By Karl Hayes
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 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 is also one of the greats and one of the great characters of the sport. Spot is calling himself â€˜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 â€˜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’s training has been very off and on after a recent round of antibiotics. â€œI 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.â€
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 â€œI 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.â€
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 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. â€œTraining 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. â€œI 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.â€
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.
â€œI 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.â€
Price is using Husky as a great training race and as mentioned doesn’t have great expectations after the long layoff from injury. â€œI 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!â€
What is Alex Price up to after Husky? â€œI 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.â€
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. â€œObviously 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!â€
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.
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.”
One 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.â€
What is next for you after Husky? â€œThis 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!!â€
On the other women racing this weekend Nicole commented: â€œMichelle 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.â€
Everyone 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. â€œOver 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!â€
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. â€œHuskisson 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.â€
What next after Huskisson? â€œFollowing 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.â€
â€œAll 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.â€
Up 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. â€œI 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
Interview: A Look At What it Takes to Train Luke Willian
Luke Willian’s coach Warwick Dalziel has some serious insight into motivating young athletes. After Luke placed 3rd in the U23 ITU World Championships in Rotterdam, Trizone caught up with Dalziel to uncover his coaching secrets.
“Luke was always a fairly uncoordinated kid,” said Dalziel laughing, “but he was always really talented. When he was 13, he already had a talent for endurance sports, and he was naturally good.” When Willian started training with Dalziel, his talent was overshadowed by his inexperience with racing. “We did skills work with him and raced the national series races. He’d never swum in proper races before, so he had to learn how to swim. Yep, really learn how to swim from scratch” said Dalziel.
“There’s plenty of natural strength and some natural development to come.”
Now though, Luke is an impressive athlete, and he still has plenty of room to grow. “Luke grew over one centimetre in Europe,” said Dalziel, “that’s what makes it exciting. There’s lots of scope for him to get faster.
Luke’s brother and his entrance into triathlon
“Luke started triathlon because his younger brother wanted to try it,” said Dalziel. “Even now, they’re very close and very supportive of each other’s goals,” said Dalziel. “When he was waiting for drug test results, Luke called his brother for half an hour. That’s just what they do, and they’re always chatting.”
Luke Willian and his family are very close, and it’s this support that resonates into his training. “The family aspect of Luke’s training resonates through the family. His loyalty to them also goes through the relationship with me,” said Dalziel.
Exposing Luke to overseas triathlon creates a champion
Exposing a young athlete to the glitter of overseas racing is essential, but it needs to be at the right level and right times. “It was a matter of being slow and steady, and exposing him to European racing slowly,” said Dalziel. “It’s such a different level to Australian racing. There are so many countries and so many people. Exposing young athletes to lots of teaching techniques, race skills and how good and desperate to be good you need to be to have a shot at being an elite triathlete,” said Dalziel.
When Luke was only 16, Dalziel was training Ron Darmon, an Israeli Olympic triathlete in his squad. “Luke saw what Ron was doing, and saw what it takes to be a top athlete. He spent a lot of time learning what it takes to be a top athlete.
“When Courtney Atkinson made his comeback, he did some sessions with our squad and learned of him. He spent time with a French team with Laurent Vidal and also with the Wollongong Wizards and Jamie Turner’s squad exposing to lots of different triathletes,” said Dalziel.
“I just wanted to make sure he had a full-spectrum, worldly view, more than just an Australian view. Not that there’s anything wrong with Australian triathlon,” added Dalziel quickly, “it’s just good to have that international view.”
Seeing the way others train helps young athletes gain an open mind, however, Dalziel is clear not everything in his method can be changed. “There are some non-negotiable things we do,” said Dalziel, “but I want him to learn there is a whole world out there, so he’s not stuck.”
Willian is an incredibly keen athlete
Luke Willian’s motivation to power through a tough training session is impressive. “When I’d decided the guys in the squad could do an easy ride, they all wanted to do a crit [criterium] race instead. So they did!” said Dalziel, “they didn’t even want to have an easy session.”
