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Challenge Gold Coast 2014 preview

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Challenge Gold Coast will throw up a few curve balls when the inaugural fields take to Currumbin Valley this weekend. The course is unknown by most who will be racing it and how this challenging bike course will deal with them remains to be seen.

This race should become an iconic Australian race. The challenge of conquering the bike course will be too strong a draw card for many to resist.

This preview is a work in progress which we will keep developing during the week. The fields are decent and we would like to try to add something on most racing. We will write the women up over the next couple of days.

10% Incline

10% Incline

We have driven around the bike course and loved it! There are four places in this bike course that will shape the race. The first climb section starts at around the 9km mark. The course is flat until this stage and then the climbing starts and lasts until around the 20km mark. At this point we turn and head back along the same road. This down hill will be super fast. The pace lines will be sitting on speeds upwards of 50-60kms an hour for most of the 11kms back before turning to climb the Beast. This climb at about 32kms will then blow a few more out the back as they climb a 10% gradient for a claimed 150mt. We have been up it and it goes for a lot longer than that. You can check out our preview of the bike course by clicking here.

The final challenge on the bike course will be the climb home back up the reverse of the Beast. This is at about 80kms and is a long climb.

So on to the pro field who will be tackling this challenging course. The obvious one is that the strong cyclists will dominate. Amongst the guys Tim Reed and Pete Jacobs would have to be the favourites along with late entrant and recent EU 70.3 Champs second placed Peter Robertson. In saying this Tim Reed will not want to blow himself apart with the world 70.3 champs following closely. We expect to see Reed swim and ride solidly but not turn himself inside out on the run.

Foremost on the minds of a few of the guys racing it the ‘golden ticket’ to Bahrain. Aside from the $35,000 prize pool that is. None more so than Peter Robertson.

Pete Jacobs has been doing some training at Thanyapura in Thailand with Chris McCormack, Caroline Steffen and Casey Munro. With Challenge Roth and Ironman Switzerland under his belt plus a bit of training with Macca he will be very dangerous on the Gold Coast. Jacobs will be wanting to gets some runs on the board in 2014 and this is a home race. Jacobs is obviously one of our favourites. We just need him to turn up with his A Game. One thing for sure is that is after a big training block Jacobs will have rested this week and is looking forward to having fresh legs this Sunday.

You can read our interview with Pete where he talks about his time at Thanyapura with Macca here.

On the race this weekend Pete made the following comment: “It’s an open race and there will likely be a large swim pack, and things will possibly pretty close off the bike too. But who’s legs will be the freshest is the question? Find out after T2.”

Lots of respect needs to be given to David Dellow. The former Cairns Ironman champion and someone who has racked up some good results this year with a 3rd overall at Ironman Melbourne in 8:03 just two minutes behind the winner needs to be considered as a contender for the win. David Dellow has been off the radar a bit since Melbourne. He started Cairns 70.3 but did not finish the race. “I’ve just been at home on the Sunshine Coast this year. With Cairns I haven’t really raced since IM Melbourne.”

Priorities for Dellow this year have seen him focus on finishing his degree. I have stayed home this year and not traveled away for any races or training camps. I am finishing my accounting degree this year and the last few months have been a bit frustrating with a string of minor injuries but I think things are just starting come together now.”

Kona is the one and only goal for Dellow this year. “Because the last few months of training haven’t been great the final push for Kona over the final 7 weeks after Challenge GC are going to be crucial for me.”

Dellow has been self coached this year and apart from swimming with a squad of swimmers does most of his riding and running solo.

Another danger man is Sam Appleton. ‘Appo’ has been developing well as a long course triathlete and with his coach also racing this weekend. In saying this though he may also not choose to turn himself inside out with the goal race being the 70.3 worlds. We think it could be a case of ‘Grasshopper overcoming the Master’ this time with coach Tim Reed also in the race. Training for Appleton has been going well and he is just coming to the end of a big block for Ironman 70.3 world champs. “At this time of year its hard with all the sicknesses floating around so I’ve been a little unwell over the past week but nothing that has me too concerned. I have managed to nail my key sessions and have been able to draw a lot of confidence from those key days”.

The Challenge Gold Coast bike course should suit Appleton.  “I’ve been riding really well the past few months so hopefully the hard course can play into my hands a little bit. I am looking to have a hard 90km hit out on the bike as a really good race specific session for 70.3 worlds which is my main focus. The field looks good. There is a number of guys who have the potential to win the race, which will make it an interesting day. I am mainly using this race as a launching pad into worlds but am still aiming to put together a really competitive performance”.

Another key player in this race as mentioned is former 3 x ITU world champion Peter Robertson who is finding his stride in long course triathlon. He finished second overall in the EU 70.3 championship a couple of weekends ago and beat some significant names along the way. His swim and run are dynamite and after seeing his bike split in Wiesbaden on a tough and hilly course maybe Robbo might be the one to beat this weekend.

Robertson still considers Reed the favourite. We asked Robertson how this race fits in to his year.  “It’s hard to call it an A race, as I really only decided to start after racing in Wiesbaden. All my focus this year has been towards qualifying for Kona, so that’s still the focus.” Although it’s a last minute decision to race for Robertson he’ll  be gunning for the win. “With the incentive of getting to Bahrain through this race, that’s the main goal. Plus I feel I’m coming into some good form and want to race!”

The change this year to training with Aeromax Team has been worked out incredibly well for Robertson. “I’ve really benefited from having a great group of guys around me to train with. We push each other, but have a lot of fun at the same time. Gilesy is a great thinker and keeps the whole squad on track and it shows with the success of the squad this year.”

Robertson finds out if he has a spot in Kona on Monday, but it’s looking good for him. “I’m so pumped for Kona!!!”

