Monday, 13 November 2017

IRONMAN 70.3 Cebu - 13th

To me, IRONMAN 70.3 Cebu is one of the best IRONMAN 70.3 events anywhere in the world. The location is amazingly beautiful and the crowd support on the course is hard to believe with huge numbers of locals watching and cheering on the athletes. I have had some of my best IM70.3 results at the event including a 2nd place as well as 3rd when it also doubled as the 2016 Asia-Pacific Championships. 

Race Day:
To keep things simple, this was one of my most disappointing 'performances' at any event while racing as a professional athlete. The day started out well as I exited the water in equal first place and then started the ride with Tim Reed and Ryan Fisher in a lead trio. For whatever reason it was only 5kms into the bike leg where my body just refused to respond to any effort at all. I struggled big time throughout the 90km ride and then proceed to walk/jog the majority of the final half marathon. There were many times where I thought about a DNF however no matter how terrible the race was going I refused to DNF. One thing that was always in the back of my mind is that I was going to cross the line no matter how long it took in respect for all those out there racing as well as to honour the support that the race organisers give the athletes who race in Cebu. This was one of the toughest days mentally and physically that I have experienced while racing and unfortunately no real positives to take away from the race except for a lot of motivation to move forward. 


Tuesday, 13 June 2017


3 years ago I won my first ever 5150 title at this event and then last year, managed to defend the title. Having this track record at the REGENT 5150 Subic Bay and being the 2 time defending champion of the race the pressure was on once again to defend the title.

Heading into race day my training had been progressing well after what has been a rough start to the year. The multiple flights to get to Subic Bay in the Philippines were easy enough thanks as always to some great advice from Flight Centre Sports & Events on the travel front. Arriving at the race hotel on the Friday before the race meant that I had a chance to check out the new course as well as have the opportunity to award the IRONKIDS event along with the usual media commitments.

Race morning was certainly a wet one with the rainy weather in Subic Bay making the race much more challenging. Talking with my coach Lance from LifeSport Coaching in the days leading up to the race the plan was pretty simple, just race hard right from the gun. I really attacked the beach swim start (see photo) and was able to open up a good gap early on which extended out to around 1 minute and 30 seconds by the end of the swim leg.
The rain really started to come down as soon as I hit transition which meant that the corners were super slick and the only option was to play it safe around the multiple u-turns and right angled corners. 
With the multiple looped bike course I was able to get a good idea of the time gap to the chasers throughout the bike leg which looked like it was increasing steadily. Without question the rain storm out on the bike leg made for a hard 40km ride as you had to slow right down for each corner and u-turn and then gradually wind up the power out of each corner to avoid any risk of crashing. 
Despite this I was able to put together a good bike split of 59min30sec for the 40km ride.

With a healthy lead built up during the swim and bike I wanted to try and push the run leg and see what kind of 10km hard run I could achieve. The rain had left some huge puddles on the run course and there were multiple times when I was running through ankle deep water which made it slower than I had hoped. 

Coming down the finishing line to win this race for the third year in a row was a pretty special feeling. With the great support from the event organisers – SUNRISE EVENTS, along with ALASKA MILK it always means something extra special to be able to win these races in the Philippines, as it has almost become my second home for racing outside Australia.  
To get my first win for 2017 was certainly a weight off my shoulders and as always it is not possible without the support from my amazing sponsors, coach and support network.

IRONMAN 70.3 Vietnam - 6th

Having had to DNF at Challenge Melbourne a few weeks prior due to sickness I had not bounced back as quickly as I would have liked in time to race at my best for IRONMAN 70.3 Vietnam. The race is one of the most amazing events on the IM70.3 circuit and so there was no way that I wanted to miss the event despite not having the fitness that I would have wanted leading into race day.

