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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

7th in Las Vegas 70.3 World Championships

This race wasn't on my calendar early on in the year, and I didn't really intend to jump in 70.3 racing so fast. That all quickly changed when I won the Singapore 70.3 back in March, and my success there left me complusively wanting more 70.3 pie. There were a few things that drew me to compete: I hadn't contested a World Championship since the Gold Coast ITU World's in 2009, it's a notoriously hard & hot course, it was optimally placed one week after my season A-race in Hy-Vee, & I just love hurting in a sick kind of way. Someone once told me Ironman gets addictive, & I can believe them now.

The Course

Swim


The swim course was a little too easy.  Only two turning bouys means the swim will be bunched up for most of the 1,900m. If this was changed (which it really can't considering the shape of the lake), the swim would be a little more significant and spread out.

Bike




This is one of the best bike courses going around in Triathlon, though not looking like much on the map above. Entres of hills, scenery and pain is served constantly throughout the 90km, and there's never really any section to get comfortable. The road is also smooth and nice to ride on...bonus. My Garmin file is below, but still with no special power meter or anything really of interest other than speed, elevation & time etc.




Run



A glance at the profile above confirms that this course raises more than my girlfriends special banana bread. There's uphills, downhills, footpath switchbacks & u-turns. This makes for a long, slow, & painful grind to the finish line. A course that would either make or break ones result.


The Memory

I was super relaxed before the start of the race. There's something about lining up in transition with all the amateurs that comforts me and pipes down my nerves a little. I was also relaxed by the fact that with such a strong startlist tantamount with my inexperience in the format, I realistically couldn't expect much of myself. Irrespective, I still knew I could grab a red hot result.

I took to the lead early on in the swim, but was passed by Andy Potts after about 500-600m. I sat on his feet at a steady pace, but the whole time being well aware of his average sighting skills. Coming down to the last 300m, he made an error in one of his lines to a bouy, and I backed myself to swim straight and I edged him out of the lead pretty easily to lead out of the water.

The run to transition was long, and the run out was longer. But all fun nevertheless. I wipped off my skinsuit, put my socks and helmet on, was out the door hitting that first long hill VERY suddenly. It was a nice little challenge and warm up for the legs, and I positioned myself in the pack and got myself mentally ready to play the game. My plan was to just sit in for as long as possible & let the experienced guys take control. About 20km in, people started dropping & I think the first to go was Matt Reed. I knew I just had to stay out of trouble, and I made an effort to bridge a lot of gaps where I could see guys weakening. The last thing I wanted was to be left behind because of some dope not paying attention.

I think about 60-70km is where the action started happening and where athletes were dropping wheels. Just beforehand, Kienle rode through our pack and took off like a Nebelwerfer. I was somewhat humbled by the sight of him gapping up so quickly, but knew I just had to be patient and stick to my plan. The Last 10km is where the vice tightened and I had to start showing some aggression. I bridged gaps over guys and ended up second wheel behind Crowie who was switching the lead with Potts. We were putting the pressure down and gapped the field slighty and really made the other athletes burn their legs heading into the run. I has goosebumps this whole last section of the ride, and was overwhelmed to be riding at the front of the race (bar Kienle the crazy Deutcher) with two legends of the sport. I was proud to have just put myself in that position with as little effort as possible. At this stage I was still quite comfortable and hadn't had to use much gas at all.

I was second off the bike, and probably stole a little glory from the guys that worked the most, but I didn't care. I need the exposure more than them and I really didn't have to think twice about snatching it! I was also second out of transition and led the run pack for the first km or so, a pretty stupid move a stary eyed novice like me would make. From here, I was overtaken, and kept going backwards to 6th place, where I stayed for the entire run until the last 10minuntes where I got done by Bart the Belgian bullet. I was feeling strong most of the run bar the last lap. I went into a daze and started making weird noises that I didn't know how to control. I'm sure there's others reading this who've had similar! I has Faris Al-Sultan on my tail and he kept the pressure on me all the way to the finish.

I'm overjoyed with 7th, and will definately be back stronger and faster next year to improve on this result. This is my kind of race, and I can see myself developing a kinship with this course over the years to come. I was the youngest and maybe least experienced in the field by a fair way, and stuck it to a lot of pros more seasoned than a Texas BBQ. Bring on Las Vegas 2013, and I hope some of you readers come out with me to join in on the ritual.

Cheers for the support, it never goes unnoticed. My main race kudos goes to Sebastian Kienle. This guy is a space traveller and was on another planet that day. Sincere respect.

The Evidence







6 comments:

  1. One of the best! Great read Burgs

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  2. Congrats, great race and great blog. Hopefully Cervelo get you a P5 for next year, big things to come from you. Nice work on the ITU World champs selection aswell

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  3. Great report mate.. Massive things to come next year! Can't wait to see you rip it up!

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  4. Brisbane bound, home in the morning,will be great to see you again Josh.
    Hope those words you were ranting and raving were all good.Welcome home.
    Mum xx

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  5. Just plain awesome! Burgzilla at his old antics again stickin it to the savvy vets! I have a hole in my ceiling from cheering during the live broadcast. No worries, the repair bill is in the mail to Brisneyland :)

    Surprised your cycling pack stayed upright when Kienle flew by spewing out his wake effect in the process. The aerial shot of his pass from the chopper cam was truly a sight to behold. Looked like Mark Cavendish trying to snatch a stage win in the TdF in a sprint finish. Everyone, including myself, thought for sure he would be caught putting out that kind of wattage, if not on the bike, then on the run. So, props to him for such a brazen move and for it to have actually succeeded.

    Your success is so inspiring Josh knowing all the tough, and at times lonely, miles you have put in. Could not have happened to a more generous, kind-hearted person who at the same time is a ferocious competitor. Love the contradictory dynamic of your unique personality. Keeps everyone on their toes.

    Btw, way to go green at Interbike with the use of the organic yellow cell phone. Ha!

    Keep up your efforts my friend!

    Peace,
    TJ Mad Fan (who else?)

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  6. good report, great placement and a excellent attitude for the future. what more can you want..

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