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Huskisson Australian Long Course Race Preview

The 2011 Jervis Bay Triathlon Festival is on this weekend and whilst the men’s open field is missing 2 or 3 bigger names we will still see Pete Jacobs, Ollie Whistler, Adam Holborrow and a handful of other potential podium finishers racing. The women’s open race has a strong field showcasing some of our top long course triathletes. Nicole Ward, Michelle Wu, newcomers Madeleine Oldfield and Matilda Raynolds, Jacinta Worland and Vickie Wilkinson sees a strong field. Last year’s female winner, Carrie Lester was a late entry but has since pulled out due to illness. We also take a look at two of triathlon’s past greats who are racing this weekend also.

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By Karl Hayes

Jervis Bay Triathlon Festival Website

Full open start list below

The 2011 Jervis Bay Triathlon Festival is on this weekend and whilst the men’s open field is missing 2 or 3 bigger names we will still see Pete Jacobs, Ollie Whistler, Adam Holborrow and a handful of other potential podium finishers racing. Olympic and sprint distance proponent Michael Fox is also racing this weekend. This is not his normal distance so it will be interesting to see how he goes.

The women’s open race has a strong field showcasing some of our top long course triathletes. Nicole Ward Michelle Wu, newcomers Madeleine Oldfield and Matilda Raynolds, Jacinta Worland and Vickie Wilkinson sees a strong lineup. Last year’s female winner, Carrie Lester was a late entry but has since pulled out due to illness. Last year’s 3rd placed Tara Prowse has been dealing with injuries over the last 12 months and is currently focusing on short course now that she is injury free. 2010 2nd place Pip Taylor is also not racing at Husky this weekend.

Trizone spoke to a number of the leading professional and open triathletes who will be racing the long course this weekend to find out how they are tracking for the race this weekend and what 2011 has in store for them.

Although Pete Jacobs is the best known and most successful of the open triathletes racing this weekend, Trizone wanted to acknowledge a couple of triathlon greats who will be racing in the 45-49 age group.Another top 40+ triathlete to watch is Matthew Koorey who finsihed 15th overall last year and is down to race again this weekend.

Bruce Thomas and Spot Anderson are two of Australia’s greatest triathletes. Last year Bruce finished 32nd overall in a time of 4:07.

Bruce Thomas TriathleteBruce Thomas

Bruce Thomas is a four times Australian Ironman Triathlon Champion and finished 7th at the Hawaii Ironman in 1993. He also has many other top international triathlon achievements and was admitted to the Australian Ironman Hall of Fame in 2003. Bruce raced extensively in Australia and Internationally, representing Australia in the Elite Division at World Long Course Championships and at the Hawaii Ironman. Bruce was the runner up in the World Ironman Triathlon Series in 1993 and was the 1993-94 Triathlete of the Year. He was awarded with the Australian Sports Medal in 2000 for his achievements and contribution to sport. He raced with many of the legends of triathlon such as Mark Allen, Dave Scott, Greg Welch, Greg Bennett , Chris McCormack, Chippy Slater, Spot Anderson amongst many others. I saw Bruce out at the 2011 All Schools Triathlon the other day where there were 2500 students competing and amongst them was one of Australia’s ironman greats (Mick Maroney was also there talent spotting and chaperoning the teams from his school). Apart from teaching, Bruce has a successful triathlon coaching business with his wife Christina Thomas who is also a former Australian ironman winner.

Bruce’s only pre race excuse for this weekend was that he has not done much cycling.

Spot Anderson

Spot Anderson is also one of the greats and one of the great characters of the sport. Spot is calling himself ‘Fat Coach’ right now but as we all know he will be one of the fastest swimmers, a top competitor on the bike and will dig deep on the run. Spot won the Australian Triathlon Series, including the Long Course Champs in 1989. He was part of the team that won a World Team Title in 1989. In that race, he was coming third with Mark Allen, who went on to win, when he flatted on the bike. Spot went back to 40th but was able to run back to ninth via the fastest run split of the day. Spot took part in the Surf Ironman Series (Uncle Tobys and Nutri Grain). I remember Spot saying to me a couple of years ago that he is a more natural runner than a swimmer – a surprise given that we all know him as a great swimmer. Spot ran the hilly 14km City to Surf before he started training in 49 minutes, and then went on to twice run 44 minutes. Spot has been known to comment that you don’t do long course until you are slowing down. Recently he has done Port Mac half, IMWA and now he is doing Husky long course – what is this saying about the great Spot Anderson? Spot’s coaching business is Bondi Fit and you can see him most days of the week at either Centennial Park in Sydney or the Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre.

This weekend Spot is racing in the Bondi Fit ‘Blokes v Chicks’ challenge. So if you see a bloke struggling out there in a yellow and blue Bondi Fit singlet cheer him on.

The favourite for this weekend’s Australian long course (and last years 2nd place getter and the winner in 2009) is undoubtedly Pete Jacobs. Although 2010 Canberra half ironman winner Ollie Whistler no doubt has other thoughts about the outcome of this weekend’s main race.

Pete Jacobs

Pete_Jacobs_TriathletePete’s training has been very off and on after a recent round of antibiotics. “I was happy with where I was a few weeks ago, but I undertook some pretty serious antibiotics to try and get rid of a parasite and that seems to have knocked me around the last few weeks. I’m confident I’ll get some energy up before the Australian Long Course Champs this weekend, and my running is still going well enough I am looking forward to the 20k dash.”

