New in for testing: HUUB Anemoi Aero Triathlon Suit – £289.99
Chris Hovenden will be busy over the coming weeks and months with some brand new kit and equipment that has arrived for testing. One of those items is the latest triathlon kit from HUUB, the Anemoi Aero Triathlon Suit.
We’ll be bringing you a full review once Chris has had a chance to put it through its paces, but here are his initial comments on a product that has seen a collaboration with one of Great Britain’s fastest cyclists.
HUUB has cultivated an image of pushing the boundaries when it comes to innovation. The HUUB Anemoi Aero TriathlonSuit already appears popular with professional long-distance triathletes (such as Elliot Smales, winner of IRONMAN 70.3 Weymouth 2018) and the Derby based company claims it is: ’The fastest trisuit on the market today…’
To design the Anemoi, HUUB linked up with former age-group triathlete turned cyclist (multiple national champion on the track and in time trials), Dan Bigham. Dan, more importantly, also happens to be an aerodynamicist. With Bigham’s input HUUB has sought to build on the popular Dave Scott Long Course Triathlon Suit, in particular its ability to help save you time on the bike leg.
It is commonly accepted that when on the bike your body accounts for approx. 80% of your drag and that aerodynamics are a significant factor when travelling at anything above 10 mph. If you’re serious about improving at triathlon you should be considering how to become more aero on the bike.
In its drive to provide the fastest suit possible, the HUUB Anemoi Triathlon suit looks to incorporate some impressive tech:
Aerodynamic materials are faster through the air than your bare skin (even if shaved) – that’s why pro-cyclists often sacrifice a good tan-line for shorts that end closer to the knee than mid-thigh and HUUB has taken this on board when designing the Anemoi, the arms come close to the elbow and the legs end just above the knee.
The shoulders and back are ribbed to help you cheat the wind, whilst the underarm is netted to aid ventilation. There is also a netted rear pocket which is said to be ‘aero’.
HUUB says that the cut of the suit uses its Arms Neutral™ design to aid swim comfort as well as aero efficiency on the bike.
Interestingly, neoprene strips (Neoprene Trip Technology – patent pending), run down your thighs. I expect the concept is similar to that of the ATS™ strips and calf-guards, both normally found on your lower leg, that are extremely popular in domestic time-trialling.
The HUUB Anemoi Aero Triathlon suit is available in two colour ways: Black/Petrol or Black/White.
I’ll be putting the Huub Anemoi Aero Triathlon Suit through its paces in the coming weeks and the early season. Full review to follow.
That triathlon project followed on the heels of previous Academy initiatives in cycling, a direction which continues to gain huge interest with 30,000 entrants signing up for the recent Zwift Academy Program, to try and win a contract with the U23 Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka cycling team.
A Brit did make the final three this year – Ollie Peckover – but the winner has been announced as Martin Lavrič from Slovenia. Full press release below – along with an excellent video insight into their final selection process in Cape Town recently.
Slovenian rider emerges as the strongest of 30,000 Zwift Academy entrants to claim professional contract with Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka U23 UCI Pro Cycling Team
Zwift, the global online fitness platform for cyclists, has confirmed Martin Lavrič as the winner of the second annual Men’s Zwift Academy Program. Lavric will join the U23 Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka for 2019.
The groundbreaking talent ID program saw a record 30,000 riders enter for 2018. While most participate as a means to improve fitness, U23 athletes seized the opportunity to compete for a professional contract with Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka.
19 year old Lavric emerged as the pick of the three finalists who travelled to Team Dimension Data’s end of season camp in Cape Town, South Africa.
“This is a dream come true!” says Martin emphatically. “I entered Zwift Academy with an eye on a semi-final place, as I wanted to win an Elite smart trainer, but I walked away with a pro contract! I have experience racing at a UCI continental level, but this was a huge opportunity for me to get noticed by a top professional cycling team. It will be a huge change, but I’m really relishing the opportunity.”
Lavric fended off Alex West (New Zealand) and Ollie Peckover (Great Britain) to secure a 1 year contract for 2019.
“Quite of few of us here at Dimension Data are big fans of Zwift, so the Academy is is something great to be a part of.” commented Level 25 Zwifter Edvald Boasson Hagen. “A few of the senior riders live in Tuscany, where the U23 team are based and I’m sure they’ll keep a watchful eye on Martin.”
All riders were under heavy scrutiny, having to complete a strict series of workouts and races both in the main draw, and throughout the semi finals. Completing the workouts gave Zwift’s panel of expert coaches the opportunity to look at each rider’s power profiles and ascertain where their strengths and weaknesses lay. The Zwift races meanwhile, serve as a great test of racecraft, proving that these riders not only have impressive power profiles, but that they also know how to deploy that power in the most effective means possible. Zwift Academy races presented opportunities for various types of riders and included circuit races, for powerful riders, climbing circuits for lightweight riders and also TT races for those able to go solo. All three finalists really impressed the Zwift Academy Coaching panel with their raw ability.
“We’ve seen some really strong riders come through the Academy again this year.” says Elliot Lipski, Coach to Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka. “In fact, I think the pool of talent goes even deeper this year. It’s not just a numbers game, it’s also important to see how the riders react to different scenarios out on the road, how they communicate and how they fit in with the team. These are all incredibly important skills when fitting into a team that spends a lot of time on the road and needs to function as a unit. Having spent some time with the riders here in Cape Town, We’re really confident in Martin. He showed real instinct out on the road, and the other riders took to him well. He’s got a great program with us at Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka and a direct route into the World Tour if he proves himself. Now is just the beginning.”
“This year’s Zwift Academy has been a step up again.” adds Eric Min, Zwift Co-Founder and CEO. “On a personal level, I got a lot from it, both in terms of fitness, and also through the enjoyment of leading rides and interacting with the community. I’d like to offer my congratulations to Martin. I’m really excited to see how he performs next year – we’ll be behind him all the way!”
The 2018 Zwift Academy, along with the Ride for Qhubeka challenge which took place during the week of the training camp, saw 850 bikes donated to Qhubeka, which will be distributed throughout South Africa in order to bring people in rural communities closer to healthcare, jobs, and education.
Two 1990s icons take on a modern super-bike in the wind tunnel
(Press the play button above to watch the full video)
We had an interesting email a couple of weeks ago from Xavier Disley, the founder and Director / guru / technology geek (!) behind AeroCoach (www.aero-coach.co.uk). Xavier is one of the ‘go to’ men in the industry on all things aerodynamics, technology, clothing and more, that are influencing many cycling and triathlon developments around the world.
They were heading to the wind tunnel at the new Boardman Performance Centre in Evesham to do some interesting research which had a fascinating triathlon connection. How would two classic and innovative 1990s bikes perform when measured against a modern superbike, which was produced within the more restrictive UCI rules?
Would we like to come along and watch it all happen? You bet we would… and so last Thursday we headed up the M40 to Worcestershire, to see how the data stacked up.
The modern bike would be one of the benchmark triathlon and time trial machines of recent years – which still performs fantastically – the Cervélo P5. The actual frameset being tested was previously owned by Frederik van Lierde, who also won the 2013 IRONMAN World Championship on a P5. It’s a bike with a well proven heritage.
The Cervélo would be tested against two 90s machines, the Zipp 3001 beam bike and – quite appropriately given the location and Chris Boardman’s connection to the brand – a Lotus 110.
Chris Boardman famously won Individual pursuit Gold at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics on a Lotus. He later set the Hour record (which still actually stands, now known as the ‘UCI Best Human Effort’ or ‘Ultimate Hour’, prior to rule changes introduced in 2014), of 56.375km, utilising the “superman-style”.
The Lotus 110 (pictured below) is the road/TT version of that iconic machine designed and developed by Mike Burrows / Lotus.
*** WATCH THE FULL VIDEO ABOVE FOR THE BEST INSIGHT ***
All three bikes were tested – both with and without the rider – having been set up as closely as possible in terms of components. The same front and rear wheels / tyres were used on all three bikes (an AeroCoach AEOX front and AEOX disc rear). The same 1X chainset was used on all three bikes. The Cervélo was tested with its standard 3T Aduro handlebars, while the Zipp and Lotus used a 3T Ventus bar (which was swapped between tests).
The same rider, Alex, rode all three bikes in the same kit in the same position on all bikes, which is why you’ll see additional risers on the tribars on the Lotus, due to its lower stack height. While the P5 comes with integrated Magura brakes, the Zipp and Lotus had TriRig Omega X calipers.
Testing was carried out at a range of yaw angles from 0 to 15 degrees in 2.5 degree increments (the bike is attached to a rotating force plate within the wind tunnel). The yaw angle in simple terms reflects the effective wind angle that the rider experiences (a combination of the direction and speed of travel, with the direction and speed of wind).
Looking only at ‘head on’ aerodynamics does not give a complete picture, with most considering the 0 to 10 degree range is reflective of the typical range of yaw angles you would experience in the real world.
It was close… but modern wins. Watch the short video below for Xavier summing up the results, the initial findings and his thoughts shortly after the testing was completed.
Every aero data-geek likes a graph, right? First up, the CdA (Coefficient of Drag area), for each of the three bikes – with rider – across a range of yaw angles from 0 to 15 degrees. Aerodynamic drag is the major resistive force slowing you down on a bike, applying to both the bike itself and to a much larger degree, the rider. In simple terms, the lower your CdA the more aerodynamic you are, and the faster you can ride with the same power output.
As we can see here, the P5 out-performed the Zipp and the Lotus at all yaw angles.
Next, taking that data and converting it to power outputs (watts) required to travel at 45kph. This highlights that the Zipp 3001 and Lotus 110 were very close in terms of performance. The Cervélo was a clear winner – but the margin of victory was relatively small (four to five watts difference), suggesting that these 20+ year old bikes were still impressive performers, despite the advances in technology and developments over the past two decades.
What does that mean in practical terms?
Ok, so unless you are Cameron Wurf or Andrew Starykowicz, the chances are that you are unlikely to be completing an Ironman at 45kph average. So, what advantage might the P5 (in this example, for this rider), have over the Zipp and Lotus for a more typical Age-Group athlete, all other things being equal?
“For this athlete completing an Ironman bike split in five hours on the Cervélo, their power requirement would be just over 200 watts. That same physiological performance on the Zipp/Lotus would see them finishing approx. 1.5-2 minutes slower. For a six hour Ironman athlete, that time saving would be approx. 2.5-3 minutes.”
There is another interesting aspect to perhaps consider too. One of the advantages of the Zipp frame is that some athletes can find it more comfortable over longer distances because of the elastomer suspension of the beam. That 1.5-2 minutes ‘saving’ could easily be wiped out if back pain means you are not comfortable enough and have to sit up out of the aero position regularly.
