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  1. Registration has opened for IM Durbs On 7 June 2020 https://eu.ironman.com/triathlon/events/emea/ironman-70.3/durban.aspx#axzz5z1UuKn8r
  2. As Official Supplier, the Italian performance helmet brand will have a strong presence at the 2021 IRONMAN Global Series events, as well as offering the chance for triathletes to become a KASK ambassador. View full article
  3. KASK is proud to announce its expanded commitment as the Official Helmet Supplier of the IRONMAN® Global Series for the 2021 season, following two years as IRONMAN® EMEA Official Helmet Supplier. The partnership progression marks the continued growth of the Italian helmet brand’s status in the triathlon field at the highest level, while promoting its collection of helmets dedicated to the sport. As Official Supplier of the 2021 U.S., Europe, Asia and Oceania IRONMAN® Series, as well as being a partner of the IRONMAN® Virtual Club, KASK will attend upcoming IRONMAN® and IRONMAN® 70.3 events as it continues to make its mark on the triathlon world stage. These will include: 27 June - IRONMAN® 70.3 European Championship - Elsinore, Denmark 15 August - IRONMAN® European Championship - Frankfurt, Germany 5 September - IRONMAN® Switzerland Thun - Thun, Switzerland 5 September - National Storage IRONMAN® Australia and IRONMAN® 70.3 Port Macquarie - Port Macquarie, New South Wales 12 September - Supersapiens IRONMAN® France and IRONMAN® 70.3 Nice - Nice, France 17-18 September - Intermountain Healthcare IRONMAN® 70.3 World Championship Presented by Utah Sports Commission - St.George, Utah USA 19 September - IRONMAN® and IRONMAN® 70.3 Italy Emilia-Romagna - Cervia, Italy 3 October - IRONMAN® and IRONMAN® 70.3 Barcelona, - Calella, Spain 14 November - IRONMAN® 70.3 Melbourne - St Kilda, Victoria 21 November - Select Blinds IRONMAN® Arizona - Tempe, Arizona As the manufacturer of some of the world’s most innovative triathlon helmets – from the UTOPIA to the MISTRAL and BAMBINO PRO – KASK brings its wealth of experience in performance cycling helmet design to one of the most demanding race series that attracts talent from across the globe. The partnership expansion will give fans and competitors a chance to try KASK’s latest models for themselves at the events, with the added opportunity to meet some of their KASK-sponsored heroes. The current KASK ambassador lineup features some of the world’s leading IRONMAN® and IRONMAN® 70.3 athletes, including Andy Potts (USA), Barbara Geilhof (USA), Davide Camicioli (ITA), Federica De Nicola (ITA), Giulio Molinari (ITA), James Lawrence (USA), Jesper Svennson (SWE), Jocelyn McCauley (USA), Laura Siddall (GBR), Mareen Hufe (GER), Matt Hanson (USA), Matt McElroy (USA), Michael Weiss (AUT), Michelle Cooper (AUS), Michelle Vesterby (DEN) and Nikki Bartlett (GBR). For those eager to follow in the footsteps of some of the most decorated names on the triathlon world stage as part of Team KASK, the IRONMAN® race events will also provide an exciting opportunity for budding triathletes and seasoned racers alike to become a KASK ambassador, where they can visit the KASK booth to note their interest, or fill out an online application. Diego Zambon, KASK General Manager said: “We are proud to announce the continuation of a fantastic partnership between KASK and the IRONMAN® Global Series. It is an honour for KASK to have the opportunity to reach both competitors and fans of tri-sports in collaboration with a race event that carries such prestige on a global stage.”
  4. 2 weeks! I'm excited. We need some predictions going....
  5. In the same year, has any person been able to complete all 3 of these events?
  6. So with the swim leg of this years event being cancelled, do you think that i will hinder peoples desire for next year or has it made you change your mind perhaps? Being a mere fortnight after the comrades i doubt we will see Superwoman Wostmann there this time around.
  7. Entries are open http://eu.ironman.com/triathlon/events/emea/ironman-70.3/south-africa/register.aspx?mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiTUdRMVpqRTFORFl4TnpjdyIsInQiOiJvdXU3WVQyR3JUZTZKNkVFc3F2TlRVTVllZEVDdHFqVngzXC9vZUIrNjVKK1dcLzVKYVplTGh1TVdPZFVkWktlb0NJcFYrMG56WkxOekxcL3RDSWtwKzVDNHpuSTJmTEhYMWNBTjVyeHRycEpnYjBnbHVFSUx2aStGUk5EdmJ5NlwvSncifQ%3d%3d#axzz5FqPG9oDp
  8. Hi All I'm looking for a coach/trainer and/or training program for Ironman 70.3 in Durban this year, preferably with indoor trainer (Kickr) options for the rides. I've done PE Ironman twice and many 70.3's, but been out for a few years. I'm short on training time so looking to maximise training effectiveness with a good program. Any suggestions? Thanks
  9. Hi. If there are any IronMan athletes competing at PE in April this year, perhaps you will be interested in this exciting research study. Darryn Berry is a physiotherapist in Nelspruit and will be doing research for his Masters degree in Sports and Exercise. His topic is how training load impacts on injury and illness in training for an IRONMAN event. Please contact him should you be interested, know anyone interested, or curious for more information. Happy training, and may you all reach your goals for the triathlon calendar! darrynberry1@gmail.com. Please see study advert attached!
