Zone 3 Latest News
30 March 2015
19 March 2015
Cool temperatures and a little light drizzle greeted us as we drove up the hill from Jindabyne to Lake Crackenback resort in the morning, however by the time I’d registered and set up transition the clouds had parted and the sun was out. With an ‘adjusted’ water temperature of 18 degrees wetsuits were the order of the day for pros and age groupers.
After sending the open men off at 10am and the open women one minute later, it was the turn of age group men at 10:04am. I was a shade slow off the mark when the hooter went for the beach start, but it worked out in my favour as I slotted straight onto the feet of the fastest swimmer in the field and we quickly found some space and pulled away. He was slightly quicker and gradually eased away, but not before we’d both opened a significant gap on the field in the first 3-400m. This is where things got confusing.
The tight swim course was littered with a number of superfluous buoys, presumably intended to mark out obstacles in the shallow lake. However, from in the water it appeared that these were part of the course. In summary, this resulted in a lot of confusion, a few short stops to get my bearings and swimming around buoys I didn’t need to in order to avoid unintentionally cutting the course. I still exited the water a clear second, but I probably gave up 30 seconds or so than I didn’t need to.
I was through transition quickly, but struggled again with getting my feet into my bike shoes with the uphill start to the bike leg (more practice with these shoes required!). Once that hurdle was overcome I focussed my mind on getting my ‘eye’ in and relaxing to allow me to ride precisely and minimise mistakes.
My first of the two 15km laps felt a little sloppy early on, but I seemed to be making good time and passed some open athletes early on. I was caught by Ryan Lennox (AUS, M40-44) about 5km in, and I picked off the early leader Jonathan Grady (AUS, M30-34) as I turned onto the out-and-back river track about 10km in. On the way out along the river track I was passed by Martin Ralph (NZL, M45-49) and almost put my front wheel into a wombat hole attempting to pass an open female competitor along the tight river section of the course. On the way back along the river track I was caught by a hard charging Josh Roy (AUS, M30-34) who was moving very quickly, and I passed two elite competitors as I came past transition at the end of lap 1.
I had a bit more breathing space in the early part of lap 2 and was starting to really get into a groove, lowering my dropper post and treating the early singletrack section like a pump track. I knew I needed to take advantage of the good concentration level but not kill my legs for the run. It wasn’t until I was nearly at the far end of the river track that I heard the familiar accent of Paul Stapley (AUS, M45-49). I let him past at the turnaround then jumped on his wheel, hoping to get an easier ride back into T2 to save some legs for the run. Shortly before T2, young mountain bike specialist Jayden Ward (AUS, M15-19) rode past us.
Paul and I flew through T2 together and Paul led me out onto the start of the first of three 3.3km laps. The course was brutally technical and bore more resemblance to a hilly obstacle course than a triathlon run course, including a ~30 metre wade through the Little Thredbo River on each lap.
It was a tough day at the end of a tough period, but as my good friend and former coach Gary Rolfe reminded me, my race performances this season have been incredibly solid given the disruptions I’ve had this season. However with talk that the Lake Crackenback course is under consideration to hold the 2016 ITU World Cross Triathlon Championship, I will realistically have to find another 10-15 minutes by then in order to put myself in contention for a podium.
As always a huge thanks to Zone3 and Solestar for the ongoing support, as well as the crew at Ride365 in Belconnen who have really looked after me lately.
17 March 2015
This was the first race of the season and over 200 athletes were on the start line in the capital of Tenerife, Santa Cruz. My hope was to use this for a qualifying time for the ITU Age Group World Championship.
The forecasted strong winds didn’t arrive, but there was quite heavy calima (sand from the Sahara hanging in the air – reducing the purity of the air as well as raising temperatures). However the one lap, 1.9km open water swim took place at a sheltered beach with a sea wall protecting us from any swell or chop.
I got a good start and settled into a more comfortable rhythm after the frenetic first two hundred metres. It was the first time I’ve used my Vanquish suit in a race and it didn’t disappoint. The flexibility is amazing and the balance it gives me in the water meant I felt like I was cutting through the water easily. Just before the end I lost the feet of the two athletes ahead of me, which was a mistake, but I sensibly let the guy behind me pass and settled on to his toes instead! Following closely to the beach I finally came out of the water in 26mins 56secs in 14th place.
T1 went smoothly and then I was onto the 5 lap flat bike course. My plan was to average around 295w but I actually had to fight hard to keep my average to 290w. I think this was probably due to the calima in the air making breathing more difficult than normal conditions. I guess everyone’s bike was affected a little because I completed the 80km (according to my Garmin) in the 3rd fastest split at 2hrs 06mins and started the run in 3rd overall.