A fascinating result all round really. The modern classic, the Cervélo P5 – designed within the restrictions of the current UCI regulations – still performs faster than the two competitor bikes in this test. And that is measured against restriction free designs considered ground-breaking in their day.
At the same time, that we are two decades further on and these ‘old’ bikes still measure up well against a “cream of the crop” bike that you can buy today, means that should you be lucky enough to have one, you can also be quite content with your ride too.
A big thank you to Xavier and his AeroCoach team (Jessica Rhodes-Jones and Richard Bussell), for their invitation to follow this testing in person. Thanks for your time and answering our (many) questions on the day too. We’ve got more content coming from the day to be released soon.
For more information on AeroCoach, follow them on these links:
Favourites retain their titles over three days in Alcudia, Mallorca
As highlighted earlier today, the absence of Day Two leader, Caroline Livesey, from today’s Marathon on the third and final day of racing at Long Course Weekend Mallorca indicated that everything was pointing towards repeat winners. That proved to be one of the easier predictions to make, with both Lucy Gossage and Tom Vickery also winning the Marathon event overall, to finish with a comfortable winning margin in the overall standings.
Still on the return to fitness, Caroline did run the Half Marathon today – “Just took it steady and pelvis was pain free which is the main thing!” – and so she can be very content with her LCW experience, despite not being able to take on the full distance on the final day.
After a disappointing ride yesterday, Caroline’s husband Mark bounced back with a strong 2:56:54 marathon which brought him right back up the standings, just missing the podium by 31 seconds.
Third place in the Long Course Weekend women’s standings went to super-veteran, Michelle Parsons, who remains just as tough as she has for the last 20+ years having recently won the Hispaman Xtreme Triathlon at 52 years young.
Marathon Results – Monday 29th October 2018 (Day Three)
3 weeks.2 70.3s.1 Long course weekend.1 mountain climb (the hardest part of all of them).Not surprised i'm smashed! Would highly recommend all 3 races (Lanza 70.3, Challenge Peguera and @LCWMallorca) for some end of season fun with minimal faff. Next up for me is Patagonman…. pic.twitter.com/1qJyGn4tvk
Team Livesey lead the way in Alcudia after opening swim
The Husband and wife duo of Mark and Caroline Livesey hold a narrow lead after the first discipline at the second edition of Long Course Weekend Mallorca. Day One of the ‘iron-distance over three days’ format comprises the 3.8km swim in Alcudia Bay, followed by a 172km bike leg on Sunday and the Marathon on Monday.
I’m particularly pleased to see Caroline back in racing action. As you may remember, Caroline suffered a road rage attack in May 2017 which resulted in a broken sacrum, something she has been dealing with the results of ever since and struggling to try and get back to full health and fitness, something we spoke to her about in January this year. Fingers crossed that the next couple of days go well for you.
Mark Livesey and defending champion Tom Vickery below!
“Thanks so much for the support… it really does mean the world”
The 2018 IRONMAN World Championship will be one for the memories – and certainly one that will require a re-writing of the record books! Second again (and inside the previous course record), it was another great day for Lucy Charles (read all about it HERE). Still feeling the pain of her efforts on Saturday, Lucy reflects here on a very special day.
Watch her video message above for her thoughts on an incredible race.
“There were times this year I didn’t think I would get here”
It’s been one of the triathlon stories of the year, brilliantly reflected through the emotional documentary, The Man with the Halo.
12 months after breaking his neck on the course of the IRONMAN World Championship in Kona, Hawaii, Great Britain’s Tim Don is back – and tomorrow, he will be entering the water on Dig Me Beach and starting the most iconic race in the sport alongside the world’s best. It’s been an incredible journey and a truly inspiring comeback.
With less than 24 hours until the cannon fires, Tim has sent through a personal message to Tri247 readers. Take his advice, enjoy your Kona party, cheer on the Brits – and perhaps raise a glass to a remarkable recovery.
2020 World Champs to New Zealand – with a late November date
Thursday’s Press Conference at the IRONMAN World Championship in Kona, Hawaii also provided the opportunity for Andrew Messick, CEO and President of IRONMAN, to announce that the 2020 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship will be heading to Taupõ, New Zealand. Next year’s race will of course be held much close to home in Nice, France.
Here is the full announcement.
IRONMAN ANNOUNCES TAUPÕ, NEW ZEALAND AS HOST OF THE 2020 IRONMAN 70.3 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
IRONMAN, a Wanda Sports Holdings company, announced today that the right to host the 2020 IRONMAN® 70.3® World Championship triathlon has been awarded to Taupõ, New Zealand. This will be the first time IRONMAN® holds a world championship event in New Zealand and the second time this world-class event has been hosted in the Oceania region. The event will also move from its traditional late August-early September race date and will now take place on November 28-29, 2020 with the women racing on Saturday and the men racing on Sunday. This shift will take advantage of New Zealand’s peak time of year with mild temperatures in their late spring early summer months.
With a strong IRONMAN history that spans 20 years, Taupõ, New Zealand has been a host city to the IRONMAN New Zealand triathlon since 1999, and in 2017 received the IRONMAN Athletes’ Choice Awards for Best Host City Experience, Best Race Venue, Best Overall Run, Will Attend Next Year; becoming one of IRONMAN’s most iconic and popular events. The city also plays host to IRONMAN 70.3 Taupõ triathlon which earned the IRONMAN 70.3 Athletes’ Choice Award for Overall Satisfaction. The world championship is the pinnacle event in the IRONMAN 70.3 Series, and with the event’s global rotation that began in 2014, it showcases the best venues IRONMAN has to offer around the world.
“We are pleased to bring the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship back to the Oceania region,” said Andrew Messick, CEO and President of IRONMAN. “Taupõ is unique and beautiful destination with a local community that has embraced IRONMAN events and the thousands of athletes for 20 years now. We are excited to welcome some of the world’s most elite triathletes to what will no doubt be a fantastic world championship event.”
Athletes will have the chance to qualify for the 2020 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship triathlon at over 110 global qualifying events in locations such as Austria, China, Germany, Spain, South Africa, Sweden and the Americas.
“The two-day event attracts around 5,000 competitors, 13,500 supporters and media from all four corners of the globe,” said Taupō District Mayor David Trewavas. “This is as big as it is ever going to get. We are talking the best of the best. Winning the hosting rights for this event not only re-emphasises that our district is the Events Capital, but it also further cements Taupō as being the home of all things IRONMAN in New Zealand.”
The Great Lake Taupõ District is rich in history and is one of the world’s most unique and picturesque areas. Located within a short drive of New Zealand’s main centers, the Great Lake Taupõ district is at the epicenter of the North Island. Situated in the center of the North Island of New Zealand, you will find fascinating volcanic landscape and a cultural heritage dating back to the arrival of Māori in New Zealand in the 14ᵗʰ century. The Great Lake Taupõ District is one of the most pure, beautiful and unspoiled areas in the country and encompasses the lakeside towns of Taupõ, Turangi, Kinloch and Mangakino. As a popular year-round destination, it houses the largest freshwater crater lake in Australasia, geothermal attractions, and the mountains and ski areas of Tongariro National Park, a dual World Heritage National Park.
“We are thrilled to announce Taupõ, New Zealand as the host of the 2020 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship,” said Diana Bertsch, Vice President of World Championships for IRONMAN. “Taupõ is an incredible location and natural fit. New Zealand’s historical, cultural and familial ties to Hawai’i are significant and further connect our IRONMAN World Championship and IRONMAN 70.3 Championship events. This is an important milestone and we look forward to putting the scenic Great Lake Taupõ district on the world stage.”
The swim portion will take place in the beautiful waters of Lake Taupõ, followed by a single-loop bike course, and a run course that will entail two loops on Lake Terrace and the Lions Walk adjacent to Lake Taupõ. Athletes will finish on Lake Terrace next to Colonel Roberts Reserve. The IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship is part of a week-long festival that will include a range of lifestyle events for the community and visitors to enjoy.
“In IRONMAN circles, this is equivalent to the Rugby World Cup or Americas Cup so we have the opportunity to deliver something really special,” said District Events Manager Steve Giles. “This will give our community a chance to not only volunteer in an international event, but also to showcase our district like never before.”
Prior to the 2020 edition taking place in Taupõ, the 2019 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship is taking place on September 7 and 8, 2019 in Nice, France; it will be the first time IRONMAN holds a world championship event in France.
It’s not the first time that it’s been suggested or talked about, but in a great video released this week by Zwift, Great Britain’s IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship Silver medallist, Lucy Charles, has spoken about a potential switch to ITU racing in the lead up to Tokyo 2020.
“I’ve definitely thought about doing the Olympic Distance… I’m definitely still young enough to have the speed for it… I haven’t ruled out the Tokyo Olympics”
Lucy would certainly have the support of one industry veteran, Brett Sutton, the coach of Lucy’s greatest rival over the 70.3 and Ironman distance, Daniela Ryf. He is also the coach of Nicola Spirig, Olympic Gold medallist in 2012 and Silver medallist at Rio 2016:
Re-read for some. Suggesting Charles is UK best hope for 2020 Olympic medal (yes, short course) + Kona podium hardly a slight. Also don't consider 'hanging on' to strongest cyclist in the sport that devastating a critique.https://t.co/Z6kAntD3TO
The Olympic Games certainly has a strong attraction for Charles, who had hoped to make it to London 2012 as an Open Water Swimmer. A change of sporting direction shortly after that would prove to be triathlon’s gain.
Is it a realistic target? Well, I think we can safely say that she has swimming ability covered and would, at the very least, be a match for the likes of Jess Learmonth, Flora Duffy and Katie Zaferes who have broken away in the water on numerous instances in recent years and often not been seen again until the finish.
Cycling – some additional technical skills of the draft-legal format would surely be towards the top of her ‘needs’ list, but given the ability she has shown to be able to pick up new sports and excel in those, that shouldn’t be a stumbling block. In truth, we’ve seen World Triathlon Series race winners achieve success in recent years while looking technically awful on two wheels. Flora Duffy is arguably the bike-handling benchmark right now, but Lucy would not have to reach her heights to be successful. In 2018 Daniela Ryf has shown that she is almost certainly the strongest female cyclist we have ever seen in Middle and Long distance triathlon, and during her ITU career Daniela won on the World Triathlon Series in Seoul (2010). Lucy came off the bike with her in South Africa this year. She can ride a bike.
Overall, with the appropriate adjustment in training, I don’t see anything to suggest that she wouldn’t be capable of reaching T2 with the leaders at WTS/World Cup level in relatively short time.
Running – as we know, you need to have run speed to reach the top in ITU racing and that might, at first glance, appear to be the biggest obstacle. However, check out Lucy’s progress over 5km over the last five years, all on the same Gunpowder parkrun course.