“It’s so much better that training sessions are athlete-driven rather than coach-imposed.”
Dalziel is still sometimes surprised by how keen Willian can be. “Before Mooloolabah, I was away on holiday with my wife, and Willian was at home training. He had a few 120km hill rides to do,” said Dalziel. “He’d done four of them in just ten days. I was away, so I wasn’t even driving it. I knew we were in for a good season.”
Penalties not enough to ruin on Montreal
Getting stuck with a penalty is frustrating for any athlete, but the experienced junior athlete Willian powered through. “He got a bit tensed and stressed. He took the penalty early on lap three, then recovered. He raced really well. Knowing he raced really well in Montreal was great mentally, even though he finished 17th he was not far off the day .”
How good was Willian’s race in Montreal? It was his first Olympic distance WTS race, he had the 10th fastest 10 km in 32.00 – so he was within 1 min of the best guys in the world on his first go,” Dalziel told Trizone beaming.
Recovery is key to young athlete
After our chat to Matt Dixon of Purple Patch, it’s evident recovery is one of an essentially modern aspect of triathlon training, and Dalziel knows it too. “We’re always adapting our recovery process,” said Dalziel. “Luke is outstanding like that. If work goes up, recovery goes up.”
Instilling the importance of recovery is vital for young athletes, said Dalziel. “Luke was exposed to water running, ice baths and recovery from a young age, so it becomes natural.”
Physical recovery has its place, but mental recovery is just as significant to young athletes. “A lot of young athletes, especially junior guys, find it really hard to turn off,” said Dalziel. “We try and make sure they do something else. We play half-court basketball or bocce. Anything that’s not triathlon. Some of the athletes are studying business, so they study to switch off.”
Some athletes can be switched on 24/7, but some can’t. “Luke needs breaks. He schedules in time to see his girlfriend, to go to the movies and make sure there’s a plan around rest, and a routine.”
“We never train Sunday afternoon so there’s family time,” said Dalziel, “it’s important to do it young so when you’re older it’s part of your daily practice.”
Reserving time for fun and family at a young age helps solidify good habits.
Rotterdam and finishing third
After finishing preparation for Hamburg, Luke Willian moved from 50 small sprints, towards 100. “We zoned in on it after Hamburg,” said Dalziel, “running work went from shorter to longer intervals. Rather than 5km pace, we were running at 10km endurance speed.”
Montreal had been a great result mentally, and Dalziel was encouraging Willian to transition from intensity and to come back to volume. “We said – OK, where do we want to be and where do we need to go?”
Willian had a few more rest days leading into his taper for Rotterdam. “We went back into constant pace, had some extra massage, and trained one session a day rather than three. Luke got a few sleep-ins” laughed Dalziel. “We went to our run sets; standard long pace run sets. That’s 14-15km of running. We did them off distance markers, and then we just tried to shut it down.”
After flying up to Rotterdam on Tuesday, the coach and athlete duo snuck out of their hotel and had a look around the course in the middle of the night. “The next day we had lunch with squadmate and fellow U/23 athlete Matt Roberts (trains with us in Warwick Dalziel triathlon coaching) and Mick Delamotte. We laughed. We talked about baseball, state or origin [rugby] just nothing to do with triathlon. Then he went out and raced,” said Dalziel.
“For Luke, if he’s too focused and not relaxed enough it doesn’t work. He knows what he has to do.”
Dalziel’s strategy works, as Willian stormed to the finish of the U23 ITU World Championship. Finishing in third place in 1:51:48, Willian was just 20 seconds behind the leader Rachael Montoya.
Third place is a great result, but when you take away the penalty, it’s world class. “Luke took at 15s time penalty at world championships when his cap was lost off his head – so he would have been much closer,” said Dalziel.
“A 1.51.48 would have been good enough to get into the top 5 of senior men the next day (different conditions but same course), and a 31.25 (no penalty) would have been a top 10 senior men, so his times are already up there,” said Dalziel.
