By Tim Reed
I was going to call this blog, â€˜Lessons Learnt’ or â€˜The Journey So Far’ or something similar and then decided that using those sort of clichÃ©s as a battling professional triathlete could cause me to be ill, vomiting all over my computer in disgust if I ever had to read this blog in the future. I don’t want to take that risk so I’ve tried to keep things succinct and tell you what I’ve learnt without putting you to sleep.
Be careful with altitude. Boise and Buffalo Springs 70.3. While not bad results I was doing a lot of intensity in my first few weeks at altitude primarily due to my overwhelming happiness at not having to go to work each day. I quickly dug an overtraining grave and placed my small gnome like self in it before having to take a complete week off to rise from feeling like death and finding some power on the bike again. In saying that if you get altitude right you will float like a butterfly, sting like a bee come your next sea level event.
Cherry Picking. It’s a fine balance. Yes you can turn your nose up at â€˜cherry picking’ some races but if you are starting out as a pro and are serious about making or subsidising a living then you can’t race the world’s best week in, week out and expect to come up trumps. You may have trained for 6-12 months full time whilst some of the top consistent performers have been doing that training for 10-15+ years. Sure, on your day you can be competitive, however it’s unlikely that you can back that up and do the same thing in two weeks purely because of a shorter training history. You need to pick and choose some races in your season according to who is racing.
Certainly don’t cherry pick all or even the majority of your races as you may surprise yourself. For example I did Boulder Peak Olympic Distance, entering last minute more for experience because of depth of the field then for a top result but I finished 2nd which was pleasing and gave me a lot of confidence to pursue shorter course racing more than I had previously considered. Additionally racing top fields lets you know realistically where you are at and what you need to work on. Because you are king of the castle at your local triathlon derby, does not mean that you can pull up next to Macca or Crowie and give them some tips on how improve their run form.
Plan your season. After having months off due to pelvic complications after a passionately embracing a car when coming off my bike at 40km/h this wasn’t really an option for me as I could really only listen to my body and do what I could do on any given day carefully walking along the injury tight rope. This also meant that I came overseas with no real plan except to train, race, gain experience and improve. Not a bad option if you have some savings which thankfully I did however if you are looking to peak for key races and survive purely from the triathlon you need a plan that you stick to. I’ve wrestled in defiance with this fact generally signing up for races a week before them, cruising off to Peru on a whim and accommodating a new intestinal friend Giardia during what should have been key training weeks and as a result have had some races where I feel fantastic and others where I feel like a giant elephant seal in labour. I’ll be sitting down with my main manÂ Grant Giles to come up with a more structured plan as soon as I get back to Oz now that my body is back to 95%. Even if you think you know it all like I often think, get advice from people who actually do know more than you.
U.S or Europe? If you think that you can be a full time pro triathlete based purely in Australia then you are smoking way too much dried banana skin and need to reassess. It’s unfortunate considering that triathlon age group participation in Oz is still enormously high but either event organisers (cough..WTC…cough although certainly not exclusively), sponsors, event costs, associations or other factor have undervalued the value of professional racing meaning that pro prize money on a whole is actually going backwards. I like so many others, got into the sport because of watching pro athletes who I thought were legends. I watched Foster Ironman in my final year of school seeing Macca and Shorto and others do their thing, was blown away deciding that one day I’de like to get involved. If legitimate pro racing can be returned to Oz there is little doubt that it will bring thousands of new athletes, sponsorship and media coverage and help triathlon once again boom in Australia.
Companies (particularly triathlon specific) and event organisers in Europe and the U.S recognise the role pro athletes play in gaining their event or product publicity and the sport is growing quicker than Ollie Whistler’s quadriceps after his latest injection of horse steroids.
Sponsorship. I’m still very much learning the game however it’s becoming more and more obvious that sponsorship is only partly about race results. Here are three sponsored athlete methods I have identified that may be of use:
- The â€˜Vabrousek’ method. Race every single weekend. Even if the wins aren’t flowing, you are still right up there gaining sponsor exposure around the world on a weekly basis.
- The online assault method: Enlist as many people as you can muster on twitter, facebook and looking at your website. Then proceed to jam daily blogs down their throats using the words â€˜success’ and â€˜journey’ every chance you get. So even if you aren’t actually getting results the illusion of a didactic experience and promising future is created in addition to gaining a lot of sponsor exposure.
