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Monday, March 10, 2014

New Website

Please see my new site for all new posts, this will remain active for archive purposes. 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Best & Worst of 2013: An Arbitrary Account

As the title boldly states, here's an arbitrary account of the year 2013. Nothing personal here, it's just for laughs. I've got the memory of a peanut, so if you think my list sucks feel free to make your own. There's a 'collective' list & a small 'personal' list at the bottom. I haven't done a Women's list, I wouldn't be able to do it justice (peanut memory). Enjoy!

The Collective: 


  • Most memorable performance- Sebastian Kienle, Las Vegas. He did the same thing, two years in a row & still no one could stop him!
  • Biggest implosion- Ben Collins x2: San Juan & St. Croix
  • Most dominating performance- Pete Jacobs, Sunshine Coast
  • Old dog but gets it done- Greg Bennett
  • Best swim- Tim Berkel, Mandurah, front pack effort
  • Best ride- Seb Kienle, Las Vegas yeow
  • Best run- Ritchie Nicholls, Wiesbaden
  • King Beef of 2013- Terenzo Bozzone
  • Comeback king- Terenzo Bozzone
  • Breakthrough athlete- Christian Kemp
  • Most consistent- Tim Reed
  • Most inconsistent- Ivan Vasiliev
  • Best newcomer- Jan Frodeno or Courtney Atkinson
  • The phantom- Filip Ospaly
  • Best quote- Tim Don; "Dirty fast".
  • Best backhanded compliment- Tim Reed, backhanded compliment to author after Vegas; "Big respect for the way you raced on Sunday. Sorry it didn't work out. The pack was pretty ridiculous there for a while although I have to say I found it harder in the pack then when I got the front later on and could just ride steady state".
  • Failure to launch- 75% of the field in St. Croix, flat tyres
  • Fastest first mile- Jan Frodeno, Las Vegas
  • Slowest last mile- Peter Robertson, Wiesbaden 70.3
  • Want to see more of- Javier Gomez

Iron Distance 
  • Most memorable performance- Luke McKenzie, Kona
  • Biggest implosion- Courtney Atkinson, Metaman
  • Most dominating performance- Tim O'Donnell, IM Brasil
  • Old dog but can't get it done- Bryan Rhodes
  • Best swim- Don't know, Andy Potts?
  • Best ride- Sebastian Kienle, Kona (how could anyone else have ridden up to the front & still lasted?)
  • Best run- Bart Aernouts, IM Nice (2.37.01)
  • Breakthrough athlete- Tyler Butterfield
  • Best newcomer- Bevan Docherty, IM NZ
  • Comeback king- Chris 'Big Sexy' McDonald Or Luke Bell
  • Most consistent- Eneko Llanos & Victor Del Corral
  • Most inconsistent- Chris McCormack
  • Sure can race a lot- Pedro Gomes
  • King Beef of 2013- Freddy Van Lierde
  • Best quote- Sebastian Kienle, Kona post-race presser (we've all thought this!) 
  • Good, but please know when to stop!- Andrew Starkowicz's 'diamond man' 
  • Did he really say that?- Unknown, Kona post-race presser (see bottom of page)
  • Failure to launch- Pete Jacobs, Kona press conference
  • Most honest/humble- Craig Alexander, Kona post-race


  • Best swim: St. Anthony's 5150 (1st out, 18.55 & a little long)
  • Best cycle: Port Macquarie 70.3 (2:10:10, fastest ride)
  • Best run: Weisbaden 70.3 (1.14.46)
  • Best overall race: Port Macquarie 70.3 (1st)
  • Hardest race: Wiesbaden 70.3 (crazy bike course)
  • Most competitive: Las Vegas 70.3 (it's a World Champs)
  • Worst swim: Buffalo Springs 70.3 (HOT water, diabolically uncomfortable)
  • Worst cycle: Hy-Vee 5150 (drafting penalty + blow up)
  • Worst run: Las Vegas 70.3 (mmm poor bike tactics)
  • Worst overall performance: Hy-Vee 5150
  • Best training base: Boulder
  • Best race destination: St. Croix
  • Best race experience: Wiesbaden 70.3 
  • Best crowd support: Noosa Tri
  • Best training Partner: Martin Van Barneveld
  • Worst blog of 2013: You've just read it!!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Off-season, Off-road