What young athletes do the hour before a big race
Food. Yes, it’s that’s simple, almost. “For Luke, it’s all about the food after the briefing,” said his coach. “As far as what we talk about, we keep it simple. If we’re not clear one month or one week out, I think you get distracted and you panic, so we’re always clear.”
“Some athletes need that rev up before the race – some athletes respond to that. That’s not what works for Luke.”
Dalziel customises his approach to each athlete. “If the athletes need to listen to Eye of the Tiger before the race – that’s what they do. If they need to be quiet and calm before the race, that’s what they do,” said Dalziel.
Noosa and Bribie Island to be Willian’s final 2017 races
“He’s done Noosa twice, and he’s keen to go with the big boys like Aaron, Ryan and Dan,” said Dalziel. “It’s an iconic race and has a lot of prestige. It’s one of the races Luke has on his bucket list that he’d like to do well in.”
To prepare for the infamous Aussie race, Willian will be going over the course details with Dalziel, preparing for the temperatures on the day, and getting ready for the U-turns and technical elements on the bike. “Triathlon Australia with Jamie Turner ran some bike sessions and we did some of those with fellow Waz squad member and U/23 rep Matt Roberts, Matt Hauser, Ryan Bailie, Brandon Copeland and a team of athletes to get used to the course,” said Dalziel.
Two weeks before Noosa, Willian will race at Bribie Island, a fun Queensland race. “He likes local races where he can have a good meal before, and get out there,” said Dalziel.
After Noosa, there’s not a tremendous amount of rest time for Willian. “We don’t have a huge offseason,” said Dalziel, “some sessions might be easy though, like going to Burleigh Beach and having a run and a swim, without me there.”
Once the squad is mentally recovered, it will be back to work for 2018.
“With young athletes, I find if they have a big off season, they go back into load too quickly,” said Dalziel. “They end up injured, it doesn’t work.”
With incredible insight into the psyche and needs of young, developing athletes, it’s clear Luke Willian and coach Warwick Dalziel are a fierce team. All eyes will be on Willian at Noosa to see how he does in a strong field, with fingers crossed for a solid 2018.
Noosa: Jake Montgomery Finally Makes His Debut
Celebrating its 35th birthday the Noosa Triathlon will be in party mode, but the very courageous Gold Coast based professional Jake Montgomery will be the one with the biggest smile, as he finally celebrates his long-awaited debut in Australia’s greatest triathlon.
“I planned on doing Noosa for the past four years, but unfortunately I have never made it to the start line,” Jake said with a casual comment that masks several horror years of extreme courage, immense pain, hardship and the rebuilding of both body and mind.
A handy runner and swimmer at school it was his first swim coach, Mick Maroney that convinced him to have a crack at triathlon. With year 12 behind him, young Jake headed over to Vitoria-Gasteiz in Spain with Jamie Turner’s squad to learn about the draft legal world of ITU Continental Cup, before eventually finding long course racing. With the help of Aussie IRONMAN legend Craig Alexander, in 2015 Jake threw himself in the deep end and headed to Boulder to continue his triathlon education on the US circuit.
“I spent three months in the US. I did a lot of training with Crowie, and he taught me the ins and outs of 70.3. He knows every aspect of it, and I was surprised how much he taught me and all the tips and tricks he gave me.”
A fifth at IRONMAN 70.3 Port Macquarie, second in 70.3 Mandurah and Western Sydney proved that the hard work was paying off, but it was IRONMAN 70.3 in Geelong where Jake finally got the result he was looking really.
“I was getting closer, and I was pretty determined to break through, and that is when I raced Geelong in February 2016 and had my first win at the National Championship. With the win at Geelong being at the National titles a lot of the sponsors came onboard, and it got pretty full on.”
Only Slowing Jake Down
Two weeks later Jake’s world was flipped upside down when he was hit by a garbage truck only 500m from home while riding back from the pool. His bike and right foot went underneath the rear wheels, and he ruptured two ligaments in his right ankle. With the pain, Jake thought he had broken his shin and that it was snapped in half and remembers picking up his leg to see if it was still straight.