I knew that the swim leg would be a fast one and I swapped out of the lead a few times but was able to get the jump out of the water to be first into transition.
Despite a slower T1 I hit the bike leg with the main group with Michael Raelert rocketing off the into the horizon. I was really struggling durning the ride to hold the power numbers that I would have liked and unfortunately dropped a few minutes before the end of the bike leg.
The run was a tough out and back course and I tried to just keep the legs ticking over at a sustainable pace from start to finish and crossed the line in 6th.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

S-Works Venge ViAS

As a professional triathlete I spend a good percentage of my training on S-Works Shiv (Click Here) In saying this I really enjoy riding my road bike to mix things up as well as the occasional cycling race. Going from my previous S-Works Venge (Found Here) to the new S-Works Venge ViAS was an exciting experience.
When you first get up close and personal with the Specialized Venge ViAS you will start to notice and appreciate the level of detail. There is fully integrated Di2 cabling which snakes its way through the bars & stem and inside the frame. Even the Di2 junction box has been neatly hidden in a custom mount located under the bottom bracket area of the frame.
In addition the brake calipers are molded into the Venge ViAS frame and creates zero additional aerodynamic drag as they act as an aerodynamic ‘faring’. This particular braking design cleverly works around the UCI cycling regulations for road bikes which state that a bike can not have any ‘non functional’ aerodynamic design components.
The Venge ViAS feels as comfortable to ride as any bike I have ever ridden but with a sense of speed usually only reserved from riding a top end dedicated time trial bike. One thing that I love about riding the Venge ViAS is that it is such a fun bike to ride. It seems to make you want to ride faster and faster with the speed it delivers and is just so utterly addictive. Quite simply, the more your speed increases the more the Specialized Venge ViAS rewards you for your efforts.

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Ironman 70.3 Ballarat - 3rd

I decided to make Ironman 70.3 Ballarat my last race of 2016 and try to end the year on a good note. This year I have made a big coaching change in what I hope will equate to being able to elevate my training and racing in the months and years to come. Working with Lance Watson (LifeSport Coaching) over the last few months has really challenged me both mentally and physically and I felt like I was just starting to adapt to the new style of training in the weeks leading up to Ironman 70.3 Ballarat.

Race Day:
A nice 12 degree air temperature and a 16 degree water temperature made race morning a little chilly. I started on the far left side of the swim start and within the first hundred meters was in the lead. On the way out towards to the first turn buoy I swam hard and settled into a good rhythm. I kept the pace solid but nothing too crazy for the rest of the swim leg and emerged from the water in the lead.
I was a little slower than usual in transition but still went onto the bike leg with the first few athletes. Clayton Fettell set the tempo early on with a small lead to the group but was reeled back in before the end of the first lap. The two lap bike course had a few technical parts as well as a long out and back straight where the wind played a factor. I spent the first lap settling into a good pace and felt very comfortable heading out onto the second 45km lap. 
At the 60km point Tim Berkel put in a surge and this is where I decided to make my move and put in a big effort to break up the lead group. The effort paid dividends and I managed to split the group just before the far turn which meant that Tim Berkel, Denis Chevrot, Luke Bell and myself entered transition with a 1min45sec lead on the chasers. 
Heading onto the run my legs felt good and pretty quickly it was Frenchman Denis Chevrot and myself battling for the lead. We ran side by side for the first of three run laps and heading onto the second lap I lifted the pace to edge out a small lead. 
I held a 50 meter lead for the entire second lap before Chevrot then bridged the gap back up and surged. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to respond and with just 4km left to go fellow Australian Peter Kerr passed me which dropped me back to 3rd. By the finish line the podium spots between the three of us were separated by just over 1 minute.

Another Ironman 70.3 podium for the year was a great note to finish 2016 on and I am now looking forward to having a few weeks off over Christmas before starting training again for the 2017 season. It has been a huge year of racing which has included 2 x IM70.3 Podiums, 9th at the ITU Long Distance World Championships and 5 other race wins which would not have been possible without some incredible sponsors, family, friends and my partner. See you all in 2017!