This is Jacob’s first race of the season, and the following weekend he will be racing the Singapore 70.3. In his usual understated way “I will try and do a few big days training after Australian Champs this weekend before I travel to Singapore. The distance this Sunday will be good training. Not flat out, but a solid distance at a solid tempo, and saving something for the run. It is just a stepping stone in my long build up to Challenge Cairns.”

In 2010 Pete’s season was thrown in to disarray when he broke his collar bone not long after Husky. This meant he could not race at Abu Dhabi. He did place 4th at Challenge Roth in his comeback race then went on to win Forster Olympic distance and the Philippines 70.3.

Adam Holborrow TriathleteAdam Holborrow

Adam Holborow (pictured right) finished 4th overall at last year’s race after a huge improvement over his 2009 placing. This year he is a possible podium finisher with main contenders Pete Jacobs and Ollie Whistler the only ones likely to keep him out of 1st and 2nd. “Training has been going well for me. I have been cutting down on the amount of km’s I have done and picked up the intensity. I am feeling really good with everything going smoothly right now. Getting an Australian long course title is definitely something we would all love to have. It is a big race for a lot of people. It is really the first big race of 2011 and will show mine and everyone’s fitness for the start of the year.

The distance is an unknown right now for Adam. “I am feeling really good and am half way through training for Ironman Australia. After Husky my focus is firmly Ironman Australia (7 weeks after husky). I am really looking forward to the new course so can’t wait to race there. Pete Jacobs is going to be very hard to beat on the day.”

Alex Price

Another of the open men racing this weekend who will admits that he is well underdone in the run after suffering a stress fracture in his foot in early December is Alex Price. This meant that he spent 3 months in a moon boot, with swimming the only training he has been able to do! He has been around many of the races though commentating at them for Elite Energy during the triseries.

“I have only been back on the bike for 3 weeks, leaving my level of fitness nowhere near I hoped for this race. That said, I have been spending many hours practicing what I preach doing core work and functional strengthening exercises and have never been more motivated to train and race than I am at the moment. My swim has picked up, so I am really looking forward to testing this out on the weekend.”

Alex Price TriathletePrice is using Husky as a great training race and as mentioned doesn’t have great expectations after the long layoff from injury. “I am just really looking forward to getting out there and mixing it with the guys. I love this race, it is one of the favourite races I have ever done!”

What is Alex Price up to after Husky? “I am racing the Sydney Olympic, followed by the 70.3 in Port Macquarie. I am then going over to Spain to be the physiotherapist for the NSWIS/VIS elite triathletes, which will be a great opportunity to also do some great training and racing. I am looking forward to working very hard over the next 6 months so that I can be really competitive next Australian season.”

I asked Price for his views of the guys racing this weekend. As someone who works with NSWIS and a number of our top triathletes he has a good idea where many of them are at. “Obviously Pete Jacobs will be strong and has a very good record here in Husky. That said there is a group just below him who are also very strong. Guys like Adrian Cominotto, Adam Holborrow and Foxy (Michael Fox) will be right there with Pete out of the water and there will be several who will be riding strong, including Ollie Whistler, Jan Rehula and Lindsay Wall, who are fresh off great results at the tough Falls Creek course. Matt Pellow, who is training with me here in Wollongong with the NSWIS group will swim well and no doubt will be strong on the run. It is a hot field and while there is no world champion present, the field has more depth than ever. It will be great for the spectators!”

Alex Reithmeier is out with a stress fracture – which Alex Price is treating at the moment. Lindsay Wall has shown some big improvement and will be strong. Jan Rehula – bronze medal in Sydney will be really hard to beat – may give Pete and a couple of others at the front like Ollie and Adam a run! Not sure how Lee Wallace is going. Chris Dmitrieff is always a strong competitor and will be fit coming into IM.

Michael FoxMichael Fox Triathlete

Huskisson Long Course will be Michael Fox’s second long course race. Sprint and Olympic are generally his focus. “It will be good to throw myself out there to a new challenge.I’m just really enjoying my racing at the moment.After a 4:10 in the 2010 Gold Coast Half and a rather conservative bike leg, this weekend I will be trying to focus on my bike leg and hope to be able to follow that through with a solid run.”

“Training has been going smoothly for me. I have started teaching this year and with the guys at High Performance Tri being so flexible, I have settled into my schedule quickly. Come Sunday there should be no excuses. There is still a quality field, even with other major international events being on the same weekend. It should be a great race and I look forward to see everyone in action over the weekend.”

Nicole Ward

Nicole Ward TriathleteOne of our leading long course triathletes is Nicole Ward. Nicole’s goal race right now is Ironman Australia in May. Everything she is doing training wise is focused on this goal. I am fortunate enough to regularly train with Nicole and she does not get involved in any testosterone fuelled running and cycling bravado. She maintains her pace and sticks to her plan no matter how much we bait her. She is firmly focused on IM Oz. In 2010 Nicole had some great results with a 2nd at Shepparton half ironman, 2nd at Port Douglas long course, 3rd at Forster Olympic distance, 4th at Port Macquarie half ironman, 6th at Ironman Coueur dAlene in the USA and 6th at Ironman New Zealand.

