You could be forgiven for confusing the name Laura Siddall as a professional on the female long course circuit after finishing second overall at the recent Honolulu 70.3 to seasoned professional Belinda Granger. In reality Laura is an age grouper juggling a demanding career as a qualified chartered mechanical engineer. After making the move from Nottinghamshire/Yorkshire in the UK in 2008 to pursue her career, it was here in Australia that Laura discovered triathlon and hasn’t looked back since. To date her focus has been on short course events, with two age group world titles in both the sprint and Olympic distances (Beijing 2011 and Auckland 2012 respectively).
Prior to attending university Laura spent a year as a Second Lieutenant in REME, in the British Army, based with an artillery Regiment in Germany. A self-confessed sport junky, Laura’s idols include her own sister, a Commonwealth medal holder in the English Netball team, her coach Spot Anderson (a champion athlete in his own right), Chrissie Wellington and a number of other highly driven and successful Olympians. To Laura, it is the high work ethic and dedication displayed by these athletes that inspires her, giving you an insight into how she achieves at such a high level across two demanding domains.
We spoke to Laura to see what makes her tick and her plans for the future.
Trizone: Hi Laura, thanks for joining us on Trizone and congrats on your recent result at Honolulu 70.3 – first overall age grouper and 2nd overall female â€“ can you tell us a little about this performance?
Laura Siddall: Thanks. It was a fantastic race. The whole event was really well organised and such good fun. I think because the race was in Hawai’i it was a bit like being on holiday. In fact in the days leading up to the race I was so relaxed (ok well relatively) I kept forgetting I had to race!
As for the result itself, I was obviously really pleased. I guess deep down I’d hoped to win and wanted to win but until you cross the finish line, I don’t think you can really take it for granted or believe it. I still feel so new to the sport and I’m still learning all the time, that every race is a bit of an unknown.
I really enjoyed the race though, and that was one of the goals. It’s such a fantastic location and course, with the challenge of the climb up to Hawi and the winds, as well as the Hawiian heat on the undulating run around the golf course.
The swim was in the stunning setting of Hapuna Beach. There were so many fish and even the odd turtle about, it was easy to forget you were racing. I was wearing a new Huub speed suit which was great. The bike was great too. I felt really comfortable and in control and loved every minute of it. I have to say thanks as well to the team at Shotz for the help with my nutrition plan. I think this was a real boost knowing that I had this structured (apart from when I managed to drop my gels at the start of the run â€“ a big learning here and I’m keen to see how I go when I don’t mess this bit up!)
I don’t think it really sank in when I crossed the finish line. I was 4th female outright to actually cross the line and that was a pretty good feeling as well as knowing I was the first female age grouper to finish. I felt really good at the finish, which was either just the high from racing or the caffeine in my system! However at the same time I was disappointed with certain elements of my race so I always find it’s a whole mix of emotions. Elation for the win and finishing, relief that I achieved what I’d dreamt about and envisioned, and that training is going in the right direction, but also a little disappointment or frustration for various aspects of my race and a question or knowing of â€˜could I have done better’?
Trizone: Does a result like this make you wonder how you would have fared in the pro wave, or are you content on focussing on your own races and performances?
Laura Siddall: Whenever I race, I focus on my own race and performance and making sure I execute to the best of my ability. You can only control yourself in the race, so I focus on the controllable. However, having said that, yes, it is hard not to wonder afterwards how I would have fared. I think to an extent that’s human nature. I think I have to be pretty realistic about it too though. On paper I may have been second, but I started in a different wave. If I was racing shoulder to shoulder who knows what would have happened and the outcome could have been completely different.
TZ: You have a couple of age group world championship victories to your name, including in Auckland 2012 (Olympic distance) and Beijing 2011 (Sprint). Do you have a preference towards the shorter distance, or do you plan on racing longer in the future?
Laura: I love the short distance, and these have been great as a learning and start for me into the sport of Triathlon, but my plan is to race longer going forward. My swim isn’t as fast as I would like and I feel this is key to the shorter distance races, particularly at the elite level. I’m excited about moving up to the longer distance though. It’s daunting but I’m looking forward to the challenge and learning how to race and be competitive over that distance. (I’m also not getting any younger and so the longer races I think will suit me better.)
