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Australians ready for triathlon’s new frontier in Abu Dhabi

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Olympians Emma Moffatt and Brendan Sexton will spearhead a six-strong Australian team into triathlon’s “land of the unknown” when the ITU World Triathlon Series (WTS) kicks off in a new frontier in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates (Saturday night, Australian time).

Photo Credit: Janos M Schmidt / ITU

Photo Credit: Janos M Schmidt / ITU

The opening round in Abu Dhabi will show case the UAE capital for the first time on the prestigious WTS circuit, a city that joins Auckland, the Gold Coast, Cape Town, Yokohama, London, Hamburg, Stockholm, Edmonton and Chicago on a spectacular world tour for the cream of the world’s WTS triathlete

The exclusive Abu Dhabi Sailing & Yacht Club will host the Sprint race format with the race unfolding along the breakwater opposite the Abu Dhabi Corniche – that forms a sweeping curve on the western side of the main Abu Dhabi Island.

It will feature a 750m swim off the Volvo Ocean Race yacht pontoons, while the looped 20km bike and 5km run courses, will follow and feature a turnaround point along the Corniche Road starting and finishing at the Sailing & Yacht Club.

It is the start of a campaign Moffatt hopes sets her on track for a third Olympics in Rio next year, while Sexton is hoping to claw his way back to the kind of form that saw him make the Olympic team for London in 2012.

They will be joined by the men’s Commonwealth Games trio from Glasgow, Dan Wilson, Ryan Bailie and Aaron Royle in a red-hot men’s field that features nine of the world’s top 10 – including the top three – Spanish pair Javier Gomez and Mario Mola and Great Britain’s Jonathan Brownlee.

The only one missing from the top 10 is Olympic champion Alistair Brownlee who will kick-start his 2015 campaign in Auckland for race two.

Moffatt will only have 2013 Under 213 ITU World Champion Charlotte McShane to keep her company in the women’s field that also features 14 of the top 20 and the world’s top three – USA pair Gwen Jorgensen and Sarah True (nee Groff) and New Zealander Andrea Hewitt.

Triathlon Australia’s National Performance Director Bernard Savage knows there will be no room for complacency.

“It may be the first race of the season but there is no way you can ease your way into racing, that’s for sure,” said Savage.

“It’s going to be an exciting start to the WTS and our guys are going to have to be on their game from the outset.

“Our men’s team looks good with a lot of experience and when you look through both sets of fields they are world class – you are up against the best of the best first up.

“And it will be good to see Emma Moffatt back racing and joined by Charlotte McShane.”

Head coach of the Australian-based Wollongong Wizards group, Jamie Turner, who has three athletes on the team – Bailie, Royle and McShane as well as ITU World champion, Jorgensen, knows the athletes will have to be prepared for anything in triathlon’s new frontier.

“Abu Dhabi is a city of the unknown, when it comes to triathlon,” said Turner.

“You have to be ready for the heat, the wind, different equipment and just not knowing what to expect and that’s why we are going in early to acclimatise and to get over the jet lag and get four sleeps before you race.

“If it was Hamburg then you know ‘every nook and cranny’ like the back of your hand, we’ve been there so many times.

“We have done as much training in the heat of the day as we can to prepare for the heat and then there’s the wind, which determines the wheels you use.”

After spending December and January at altitude at Falls Creek, Turner has had McShane training twice a week in the heat adaptation chamber at NSWIS’ Sydney headquarters to get her acclimatised to the kind of weather she can expect.

Bailie and Royle, ninth and 10th respectively on the 2014 rankings have shown Turner they are ready for the 2015 WTS circuit, using Abu Dhabi as a launching pad for the Standard (Olympic) distance opener in Auckland on March 28,29 and then the Gold Coast on April 10 and 11.

While Sexton, who had no luck with a puncture in his hit out in Devonport, which forced him out of the race two weeks ago, knows he will have to control the first section of his run.

Bailie, who is swimming as well as ever, has the runs on the board when it comes to sprint distance and Royle is also a class act who will be looking towards Auckland as a key event for him.