Nicole has been quite focused on strength work but with some more speed and intensity recently. â€œMy recent speed work should hopefully help for the weekend as I think it’s going to be a fast race. This weekend will be a good test to see how things are tracking with my training and give me a good hit out. I haven’t raced in Husky for a couple of years now and I really love racing there. I think the course really suits me.”

What is next for you after Husky? “This distance is perfect for me right now with Port Macquarie Ironman on 1st May. I am looking forward to taking some time out of racing and just focusing on a solid training block leading into this race. I did my last ironman in the United States, 11 months ago and I think the time off racing this distance has been just what I needed as I’m really excited about racing my favourite distance again!!”

On the other women racing this weekend Nicole commented: “Michelle Wu is always a fierce competitor and Madeline Oldfield proved herself in Falls Creek with the win so they are probably the key girls to watch. Matilda Reynolds, a fellow TriNSW squad member is also having a fantastic season and is definitely capable of being up there. I think it might be a close one.”

Madeleine Oldfield

Madeleine Oldfield TriathleteEveryone will be watching Madeleine Oldfield to see if she can replicate her recent win at Falls Creek. Madeleine is now well on the way to becoming a serious long course and 70.3 triathlete. Since Falls Creek her training has been going very well with some real positive signs. “Over the past 2 weeks I have put together some of my best sessions to date and I’m starting to see the results in some of the times I am posting in training. It has been tough, but all signs are pointing towards a really good season as long as I can stay injury free. I only decided to race Huskisson a few weeks ago. After doing better than I expected at Falls Creek and getting the win, I thought it would be great to have a go at gaining an Australian title. I have heard great things about the course at Huskisson so can’t wait to get started!”

Having only raced 2 long course triathlons (Shepparton and Falls Creek) Madeleine is still learning how her body is responding to the hard racing and increased training volume. “Huskisson will be a great test to see where I’m at. It will be great to gain some more experience racing the longer distance and it will hopefully set me up for the next 6 months of racing the 70.3 distance.”

What next after Huskisson? “Following on from Huskisson I will race in the final round of the Gatorade Triathlon Series at St Kilda. I will then start preparing for the 70.3 circuit which will include Port Mac 70.3 as well as various races across North America, with the ultimate goal of qualifying for the World 70.3 Champs in Las Vegas.”

“All the girls racing are in with a chance of getting on top of the podium, so it will be an exciting day out. I raced Nicole and Michelle at the Falls Creek Long Course and they are both amazing athletes. I will have to be on top of my game if I am to challenge them at Huskisson on Sunday.”

Michelle Wu

Michelle Wu TriathleteUp against Nicole Ward, Madeleine Oldfield and Matilda Raynolds will be 70.3 (and ex Olympic distance) specialist Michelle Wu. Michelle won a number of races last year including Tawain 70.3, Canberra Half Ironman, Nepean Triathlon, Japan 70.3 along with 2nd at the Yeppoon Half Ironman Byron Bay.

Michelle says training has been going well. She has recovered well after Falls Creek and has been putting in some solid work since. “I was happy with Falls Creek being it was my first race of the year. There are definitely things to improve on though and I think Husky will really suit me. I have been working with my new coac

Karl is a keen age group triathlete who races more than he trains. Good life balance! Karl works in the media industry in Australia and is passionate about the sport of triathlon.

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Ironman Announces First Full Distance Event In Ireland

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Ironman announced today the addition of its first full distance event in Ireland, Ironman Ireland, Cork. The inaugural race will take place on June 23, 2019.

“Ironman is an incredibly prestigious sporting competition held in locations throughout the world. Now, for the first time in Ireland, Cork will host a full-distance Ironman competition starting in 2019. Youghal will be centre stage for the next three years as we showcase our beautiful beaches, historic towns and world-renowned hospitality to a world-wide audience. I am delighted to welcome Ironman to Cork,” said Cllr Declan Hurley, Mayor of the County of Cork.

The race will be held in Youghal, Co. Cork which is located approximately 45 minutes west of Cork city and Cork International Airport. Youghal is a coastal fishing town on the southern coast of Ireland and a fortified seaport since the fifth century. It is also Ireland’s second oldest town. Cork International Airport offers direct transatlantic services in addition to its extensive European access routes, along with modern motorway access from Ireland’s capital city, Dublin (2-hour drive). Youghal is perfectly situated to stage an iconic triathlon.

The race will get underway with a 3.8km (2.4-mile) swim with a rolling start from the golden and sandy, Claycastle beach in Youghal Bay, that gently shelves into the Celtic Sea. This is within walking distance of Youghal Town.

A two-lap 180km (112-mile) bike course is next. Starting off through the centre of Youghal town, a climb of the famous Windmill Hill awaits the cyclists as a first challenge, which undoubtedly will also become a spectator hotspot. The cyclists will then encounter a combination of flat country roads and undulating coastal roads with magnificent sea views of Youghal Bay, Ballycotton Island and Cork Harbour. This breathtaking course goes around County Cork, into the town of Midleton (home to the famous Jameson Distillery) and will rise to a max elevation of 190m above Midleton before a technical drop back into Youghal.

The 42km (26.2-mile) run course will be the highlight of this event. This will be a flat four-lap run course through the centre of the historical town of Youghal, taking in Youghal Harbour and the famous Clock Gate Tower. Athletes will run under the arch of the Clock Gate Tower in the centre of town during each lap before finally running under the Ironman finishing arch in Market Square.