TZ: Any desire to step up to the pro ranks? Is there anything specific you’re aiming towards or working at before taking this step?
Laura: Yes for sure, I’d love to step up and see what I can do. I love the sport, the training and the racing so why not make the leap and compete with the other girls in the Pro ranks. I want to see how fast I can go.
At the moment I have to sort out things like visa and work, if I’m going to do this I want to try and do it properly (well as much as I can whilst still surviving). I aim to race at Las Vegas and London as an Age Grouper and then will hopefully step up after that.
TZ: You moved to Australia and discovered Triathlon in 2008 â€“ can you tell us a little bit about this and how it’s changed your life?
Laura: Changed my life…?? It is my life! Ha ha! As you said I’m a self confessed Tri Geek come Sports junky!
As a youngster I’ve always been involved in sport. I pretty much played every sport I could at school, before focusing more on Netball and Athletics (400m hurdles and then 800m). When I moved to Australia, I didn’t really find a athletics group I gelled with, and after a few lunch time swims with colleagues, and also signing up for the Sydney to Wollongong Cycle (before I even owned a bike), Triathlon was suggested as something I try. I found a beginners course run by Bondifit and signed up. Before I knew it I was hooked, and addicted to the Triathlon drug. To be honest it shouldn’t really have surprised me. I’m kind of all or nothing. If I do something or start something I want to see how far I can go and I fully commit to doing that.
TZ: You’re working with Spot Anderson of Bondi Fit for your coaching, do you have any additional coaches or assistance for individual disciplines, or does Spot keep a tight reign on your entire program?
Laura: Spot has an overall view and charge, I guess, of my training and program, but I think over the years we’ve developed this into quite a good partnership or two way relationship, where I can have some input as well. We’ll discuss numbers and types of sessions and I can make my suggestions.
I have a specific coach for my strength and conditioning training (Radley Spring, www.springwellness.com) and this is incorporated into the plan, as well as being supported by Turbo Studio, (www.turbostudio.com.au), and I do a weekly session there, which is awesome.
TZ: On the note of coaching, I see you joined Darren Smith for a D-squad camp in February. What did you take away from this experience?
Laura: The camp in February was fantastic. I loved every minute of it and didn’t want it to end. It was brilliant to be able to get a glimpse of the environment that Darren had created in Canberra and to be able to watch and train alongside his elite squad. He has an incredible attention to detail. He’s constantly watching, analysing, critiquing and providing feedback to his athletes. His hours and commitment to the athletes and the squad is impressive but something that I believe is necessary in demanding the best of the best and something I would want from a coach if at that level. To me it shows they are fully committed and are wholeheartedly interested in the athlete and improving.
I just couldn’t get enough of the experience. It definitely made me realise that, yes I want more of this, and I could actually see myself living in Canberra!! Ha ha! Scary I know!
It’s also about making sure that everything you are doing in training has a purpose and reason that is linked towards performing your best. Don’t just go through the motions of a session to hit a time repeat or rep or to get a session done. It’s remembering to think constantly and focus on your technique and getting the detail right all the time in everything you do. Even when you’re tired make sure your thinking about the little things and focusing.
TZ: Would you ever consider quitting work and training full time? Or do you see value as an athlete in maintaining a level of balance in your life?
Laura: Yep! I would quit work in an instance if I could and train full time! Unfortunately without an income it’s just not sustainable, until Triathlon gets the coverage and following that soccer or AFL does and pays the same! I do think there is something key though in maintaining a level of balance in your life, be that through work or family. There are lots of ways to gain the balance without working (hint hint if anyone would like to fund me full time, I’m in! 😉
I guess it depends on your passion. If you love your work then it doesn’t feel like work. I love training and finding my limits and therefore would happily do this full time.
TZ: How do you find training in a city as large as Sydney? Do you spend much time traveling for training, or are you able to keep everything pretty close to home?
Laura: Sydney is fantastic for training, well it definitely suits me with fitting in training around work. As a city, and maybe it’s just because I’m from the UK originally, it’s amazing to have so many swimming facilities (yes 50m pools) as well as all the beaches on your door step. We are incredible lucky to have Centennial Park as a cycling venue as well as being pretty close to the National Parks (North or South) for those longer rides and hills. I think I’m very fortunate to have all these facilities very close to home and a great group of people based here to train with.
