Huskisson Australian Long Course Race Preview

The 2011 Jervis Bay Triathlon Festival is on this weekend and whilst the men’s open field is missing 2 or 3 bigger names we will still see Pete Jacobs, Ollie Whistler, Adam Holborrow and a handful of other potential podium finishers racing. Olympic and sprint distance proponent Michael Fox is also racing this weekend. This is not his normal distance so it will be interesting to see how he goes.

The women’s open race has a strong field showcasing some of our top long course triathletes. Nicole Ward Michelle Wu, newcomers Madeleine Oldfield and Matilda Raynolds, Jacinta Worland and Vickie Wilkinson sees a strong lineup. Last year’s female winner, Carrie Lester was a late entry but has since pulled out due to illness. Last year’s 3rd placed Tara Prowse has been dealing with injuries over the last 12 months and is currently focusing on short course now that she is injury free. 2010 2nd place Pip Taylor is also not racing at Husky this weekend.

Trizone spoke to a number of the leading professional and open triathletes who will be racing the long course this weekend to find out how they are tracking for the race this weekend and what 2011 has in store for them.

Although Pete Jacobs is the best known and most successful of the open triathletes racing this weekend, Trizone wanted to acknowledge a couple of triathlon greats who will be racing in the 45-49 age group.Another top 40+ triathlete to watch is Matthew Koorey who finsihed 15th overall last year and is down to race again this weekend.

Bruce Thomas and Spot Anderson are two of Australia’s greatest triathletes. Last year Bruce finished 32nd overall in a time of 4:07.

Bruce Thomas

Bruce Thomas is a four times Australian Ironman Triathlon Champion and finished 7th at the Hawaii Ironman in 1993. He also has many other top international triathlon achievements and was admitted to the Australian Ironman Hall of Fame in 2003. Bruce raced extensively in Australia and Internationally, representing Australia in the Elite Division at World Long Course Championships and at the Hawaii Ironman. Bruce was the runner up in the World Ironman Triathlon Series in 1993 and was the 1993-94 Triathlete of the Year. He was awarded with the Australian Sports Medal in 2000 for his achievements and contribution to sport. He raced with many of the legends of triathlon such as Mark Allen, Dave Scott, Greg Welch, Greg Bennett , Chris McCormack, Chippy Slater, Spot Anderson amongst many others. I saw Bruce out at the 2011 All Schools Triathlon the other day where there were 2500 students competing and amongst them was one of Australia’s ironman greats (Mick Maroney was also there talent spotting and chaperoning the teams from his school). Apart from teaching, Bruce has a successful triathlon coaching business with his wife Christina Thomas who is also a former Australian ironman winner.

Bruce’s only pre race excuse for this weekend was that he has not done much cycling.

Spot Anderson

Spot Anderson is also one of the greats and one of the great characters of the sport. Spot is calling himself ‘Fat Coach’ right now but as we all know he will be one of the fastest swimmers, a top competitor on the bike and will dig deep on the run. Spot won the Australian Triathlon Series, including the Long Course Champs in 1989. He was part of the team that won a World Team Title in 1989. In that race, he was coming third with Mark Allen, who went on to win, when he flatted on the bike. Spot went back to 40th but was able to run back to ninth via the fastest run split of the day. Spot took part in the Surf Ironman Series (Uncle Tobys and Nutri Grain). I remember Spot saying to me a couple of years ago that he is a more natural runner than a swimmer – a surprise given that we all know him as a great swimmer. Spot ran the hilly 14km City to Surf before he started training in 49 minutes, and then went on to twice run 44 minutes. Spot has been known to comment that you don’t do long course until you are slowing down. Recently he has done Port Mac half, IMWA and now he is doing Husky long course – what is this saying about the great Spot Anderson? Spot’s coaching business is Bondi Fit and you can see him most days of the week at either Centennial Park in Sydney or the Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre.

This weekend Spot is racing in the Bondi Fit ‘Blokes v Chicks’ challenge. So if you see a bloke struggling out there in a yellow and blue Bondi Fit singlet cheer him on.

The favourite for this weekend’s Australian long course (and last years 2nd place getter and the winner in 2009) is undoubtedly Pete Jacobs. Although 2010 Canberra half ironman winner Ollie Whistler no doubt has other thoughts about the outcome of this weekend’s main race.