2014 – 19:33
2015 – 19:02
2016 – 18:07
2017 – 17:54
2018 – 16:46
What’s interesting to note is that this progress has been achieved while focussed on – and improving ever year – at Middle and Long Distance triathlon. Her best 16:46 5km time was achieved one week before the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. That time would suggest that her current 10km time – run only – would be circa 35 minutes, arguably a little quicker than that given that the parkrun course is held on gravel tracks. That’s a very solid starting position for a just turned 25 year-old who has shown consistent year-on-year improvement – who doesn’t have a decade plus of running pedigree either.
The biggest obstacle to Lucy’s potential thoughts of serious ITU racing may well be the strength-in-depth of the current GB squad. With Vicky Holland, Georgia Taylor-Brown, Jessica Learmonth, Jodie Stimpson, Non Stanford and Sophie Coldwell currently leading the way and with others not far behind, simply getting race experience and access to top level racing could be difficult. Olympic selection begins in 2019 and competition for places to gain access to those selection races will be intense.
If Lucy is serious, the best thing she can do is post-Kona, sit down with the British Triathlon Performance Squad management and explain her ambitions and seek guidance as to where and how she can get ‘in’ to the racing programme as a non-funded athlete. Checking out the schedule for early season ETU Triathlon European Cup races might be a wise move too…
Will we be seeing much more of Lucy Charles on her Specialized road bike rather than the Shiv Tri bike from 2019?!
“I’ve doubted myself quite a lot over the last few months”
After finishing fifth at this past weekend’s Super League Triathlon Jersey event, I spoke to 2012 ITU World Champion and two-time Olympic medallist, Jonathan Brownlee, about his SLT experience and his frustrating 2018 season.
A win at the Beijing International Triathlon, second at the Lausanne ITU Triathlon World Cup and a series of World Triathlon Series top ten finishes would be a dream season for some, but for an athlete that once went almost four years with close on 50 consecutive podium finishes, it is one – in his words – he regards as “terrible”.
In this piece Jonathan discusses mistakes he has made this year, getting injured, lacking confidence and outlines some of the things that he’s learned along the way. “I used to be able to throw any training I wanted at my body and it could take it and I would get fitter and come out the other side…”
27-28 October 2018 – Forte Village Resort, Sardinia, Italy
As we hit mid-September, thoughts may be turning towards the off-season and taking your foot off the gas for a while. However, if you are still feeling strong, started your season late or would like to combine a late-season holiday with a race in a stunning location, then there are still options out there.
Now in its sixth year, Challenge Forte Village (www.fortevillagetriathlon.com) will be the final race of the 2018 Challenge Family European season. That will certainly ensure a top quality professional field as one of the last opportunities to secure points in the Challenge Family World Ranking and earn a share of the $165,000 bonus pool.
The event has always attracted British athletes, with Susie Cheetham winning in 2015 and Laura Siddall second in 2017. Laura will be racing again this year – and has this message to British athletes out there considering joining her.
The venue for the event if the 5* Forte Village Resort and the event is renowned for its great organisation and attention to detail. Competitors who choose to stay at the resort will benefit from a discount on their race registration, while staying at the venue also means having transition only seconds away from their rooms. Importantly, your carbo-loading will be aided by breakfast served being served from 4.30am on race day!
To get more of a feel for the event, check out these great images from the 2017 edition, courtesy of José Luis Hourcade.
Vincent Luis repeats as World Triathlon Grand Final winner
12 months ago (HERE), the title was “Grand Final to Vincent Luis, World title for Mario Mola” – the same again this year for Gold Coast, as it was for Rotterdam.
Mario Mola’s ITU World Championship three-peat matched the three back-to-back championships of Javier Gomez from 2013 to 2015, as Spain continues its stranglehold on men’s ITU Senior Championship title. Such is his consistency, you certainly wouldn’t bet against him adding a fourth in 2019.
Also worthy of note is this – the top three finishers in this years World Series are all coached by former British Triathlon Head Coach, Joel Filliol.
Really disappointed with today. I thought I had a decent race in me. First ever DQ in any sporting event. Was on the wrong side of the buoy and I’ve seen it on video. But was disorientated after being hit and held under the water in the roughest swim I’ve ever done.
Luis wins WTS gold and Mola earns World title in magnificent Gold Coast finale
Vincent Luis capped a brilliant day for France on the Gold Coast on Sunday afternoon, following the team’s U23-Junior Mixed Relay World title with a WTS gold of his own on a blowy afternoon in Brisbane. Mario Mola’s own place in the sport’s history books was rarely in doubt as he crossed the line in second place looking typically assured en-route to securing a remarkable third Series win. South Africa’s Richard Murray crossed the line for a hard-earned bronze, while Jacob Birtwhistle’s seventh place saw him take Series bronze.
“I have a lot of feelings,” said Spain’s 2018 ITU World Champion Mola afterwards. “It has been a great season and finishing with a second place behind my training partner – it was a great race. I’ll try to make it four in a row next year and it’s in my hands to come back next year and be better.”
Vincent Luis was delighted with his second WTS Grand Final gold in as many years, a result that also saw him take second in the 2018 overall Series, saying; “I didn’t expect that. I felt good in the run and I thought ‘Why not attack? I’m third in the world, I have nothing to lose’. Plus, if I have to finish second to anyone, I’m happy it is Mario.”
The choppy waters made for difficult swim conditions, but Luis spearheaded the lead group at the halfway point, ever-present Richard Varga tucked in behind him with South Africa’s Henri Schoeman and Jonathan Brownlee in close pursuit.
The front trio looked that way through the first transition and onto the Gold Coast highway for the 40km, 8-lap ride. Schoeman, Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt, Luis and Brownlee pushing hard with France’s Dorian Coninx and Belgium’s Marten Van Riel, until Luis’ back wheel left him and he and van Riel hit the tarmac.
Quickly back up and riding, the only damage done was to the rhythm and momentum of that lead group, Van Riel then deciding to try and push out alone at the 20km mark, opening up an 11-second lead one lap later. He was soon caught, but then pushed on again, this time with Blummenfelt in tow, the pair driving forward with everything they had to try and earn some light ahead of the likes of Mola ahead of the run.
On the final lap it was Van Riel and Blummenfelt out front by 35 seconds while Mola joined Luis and Richard Murray who were jockeying for second place in the series with Birtwhistle, part of a train of more than 30 athletes mere seconds behind.
Then, with just over 1km to go and all the hard work of carving out that gap done, Van Riel suffered the heartache of a chain drop and Blummenfelt was into T2 solo with the prospect of a mentally difficult individual run ahead as he donned his trademark white headband.
Van Riel came into T2 now 28 seconds behind him but was lifted by the crowd. Just a few seconds back came the combined talents of Murray, Luis, Brownlee, Mola and Birtwhistle among a host of others.
Blummenfelt’s lead was shaved back by half by the time he came through to complete the first lap, followed 17 seconds behind by Henri Schoeman and Mario Mola.
At the u-turn with 6.5km to go, Blummenflet could clearly see the red suit of Mola bearing down on him and it wasn’t long before the inevitable next chapter played out. With 5km left of the run, Mola and Luis were right with the Norwegian. South Africa’s Murray and Schoeman and Pierre le Corre of France were also in touch while Vincent Luis had his eye firmly on second place in the overall 2018 standings, Birtwhistle chasing further back alongside Jonathan Brownlee.
It was Luis who took the bell, Murray and Mola right alongside him, and with 2.5km to go the Frenchman dropped them both. The Spaniard inevitably gave chase but Luis had timed his move to perfection, soaring through to the line with Mola crossing 13 seconds behind followed by Murray. Pierre le Corre outsprinted Blummenfelt down the chute for fourth, Birtwhistle’s seventh place ensuring him third in the overall standings and a frustrated Van Riel came in ninth.
Asked how he felt repeating compatriot Javier Gomez’s hat-trick of back-to-back world titles, Mola said; “Javier is an inspiration to me my whole career, someone I always look up to and who has set the path for all Spanish athletes, but I never imagined having three titles. I have to thank my coach for the last five or six years and my girlfriend – they have been there and created a perfect environment to keep me happy and going forward.”
Vincent Luis added afterwards; “I was a bit up and down around the Rio Olympics but I have a good balance now of all the things you need to put together before a race and to stay fresh. Mario is really consistent, he has won more WTS in three months than I have my whole life! If anyone had to beat me, I’m happy it is him.”
Richard Murray was delighted with his Grand Final bronze and his year as a whole. “The first World Series Olympic distance win this year, I proposed to my girlfriend and she said yes. That is awesome and finishing the season on the podium I couldn’t be happier. I wanted third overall in the year, that was my goal at the start of the season and I was short 40 or 50 points from third, so a bit of a bittersweet ending but overall coming third today after the way I came out of the water, I am pretty happy with it.”
Australia’s Jacob Birtwhistle was equally enjoying his moment on the Series podium, saying; “I had no idea what was going on but I was doing everything I could. Me and Jonny had a good little battle, and I knew every point counted, so I’m really happy with today and couldn’t have done any more. It was tough. It was one of my better swims but the bike was full on and took it out of the legs. The goal for the year was the Series podium, so I’m really happy to be getting up there with Mario and Vincent.”
Grand Final Race Results; 1500m swim, 40km bike, 10km run:\
1st – Vincent Luis (FRA) – 1:44:34
2nd – Mario Mola (ESP) – 1:44:48
3rd – Richard Murray (RSA) – 1:44:56
4th – Pierre Le Corre (FRA) – 1:45:01
5th – Kristian Blummenfelt (NOR) – 1:45:014
6th – Henri Schoeman (RSA) – 1:45:06
7th – Jacob Birtwhistle (AUS) – 1:45:46
8th – Jonathan Brownlee (GBR) – 1:45:51
9th – Marten Van Reil (BEL) – 1:45:56
10th – Tyler Mislawchuk (CAN) – 1:45:57
Silver for Great Britain’s Samuel Dickinson in Australia
After 12 Age-Group medals yesterday over the Sprint distance, Samuel Dickinson earned the first British Elite medal of the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final Gold Coast today, with second place the 2018 ITU Triathlon U23 World Championship. Part of a leading trio until late in the run, New Zealand’s Tayler Reid took a hard-earned victory.
Alex Yee started the run in 35th place and almost four minutes behind Reid, and produced the fastest run of the day (30:01) to move up 25 position to tenth, but that still left him over a minute away from the podium at the finish.
Here is the full race report courtesy of Doug Gray at the ITU.
Reid crowned U23 World Champion after summoning up an almighty finish
New Zealand’s Tayler Reid became the 2018 ITU U23 World Champion on Friday afternoon in the Gold Coast sunshine, conjuring up a brave finale having been side-by-side with Britain’s Samuel Dickinson and France’s Leo Bergere for the majority of the 10km run. Reid had been among the leaders from the first strokes of the swim but had to work hard with the attentions of a strong field ever present, only to pull away with 2km to go and never looked back.