TZ: Do you prefer to train alone or with company, and what do you look for in your training partners?
Laura: Most of my training is in a group and I prefer this. I thrive of the buzz between the group whatever level or ability, it’s the people that make this sport. The group can be great for really pushing you and motivating you, particularly on those days when you may not feel 100%. However some of my training is on my own. This is also good I think (I’m convincing myself now) as it’s more a mental challenge often with these sessions to keep going or to keep pushing yourself. At the end of the day in a race it’s just you and you need to be able to push and maintain your efforts without chasing or having other people around you.
What do I look for in training partners….? People who inspire and motivate me. This doesn’t necessarily mean they need to be fitter, faster and stronger but that they don’t give up and they always give it a go and 100% ++ effort. However I also look for training buddies that do obviously challenge me in speed and strength. People I can chase down, or people who I know are going to push my boundaries and limits and put me in that uncomfortable space.
TZ: Would you mind sharing a favourite training session of yours and why you enjoy it so much?
Breakfast and coffee afterwards?
Hmmm…tricky, the sessions can be so varied it’s hard to pick out a specific one. It can so often depend on how I’m feeling fitness wise and where I am in race preparation as to which sessions I love or hate. I’m not sure I really have a favourite. I really enjoy the sessions at Turbo Studio. I started these in September 2012 and I’m now really starting to see and feel the benefit. I love the fact that it’s just you against the Watts, and ok I’m now contradicting myself as I’ve just said I thrive off a group, but at the Turbo Studio there’s no hiding. You know whatever the weather, traffic or conditions you are going to get a quality work out in and can challenge yourself against the power (Most of the time there are others going through the pain with you, so there’s still the group aspect.).
Before a race, I like doing a run set that involves a series of 1km reps (for example 4-6) at race pace (or faster) off relatively short recovery. These can be done either on the promenade at Bondi Beach (which is about 1km in length) or on the track or even at Centennial Park on rougher terrain. If I’m feeling good and hitting good splits, that gives me confidence.
TZ: Outside of triathlon, is there such a thing? You obviously have a demanding career, do you manage to fit in time for other interests?
Laura: My favourite interest or hobby after triathlon… is the post training coffee and breakfast with everyone! Ha ha! So in terms of life outside of the sport, well I probably don’t really have one if you ask my friends, family and training group. One of the huge benefits of training in a group like Bondifit I think, is that it’s a pretty social group as well. There’s always time for coffee and breakfast after a training session and there’s always something going on at the weekend.
I’m kind of also of the opinion that all those other amazing interests and things to do in life will always be there, my years in triathlon are probably more limited and so why not make the most of that now.
Thanks for your time Laura, we look forward to continuing to watch you climb the ranks in the sport of triathlon, and wish you the very best for the remainder of the 2013 season and beyond.
Thanks and thanks for the support.
Belgian Timothy Van Houten and American Lisa Roberts win Challenge Madrid
The first edition of Challenge Madrid was disputed today, with triathletes like Iván Alvarez, Gustavo Rodríguez, Dylan McNeirce y Sofie Goos, amongst others, as big favourites on the departure line. Lisa Roberts and Dolça Ollé, who made their debut in this distance, were also amongst the favourites. The competition started at 7.50AM in Buitrago de Lozoya with a 3.8 km swim in the Riosequillo dam.
First out of the water was New Zealander Dylan McNeirce, with a 5.42 minutes advance over Portuguese Jose Estraingeiro, who was followed by Zoltán Petsuk and David Castro. Mikel Elgezaban came out 10 minutes later and Alejandro Santamaria and Iván Alvaréz more than 11 minutes.
On the cycling leg, the triathletes faced 180 km throughout the Madrid Region on a demanding circuit with over 3000 meters positive incline and with New Zealander Mc Neirce heading the race. Another protagonist of this segment was Spaniard Mikel Elguezabal, who showed his strong point and started to take over at Rascafría, just like Timothy Van Houten, who would end up winning the competition.