Four weeks in a hospital, two weeks in a boot and Jake was given the okay to start back again…slowly. Following the doctor’s orders to the letter by May 2016, he was again headed Stateside and trying to make up lost ground in his quest to race the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships on the Sunshine Coast. Returning to Australia Jake was in the form of his life, but in a cruel twist of fate, only 16 hours before the event his world was again thrown into chaos.
“I was doing the final spin to see that the bike was ready to race in the morning. I remember every minute of the morning, lunch and getting the bike ready and then rolling out over Alexandra Headland and that is about it. I remember the first minutes of the ride, and then I got hit by the car and things flipped upside down. I have a month missing after that. It wasn’t until weeks later that I looked at my Garmin to see that the incident happened about 20 minutes into the ride. When I went from 40kmh to zero km/h.”
“I don’t have any recollection of hospital time, and when I got back home, I was just sitting in the lounge. It was all I was doing through the day. I had a fractured sternum and shoulder and several muscle tears through the neck and shoulders, and there was also brain bleeding and swelling in three different spots. The fractures are a six-week heal, but the Neurologist said he didn’t think I would be running again. He said we would give it four months, and you can try if you are desperate, but he wasn’t recommending that I try again. That wasn’t exactly what I wanted to hear, and I couldn’t see myself doing anything else at that stage of my life, so I was going to try my hardest to get back to running or at least give it a go.”
“I was seeing speech therapists and occupational therapists and all the doctors. In the first session with the speech therapist, she came in, and she was quite shocked. She said, ‘Oh, you can talk.’ My speech wasn’t great, and my sentences were really jumbled and stop-start for the first couple of months. She said from what I have read happened to your brain, on paper, you shouldn’t be able to talk. So that was pretty scary to hear that I got that lucky.”
“I went through some pretty dark spots early on, where going to the kitchen was the most I could do all day. Going from 25 hours of training a week to zero was a bit of a shock and knowing that running might never happen again, I was pretty depressed at that stage and had pretty bad thoughts. I was lucky that I had my parents by my side the whole time, looking after me and helping me through it all. Without them, things would have been a lot different.”
For eight weeks Jake did nothing but then he embarked on another program to rebuild his body and confidence in the hope that he would one day get back to competing in the sport that he loved. Initially, it was the hydro pool to rebuild his strength, then a five-minute walk became a two and a half hour walk and eventually he was on a stationary trainer building up week by week. Four months after the incident his training miraculously started in earnest when he was able to run, ride and swim properly again.
Back racing in Geelong
IRONMAN 70.3 Geelong in February 2017 was his comeback race, and a fifth place in a strong field was the boost he needed. Similar results at IRONMAN 70.3 Boulder and Santa Cruz have helped rebuild his confidence and reboot his career and now Jake is determined to use the Noosa Triathlon as final hit out before IRONMAN 70.3 Western Sydney Asia Pacific Championships in November.
“After Santa Cruz, I made it to Vegas for a sponsorship commitment for Cervelo then took two weeks recovery and let the body reset. As soon as I got home, I got back into training and now have my eyes set on Noosa. I am looking forward to the draft free bike. Racing for half the time as a 70.3 I will be able to push 100 percent and see how long the body can last for. It will be a bit of fun.”
“Noosa is probably the most stacked race in Australia and the organisers put up a good prizemoney, so it encourages all the professionals in Australia to toe the line and have a crack. It is only a two and half hour drive for me so that is just nice and no plane flight required which is a bonus. Noosa will be a nice hit out and the perfect opportunity to use a bit of speed and see how the body comes down from the altitude.”
“I have spoken to plenty of people who have done it before and they love the race and the whole atmosphere of the weekend. I have heard that it is crazy busy but pretty good at the same time. So, I am looking forward to getting up there and getting amongst it,” he said with anticipation.