With Dickinson holding on for silver, an astounding final push from Hungary’s Bence Bicsak saw him over the line in third ahead of Bergere.
“I can’t even believe it. I’ve never felt something so good, this is what I have wanted,” said a delighted Reid. “I have wanted to be world champion for ten years but never been close. Today it all came together, it was great. I saw my family all come around on every lap and I just felt good and I thought I am going to go for it now, full gas, full gas to the finish.”
At the end of the two-lap, 1.5km swim, it was the USA’s Alec Wilimovsky who was first out of the water, Reid right with him and Mark Devay (HUN) a few seconds back. By the time the athletes came out of transition, the New Zealander was out front, but was joined quickly as an organised group of eleven worked efficiently to build up a lead.
That was the way much of the 40km ride played out, the leaders’ advantage growing gently with each passing lap while the two chase groups drew closer, Hungarian Bicsak driving the first 80 seconds back and Britain’s Alex Yee the third, a further 100 seconds and three minutes off the leaders.
By the time the front runners came into T2, the lead was a solid 92 seconds, the likes of Norway’s Jorgen Gundersen, Japan’s Ryousuke Maeda and Dickinson all spying their opportunity for a podium place.
Like the bike, the run settled into a pattern early on. Reid, Dickinson and Bergere were shoulder to shoulder as they broke away, seemingly tapping into each other’s energy reserves such was their proximity. Gundersen was eight seconds back after the first lap, while further behind, Bicsak was beginning to power through the field, as was Yee.
At the bell, it still looked like nothing could touch the front three, Gundersen held 4th and Bicsak was still 32 seconds off the leaders, but the drama all unfolded over the last 2.5km.
First of all Reid made a brave early move, not wanting to risk a fight down the chute. Bergere tried to react but Reid stood firm and pulled away, leaving Bergere and Dickinson to battle second and third. The Brit’s legs went with 1km to go and it looked like he might falter, only to find another gear and push on. All the while, Bicsak was closing in on Bergere, finally passing him in front of the grandstand and powering over the line in delight.
“I centred myself and the gamble paid off. I didn’t want it to come down to the last bit, I wanted to try and seal the deal and it just happened. I am so stoked,” added Reid as his family celebrated with him. “It was important to make the move when I did. There was great work from Leo (Bergere) and Sam (Dickinson) so I was definitely fearing them coming back at me. Credit to the boys they made it really hard out there.”
Second-placed Dickinson was physically and emotionally spent as he crossed the line, but delighted with second, saying; “It is definitely up there as one of the hardest races I have done. I tried to kick with Tayler but I was already on the limit, if I am being honest with you. From there I knew it would be a foot race with Bergere. To come away with a silver medal is a really good result but obviously congratulations to Tayler who was the faster man on the day and had a really gutsy run to finish off. Leo also pushed me all the way and a big shout out to the other two Brits in the race who were phenomenal. We all like to race for the flag when we hit the start line so I am really super proud to do it for GB.”
Bicsak was equally thrilled with third, saying; “It was unbelievable. I had a terrible swim, it was a crazy day in the water for me. I was in the second group on the bike and I tried to work very hard not to let the first group get too far ahead. Before I started running I wasn’t thinking I could make the podium – it was more than one-and-a-half minutes away. It is unbelievable that I got the podium finish.”
Gold Coast ITU Triathlon U23 World Championship – Friday 14th September 2018 1.5km / 40km / 10km
Another great day for Norway, this time in Lausanne
After taking all of the podium positions earlier this year at ITU World Triathlon Bermuda, the fine season for Norway continued as Gustav Iden secured his second ever World Cup victory at the Lausanne ITU Triathlon World Cup in Switzerland. Great Britain’s Jonathan Brownlee out-sprinted another Norwegian, Kristian Blummenfelt, in what most thought would be the battle for Gold, rather than Silver, at the venue for next years ITU Grand Final.
The opening (non-wetsuit) 1.5km swim did little to determine the direction of the race. Mark Devay (HUN) lead the way in 17:53 but with 34 athletes hitting T1 within 30 seconds, it was pretty much all square and a case of the race starts on dry land. With the bike course splitting the women’s race apart, would the same be true for the men?
Looking for a win to return some confidence to his 2018 season, Jonathan Brownlee attacked early and was joined by Switzerland’s Andrea Salvisberg, but in truth they never gained more than 10 seconds and with a huge chase pack including the strong riding Norwegians amongst them, it never amounted to anything significant.
Unlike the women’s race, the challenging circuit did not seem to have the selective effect expected. Blummenfelt and Iden attacked. Leo Bergere (FRA) atttacked, Jonas Schomberg (GER) attacked – and it all pretty much had no impact. With just one lap (of seven) remaining on the 40km bike leg, 33 athletes went through transition within three seconds. It was surely all going to be decided over 10km of running.
Tom Richard (FRA) gained a few seconds over the final cycle lap, but with the same 33 athletes hitting T2 within 10 seconds, the bike leg – much like the swim – had been relatively uneventful. As well as Jonathan Brownlee, Great Britain’s Sam Dickinson was also right in the mix. Any logic based on form from this point would suggest this would have to be a Brownlee vs. Blummenfelt race. Would logic prevail?
The race finally started to take shape on the run, with Gustav Iden (NOR) and Bence Bicsak (HUN) joining the expected favourites in the front four early in the run.
Brownlee and Blummenfelt traded the lead during the early stages, but it neither appeared to be going “all in” just yet – more shadow boxing and the odd jab than throwing powerful left hooks. It was still all to play for as they went into the final 5km.
And then the Norwegian attacked… but it wasn’t Kristian Blummenfelt, it was Gustav Iden. Within one 2.5km lap he gained almost 20 seconds and just eight minutes of running remaining, the race was his. He was showing no signs of going too soon and looked strong and in control.
Iden continued to extend his lead to what would be a very comfortable 30+ seconds, while behind, Blummenfelt was pushing hard, but when Brownlee sprinted with around 300m remaining, he had no response and the Brit would prevent a Norwegian one-two.
In summary, a big win for Gustav Iden on what is becoming quite a season for Norway. A step in the right direction too for Jonathan Brownlee, but you still feel he is still a level (or two) away from his truly impressive best.
Onwards now to the Gold Coast ITU Grand Final in September.
Lausanne ITU Triathlon World Cup – Sunday 18th August 2018 1.5km / 40km / 10km
European Champion wins on home soil in Switzerland
Was any other result ever going to be possible at today’s Lausanne ITU Triathlon World Cup? From the perspective of this Editor and pretty much everyone else in the industry, no.
Fresh from a stunningly impressive sixth European Triathlon Championship victory in Glasgow last week, another tough, Olympic Distance course – combined with live TV coverage – meant that Switzerland’s Nicola Spirig was the overwhelming favourite for victory today. She was not in any mood to have the script spoiled for her adoring home nation.
With a course on the banks of Lake Geneva, home to the Triathlon World Championships in 2006, the Grand Final will be returning to the stunning venue next year, providing a dress rehearsal for September 2019.
As expected, Great Britain’s Lucy Hall pushed the pace at the front of the non-wetsuit swim, in the close company of Maya Kingma (NED), Tamara Gorman (USA), Anna Godoy Contreras (ESP) and Olivia Mathias (GBR). Just nine seconds separated them at T1, but five quickly became three early in the bike, as Godoy Contreras and Mathias were unable to get onto the wheels of the leading trio out of T1.
Nicola Spirig was around 50 seconds back through the water – and India Lee was right with her – but that was never going to be enough to hold off the London 2012 Olympic Champion, especially on a course this tough.
It may have taken her well into the second half of the race last week to catch Learmonth and Beaugrand in Glasgow, but it took her little more than 20 minutes this week. She brought Taylor Knibb (USA), Mathilde Gautier (FRA) and Verena Steinhauser (ITA) with her – the only two that could stay on the ‘Spirig Train’ – while Maya Kingma and Tamara Gorman soon went the other way, leaving a leading group of five together midway through the 40km bike leg.
In typical style, Spirig kept the relentless pressure on up the challenging climbs and it was Great Britain’s Lucy Hall next to be dropped, to now see five turn to four – the leading group now made up entirely of Spirig and her chasers.
There was no chance for any of the large chase back to bridge back to the front of the race, leaving Spirig and friends to build a comfortable lead at T2 – at which point, predictably, Nicola said farewell and disappeared up the road on her own. Game over, an 10km to cover and prepare the post-race interview quotes.
Overall then, a predictable result, but one that just shows the class of an athlete. It’s all well and good knowing what an athlete is going to do – but when you simply cannot do anything about it, well, that just shows that Nicola Spirig was simply on another level today. Watch out Tokyp 2020 – Spirig wants a fifth Olympic Games appearance… and expects to be racing for Gold too.
An update with the 2016 World University Triathlon Champion
Still not 24 until the end of August, Grant Sheldon has already represented Scotland twice at the Commonwealth Games, earned a Bronze medal in the World Junior Championships, finished on the podium in his first ITU World Cup start and won the World University Triathlon Championship.
I spoke to Grant last week in central London at a Descente London Duathlon Masterclass event that Grant was helping at, alongside Sophie Coldwell (who I also interviewed HERE), held at the Descente store in Carnaby Street.
With the European Championships taking place this week in Strathclyde Park, Glasgow, that had been a major target for an athlete who grew up nearby. As we discussed however, he won’t be racing on Friday due to injury. Check out the full interview in the video above, where we also talk about an unfortunate DNF in Leeds and his plans for the remainder of the season.
Early August, and 2018 has already been a fantastic season for Great Britain Elite athlete, Sophie Coldwell.
After finishing sixth at the Commonwealth Games in April (just seconds away from making that Duffy / Learmonth breakaway), Sophie has gone on to take her first ITU World Cup victory in Tiszaujvaros, Hungary, and then quickly followed that up with her first Senior international title, running away from the field at the ETU Sprint Triathlon European Championships in Tartu, Estonia.
After taking second 12 months ago over the Standard distance, her continued progression is impressive to follow. At just 23 years of age, her best years should still be ahead of her too.
Last night (Thursday), Sophie was in central London providing her insight and guidance to athletes at a Descente London Duathlon Masterclass event, held at the impressive Descent store in Carnaby Street.
I took the opportunity to speaK to Sophie about her season to date, what she has planned for the rest of the year and her excitement at seeing if her Loughborough team can make the podium tomorrow (Saturday) at the Accenture British Triathlon Mixed Relay Cup. If you can’t get to watch that in person, follow it live online from 6:05pm. Check out the full interview in the video at the top of this page.
Here is the full announcement from Zwift of today’s course addition.
Zwift Releases 2018 UCI Road World Championships Innsbruck-Tirol Course
New course offers the opportunity for cyclists globally to get closer to the 2018 UCI Road World Championships
Zwift, the global online training platform for cyclists, has today released its latest course, Innsbruck. The course is based on the route that will be used for the 2018 UCI Road World Championships Innsbruck-Tirol.
