Triathlon taking a dive

I don't blog too often, but this was a subject that couldn't fit in 140 characters or less. 
I have noticed how the sport of triathlon and ironman seems to be taking a backwards dive down the proverbial toilet. 
Since i began the sport in 2000, there was a lot of buzz around triathlon and ironman races. 
Granted there were quite a few less races on the world circuit, but the race organisers actually cared about their events. Putting on a kind of week long festival of promotions and activities with the triathlon at the end being the main event. 
The formula one series, tooheys blue, one summer, Saint George, Accenture series just to name a few. Now a lot of you outside Australia probably hadn't heard of these, but as an Australian that loved watching sports on a saturday afternoon, these racers had prime time television coverage creating local and national heros, with back stories and there town pride on the line. 
Ironman Australia is another example, first you had to qualify for this event, by racing a half ironman previously in the year and place well in your age category, making it special just to turn up and race, kind of like hawaii. 
Also the cut off time was shorter, as everyone that qualified was a decent athlete who could generally finish under 15hrs. 
This aside, the races had pride, promoting and paying big international names like Norman stadler, Paula Kiuru, Patrick Verney, Chris McCormack and Peter Reid to name a few.
People made to annual pilgrimage to watch another epic battle unfold amongst the sports greats. 
This race used to sell out a year in advanced like most ironman events, as the buzz was alive with people not wanting to miss out on the chance to race along side their previous heros. 
Now to look at races now, first you don't know what the difference is between a pro "ironman event" and an everyday ironman event, as there is no real clear way for the average joe to follow. and the entries are still open within a few weeks of the event, even now having to squeeze in half ironmans on the same day to make up the numbers. 
Why is this happening? my opinion is that you need to promote champions and heroes for people to follow and inspire to be or be apart of. 
Using a old model of hoping racers will just sell out because of its long history and brand, is a tired and used up model, especially when you don't respect the history in the first place.
You need a constant buzz, a new generation of inspired want to be ironmaners that want to line up on the start line like there chosen hero did. 
Ironman is a long expensive event to train and race for, for most people this is a bucket list item, with no buzz, tick this off then leave the bike in the garage. Onto the next fad, tough mudder, spartan, color run or crossfit etc...   
Start with the basics, the coverage is terrible, they just had a "championship event" last week at ironman texas, and there was no real coverage and you didn't really know what happened till after the event.
Lastly, the "olympic distance" is terrible. Putting a sprint in its place, is not just halving the distance, but halving the history and prestige of the event. 
You don't just go and make the olympic marathon, and go "oh we will just make it a half as it's too long," no the marathon has history and prestige because people stand up for their sport, they don't just let it all go down the toilet as it was the easier option at the time.   
Theres challenges of course, but there needs to be change. Otherwise i see a once booming and promising sport disappear into the realm of fads, like yogos and diablo.  


Kona, allot of peoples dream race and buckets list items to do, but for allot of us, it's either a hit or miss. 
Being in the sport of triathlon now for 15yrs starting at the age of 16, i've definitely gone through the roller coaster of "ups and downs" with the sport of triathlon and not trying to speak for everyone but it usually consists of a lot more 'downs' than 'ups'. 
With age and experience you try and learn from your mistakes and try and counter for the things you can control, i call them the "controllables", everything else it's out of your hands so i try not to think about the "what if's". 
For me my kona experience i did everything right on the "controllables" side of things, it's still and hard one to swallow but what happened for me race day was out of my hands.
A recap of what my race went like... 
The race started, and kona is a little more aggressive than your typical ironman event, everyone's fighting in the swim for that extra inch and no one's taking any prisoners, it's a tough swim as everyone there is quite good, so you're either fighting to stay in the group or your out the back, which no one wants especially me. 
My race was going to plan, got out with the front main group in the swim, as i collected my bike i notice my glasses was knocked off my bike in the mad scramble, was nothing i could do as i had to go with the race, no time to "look in lost out found".
Bike was hot to begin with, (as expected) i positioned myself nicely in the middle of the group making sure i'm not losing contact of the race. 
We (the main group) i  had just got onto Ka'ahumanu highway part of the bike course and the pace seem to have now settled, with the combination of my pre-race sunscreen and the sweat/humidity my arms were very slippery, i hit a bump in the road and went flying over the handlebars.    
I got up as quickly as i could (post 1st crash) and my bike chain was jammed up, so i lost nearly a minute getting back onto the bike, i was really sore riding now when i returned to the race, my entire left side was aching, but i tried to stay positive and hoped that i could possibly get a second wind that might bring me back into the race. 
I was losing time,  i lost any sort of momentum i had from that first crash, i still was trying to think of the positives and maybe just maybe i might have a great marathon as a saving grace. 
Approaching around 150km mark on the bike, for a split second i lost concentration on the bike and accidently road straight into the lava fields.
This was the nail in my coffin, that crash in the lava fields with the sharp hot rock, i just swelled up and to boot got severely burnt too, i couldn't move, my day was now over. 
Again the was a tough day to swallow, but having now some time to look back at it, it's "just life" as they say, and i got to ride a few more downs till hopefully i get back to some of those ever satisfying 'ups" 
Onwards and Upwards