Once in the town of El Escorial, Belgian Van Houten took the lead with a 42-second advance over Mikel and 1:50 over McNeirce; he reached T2, on Puente del Rey in Madrid Río, in first position. Dylan McNeirce finished second at 6:19. Gustavo Rodríguez also ran a good cycling leg and finished fifth at the second transition, followed by local Madrid triathletes Javier García, sixth, Alejandro Santamaría, seventh and Ramón Ejeda in ninth position.
In the 42 km run, Belgian Timothy Van Houten was able to keep his first position until the end, where he earned a moving victory in this first edition of Challenge Madrid with a final time of 8:33:23.
“It has been a spectacular competition, an amazing circuit with lots of people cheering who made you feel at home,” said Van Houten who appeared extremely emotional and did not hesitate a second to publicly address very touching words to his parents “I could not be here without them. Thank you for supporting and helping me; I am very happy to have earned this victory in Madrid, it is just as much yours.”
German Lukas Krämer (08:49:09) finished second. Alejandro Santamaría (8:56:21) was third and completed the men’s podium.
The performance of great New Zealander triathlete McNeirce was also notable, although he had to forfeit in the second round of the run segment due to back troubles “I enjoyed the race very much, and I felt very good. The atmosphere was spectacular. Unfortunately, I experienced back aches during the second lap of the run and I had to forfeit but… I will be back
Gabriela Zelinka finished the swim leg first, closely followed by Yvette Grice and Dolca Ollé in third position. Favourite Sofie Goos finished fourth at 20 seconds and Lisa Roberts at more than 7 minutes.
Once on the bike, Sofie Goos was the first to cross Rascaría with a 1-minute advance over Gabriela Zelinka and1:49 over Lisa Roberts who was third after a spectacular comeback. Dolça was fourth, a full 15 minutes after Goos. The situation remained the same until the very last part of the cycling leg, where Lisa Roberts took over her opponents and reached T2 with a 3:20 advance over Gabriela Zelinka and 4:34 over Sofie Goos. Dolça finished this second segment in fifth position.
In the 42 km run, American Lisa Roberts increased her advantage and arrived alone at the finish line to win the race in a total time of 09:32:51
Gabriela Zelinka finished second, followed by another big favourite, Sofie Goos, who took the third position.
“This is my first long distance triathlon”
Lisa Roberts, the winner of the women’s race, said “I am very happy to win here. There is a spectacular atmosphere and the whole circuit was really moving, especially this finish in the Puerta del Sol.”
Team “Las Perlas” won the relay race in a total time of 09:32:52
- Timothy Van Houten 08:33:23
- Lucas Krämer 08:49:09
- Alejandro Santamaría 08:56:21
- Lisa Roberts 09:32:51
- Gabriella Zelinka 09:51:42
- Sofie Goos 10:10:12
Danish Start-up Launches the World’s First Custom Fitted Swimming Goggles
New Danish technology has paved the way for the world’s first custom fitted swimming goggles, making the swimwear comfortable and 100 percent waterproof. The product is being crowdfunded on Kickstarter until October 31st.
Have you ever experienced water leakage or discomfort with your swimming google? Problems with swimming goggles are well known among professional swimmers, triathletes and fitness enthusiasts. But soon it will all belong to the past.
The Danish start-up THEMAGIC5 has developed a new groundbreaking technology that can 3D outline your face directly through your smartphone on THEMAGIC5’s app. Based on the 3D animation, your swimming goggles are custom fitted to perfectly match the shape of your face.
“It has been our ambition to develop the world’s best swimming goggles – completely custom fitted for you,” says Rasmus Barfred, Co-Founder of THEMAGIC5.
The product is on sale through a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter until October 31st. THEMAGIC5 is targeting to sell around 1,000 goggles and raise 50.000 USD in capital.
Several World Championship swimmers have already begun using their custom fitted THEMAGIC5-goggles. Most recently at the World Cup in Budapest in July.
“We have the ambition to be the leader in the market globally. We have launched a product and technology that the world has never seen before. Therefore, of course, we are extremely pleased that our goggles have been well received by World Championship swimmers,” says Rasmus Barfred.
“Since I started using THEMAGIC5s swimming goggle I have not felt the urge to adjust my swimming goggles all the time. When you swim as much as I do, the irritation you get from your swimming goggle seems a part of the game. I am happy that this problem has finally been fixed so I can focus my attention on the joy of swimming,” says Marina Heller Hansen, Part of the Danish national team and participant at the 2017 FINA World Championships.
