The festive season not only brings together family, friends and children with jovial fat red men with sacks in shopping centres, it also spews forth copious amounts of fickle and arbitrary lists of 'best of's'.
So here's my own list, prehaps also as fickle and arbitrary as the rest.
^disclaimer- I generally give more attention to mens races, so I have withheld a list of female performance as a bastion against my inadequate knowledge and likely speculation. If you don't like my list, make your own!
- Best performance of 2011- Javier Gomez in Sydney WCS
- Best swim of 2011- Richard Varga in Hamburg WCS
- Best ride of 2011- Reinaldo Collucci in Kitzbuhel WCS
- Best run of 2011- Joao Silva in Yokohama WCS
- Best overall athlete/s- Brownlee, either one
- Breakthrough athlete- Vincent Luis
- Best course- Geneva Euro Cup
- Best crash- Laurent Vidal in Sydney WCS (video- watch from .30 in)
- Best quote- Alistair Brownlee post-Kitzbuhel: "It was a funny race today, the swim was really really slow, I was a couple of guys back...and I thought these guys are going really slow so I just swam to the front. It didn't seem that hard"
- Best performance of 2011- Greg Bennett in Hy-Vee
- Best swim of 2011- J.Amberger in Hy-Vee*
- Best ride of 2011-Ben Collins in NYC 5150 or Hy-Vee
- Best run of 2011- Javier Gomez in Dallas
- Best overall athlete- Paul Matthews
- Breakthrough athlete- Billiard Bertand
- Best course- Hy-Vee
- Best crash- Cam Dye in Minneapolis, "An age grouper came out of transition and tried to do a flying mount onto his bike, however, from lack of practice or body control he began to go through the line of cones and into my lane. I slammed on my breaks and road over to the left as far as I could to avoid him but my C75 met the curb and I did a slow motion flip over the bars and onto said curb."
- Best quote- Cam Dye post-Hy-Vee, telling me I cut the bouys and cheated in the swim!
70.3 & Iron Distance
- Best performance of 2011- All three records, first Marino Van Hoenacker at IM Austria, Andreas Raelert at Challenge Roth & Craig Alexander at Kona
- Best swim of 2011- Pete Jacobs in IMOZ
- Best ride of 2011-Andreas Raelert at Challenge Roth
- Best run of 2011- Pete Jacobs in Kona
- Best overall athlete- Craig Alexander
- Breakthrough athlete- Clayton Fettell & Andi Boecherer
- Best crash- Tim Reed in Phuket 70.3, "On the final climb of the day at a bit after the 80km mark I felt the heart sinking feeling of a tyre getting very squishy as glass had sliced the tyre and tube... I decided to just ride slowly on the flat tyre until the support vehicle caught up. There was a minor descent where I was able to pick my speed up a little... as soon as I hit the corner at the end of the descent I came down hard stupidly forgetting that I wouldn’t be able to corner with a flat tyre".
- Best Quote- Andy Potts after Vineman 70.3: "Anytime you can get to smell the finish line, and you're shoulder to shoulder with you know, the top guy, and you're in the lead, all that's bringing you towards the finish line. It's like a tractor beam, pulling you in and you got all this adrenaline, and I'm thinking, let the tractor beam, let it pull me in let it pull me in..."
On the whole, 2011 was a good year for me, with some definate highlights but also some downers. I had my first injury of my career, which set me back four months of cycling & running from December 2010 until April. I had a short while to recover and condition myself before the international season began, which of course made things tough. I tried some shortcuts to fitness, which obviously worked for my early races in Klagenfurt, Zurich & Geneva, but held me back from long term conditioning for New York, Hy-Vee, Noosa and Port Mac. I introduced new styles of racing, non-drafting Olympic Distance and 70.3, and will certainly continue this into the future. The triathletes I admire are the ones that can do it all, and that's my blueprint. It was also my first season where I took care of everything myself; training plans, racing schedule, training bases, homestays, nutrition and funded myself 95%, the other 5% going to my only cash sponsor. A bit of a bleak figure, but I guess this margin can only improve. At 22, I think I did an okay job of managing all of these things. I learnt a lot and I understand I still have a long way to go, but this is the challenge I love.
...In 2012, I will be smarter, and I will be better. Cannot wait!