I spend most of the year on planes, so it's nice to be able to get in the car & drive somewhere exotic for once. Moreton Island has been on the menu for the last three years, but it's a paradise only 90mins from my door so it's hard to beat. This island is a magical place, it's so far removed from the normal routines of life that it's hard to believe there's a huge metropolis just across the bay. Take me back!!!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Season's End in Shepparton

I'm stretching things a bit blogging two weeks after an event, but amid some pretty tardy (and some unintentionally omitted) entries this year it's just a good thing I'm getting it done. Shepparton was my last event for 2013, and while it came and went quite quickly in the moment, it feels like this season has stretched over an eternity and it took 50 phases of the moon for Shep to arrive.

It must be said that I've never raced this late into a season. To be racing from April to November is a big ask from a young body, but I wanted to make it happen for a number of reasons. Thinking I would have been racing from March onwards if I didn't have a stress fracture that month seems a little daunting, but with a well planned season incorporating intermittent rest & builds, it's entirely possible to race for that long a stretch, most international Southern Hemisphere athletes do it perennially. One thing I wanted to do this year was race more in front of an Australian crowd, and the end of year string of events gave me this opportunity. I had a weird & unexpected late season peak in Port Macquarie in October which kicked off the string of Australian events. After my win in Port it was quite obvious to myself that the body and mind were sliding out of shape & out of focus. Port was everything I wanted to do in a race this year, the feeling mid-race was impeccable. It was a huge relief to feel that way, so once it came and went the other races on the calendar (Noosa & Shep) seemed perfunctory. But with a daily metaphorical kick in the ball bag, I was able to keep things in a reasonable shape to compete at a respectable level in both races. I kept telling myself that I wanted one more win. While I can say things felt perfunctory after Port, the desire to win was/is always there, it's just training and getting out the door became that much harder. I wanted to win again for myself and my sponsors, all of which have shown unwavering support for me this year. But without a doubt I needed to stop and refresh, something that only an end of season break can service.

Shepparton & the Course

Shepparton is one of those races that everyone talks about. It's dubbed as 'the people's race', and come race day the moniker becomes intensely palpable. It's one of the most professional races I've done, with a really really cool vibe amongst a beautiful but harsh outback Australian setting.

The swim was dangerously fun but frustrating at the same time. It was a cool 17c/62f water temp, with a natural water composition as thick and colorful as a race morning movement down the colon. It's a 1.5 lap affair that sees the pros and some fast AGer's double up on slow athletes on the overlap, keeping things very interesting. Also, a long stretch of the swim is into retina burning sunlight. Like I said, dangerously fun...

While this bike course not my most favored spin, it's certainly more interesting than it looks. Reminding me somewhat of the Buffalo Springs course in the US, it's desolation and miles of tree lined arches are enchanting and inspiring. Rough chip seal makes it an honest course in the absence of any hills, and keeps the gooch yearning for those rare strips of asphalt.

The run course is the stand out of the three legs. Looping around the lake, the course follows a bitumen creek path through quintessential Australian eucalypt trees darting out of the ground like fields of asparagus. This is a hot steaming run, and like asparagus, its grinding length and heat will corrupt your urine (mine was brown after the race?).