CorSense HRV Monitor: Optimise Health and Fitness Without Wearables
Elite HRV, creators of the popular heart rate variability (HRV) app and platform, has launched the CorSense via a global Kickstarter campaign.
CorSense is an HRV sensor that slips onto any size fingertip. With CorSense, in just two minutes/day, users can optimize nutrition, training, recovery, sleep and stress without the use of chest strap monitors or 24/7 wearables. HRV is a unique biomarker used by hundreds of thousands of coaches, athletes, clinicians, wellness seekers, and researchers. It is a comprehensive “check-engine light” for the body and mind that is also non-invasive and responsive. HRV is linked to biological aging, athletic performance, and risk of numerous chronic illnesses.
CorSense is a highly-accurate, easier, comfier, non-wearable alternative to chest-strap heart monitors, patches, ear-clips, fitness bands, and adhesives. Utilizing advanced sensor technology, CorSense slips onto a fingertip and automatically activates, senses the pulse waveform, syncs via Bluetooth, and transmits HRV data to any compatible HRV app.
“The number one request from our 130,000-plus users has been to make HRV tracking simpler and more comfortable without compromising accuracy. Based on this feedback, we designed CorSense from the ground up to precisely track HRV with no user intervention apart from slipping it onto their finger. CorSense does the rest.”
With CorSense and HRV, enhanced health, fitness and wellbeing takes just 2 minutes/day.
Jared Simons: Chef Turns Plants into Ironman Power
Jared Simons is the plant-based chef with a love of Ironman. Trizone caught up with the American athlete to chat about everything from food to weight gain and the alpha types who love 70.3.
One sport ends, another door opens
“I was a wrestler, I didn’t grow up doing swim, bike, and run,” Simons told Trizone. He had a talent for his sport, but his body wasn’t so sure it was for him. “I was getting recruitment letters for college, but into my senior season I was having nerve issues with my neck.”
“My parents had taken me to see so many different doctors and they all said I had traumatic neck damage,” said Simons. After years enjoying playing American football when he was young, plus his chosen sport of wrestling, Jared Simons’ neck was giving out. “The doctors told me I shouldn’t be playing contact sports, so my parents pulled me out of wrestling,” said Simons.
College dreams replaced by cooking school
With his future college pursuit off the table, Simons turned to the other aspects of his life. “I’d been working as a dishwasher at a restaurant, and since I was quite a heavy kid, I enjoyed being around food,” Simons said. “My dream of going to college and wrestling was over, and I was so intrigued by everything that surrounded me at the restaurant.”
Simons was convinced of his new path, but his parents weren’t yet onboard. “Being a chef definitely wasn’t glamorous at the time. The Food Network had only just launched and they were all famous chefs!” laughed Simons. “I told my parents I’d applied to college, but I had only contacted a culinary school in San Francisco. It was tough to convince them, but finally, I did and I went off to the California Culinary Academy.”
Over the next four years, Simons worked exceptionally hard at culinary school and then in restaurants, but like many chefs, the long hours and stress took their toll. “I opened a restaurant when I was 22, then another when I was 26, so I was super busy. My extracurricular activities were very limited,” Simons told Trizone. “I was working a lot, eating poorly and drinking a lot socially. As the years went on I started ballooning up. When I was around 29, I was just over 205 pounds and I felt horrible.”
Fast-paced and stressful, the culinary business had been both wonderful and taxing for Simons, but a friend came to his rescue. “I had a customer who was gorgeous and she was my ‘trainer’ but we really just walked and talked!” laughed Simons. “One of my friends opened a gym and offered to train me and I took the leap.”
“He asked me what my goals were, and I said I wanted to look like Brad Pitt in Fight Club.”
In exchange for training the young chef, Simons gave his friend credit at the restaurant. “I got one hour of weight training with him, and I did one hour of cardio by myself every day,” said Simons. Summoning the fierce work ethic that had helped Simons reap the success of his cooking talents, Jared Simons was on his way to becoming an extremely driven athlete.