  10. With 70.3 DBN being done and dusted, who's heading down for the tenth edition of 70.3 East London on Jan 2017?
  11. When did you each know that you wanted to become a pro athlete - was there a sort of tipping point? Before I became a pro athlete, I was a coach. I was studying Sports Science in Port Elizabeth and I volunteered to work at Ironman when it first came to town. After I graduated, I got a job with the team at Ironman.I coached guys to do their first Ironman, while at the same time I was coaching myself to my own first Ironman in 2007. I raced it as a pro because at the time there were hardly any pros and we figured I may as well go for it and start with the front batch. I got beaten by some of the women, but I did okay. I did 9 and a half hours, which is my slowest time to date for an Ironman. For the next two years, I coached to pay the bills while I was training. My training increased and increased until I was working between 11 and 3 and for the rest of the time, I either worked from home or I trained. At the end of 2008, I resigned from my job to go full-time pro. With regards to your Sports Science studies: how do you find the theory correlates with real life? It certainly helped me get into it, and it certainly helped me with the initial understanding of what was going on physiologically. I do see elite athletes with absolutely no comprehension of what is happening inside their bodies. It helps, it makes a difference to know “right, I am feeling this way because I am hypoglycemic. I can come out of this with sugar and fluids”. It helps to know what’s adapting and happening during training. For example, that the burn is lactic acid, and will go away in a day. What do think is the difference between the guys who make it and the guys who don’t? It’s a combination of everything. I would love to say that it is just talent, but there are lots of guys way more talented than me who have not made it. Or I could say it is just hard work, but there are loads of people who work ridiculously hard but they just don’t have the raw materials to turn that into top level racing.The best coach in the world can’t make you into an elite athlete if you don’t have the raw talent, do the hard work, and have the opportunity. There are many people who never have the opportunity to learn to swim, ride a bike or try something like a triathlon. Everything has to fall into place at the right time and it’s a very difficult sequence to get right. You have to be prepared to take risks. One of the big things I did was to take the risk of leaving my job knowing that I could not go and ask for my job back in a year, because it would not be there. You are married to a professional triathlete (Jodie Cunnama née Swallow). How do the two of you disconnect from the world of racing, and training? Or do you live, eat, sleep and breathe triathlon? In the season, Jodie and I pretty much live triathlon. It is eat, sleep, and train. In some respects, it’s easier because we are both happy to go to bed at 8:30 pm and there is no guilt about one partner wanting to go out and the other wanting to sleep.Obviously, there is the flip side which is that we are both tired all the time, we’re both grumpy all the time. So it does have its challenges, but we’ve found a pretty good balance. We do make a concerted effort to get away from training when we can, but that is pretty much limited to the off-season. Are you competitive within your relationship? I’d say Jodie is more competitive, she is competitive with anyone and everyone. I’m able to switch it on and off as needed. We swim together and it’s good to be able to push each other and challenge each other in the pool. But I wouldn’t say we are competitive with each other. Do you compete in mostly the same events, or do you pick and choose depending on what suits your training schedule and plans for the year? What determines which events you choose to compete in? A bit of both we try and choose events that coordinate with each other so that we can travel together as much as possible. It is far more pleasant than travelling on your own. But quite often it does not work out. A race that suits me, might not suit Jodie at all and vice versa, or Jodie has qualified for a race that I have not qualified for and our schedule changes accordingly as the season progresses. With East London 70.3 just around the corner (geographically speaking), does this event carry specific importance to you? I have done 70.3 South Africa every year since I started, except when I missed a year through injury. I know it well, and I’ve got some good results and good memories there. Jodie and I both won it on the same day previously. Jodie has won it six times in a row, she is going for number seven this year.It is the only 70.3 in South Africa with a pro race and it is good to race in front with the home crowds. That said, it is held during our off-season in January and World Championships are in October. It’s very hard to be fit in January and October, so every year we have to see how it goes. Some years your preparation has gone well and you are firing, and others you are a few weeks away from firing. Do you prefer the full ironman distance or 70.3 (half-ironman), we notice you both have obtained many good results in the 70.3 distance? And why do you tend to skip the shorter distance formats? I personally prefer the full Ironman distance, I’ve always preferred the longer distances. Unfortunately, I got into triathlon a bit late to perfect my swimming to the level required for short distance racing. Being off the pace coming out the water in draft-legal racing, it is hard to catch up on the