The Race

Like I said earlier, my form was on the slide. Seldom is there a 70.3 on offer where there isn't at least a few 70.3 champions, or Continental/World Champions in the field. In this field I had the likes of Terenzo, James Hodge and Clayton Fettell to fend off, all with their own credentials but Terenzo standing out as the current 70.3 BOSS. Winning was always going to be a big ask, I'm running the worst I have in years but I still had the belief that if things went well I could pull it off. With Clayton in the race, it would seem like it was a perfect shot to get a good gap on Terenzo in the swim, and ride the hell outta' there to get a good buffer for the run. Though as the saying goes, nothing is ever as it seems. Always be ready to rely on no one but yourself to be where you want to be. This was one of those races where you could have had every belief that the race would unfold a certain way, only to have it dropped out the bottom like hemorrhoids.

I coughed up a lung at the start of the swim. Clayton went out hard, and I had to go with him. We gapped everyone instantly except for Hodge, who hung on for only another 5 minutes or so. Some sighting issues from Clayton mixed with course confusion from the lead paddler had us lose a lot of time, but we still exited with a minute on Terenzo. This was time we needed and hoped to build on.

I put socks on in transition and Clayton got a 15 second gap on me which took four or five minutes to bridge. I did it comfortably, but it still gassed me a little. Once I caught up, I sat on a for a few minutes before he started to slow a little. I thought maybe he was subtly telling me to roll through so I did, fearing Terenzo would ride up. I got to work and set a really good pace out front. I worked for fifteen minutes before I looked behind signalling for Clayton to take his turn. I slowed down a lot and waited for a pass. Another minute later I looked around and he was gone. I immediately refocused my effort contemplating a long solo ride, but it didn't bother me as I was feeling great.

40km down the road the power was still good, but the heart rate started dropping slightly. By the 45km turnaround I was pretty eager to see the gap on Terenzo and Hodge, and to my dismay it was roughly 90 seconds or so. I had put a lot of energy into that first lap and gained little. I knew the second lap was going to be a lot harder and mentally I crumbled in disbelief. I knew Terenzo was running like a champ, but he was also riding like a stud. Over the second lap my power really dropped and my heart rate followed. There was just nothing I could do about it, and I was getting out of the saddle every five minutes towards the end lacking comfort. Surprisingly I had only lost about 15 seconds on the second lap, I had every expectation that Terenzo would catch me considering how bad things got. If I was expecting to perform at a really high level I would be disappointed with my ride and my blowout, but considering the lack of conditioning my body had left and how late in the year it was I remain happy. Please see the file from my Quarq here.

The majority of the run was ugly. I have been running terribly since Wiesbaden, & after seeing Terenzo's display in Mandurah I knew that the win was out of scope with my narrow lead off the bike. I still had hopes for second, but I knew Hodge would catch me soon after Terenzo did. Once Hodge caught me, I was in a dogfight for about 5km before he dispatched me as easily as he caught me. I just had no hustle and no feeling. The weirdest thing happened at about 16km however, and with a flick of a switch the body turned on and I quickly caught up in an instant. Foot traffic on the course was now thick so it was quite easy to sneak up on James, but I waited for a good moment to pass with authority & slapped hands with Terenzo going back the other way, delighted that he hadn't totally embarrassed us with his foot speed. I enjoyed the last few km's running into the line having consolidated second place, but with a steep yearning for the pain to cease and the off season to start.

So this blog concludes my race reports for the foreseeable future, until I don the TYR suit sometime in March or April next year. I will still chime in on the Noosa Tri at some point, but it will be different from a race report. Thanks always for reading & those who had words of support for me before and after Shepparton, I love reading the comments and g-ups, I'm eternally thankful for all support!

More blogs coming soon, I swear. Cheers

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A Win in Port!

True to form, here is a late rendition from my recent 70.3 win in Port Macquarie on the East Coast of Australia. Please read on!

The Course

It doesn't look like much, but the swim is a beaut. It's 1.9km in clear tidal waters, weaving through yachts and past mangrove swamps. If you've got time to spare, you can even spot a torrent of fish, turtles & crabs going about their business.