“In 2015 I jumped onto Vice’s food portal, Munchies, and I saw an episode titled the “Vegan Ironman”. It featured John Joseph from the New York hardcore band, The Cro-mags ,” said Simons. “I was intrigued by the endurance aspect and his diet and when I got home I told my wife I wanted to do a triathlon. I’d grown up surfing but if you took that board away, I hadn’t done structured swimming since high school,” Simons told Trizone.
Even while training prior to triathlon, Simons wasn’t healthy. “I was doing high-intensity training 70% of the week. I’d eat fairly clean, but every Saturday night I’d have junk food and I had high cholesterol. On the outside, I looked good, but on the inside, I wasn’t healthy.”
Living in the city of countless diets and health fads, Los Angeles, Simons had heard of plant-based diets, but he never thought he’d make it a long-term change. “I cut out one kind of animal product each week and by week six I was eating completely plant-based,” remembers Simons.
The hardest part of going plant-based for the chef? Cutting out dairy, especially butter.
“Every month I’d continue to fine tune the diet,” said Simons. “People around me started to see a physical and mental change. From a sustainability and health standpoint, it made sense.”
Not just influencing his own personal diet, Simons’ new-found love of plant-based foods influenced his restaurants too. “Ultimately I started a plant-based series at the restaurant.”
If you are looking for some food inspiration, then jump over to some of Jared’s favorites;
- Recovery Smoothie – So yum!
- Vegan BLT – No rubbish found in these
- The best Tacos on the planet – so good
Walking a marathon isn’t what Simmons is about
Jared Simons isn’t just another age grouper who likes to finish a race, he’s ferociously competitive. “I’m not going to be a pro, but Ironman races are definitely not just a bucket list thing,” said Simons. “I don’t want to just get through it. Seeing people walk the marathon to me blows my mind, it just doesn’t make sense! I’m not that guy.”
Now Simons has far surpassed his days of spending one-hour doing cardio on his own, and he works with two different coaches. “One coaches me overall with all the facets of triathlon, and I do regular lactate testing with him,” said Jared. “I’m a data guy, if I see the numbers it makes sense to me.” Simons has another coach for swimming, and he’s confident he receives huge benefits from both.
Alpha athletes in 70.3 make Ironman better
“I found my first Ironman easier than 70.3,” said Simons, “at that distance, the effort is dialed back just slightly. Yes, it’s longer, but it’s different.”
It’s not just the distance that makes these races different, it’s the competitors too. “70.3 is a lot more competitive than Olympic distance and Ironman, there are a lot of A-type personalities out there. At the full distance, everyone in the race is like ‘you’re doing it and that’s cool.” During the race, lots of people were like ‘I know you from Instagram, with the beard and the kit and the tattoos! It’s fun!”
Modelling for LA Apparel brand Love The Pain
“I bought a hat from them and took a pic running in it, and they reached out to me. I’m a style guy so I think most of the gear in triathlon blows,” laughed Simons. “These guys though, their aesthetic was great and the product is good, so I bought a lot of it!”
Unlike some athletes who reserve their stylish kits for race day, Simons trains in his Love The Pain kit too. “They decided I was a great customer and I love their stuff, so eventually they asked me to model some kits for the company,” said Simons.
Love The Pain is the answer to daggy racewear, and it’s no surprise people with a foot in the door of the latest lifestyle, food, and fitness trends like Simons are keen supporters.
Check out Jared’s inspiring Instagram feed. After hearing Simons’ powerful story, would you turn plant-based if it meant you were healthier?
Super League: Jersey Brings Out The Best For Kristian Blummenfelt
A new champion has arisen at Super League Jersey. Kristian Blummenfelt of Norway backed up his win in yesterday’s Triple Mix with the win in today’s Eliminator to score the maximum of 50 points and take the Super League Jersey overall win. Blummenfelt took out the top spot in five out of six stages this weekend, a product of a year in which he has come into his own. In the previous Super League Triathlon event on Hamilton Island, he made a mark by winning two out of the three Eliminator stages, then went on to capitalize on this aggressive racing by taking three silvers and one bronze on the world circuit, finishing third in the world.
The podium for Eliminator mirrored the overall podium as Great Britain’s pride Jonathan Brownlee took second place over the three-stage race and in overall points, knocking erstwhile runner-up and defending Super League Hamilton Island champion Richard Murray of South Africa down to third overall.