bike.Jodie is the opposite, she came from an ITU background and Ironman is almost too long for her- it’s a real challenge for her to keep going for that length of time, that distance. We hear you provide input to product development with Cervélo and ENVE. What does that entail and does it change your approach to racing at all? They asked a lot of questions, and we filled in a lot of questionnaires. They built a bike, the fastest they could make for the pros, with no concessions for trying to sell it or keep the costs down.With the wheels, a big thing was going to disk brakes and tubeless tyres. I have been pushing for tubeless tyres for ages. On the bike leg you are out there with no team car and no mechanical support, and fixing a puncture can cost you the race. So you want a light, fast, good rolling resistance tyre, but then you risk punctures and you lose 5 minutes to a puncture. With tubeless those minor punctures: little pieces of glass, little thorns etc are no longer an issue. With a disk brake bike, they are able to build tubeless wheels that are more efficient and light- they don’t have to provide a braking surface, they don’t have to dissipate heat, they don’t need the solid rim of carbon for a braking surface. Then the other big push from my side was where you put your spares, nutrition, bottles etc. So, for example, the bottle behind the seat you need to be as close to the seat as possible to be most aerodynamic. Aftermarket bottle cages can add an extra 10-20 cm behind the seat. On this bike the bottle cage is fully adjustable- height, angle etc. so you can get it into the exact position you need. Take a closer look at James's Cervélo P5X here. What does your weekly training routine look like? It varies through the year. Now I am building up and I’m probably not hitting anything near peak mileage, but I am still doing a 25 hour of training per week. That’s not counting the preparation for training, the stretching and the core work, and everything else that goes with it.In peak season, we get up to 30-35 hours in a big week. On average, in peak season, we’re looking at 20-25 km’s of swimming, 500km’s or so of biking and anything between 70 and 100km’s of running. Do you think you might look at getting back into coaching after professional racing? I currently coach Jodie. She has tried various coaches and it didn’t work out, and I tried coaching hear at an earlier stage and it didn’t work at all. We just didn’t get the balance right, we didn’t have any separation of church and state as it were. She had to find another coach for the sake of our relationship. But now we’ve found a bit more balance and I coached her for the whole year last year, and she is doing really well. She won World Champs last year, so my coaching CV is looking good.The importance of coaching is just having someone objective. It is easy enough to plan the perfect program, but when it starts getting hard, and when you start getting tired it’s very difficult in the middle of a six-hour ride to not start questioning your decisions. When you just push through it, which you do when you have a coach, and you just do it, you get the benefits. The indecision can cripple you if you don’t have someone objective to say: “I know you feel tired, but harden up and get out there and do it”, or: “I know you feel tired and I agree you should rest, we’ll do the long bike tomorrow”. This gives you the confidence to make the right decisions. It is very difficult to self-coach, you need supreme self-confidence both in the plan and the execution.
  12. James Cunnama is a professional triathlete based in Stellenbosch. James's impressive résumé includes 4th place at Kona 2013 and solid top three results in Ironman and Ironman 70.3 events worldwide. He is married to Jodie Swallow, current women's World Long Distance ITU Champion, and seven times winner of the East London Ironman 70.3, among many other achievements. We caught up with him at his home in Stellenbosch to check out his new Cervélo P5X, which you can read about here, and to find out a bit about life as an elite-level athlete, and what it takes to get to the top and stay there. Click here to view the article
  13. My IMSA performance of 9:51 was fairly acceptable, considering some time away from training and racing for 2 years. But I was still a little surprised to be heading down the steps onto Dig Me Beach to start at the Ironman World Championship. I was feeling fairly neutral heading into the race. After some decent training and guidance from friend, superstar (she’s led Kona for the first 2 and a half hours before!) and coach Lucie, my swimming, biking, and running times and power were all much improved since April. [/caption] [caption] I had no reason to be scared of the race, but I knew that I must give it respect. Many hot-shot pro’s have consistently failed here. Mark Allen, one of the greatest athletes of all time, took many years to crack the race.My approach was to take it as a ‘normal’ race. I’ve done a good few Ironman, long-distance and half-Ironman races over the last few years and had a routine that I felt comfortable with - whether scientific or completely random. However, and with hindsight, Lucie told me that ‘I was trying to have the race of my life’. With this unacknowledged pressure I put on myself, the normal stress of a race, the travel, being away from home, other big changes in personal and family life did not help me settle very well. My niggle that I had mentioned in the previous post was getting worse each day. It was a hip flexor/glute issue that had come and gone over the last three years. Despite best efforts to will it better, it