Noosa Triathlon: The Big Guns Will Be In Town To Celebrate
The 35th Noosa Triathlon Multi Sport Festival is shaping up to be the biggest yet, with the who’s who of Australian sport and some of the nation’s most recognisable faces heading to the Sunshine Coast to join in the birthday celebrations.
The five-day festival (1-5 November) features an ocean swim, a fun run, the Charity Golf Day and elite cycling and running events and culminates on Sunday 5 November with the Noosa Triathlon hosting more than 8,500 competitors, making it the world’s largest standard distance triathlon.
Headlining the Noosa Triathlon are key athletes from Australia’s Commonwealth Games triathlon team for 2018, Ashleigh Gentle and Jake Birtwhistle, defending champion Dan Wilson, plus Commonwealth Games hopefuls Aaron Royle, Ryan Bailie, Gillian Backhouse and Luke Willian.
The long-distance world is also well represented with Sarah Crowley fresh from her podium at the IRONMAN World Championships, IRONMAN Asia-Pacific Champion Josh Amberger, Jake Montgomery making his long-awaited Noosa debut, Liz Blatchford in her first race back as a new mum and two time World Duathlon Champion Felicity Sheedy-Ryan mixing it up with a swim.
Defending champ Ashleigh Gentle is shooting for Noosa title #5, and Dan Wilson is hoping to go back to back this year, but they are fully aware of the strength of the field assembled for the 35th anniversary year.
Four-time champ, Ashleigh Gentle has developed a real affinity with the Noosa over many years, and she can’t wait to get back this year.
“I’ve raced six times, and been up a couple more on top of that to watch and be part of the festival. I love the atmosphere. I love Queensland, and it is very special to come back to the race each year after spending so much time abroad. I love seeing familiar faces and being surrounded by so many other people who love triathlon. Noosa has always been really important to me. It’s the one I look forward to the most. I obviously want to do well, but there is a lot less pressure than the intensity of World Series races.”
“I would love to defend my title. I’m sure as always it will be a competitive field, but I’m looking forward to getting out there and going hard. Noosa Triathlon has been a big part of my career, and I am thrilled I can be a part of this milestone, although it only feels like yesterday we were celebrating the 30th year of Noosa,” she recalled.
Dan Wilson is a Noosa veteran, and he is hoping he can revisit the form that saw him dominate in 2016 and go out on a high note.
“I think this is around my 10th Noosa. I first came here in 2003 as a little junior. I’ve missed a few through injuries along the way, but always come back when I’m able. It is a bastion of Australia triathlon, and it is a ripping location, it is one of the ‘funnest’ races on tour. What more could you need?”
“I would obviously love to repeat last year’s result, but it also looks like it will probably be the best field we’ve ever seen at Noosa, so it’s going to be a tough ask. Noosa is always a special race, it is usually at or near the end of the season, so everyone is looking to finish the season strong at a fun race.”
“This year, Noosa will be even more special, I’m hanging up the suit at the end of this year, so it’ll be the last chance to go round at Noosa, and one of my last races ever, so I’m looking forward to really savouring the weekend,” Wilson said.
Aussie Olympian and two time Noosa champ Aaron Royle is pumped up and glad to back in Noosa looking attempting to keep his perfect Noosa record intact.
“I’ve raced Noosa twice and had two good wins there, which has been fantastic for myself in my career. I guess because of that, and the expectation to go there and win is greater with each year. I want to win again to make it three from three races, but that is always easier said than done. I’m sure there will be a handful of others saying that they also want to win.”
“I knew of the Noosa triathlon before I knew what triathlon really was, and certainly before I followed the sport. I think it was Channel 7 showing it back in the day and I remember thinking this looks pretty cool (before I even contemplated doing one myself).”
“For me, Noosa always signifies the end of my racing season, but with a race of this significances, I’ve never struggled to find motivation for this race. It’s the biggest domestic race on the calendar with so many legendary winners that have gone before, so it is easy to see why so many top-level athletes turn up each year,” Aaron said.
