Richard Thompson is heading in to this weekend’s Hell of the West triathlon in Goondawindi with the ‘Current Champion’ title on his back. He is up against it with Â Tim Berkel and Ollie Whistler, amongst others, looking for a win this weekend and a good hit out before they head in to the 2012 season proper.
Thompson has been nursing a foot injury which saw him pull out of Challenge Wanaka recently and may hamper his efforts this weekend.
In the women’s race Rebecca Hoschke (nee Everleigh) is looking to get rid of some pent up energy after succumbing to gastro in New Zealand and having to pull out of the Port Of Tauranga Half Ironman on January 7th this year. She will be racing against Rachael Paxton, Rebekah Reich and Sarah Crowley.
The men’s race will see a number of solid open category competitors but it will be hard to look past the three mentioned above. Tim Berkel is looking lean and mean at the moment and after a his third at the Port of Tauranga Half Ironman in New Zealand recently he will be looking to go two better. In New Zealand Berkel was up against 10x New Zealand Ironman winner Cameron Brown and anothe gun Kiwi Callum Millward. Berkel was six minutes down after the bike and the gap remained that until the finish. No doubt Tim would have taken away a lot from this early race and will have worked on the areas that he wasn’t happy with. Berkel has placed a huge focus on his swimming recently and moved cycling and running to his secondary focus slightly.
Under Grant Giles at Aeromax Team Berkel has gone back to basics in an attempt to bring his swimming up to ‘front pack’ speed. He has been focusing on technique and the basics and doing a quality 20kms a week in the pool consistently which he has never done before. He is lucky in that he has training partners like Clayton Fettell and Joey Lampe who are very fast swimmers. The Hell of the West is a hit out for Tim that is designed to get his race brain engaged before he heads down to Geelong for next weekend’s long course triathlon.
Berkel is travelling to Goondiwindi for a bit of a fun weekend with good mate, Kiwi Adam Gordon.
Ollie Whistler has only recently picked up training after taking a solid three weeks off over Xmas. He won the Nowra triseries Olympic Distance race off one and a half weeks training. He just managed to hold out a fast finishing David Mainwaring who went on to take out the Canberra Sprint distance race last weekend. In 2011 Ollie won Yeppoon 70.3 ahead of Matty White and in 2010 he won the Canberra Half Ironman.
In the women’s race Rebecca Hoschke will be up against a reinvigorated Rachael Paxton. Paxton has moved her training base to Lennox Heads under the watchful eye of Grant Giles. Giles has been turning out a lot of winners and with his experience Paxton feels that she will have a great year this year. After a DNF at Canberra 70.3 in December with two flat tyres Paxton is looking for a good hit out this weekend before she makes her Ironman debut in New Zealand in early March. She is hoping to go one better than her second at this race last year.
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