- The Crowie method. Go quietly about your way and win everything you enter. Yes, rather difficult to do so I’m perfecting the online assault method at this point in time.
In all seriousness, the U.S has opened up some tremendous sponsorship opportunities for me. Kestrel, a bike brand I’ve always lusted over have helped me out enormously with not only the sexiest but also the fastest bike I’ve had the pleasure of straddling.
People who know me, know how fussy I am about running footwear and clothing after having worked at the â€˜Running Science‘ in Sydney and trying on every running shoe that becomes available. So to have Zoot on board the ‘Reed gnome express’ is incredible. Aside from Rev 3 Iron distance my three races previous to that saw me have the fastest or second fastest run time in these shoes. I can’t rave about them enough, they simply work.
Finally, High 5 Sports Nutrition. I’ve tried a lot of different products. Found that High 5 really worked for me and set about hunting them down as a sponsor over quite a period of time. My persistence paid off so that now I not only have the best sports nutrition to train and race with but I can severely cut down my food bill and eat really well even when I don’t win a pay cheque that week.
Train with Athletes that have more experience. Not always but at least sometimes. I had the pleasure of doing a lot of my training with Fatty Black (Matty White) and the Tim â€˜African belly’ Berkel. While it was somewhat interesting to watch their ‘homocurious’ relationship develop as a result of living in each other’s pockets, a lack of oxygen and lack of female company, I certainly did learn a lot from these seasoned campaigners. In particular, investing in massage, chiro, compression wear and other treatments very regularly to keep the body functioning correctly, sticking to a training plan, training bloody hard and the importance of eating very well. I can’t thank them enough for all their help this season.
Appreciate the people that make it possible. I can’t thank Warren and Pam Schuckies enough for all their help. You guys have been amazing.
Until my next ramble, train safe.
Peter Robertson’s Gamagori Memories inspire Australian Talent Academy Young Guns
Triathlon Australia’s National Talent Academy â€œYoung Gunsâ€ won’t have to look too far for inspiration when they line up in Sunday’s ITU Triathlon Asian Cup in Gamagori.
It was in 2005 in the picturesque Japanese coastal city of on Mikawa Bay that one of the legends of Australian triathlon, Peter Robertson created history when he won the last of his three World Championships.
After victories in Edmonton and Queenstown in 2001 and 2003 â€œRobboâ€ stuck to his two-year cycle to dig deep again and take a third and deserving world championship victory.
Now seven years on Robertson, 36, is one of several coaches on the NTA Young Guns tour in charge of an exciting new generation of Australian triathlon stars.
Melbourne-based Robertson has been appointed along with the likes of Craig Walton, Chris Lang and Keiran Barry to steer an exciting group of youngsters who have already made a big impression.
Queensland’s Sarah Deuble, who is coached by Dan Atkins, has already chalked up two wins from two starts in the Mooloolaba Oceania Cup and at last Sunday’s ITU Triathlon Asian Cup race in Amakusa and is looking for a third.
“I’m really enjoying my first experience with the Japanese races,â€ Deuble said. â€œObviously Amakusa was great fun, winning the race there. I hope I can continue to race well again this weekend in Gamagori.â€
Deuble was 20 seconds behind in the swim and then went on to dominate the bike and run.
Sydney’s Bree Jones had a great start and lead to the first turning buoy but was forced wide and wasn’t aggressive enough to hold position so lost time to the lead three Japanese athletes. A four-women second pack lead by Jones and included Kirralee Pride with Deuble was further 20 seconds behind and out by herself.
Onto the bike the Japanese trio tried to form a lead while the group formed behind and included all three Aussie girls. They were caught at the 15km mark.
The group completed the bike together with Deuble making a very smart, very sneaky move at the end, finishing the bike about 100m off the front, the bike course finished with a moderately steep downhill with a shallow turn mid-way through.
She positioned herself on the front for the dismount line but the Asian athletes all braked for the downhill and Sarah managed to roll off the front.
Deuble then built a lead from there and raced out of sight, finishing 1min clear of Japanese pair Kirra and Sato who ran together until the last kilometre where Kirra managed to get a small break on the last small rise before the finish.
â€œOn the last hill of the bike I managed to break away from everyone and had about a handy lead on the field going down the hill but then I didn’t realise that the dismount line was so close so when I got to the line I had to fully slam on my breaks to not go over it as I still had to get one of my feet out,â€ Deuble said.
