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Trizone talks to Age Grouper Laura Siddall after her second overall at Hawaii 70.3

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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 – 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 – 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 ‘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 – 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.

 

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 70.3 Geelong: Sam Appelton Too Strong and Nina Derron Wins in a Thriller

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IRONMAN’s 40th Anniversary was celebrated in grand style and the gods were smiling with IRONMAN 70.3 Geelong replicating some of the sport’s greatest drama with a sprint, fall, stumble, lunge finish between Nina Derron (SUI) and Melbourne rookie Grace Thek. The men’s race also lived up to the excellence of the preceding decades with a stunning performance by defending champion Sam Appleton.

Spectators had been enthralled by the epic battle between Appleton, Josh Amberger, Jake Montgomery and Ryan Fisher but just when they thought they had seen a thrilling race, the guys were upstaged by the emotional and physical roller coaster that was the women’s event.

Barwon Heads local Claire Davis was the first female to reach dry land (26:07) with Kirralee Seidel, Nina Derron (SUI) and Grace Thek in touch and eager to get onto the 90km bike leg. Derron was looking to control the race and at 45km she had extended her lead to 3:30 over Davis, Thek and the charging Laura Dennis. Seidel picked up a penalty and lost touch completely, finding herself nine minutes down. At three quarter distance Dennis managed to ride herself into second place with Thek and Davis in a tight battle for third and fourth place.

With Swiss precision, Derron lead into T2 by five minutes over the chasing pair of Dennis and Thek, with the local hope a further minute down. In the second half of the 21km run things started to change radically. Derron started to feel the pinch and Thek literally found her feet and charged through the field to find herself leading her very first IRONMAN 70.3. Thek was heading for a 70.3 victory on debut and with the finish line in sight, the former US college runner started to pay the penalty for her early over-exuberance.

“I was hoping to do four-minute pace but for the first three km I found myself doing 3:30 and I really paid for it on the last lap. I was about four and a half minutes down off the bike and I didn’t know if that was achievable. When I was two minutes down with a lap to go I thought it was possible but the end was just devastating. When I passed Nina I just wanted enough room so that it didn’t come down to a sprint finish. I was really suffering with my legs over the last 6km and I was just trying to get forward momentum. I was getting all sorts of splits from people on the course, so I really didn’t know.”

“When I came into the finish chute I was thinking I am almost there, just stay in the game but I started sprinting which was a big mistake on my part because I knew that my legs were already suffering pretty badly. Then I fell the first time when my quads locked up. When I fell to the ground I saw Nina and she wasn’t as close as everyone had made out. So I quickly got up and started running and two metres before the line I fell over again. I was all over the place and got a bit of a nudge which didn’t help.”

“In hindsight, the sprint was not a good idea. It is a lesson learned, don’t listen to anyone except for my coach and people I trust. I don’t condone looking back in a race but looking for myself might have been a good move here. These are the things I can take into the next race. It is disappointing to be that close and not come away with the win but coming in, I had no expectations. It is my first 70.3 and has been a positive day, so I am eager for more now,” Grace said.

Derron’s win was her first over the IRONMAN 70.3 distance and while ecstatic with the result, she had great sympathy for Thek.

“I really struggled on the second lap of the run. I just had to stay focused because I knew that Grace was flying and I just tried to hold on to the lead for as long as possible. There were huge mind games going on in my head and people were telling me to go get her. She was 50m in front with only a 100m to go but I knew I couldn’t out sprint her. I saw her starting to stumble and then she fell and all I saw was the finish line and I accelerated and came past her.”

“It was a really strange finish to a really crazy day. I am happy for my win but I am also sad for Grace that it happened. It was her first 70.3 race so she did a really good job. It was another lesson I learned, that it is not over until it is over. Never give up, it is really true,” Nina declared.

In the men’s race, it was Aussie Olympian Ryan Fisher who took the swim honours (22:34), narrowly nudging out Josh Amberger over the glassy 1.9km course. As the pair headed to T1, they were hotly pursued by a bunch of three, defending champion Sam Appleton, Jack Tierney and Matt Franklin with the second chase pack that included Jake Montgomery almost a minute off the pace.