Ironman Australia 30th Anniversary

As befits the 30th anniversary celebrations, the honours were hard and bravely fought at the Toyota IRONMAN Australia.

by Daniel Hoy 

The men’s race came down to the wire at Port Macquarie, Australia today as two former winners battled for bragging rights at the 30th anniversary of the world’s fourth oldest IRONMAN race.
The 2013 champion Luke Bell ran himself within grasp of leader, 2012 IRONMAN Australia winner Paul Ambrose, who managed to dig deep over the final 4kms to hold off Bell’s charge and claim the title for the second time.
Meantime Australian-based New Zealander Michelle Bremer, who has battled with prolonged injuries that many would have given in to, ran down her rivals to win her second IRONMAN crown.
Men’s race                                                                                                                                                          
Kiwi Graham O’Grady edged Bell and 2012 world champion Pete Jacobs out of the water with the latter pair stretching out on the bike.
Ambrose, who was runner-up last year and third at IRONMAN Canada, worked hard to bridge the gap out of the water and claimed the lead late in the bike leg.
Bell and Ambrose gaped Jacobs who started to fall behind on the bike. Ambrose decided it was time to turn on the jets, and built a seven-minute gap on Bell as he entered transition.
"I was isolated at the start on my own, and in that first 40km Luke and PJ put some time into me. But I just stuck to my plan and tried to stay strong," says Ambrose. "I gradually picked them up and then ended up with a margin on the bike."
Bell said he had decided to ease back over the final 45km on the bike.
"I didn’t want a death march on that run," Bell says.
Bell had the word patient written on the top tube of his bike, and that was his mantra for the day.
Sticking to his plan, Bell gradually ate into the leader’s advantage. He was five minutes down at the halfway point of the 42.2km marathon run, and just over a minute with 10kms to go. But as the catch seemed imminent, Ambrose dug deep and found some energy to hold off the change, going on to win in 8:35:52.
"I started getting splits that he was coming back," says Bell. "So I had a dip, started to dig deeper, kept going and then at 35km boom, big mushroom cloud and I ended up just battling to the finish line."
Bell finished runner-up 2:40 back with Australian Brian Fuller third in 8:49:38.
Ambrose was delighted to claim his second IRONMAN title after a couple of years without a win.
"I’m happy to win the 30th, being 30 it’s awesome. I was losing time to Luke, but I was hoping to get a second wind, which I didn't, I just had to shuffled quicker.
"As soon as I realized this was the 30th  I had to do this race, I didn't make any plans before this, no other races was that important as I wanted to give this race the respect it deserved."
Women’s race
Last year’s runner-up Lisa Marangon enjoyed a one minute advantage out of the swim from a bunch of chasers.
While Bremer forced her way to within a minute of the lead after the first lap of the challenging 180km bike, Marangon stretched the advantage ultimately to 2:36 from former winner and fellow Australian Jessica Fleming on to the run.
Bremer had faded back to 5:30 behind in fourth place.
Fleming, with a strong running pedigree, pushed to the lead by the 10km mark as Marangon withdrew, but gradually Bremer found her running legs. The 2011 IRONMAN Western Australia champion hit the lead at the 25km mark and from that point pulled away to win in 9:38:23. Fleming mighty impressively finished as runner-up 3:54 back and Australian compatriot Michelle Gailey third, more than 12 minutes behind the winner.
"That was awesome to win. I won my first at IRONMAN Western Australia and it was so surreal, I didn’t know what I was doing that day and didn’t take in the finish line," says Bremer. "But I made sure this time I enjoyed every minute of it, I high-fived as many people as I can, found my husband as well. It was awesome."
More than 1800 athletes were out on course chasing their own IRONMAN dreams.
Top 5 Men
1          Paul Ambrose               Australia           8:35:52
2          Luke Bell                       Australia           8:38:33
3          Brian Fuller                    Australia           8:49:38
4          Luke Martin                   Australia           8:56:18
5          Nick Baldwin                 Seychelles        8:59:43