Speaking about the event, Tim Lucey, Chief Executive Cork County Council said: “Cork County Council is especially proud to join forces with Ironman which will bring an economic boost estimated to be over seven million Euro to the local economy. But the impact is much more than that; we have the opportunity to promote East Cork but go even further into all that Cork has to offer. We will showcase sport but most importantly of all, we will showcase community spirit. This will be an event that invests in both people and place and I look forward to what will be an amazing experience.”

“It has always been our goal to establish a full-distance event in Ireland. Now, building on the success of Ironman 70.3 Dún Laoghaire we are excited to add Ironman Ireland, Cork,” said Oliver Schieck, Regional Director Ironman UK & Ireland. “This race is a remarkable combination of a stunning race course with a beautiful landscape as a backdrop. We are looking forward to welcoming Irish and international athletes to the inaugural edition in June 2019.”

Ironman Ireland, Cork will be a qualifier for the 2019 Ironman World Championship being held in Kailua-Kona, Hawai’i.

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Elite Field Of Professional Triathletes Set To Compete In 2018 Escape From Alcatraz Triathlon

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The pro field for the 2018 Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon set to take place on Sunday, June 3. The line-up includes 2016 Rio Olympian Ben Kanute, Olympian Jarrod Shoemaker (USA), Olympian Ryan Fisher (AUS), Olympian Paula Findlay (CAN), 2018 Surf City Escape Triathlon winner Jason West and more.

The new official coach of the Escape Triathlon Series Andy Potts will also be competing. Potts represented the United States in the 2004 Olympics, is a seven-time IRONMAN champion, 28-time IRONMAN 70.3 champion, and a six-time Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon champion.

“I am super excited about my new role as the Escape Triathlon Series coach and look forward to competing this year and supporting all levels of participants as they work to accomplish their goals,” said Potts.

The pros will join 2,000 amateur triathletes for the 38th year of this annual event. Athletes have qualified to race through the newly-formed Escape Triathlon Series. 2018 Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon Champions Ben Kanute and Lauren Goss will attempt to defend their titles. The full list of professional triathletes set to compete in the 2018 Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon includes:

Men

  • Kevin Collington (USA)
  • Brian Duffy Jr. (USA)
  • Robbie Deckard (USA)
  • Cameron Dye (USA)
  • Ryan Fisher (AUS)
  • Ben Kanute (USA)
  • Eric Lagerstrom (USA)
  • Garrick Loewen (CAN)
  • Andy Potts (USA)
  • Jarrod Shoemaker (USA)
  • Jason West (USA)
  • Timothy Winslow (USA)
  • Matthew Wisthoff (USA)

Women

  • Liz Baugher (USA)
  • Paula Findlay (CAN)
  • Lauren Goss (USA)
  • Sarah Haskins (USA)
  • Alicia Kaye (CAN)
  • Caroline Shannon (USA)
  • Erin Storie (USA)
  • Lindsey Jerdonek (USA)

Top triathletes from around the world will take over the streets and waters of San Francisco for the 2018 Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon on a course showcasing the beauty of the city. Triathletes will hit the water at 7:30 a.m. to embark on a challenging 1.5-mile swim from Alcatraz Island to the shoreline of Marina Green, an 18-mile twisting bike ride through the Presidio, and an 8-mile trail run out to Baker Beach and up the infamous 400-plus step Sand Ladder. To finish the race, triathletes will follow a path back under the Golden Gate Bridge, pass Crissy Field, and finish on the grass at Marina Green. Fans can experience the excitement at Marina Green, where the swim exit, athlete transition area and finish line are easily visible.

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Middaugh, Paterson win XTERRA Oak Mountain

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Josiah Middaugh and Lesley Paterson captured the 13th annual XTERRA Oak Mountain off-road triathlon elite titles on a beautiful day at Oak Mountain State Park in Shelby County, Alabama this morning.

It’s the third straight year Middaugh has won this race and his fifth win in six years on this course.  For Paterson, it’s her fourth victory here since 2012, and for both, their first big XTERRA win of 2018.

In the men’s race Ian King was first man out of the water in 21:11, followed closely by Karsten Madsen, Branden Rakita, Rom Akerson, and Victor Arenas.  Middaugh came of the 1.5-kilometer swim in 23:56, nearly three-minutes behind the leaders, and quickly went to work on the bike.

“I had quite a deficit out of the swim and had to remind myself to just keep pushing all the time,” said the reigning XTERRA Pan Am Tour Champ, who posted the fastest 30km bike split of the day in 1:20:56.  “For me to get to the front, it’s max effort every chance I get.”

Middaugh was able to pass six of the eight guys ahead of him by the end of the bike, all but race leader Rom Akerson (pictured below) and Karsten Madsen.

“Toward the end of the bike, I was hearing I was within one-minute but I still couldn’t see anybody, and then I heard I was 35 seconds behind but still couldn’t see anybody, and then finally I saw Karsten at the very end there,” said Middaugh.  “I thought Rom must have been another minute up the trail, but when I came out of the bike-to-run transition we were all in there together, 1,2, 3.”

When Middaugh speaks of Max effort, the final quarter-mile of the bike was a perfect example, as he reeled-in 10-15 seconds by hammering the final stretch.

“You have take time whenever you can,” he said.  “Coming in on the road, I saw Karsten starting to take his shoes off and I thought, I’m going hard for another 10 seconds.”