Appleton was keen to make up the swim deficit and in no time at all the lead duo became a trio, with the defending champion in touch and pushing the early pace. Only seconds separated the leaders at half distance with Jake Montgomery 20s further behind and riding himself into contention. The final kilometres of the ride saw some big moves from Lachlan Kerin, Montgomery and Jack Tierney. Off the bike, it was a bunch of six who entered T2 ready to celebrate the IRONMAN Anniversary by flogging each other senselessly over the super quick 21km coastal course.

Slick transitions had Appleton, Amberger and Fisher on the road first with Tierney, Montgomery and Kieran hoping to match pace over the opening kilometres. It was Appleton who was intent on inflicting some hurt and tearing up the tarmac and while the first small gaps started to appear it was only early days. At 10km Appleton looking strong and a minute to Fisher, with Amberger and Montgomery running shoulder to shoulder, with Tierney and Kieran in their own battle for fifth and sixth.

The defending champ knew what he had to do and despite suffering over the second half of the run he was able to pull it all together.

“It is the first race of the year and you don’t really know what to expect. I knew if I was fit, I just didn’t know if I was race fit. I gave it my best shot and fortunately, I was able to come away with the win. The guys kept me honest all day and it was really tough. There were six of us going into transition and that second pack rode really well. We rode really firm on the first lap and I didn’t expect to hit the U-turn and see them right there. You never want to go into the run with six guys, I would prefer there were less but I just had to back myself. I laid it out in the beginning and got a gap and then it was about holding on from there.”

“It is crazy that this sport only started 40 years and look at the evolution. Every year it changes and is getting faster and harder. I am proud to be part of the generation that is helping that evolution. I am honoured to be here in Geelong and be able to back up and defend my title. It is a great course here in Geelong, I love it. It is beautiful and one of my favourite races. It is really challenging on the run. The course profile doesn’t show it but it is really hard run. It has a bit of everything. I can’t wait to come back, I love opening up the season here,” he said.

Women’s results

1          Nina DERRON (#26)               04:26:11

2          Grace THEK (#31)                  04:26:18

3          Laura DENNIS (#25)               04:29:38

4          Kirralee SEIDEL (#22)             04:33:36

5          Melanie BURKE (#23)             04:34:46

 

Men’s results

1          Sam APPLETON (#1)             03:45:52

2          Josh AMBERGER (#2)           03:47:21

3          Ryan FISHER (#5)                  03:49:09

4          Jake MONTGOMERY (#3)     03:49:57

5          Jack TIERNEY (#16)               03:52:18

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Bill Chaffey Throws Caution to the Wind in Commonwealth Games Countdown

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Five-time World Champion Bill Chaffey will go into April’s Commonwealth Games in the best shape of his life after using all his experience to master today’s windswept conditions in the inaugural ITU Paratriathlon World Cup in Devonport.
 
The 42-year-old Gold Coaster made a spectacular return to elite racing for the first time since last May to defeat fellow Rio Paralympian Nic Beveridge (QLD), Germany’s Benjamin Lenatz, and Australian pair, former wheelchair basketballer Scott Crowley (SA) and Australian para cycling star Alex Welsh (Victoria).

And it came on a day which also saw reigning 26-year-old PTWC world champion Emily Tapp (QLD) dig deeper than she has ever done before, both mentally as well as physically to take out the women’s ITU World Cup title ahead of 29-year-old former Ironman triathlete Lauren Parker (NSW) in only her second major event, Japanese legend Wakato Tsuchida and the gritty Gold Coaster Sara Tait (QLD).

All competitors in the various paratriathlon categories, featuring the cream of Australia’s best and top flight internationals from Japan, Italy, Hong Kong, Canada and Germany showed amazing skill sets to handle the at times brutal head winds that circled through the Mersey Bluff in and around the Devonport Surf Club precinct.

For the wheelchair athletes, today’s results come in the countdown to the official announcement next Sunday of the Australian paratriathlete team for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and for Chaffey and Tapp it has been a long time coming following their automatic nominations last April.

