Q&A with Clayton Fettell post Ironman Melbourne 2013

The Monday after Ironman Melbourne we were hearing that a few of the senior Ironmen were more than a little impressed with what Clayton Fettell did on race day. The way he rode in tough conditions and his approach to the race showed that he is maturing well. What everyone should keep in mind is [&he

The Monday after Ironman Melbourne we were hearing that a few of the senior Ironmen were more than a little impressed with what Clayton Fettell did on race day. The way he rode in tough conditions and his approach to the race showed that he is maturing well.

What everyone should keep in mind is that Fettell is 26years old and he was taking it to three of the bigger names in the sport who were aged 39, 36 and 36. Of course we should mention that Tim Reed was also riding with this group for the middle 90 odd kms of the bike. Clayton is doing things at Iron distance racing that these seasoned guys weren’t. We are saying this not to take anything away from them but simply to highlight that we are watching the beginnings of possibly a great Ironman. There is still plenty of miles to build in to the legs which will bring his run times down as the next couple of years unfold.

We chatted to Clayton to get his thoughts on the race and to get a good inside look at how things went.

TriZone: This race had one of the toughest fields in Ironman. What was your strategy to take it to the big names in the sport?

Clayton Fettell: I had a race plan that Gilesy (Coach Grant Giles) and I came up with. To beat guys like Crowie, Marino and Eneko everything needs to come together on the day and I needed to work my strengths (swim/bike). Ironman swims are aerobic so with a swimming background I have been getting on the bike fresh with a lead. I wanted to hit my numbers on the bike in Melbourne and force the other guys into higher wattage then they would like. Obviously a tiny swim changed everything.

TZ: You came in to this race with a different preparation. How did this help and what were the main changes?

CF: My preparation has been brilliant. Grant knows how much load I can take and when things need adjusting. I spent more time behind the motor bike with help from former Professional cyclist Nick Gates who Gilesy is coaching. This gave me some inside information to the numbers the big boys can hold (Wiggins, Fabian, Martin etc). I am now training on SRM and using a professional cycling team like team Sky as a gauge. I  have taken a very professional approach to everything I am doing. I have changed my nutritional approach under guidance from Shotz owner Darryl Griffiths and the weekend showed I was consistent all day. I am stronger than ever and made the right decisions in the race.

TZ: Unfortunately for you and the other strong male and female swimmers the swim was cut very short. Did this change your race plan?

CF: The shortening of the swim was a joke and something I have been speaking about with fellow competitors over couple of days post race. Like other sports, triathlon needs an athlete representative to voice our requirements, The fact we could swim a watered down 1500 on the weekend and not 3.8 still has me stumped. I trained for this event for 16 weeks and hearing the news of a shortened swim one hour before the event was a massive blow. I heard a lot of people telling me it doesn’t change anything and it’s the same for everyone. Well that’s wrong because for guys like Amberger, Lampe, Potts, Jacobs and Jimmy Seear the Ironman swim is very comfortable and if anything it just  opens things up for a fast bike whereas non swimmers hit the bike in the box.

My race plan stayed the same and Joey and I hit it hard at sprint distance speed, once on the bike, and hearing that not many pro’s swam the full swim course cutting cans, I composed myself took on nutrition and rode the most consistent 180kms and took control of the things I could control. This mental approach is another area I have identified. It is a massive advantage to have control of yourself during the race.

TZ: How did you feel once you got off the bike and hit the run?

CF: I really started to hurt at 160kms on the bike. Eneko was sitting back and not going to the front so it was only Crowie and I left to limit the deficit to Marino. Reedy (Tim Reed) was the only other guy left and dropped off the back in the last 45kms. I was very impressed with how the little fella raced. That’s massive numbers for a small guy.  With a  little bit of inexperience on my behalf I kept pushing and hit T2 in a world of pain.

TZ: Were you happy with your run at the end of the day? How did it unfold?

CF: My run was slow and steady. I knew I was out of the mix but I also knew I needed the points for Kona plus I had worked so hard and I deserved a great result. I chipped away to 12th place a result I don’t think reflects my performance. That being said I am very proud of what I achieved on the weekend especially the way the format panned out on the day.

TZ: What is next for you?

CF: I leave for the US next week after a week off training here.

Clayton’s schedule for the remaining of 2013 will be:

  • Wildflower
  • Raleigh 70.3
  • Kansas 70.3
  • Ironman CDA
  • Calgary 70.3
  • Vegas
  • Kona

Top 30 Men’s Results

Name Country Swim Bike Run Finish Div. Rank Overall
LLANOS, Eneko Spain 0:20:30 4:28:50 2:43:35 7:36:08 1 1
VANHOENACKER, Marino Belgium 0:21:45 4:22:32 2:51:28 7:38:59 2 2
ALEXANDER, Craig Australia 0:20:33 4:29:03 2:46:44 7:39:37 3 3
RAPP, Jordan United States 0:23:49 4:30:52 2:52:34 7:50:54 4 4
LEGH, Christopher Australia 0:21:36 4:36:04 2:51:44 7:52:29 5 5
BITTNER, Per Germany 0:21:49 4:41:15 2:51:47 7:58:28 6 6
JOHNSEN, Jimmy Denmark 0:21:52 4:46:25 2:48:07 7:59:37 7 7
JURKIEWICZ, Jeremy France 0:20:34 4:44:56 2:51:32 8:00:50 8 8
VABROUSEK, Petr Czech Republic 0:24:14 4:40:54 2:53:00 8:01:09 9 9
BUTTERFIELD, Tyler United States 0:21:58 4:31:59 3:04:41 8:02:06 10 10
LOWE, Thomas Great Britain 0:23:56 4:37:47 2:56:55 8:02:15 11 11
FETTELL, Clayton Australia 0:19:32 4:29:29 3:10:28 8:03:19 12 12
GRIFFIN, Leon Australia 0:21:43 4:46:23 2:53:18 8:05:28 13 13
DEL CORRAL, Victor Spain 0:22:43 4:52:11 2:48:04 8:06:50 14 14
CSOKE, Balazs United States 0:20:35 4:43:52 2:58:35 8:07:04 15 15
BURTON, Matt Australia 0:23:40 4:44:16 2:57:07 8:09:25 16 16
HAST, Jarmo Finland 0:21:46 4:47:15 2:56:52 8:09:57 17 17
KASTEN, Olaf Hong Kong 0:26:38 4:40:45 3:02:11 8:13:50 1 19
LYNCH, Barry Australia 0:23:14 4:54:04 2:52:30 8:14:57 1 20
HUME, Sam Australia 0:20:59 4:46:58 3:04:33 8:16:44 2 21
FARRELL, Gregory Australia 0:22:51 4:50:28 2:59:44 8:17:25 19 22
SCHIFFERLE, Mike Switzerland 0:28:55 4:35:29 3:07:13 8:17:28 20 23
RICHARDSON, Aaron Australia 0:23:11 4:45:42 3:04:42 8:17:59 2 24
ISRAEL, Todd Australia 0:21:43 4:39:01 3:15:37 8:20:37 21 25
FULLER, Brian Australia 0:22:37 4:47:41 3:08:41 8:23:33 1 26
SMITH, Timothy Australia 0:25:33 4:45:13 3:08:22 8:24:02 1 27
ANGUS, Damien Australia 0:23:37 4:41:09 3:15:56 8:24:47 3 28
CROSS, Ryan Australia 0:24:22 4:50:24 3:06:54 8:26:32 2 29
COPPOCK, Xavier Australia 0:25:31 4:42:50 3:15:20 8:27:40 4 31