IRONMAN 70.3 specialist Jake Montgomery might be a Noosa debutante this year, but he is well aware of Noosa’s legendary status.
“I’ve been meaning to race Noosa for a few year’s now but have never been able to toe the line. I went there once a few years back for surfing but have never experienced the triathlon weekend.”
“Noosa is definitely the pinnacle race in Australia and one that everyone loves to put on their calendar. Not necessarily just the race but the whole weekend of event and atmosphere make it a must for many. Having not raced anything shorter than a 70.3 for the past three years it will be interesting to see how my body handles the faster racing and pushing myself over the shorter distance. I am mostly looking forward to the swim, any race with a beach start and ocean swim is a must for me.”
“Nearing the end of a hard year it will be a good hit out to finish off. While it’s still a competitive race, it will also be a lot of fun catching up with friends, sponsors and watching the other events before the triathlon. Being one of Australia’s oldest triathlons, it is now also the biggest in the country with sold out entries and days of multisport events. It attracts some of the best athletes in the world and organisers of the event have the weekend dialled in,” Jake said.
Ironman World Championship: Europeans Dominate and Records Fall
European dominance of the IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona has continued but not as the pre-race script had been written.
While Switzerland’s “Angry Bird” Daniela Ryf made it three Kona victories, it was not defending champion Jan Frodeno’s day, with the men’s championship title transferring to fellow countryman Patrick Lange.
Coming from a nine-minute deficit off the bike, Lange revelled in near perfect conditions to write himself into the IRONMAN history books to destroy the course record set in 2011 by Australian Craig Alexander, with a 2:39:59 marathon that helped deliver a total race time of 8:01:40.
In a record-breaking day, Aussie Cameron Wurf won the battle of the bikers taking control of the race at the 110km mark and leading into the bike/run transition to set a new bike course record of 4:12:54, more than five minutes faster than Normann Stadler’s 2006 record.
Wurf surrendered his lead early on in the run, as Lionel Sanders (CAN and Sebastian Kienle (GER) made their presence felt, but very quickly all eyes turned to a charging Patrick Lange who had moved into third at 21km of the marathon intent on reducing the six-minute deficit to the leading Sanders.
Lange was on a mission and keen to improve on his third place last year and with 5km to go on the run he flew past Sanders, heading for town and the adoring crowd lining the run course and the finish line on Ali’i Drive.
“It’s everything I ever dreamed of. Oh, my god, I cannot believe it,” Lange said. “I always, always, always since I was a child dreamed of having this crown. From time to time you think someone is hitting with a baseball beneath your knees and you just want to drop out. I had to fight, I had to fight so hard,” Lange said at the finish line.
A fading Sanders managed to hold off the hard-charging David McNamee (GBR) for second with Kienle and James Cunnama (ZAF) crossing the finish to take fourth and fifth.
Swiss miss Daniela Ryf joined an exclusive club at the IRONMAN World Championships, recording her third win in Kona with a very skilful and strategic victory that while remarkably effective, lacked her usual flair and total dominance.
Ryf didn’t have it all her way, with Lucy Charles dominating the swim and majority of the bike before Ryf decided that enough was enough. Ryf wrestled the lead off the Brit and charged home with the fastest run of the day, putting a nine-minute gap to her chasers by the end of the 42.2km run.
“It was the hardest I had to ever fight for the win. I’m so happy to turn it around today,” a more emotional than usual Ryf said at the finish line.
Ironman World Championship: Patrick Lange Smashes Course Record and Daniela Ryf Earns Third Straight Win
Patrick Lange (DEU) and Daniela Ryf (CHE) earned championship titles with momentous performances today at the 2017 IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawai`i. Lange passed Lionel Sanders (CAN) in the final three miles, clocking in at 8:01:40 and establishing a new course record (formerly 8:03:56 by Craig Alexander, 2011). Ryf earned her third consecutive crown with a time of 8:50:47, joining an exclusive “three-peat” winners’ circle alongside the newest IRONMAN Hall of Fame inductee Chrissie Wellington and Natascha Badmann, Dave Scott, Paula Newby-Fraser and Mark Allen. Over 2,350 athletes from 66 countries, regions and territories on six continents started the IRONMAN World Championship race on the Island of Hawai`i in the toughest one-day endurance event in the world.
