Monday, October 31, 2011

New Breed(s)?

Longcourse or Shortcourse? Up until recent times their has been 2 pathways for a triathlete to take. Race for your federation and Olympic Dreams with the ITU or go for Ironman Glory.

This season however, the introduction of the 5150 Non-Draft Olympic Series and next season with ITU adding 3 to 4 sprint distance events, things are changing.

In years previous you would see ITU athletes crossing over to Life Time Fitness ND Olympic races and doing well. The TOP ones can still do this, however the middle ones not so much. That's because their are now ND Olympic 'specialists'. Perhaps fed up with their federations or the style of ITU racing, these athletes train and target ND Olympic: Cameron Dye and Nikki Butterfield are such examples.

The days where an ITU athlete could swap over to a TT bike days before a ND race and expect to be in the mix have past. David Dellows win this weekend in Noosa speaks to this. He out rode most of the ITU boys by 3-4 minutes over 40k. Time on a TT bike and more specific training paid off. Even Macca, who switched back from TT events just less than a year ago, appeared to have lost a bit of his TT legs in comparison. This 1-2% loss wasn't noticeable in years past, but with the level of competition rising and more prize $ available in these type of events, that couple percent is what's needed for the ND Olympic Specialist to hold off the 'wet runners' over the 10k. Greg Bennett's win at Hy-Vee was won on the bike over Hunter Kemper. The blatant contrast of Greg riding TT to Hunter riding ITU setup clearly showed that conditioning the body on a TT rig pays the bills.

This being said, the TOP ITU athletes still seem to cross over fine. Take Javier Gomez's display in Dallas and Lisa Norden's domination in Hy-Vee,LA,Dallas. The Top ITU atheltes have so much natural talent that they can do this. Some of the TOP 70.3 athletes seem to fair ok as well. Paul Matthews and Melissa Rollinson both showed us that in Noosa. If Andy Potts focused his season on ND Olympic, I think he would be the man to beat. Rasmus Henning as well, 5th in Des Moines for an Ironman is not too shabby.

The ideal ND Olympic athlete will be one who has the fine balance of ITU speed with ND strength. Strong all rounder who can also tolerate a more aggressive/aero bike position.

So how about the ITU Sprints? That is really yet to be determined. I think we have seen a preview of it with Jonny Brownlee winning Lausanne two years running and winning just about every French GP there is with his brother, but will we see athletes begin to specialise in the distance if approved for Rio 2016? Maybe we see young talent moving up from Junior compete at the distance a few more years, just with added competition, before doubling the distance. Either way, I think we see different faces winning ITU Olympic races than sprints. I feel the sprint distance will form yet another discipline in Triathlon where pure dedication is needed for ultimate success.

It is great to see the sport of triathlon changing like this and forming new niches for athletes. Lets just not let it get to the point of Olympic swimming where one athlete can win perhaps 8 gold medals...that would be just silly:)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Galveston 5150

Up and at them this morning just after 5. Been a while since I raced with the sun rising, when the race was done there was still a whole day to be had!

With quite a small field for this race, 15'ish pro men, the swim was fairly quiet. Three guys got a 30s gap on the matty reed train pack that I was in to T1.
Off on the bike the first few k felt just like an ITU, i was pushing a good gear and making up ground. However after that initial buzz I found myself struggling into the headwind on my ownsome with wooden legs. Interesting how specific triathlon has come in each discipline. 40k is 40k right? Different game there on a TT bike, and I couldn't match the guys today on the ride coming out of T2 in 8th.

Was able to salvage a decent run with the 3rd fastest split to come home in 6th. Not what I had wanted and expected from myself but more time on a TT bike and I feel I can compete at these 5150 races.

Impressive race by Matt Reed, coming off kona just two weeks ago.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Change of Pace

Normally I would never watch College football. However, when in Texas, where fooseball reigns supreme I actually find it quite comforting.

Arrived down here in Galveston(an island just south of Houston) for the 5150 late Thursday night. Bit strange here, very deserted and odd tourist attractions. Nice temperature with a steady breeze off the Gulf. Mosquitos though are worst i've experienced in some time. Big bruts that are beyond aggressive, they go for your eyes!

Training leading into this bout has gone well. Adjustment to the TT bike was seamless with the Noa re-fit and legs have felt good on it and running off. Swimming has been consistent and with a non-wetsuit swim tomorrow it will be worth all the meters done this year.

While here I have felt quite lethargic and have had a coma-nap each day ranging from 2-3hrs!? As I experienced the few days leading up to Edmonton though, lethargic can be a good thing (body subconscious taper?).

This race no doubt will be won/lost on the bike I feel. The course reminds me a bit of Wasa Lake, big out and back. I've never raced a USAT non-draft event before, so I was the goof asking endless questions at the briefing tonight. I hope to make it off the bike without infringing somehow on the 'stagger' rule.

Thanks to Brent and Simon for setting me up 'Aero-style'

Will update how she goes.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


"Huatulco: A race that everyone should experience in their lifetime"

After crossing the finish in Huatulco I felt two things: relief and accomplishment. It is a freaking hard course and with temps near the 40's it stings that much more.

GOing up the 20% climb the 8th and final time I told myself, "this is the last time you have to grind up this bloody thing for 12 months", well I was wrong, looks like 7months with the release of the WC 2012 schedule.

In what was a good result for me, 16th has never hurt so much.

It was a great time leading up and after the race staying with Brent, Chantell and her husband Jim. Good eats, good company and beautiful coastline to take in.

Coach Jon and I were going to look at how things went in Huatulco before planning the remaining fall schedule. Still feeling strong this late in the year, I am feeling motivated to train/race.

I'm getting a kick out of the simplest of workouts. Yesterday's swim had a 10x150 moderate set where swimming stroke for stroke 3 abreast I got into such a great rhythm. A 90' spin on the TT rig, I took it out on the highway and was reminded of a long ride with Jon Bird earlier in the summer. We were headed back into town from East Sooke and took the Highway back in from Colwood. Bird had been crushing the last section on the sooke hwy, but once we hit the trans canada he started pushing an even bigger gear. I found myself praying for a red light, and just held his wheel to McKenzie. As we parted ways I remember him saying "sometimes I get so amped while riding on the hwy with the cars.."

So, next weekend I will take these Wet-running legs down to Houston and race the 5150 in Galveston. Noa has fit me up very nicely on my now outdated TT bike. Being 2 years since I last rode it, the first ride felt quite strange but todays brick session began to feel more relaxed and powerful.

Non-drafting racing, it has been awhile....