Chaffey has been the poster boy for Australia’s glowing Paralympic program which has seen him lead the team onto the world stage as one of the stand-out nations in world triathlon.

“I’m absolutely over the moon with that performance – to come back to Devonport and chalk up a win in probably some of the toughest conditions I’ve raced in is really pleasing,” said Chaffey.

“That wind was hard to handle even though we are close to the ground on our cycles – it’s still tough going.

“But I couldn’t be happier with my fitness – I’m in the best shape of my life and really looking forward to the Games in April.”

Tapp came into today’s race feeling a little under the weather and said her support team really played a major hand in getting her through.

“It hasn’t been the best of week’s health wise but it doesn’t matter come race day, it’s race day, “said Tapp, who qualified for the 2016 Paralympic team athletics team but was forced to withdraw when she accidentally burnt herself.

“Today was a big mental feat, when your body just isn’t there and able to give like it normally (does). We had smooth transitions and we executed our race plans so we’re happy.”

Parker, who was an outstanding open water swimmer and Ironman triathlete before an horrific training accident last April in Newcastle left her a paraplegic, and today was another major step in a road she never thought she would have to tread.

“Today didn’t go according to plan when I lost the band I put around my legs in the swim so it felt like I was swimming with a 10km weight on the end of my legs but we got through it and I know I have to work on my transitions but that will come,” said Parker, who will join the paratriathlete group on the Gold Coast next weekend for the Luke Harrop Memorial Race.

It was a successful return to top class racing for Paralympic gold medallist from Rio, Katie Kelly and new domestic guide Briarna Silk with Kelly admitting the race was “a real grind” given the windy conditions.

“But it was a great way to kick start the season that will hope fully culminate in the ITU World Championships on the Gold Coast in September and continues in Yokohama in a couple of weeks.”

Fellow two-time world champion Sally Pilbeam (WA) kept her impressive record in tact against fellow Australian world championship medallist Kerryn Harvey while Jonathan Goerlach win the Vision Impaired men’s event from fellow Australian Gerrard Gosens and Italy’s Maurizio Romeo.

Another stand out performance came from  Queensland’s PTS5 athlete Josh Kassulke who was the first competitor across the line in another impressive performance he hopes will take him to the Paralympics in Tokyo in 2020 in an all Aussie podium with Dale Grat second and Tony Scoleri third.

WA’s Rio Paralympian Brant Garvey (PTS2) also turned in a brilliant showing as did Albury Wodonga’s “Mr Fearless” Justin Godfrey in the in the PTS3.

Godfrey is the reigning World Cross Tri champion for his category and is a classic example of the kind of grit determination that spurs on Australia’s band of paratriathletes.

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USA Paratriathlon National Championships to Return to Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, in June

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The 2018 USA Triathlon Paratriathlon National Championships will be held in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, as part of the Pleasant Prairie Triathlon for the second consecutive year, USA Triathlon announced today. The race will take place on June 24 at Prairie Springs Park and the Pleasant Prairie RecPlex.

National titles will be up for grabs in six sports classes as athletes complete a 750-meter swim in Lake Andrea, a 20-kilometre bike through Pleasant Prairie and neighbouring Kenosha, and a 5-kilometre run course finishing in the park. The Pleasant Prairie Triathlon is put on by Race Day Events, LLC, which specializes in event production and equipment rental throughout the Midwest.

“With the support of a strong local paratriathlon community, the organizers of the Pleasant Prairie Triathlon have celebrated athletes of all abilities for many years,” said Amanda Duke Boulet, Paratriathlon Program Senior Manager at USA Triathlon. “We look forward to returning to the beautiful venue of Prairie Springs Park this summer and once again enjoying the positive atmosphere that surrounds this race.”

“Race Day Events is very excited to be producing another National Championship event in Pleasant Prairie,” said Ryan Griessmeyer, President of Race Day Events and Race Director for the Pleasant Prairie Triathlon. “Pairing industry-leading event production with the Village of Pleasant Prairie’s world-class venue, participants are sure to have an unparalleled experience.”