Lange, who raced in only his fourth IRONMAN to-date, had an incredible ascension after having been 17th out of the swim in today’s race. Shortly after the swim, a pack of strong cyclists including Sanders, Sebastian Kienle (GER) and Cameron Wurf (AUS) broke away from the group. Wurf would sail into T2, shattering the 2006 bike course record held by Normann Stadler (4:18:23) with a 4:12:54 split. Sanders and Kienle also smashed the record with 4:14:19 and 4:14:57 split times, respectively. On the run, Sanders took a quick lead as Kienle fell into second. Meanwhile, Lange moved from 11th place to a steady third-place position by the half-marathon marker. Lange then made a decisive pass at mile 23 on the run, as he moved ahead of Sanders to take a hold of the lead, finishing strong in first place. With a 2:39:59 run split, he was only 14 seconds away from breaking the run course record he set last year (2:39:45).
Sanders hung on for second place, ultimately concluding his race with a time of 8:04:07. David McNamee (GBR), Kienle and James Cunnama (ZAF) rounded out the top five.
McNamee had the second fastest run split of the race with 2:45:30, helping him clinch a third-place podium finish by more than two minutes ahead of Kienle.
Defending champion and Olympic Gold Medalist Jan Frodeno dug deep after back spasms slowed him first to a complete stop and then run/walk pace, mustering enough strength to finish the race.
Lucy Charles (GBR) led the professional women out of the water with a 48:48 split, missing the course record by only five seconds. After a speedy transition, Charles took the lead on the bike and had an approximately a five-and-a-half-minute lead over defending champ Daniela Ryf (CHE), Sarah Crowley (AUS) and Annabel Luxford (AUS). This pace remained consistent down the Queen Ka`ahumanu Highway until Ryf attacked, making up over five minutes over the final 25 miles of the bike, which positioned her at the front of the pack. Ryf then greatly extended her lead on the run, with Charles, Crowley and Heather Jackson (USA), fighting for the remaining podium positions.
Ryf took first at 8:50:47, almost exactly four minutes off of her own 2016 course record time of 8:46:46. Calling on her epic running abilities, the Swiss star claimed her third successive IRONMAN World Championship victory.
Charles, a Kona rookie, maintained her second-place position throughout most of the run and ultimately to the finish. Crowley rounded out the top three in her second-ever appearance at the IRONMAN World Championship, finishing her race exactly two minutes behind Charles. Jackson and Kaisa Sali (FIN) rounded out the top five women.
Ironman World Championship: The Best Run Images from Kona 2017
It’s never an easy day out when racing any Ironman race let alone the World Championship. Then add in some hot and humid weather and you really have a very tough set of conditions.
Here are some of the amazing images that were captured during today’s race.
Editors' Picks2 weeks ago
Ironman World Championship: Will Lionel Sanders Achieve His Dream of Whooping Frodeno?
News & Racing7 days ago
Ironman World Championship: The Best Bike Images from Kona 2017
News & Racing1 week ago
Ironman World Championship: Are We Stuck with Jan Frodeno & Daniela Ryf in Hawaii Again?
Interview2 weeks ago
Matt Hauser: What it takes to be the ITU World Junior Champion
News & Racing2 weeks ago
What Are The Future Plans for Super League Triathlon?
News & Racing2 weeks ago
Ironman World Championship: Aussie Pros are Ready to Race
Training2 weeks ago
Pete Jacobs’ Guide to Conquering Kona
News & Racing1 week ago
Ironman World Championship: Patrick Lange Beats Sanders by a Hair for the Win & New Record