â€œBy the time I did this the main pack had all caught me so I was a little disappointed about that but I still managed to be third out of transition onto the run.
â€œThen on the run I started off at a nice comfortable pace and just eased into the first 1km and then at about the 2km mark which was this long gradual hill I pulled away.
â€œFrom then on I led the whole way although I started to struggle at about the 8km mark with a really bad stitch.
â€œOver the last 2km I just tried to push through the pain as best I could and finally at about 500m to go the pain finally subsided and I was able to finish strongly.
â€œOverall I was really happy with how I raced, I was just annoyed at my dismount but apart from that everything else ran smoothly.
â€œMy transitions were nice and fast so hopefully coach Dan Atkins will be pleased with that.â€
Mitch Keally wins Bronze in the Men’s race
In the men’s race it was Shane Barry and Taylor Cecil who led out of water with a five to seven second lead to a group of men including former Commonwealth Games athlete Mitch Kealy (who would go on to finish third) Marcel Walkington, Kenji Nener and Kane Simpson.
Michael Gosman was a further 10sec back with another Japanese athlete. Sam Speachley was 1.10min down on the leaders.
On the mount line Kim (Korea) ran into the back of Walkington who broke his rear derailleur resulting in a DNF.
This group formed a lead pack of 12 men on the bike that worked well together to build a 2 min plus gap on the chasers.
Onto the run a lead group of 10 formed straight away with Michael Gosman falling off the pace out of transition.
Mitch, Taylor and Shane ran at the front until the 4km mark where Svarc (CZE) and Goldsmith (NZL) formed a small break on the steep downhill.
Goldsmith built a strong lead from there and looked well in control from the 8km mark and was never headed.
Svarc built a small lead but that was cut in the last 1km as Mitch and Taylor finished strongly dropping Shane over the last rise on the course a bridge with 1km to go.
Svarc held on while Kealy and Taylor had a sprint finish for 3rd (the race finished on a tartan track for the final 300m) with Barry fifth, Shaw sixth and Nenner seventh and Simpson ninth â€“ giving Australia six of the top ten.
As for Robertson he can’t wait to get back to the Gamagori course with so many great memories.
“After winning the world champs in 2005 in Gamagori I can’t wait to return this time to watch and support the young guns from Australia!â€ said the duel Olympian.
â€œThe Japanese always put on great events and I sure Gamagori will once again be exciting racing. A little less painful for me this time around though!”
Australian Triathlon Olympic Team Voting Results
We ran a poll on Trizone a couple of weeks ago to get some feedback from the Australian triathlon community. 474 people voted on who they wanted in the Australian Triathlon Team for the Olympics. It was interesting to watch the voting. Macca and Atkinson were the overwhelming favourites to fill the remaining two men’s spots. Brendan Sexton receivedÂ around about 12% of the men’s votes. Interestingly Macca received 1% of the vote to fill one of the female spots.
For the record Brad Kahlefledt and Emma Moffatt are already in the team.
In the women’s voting things were heavily weighted towards Erin Densham for obvious reasons. However voting for the third spot was interesting. It was all Emma Snowsill for the first few days then over a 2-3 hour period on a Thursday afternoon there was a plunge on Emma Jackson and she swept to the lead and remained there until we closed the poll.
The talk is that Snowy will get the 3rd spot and it is pretty obvious that Erin Densham is the number 2.
A lot of people are questioning why Ashleigh Gentle’s name is not being mentioned. The word is that she is still young and not quite consistent enough but is definitely being groomed for the Olympics in Rio 2016. Along with Emma Jackson and whoever else we will have an incredibly strong female Olympic team in four years time.
In the men’s team things are not quite as straight forward. Courtney Atkinson has come good recently and with his past form will get the nod for spot number two. To everyone it looks like Chris McCormack should get the nod ahead of Brendan Sexton. However the inside talk is that Sexton has met more of the selection criteria over the last year.
In Sydney during the ITU it was obvious who the triathlon public wanted to see in the London 2012 team. Everytime Macca came past the cheers were huge.
Sexton seems to be struggling to get out of the water and is then struggling to get back in to the race.
A dark horse would be Aaron Royle. If it wasn’t for a major mistake in T1 Royle could very well have placed top 10 in Madrid. Coming out of the water with the leaders Royle then proceeded to follow them through transition forgetting that he was around number 49 not 9. So he had to double back to get his bike and missed the front pack. In saying this Royle has not had the opportunity over the last year to meet selection criteria.