“Pleasant Prairie is pleased to host the USA Paratriathlon National Championships for the second consecutive year as part of the Pleasant Prairie Triathlon,” said Sandy Wiedmeyer, Fitness Manager at the Pleasant Prairie RecPlex. “This is such an inspirational event to be a part of. Watching these exceptional athletes brings so much to the event and is the highlight of the weekend for many. We are grateful to be able to host such amazing talent again this year, and we look forward to making 2018 successful for all of the athletes.”

In addition to chasing national titles, athletes competing at Paratriathlon Nationals also have the opportunity to qualify for the USA Paratriathlon Development Team Program, which is designed to identify and develop athletic potential leading toward the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. More information on the USA Paratriathlon Development Team Program is available by clicking here.

The Pleasant Prairie Triathlon has included paratriathlon competition since its inception, but last year was its first time hosting the Paratriathlon National Championships. In 2017, 30 athletes competed for national titles while an additional 19 competed in the paratriathlon open division.

Athletes wishing to compete at Paratriathlon Nationals in 2018 must be officially classified in a paratriathlon sports class and must have completed a USA Triathlon or ITU Sanctioned Event that meets distance and time standards between May 1 and June 3, 2018. Athletes who are not classified or who do not meet the time standards may choose to race in the PC Open Division. A National Classification opportunity will be offered in Pleasant Prairie prior to the event. Complete details on qualification standards, as well as the link to register, are available at usatriathlon.org.

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Challenge Wanaka: Javier Gomez and Annabel Luxford crowned 2018 champions

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A thrilling day’s racing at Challenge Wanaka resulted in wins by Javier Gomez (ESP) and Annabel Luxford (AUS). Both had fierce battles with one of the deepest professional fields ever seen at a half distance triathlon in New Zealand and in tough conditions with four seasons in one day, from torrential rain and freezing temps to sweltering summer sun.

The men’s race may have seemed easy to call with Gomez headlining but it was anything but. The close nature of the race was evident as the men exited the swim in a tight bunch – Tony Dodds (NZL) and Dylan McNeice (NZL) first out in 23:12 with Gomez, Alexander Polizzi (AUS), Graham O’Grady (NZL) and Braden Currie all within nine seconds.

A quick transition by Currie saw him lead out on the bike but he had constant company from Gomez, McNeice and Dodds.  By 45km Dodds had dropped back and the chase group of Luke McKenzie (AUS), Joe Skipper (GBR), Jesse Thomas (USA), Dougal Allan (NZL) and Luke Bell (AUS) had closed the three-minute deficit by a minute. By 70km it was getting exciting with the top eight within 22 seconds of each other. Skipper made a short dash for the front but was soon reined back in, McNeice fell off the back but caught up. Coming into transition it still seemed like it was anyone’s race.

However, it was the run where Currie and Gomez showed their metal, soon breaking away with Currie holding off Gomez until the top of the infamous Gunn Road hill at 12km where Gomez made his move. He took out the win knocking nearly 20 minutes off Braden Currie’s six-year-old course record in 3:57:27. Currie crossed the line 17 seconds later in second, taking the New Zealand National title with the USA’s Jesse Thomas running his way into third in 3:59:33.

“Braden put a lot of pressure on me and I had to run way faster than expected but I was very happy with how my fitness is,” said Gomez. “I love bike courses like this that are really up and down. We did a good job at the front but in the last 15k some of the guys caught us, which made it really tough. But luckily I managed to pace myself enough at the beginning of the run so I had some energy left for the end, which I really needed. It was a really tough day; I had to give absolutely everything to win. I really enjoyed it, it was a great course and a great day and thanks everyone for the support out there.”

It was a fast day with Tony Dodds securing a new swim record in 23:12, Dougal Allan set a new bike course record in 2:11:28 and Gomez also set the run course record of 1:12:39, a blistering pace on a course which is 80% off road.
In the women’s race, Luxford led out of the water and soon put in a solid lead over the rest of her opponents as she headed out on Glendhu Bay leg of the bike. The only woman to challenge her was Laura Siddall (GBR) who consistently gained time on her from four-minutes back.  Siddall caught Luxford at the 70km mark and took the lead.

