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Courtney Atkinson announces his bid to contest a record third Olympic Games in Rio 2016

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Dual Olympian and world champion triathlete Courtney Atkinson has today announced an end to a two-year sabbatical from full-time ITU triathlon in a bid to contest a record third Olympic Games in Rio 2016.

Just two years after putting his International Triathlon Union (ITU) racing pursuits on the backburner following the London 2012 Games and turning his focus to endurance ironman and off-road adventure racing, the Mackay-born product has done what few thought likely and made official his return to the Olympic arena.

Atkinson never ruled out an Olympic return but his success in endurance ironman and off-road racing over the past 24 months suggested a return was unlikely. So it is a comeback of sorts.

Courtney Atkinson Swim © Brett Hemmings / Red Bull Content Pool

Courtney Atkinson Swim © Brett Hemmings / Red Bull Content Pool

Of course, the 35-year-old will have to qualify as one of the country’s top-three triathletes to first earn a berth. But a toe-in-the-water return to the Olympic distance last year saw him emerge victorious over the country’s best and cemented his desire for one last chance at that coveted Olympic medal.

And should he do so, he’d become the first triathlete in Australian history to compete at three Olympic Games.

“It’s a decision that’s been a long-time coming but after two years of new challenges, endurance racing and time away from the Olympic discipline I’ve spent more than half my life competing in, the spark is back,”Courtney said today upon formally notifying the Australian Triathlon Federation.

“I’m more hungry than ever to compete in triathlon and the lure of Rio in 2016 is just too strong to ignore. I feel like I’m fitter and more focused than ever.

“I believe I still have my best racing ahead of me and I don’t want to die wondering ‘what if?’ I’m committing 100 per cent, full-time to Olympic distance triathlon and my plan is to not just qualify for Brazil in 2016 but come away with my best result yet.”

Courtney’s decision comes just 12 months after his successful maiden endurance debut at the 226km Melbourne Ironman, which he says coincidentally reignited his passion for sprint racing after a year stripping himself of muscle and speed in an effort to increase his endurance.

“As satisfying as it was to get through it in a pretty decent time for my first go, I missed going fast,” Atkinson said of the ironman.

“I enjoyed the experience but it just didn’t grip me to the point where I wanted to give up all my other racing. The Xterra racing re-confirmed my passion for sprint racing. I love the speed of Olympic Games triathlon racing – going fast as opposed to conserving energy.”

Courtney’s first Olympic appearance in 2008 saw him finish 11th while in London he recorded an 18th placing. Since his sabbatical from triathlon post the London Games, Courtney claimed victory in his first ever 70.3 Ironman in Cairns, finished just outside the top-10 in his maiden full ironman race in Melbourne and won the Australian XTerra championships among countless other victories in various categories.

And while the Games are some 18 months away, Courtney only has a matter of months to re-establish himself at the top of the Australian Olympic triathlon scene again and become the first Australian triathlete to compete at three Olympic Games.

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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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Interview

Jared Simons: Chef Turns Plants into Ironman Power

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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.”

King oyster mushrooms, farrotto, spring peas.

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.

Turning plant-based

“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;

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.”

Through the vineyards Ironman Santa Rosa 2017

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?

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Super League: Jersey Brings Out The Best For Kristian Blummenfelt

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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.

Stage 1

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.

Kristian Blummenfelt closes out the final stage of the Eliminator. Photo: Googsi Creative / The Studio M

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.

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.

Jersey pro athlete Dan Halksworth competed as a wild card at Super League Jersey. Photo: Googsi Creative / The Studio M

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.

Stage 3

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.”

Matt Hauser gets a handshake from Kristian Blummenfelt post-race. Photo: Googsi Creative / The Studio M

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.

Richard Murray, Kristian Blummenfelt, and Jonathan Brownlee hold their prize checks at the awarding. Photo: Googsi Creative / The Studio M

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Super League: Katie Zaferes crowned First Female Champion in Jersey

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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.

Stage 1

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.

Sophie Coldwell and Jodie Stimpson working together on the bike leg. Photo: Googsi Creative / The Studio M

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.

