By Karl Hayes – Photo courtesy of USM Events.
Trizone spoke to Chris Kemp the week before the Gold Coast half ironman and identified him as one of the guys to potentially upset the field and win. ChrisÂ is now back in Sydney after winning his first goal race of the season in fine form. â€œI am stoked with the win. I didn’t expect it but sometimes everything just falls in to place. I have spent this winter training better than I have ever trained before. My base is very good and my coach, Chris Hanrahan of PB3, was confident that I had trained well enough to get a podium at Gold Coastâ€.
The PB3 team went out for a training run around the course on Friday to get a feel for it. â€œWe covered the course and there was a bit of intermittent rain. I thought if this is as much as we get I can handle it. I didn’t expect what we got on Sundayâ€.
The race day conditions were some of the worst the pros had ever raced in. They all seemed to have similar stories of the last three or so kms of the run. The rain, cold and fatigue meant that everyone was in survival mode towards the end of the run and just wanted to get it over with. Chris was no different.
â€œThe race started badly for me. I was belted around a lot in the first half of the swim. I wasn’t comfortable with my position in the first half. I had managed to get myself boxed in. I then missed a break and had to swim hard to catch up. I managed to catch the lead bunch. Well the lead bunch except Clayton Fettell who was one and a half minutes ahead of us. The effort I put in to catch up really hurt meâ€.
Chris came out of the water about 2nd in the bunch and then had a good transition that got him out ahead of the other buys but still almost two minutes down on Fettell. â€œI got out well on the bike but James and Mark Boustead, Tim Berkel and Leon Griffin caught me between 5-10kms and then the pace was on! Not only was it pouring with rain but these guys were pushing things along faster than what I was comfortable with. I was pushing the limits on the bike and towards the end I thought I might have gone too hard. I stretched on the bike at the end to get myself as ready for the run as I could. The races these guys have done over winter in the USA and Europe really had given them the edge on the bikeâ€.
Kemp came of out T2 and on to the run with Leon Griffin, Callum Millward and James Bowstead. â€œI felt really good at the start of the run. James got out a bit faster in the first part of the run. We caught Berkel at around 2-3kms and then Leon dropped off the pace. I ran with Tim and we caught Bowstead at around 7kms. Then the guys started to drop off. I wasn’t expecting to see this happen. I could see Clayton Fettell ahead and finally caught him at about 8-9kms. Clayton gave me some words of encouragement. They were nice words which was nice to hearâ€.
â€œThe last 3kms really hurt. I started to panic a bit because I knew the guys behind would make me pay if I dropped the pace. It was only in the last kilometre that I knew I had the race. It was a tremendous start to the season and Chris Hanrahan was really confident that I could do it. I have to say that I was a bit emotional when I saw Amanda (Chris’s girlfriend Amanda Bott) at the end of the race. Winning this was a good feelingâ€.
Chris has had an interesting year.Â A third place in February at the Huskisson long course just behind Pete Jacobs and winner, Craig Alexander was followed by a foot injury after that sidelined his plans to race in Europe, but did lead to Chris putting in one of his most solid winters of training.
Chris is racing in Noosa as a lead up training event for theÂ Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship in Phuket. â€œNoosa is not a goal race but fits in perfectly with my training for Phuket. I’ll do a long bike ride the day after and use it as part of my training plan. I am up against it at Noosa and know that I am probably going to be taught a lesson by the top guys. Courtney Atkinson, James Seear, Craig Walton and co are going to be tough. Craig is going to be there racing very hardâ€.
Chris Kemp is going to do some great things in triathlon and he is one to watch.