The 24km circuit is based on the ‘Olympic Lap’, that will be tackled seven times during the Men’s Elite Road Race and three times during Women’s Elite Road Race. The focal point of the course is the 7.9km (5 mile) climb at an average gradient of 5.9%.
“We’ve been really excited about this new course since Zwift unveiled plans earlier this year,” comments Bradley McGee, Cycling Australia Technical Director (Road). “Typically the first time our riders would get to see the course would be when they arrive to race. Having the ability to train on the course in Zwift is going be a huge benefit this year not only from a tactical perspective, but it will serve as a huge confidence booster for the riders too.”
Iconic landmarks from the Tirol region are featured throughout the course. These include the Kufstein Castle, Ötztal Area 47 adventure park, the Old Town of Rattenberg and the Swarovski Crystal Worlds Giant and the Olympic Ski Jump in Innsbruck.
“Zwift provides us with a terrific opportunity to bring the Innsbruck-Tirol region to a global audience. The 2018 UCI Road World Championships Innsbruck-Tirol will live on far beyond September.” Esther Wilhelm, Head of Communications of the Organising Committee in Innsbruck comments. “The region is a fantastic place for cyclists to visit and we hope that Zwift will help us give people their first taste and experience of what we have to offer in the region.”
With just over 50 days remaining before the official start of 2018 UCI Road World Championships taking place, the timing of the Zwift Course release means that professional riders have the chance to properly familiarise themselves with the course profile ahead of the race taking place.
“Ensuring we could unveil the course in advance of the 2018 UCI Road World Championships taking place was extremely important.” says Eric Min, Zwift CEO and Co-Founder. “We have well over 200 professional riders on Zwift. These riders are always searching for new ways to achieve success, whether that be through different training techniques, better equipment or indeed, through intimate knowledge of a race course.”
The new 2018 UCI Road World Championships Innsbruck-Tirol Course will continue to live on Zwift long after the championships have concluded in September this year.
Zwift also has plans for a pop up event space in Innsbruck for the duration of the 2018 UCI Road World Championships. A full Zwift experience will be available with Zwift demo stations to try alongside daily challenges and Zwift races. The Zwift space will also be a central meeting point for daily ride outs into the local areas.
With fine coffee, food, drink and music also available daily, the space will be a place for riders and fans alike to relax, socialise, and of course, watch the action unfold.
Loch Ness to Richmond via seven days of swim, bike, run
Two perspectives on the 2018 Monster Triathlon
Swim 5km in Loch Ness. Five days of endurance cycling (totalling around 950km) to Windsor. Finish off with a 50km Ultra-Marathon to Richmond. That is the Monster Triathlon (www.monstertriathlon.org) in numbers, but this is a seven day long experience that is far more than simply distances, times and results.
The 2019 edition will take place from 23rd to 29th June, but, what is the experience like and who is it aimed at?
I asked two athletes who took part this year for their thoughts. First up, Jacqui Burke, a member of Hillingdon Triathletes. Jacqui is an experienced endurance athlete and has completed many ultra and multi-day challenges in the U.K. and abroad, but would not describe herself as someone chasing podiums. “I’m not the fastest, but I’m mentally tough and keep going.”
By contrast, Hywel Davies is likely to be a name familiar to many in the U.K. triathlon community. He has won races at every distance from Sprint to Double Iron, has run a 2:30 marathon, been a European Age-Group Champion (overall), and been able to turn his athletic talents to a wide range of sports, typically with race winning and/or record breaking success.
The Monster Triathlon proved to be a week that was enjoyed by athletes from all backgrounds. Here are their stories.
My Triathlon history started almost 20 years ago. I started with the shorter Sprint and Olympic distances before building to Half and Full Ironman competitions. I then started to look for other endurance events that I could take part in and really challenge myself. Despite there being some fantastic events available in the U.K., I thought this would be a great excuse to travel, at the same time as competing in some of the toughest races around the world.
My first adventure took me to South Africa to take part in the Comrades Marathon; this is an 89km ultra marathon between Durban and Pietermaritzburg and is the world’s largest and oldest ultra. The North Pole Marathon, which is recognised as the northernmost marathon on Earth, and with temperatures of -32 degrees was next followed by The Everest Marathon. This is the world’s highest marathon starting at Everest Base camp at 17,600ft, where there is 50% less oxygen.
While these events were tough, after completing them I wanted to challenge myself that little bit more which lead me in to multistage endurance events. My first was the Marathon Des Sables, this is a self-sufficient, five-day 250km run across the Sahara Desert with temperatures of up to 58 degrees and rationed water all while carrying all your own food and kit. Next up was a race that was only three weeks prior to the Monster Triathlon, this was another self-sufficient race taking me 230km through the Amazon Jungle as part of the Beyond the Ultimate race series.
When I heard about the week-long Monster Tri, covering a 5km swim in the iconic Loch Ness, 950km cycling over five days from Scotland to London, and finishing off with a 50km run along the Thames, I was hooked.
Logistically, it was easy getting my bike to Scotland. I only needed a one way flight from Luton to Inverness, so I decided to use a cardboard box bike. My local bike shop helped in dismantling and boxing up the bike, in one of their unwanted boxes. The majority of competitors did bring hard bike cases, which were then transported to the finish line.
My swimming training was mainly pool based and I carried on building my distance once the local lakes opened in April. The swim in Loch Ness was a relaxed affair; the water temperature was 15 degrees, which is unusually high for that time of year. We were told to do 10 laps around two buoys placed 250m apart. However, at the end of the swim there were array of difference distances between the competitors and I managed to clock up 6500m instead of the 5000m. Some people got out when their Garmin hit 5000m, including the guy who was only doing the swim and had to go catch a plane. Others stayed and did the full ten laps, but everyone enjoyed it. After the swim we all jumped in to taxis and headed to the hotel in Fort William to collect our bikes and kit and prepare for our first day of cycling.
As we congregated in the hotel car park, all ready to start our first day of cycling through the Scottish Highlands, you could see that there were some serious pieces of kit being ridden. My bike was relatively basic and was one of my local bike shop’s own brand bikes. Again, it was a relaxed start. After the first 10 miles, we split into smaller groups of the same ability and took turns in leading, chatting and supporting each other to get to the end every day. You get given the bike route which you can download on to your own devices and if additional help was required, the support team were just at the end of the phone.
I averaged 120 miles and spent on average 9½ hours, cycling every day. We had some tough hills to climb and with the weather hitting 30 degrees, at times it felt that you were never going to finish. As well as having to be physically fit, you need to have the mental ability to keep going. I still enjoyed every day of cycling and always came in with a smile on my face.
The bike checkpoints were a real bonus, all the food and drinks you needed for the day were provided including gels, electrolytes, brownie, crisps and fruits. We even made a special request and managed to get one of the checkpoints in a pub beer garden, with pints of ice cold Coke and cheese and pickle sandwiches. That sent us happily on our way to the finish line!
The scenery whilst on the bike was breathtaking. Stunning country villages, with lots of places to stop for the occasional ice-cream. Some of the road surfaces were challenging, especially going in to and out of Glasgow. There were several points where you could see the Tarmac melting beneath your wheels.
All the hotels and food were included in the entry fee, together with transporting all of our luggage. All we had to do was rock up to the hotel, get assigned our rooms, shower and gather for dinner and briefings, then normally bed by 9pm. It was a pleasure having everything done for you. On previous events, I’ve been self-sufficient and provided my own food, no showers and same clothing for a week, sleeping in tents or hammocks. It was luxury to be able to have a hot shower, hot food and a comfortable bed to sleep in. Well worth the entry fee.
After five days of cycling, it was a great feeling to pack the bike away and concentrate on the following day’s 50km run. In view of the hot weather, the start time was changed to 6am but you could set off as and when you were ready any time after that. I didn’t know how my legs would feel after cycling 950km. I’m used to running 5 or 6 marathons day after day but not cycling that far; I was happy to say though they felt great. We headed down to Windsor and then joined the Thames tow path from there. The run was well signed with us having to cross over the Thames several times to allow us to stay on the path, again the checkpoint supporters were out cheering us on all the way. Once you came into the grounds where the finish line was, all the competitors and support team were there to cheer every runner in.
The support team and organisers were brilliant, they couldn’t do enough for you. We had a paramedic travelling with us and he patched up cuts and grazes, sprained ankles and saddle-sore issues. In addition, a member of the support team was out on the road riding with us, if you had a mechanical issue, got lost or you were just at the back of the group, he was there and always brought the last rider in every day. They also arranged for some of the competitors to have a massage/Physio treatment, which helped a lot of people finish the event and get their medals.
If you are thinking of going solo or with friends, I would highly recommend this event to anyone looking to challenge themselves. It’s a great way to meet like-minded people and to do a sport they love.
I’ve done 23 Ironman races, Adventure Races, Double Ironman, Ultra marathons and multi-day cycling. I’ve got endurance world records, five sub-9 ironman finishes and I am fit enough and experienced enough to be able to take on an event like this. Although I have seen all shapes and sizes of people finish an Ironman, the people that ploughed through this week and finished this event are pretty remarkable to have done it on very little experience or fitness, but just got on with it, had fun along the way and completed the journey.
The prospect of swimming in Loch Ness is an iconic challenge. Very dark, cold, currents and in Scotland. Training for this involved lots of pool time but also taking on Neptune Steps in the winter in Glasgow, in 3° water, Swimming through the winter at Stoney Cove in 4° water, testing out cold gear gloves, boots, hats, increasing body fat to try and keep warm and carrying a whisky flask for emergency mid swim.
Spending two weeks cycling 60-80 miles a day in the alps, swimming 4-5k a day and doing a 50k run I felt I was prepared however, taking my TT bike along and riding hard on hilly terrain, quiet roads, bumpy roads, fast roads for six hours a day was not easy. Not easy when riding for six hours so imagine how hard it was for those taking ten hours – but you get to ride as hard as you want, without risk of running out of fuel – but trying to maintain pace for 120 miles a day whilst navigating is a worthy challenge and excellent training.
You can use this event how you want. Ride hard, ride social, time trial, sportive or any other format but having your kit transported and a support crew gives it that long journey feel rather than your local 100 mile route. The bike days are hard and long, but if you decide to leave a bit later than the main groups, you never feel like you are riding alone.
A 50k run is hard no matter what speed but again, run at your own pace, with or without fuel and knowing you have feed stations, others to run with and easy navigation really helps to keep it interesting.
This is a challenge, not a race but you can have your own races within the event. Have a rivalry, ride as a group time trial, attack Strava segments or just ride as long training sessions. For £1,499 it seems expensive but with six hotel nights, all the food you could want, kit transport and feed stations, you can do an overseas Ironman event and not get much change from that for something far less memorable and epic.