The Eliminator format has three stages of swim-bike-run whittling the field down to the fastest 15 and then 10 to race for victory. The conditions were even wetter than the women’s race held an hour earlier as rain continued to pour down on Jersey. Not only would the fastest survive, but also the ones with the least mishaps.
Jake Birtwhistle and Brownlee were among the first few to exit the 300-meter swim and head out onto the five-kilometer bike leg composed of five laps around a one-kilometer circuit. The wet roads made what was already a highly technical course even more threatening. The optimal spot seemed to be up in front of the athletes with good bike handling skills. Those hanging off the back were more inclined to take risks to bridge back up, with crashes taking athletes like Dmitri Polyanskiy of Russia and Ben Dijkstra of Great Britain out of the running.
Blummenfelt found himself in the front bunch on the two-lap run on the one-kilometer circuit and could not resist taking the Stage 1 top finish ahead of Brownlee and ascendant Aussie Aaron Royle, who finished ahead of compatriots Birtwhistle and Matt Hauser, who got the last pontoon spot into Stage 2.
Hauser’s 15th place finish from the previous stage became a distant memory as he pushed out to the front of the swim with Brownlee on his feet. He was determined to make the final stage unlike on Hamilton Island when he was eliminated as the 11th finisher in the second stage.
Strong swim-bikers Ben Kanute of the USA and Australia’s Ryan Fisher pushed the bike pace to ensure they could finish the run in the top 10 even with fast runners coming up behind them. While Blummenfelt fell back to as far as 11th on the bike, this was more of an energy-conserving move as he found the front on the run again, this time with Royle in second and Brownlee in third. But finish order within the top 10 would hardly matter, as it was the Stage 3 finish that counted for the win.
Athletes poured out every last ounce of their speed on this final stage of the Eliminator. Aggressive racing would either be rewarded with a win or a crash out as the rain grew even more insistent. Once again, Hauser led from the swim out onto the bike with Kanute chasing. Brownlee, showing his mastery of these trademark British conditions, sat in third. Murray was on the back foot from the swim and cycled in the back of the bunch. However, with most of the men getting off the bike together, an excellent transition put Murray right back in the race — for second.
Blummenfelt had gone off the front on the final lap of the bike. Once his running shoes were on, he shot off in what looked like a controlled sprint and never let up. It was all Brownlee could do to keep him in sight, and Murray ran out of road to fight for the runner-up position. Hauser in fourth led the final Aussie contingent, followed by Birtwhistle and Royle.
Brownlee said, “I had a massive advantage there with British weather and British crowds so thank you to everyone for coming out even in this weather. I enjoyed today; I actually think I got fitter from yesterday, but Kristian was far better than us all the whole weekend and I was absolutely nowhere near him today. Well done, and well done to Richard as well. It’s great fun, it’s great racing and hopefully, everyone’s enjoyed it.”
Murray responded, “I think Kristian was definitely ahead of both Jonny and myself today as well as yesterday but I gave it everything and the crowd were amazing. The weather didn’t play ball but the guys were safe out there most of the time and we had a great time.”
Blummenfelt said he could not help his gutsy approach to the day’s racing, which has ultimately won for him $18,000 in prize money. “I tried to play a little bit safe in the beginning and just make it inside the top 15 and top 10 but it’s just so hard to hold back when I like racing,” he admitted. “Hopefully I get winter off training now and I’ll be fit for next year.”
With both pro races completed, the Corporate Mix final leaderboard has also been computed. The Corporate Mix overall win relies on the total of a team’s points garnered from their relay finish position and the points from their pro male and female athletes’ finish positions. Team Comprop wins the Corporate Mix with 98 points, boosted by Blummenfelt’s 50 points. First Names Group Team 2 benefited from Katie Zaferes’ 50 points from the twin wins in the Triple Mix and Eliminator, ending up in second with 81 points. The Ravenscroft Titans found themselves in third with 61 points, propped up by their relay team’s great finishes.