Let’s see what happens this weekend.
Triathlon Australia’s Newest Board Member Mick Maroney wants to Connect Triathletes with the Board
The appointment of Dr Mick Maroney to the Triathlon Australia board recently has been met with a positive reaction from the general triathlon community in Australia. A professional in the sport in the late 80s and 90s Mick Maroney brings a true â€˜triathlon’ representation to the sport’s governing body.
Maroney has replaced Michelle Gallen on the TA board. “I have jumped at this great opportunity. Whilst it is an 18 month term I hope to be involved at this level for a lot longer. I would like to eventually be involved in the High Performance area in TA post London.”
Maroney is adament that he wants to be a conduit for communication between the general Australia triathlon community and the board. “I am passionate about the sport as everyone who knows me is aware of. I want to be someone that triathletes in Australia feel they can come to and talk about anything that is going on in the sport.”
Many newcomers to triathlon will not be so familiar with Mick Maroney, especially if they are from outside NSW. These days you will see Mick racing the NSW triseries, TriShave Sprint Series and world ITU age group championships. In 2009 and 2011 Mick won the ITU world sprint championship title for his age group and regularly wins NSW sprint race and always his age group. At 45 he is still showing the young guys and girls how to race. He has been heavily involved in the junior development of the sport.
In 1989 Maroney won the Noosa triathlon title and was selected the following year in the elite team. He then went on to race domestically and made the unselfish decision to travel the world and support his young sister in her swimming endeavours. You can find photos of Mick standing with Fidal Castro in Cuba when Susie Maroney famously swum from Florida to Cuba amongst many other great endeavours.
Out of school Mick followed his father’s (deputy police commissioner ) footsteps in to the police force. This lasted for only a couple of years before he realised it was not for him. He went on to do triathlons professionally for a few years.
In 2001 he stepped down from racing completely and didn’t take it up again until 2006 when the children were getting a little older.
Maroney came from a swimming background. “When we started we knew nothing about triathlon. I spent all my time reading magazines from the US trying to work out what to do. A long with a number of other pioneers of the sport we developed a bunch of guys in Cronulla like Troy Fidler, Greg Welch, a young Chris McCormack, Craig Alexander, Brad Bevan occasionally turned up along with Peter Roberston, among others.”
People like the great Scott Mollina where his idols and what got him in to the sport. Something that a lot of newcomers to the sport don’t have. The past greats of the sport were what attracted people to triathlon. These days it is more about lifestyle for most people.
After pulling back from the sport and supporting Susie in her endeavours Mick became a fireman. “While my colleagues were watching Foxtel I was studying to get a degree so that I could become a teacher. I wanted to get a career that would be ideal for family life and triathlon coaching.” He now teaches PE full time and also lectures at university in Educational Psychology. Mick received a Doctorate in Education Psychology after doing extensive studies and papers on adolescent development.
I took the opportunity to ask what everyone wants to know. Is the way that TA selects the Olympic team is working? “The process is a collaborative process and is put together by a number of parties. TA really only looks at the process to make sure that it is followed. The selection committee makes the policy in collaboration with coaches and athletes. TA oversees its implementation.”
Could TA communicate this better to the triathlon public so that there is less â€˜TA bashing’ taking place?
“The board is a representation of the membership. Some information bandied about is incorrect. The board has copped a bit of flack when all it is doing is following a process. The communication process could be improved no doubt. But that is more my opinion as a triathlete.”
“The board doesn’t say this person should be in and this person shouldn’t. The board simply makes sure that process is followed.”
On the board because he thinks he could make a difference. “I hope that people in the sport will come to me and tell me what they are not happy with so I can make a difference. It is alright to complain after but what about tell me earlier if there are things you are not happy about. We need to hear from people on what is working and what isn’t.” Mick hopes this will happen.
Inaugural Port Stephens triseries a Huge Success
The end of season and inaugural triseries race at Port Stephens last weekend was a great success with Elite Energy holding their usual three race format and putting on a great triathlon festival. A race for everyone is what seems to make these events so great. The weather was perfect and the times the main races were held was ideal for Sydneysiders and those travelling to the race on the day.