At the start of the two-lap 10km trail run around Double Oak Lake it was an exciting three-man chase and then another all-out effort by Middaugh propelled him into the lead about half-mile into it.

“Right away on the run we were all pushing hard but I was able to take the lead just before the start of the single track. Karsten and I were pretty much sprinting to that spot,” he said.  “I was thinking if I can get in first then I can hit all those little rollers and start working the hills and just hope to wear him down. So, it worked. I wanted to put a gap on him early because when you’re feeling good, you don’t know how long it’s going to last. You can go from feeling real good to real bad, real quick.”

Middaugh crushed the run in 39:04.  The only other sub 40-minute run came from XTERRA Pan Am Pro Series leader Kieran McPherson, who had the best split of the day in 38:50 and ultimately finished 5th.

His winning time was 2:23:56, more than one-minute ahead of Madsen who finished in second for the second straight year behind Middaugh.

“That was by far the worst I’ve felt all through a race, but I persevered,” said Madsen, who won XTERRA Uruguay two weeks ago and was second to Kieran McPerson at XTERRA Brazil last week.  “Three races in three weeks is just about one of the hardest things I’ve done. All this week I could barely train because my legs were so sore and tired, but this course gives me confidence and I used the ability I have in single track riding to keep in contention. I was trying to best Josiah today but he’s such a veteran racer and he found that extra gear.”

Madsen, who sits in second on the Pan Am Pro Series after six events, added that the bump-n-grind style of racing at the park today was a thrill … “That’s XTERRA,” he said. “When it’s close and competitive like that, it’s absolutely phenomenal.”

The battle for third was equally amazing. Rom Akerson, who beat Josiah and Karsten to win XTERRA Costa Rica in March, was in position to finish third but went the wrong way for a few strides just before the finish chute and ended up in a sprint finish with Brian Smith.

“Rom and I were pretty close together all the way around until we got a quarter of a mile into the single track on the second lap,” said Smith. “He went by me and I said, “Great job, go ahead,” and I thought it was all over at that point. Then we got to the dam and he stopped to get water and I was close again, but he was still 10 seconds ahead. The finish wasn’t even going to be close, but he went left and had to run back towards me to get back on course and we ended up together down the finish chute. I gave it everything I could and got it by a lean at the line.”

Akerson, who was the first man into the bike-to-run transition, felt like he let one slip away today.

“I came off the bike and into transition first and then went out on the run and Josiah and Karsten caught me and they were running hard, but nothing I can’t normally keep up with. It was a fast pace, but nothing too hard, and then a couple hundred meters before the end of the first lap I got this pain in my chest, like a cramp or something.  I had to stop and sit down and put water on my head. I couldn’t even breath,” Akerson explained.  “I started running again and then Brian caught me and we ran together and ultimately he beat me over the line at the end there. It was a race I should have won today. I had it in my pocket.”

McPherson, who won at XTERRA Brazil last week, finished just 21-seconds behind in fifth.

Elite Men

Place  Name Time Points
1 Josiah Middaugh, USA 2:23:56 100
2 Karsten Madsen, CAN 2:25:16 90
3 Brian Smith, USA 2:27:25 82
4 Rom Akerson, CRC 2:27:26 75
5 Kieran McPherson, NZL 2:27:46 69
6 Sam Long, USA 2:30:41 63
7 Branden Rakita, USA 2:33:05 58
8 Will Kelsay, USA 2:34:36 53
9 Brent Mattison, USA 2:34:58 49
10 Will Ross, USA 2:37:44 45
11 Ian King, USA 2:38:35 41
12 Alex Roberts, NZL 2:38:49 37
13 Victor Arenas, COL 2:42:25 34
14 Humberto Rivera, USA 2:44:41 31
15 Ryan DeCook, USA 2:45:14 28
16 Jimmy Archer 3:08:44 NP

 

In the women’s race Erin Storie, who was competing in her first-ever XTERRA, posted the fastest women’s swim of the day in 21:26, better than all but five elite men. Fabiola Corona, Jessie Koltz, and Julie Baker were next, a little over two minutes back, then Paterson in fifth.

It didn’t take long for the two-time XTERRA World Champ to get into the mix upfront.

“I got out there and felt really good and I had a lot of fight in me today,” said Paterson, who was second to Jacqui Allen at XTERRA Tahiti last week.  “I caught up to Julie Baker who had the lead at the top of the climb and then we went back and forth on a bunch of the trail until we got to the road and I put in an attack down Johnson Mountain trail and kind of managed to get 30 seconds coming into transition.”

Paterson added to her lead by posting the fastest run split of the day and finished in 2:47:50, more than three minutes ahead of Baker.

“I tried to give Lesley a little race,” smiled Baker (pictured above).  “We traded a bit on the bike but she was really strong, and had a super run. I just do the best I can.  But ya know, it’s fun.  It’s like a vacation coming here, I just felt great as soon as I got here.”

Paterson was quick to agree, adding that “It’s so beautiful, the terrain is amazing, the people are amazing. It’s just an incredible place.”

Corona, a four-time XTERRA Mexico Champ, went back-and-forth with Kara LaPoint on the run and was able to pull away to take third by about 30 seconds. She was ecstatic with the result.

“It was amazing, I love this course, the bike is awesome,” she exclaimed.  “Kara passed me on the first lap of the run and I was like, OK, I’m in 4th place, but then I thought, no, all my family is here and they spent too much for the hotel and the flights for me to finish fourth. Fourth place is like a chocolate medal for me, not bronze. So, I caught a second wind and caught Kara then threw down a big sprint. For me, third place here is like first place, like gold.”