Originally from:

Mooloolaba Triathlon

Since January this year (2015) i have decided for a bit of a change of scenery/venue from my typical Sydney summers.
I decided to move up to Mooloolaba Queensland on the sunshine coast of Queensland.
There were a few decisions which i made the move for,
Firstly as a ever growing population and infrastructure, the roads around Sydney/ Cronulla are starting to get abit crowded for my liking.
Secondly Mooloolaba sprang to mind, as back in my earlier days of my short course racing, i always loved my weekend away up in Mooloolaba for the triathlon weekend, which back then was the last race on the Australian calendar for major events before the winter began and it also doubled as the Australian Olympic distance championships, so everyone was here to "go out with a bang."
For the past 5yrs or so my focus has been on longer distance racing, and this hasn't changed much with my first major goal of the season is Ironman Australia on May 3rd. But now having this iconic race (literally just outside my door) i couldn't pass up the opportunity to race one of my favourite events growing up.
As i am now in a Ironman block, i didn't leave any room for a taper, and choose to compete in the non-drafting event as this would be more suited for my racing. Like they say, "great minds think alike' as to my surprise a few other seasoned Ironman athletes were probably thinking the same, with Tim O'donald and Tim Berkel to name a few also through their hat in the ring for a solid hit out.
I really enjoyed it, from the exit of the swim, the top 6th basically stayed together, it was very hard to get away on this bike course as it was quite a flat course with relatively no wind and a mere 7m draft rule means that it was unlikely anyone would break away.
So i turned it into a 40km TT basically, trying to remain on the front of the group as much as possible as a hard 40km effort wasn't going to take to much out of me.
The run began, we all took off fairly quickly as expected for short course racing, Young ITU athlete Somi and Odonald took off and were fighting it off for 1st and 2nd, i was in 4th till about 5km into the run where i managed to run myself into the final podium spot.
Couldn't of got a better day of racing, enjoyed it and looking forward to Port Mac which is a bit over 6 weeks away.

See you next time

Ironman Canada

The first North American IRONMAN was held in 1986 in Penticton Canada; the tradition and sole of Ironman Canada moved to a region of Whistler hosting this prestigious event. It is big enough to have all the amenities of a world-class resort, but has held on to its unique mountain culture and hospitality. The vibrant base Village, hiking trails, epic skiing and snowboarding, four championship golf courses, restaurants and bars, and accommodation to suit every budget, make it a natural fit for IRONMAN Canada.

Like a few of the "founding Ironmans" the history and the spirit of Ironman racing originated in these towns and communities. Like Ironman Australia moving from Foster Tuncurry to Port Macquarie, the venue has changed but the heart and prestige of these historic events has not.

This is why i came to Canada, i know now that their are numerous Ironman events spanning across the globe now, but for me i've always been drawn to the sole of the sport, not the destination. When preparing for a full Ironman mentally, i need some meaning behind the events, it's a long day and to go through the rigorous 8hrs plus racing i need to commit to the cause, so for me history is one of my key inspirations to go to this event.

Race day, was almost perfect conditions, the swim was clean beautiful calm waters (except of the 2nd lap) where you had to negotiate through the masses of an ammuter field, luckily it didn't slow me down too much and i was in a nice position exiting the water in 2nd place just on the toes of 1st.

Really didn't know what to expect on the bike, i arrived late into whistler with no time to look over the course, and the course maps where not very clear and did not really indicate how hilly the course was.

So i went out quite fast (as you do in racing) and took out the timex bike preme early in the race,

After which Uber biker (uber athlete) Marino Vanhoenacker put the hammer down on me and broke away shortly after down one of the descents.
I soon after settled into more of a reasonable bike pace to get through the Ironman in one piece.
By the closing stages of the bike, Marino was miles ahead crushing the bike and i was still 2nd but with defending champ Trevor Wurtele only a 1min or so back.
Starting the marathon i just tried to settle into a comfortable rhythm and not blow my gaskets too early.
Trevor soon passes me which he looked quick and comfortable, Jeff Symonds was which seemed to be miles behind at the first turn around on the run looked like he was too far back to make a difference in the podium.
Boy i was mistaken, it seemed not too long after that, that he caught me on the marathon. He was flying, running a 2.40 marathon on which was anything but a flat course.
Jeff ended up running into 2nd, during which i had to not give up too much emotionally or physically it would of been easy for me to just give up, it seemed like everyone was starting to look better than me, i just got on with it and just tried to do what i could do. Fortunately for me, Trevor had hit the wall, and i caught up with him with about 9 km's to go, by then i just grinded away and was fortunate to pull off another Ironman Podium for the year.
Just to show how well the mens race was, the top 3 (yes me too ;) all went under the previous course record so if was tight and fast!