Stage 2

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.

Stage 3

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.

The run determined who would be eliminated in each stage. Photo: Googsi Creative / The Studio M

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.”

Cook, Zaferes, and Spirig holding their prize checks at the awarding. Photo: Googsi Creative / The Studio M

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Super League: Corporate Mix Teams Hungry for the Lead

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The run course along the Elizabeth Marina board walk. Photo: Googsi Creative / The Studio M

In the second day of Super League Jersey Corporate Mix racing, Team Comprop is once again leading the rankings, its members coming out firing on all cylinders to win the team relay race against 16 other teams from nine corporate entities. First Names Group Team 2 and the Ravenscroft Titans followed across the finish line, maintaining the top three overall. Like in Day 1, the competition was held over the Sprint Pursuit format, which involves racing over a 300-meter swim around the Elizabeth Marina, a 5-kilometer cycle leg on a cobblestoned and technical course and a 2-kilometer run done over two stages with a pursuit-style start in Stage 2.

Team Comprop is still in the lead after two days of racing. Photo: Googsi Creative / The Studio M

Team Comprop and First Names Group Team 2 took first and second respectively in both Sprint Pursuit stages, but the Jersey Triathlon Club Junior Team 1 put up a brave fight to take third in Stage 1. The Ravenscroft Titans had a slow start off the blocks and crossed the Stage 1 line in ninth place, but made up for their deficit and recovered third place in Stage 2.

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 has pro men’s leader Kristian Blummenfelt on its roster while First Names Group Team 2 has women’s leader Katie Zaferes, and if both athletes hold their form, they will deliver the top two spots in the Corporate Mix to their teams.

Both teams from Santander International may have a chance to rise higher in the overall rankings with better finishes today than yesterday. Their pro athletes Fernando Alarza and Carolina Routier will certainly do their best to better yesterday’s results in their Eliminator races later today. The Eliminator will put them through three stages of swim-bike-run, with only the fastest 15 and then the fastest 10 getting through to the next stages. It will remain to be seen whether they can get to finish and earn those all-important series points.

Corporate Mix swimmers line up for their pontoon start. Photo: Googsi Creative / The Studio M

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Nutrition

Recovery Smoothie – Supercharged Green and Berry Smoothie

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Photo: Shutterstock

After a long hard workout I like to get fueled right away. I find it easiest for me to get down a smoothie rather than solid food. By making a smoothie I am able to pack it full of nutrient dense foods. Below is my “go to” –

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Green & Berry Super Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 16 oz Coconut water
  • 8 oz Hemp milk
  • 1 Banana
  • 2 cups Baby Spinach
  • 1 cup Frozen Blueberries
  • 6 leaves Tuscan Kale
  • ½ Gold beet large
  • ½ nugget of fresh turmeric root
  • 1 serving Favorite plant based protein powder I use Vega Performance protein berry flavor for this
  • 2 tbsp Chia seed
  • 1 tbsp Acai powder
  • 1 tbsp Maca powder
  • 1 tbsp Spirulina
  • 4 large ice cubes

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients into a high power blender such as Vita mix. Process until smooth. Consistency can be adjusted with cold water as you are processing.

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Super League: Katie Zaferes stuns in Triple Mix on Day 1

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Katie Zaferes of the USA stunned dual Olympic medalist Nicola Spirig at the inaugural Super League Triathlon women’s race in Jersey, Channel Islands. The ascendant American was never too far off the front throughout, and took the overall win with a 19-second lead over the speedy Swiss. Compatriot Summer Cook rounded out the first women’s podium for the revolutionary race series. Triple Mix is a three-stage race with a 10-minute break between stages and a pursuit-style start in Stages 2 and 3.

Stage 1: Swim-Bike-Run

Carolina Routier, Sophie Coldwell, and Emma Jeffcoat found clear water off the pontoon start and came out of the 300-meter swim together, but most of the athletes emerged together to form a huge chase pack which swallowed the lead swimmers once on the bike leg.