Port's bike leg is king beef. I never favour an out and back course, but this one is an exception. A two lap course, the first and last fifteen minutes of each lap is spent grinding up and down the undulating coastal terrain with spectacular views of the beaches, headlands and some forest. While the road is a brutally rough chipseal, I feel like this favors the stronger cyclists and makes for a more even race. Even those sitting in a pack have to really fight to maintain speed on this surface.

This run course is the only blemish to the race. It becomes interesting for a total of 10 minutes each lap (2 laps total) when they loop us up the breakwall and back over some hills. For the rest of the course we're thrown into the gallows on a slightly underwhelming out/back section. The course here two years ago was mint (follows the start of the bike course over the hills and along the coast), bring it back I say!

The Narrative

Port is a special place for me, I did my first 70.3 here two years ago. While the 5th place finish was a decent result, it was a terrible race & I went into it with even worse fitness. Though somewhere in my mind cogs, there was a part of me that came out totally happy and content. I did my first 70.3 in Port at a time when I didn't know where my place in the sport lay. I had just thrown my allegiance to ITU racing, and olympic distance non-drafting was good, but still doing little to hold my attention. It was after this race I knew that 70.3 would become my short to long-term pathway, and that made me totally content. To continue on with the story, Clayton Fettell totally dominated the race that year. He flattened the field like tamped coffee in a triple-shot espresso basket, & I was perpetually jealous. With the good Port vibes & memory of Clayton's performance still vivid, it was only a matter of time before I returned to have a crack at the title, and this year it fitted into the schedule nicely.

Without Clayton on the startline, my goal was to race solo the whole way. I knew I had great bike fitness coming off the back of the Vegas, but up to this point I had still never been able to race a 70.3 event solo, with either my mind or body holding me back from the performance I have been desperate to produce. I said it in the post-race interview, & to repeat myself, I think there has been hints of this performance in Port in my racing all year, and a wire-to-wire 70.3 win was going to happen sooner or later. Just hold it together FFS, okay? Well it all worked out, and just like that I came away with the win I have been dreaming of.

The swim was a normal affair; swim firm, enough to break up the field but not enough to damage myself. I caused separation from all but Joey Lampe, who's cheekily taken a swim bonus from me already this year, so I had to stay vigilant coming into the beach to make sure he didn't snatch this one from me either. Like Joey was probably thinking in Boulder Peak, every dollar counts when you're a young pro! No stress Joey, I still love you.

I wanted to show dominance on the bike straight away, and I got a small gap on Joey but he still had me in sights until the first turnaround at 22km. I felt great, and just rode to power & tried to not let the rough roads bother me, just maintaining nice strong circles with my feet. Joey soon dropped off after this and I was on my own. The power was good and I was confident. At the half way point, I think I had 2-3minutes on the next athlete through, top lad Tom Davison who's been showing authority on the bike all year. I was in my element, loving every second of the effort.

Lap two went by fast, mixing it up with the age groupers on their first lap, riding down the centerline to avoid collisions but taking advantage of a cheeky little slipstream when the opportunity was there. My Felt IA was the goods, I couldn't ask for a better collaboration between power, comfort & speed from a pushbike, and I was getting off on how many people were potentially admiring it as I rode past. Okay cool ya jets, it is a sweet rig though. I can't wait to see how many of these will take to the roads next season. My Quarq power file from the ride can be viewed here.

I think I came off the bike with five minutes on Tom Davison & Casey Munro, and about 7 minutes on the best runners in the field. I just did what I needed to do, and I held my lead by almost 4 minutes at the finish. I was really happy to see my buddy Sam Appleton claim his first 70.3 podium in 2nd place with a swift 1.15 run, and also great to see Joey Lampe hold onto third after a string of late season troubles (hatecrew for life).

It feels great to finally get my 2nd 70.3 win up on the board, and I look forward to attempting more titles in the future. Thanks so much to those who sent a message my way after the race, it always makes a a good result feel that much greater. Cheers!


 All photos thanks to....

Port Macquarie News

Delly Carr

Grant Piper