With the win Corona moves into third place in the Pan Am Pro Series behind Carito Nieva and Kelli Montgomery with six races to go.

LaPoint had a great race and gave it everything she had to finish in fourth, while Jessie Koltz finished in fifth.

Elite Women

Place Name Time Points
1 Lesley Paterson, GBR 2:47:50 100
2 Julie Baker, USA 2:51:25 90
3 Fabiola Corona, MEX 2:56:31 82
4 Kara LaPoint, USA 2:57:03 75
5 Jessica Koltz, USA 2:59:26 69
6 Katie Button, CAN 3:01:15 63
7 Erin Storie, USA 3:02:04 58
8 Anne Usher, USA 3:08:12 53
9 Kelli Montgomery, USA 3:10:54 49
10 Heather Zimchek-Dunn, USA 3:14:08 45
11 Rebecca Blatt, USA 3:44:25 41

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XTERRA Oak Mountain lures all-star field to Shelby County, Alabama

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The XTERRA Pan America Pro Series takes shape this weekend at Oak Mountain State Park in Shelby County, Alabama as America’s best elites host all-stars from Canada, Costa Rica, Mexico, Colombia, New Zealand and Scotland.

The 13th annual XTERRA Oak Mountain off-road tri is race number six of 12 in the international racing series, and the first championship event in the U.S. this season.

In the men’s chase all eyes are on reigning and two-time XTERRA Pan America Tour Champion Josiah Middaugh. The 2015 XTERRA World Champion from Colorado is in his 18th season of XTERRA racing and turns 40 this July, but is showing no signs of slowing down.  

I have a long history with Oak Mountain State Park and have experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows here,” said Middaugh, who has won four of the last five and finished in the top three nine times here in Alabama.  “Since fracturing my patella in 2006 and the resulting surgery, I have made amends with the course and had a handful of good performances.”

One of those modestly-stated ‘good performances’ came last year when Middaugh came out of the water more than two minutes back of the leaders but posted the fastest bike split and then chased down Mexico’s Paco Serrano and Canadian Karsten Madsen on the run to take the win.

“I know I will need to bring my A-game to the race because there is little room for error on that course as time gaps are usually tight,” he said.

Madsen, who finished as the runner-up just 41-seconds behind Middaugh last year, is one of several men in the field looking to take down the reigning champ.

“Alabama is a very special place for me, and last year this race truly was my best performance of the season,” said Madsen, who so far this year has finished 3rd at XTERRA Costa Rica, won XTERRA Uruguay, and placed 2nd at XTERRA Brazil last weekend.  “This course suits my skill set because I ride technical single track at a premier level and this course rewards that. I’m in the best shape of my life and doing things in training that are giving strong indications that some massive things will come if I stay the course. My history on this course is long, but this year will be the first time I go into the race with massive travel and races behind me. Still, I have to win on this course before I’m done with XTERRA! There will be some very tough completion, but the man to be beat is Josiah. It’s a big task.”

Just a few days ago Kieran McPherson from New Zealand, the current XTERRA Pan Am Pro Series points leader, outran Madsen to take the tape at XTERRA Brazil. It was his second win of the season following his victory at XTERRA Argentina in March.

“I was ecstatic to get my first Gold level XTERRA win and excited to come to Oak Mountain and see if I can grab another one,” said McPherson, who placed sixth last year on this course.

Another big threat for Middaugh comes from 12-year XTERRA veteran Rom Akerson, who beat him to win XTERRA Costa Rica in March.

“I’m feeling super strong and looking forward to this event,” said Akerson, who last raced here 10 years ago and finished 7th in a crowded elite field. “My goal is to do my best, but I always aim to win. I know it’s a super technical course and I’m stoked to race with these guys, especially Josiah, I look up to him a lot.”

One of the other chief competitors for Middaugh is a man he coaches, Brian Smith, who posted the fastest run split last year to finish fourth.

“Love the Oak Mountain course,” said Smith. “I love the woods and the roots, it’s not like the riding we have here in Gunnison, Colorado. It reminds me of where I grew up in upstate New York.  I am hoping to nail the race like I did last year and step it up to a top three finish.  Josiah is coaching me again and has me in good form.”

Another perennial top five guy and back for more is Branden Rakita.

“It’s one of my top two favorite courses on the circuit,” said Rakita, who finished runner-up in the Pan Am Pro Series last year. “Oak Mountain will be the first race where we will really learn where everyone stands. Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil have all had a good number of strong guys, but Alabama is the first race with everyone there and it will only ratchet up the race intensity that much more. You know you had a really good race if you land on the podium in this one.”

The dark horse for Saturday may be a youngster named Sam Long. He has a couple top three showings at altitude in Colorado, but this race will be a whole new experience for the 22-year-old.

“I don’t know the course at ‘Bama at all,” said Long. “I have heard it is technical and hot, and to prepare for it I am doing a training camp in Moab. I look forward to the challenge of the course and the season; but more importantly to the fun that awaits and the camaraderie with my fellow racers.  I’m hoping for a big year on the XTERRA scene. I believe I am in a better place physically and mentally than I have ever been before and am curious to see how I will do. My goal for the season is to be on the top step at one of these races. I think it is feasible and will try to do it at every race, but with the level of competition I will be very happy if I can do it just once.”

