Tuesday, September 30, 2014

September - China the Month of Racing


First up it was the Beijing International triathlon, the same group that organise Alcatraz organise this one so you know it’s going to be one hell of a race and an experience that will keep you going back for more each year! http://www.beijinginternationaltriathlon.com/


This year the race took part at the Garden Expo Park, a spectacular spot of the Fengtai District.
The swim was in a manmade lake one lap in choppy conditions, we could have had a few ducks to navigate but somehow they all found their way to their pens and were happy spectating from there.  I had an ok swim sitting in the main pack with a couple out front (Javier and Josh who I would never see again).  Like Alcatraz there was a half mile run to our bikes, something I don’t mind but when you have runners like Javier and Mola in the field you don’t need any more running time added to the race :)  but it’s a good warm up for the bike and I didn’t lose too much time.  Onto the new and improved bike course which was technical, hilly, fast, hard, you name it, it had it, even two newly formed roads specifically for the triathlon!  I didn’t ride very well, sitting in tied 5th place with two others.  I was just stuck in second gear just hoping that the run would feel better.  So off the bike in 7th (out of seven, so not impressive) I kept reminding myself that I like the hard hilly runs.  Through the first 4km I managed to move into 6th place which was pleasing with the 600 stairs and hills still to come. I managed to move into 5th and had Mola in my sight which was a good feeling to be back near the right end of the race.  So finishing in 5th I was pleased with the race, like last year the triathlon was a huge success reaching 1000 competitors (its being doubling every year) it’s fantastic to see the enthusiasm of the locals both competing and supporting.  I can’t wait to go back again!


The next week it was off to Weihai for the ITU Long Course World Champs, a bit longer distance from Beijing this time a 4km swim, 120km bike and 20km run.  I was feeling really good race week, I think last weekend blew the cobwebs out and kick started the engine, it made me really look forward to racing over this super hard course!  Last year I suffered really bad on the run due to being a little sick, and riding a to hard on such a demanding bike leg, so this year I was aware of what I was in for and prepared a little better, so at a leisurely start time of 8am though potentially having us running in the heat of the day I was geared up ready to race.  With balmy water temperatures it was nice to have a fair non wetsuit swim which split the field up, giving 6 of us a handy gap on the rest of the competitors.  I was comfortable sitting in the group and with a swift transition headed out on the bike in 2nd place.   
 
Love my Cervelo

The bike was tough, so many hills, I chose to sit back and let the others set the tempo, the flying Frenchies rode off into the distance while we plodded around the first of 3 laps.  I soon changed tack and ended up going solo grabbing a handy 6-7mins to the group I was in and coming off in 4th place actually feeling very controlled.  
 
Trying to keep cool on the run!
Out on the run I was a little unsure as to if I would be able to hold it together but I set off on a comfortable pace and managed to only die the last couple of km's which with the gap I had I managed to hold on to 4th. Pretty stoked with that, it wasn’t my best of build ups but I was happy with the two races results.

So now it’s continuing to build on what I have, then it’s off to Australia for challenge Forster and Shepparton half ironman races.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Escaping from Alcatraz

As always the Escape from Alcatraz triathlon lived up to its reputation of being a sensational event.  It had been a while since my last race, training was ticking along with good days and bad but generally I was feeling good and most importantly I was eager to be back on the start line.  This year was special getting to travel as a family and have them there to support me.  I am always talking about how cool the race is...getting to jump of the boat into freezing water, riding a hilly scenic ride then running past the golden gate bridge and up some brutal sand stairs, what a race! 

I had a solid swim, a little off the pace.  Exiting the water I was around 3-4th position, the run to the bike is always a good gauge on how the legs are feeling.  Generally they are numb from the cold water but I felt I had a little spring so I was hoping for a good ride.  

The first couple of km's I watched Docherty, Bird and Fleischmann ride away from me which was not pretty, I started worrying about being passed and dropping further and further back, not an ideal situation my legs just felt like they were slowing but I hadn't spent 12hrs on a flight to give up so I kept pushing hoping things would kick into gear and I would start moving back up through the field.  Holding in there has its merits and by the first climb I was starting to feel a little stronger and began moving back up. By the end of the ride I was sitting around 5th.  

The run is always tough but the support on the way back is unreal and such great scenery!  I started to feel pretty upbeat and finished off in 4th place.  I was happy with the result based on the lead up I’d had and especially coming from our winter.  The result has given me some areas to work on and some new goals.  I can’t wait to race again.  

Busy finish area
Next up is Samoa Half Ironman where I will defend my title from last year.  So from now until then it’s back onto my life fitness treadmill which I can’t get enough of at the moment, so cool, plenty of trainer workouts, and ample sweat sessions! 

Cheers 
Graham  

Sunday, April 27, 2014

A word from the home front



It’s been relatively quiet on the triathlon front but I’ve had a good break since my last event in March and am back into the swing of all things training now.  

I am super stoked to have Life Fitness supporting me by supplying a T70 Treadmill, this is going to be magic when full on Taupo winter kicks in, I won’t miss being outside on negative degree mornings.  The T70 is awesome, it has given me the flexibility to train whenever the opportunity arises which isn’t so consistent now with a newborn in the house.  I’ve had to really make the most of my time between feeds/sleeps and playtime (that’s for the baby not me although there are some similaritiesJ) so having indoor equipment lets me get in the sessions I need and means being more specific and focused.  Check out their equipment at www.lifefitness.co.nz (check that address).

The next race in just five short weeks is Escape from Alcatraz triathlon.  This is by far my favourite race of the year, the location, the course, the organisers and spectators it always rolls in to one awesome day!  Until then it will just be train, train, train.

Cheers
Graham