A quick transition put Luxford back ahead, which is where she stayed for the remainder of the race with a lead that fluctuated between 10 and 45 seconds. She won by the narrowest of margins  – 11 seconds after 113km of racing putting Siddall in second in 4:27:13 for the fourth consecutive year. Amelia Watkinson (NZL) rounded out the podium in third in 4:38:11 and took the title of New Zealand Middle Distance Triathlon Champion.

“I was lucky to have a good swim and felt great on the first half of the bike but was losing quite a bit of time to Laura,” said Luxford. “When she caught me I knew I had to race tactically. She’s an old hand at this course and I certainly wasn’t going to give her anything. On the run when she started closing on me at the end, I saw her full distance strength coming through but managed to hold her off.”

It was also a fast race in the women’s with Luxford setting the course record in 4:27:02 as well as the swim course record in 25:49 and the run record in 1:24:00. Siddall set the bike course record in 2:27:26.

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Gear & Tech

Zwift Set to Revolutionise Indoor Running

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Zwift, the fitness platform born from gaming, has expanded its product offering to the running community with the launch of Zwift Run Free Access. Until this week Zwift Run was an Alpha product, available only to paying members of its indoor cycling service. Zwift Run will be now offered free of charge to everyone, in the run-up to a subscription service rollout, scheduled for late 2018.

Since launch in 2014, Zwift has revolutionized the indoor cycling market. The community-driven fitness platform has connected half a million cyclists worldwide to socialize, train and race in its rich virtual 3D environments. This January the Zwift community logged an average of 1 million miles (1.61 million km) per day, with major events attracting up to 3,500 participants. Zwift is now set to shake up the indoor run market in the same way by providing the most complete training solution for runners around the globe.

“Zwift Run is fantastic news for the fitness industry. In three years we’ve transformed the indoor cycling space by making the home ‘turbo trainer’ a super desirable product to own and an essential part of a cyclists training regimen. We’re going to give the same make-over to the treadmill.” commented Eric Min, Zwift CEO and Co-Founder. “Whether at home or in the gym, Zwift Run will make your indoor run workout experience more social, more motivating, more structured and more measurable.”

Zwift’s success in cycling originates from the massive multiplayer technology of the gaming industry and a track record of building huge online training communities. To date, Zwift has given birth to over 150 Facebook community groups with the largest making up 45,000 members, spanning pro athletes in search of the very best training experience, to everyday consumers looking for greater motivation to get fitter, stronger and faster.

Research points toward Zwift being able to boost participation in the fitness industry. To date, members of Strava, the social network for athletes, signing up to Zwift, on average, cycle 10% more per annum.

“We know many of our athletes are working out indoors as well outdoors, and Zwift has helped make indoor workouts more fun and motivating for many of our members,” notes David Lorsch, Strava’s VP of Strategy and Business Development. “Many of our new members are runners and we’re excited that runners on Zwift can now share their runs with their friends on Strava.”

Zwift also plans to bring its transformative effect to the hardware industry. “Hardware sales and innovation levels in cycling are rocketing because of Zwift. Manufacturers understand that closed connectivity is a thing of the past if they are to stay relevant. It’s well known in the cycling industry that sales of indoor training hardware are experiencing 100%+ YoY growth; in the most part due to Zwift’s trade marketing effect on indoor cycling. It’s our ambition to deliver this kind of value to treadmill manufacturers.”

Zwift Run will feature a library of training plans tailored to runners of all abilities. Zwift’s ‘Workout Mode’ is visually motivating, making nailing those intervals even more rewarding. Group Runs are broken down by pace, so Zwifters can find a run that best suits their needs. Zwift’s ‘gamified’ experience also challenges members to earn experience points and move up levels to unlock virtual goods. Zwift is collaborating with a number of running industry brands like New Balance, Hoka and Under Armour to bring in-real-life footwear and apparel to its virtual world.

Integration with Strava allows Zwifters to share runs with their community of friends, recording virtual miles and keep record of best times across Strava segments. As of February, virtual miles recorded in Zwift can also count towards Strava challenges.