ELITE MEN’S START LIST

2018 Rank/2017 Rank – Name, Nationality

1/3 – Kieran McPherson, NZL
2/14 – Karsten Madsen, CAN
4/2 – Branden Rakita, USA
6/NR – Alex Roberts, NZL
10/NR – Rom Akerson, CRC
13/1 – Josiah Middaugh, USA
20/NR – Humberto Rivera, USA
28/20 – Ian King, USA
NR/4 – Brian Smith, USA
NR/9 – Sam Long, USA
NR/NR – Jimmy Archer
NR/NR – Victor Arenas
NR/NR – Will Kelsay
NR/NR – Brent Mattison
NR/NR – Humberto Rivera, USA
NR/NR – Will Ross

In the women’s race two-time XTERRA World Champ Lesley Paterson is looking to shake-off some early season rust and show the XTERRA world what she’s capable of. The “Scottish Rocket” has won this race three times, including in 2012 when XTERRA hosted the ITU Cross Tri World Champs at Oak Mountain.

“I just love this place, and have such wonderful memories here,” said Paterson, who finished second to Jacqui Allen at XTERRA Tahiti last weekend. “It’s an amazing picturesque course, and I’ve got the best homestay ever with my buddy Don. We’ve become very close friends across the years and I use this race as an excuse to come see him. Plus, this will be my hubby’s first time here so I’m excited to show him around and sign him up for the trail run!”

Paterson placed second to Suzie Snyder last year, and Julie Baker was third. Baker is back, and with a best-in-class swim will have the chance to lead Saturday’s race from wire-to-wire.

Canada’s best hope comes from Katie Button, the 2016 XTERRA Victoria Champ.

“I always enjoy riding at Oak Mountain. It’s different than what I have at home so offers some novel challenges, like the twisty flat trails that require a lot of focus to keep your momentum going,” said Button. “As my first race of the season, I’m looking to set a benchmark for myself and hopefully keep moving forward from here for the rest of the year.”

Kara LaPoint, last year’s Pan Am Pro Series runner-up, and Kelli Montgomery, who won XTERRA Costa Rica in March, are both coming off back-to-back weekends of racing at XTERRA Uruguay and XTERRA Brazil, and are hoping the legs and lungs can handle the travel.

“I’m hoping my body comes around after a pretty rough last few days with racing sick in Brazil, and a lot of hard travel as I continue to recover from that bout of illness,” said LaPoint, who is currently 5th in the Pan Am Pro Series standings. “I’ve definitely put myself through the ringer this week, but I’ve still got some time to get totally healthy and freshen up before Saturday. This has always been one of my favorite stops on the tour. It’s fun, fast, intense, and challenging racing, and without a doubt one of the best bike courses out there. I’ll be gunning for a podium finish and hope to keep moving up in the tour standings.”

As for Montgomery, who is sitting in second place in the Pan Am standings, she doesn’t think survival will be a problem, saying “I survived XTERRA Brazil, and that was the hardest XTERRA course I’ve ever done.”

Former Olympian Fabiola Corona from Mexico, who finished as the runner-up at XTERRA Chile then won XTERRA Argentina a week later in March, said she’s ready for the challenge, “I put a big focus on the XTERRA Pan America Tour this year and am really excited to come out and race at Oak Mountain.

The dark horse for the women could be Erin Storie, who will be competing in her first-ever XTERRA race because she wanted to try a different style of racing.  Plus, my husband is graduating from Army Officer school in Fort Benning, so I can see his graduation and race in the same weekend,” she added.

Storie has an impressive road triathlon racing resume that includes winning the 2013 USA Triathlon Collegiate Club National Championship and finishing third in the 2014 ITU Under-23 World Championships.  She is also a two-time U23 national champion and two-time USA Triathlon U23 Athlete of the Year.  It will certainly be interesting to see how that speed on tarmac translates to the tricky trails at Oak Mountain State Park.

ELITE WOMEN’S START LIST

2018 Rank/2017 Rank – Name, Nationality

2/22 – Kelli Montgomery, USA
4/19 – Fabiola Corona
5/2 – Kara LaPoint
12/11 – Jessica Koltz, USA
13/NR – Rebecca Blatt, USA
NR/5 – Lesley Paterson, GBR
NR/6 – Julie Baker, USA
NR/10 – Katie Button, CAN
NR/13 – Heather Zimchek-Dunn, USA
NR/18 – Anne Usher, USA
NR/NR – Erin Storie, USA

Find elite race updates on twitter @xterraoffroad this Saturday, May 19, starting at 9am CDT, and login to Facebook for photos, videos and more all week long.

All-time XTERRA Oak Mountain Elite Champions

Year – Men’s Winner/Women’s Winner

2006 – Brent McMahan/Melanie McQuaid
2007 – Conrad Stoltz/Jamie Whitmore
2008 – Conrad Stoltz/Shonny Vanlandingham
2009 – Conrad Stoltz/Melanie McQuaid
2010 – Conrad Stoltz/Shonny Vanlandingham
2011 – Conrad Stoltz/Melanie McQuaid
2012 – Conrad Stoltz/Lesley Paterson
2013 – Josiah Middaugh/Lesley Paterson
2014 – Josiah Middaugh/Flora Duffy
2015 – Braden Currie/Lesley Paterson
2016 – Josiah Middaugh/Suzie Snyder
2017 – Josiah Middaugh/Suzie Snyder

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How To

How to Tackle Hills on a Triathlon Bike (TT)

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For many newbie triathletes, climbing can represent one of the greatest challenges when it comes to riding. Once that road in front of you starts to rise, it can be a struggle to maintain rhythm and remain comfortable. Apart from clocking up serious hours riding on mountainous roads (which of course is great for building bike strength), I’ve put together a few pointers that should make you faster and more efficient when riding up hills. When climbing, it is important to be smart about the amount of energy you expend and to choose the best position on the bike relative to your terrain.