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Challenge Shepparton – 5th

Having finished 2nd at Challenge Shepparton in 2015 I was really looking forward to the opportunity of improving upon this result. Following my win at the Bellevue 5150 the week prior in the Philippines I spent 72hrs at home in Brisbane before once again getting onto the plane this time bound for Melbourne. In the days leading into the race I started to feel quite good physically and felt excited for race day.  

Race morning provided some challenging conditions with 12-degree temperatures. I put in a decent warm up to prepare the body for a fast swim and when the gun fired this meant that I could really lay down a solid tempo from the get go. The ‘M’ shaped swim course was very simple to navigate and I found myself leading all the way to the far turn marker where ex-training partner Dan Wilson took up the pace setting. Having trained together previously for many years we both adopted the unspoken plan of swapping off the lead at each turn buoy. Sharing the work up front worked to our advantage and we exited the water side by side with a healthy 70 second lead on the chasing group.
I had a quick transition and headed out onto the 90km bike course in first and spent the next 25kms swapping the lead with Dan. 
Just before the 45km turn around Lachlan Kerin bridged the gap to Dan and myself to make it a lead group of three. At the 50km point I found myself really struggling to hold my usual power output and slowly dropped behind. With 15kms left to go Matt Burton came past and I came into transition in 4th feeling totally gone.

Hitting the run leg I tried to keep thinking positively and just going about putting together the best half marathon that I could. The three-lap run course meant that it was easy to spot if you were gaining or losing time on the other competitors. By the end of the second lap I knew that I didn’t have the leg speed to run myself back onto the podium. The final 6kms were a huge effort to hold on and with 1km left to go I unfortunately lost 4th position. With nothing left in the body I just tried to hold onto 5th place and the final prize money position. I only just held off a fast finishing Levi Maxwell in a sprint finish to take out 5th place.

In all honesty my result at Challenge Shepparton was a very hard one to process. Going into the race I felt as if mentally and physically I was in great shape however the final result just didn’t reflect this on the day.

*Images Getty Images* 

Monday, 7 November 2016

Bellevue 5150 Triathlon - 1st

Last year was my first time racing on the island paradise of Bohol and to win the event was a real highlight of my 2015 racing calendar. Coming back to the event in 2016 as the defending champion added some additional pressure and I was really motivated to win again. On a personal note, whenever I race in the Philippines it is always an unforgettable experience. The stunning event locations and professionalism with how the event organisation runs races such as Bellevue 5150 needs to be seen and experienced in person to truly be appreciated.

There had been some heavy rain the night before the race making the temperatures a little cooler than usual for race morning. Usually, the Philippines heat and humidity make racing that much harder so the rain was actually a welcome change. The plan was to go hard from the get go and just to enjoy pushing hard and testing myself out on the course. I hit the gas in the opening few minutes of the 1500 meter swim leg  and soon had a growing gap which extended to just under a minute by the time I hit transition over German, Henry Beck.
Image Anthony Yu
Image Jamil Buergo
I was careful to pay attention to the wet roads out on the bike course but still pushed the opening kilometres of the 40km bike leg quite hard wanting to extend my lead. 
The bike course was flat and fast and I finished the bike leg with an average speed of 42.5km bringing me into transition in a bike split of under the hour.
Image Anthony Yu
The out and back 10 kilometre run course was deceptively tough with the humidity and heat rising steadily. I took out the opening few kilometres quite solidly before lifting off the pace during the final 5-6 kilometres.
 Image Anthony Yu
Image Jamil Buergo
Usually I would thrive in putting myself in the hurt box by running as hard as I could but with another race (Challenge Shepparton Triathlon) the following weekend the smarter option was to ease off the pace.

Running down towards the finishing line on the white sandy beach outside the five-star Bellevue Resort is something special and to win the race for the second year in a row was a great feeling.
Image Anthony Yu