Despite feeling it on the bike my legs felt good after T2. I’ve consciously being trying to increase my cadence on the bike which seems to keep my legs fresher for the run. My run training has been going really well and I was really pleased to replicate this on race day taking off two minutes from my previous half marathon split. My run split of 1hr 25mins 47secs was the fourth fastest on the day. Unfortunately the fastest split was ran by another triathlete in my age category who passed me at around kilometre 13 or 14. However my run was still enough to secure me 4th place in the general classification and second in my age category – Veteran 1.
All in all I was really pleased with how the day went and it’s always nice to celebrate with the support of my family and girlfriend watching. Hopefully this should be a good enough result to qualify for the ITU Age Group World Championship – registration is done! Next up is Ironman 70.3 Barcelona in May!
10 March 2015
5 March 2015
If, like me, you are just mad to ingest as much triathlon information as possible, podcasts are a great source of fuel. It took me a while to get into podcasts as I never really warmed to the non-live concept of their production. But the following list of best triathlon podcasts have without doubt turned me to the other side. I downloaded the app 'Pocketcast' on Google Play for €2 and have never looked back. The podcasts I listen to offer me insight into a sport that I am still getting to grips with, keep me company during those long hours on the turbo trainer and make the morning commute that little bit more tolerable. Let's get into it.
1. IM Talk
I probably should have left these guys 'til the end but what the heck. IMTalk has got to be your first port of call. Everything about the episode rocks. I have only been listening for a few weeks and every Tuesday when my app auto-downloads their next episode, I sit and figure out which session I am going to use it for. The truth is I end up listening on the way to work on Wednesday morning. John and Bevan are hilarious as they are knowledgeable and have quickly brought me up to speed in the world of Ironman. What I really enjoy is not just their overwhelming knowledge of the sport and its competitors, but how they incorporate the regular Joes like you and me into their show. From Age-Grouper of the week to a designated Patrons section on the website, these guys had my backing the moment the offer came. 9/10 and the only reason I dock them a point is because 1 episode a week is not enough, WE NEED MORE!!!
Zen and the art of triathlon is another podcast I look forward to every week. Some of the episodes that Brett bashes out can come close to 3 hours on occasions so in this case you are getting some real bang for your buck. In some of the episodes I have listened to, Brett has had some big name triathletes which is always great to hear for a newbie like me. On a more intimate level, Brett does some of his episodes while actually out training and, more recently, gave us a minute by minute breakdown of his son actually racing an event. It makes for great listening and offers a unique insight altogether. 8/10losing two points as its just not IMTalk and there is a huge focus on US specific events (from the episodes I've listened to anyway).
3. EN Nation
The reason I love Endurance Nation podcast is because of coach Rich's voice. I don't know what it is but it is super relaxing and even when he stumbles over words his authority remains. I have been tempted to sign up to his coaching but I am spending far too much money on this sport already so I have not gotten around to it yet. EN Nationprovides a far more technical analysis of triathlon compared to the other shows I have mentioned. Coach Rich starts by offering intros to his discussions. This forms the basis of his podcasts and then he reverts to a closed platform system where only members can hear the rest of his talks. As a result his episodes are short but very insightful. They are great for a quick fix of triathlon information and updates. 7/10
4. Ben Greenfield
The Ben Greenfield podcast is what really got me into triathlon podcasts. To be more accurate, it was his YouTube videos. I was researching how best to store food on the bike during Ironman 70.3 (I had my first one coming up) and I came across Ben's videos. I was amazed and delighted by his range of advice and quickly became a fan. Now before I go on, please not that I am aware these guys need to make a living, heck I even support the guys at IMTalk, however, in more recent times I find Ben to have become the complete salesman. I don't mind a quick product mention before, after and even halfway through a podcast, but Ben has begun to do it so frequently, it has now become hard to differ between his advice and his sales. I still listen to the episodes but I just don't love them as much as I used to. On a positive note, Ben is one super positive guy and has a sick amount of knowledge so as a resource, he is well worth the listen.7/10
5. Cup of Tri
Ok, so coach Rob and Helen are new to the game but I have listened to all their podcasts and I am a big fan. There are lots of pros to this podcast. They run nice short episodes so if you're tight on time (average 30mins per show) Cup of Tri works. I think everyone will agree that the voice on the other end of a podcast is super important. I have come across podcasts where I have turned off instantly due to the voice behind the show. I listen to a lot of BBC Radio shows and I am a sucker for the British accent. Rob's is super relaxed and as a triathlete, he knows his stuff. The show is in its infant stages so to speak and some of the earlier stuff clearly shows that, but this weekend I listened to the Matt Molloy episodes and really loved them so do check out, Cup of Tri.8/10