Casey Munro has been building back to the early form he showed as a junior in Victoria. Munro will be with the leaders out of the water and the former professional cyclist will then go on to build on the tough bike course. This should suit Munro and with his fast developing run this could be a race were we see him on the podium with all possibility that he could be standing on the highest part of the podium.

For Munro a long trip to Europe then Thailand plus a big block that he hopes to recover from before Sunday should see him do very well. “It was a last minute decision to do this race but I have had some good form with 1st, 1st, 3rd in the last 3 races, no injuries and a good block so I am really looking forward to letting rip on the weekend. I have been really happy with my bike lately so that gives me a lot of confidence going into this course.

We asked Casey how important this race is and loved his answer. “Every race I do I race like its the last race I will ever do, so yeah very important.”

Sam Betten has withdrawn from the race this weekend.

There will be a number of guys in the hunt after the swim including Michael Fox who has had a challenging year coupled with working full time. In spite of this he feels that he is in some reasonable shape. I bumped in to him in the National Park while out riding a few weeks ago and we had a quick catch up for a few kms. Fox is looking forward to this race to get himself going for the season.

The field is big and it is difficult to devote too much time to everyone. But we will keep trying…

One of the faster runners in the field is David Mainwaring. At the moment Mainwaring is just nudging sub 31min for 10kms and has had a few good road running races. He loves riding hills and after we drove around the course we phone Mainy and told him he should enter. If he was match fit this would be a race for him to shine. Mainwaring is building currently in his swim and is not bike fit yet. This race is a benchmark race for him and will give him plenty to take away and work on for the season.

There would not be too much doubt as to who will lead in to T1. Shane Barrie will be wanting to give one of his main sponsors, local Gold Coast company Huub Design, some of the limelight. For Barrie this will be his first Challenge race and either his second or third long course triathlon. He is young and in the very early stages of racing the longer distances. “The race is going to be on from the gun and as this is my new hometown I am really looking forward to racing here even though I am very inexperienced. I have put together some good training. This is a tough, honest and deceptive course. The fittest, strongest guy will win”.

The bigger guys like Joey Lampe may struggle (but we could be completely wrong) on the hilly course but Lampe is a strong rider. He will come out of the swim with the leaders and will have plenty of strong riders to pace off. At Port Macqurie last year Lampe finished close behind Appleton to take third overall on a tough bike course. Josh Amberger won that race but was in a different postcode after producing a swim/bike combo that blew the field apart. Lampe turned his ankle recently and will be hitting the GC to have a solid day and put some miles in the bank.

Time is running short but will will try to get back to the rest of the mens pro field. A little bit of pro-activeness would go a long way. Our email is [email protected]

 

Tim Reed    AUS
Justin Granger    AUS
Michael Fox    AUS
Ryan Cross    AUS
Lindsey Wall    AUS
Tim Green    AUS
Nicholas Hull    AUS
Bryce McMaster    NZ
Brad Wauer    AUS
Tom Rodgers    AUS
David Mainwaring    AUS
Richard Pearson    AUS
Joey Lampe    AUS
Sam Appleton    AUS
Shane Barrie    AUS
Adam Gordon    AUS
Ryan Palazzi    AUS
Brad Clark    AUS
David Dellow    AUS
Casey Munro    AUS
Peter Robertson    AUS

The Women

The favourite this weekend is Annabel Luxford. The former ITU world champion has taken to long course triathlon very well and has racked up some significant results. The 2013 Asia Pacific 70.3 Champ had a 2nd at the Abu Dhabi International triathlon, a 2nd at Challenge Half Philippines and the 2014 Asia Pacific 70.3 Champs and a win at Challenge Melbourne.

On paper we could see Lisa Marangon challenge Luxford if she brings her A game. Marangon has been training at Turbo Studio in Sydney on the Computrainers and has increased her bike strength with this new approach. Marangon is a strong swimmer and depending where she is at should be the main challenger to Luxford.

In saying this the tougher than usual bike course has Annabel Luxford written all over it. I have been humiliated by Annabel on more than one occasion up the Mt Camberwarra climb on the South Coast of NSW. Less so the last time after I shed a few kilos and actually trained a bit. Luxford is carrys no excess weight and has a power to weight ratio far higher than most competitors. The hilly course will suit her to a tee. Through in her ‘go hard until there is nothing left’ attitude and the rest of the women’s field will need to be racing at 110% to beat Luxford.

One of the legends of the sport, Belinda Granger will be pushing hard and using every bit of her 50+ iron distance race experience to work out how to get the most out of herself over this challenging course. Belinda is one of the biggest characters in the sport and an inspiration to all. We love seeing her racing and expect to see her chasing a podium spot.

This race is special for more than one reason. But something dear to our own heart is this race marks the return to professional racing of Christie Sym. It has been almost exactly two years since Christie crashed out of Ironman New York and out of triathlon. The last two years have thrown up more of life’s major hurdles than most should endure. This culminated her best friend and someone who I entered a business arrangement with being diagnosed with cancer of the pancreas and liver in 2013. Within 8 months we were at Michael’s funeral and saying goodbye to one fit and ‘live life to the full’ 36 year old guy.

Forward on a few months and Christie will take to the Challenge Gold Coast course to get her feet back. This is not a race with expectations but a benchmark to let Christie know where she is at and what work needs to be done to get back to her best.

 

 

Annabel Luxford    AUS
Madeline Oldfield    AUS
Amelia Rose Watkinson    NZ
Lisa Marangon    AUS
Jodie Scott    AUS
Rachel Paxton    AUS
Belinda Granger    AUS
Tineke Stewart    NZ
Polly Mosley    UK
Renee Baker    AUS
Matilda Raynolds    AUS
Christie Sym    AUS

 

 

 

 

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 Nona 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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