Ironman Australia

Ironman Australia
Leading into Ironman Australia i had put together a pretty good summer of training behind me in Sydney, things seemed to be going well.
I also entered Ironman Melbourne as i thought that i might have a chance to sneak in a good race down there to put me in good stance to qualify for Ironman Hawaii.
Now looking back at that first move to race Melbourne, i was probably about 3 weeks shy of being race ready, and with a field like melbourne i should of really known better. 
So onwards and upwards, unfortunately i didn't finish Melbourne suffering bad cramps in my hip flexors and quads so i had to pull the pin, this gave me some adequate time to work on some kinks to polish me off and to get me ready for Ironman Australia.
Ironman Australia, everything seemed to be on track, so i approached the race with some confidence and a different race plan to Melbourne. 
My plan was to stick to a constant pace, don't worry so much about the factors around like the other athletes, just put together a race without any spikes in my threshold.
Problem with spiking, surging pushing myself outside the comfort zone, is that in a full ironman you can pay for it later down the track, and pay big! 
I felt like this was my problem with a race like Melbourne that i got so caught up with athletes around that i lost focus of my race plan ahead.
Ironman Australia; Everything looked like it was going ok, Bell and the french guy got a lead out of the swim on me, with Bell extending his lead even more on the bike.
I wasn't too concerned by the closing stages of the bike, i had kept to my race plan which was staying at an even threshold and i'd passed the french athlete so i was in 2nd with Bell having a considerable lead on the bike.
Starting the marathon in 2nd i wasn't too concerned about Bells lead, i knew he was racing 'scared' so to speak, not so much scared of us athletes, I think he was pushing too hard as he wasn't confident with his back end marathon trying to give himself a big buffer over the rest of us.
Unfortunately for him, it didn't pay off and he was reduced to walking.
My marathon started off a little shaky, my back had seized up for the first 15km of the run (i believe from sleeping on a bad hotel bed) which now looking back at the end result probably cost me the win at the end of the day.
The canadian guy who won, was a relatively unknown athlete to me, though it didn't matter if i knew him or not as i raced the way i raced despite my competition.
I eventually caught bell like i thought in the early stages of the 2nd half marathon, but unfortunately for me running so slow in the first half marathon till by back loosed up, i had lost quite some considerable time to the fast running canadian, so as i was just getting into first place, this would only be for a matter of seconds as the canadian was already shoulder-shoulder to take the lead for himself. 
By the closing stages of the marathon, the race looked like it was set in stone, the canadian was running well, but only slightly quicker than me, but it was enough for him to take the win.
I am still pleased with my race, as allot of my own analysis into my race, was mostly "cosmetic work" like having a good bed to sleep on, which could've been a 5min advantage enough to be the difference from winning to 2nd place.
Another bonus is that i was the first Australian, so technically that's my 2nd Australian title ;)

Australia, summer & Ironman

At the airport, about to embark on my US summer and race season ahead.
Before i do so, i thought i would update what's been happening in my Australian summer and recap on a epic day at Ironman Australia.
Since January my new years resolution was to take my next Ironman distance seriously, i've been a bit obnoxious with my last Ironman distance events, taking for granter the distance and preparations needed to perform well at the event.
I decided early that Ironman Australia would be the next Ironman that i would do, for 2 reasons. One it's been one of the most iconic races growing up in Australia for the past 20years and i could experience the race & prep with some of my closest friends and training partners.
Leading into the race, Sydney has been throwing a usually wet summer at us, but instead of doing what i usually do (complain and whinge) i just felt i inner calm, knowing what i got to do.
And i did it, from start to finish as i planned i went for it, i think watching the Australian swim trails i tried to channel "James Magnussen" (100m world record holder) and funny enough Port Macquarie local.
I got a nice lead and continued to push on the bike, but i felt really relaxed at the same time, was a great experience soaking in the crowed and seeing my mates cheering and racing at the same time.
Lastly the run was feeling good for the most part, till i managed to get the worse blisters i've ever felt about half way through the run. I was in so much pain as every foot stroke was landing right on the sweet spot of the blisters. And cheesy enough i had that old fashion saying in my mind "pain is temporary, regret is forever", that in the back of my head, i ignored the pain and enjoyed such a satisfying win.