Coldwell and British compatriot Jodie Stimpson worked to put pressure through the first few laps of the five-kilometer bike ride. With the field splintering between a large front group and solo athletes trying to bridge the gap, those off the back fell victim to the 90-second elimination rule. Sameera Al Bitar found herself more than 90 seconds behind the lead athlete and was forced to retire partway through the bike.

Pontoon start for the Women’s Triple Mix Stage 1 of Super League in Jersey. Photo: Googsi Creative / The Studio M

Stimpson, Coldwell, and Claire Michel of Belgium came off the bike together, but with the athletes so close together, Spirig emerged out front with Zaferes right on her shoulders. Summer Cook managed to stay in contention despite struggling with the technical bike course, while Lucy Hall and Mariya Shorets were eliminated after the bike leg.

During the two-kilometer run, Michel, Spirig, and Zaferes took turns out front, but it was Michel who took the tape ahead of Spirig and Zaferes. Cook ran herself into fourth.

Stage 2: Run-Bike-Swim

With only 10 minutes to recover before starting another two-kilometer run and only seconds separating the lead three women, it didn’t take long for Zaferes to move up front. However, Spirig, Cook, and Michel came with her surge to create a 20-second gap to chasers Stimpson, Coldwell, and Rachel Klamer.

Jodie Stimpson, Sophie Coldwell, and Rachel Klamer run as a chase group. Photo: Googsi Creative / The Studio M

Spirig put pressure on and gapped the leaders with her trademark bike power and great handling, but after a while Zaferes answered the surge. Apparently, Zaferes had thought one of her tires had gone flat, but once confirmed that was not the case, she confidently rode back onto Spirig’s back wheel before taking the front into transition.

Zaferes made sure to hit the water ahead of Spirig, and her stellar technique ensured she crossed the Stage 2 finish line first.

Thanks to the gap the two had created to the rest of the field, an additional seven women were eliminated, while Laura Lindemann took a nasty bike spill but was able to continue.

Stage 3: Bike-Swim-Run

The Swiss-American tandem played tag team throughout the opening bike leg, maintaining their lead while a race for third happened behind them. Coldwell teamed up with Kirsten Kasper to leave the rest of the field, but once the race entered the water the athletes bunched up again while Zaferes and Spirig stayed clear.

Out onto the run, Zaferes began stretching her legs and her lead to Spirig, who was never able to reclaim the front. The former collegiate track star made the final few hundred meters of the run look easy, celebrating into the finish chute.

Katie Zaferes and Nicola Spirig riding hard. Photo: Googsi Creative / The Studio M

“When I first got on the bike I was a little off technically with the corners, but I got more comfortable and moved up and was happy with how the race progressed as it got on,” Zaferes said. “The swim feels as horrible as all the boys told us it did, so at least I was prepared for that and didn’t panic. I felt nervous especially after having raced last weekend, but I felt good. I really hope to approach tomorrow just like I did today and hope the same result comes away from it, but Day 2 gets significantly harder. I’ll go for it for sure though.”

It has been only a few months since Spirig gave birth to her second child, but today’s race showed she is still one of the most fearsome athletes to contend with on any starting line. She said, “Thank you very much for all the support from all of you. It has been great being here. I was just, it was amazing, I had good fun and I hope I’m a bit of an inspiration for all moms.”

Meanwhile, Cook used her stellar run to take herself into third place overall, the youngest on the Triple Mix podium. She said, “I’m feeling really good about today, I wasn’t sure about what to expect coming in; I felt like it could go either way. I was really proud of myself to just go out there and compete, not be afraid to put myself close to the front and just race my hardest. I haven’t really thought about tactics going into tomorrow yet. I’m kind of just trying to stay in the moment today and focus on what I needed to do. I guess I’ll have some thinking about a strategy to do tonight.”

There is one more day of racing to go to claim the first Super League Triathlon women’s trophy. These athletes will have to give it their all to stay on top. The Eliminator awaits, and only the fastest will survive.

Jodie Stimpson, Sophie Coldwell, and Rachel Klamer run as a chase group. Photo: Googsi Creative / The Studio M

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