Pete Jacobs

Pete’s training has been very off and on after a recent round of antibiotics. “I was happy with where I was a few weeks ago, but I undertook some pretty serious antibiotics to try and get rid of a parasite and that seems to have knocked me around the last few weeks. I’m confident I’ll get some energy up before the Australian Long Course Champs this weekend, and my running is still going well enough I am looking forward to the 20k dash.”

This is Jacob’s first race of the season, and the following weekend he will be racing the Singapore 70.3. In his usual understated way “I will try and do a few big days training after Australian Champs this weekend before I travel to Singapore. The distance this Sunday will be good training. Not flat out, but a solid distance at a solid tempo, and saving something for the run. It is just a stepping stone in my long build up to Challenge Cairns.”

In 2010 Pete’s season was thrown in to disarray when he broke his collar bone not long after Husky. This meant he could not race at Abu Dhabi. He did place 4th at Challenge Roth in his comeback race then went on to win Forster Olympic distance and the Philippines 70.3.

Adam Holborrow

Adam Holborow (pictured right) finished 4th overall at last year’s race after a huge improvement over his 2009 placing. This year he is a possible podium finisher with main contenders Pete Jacobs and Ollie Whistler the only ones likely to keep him out of 1st and 2nd. “Training has been going well for me. I have been cutting down on the amount of km’s I have done and picked up the intensity. I am feeling really good with everything going smoothly right now. Getting an Australian long course title is definitely something we would all love to have. It is a big race for a lot of people. It is really the first big race of 2011 and will show mine and everyone’s fitness for the start of the year.

The distance is an unknown right now for Adam. “I am feeling really good and am half way through training for Ironman Australia. After Husky my focus is firmly Ironman Australia (7 weeks after husky). I am really looking forward to the new course so can’t wait to race there. Pete Jacobs is going to be very hard to beat on the day.”

Alex Price

Another of the open men racing this weekend who will admits that he is well underdone in the run after suffering a stress fracture in his foot in early December is Alex Price. This meant that he spent 3 months in a moon boot, with swimming the only training he has been able to do! He has been around many of the races though commentating at them for Elite Energy during the triseries.

“I have only been back on the bike for 3 weeks, leaving my level of fitness nowhere near I hoped for this race. That said, I have been spending many hours practicing what I preach doing core work and functional strengthening exercises and have never been more motivated to train and race than I am at the moment. My swim has picked up, so I am really looking forward to testing this out on the weekend.”

Price is using Husky as a great training race and as mentioned doesn’t have great expectations after the long layoff from injury. “I am just really looking forward to getting out there and mixing it with the guys. I love this race, it is one of the favourite races I have ever done!”

What is Alex Price up to after Husky? “I am racing the Sydney Olympic, followed by the 70.3 in Port Macquarie. I am then going over to Spain to be the physiotherapist for the NSWIS/VIS elite triathletes, which will be a great opportunity to also do some great training and racing. I am looking forward to working very hard over the next 6 months so that I can be really competitive next Australian season.”

I asked Price for his views of the guys racing this weekend. As someone who works with NSWIS and a number of our top triathletes he has a good idea where many of them are at. “Obviously Pete Jacobs will be strong and has a very good record here in Husky. That said there is a group just below him who are also very strong. Guys like Adrian Cominotto, Adam Holborrow and Foxy (Michael Fox) will be right there with Pete out of the water and there will be several who will be riding strong, including Ollie Whistler, Jan Rehula and Lindsay Wall, who are fresh off great results at the tough Falls Creek course. Matt Pellow, who is training with me here in Wollongong with the NSWIS group will swim well and no doubt will be strong on the run. It is a hot field and while there is no world champion present, the field has more depth than ever. It will be great for the spectators!”

Alex Reithmeier is out with a stress fracture – which Alex Price is treating at the moment. Lindsay Wall has shown some big improvement and will be strong. Jan Rehula – bronze medal in Sydney will be really hard to beat – may give Pete and a couple of others at the front like Ollie and Adam a run! Not sure how Lee Wallace is going. Chris Dmitrieff is always a strong competitor and will be fit coming into IM.