Wilson enjoyed an injury free 2014 and according to his coach Stephen Moss is “jumping out of his skin”

WTS RACE ONE – ABU DHABI

START LISTS

ITU SEASON PREVIEW

WHO TO WATCH IN 2015

WATCH THE RACE LIVE

 

PROFILES OF AUSTRALIAN ATHLETES

WOMEN

 

EMMA MOFFATT

Age: 29

QLD

A two-time Olympian in 2008 and 2012 and two time ITU World Champion in 2009 and 2010 is back on track for 2015 and chasing a third Olympic Team in Rio in 2016. Moffatt missed last year’s ITU WTS Grand Final following a disappointing Commonwealth Games after being diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome which had disrupted her year. A member of Australia’s bronze medal winning Commonwealth Games Mixed Teams relay team with Emma Jackson, Ryan Bailie and Aaron Royle, the 2008 Olympic bronze medallist from Beijing is determined to lead the Australian charge towards this year’s Grand Final in Chicago, stopping off for the all-important Rio qualifying event in August. Moffatt is one of Australia’s most decorated triathletes, who leaves no stone unturned under coaches Shaun Stephens and master swim coach Denis Cotterell.

 

 

CHARLOTTE MCSHANE

Age: 24

NSW

After a stirring performance to win the ITU Under 23 World Championship in London in 2013, McShane has continued to develop into one of Australia’s young guns on the WTS circuit, continuing to mix it with the big guns in seven of the eight races in 2014, racing to her best result in Chicago where she finished 10th. Has a good track record over the sprint distance having won the 2013 Oceania Sprint Distance title. A member of Jamie Turner’s Wollongong Wizards who spent two stints at altitude training in December and January at Falls Creek to prepare for 2015. Turner and senior NSWIS physiologist Katie Slattery devised a program for McShane to also spend two days a week in the heat adaptation chamber in Sydney to best prepare her. Will be looking to this race to prepare her for Auckland.

MEN

 

Ryan BAILIE

Age: 24

NSW

 

The South African born Bailie who made Perth his family home before linking up with Jamie Turner and the Wizards in Wollongong. Is currently Australia’s number one ranked male triathlete after the 2014 season, placed him ninth, after his most consistent year to date. Started out with his best WTS finish (5th in Auckland) and showed his class with a 7th in London before unleashing the race of his life to spearhead the Australian team to the teams relay bronze in Glasgow at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Bailie ensured Australia was on the podium with a calculated final run leg. A methodical, uncompromising athlete, who does not have a weakness, and has the runs on the board to maintain his place inside the top ten in the world and cement his place on his first Olympic team in 2016. Along with training partner Royle, represents the new breed of male triathletes.

Aaron ROYLE

Age: 25

NSW

 

The Newcastle-born Royle has spent the last three years mixing it with triathlon’s royalty and has rubbed shoulders with the likes of the Brownlees, Gomez and the world’s top 10. The 2012 ITU under 23 World Champion made the step up to Elite on the WTS in 2013 and 2014, with his London ITU GF 7th gaining automatic selection on the Australian Commonwealth Games Team for Glasgow, his first major multi-sport team. He finished eighth. Royle has settled into the rigors of the Jamie Turner-coached Wollongong Wizards who spend their summers in the Illawarra and their winters in the northern Spanish city of Vitoria-Gasteiz. Finished 2014 ranked 10th in the world in one of the most competitive seasons of the WTS and put the icing on 2014 cake when he defended at both Penrith and Noosa with impressive performances. On form Royle should become an Olympian in 2016.

Dan WILSON

Age: 29

QLD

Dan The Man just keeps on keeping on, emerging in 2014 to make the Australian Commonwealth Games team after an up and down two years, littered with injury and operations. The man who won his first World Cup in 2010 gets the vote for believing in his ability and his dream. Started last year with an encouraging close-up 4th in the opening WTS Auckland round and finished it off as the best placed Australian male in the WTS Grand Final in Edmonton when he finished 13th after a disappointing Glasgow. Finished the year in 16th place on the WTS rankings –the third Australian behind Bailie and Royle in the world’s top 20. Went on to finish second to Royle at Noosa in another great show of strength. No matter what the result in 2015 and 2016, Dan Wilson will “keep the boys honest.”

Brendan SEXTON

Age: 29

NSW

The 2012 Olympian has gradually worked his way back into contention, finding his mojo as he pushes his opposition to the limit in training. Finished fourth in the ITU WTS in Sydney, in 2011, winning the Monterrey World Cup in Mexico and coming runner up in both the Mooloolaba World Cup and Oceania Cup in New Zealand, winning selection to make his Olympic debut in London, where he finished 35th. Has struggled through injury and illness to get back to that kind of form ever since and has hovered between 29th and 35th on the WTS rankings in recent years. Finished 41st in the ITU Grand Final in Edmonton. But has become an intricate part of the Jamie Turner world class Wizards group in Wollongong and only has to put it all together to become a major player in the run towards Rio. Has a killer 10km run leg which will always hold him in good stead at the money end of races.

