn’t matter too much. The run is my strength, so as long as I was close enough by the time we got there, I knew I had a chance at victory.
Port Macquarie had a new bike course this year. It was a single lap 90Km course. The first 45Km put us right into a strong headwind, and I lost my pace with Gambles and Brown somewhere around the 13Km mark. My legs were exhausted, but I managed to pull off a strong ride back into town. I gained on a few of the other guys, except for Gambles who looked like he was on a mission from God.
Right around the transition from bike to running, I was in fifth place with Gambles a good 5 1/2 minutes ahead of me. There were four other guys in the transition area with me, and as we exited, I made a wrong turn. It took me some time to correct it, and by the time I did, I was back to ninth place.
That’s when I got frustrated and really started to push it. At the end of the first 2 and 1/2 Km, I was back in fifth. It wasn’t too long before I pushed past Joey Lampe and Leon Griffin, putting me in third place.
I kept pushing. Somewhere around the first part of the second lap, I overtook Christian Kemp for second place. By then, I knew Gambles had won the race, but I still managed to get a good three minutes into his lead. Aside from the mishap at the beginning of the run, I’m still very happy with the results. I had the fastest run of the day and ended the race in second place.
Everyone wanted to party after the Port Macquarie race, but I knew I had to stay within reason. The Busselton 70.3 was just six days after that. I also knew I had to fly out to Perth on Wednesday to meet with a group of 20-24 year olds who show promise in the sport. They invited me to visit a nearby high school to, talk to some students, and do a few drills with them. Time flew by, and before I knew it, I was racing the Busselton 70.3
2011 Busselton 70.3
I’ll admit that I still felt a little fatigued at the start of this year’s Busselton race. I kept telling myself, “you’re a little tired. Don’t do anything stupid!” The swim felt good, and just like Port Macquarie, I came out with the main pack. Guy Crawford had a phenomenal swim and appeared to be on his own program for the entire bike leg.
A part of me suspected that Guy would eventually “pay the price” for his lead, so I didn’t pay much attention to it during the bike. The transition went well for me this time (no wrong turns!), and I had all of the top runners in my sights. I put in a big surge to give myself a gap on them, and I managed to hold onto it!
At this point, there was no looking back. I could hear them. They weren’t too far behind me. I overtook Jamie about 500 meters into the run, and then I caught up with Josh Rix somewhere around 3Km. That only left one person. The mysterious Guy Crawford who hadn’t yet paid his price. I caught him at 6Km.
By the end of the first lap, I had Dellow, Reed, and Matty White about 50 meters behind me. Just for good measure, I surged ahead some more to put a little extra space between us. The run felt really good as I slowly pulled away from the other guys. When I made the final turn towards the finish line, I saw that nobody had gained on me, so I eased up and enjoyed the win.
Now the Port Macquarie and Busselton are done, I’ve got my eyes on Challenge Cairns. It’s less than four weeks away, and there’s plenty of work to do. Before I go, I want to thank WTC for putting on two fantastic events. I also want to thank the organising committees and Triathlon Western Australia. You always do a great job of looking after the athletes!
See you in few weeks.
What a crazy few weeks it’s been. Let me start with some very exciting news. I’m getting married! The lucky girl is Belinda Coates, and we’re planning on getting married on the Gold Coast early next year. It all happened after an incident on my bike during the big week training for the Abu Dhabi Triathlon.
Everything went according to the plan (at least for the most part), including the big 1000km bike week. On Sunday I needed to pull together 130km on the bike to finish out the 1,000km for the week.
I had no idea what was in store for me. As I was finishing off the big week, a car came from out of nowhere and hit my bike, literally breaking it in half. It all happened in the flash of a moment, and although I’m totally fine and completely uninjured, it’s hard to piece everything together. All I can say is that I’m extremely lucky my bike was the only casualty.
So Belinda picked me up and took me back home, broken bike in tow. I was still determined to get my goal for the week, so the second I got back, I hopped on my road bike and finished the ride. In spite of it all, I got my biggest week ever. 1,000kms on the bike! Oh, and this other little thing happened too. I proposed to Belinda. I figure a girl who’s there for me after a bike crash is a good find and definitely worth hanging onto.
Abu Dhabi was on the horizon, and although I came into the race feeling more prepared than ever, it didn’t go as planned. High winds, hot temperatures and the boys driving the bike very hard got the better of me.
I biked pretty hard through the first hour and a half, but then I started cramping. My nutrition was running out, and I knew it was only a matter of time before I’d hit the wall. I basically bonked about 150km into the bike. Matty White was right alongside me, we got off the bike 20min down and I was in a very bad way. We both decided to start the run to see how we flet but I only got to 5k in the run and pull the pin. The temperatures and exhaustion had run their course.
I’m definitely disappointed, I’m not ashamed. Only 16 of the 41 competitors managed to brave the temperatures and winds to the finish line, and the average finish time was one hour slower than last year’s race. It was a challenging day, and my hat goes off to those who finished.