Zwift Run is compatible with all treadmills by using Bluetooth or ANT+ footpods. Footpods are connected to iOS devices, Apple TV, or laptop/desktop computers and calibrated to the treadmill speed in the Zwift App. A rising number of Bluetooth ready treadmills can also connect directly to Zwift, without the requirements of footpod. Digital connected footwear is also part of the picture with Zwift collaborating with Under Armour on its smart shoe range.

“Technogym believes in connected wellness. Our offer, centred on the MyWellness open cloud platform, is a complete ecosystem of smart connected equipment surrounded by content and services to provide unique and engaging training experiences” said Nicola de Cesare, Digital Division Director for TechnoGym.  “Now, Technogym’s MyRun and MyCycling compatibility with Zwift allows both runners and cyclists to enjoy the very dynamic, engaging and interactive environment of the Zwift platform with a consistent training experience across the two products”

Essentially a Beta product, Zwift and the user community will further refine the run app in 2018, adding new product components and expanding the current schedule of events, races, and group workouts.

Zwift Run Free Access can be downloaded from www.zwift.com or via the App Store.

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News & Racing

Copeland overcomes Devonport curse as Jeffcoat defends her crown

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Kingscliff young gun Brandon Copeland has broken his Devonport curse, producing a winning kick to take out today’s OTU Oceania Sprint Triathlon Championship.

The 21-year-old has overcome a flat tyre and illness in his previous starts to continue what has been a flying start to the season.

Copeland, who spent part of his pre-season in the AIS “altitude house” under coach Dan Atkins, spent much of the race alongside Victoria’s defending champion Marcel Walkington until the final 400 metres.

“I didn’t have the best of swims but managed to get on to the lead group on the bike and stayed there and made sure I covered any attacks,” said Copeland.

“And on the run, it was just Marcel and myself until just before the final turn where I put in a massive surge and was lucky enough to get him in the end.

“It is nice to finally come to Devonport and have a good race – I have had some bad luck in the past with a flat type and illness last year – good to finally overcome the curse.”

Germany’s Maximillian Schwetz won a sprint finish from Australian Olympian Ryan Bailie, who was in the mix until the final 2.5km of the run, in his first individual race of the season.

In the women’s race, Sydney’s former champion surf lifesaver Emma Jeffcoat produced an outstanding performance to successfully defend her Devonport title in his first year in the Elite division, defeating experienced pair and Wollongong training partners Natalie Van Coevorden and Commonwealth Games representative Charlotte McShane.

“I’m so happy to repeat what I did last year down here in Devonport which is one of my favourite races,” Jeffcoat said.

“It has always treated me so well . . . it’s the kind of course that plays to my strengths and why wouldn’t I take advantage of that, I came from a surf lifesaving background.”

Exiting the swim within range of each other Jeffcoat made the early call to Van Coevorden to ‘go’.

“I knew Nat would probably be up there in the swim with me so as soon as we came out of the water I said to her “let’s go, we’re not waiting around” and it worked well for both of us,” said Jeffcoat.

The win was a confidence boost that her swim and bike are still strong while the focus has been improving her run and the results today proof that the work with coach Mick Delmotte is coming along nicely.

Jeffcoat’s next assignment will be the Australian Sprint Championships at Gold Coast Triathlon – Luke Harrop Memorial next weekend followed by the Mooloolaba ITU World Cup (10 March), Mixed Triathlon Relay Invitation (17 March) and New Plymouth World Cup. She will then get a block of training in before going over to Europe on the WTS circuit.

 

Elite
Women
1.    Emma Jeffcoat                  (AUS)    1:01:58
2.    Natalie Van Coevorden     (AUS)    1:02:20
3.    Charlotte McShane           (AUS)    1:03:54
Men
1.    Brandon Copeland             (AUS)    56:52
2.    Marcel Walkington              (AUS)    57:13
3.    Maximilian Schwetz            (GER)    57:21

Under 23
Women
1.    Annabel White                    (AUS)    1:05:11
2.    Zoe Leahy                          (AUS)    1:06:05
3.    Amber Pate                        (AUS)    1:08:10
Men
1.    Brandon Copeland                (AUS)    56:52
2.    Hayden Wilde                          (NZ)    57:23
3.    Trent Dodds                             (NZ)    57:33

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