Super League: Katie Zaferes crowned First Female Champion in Jersey
Super League Triathlon crowned its first queen with Katie Zaferes taking out today’s Eliminator race and the overall win at Super League Jersey. The Eliminator podium also mirrored the final overall podium, with Summer Cook besting Nicola Spirig to the runner-up spot both in the race itself as well as in total points earned. The Eliminator format involved three stages of swim-bike-run, with the field progressively growing smaller. Only the top 15 finishers of Stage 1 would go on to Stage 2, and only the ten fastest finishers of Stage 3 could compete for the Eliminator win.
Wet conditions today stood in stark contrast to yesterday’s sunshine. As the technical bike course shimmered with leftovers puddles from a midday storm, athletes needed to play a tactical game to ensure they stayed rubber-side up.
Great Britain’s Sophie Coldwell led through the 300-meter swim with Kirsten Kasper of the USA and Carolina Routier from Spain in second and third, but a logjam at the bike mount allowed Coldwell to break clear. Compatriot Jodie Stimpson found her way up onto Coldwell’s wheel, with the two athletes working together to control their race over the five-kilometer bike course where slick cobblestones and tight corners posed many dangers to success.
A wise decision it seemed, for further back in the pack small mistakes on slick patches of road cost athletes some skin and more as they crashed into each other. Two pairs of athletes crashed in the same location one lap apart, taking them out of contention for Stage 2. Desirae Ridenour of Canada and Emma Pallant of Great Britain, and Barbara Riveros of Chile and Emma Jeffcoat of Australia.
Meanwhile, the leading Brits proved well capable of handling the wet, riding into transition with a clear lead for the run. Yesterday’s leading athletes Zaferes and Spirig seemed content to let Coldwell and Stimpson surge ahead; after all, one only needed to rank 15th and higher to move on to the next round.
Coldwell and Stimpson high-fived each other and crossed the finish line together after the two-kilometer run, while Spirig was unable to resist her competitive nature and surged to third place.
A race-within-a-race unfolded for 15th place, with Claire Michel of Belgium clinching the final spot into Stage 2 ahead of Russia’s Anastasia Abrosimova.
The big names were still among the 15 to toe the Stage 2 start line. Coldwell and Stimpson emerged from the water in front, with a few athletes in the back caught in some accidental fisticuffs on the swim.
Zaferes, Spirig, and Kasper stuck close to the two Brits to hit the run in the lead group. Coldwell faded, allowing Spirig, Zaferes, and Kasper to finish second, third, and fourth to Stimpson.
It became a heated race for the last five spots on the Stage 3 pontoon. After a while on her own, Cook finally bridged up to the leaders. Rachel Klamer, Charlotte McShane, Emmie Charayron, and Melanie Santos beat Non Stanford for the chance to race once more.
While the athletes had been largely tactical through the first two stages keeping their chips close, Stage 3 of the Eliminator was where they would spend them. It was time to see who could go fastest over the now-familiar course.
The pace was up as athletes stretched out single-file over the swim. Coldwell once again was first out of the water, followed by two Americans Kasper and Cook. The three pushed to make a break on the bike, but a hard-charging Spirig pulled Stimpson and Zaferes right back up onto them.
It seemed a battle between Spirig of Switzerland and Zaferes of the USA as they got onto the run, but it was here where the American’s fleet feet took her to the front, never to look back.
Meanwhile, Cook’s track-and-field background came good as she put on a surge of her own to pip Spirig for second. While Kasper attempted to make it an all-American podium sweep, Spirig held strong to clinch third.
“On the run, I knew when I made the pass I had to gap them or else it was game over. So I really just went for it and I tried not to look back. I was running pretty scared at the end but it worked out,” said Cook post-race. “I was really nervous yesterday morning and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was a little bit scared but I ended up thinking last night that yesterday’s format was one of the most fun races I’ve ever done. Today was pretty fun too but I’m still in a little bit too much pain to appreciate it yet.”
While Spirig slipped to third overall after coming in second yesterday, finishing at the pointy end in a top-caliber field was a testament to her strength and quality as an athlete. She said, “It’s good fun, I think it was tough for everyone today with the weather and with the format but well done to the girls and I think I did my best. I’m very happy.”
Zaferes takes home the top prize of $18,000 and the first women’s trophy for Super League Triathlon after a consistent season on the world triathlon circuit. “It’s just so cool, it’s a different style of racing. It’s a fun style but it is so painful and you cannot hide anywhere,” she said. “I would love to do more of these.”
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