 

Abu Dhabi (UAE) World Triathlon Series (March 6,7)

Sprint Distance (750m; 20km; 5km)

 

MEN

Dan Wilson (QLD)

Aaron Royle (NSW)

Ryan Bailie (WA)

Brendan Sexton (NSW)

WOMEN

Emma Moffatt (QLD)

Charlotte McShane (NSW)

Mooloolaba (AUS) World Cup (March 14,15)

Sprint Distance (750m; 20km; 5km)

 

MEN

Jake Birtwhistle (TAS)

Cameron Good (NSW)

Declan Wilson (ACT)

Kenji Nener (WA)

Courtney Atkinson (QLD)

Matt Baker (NSW)

Peter Kerr (VIC)

Jesse Featonby (ACT)

WOMEN

Ashleigh Gentle (QLD)

Gillian Backhouse (QLD)

Natalie Van Coervorden (NSW)

Jaz Hedgeland (WA)

Erin Densham (NSW)

Grace Musgrove (NSW)

Felicity Sheedy-Ryan (WA)

Ellie Salthouse (QLD)

New Plymouth (NZL) World Cup (March 21, 22)

Sprint Distance (750m; 20km; 5km)

 

MEN

Kenji Nener (WA)

Luke Willian (QLD)

Courtney Atkinson (QLD)

Drew Box (QLD)

Jesse Featonby (ACT)

WOMEN

Natalie Van Coervorden (NSW)

Grace Musgrove (NSW)

Erin Densham (NSW)

Felicity Sheedy-Ryan (WA)

Ellie Salthouse (QLD)

Auckland (NZL) World Triathlon Series (March 28, 29)

Standard Distance (1.5km; 40km; 10km)

MEN

Aaron Royle (NSW))

Ryan Bailie (WA)

Dan Wilson (QLD)

Jake Birtwhistle (TAS)

Brendan Sexton (NSW)

Cameron Good (NSW)

WOMEN

Emma Moffatt (QLD)

Ashleigh Gentle (QLD)

Emma Jackson (QLD)

Gillian Backhouse (QLD)

Erin Densham (NSW)

Charlotte McShane (NSW)

 

 

A cyclist and tech geek at heart with a passion for new shiny things and a huge appetite for triathlon. I spend most of my time between managing two of Australia's best triathletes and a traditional corporate life.

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St. Anthony’s Triathlon Announced as 2018 USAT Regional Championship

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USA Triathlon (USAT) has selected St. Anthony’s Triathlon as a 2018 Regional Championship Race. The 35th annual St. Anthony’s Triathlon will take place on April 29, 2018 with approximately 3,000 athlete participants competing over the race weekend.

As a USAT Regional Championship site, registered USAT athletes can qualify from the St. Anthony’s Triathlon for the 2018 Olympic-Distance National Championships in Cleveland, Ohio to be held on August 11, 2018. In order to qualify for the National Championships, competitors must finish in the top 33 percent or top five (whichever is greater) competitors per their respective age groups. In addition, this year’s St. Anthony’s Triathlon will also serve as the USAT Southeastern Regional Championship.

“We are proud to have been selected again as a USAT Regional Championship race,” said Susan Daniels, race director for St. Anthony’s Triathlon. “This event hosts some of the best athletes in the world, and we are honoured to offer triathletes the opportunity to qualify for the USAT National Championship on our St. Petersburg course.”

The St. Anthony’s Triathlon is also making some exciting changes to the event by extending the Sports and Fitness Expo from a two-day to three-day event and holding all Triathlon events in one park instead of two. The Sports and Fitness Expo will take place from April 27-29 St. Petersburg’s waterfront Vinoy Park. “Extending our sports and fitness expo gives our competitors more opportunities to check out the latest race gear and moving to one location, makes it more convenient for them,” said Daniels.

For kids and novice adults, the Meek & Mighty Triathlon occurs on April 28, and the main Triathlon, for both Olympic and Sprint distance races, runs on April 29.

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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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