There are three climbing positions that you can adopt on the bike. Each position comes with its own pros and cons, so it is important to understand when to adopt which position and why.

Aero bars

If it’s a short climb or it has a shallow incline, it’ll likely pay to stay on the aero bars for as long as possible. While racing, a general rule is that the more time you can stay in the aero position, the faster you will be over the duration of the ride.

Managing exertion

Keeping your power output on the bike as stable as possible is usually the best way to approach the bike leg. Big spikes in power, caused when climbing or pedalling out of tight corners, is the easiest way to increase leg fatigue. When climbing during races, you should only increase your power output by at most 10 percent compared to riding on the flat. Using a power meter on your bike is by far the best way to monitor how much power you’re putting out during any stage of a race. It’ll help you keep your effort at a steady rate. Alternately, a heart rate monitor is another great tool that’ll help you keep your effort as even as possible – particularly when climbing.

Seated climbing

As the road starts to get steeper, the aero benefits of remaining in an aero position become negligible. It’s time to sit up and put the power down. Climbing while seated should be adopted when the climb you face is such that you feel you need to break from the aero position – but not so steep that you feel you need to get out of the saddle. Staying seated while climbing will also help keep your heart rate lower than when standing. This means you’ll be using less energy.

Cadence

For most triathletes, a cadence of between 80-to-95 RPM is ideal for racing. Once you hit a climb, try to keep your cadence roughly the same as you employ on the flat. Cadence is similar to power output in that you should aim to keep it as consistent as possible. If you are standing to climb and are pushing hard with a low cadence, the level of muscular fatigue will increase. Alternately, climbing while out of the saddle with a cadence of 110 RPM or more will see your heart rate skyrocket.

Gearing

When I am setting up my bike for a major race, I always take a good look at the course profile a few weeks out from the event. I make sure my bike is rocking a rear cassette that I know will give me a good range of gearing options for that particular course profile. For example, if it’s a hilly course that’ll require a lot of climbing, I fit a rear cluster of 11/25 to ensure that I have the gears I need to maintain a good cadence through the climbs.

Standing – out of the saddle

When racing, it’s important to remain as aerodynamic as possible. However, on steeper climbs you will find that you are not able to generate the power needed down on the aero bars. Standing up on the pedals will give you more power as you’re using your body weight to put power into the cranks. This comes at a cost, though. Standing while you pedal will lead to increased heart rate as you’re employing more of your upper body to generate power. Climbing out of the saddle should be saved for mountain goat terrain.

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News & Racing

Dylan Mcneice And Yvonne Van Vlerken Take The Lead In Challenge Family World Bonus

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Per Bittner and Yvonne van Vlerken both take the titles at Challenge Aruba. Image by: Eric Wynn

After the first five of our CHALLENGEFAMILY World Bonus races, Dylan McNeice from New Zealand has taken the lead with 500 points after his strong win at CHALLENGETAIWAN. The female standings are currently dominated by the Dutch Yvonne van Vlerken. She not only took the victory at CHALLENGEGRANCANARIA and CHALLENGERICCIONE but also earned an additional 75 points at CHALLENGEROMA. Yvonne is currently leading the table with a total 575 points!

As you are probably already aware, the CHALLENGEFAMILY World Bonus is the pro athlete bonus scheme we use for our races worldwide. The initiative provides professional athletes with the opportunity to race for a share of the $165k end-of-season bonus in addition to the prize purses of the individual races. Athletes are only able to count their best six CHALLENGEFAMILYraces during the season, of which no more than two can be full distance races.

McNeice is currently leading the male standings but Pablo Gonzales from Spain is close behind in second place. Right now, and thanks to his amazing results in CHALLENGEGRANCANARIA and CHALLENGEROMA, he has a total of 475 points. Fredrik Croneborg from Sweden came second at CHALLENGETAIWAN, which earned him 400 points and a swift move to third place in the male ranking.

The female Dutch athlete and current leader of the CHALLENGEFAMILY World Bonus, Yvonne van Vlerken, is being chased by Julia Grant from New Zealand. Julia won CHALLENGETAIWAN and promptly earned 500 points for her victory. She’s now 75 points behind Van Vlerken. Alyssa Godesky from the USA earned an instant 400 points after her second place at CHALLENGETAIWAN and is currently holding third position in the CHALLENGEFAMILY World Bonus.

Upcoming

The next opportunity to earn points is CHALLENGELISBOA. This race takes place in Portugal on the 19th May 2018. The $165k end-of-season bonus will pay five deep across both male and female with the top-ranked Pro taking home $30k. Second place will carry a bonus of $20k, third, fourth and fifth positions will pay $15k, $12k and $5k accordingly. Ranking will be decided through a fair points system based on placings earned. This system is explained fully here:

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