Michael Fox

Huskisson Long Course will be Michael Fox’s second long course race. Sprint and Olympic are generally his focus. “It will be good to throw myself out there to a new challenge.I’m just really enjoying my racing at the moment.After a 4:10 in the 2010 Gold Coast Half and a rather conservative bike leg, this weekend I will be trying to focus on my bike leg and hope to be able to follow that through with a solid run.”

“Training has been going smoothly for me. I have started teaching this year and with the guys at High Performance Tri being so flexible, I have settled into my schedule quickly. Come Sunday there should be no excuses. There is still a quality field, even with other major international events being on the same weekend. It should be a great race and I look forward to see everyone in action over the weekend.”

Nicole Ward

One of our leading long course triathletes is Nicole Ward. Nicole’s goal race right now is Ironman Australia in May. Everything she is doing training wise is focused on this goal. I am fortunate enough to regularly train with Nicole and she does not get involved in any testosterone fuelled running and cycling bravado. She maintains her pace and sticks to her plan no matter how much we bait her. She is firmly focused on IM Oz. In 2010 Nicole had some great results with a 2nd at Shepparton half ironman, 2nd at Port Douglas long course, 3rd at Forster Olympic distance, 4th at Port Macquarie half ironman, 6th at Ironman Coueur dAlene in the USA and 6th at Ironman New Zealand.

Nicole has been quite focused on strength work but with some more speed and intensity recently. “My recent speed work should hopefully help for the weekend as I think it’s going to be a fast race. This weekend will be a good test to see how things are tracking with my training and give me a good hit out. I haven’t raced in Husky for a couple of years now and I really love racing there. I think the course really suits me.”

What is next for you after Husky? “This distance is perfect for me right now with Port Macquarie Ironman on 1st May. I am looking forward to taking some time out of racing and just focusing on a solid training block leading into this race. I did my last ironman in the United States, 11 months ago and I think the time off racing this distance has been just what I needed as I’m really excited about racing my favourite distance again!!”

On the other women racing this weekend Nicole commented: “Michelle Wu is always a fierce competitor and Madeline Oldfield proved herself in Falls Creek with the win so they are probably the key girls to watch. Matilda Reynolds, a fellow TriNSW squad member is also having a fantastic season and is definitely capable of being up there. I think it might be a close one.”

Madeleine Oldfield

Everyone will be watching Madeleine Oldfield to see if she can replicate her recent win at Falls Creek. Madeleine is now well on the way to becoming a serious long course and 70.3 triathlete. Since Falls Creek her training has been going very well with some real positive signs. “Over the past 2 weeks I have put together some of my best sessions to date and I’m starting to see the results in some of the times I am posting in training. It has been tough, but all signs are pointing towards a really good season as long as I can stay injury free. I only decided to race Huskisson a few weeks ago. After doing better than I expected at Falls Creek and getting the win, I thought it would be great to have a go at gaining an Australian title. I have heard great things about the course at Huskisson so can’t wait to get started!”

Having only raced 2 long course triathlons (Shepparton and Falls Creek) Madeleine is still learning how her body is responding to the hard racing and increased training volume. “Huskisson will be a great test to see where I’m at. It will be great to gain some more experience racing the longer distance and it will hopefully set me up for the next 6 months of racing the 70.3 distance.”

What next after Huskisson? “Following on from Huskisson I will race in the final round of the Gatorade Triathlon Series at St Kilda. I will then start preparing for the 70.3 circuit which will include Port Mac 70.3 as well as various races across North America, with the ultimate goal of qualifying for the World 70.3 Champs in Las Vegas.”

“All the girls racing are in with a chance of getting on top of the podium, so it will be an exciting day out. I raced Nicole and Michelle at the Falls Creek Long Course and they are both amazing athletes. I will have to be on top of my game if I am to challenge them at Huskisson on Sunday.”

Michelle Wu

Up against Nicole Ward, Madeleine Oldfield and Matilda Raynolds will be 70.3 (and ex Olympic distance) specialist Michelle Wu. Michelle won a number of races last year including Tawain 70.3, Canberra Half Ironman, Nepean Triathlon, Japan 70.3 along with 2nd at the Yeppoon Half Ironman Byron Bay.

Michelle says training has been going well. She has recovered well after Falls Creek and has been putting in some solid work since. “I was happy with Falls Creek being it was my first race of the year. There are definitely things to improve on though and I think Husky will really suit me. I have been working with my new coac