Earlier this year, Great Britain’s Bex Rimmingtonwas announced as one of the four athletes selected for the first Specialized Zwift Academy Triathlon Team.
That was quite a feat for Bex in itself, given “The team will have an annual focus on competing at the Ironman World Championships at Kona, Hawaii.” Well, Bex will be doing her FIRST Ironman race in Bolton on 15th July. No pressure then!
That said, Bex as a distinguished sporting background (including a European Age-Group Triathlon Championship way back in 2005), and so while she is the ‘wildcard’ among the four athletes chosen, the selection team clearly has belief in her potential.
You can get an insight into what Bex has been up to in the video diary above – which includes her first half-iron distance race (which she won), a confidence booster after a recent injury.
Remember, Bex will be leading Wednesday nights TRI247 Workout Series session on Zwift – full details of which are HERE. Join us on the virtual roads of Watopia and support Bex in her attempt to qualify for Kona at the first attempt.
The Lakesman Triathlon continues to grow in number and popularity
The past weekend was a busy one for long distance triathlon in the UK, and, for a change, it was not the big-brand of IRONMAN that was the focus.
Alongside the ‘extreme’ challenges of the Celtman! and Triathlon-X, The Lakesman Triathlon (www.thelakesman.com) in its third year has quickly grown a very positive reputation from all who have taken part in it, based on comments that I’ve received from those that have experienced it. To that, we say huge respect to the event organisers.
It’s hardly news that in the current environment and packed schedule of racing – both domestic and internationally – putting on a long distance triathlon is both a monumental logistical undertaking as well as a huge financial risk. Having worked behind the scenes at many triathlon events over the years, if you want an easy life, stay away from long distance racing! If you think they are tough to race, organising one will live you in pieces.
We are long removed from the times when simply putting a race on would guarantee entries, even for the global brands. For an independent, you really have to work hard.
This year – in what looks to have been an inspired move – The Lakesman added a Middle Distance race alongside the full. That attracted close to 500 entries – with the full distance race even increasing slightly in numbers too, based on the results lists. That is impressive, and surely tells you something about the reputation the race built in its first two editions.
The Lakesman, Keswick, Lake District – Sunday 17th June 2018
FULL DISTANCE – 3.8km / 180km / 42.2km
1st – Daniel Bluff (Tri Force Endurance) – 9:15:50
2nd – Richard Anderson (RedVenom) – 9:25:58
3rd – Graham Rands (UK Fire Service / Manchester Tri) – 9:28:08
When we spoke to Tim recently (interview HERE) at the London Marathon Expo, he confirmed that the documentary from On Running about his recovery – The Man with the Halo – would be released on 28th May, 12 months to the day after his IRONMAN record breaking performance at IRONMAN Brasil 2017.
On time, it has been released – and you can watch it now. You really MUST watch it. Essential viewing, fantastically produced by Emmy award-winning director, Andrew Hinton.
Tim says of the film:
“After watching such a well produced documentary with my wife and reliving the ordeal we all went through, it’s evident how much stronger and resilient these grueling experiences make you,” says Tim.
“Looking back on the last six months has made me realize that my injury was not just a career setback but a serious learning experience about the appreciation one can have towards such a nurturing and dedicated support structure during difficult times. I have been very fortunate and realize how the severity of my injury was shared between everyone around me and how we all carried an equal burden at one point or another. It was awesome to be back in the race environment at Boston, pinning the number on and being in the start corral with everyone. It’s what I worked so hard for over the last six months.”
Where the world’s fastest motorsport drivers train…
Chin close to stem, arms folded close to body, shoulders narrowed to create a wind-cheating aero tuck, I shoot along a beautiful winding descent with my goal being simply not to get dropped by the rider in front – a world class motorsport driver following the racing-line and cutting the apex of the corners with aplomb.
Then suddenly disaster almost strikes… I realise I have taken the corner too wide/fast and need to straighten up. Heart in mouth I come to an abrupt stop, but upright. Deep breath, absorbing the scenery, I then hammer on the pedals turning my 52-11 gearing as fast as possible in an attempt to get back on to the group.
It’s Wednesday, day three of the Aston Martin Racing World Endurance Championship (AMR) team’s bonding week at the impressive Col Du Peuch.
AMR are a factory team within the FIA World Endurance Championship, which includes the famous Le Mans 24 hour race. AMR have three race teams – #95 GTE PRO; #97 GTE PRO; and, #98 GTE AM (www.astonmartin.com/racing/teams/aston-martin-racing-team) – and they had a highly successful 2017 season which included winning the WEC GTE AM Driver’s Championship and winning the GTE PRO category at Le Mans.
Col Du Peuch is based in the Dordogne region of France; quite simply the scenery, terrain, and lack of traffic, make this an appealing location for a training camp.
When looking at the blank canvas that was a ‘chateau’ in the vast countryside, Pete Webster and his business partner Simon Dolan had a vision, a vision to create the ultimate cycling and triathlon training camp.
Webster has been involved in the cycling industry for 12 years as well as working in the human performance side of elite motorsport.
Utilising his background, Webster says Col Du Peuch’s USP is that, in addition to providing its guests with high quality riding, by offering a bespoke and tailored training camp it aims to provide the complete athlete experience.
Easy to say, but what does this mean and can Col Du Peuch live up to this heady aspiration?
As with all training camps, there’s the reality of getting there. Monday involved a short flight from Gatwick and a 90 minute transfer from Bordeaux airport.
After checking in we set out on a leg loosener/familiarisation ride around the local area – even from this ‘taster’ it’s clear the roads can be best described as quiet, steep, and challenging.
Col Du Peuch is in effect three lavishly converted/renovated properties situated around Chateau du Peuch – two sets of accommodation and the gym/relaxation building. I checked into Le Petit Peuch which had a spacious full-service kitchen and lounge area, and a large shared bathroom with a rainfall shower head (the Kingsize room has an en-suite).
However, I spent a lot of the week socialising with the AMR drivers in their accommodation, Clos du Peuch. In addition to five twin bedrooms, Clos du Peuch had a large open lounge, kitchen, and dining area – the chefs (see below) cook and prepare your meals in front of you, which is pretty cool.
One of the main attractions of Col Du Peuch’s environment is that you really can switch off from everyday life and focus on training/recovery. However, if you want to continue posting on social media you can – although, as you’d expect in remote countryside, the reception and internet connection is intermittent/not the strongest.
Postural analysis and treatment
On Monday evening we experienced the first particularly impressive off-the-bike offering – individual postural analysis and treatment. Susie Jones put you through your paces, this included being filmed carrying out functional and dynamic exercises – in short, compared to the AMR drivers I am very inflexible.
Everyday throughout the week the AMR drivers and I benefitted from treatment and massage provided by the skilled Susie Jones and/or John Camilleri.
I have had many sport massages and the one from John was one of the best I have had; whilst the insight provided by Susie shall put me in good stead for this season and ahead.
To put this in perspective, back home a massage and treatment session can cost between £40- 60 – we got one everyday!
Wow… Col Du Peuch’s two resident chefs cooked up culinary masterpieces for every meal, top marks for presentation and taste!
At first I wondered whether it was just me that wasn’t used to such exquisite food, but the AMR drivers assured me that it was quite out of the ordinary for them as well.
Although there was a set menu, the chefs were very accommodating and more than happy to amend a meal if someone didn’t like what was on offer. For example, Ross Gunn of AMR isn’t a fan of mushrooms!
Tuesday was a big day and it kicked off with a sport specific yoga session, next to the fitness pool and not far from the sauna. The daily yoga sessions were led by Becky Gosney who as well as knowing her ‘downward dog’ from her ‘warrior II’ pose recently rode 1,000 miles across Australia for Mind – the Mental Health charity.
Being pretty fresh to yoga, even being sat in child’s pose was pretty challenging. However, I was not alone and although some of the AMR drivers were like a piece of string others were closer to my rigid cardboard – the groans (mostly me) and laughter (mostly those looking at me), along with the heat made for a buoyant and supportive atmosphere.
After yoga came the fun stuff – the physical testing to establish where we were all at fitness-wise. With motorsport athletes like Jenson Button starring in triathlon age-group racing, as well as the fact you have to have high-end endurance to compete in Le Mans etc., I was intrigued to see how I measured up to the AMR drivers.
The testing included core strength analysis, reflex challenges (including 5 minutes on the Batak Pro – which is tough!), and a lactate threshold test.
The gym facilities are high calibre, no expenses spared – including free weights and a multi-exercise/station octagon. However, the addition of a running machine would be beneficial.
The lactate tests were carried out on two Wattbike Pros and involved the set power being ramped up every three minutes and your blood being taken each time. Col Du Peuch explain the test results (your lactate threshold and your power/weight ratio), to educate you as how to train, as well as using them to allocate the riding groups for the week by ability.
I was pretty pleased with my results, especially with the limited riding I have been doing. It was great to see that my physical capacity is good and it was nice to push myself, but at the same time it was interesting to see that some of the AMR drivers were natural athletes, such as Marco Sørensen – he has some serious horsepower.
Athletes have the option of bringing their own bikes which the resident mechanic will help them assemble or they can hire a steed from Col du Peuch – Specialized Tarmac SL5 equipped with Shimano Dura-Ace mechanical – at a cost of £200 for the week.
As part of the initial testing and set-up, Callum Hughes (a pro Xterra triathlete and Retül bike-fitter) carried out bike fits. I’m glad he looked at me, I needed to move my saddle forward a fair amount and noticed improved power output immediately.
The plan for the rest of the day was a long ride in which we’d practise riding in a group and tackle some 5-7km climbs and after a bit of down time complete a 10km off-road and hilly run.
The ride exceeded my expectations – going up was a fun challenge, whilst the descending was exhilarating.
Pete Webster and his guides marshalled the groups well – with several of the AMR drivers being recreational cyclists at best the terrain pushed them to their limits, but Webster and his team had us riding as a tightly knit group two abreast along the flat valley base.
A nice, and practical touch, was the following support van which provided drinks and food (and vocal support). The nutrition was tasty – the flapjacks made by the chefs were superb (almost too nice!) and the Veloforte bars were very nice (once you mastered how to open them on the fly).
Reflecting the flexibility of the week’s structure, in collaboration with the AMR drivers, Webster decided it best to move the off-road run to Wednesday morning (and take out one of the two rides scheduled for Wednesday afternoon).
I was pleased with this decision, the week looked pretty heavy volume-wise for a trained triathlete let alone those that are relatively new to competitive cycling. Further, since the driver for the week was team-building, it was refreshing to shift the sessions around to ensure everyone was able to take part.
Also, it allowed a few of us to play some terrible (although competitive) tennis; I was really keen to make the most of the boules/pétanque pit, but couldn’t find any willing participants.