Right now, I’m back in Oz enjoying the much more reasonable weather. I’ll be training in Lennox head with the crew for the next few weeks before the Port Macquarie and Busselton 70.3 races.
As always, I’ll keep you posted on the results.
I’ve got a big race year planned and one of the most challenging triathlons on my list is the Abu Dhabi race this March. What makes this race so different? For one, it’s the only Ironman I’ve ever raced with a full 200km bike section. That’s more biking than I’ve ever done, so it’s going to require a special kind of preparation.
So here’s the plan. My training program starts this Monday, and it goes all the way to the week before the race. During this time, I plan on gradually increasing my weekly distance on the bike, up to a point, and then leveling off right before the competition. I’ve used a similar approach for other races, so I know it works. It’s simply a matter of seeing what happens.
I’ll be keeping the same running and swimming distances each week. I’m only going to change the biking distance. During week one, I’ll be biking 650km, week two will be 850km, then 1000km for week 3, 600km, and finally 500km. The final week will be the most relaxed. I’ve found it’s much better to recover and do the race fresh than to try and push it one week out.
Week 3 will be the most challenging. I don’t think I’ve ever biked 1000 kilometers in a single week, and just so you know, I’ll be doing that on top of my other training. It’s certainly something I know I can do, but it won’t come easy. I’ll keep all of you posted on how it comes together.
This year’s new gear will certainly help out. I’ve got the 2011 [intlink id="522" type="post"]Canondale Slice[/intlink], and the [intlink id="522" type="post"]Shimano DI2 [/intlink] electronic gear shifting system. I like the Slice a lot because it reduces the shock from the rear, which basically means I don’t get tired as fast as I used to. And the DI2 makes gear shifting much smoother, another big time saver. I’m looking forward to seeing what they can do for me.
I’ll also be doing some competition preparation out in Lennox head, where my coach lives. We’ve been spending a lot of one-on-one time together, mostly working on swimming. The biking is a big part of the Abu Dhabi race, but you can’t take everything else for granted. You still have to work on the fundamentals.
I’ve signed up for a few more races in the coming months. I’m registered for the Port Macquarie 70.3, the Bussleton 70.3, and the new Challenge Cairns Ironman. After that, I’ll be heading off to the USA to train in Boulder Colorado. As you can expect, I’m definitely going to do Challenge Copenhagen in August, and after that, it’s hard to tell. I haven’t signed up for anything that far out, but I definitely plan to do a few more races.
And that’s it for my training schedule. The most difficult week isn’t that far out, so I’ll let you all know how it goes with the biking.
Well, my favorite time of the year has arrived. Shimano just picked me up, and I’ve re-signed with all of my sponsors. I’ve got a boatload of new gear coming my way, and I couldn’t be happier. This is much better than Christmas. Wanna see what’s got me so excited? Have a look.
The New 2011 Canondale Slice
I just got this bike, and it rides like a dream. The Slice is the best tri bike I’ve ever ridden, and the results show. I won Challenge Copenhagen on this bike, and I think that if I weren’t riding it, I would have been much more tired for the run.
It all has to do with the way this bike is engineered. The Slice has a shock dampening micro suspension (called the SAVE system) on the rear. It reduces a lot of the wear you get from riding long distances, and in my case, it kept me feeling much more fresh once I hopped off the bike and did the run.
I’ve got some pretty serious bike training coming up in the next few weeks, so the new Slice will certainly come in handy. The Abu Dhabi triathlon features a 200k bike section, so I’m planning on slowly increasing my distance on the bike before I head over there in March. During my most intense week, I’ll be biking an insane 1000 kilometers. Just so you know, I’ve never done that before.
Shimano’s Dura Ace DI2 Electronic Shifting System
You can really see the evolution of bike racing with this new Shimano gear shifting system. There are no cables, so you get a super smooth transition between gears. This is actually really handy. When you add up all of the little delays in a race, something like this can make a big difference.
Being that these have be designed triathletes, the new system eliminates the need for me to change hand positions during shifting. I can change gears at the base bar as well as the bar extensions because the system is linked.
Also, the electronic rear derailleur system is the fastest & most precise shifting I have seen. It’s made from Aluminium and Carbon which is why the whole rear derailleur weighs in at only 225g.
But you haven’t even heard the best part. The DI2 self-tunes. What a timesaver. No more trekking across town to the bike shop to get it done (not that I mind it). What could be more useful in the middle of a big race?
Shimano has also been kind enough to give me some new shoes, wheels, and bars. Thanks again guys!
I’ve gotta shout out to Scody and Daikin. Thanks for your support.
What second Christmas is complete without some new clothes? Scody always has the most colorful and interesting designs out there. I love working with them because I get to be a part of the process, helping them come up with gear that makes me look good. It’s win-win all around.
I’ll be blogging about my training schedule shortly. Like I said, it looks like I’ve got a lot of intense weeks on the bike ahead of me. I’ll keep you all posted on my progress, and if they have to scrape me off the road during that 1000k week, you’ll know.