How warm was it for mid May? You did not need a wetsuit and in the Sprint race there really was no advantage. With the rip dragging everyone out to the first buoy it was really only and couple of hundred meters of swimming before we had to stand up and run another couple of hundred meters in calf deep water. That was hard!!
In the main race of the day Kieran Roche and Caroline Sweeney took the overall Olympic distance honours. In the men’s open category Roche pulled away on the bike from second placed Sam Douglas and was never headed. He ran a 36:42 to cap off a successful race.
First time to the open category was Wollongong’s Nathan Miller racing in the Mark Scott stripes. Miller headed out of T2, along with Shaun Vidler, ahead of Ben Hammond. Hammond fell off the pace in the bike leg towards the end but had enough of a run in him to get over the top of Miller and take third place.
(Victor Lee’s photos from the day can be viewed here)
Upstaging them all though was age grouper Adam Conquest who’s race time put him in second place overall. Conquest is known for his very strong bike but backed it up with a run that was faster than the open guys to have the third fastest run time overall. The three fastest runs of the day all went to age groupers. Balmoral’s Owain Matthews posted a 34:59 to continue his impressive start to the sport of triathlon. The renowned runner from Great Britain is loving the multi discipline sport. He is still playing with the balance between the bike and run. Jarred Adams posted the second fastest run with a 36:14. Adams works with Mark Newton at Jet Cycles and is part of the coaching team that looks after Douglas and Roche.
In the women’s race there was again a lack of open females racing. This is no slight on Elite Energy as there have been a distinct lack of open females racing this season everywhere. Brook Langereis was down to race open but with no other open female entrants she changed to her age group which she duly won.
Caroline Sweeney eventually took the overall title. This â€˜Wonder Women’ (full time worker, mother of two pre schoolers, violinist in the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra) has made a fairly decent comeback to the sport of triathlon after taking time out to have her two children. Although Sweeney’s swim was almost three minutes behind Langereis she was able to use her strong bike / run combo to finish almost three minutes ahead of Langereis.
Julie Uebel finished third overall.
In the Sprint race we were lucky as always to watch the ability of 45 year old Mick Maroney as he claimed the overall fastest time of the day. He decided to redline all day and see how long he could keep the pace up. Until the end as we found out. He pulled out one of his fastest runs of the year in doing so.
Cameron Roberts and Luke Chalker rounded out the overall podium. In doing so Roberts won the 16-17 age group and Chalker won the 14-15 age group. Roberts ran a 16:46 for the 5kms and rode very well.
In the women’s race South African Anel Stewart had a solid hit out and was the fastest female on the day with Balmoral’s Hannah Lawrence second overall and Michelle Wiseman third. Stewart has raced at ITU level and on her day is a very fast triathlete. Lawrence is a solid age grouper with some good potential. Loves racing and is always positive and outgoing.
Elite Energy puts on triathlon festivals that we love going to. The atmosphere and vibe from the team is always great. From a couple of events (including Husky of course) three years ago to over 10 triathlon festivals next year is a significant growth curve.
Australian Triathlon Olympic Team Makeup – Have your say!
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Triathlon on TV in May – One HD
Channel Ten’s One HD has 10 triathlon programs still to run in May. Saturday May 12 at 1pm sees Ironman Melbourne with a repeat on Sunday at 4:30pm. The San Diego round of the ITU will be shown on Wednesday, Thursday and with highlights early Friday morning next week.
- Sat May 12: Ironman Asia-Pacific Championship, 1-2pm
- Sun May 13: Ironman Asia-Pacific Championship, 4.30-5.30pm (repeat)
- Wed May 16: ITU World Championship Triathlon Round 2 San Diego Womens Race, 12-2.30pm
- Thur May 17: ITU World Championship Triathlon Round 2 San Diego Mens Race, 12-2.30pm
- Fri May 18: ITU World Championship Triathlon Round 2 San Diego Highlights, 6-7am
- Mon May 21: ITU World Championship Triathlon Round 2 San Diego Womens Race, 6-8.30am (repeat)
- Mon May 21: ITU World Championship Triathlon Round 2 San Diego Mens Race, 8.30-11am (repeat)
- Wed May 23: ITU World Championship Triathlon Round 2 San Diego Highlights, 2-3am (repeat)
- Sat May 26: Ironman Australia 2011, 6-7am
- Sat May 26: ITU World Championship Triathlon Round 2 San Diego Highlights, 7-8am (repeat)
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