Running off-road is always more stimulating than simply trotting along the tarmac. The location of Col Du Peuch lends itself to some stunning run routes and there is definitely room for the various trails to be explored further.
I’d describe the route we followed as ‘advanced’. It was an out-and-back route, so navigation was easy, whereas coping with the steep up and the technical descents required 100% concentration.
This was in effect a ‘recon’ expedition for the AMR drivers as this was part of the proposed run route for the hotly contested end-of-the-week triathlon.
In preparation for the big event on Friday, the AMR drivers got acquainted with their HUUB Design tri-suits and high-end wetsuits. The Derby based company had supplied an array of its award winning suits, including the Archimedes II (made popular by the Brownlee brothers) and the Albacore.
It was quite a sight seeing the AMR drivers trying to put on the high-end suits. Callum Hughes and I shared our experience and gave tips on how to expedite getting the suits on and, importantly, getting them off as quickly as possible in T1.
Wetsuits on, we took the short 5 min walk to the nearby lake. The lake is a good size for carrying out drills and lapped swim sessions (it’s comparable to an Olympic size pool, if not a bit bigger).
I was told that last year on the same week the water temperature was described as ‘balmy’. However, this week it was positively ‘Baltic’ and the planned swim became more of a ‘dip’ save for the hardy few who swam a few laps.
The elephant in the room when discussing Col Du Peuch as a triathlon destination is the lack of a heated 25m pool. I’d argue that to be a truly triathlon focussed training camp a large pool is required – Webster acknowledges this and confirmed there are plans to add a large pool to Col Du Peuch’s training facilities.
After a week of fine food, high-end rehabilitation and recovery, and beautiful but challenging riding, the big day arrived. In their race teams of three – #95 GTE PRO; #97 GTE PRO; and, #98 GTE AM – the AMR drivers were to complete 60 lengths of the saltwater pool (quite rightly, it was decided the lake was too cold this week), two 20 km loops which each included two tough climbs and two steep descents with sweeping hairpins, and finally a 5km off-road run.
Each team was to work together, to start as a team and finish as a team. The competitive spirit of the elite drivers was evident on Thursday evening as they discussed tactics – including how to break up the swim; and, how to approach the bike leg with the challenging run to follow.
A particular consideration from the week’s training was that some of the best riders were also the weakest runners, as is often the case in triathlon.
There lies a conundrum – was it best for the strongest riders to ride on the front of the team of three (allowing their team mates to draft them) to get the fastest bike time whilst being aware this could hinder the individual’s performance on the run?
Marshalling the bike route I saw at first hand the AMR drivers’ team-work, with the stronger riders such as Alex Lynn riding on the front of their group on the flat and pacing their team mates when the road went skywards.
The triathlon was hotly contested, but team #97 GTE PRO took away the coveted trophy. I wonder where this sits compared to winning Le Mans?
Col Du Peuch is undeniably a high quality training location and I thoroughly enjoyed my time there with the AMR drivers.
If you too would like to experience the beautiful countryside, eat like a king, use the high-class facilities, and live like a full-time athlete for a week, I suggest you contact Col Du Peuch (www.col-du-peuch.com) to discuss your bespoke cycling/triathlon holiday.
If you’ve ever wanted an excuse to try an Off-Road Cross Triathlon, then check out this new race from Eventrex.
Pippingford Park in Uckfield, East Sussex will be the host to the first TrailX Cross Triathlon from Eventrex Sports Events on Sunday 9th September. With two distances on offer, a course that has been specifically designed to accommodate both first timers and experienced athletes – plus what appears to be an absolutely stunning venue, what’s not to like?
Given the increasing traffic on the roads – not to mention the pot holes – it is surprising that the off-road format of the sport hasn’t captured the share of the market that all logic suggests it should. This looks like a great option – and clearly the organisers have put in lots of thought and preparation for the event (a point-to-point, three lake, ‘uphill’ swim (!) for example), and the short video above gives an excellent insight into what you can expect on race day.
Pippingford Park to play host to the inaugural Eventrex Cross Triathlon
Eventrex Sport Events are proud to announce the TrailX Cross Triathlon hosted at Pippingford Park on the 9th of September 2018. The course is totally off road; an open water swim followed by a mountain bike and run course full of challenging climbs and fun descents that will have you grinning from ear to ear!
Pippingford Park covers nearly 1000 acres of woodland and heathland with three long lakes hidden in the bottom of the valley providing a perfect playground for off road multisport.
We’re offering two distances for 2018:
‘Full Fat’ – 1000m point to point swim / 24km mtb / 8km trail run
‘Sugar Free’ – 500m point to point swim / 12km mtb / 4km trail run
The arrangement of Pippingford’s lakes enables us to have a point to point swim along three of the lakes, there will be three short carpeted runs between each lake and up to transition – this does allow us to have the world’s first uphill triathlon swim (approx. 12m of elevation!) The shorter distance will cover just two of the lakes.
Pippingford Park has previously played host to the Southern XC MTB series, the Southern Enduro series and the National MTB Marathon championships, so we have plenty of singletrack available! However, we want the course to accommodate everyone, from first timers to world champions; we’ve designed a rolling course to entertain everyone, the faster you go the more technical it’ll get! We’re aiming for around 50% singletrack, 25% double track and 25% gravel track to make overtaking opportunities stress-free and plentiful for everyone. The longer distance will cover two laps of 12km, with the shorter distance just one lap.
From transition, competitors will climb steadily through a twisty woodland path, before heading over the open meadows towards the Manor House. From there racers will head down the hill into and out of the woods towards the finish. ’Full Fat’ competitors will complete two laps, with ‘Sugar Free’ completing one lap.
All finishers will be rewarded with an Eventrex medal.
All Category winners will receive some excellent prizes from our supporting sponsors.
*** Entries are already open, with an earlybird saving offer available until the end of June *** – CLICK HERE
About Eventrex – We live life off-road!
Whether it’s Triathlon, cycling or running, all of our events take advantage of the amazing trails and countryside that we have access to in the South of England.
When you join us at an Eventrex event you will be assured of an organised, well run event on courses that are technical but attainable. Everyone is welcome at an Eventrex race. We pride ourselves on being accessible to all and have a passion for offering these sports to all ages and abilities.
For our Cross Triathlon we have enlisted the help and knowledge of Professional Cross Triathletes Doug Hall and Nicole Walters to assist in ensuring that our event is held to the same standard of those across Europe and beyond.
“I’m super excited to help deliver the Eventrex Cross Triathlon, as someone who only races off road these days, the more opportunities to race triathlon at home, rather than travel into Europe the better. The course at Pippingford is excellent, the guys have done a fantastic job of ensuring the course is accessible and fun for all abilities.” – Doug Hall.
For more information and entry information please visit:
Nottingham Sprint Triathlon is the last chance to qualify
Don’t forget the application deadline or you could miss out…
Home to the 2014 Commonwealth Games, major triathlon will once again return to Strathclyde Park this summer when the venue hosts the Elite ETU Triathlon European Championships as part of the Glasgow 2018 Multisport European Championships (www.glasgow2018.com).
The European Championships will also see Aquatics, Cycling, Golf, Gymnastics and Rowing take place over 11 days of competition.
There will be three Elite medal races taking place:
Thursday 9th August – Women
Friday 10th August – Men
Saturday 11th August – Mixed Team Relay
As well as the Elite races, the 2018 ETU Sprint Triathlon European Championships will also be part of the festival, taking place on Saturday 11th August for Age-Group athletes. Rewind five years, and the ITU World Championships taking place in Hyde Park, London created huge demand for places and some of the most competitive domestic racing I have ever seen. Here is another opportunity to race on home soil, significantly reducing costs in terms of travel.
The final opportunity to qualify for Glasgow takes place this Saturday at the Nottingham Sprint Triathlon at Holme Pierrepont, the day before the Outlaw Half Triathlon.
While entries to that race are now closed, if you are racing and are interesting in racing in Glasgow, then you MUST ENSURE THAT YOU HAVE REGISTERED YOUR INTEREST BEFORE 5PM ON FRIDAY 18TH MAY.
How Does It Work?
If you want to be eligible to qualify from Saturday’s race, you MUST be registered via the British Triathlon website.
To register, click on the link below and pay your £10 registration fee.
Automatic qualification will be awarded to the first 4 eligible athletes in each age group.
The remaining 9 places will be allocated via pre-qualification places, discretionary places and roll down places.
31:55 for the Olympic Triathlon Champion at Stanford Invitational
Ahead of Gwen Jorgensen’s race on Friday night at the Stanford Invitational in Palo Alto, I put together a preview and predictions on what might happen. Well, I can’t claim that forecast (31:20 to 31:30) proved to be especially accurate – but my comments around “racing to win may become a priority over going all out for a time”, did seem to have some truth to them, reflected in her post race comments in the video above.
Passing through the 5,000m just outside 16 minutes, it became a race of three, and with a final 400m of 71.4 seconds, Jorgensen had the speed to take the win from Carrie Dimoff and NCAA Champion, Karissa Schweizer. Gwen’s finish time was 31:55.68.
Objectively, 31:55 for 10,000m is not as impressive as the 15:15 she did in her first race back at the Husky Classic over 5,000m (the equivalent time would be circa 31:45), and so it is difficult to read too much into Gwen’s future prospects from this performance. That said, time isn’t everything – though is clearly an important part of the progression equation when you have set your target so high. Post-race Gwen did say, “Today was about racing for the win and not necessarily going out for a fast time.” At that race in Seattle Gwen had the benefit of following the pace of the far more experienced Emily Infeld.
The road to Tokyo 2020 and Marathon success will require several significant steps up in speed to be achieved – and nobody will be more aware of this than Gwen and her team. Still very early into her ‘running’ career, I’ve no doubt that we will see significant progress made over the next 12 months, with Jorgensen indicating that she hopes to run a Half Marathon next.
Exactly what that progress will be and how quickly it can be made is what will continue to make this switch compelling viewing.
UK-based triathlon brand Zone3 (www.zone3.com) are not far short of their tenth anniversary. It certainly doesn’t feel anything like that time since were were carrying news of the brand’s launch by founder, James Lock. Since then, we’ve interviewed James and reviewed Zone3 products many times over the years.
With “over 10 years of research, development and real-life product feedback”, Zone3 have now launched their 2018 range, under the Reaching New Limits banner, a combination of brand new products and “meticulous updates” to existing classics, including the ever popular and award-winning Advance and Vision wetsuits.
One thing we (and everyone…) has always been impressed with Zone3 suits, is the ease and speed of removal thanks to their Pro-Speed Cuffs™ which remain a key element of their suits in 2018 too.
While perhaps best known for their wetsuits, the Zone3 swimwear range has grown significantly in popularity over the last couple of years, and for 2018 they have added a further three styles and four new prints to the collection. As I said when we reviewed a suit from Maru recently, with that (large) training and recreational swimwear market seemingly dominated by a few very large players from the (primarily) swimming world, it is good to see some different brands, designs and colours out there providing new options to buyers.
With women’s suits in the £30-£35 range and men’s suits from around £20 upwards, they would appear to be priced in line with the market too. Expect to see a few more Zone3 suits appearing at your local pool soon.
The growth of SwimRun racing appears here to stay and already a player in that market (Zone3 sponsor Elite British pairing, Rhian and Ben Martin for example), they have added the ‘Versa’ suit, a newer and lower priced model of wetsuit to their range with what is claimed to be an innovative new breathable neoprene. That would appear a smart move to attract those athletes perhaps considering the island-to-island style racing, but not yet ready to go ‘all in’ financially until they know it is a sport for them. We look forward to seeing that one in person, along with more details on the spec and pricing.
Of course, James Lock’s background was in triathlon, and so further improvements and new additions to their tri wear – Lava Tri and Aquaflo Tri suits – is included in the 2018 range. With the market, driven by development from the cycle time trial work in particular, getting more aware of the impact of clothing aerodynamics, the trend of seeing more ‘sleeved’ suits is likely to continue. How will the new Lava Tri suits stack up to the competition? We’ll find out over the coming months.
Summing up the 2018 range, James says:
“We know exactly how much hard work goes into completing a triathlon, both balancing everyday life around training and on the race day itself. Since retiring from racing at elite level, myself and the team have dedicated every moment to creating market leading products. We hope that our hard work and ambition dovetails into our customers journeys and together we can achieve great things and continue to reach new limits”.
We hope to be getting our hands on several of the products from the Zone3 range over the next few months and we’ll report back with our findings after putting them to the test.
One of Australia’s most consistently successful triathletes over the past two decades, Brad Kahlefeldt, has today announced his retirement from professional triathlon.
The ITU Under-23 World Champion in 2002 (Cancun) and three times a World Championship Bronze medallist (2005, 2007 and 2010), Kahlefeldt’s career highlight was arguably winning the Commonwealth Games Gold medal on home soil in Melbourne in 2006.
He is also a two-time Olympian, racing in Beijing (2008 – 16th) and London (2012 – 32nd), and won a host of ITU World Cup events during his career too.
After 20yrs it’s time to say goodbye. Thankyou for everything. All the details /quotes are in the attachment. Onto @GCMarathon next with the family. 😀 https://t.co/pC9eXq0rFm
“It’s hard to know what to say but after 20 years racing professionally its time to retire from the sport I love and a sport that has given me so much,” Kahlefeldt said.
“The decision hasn’t been easy but its time to move on to a new chapter in my life.”
He likes a sprint finish…
One of Brad’s contributions to my memories of his racing is his apparent ability to be involved in some of the best sprints and closest finishes we’ve ever seen. Here are just three memorable ones – alas, when the dust had settled, he was a very close second in each of these… but he won his fair share too!
Tiszaujvaros ITU Triathlon World Cup
Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series Tongyeong 2009
94 Men under 15 minutes at Armagh International 5km
Plenty of triathletes amongst that group too…
The annual Armagh International 5km (www.armagh5k.com) road race is a race we’ve reported on several times here on the pages of TRI247.
Three years ago (HERE), was the venue and race at which Jonathan Brownlee finished third and was just a fraction outside the 14 minute mark (14:00.13), while two years ago (HERE), Adam Bowden ran a swift 14:09.90 to finish inside the top-10. The event continues to attract a great depth of quality runners – including many a top triathlete – with hopes this year that potentially 100 athletes might be able to break 15 minutes for the looped road course.
That didn’t quite happen – but there can’t be too many races around where a 14:59 finish gets you 94th position!
While there were 94 men under 15 minutes, just one broke 14 minutes with Sam Stabler taking the win in 13:59.
South Africa take top two spots on home soil in Cape Town
There was a certain similarity in the women’s race, where the Great Britain team repeated it’s Gold and Silver from 12 months ago at the Cape Town ITU Triathlon World Cup today, albeit with different athletes. The men’s race provided an even more familiar story.
While South Africa couldn’t repeat it’s podium sweep from 12 months ago in the men’s race, the top two positions were unchanged, with Richard Murray and Henri Schoeman filling the top two steps of the podium once again.
In typical style, Schoeman lead the way in the swim, eight seconds clear as he reached dry land, but with pretty much the entire field in a long line behind him. The early part of the ride would see the pack split however.
A group of 11 would start the run in close order, with a 20 second lead over the chasers. With Richard Murray part of that 11, he was the clear favourite to retain his title – and was not going to spoil the script. A 14:25 run split was the fastest of the day, resulting in a relatively comfortable margin of victory.
Great Britain’s Grant Sheldon got himself into a top-10 position (ninth), courtesy of the second best run split of the day, 14:37.
British pair start 2018 on a high note in South Africa
The Cape Town ITU Triathlon World Cup was a successful race for British Elite women 12 months ago, when Lucy Hall and Jessica Learmonth sprinted to the finish to secure first and second. No sprint finish this time around, but it was another Gold and Silver for Team GB.
In normal circumstances, we’d probably not expect to see either of Vicky Holland for Non Stanford racing so early in the year. However, both had frustrating seasons in 2017 with injuries which curtailed their racing ambitions. Add in a major early season target for both of the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and the desire to race early (and well) was high. Both will be very satisfied with their day in Cape Town. Cheques of $7,500 an $6,000 respectively, will have added to their smiles.
The sprint distance race saw Stanford (second) and Holland (fourth) right at the sharp end of the race after the opening 750m swim, which was lead out by Zsanett Bragmayer (HUN).
The British pair pushed the pace early in the ride and a group of six would pull clear and start the closing 5km run with a 50 second lead, with the Brits joined by Bragmayer, Simone Ackermann (RSA), Melanie Santos (POR) and Rani Škrabanja (NED)
Holland pulled away on the run to a clear victory. Her 16:36 split was only bettered by Ai Ueda (JPN), who managed a 16:26 to move up to tenth place during the run. Stanford took second (17:13) with swim leader Bragmayer completing the podium.
No words for this feeling ⬇️. So DAMN good to be back out there racing hard from gun to tape! Plenty to work on, but so happy to start 2018 with a win… and sharing it with @NonStanford is just the BEST!! 👯♀️😃 pic.twitter.com/V5ydUebpXN
Regensburg out, Madrid in for ETU Long Distance Champs 2018
Important news and changes here for those of you (and over 70 had already registered on the British Triathlon website), looking to qualify for and race at the 2018 ETU Long Distance Triathlon European Championship.
Previously scheduled for Challenge Regensburg, Germany on 12th August 2018, the new location for the race with be Challenge Madrid (www.challenge-madrid.com) on 23rd September 2018.
This change follows the recent news of the demise of the Regensburg event, with organisers PureEndure Event GmbH & Co. KG filing for bankruptcy.
The 2017 Championships were held at Challenge Almere-Amsterdam in The Netherlands, the Elite title being earned by Great Britain’s Joe Skipper, along with 13 medals for the GB team in the Age-Group event (details HERE).
The XTRI World Tour expands to include PATAGONMAN Xtreme Triathlon
SwimRun. Indoor Training. (E)Xtreme triathlons.
From the perspective of this Editor, they are three of the clear growth areas within the sport right now, set against a backdrop that has seen several long-standing, high-profile and respected ‘regular’ triathlon events fall off the annual calendar in recent years or missing in 2018.
We’ve recently highlighted a new Xtreme triathlon in Spain, Hispaman (HERE), and we have further news an information here on a new addition to the XTRI World Tour – PATAGONMAN Xtreme – the first race of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere.
Set in the Aysén Region of Patagonia, Chile, this is a point-to-point iron-distance event created with the support of the original XTRI event, Norseman.
The race will take place on December 9th 2018:
The swim leg of the race starts with the jump from a ferry boat into the icy-cold waters of the Aysén Fjord (10-12°C), then to swim back to Puerto Chacabuco. The cycling leg of the race will roll on the only 180 km of the Carretera Austral that have actual pavement, all the way to Cerro Castillo, and it will finish with a marathon through dirt trail and rubble road following the Ibáñez River through forest, next to beautiful lakes and waterfalls all the way to the General Carrera Lake.
There are only 300 slots available for the event – with the ballot for the race now open, but will close on 31st December 2017. During this period you can buy a lottery ticket ($10 USD – which will all go to charity), and once the ballot is closed, the 300 winners will be notified by email. Registration cost is $690 USD and athletes will have one week to confirm and pay their entry fees once notified.
It should be a competitive event too, as organisers inform us that The twice champion of Norseman, Allan Hovda, is confirmed for the event, along with the other winners of Canadaman, Alskaman, Swissman and Celtman.
You can follow the event on Facebook HERE, and the athlete enquiries and further information should be directed to [email protected].
As well as chatting to the Challenge Family CEO (HERE), I also spoke to USA Pro athlete, Andy Potts, at the launch on Wednesday of Challenge Daytona (www.challenge-daytona.com).
Looking for new challenge every year, Andy will be racing at the Daytona International Speedway on Saturday 8th December 2018, which will see Pro athletes racing for a prize fund of $20,000. Having recently produced his faster ever time in Kona, the soon to be 41 year old is as excited and hungry as he has ever been in his long and successful career to date.
Check out the Challenge Daytona preview video below (and read more about the launch HERE).
Talking Daytona with Challenge Family CEO Zibi Szlufcik
And news on the future of Challenge Family in the UK too
Yesterday (Wednesday), I was in Daytona, Florida for the press launch of Challenge Daytona (www.challenge-daytona.com). Taking place in December 2018 at the Daytona International Speedway (www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com), home of Daytona 500 – ‘The Great American Race‘ – the event represents the return of the brand to the North American market.
I took the opportunity to speak to Zibi Szlufcik, the CEO of Challenge Family about this new venture. As well as talking about Daytona, we also covered The Championship in Samorin and some exciting news on the future of Challenge Family in the UK.
(Click HERE to see our interview with top U.S. Pro athlete Andy Potts)
You can see more on the proposed course for Challenge Daytona, referred to in the interview, below:
A career of supporting and guiding athletes to success in endurance sport was recognised last night at the 20th Anniversary UK Coaching Awards, where Malcolm Brown was recognised for his Lifetime Achievement.
While probably best known for his recent work with the Brownlee brothers, the Leeds Triathlon Centre and the development of the Brownlee Centre, Malcolm had previously been Head of Endurance running for UK Athletics and was the Olympic Performance Manager for the Team GB triathlon squad at London 2012.
Malcolm, alongside Jack Maitland, has been instrumental in developing the strength-in-depth of the Leeds squad that has provided many of the medals and championship victories for British triathletes in recent years. Well deserved recognition for the recently retired Malcolm – who, we suspect, won’t be able to stay ‘retired’ for too long!