took an early morning/late night Whatsapp call to my amazing biokineticist and chiro team at Synergy Holistix in Linden to get it going the right way. The day before the race, things finally started feeling good, and I felt confident that after a swim warm up, and a decent bike effort, I’d be good for my run. Despite it being the Star Spangled Banner, and not Nkosi Sikelel', I was still choking up at the anthem, as the pros started their race. There is something about the enormity of the occasion, and then the quiet, stillness and respect that everyone gives that did me in… After my tears, I entered the water as late as possible. I swam gently out to the floating start line at the last minute so as not to waste energy treading water. I timed it to perfection and just snuck into the third row when the announcer said 30 seconds to go. Swim Seconds to go. Before I get into any race dynamics – remember we are dealing with 2,000 plus of the world’s fittest, most competitive, fastest, A-type personalities all wanting to have the race of their life. It makes your aggressive, shouty front bunch cyclists in a 94.7 or Argus look like a sit-down gathering at a Buddhist retreat. Over the years, I have watched the Kona start on TV and youtube, and heard stories that it’s pretty ruthless up front. As the cannon on the pier sounded out over the bay, I immediately noticed the quality around me. There was body contact and the odd kick, but mostly people were swimming quite fast and mostly straight. It was like being in the sardine run off Aliwal Shoal. This time though it was without sharks – just beautiful coral, tropical fish and even a turtle! The swim was great for the first few hundred metres as I had a little bit of space, but slowly my area was getting cramped as we started finding small groups. It was quite claustrophobic which I don’t do very well with. I felt trapped and the only escape to calmer water was to turn 45 degrees and swim over some legs to the inside line. I took a few breaths and was off again, back into the sardine run and found some space in the line. And we're off. I'm in the blue cap. At the two turns, you could sense the nervousness but also the experience in the field. There were lots of calls for ‘Easy’, ‘Be Careful’, ‘Sensible guys – calm down’. On the way back to the pier, I was feeling good but it was clear we were all of similar ability and speed. There was no way to get a time advantage off faster feet (no quicker swimmers were coming through), just the benefit of less effort. With people in different coloured swimsuits, I remembered a few people after the first 400m, and they were generally with me as we neared the last 400m into the pier. Up the steps and into Transition, and all was good. Until some Charlie who had forgotten to take off his swimsuit (Andreas Raelert did it a few years ago and actually rode with it), ran back into the tent with his bike cleats on and stood on my big toe… A shot of pain and panic until I realized it was just sore and bruised, and nothing more. Exiting the water after a great swim. I was through transition as planned – shirt and sun sleeves on and I was off. Here I hit my watch for the lap, and saw my time. I was expecting a 1:10 swim and plus 2 for transition (1:12), so despite a fairly casual transition, I was thoroughly surprised when I saw 1:06 as I was leaving T1. My best ever Ironman swim by a few minutes, without a wetsuit and in one of the toughest swims around!The bike mount line at Kona is chaos. Everyone runs up to the line and tries to get on immediately. It’s a small road and gets congested. I strategically ran ten metres further to clear ground and then jumped on and started up Palani Hill. It’s a 200m gradual climb before turning left onto the Kuakini Highway for the loop back through town. It’s up, down, and around back through Palani, up and out, back through Palani, up and out and off you go on the Queen Kahemanema Highway (Queen K). This first section can be crazy fast and dangerous with crashes and guys blowing their races. I saw a few guys out of the saddle and storming up the hills. I saw them again much later as I rode past them at 150km. As I turned onto the Queen K, I did my best Titanic impression by sitting up with arms out wide, taking a big breath and letting go a big ‘Whoohooooo’. Here I was – The Ironman World Championships – and about to settle into my favourite leg. In the words of my friend the Captain – Giddy up!! Except I couldn’t. Despite having my best swim (which is normally a good indication of my race form), I couldn’t get going. Riders were flying past me, and I couldn’t get my heart or power anywhere near to what it should’ve or could’ve been. I felt flat. In the last two weeks, I’ve tried to unpack what were the reasons for this. There are many possible reasons: general heat, not enough eating in the week before, stress, over training, not enough sleep, too much sleep, nervousness, travel etc. However, with hindsight, there is not one thing that stands out, but lots of small things that may have contributed. Or it just was an off day. And this was hard – here I was, in probably the best physical condition for a race, and the engine wouldn’t get out of second gear. As I road along the Queen K highway, I desperately looked for solutions. Freezing cold water at the first aid station didn’t help, a Red Bull to give me a kickstart, eating, drinking, and then even swearing at myself to “get going or turn around. Stop wasting everyone’s time”. Nothing. Then my mind drifted – still keeping a decent cadence and as high a power as I could. At one point I almost dozed off on the aero bars (yes – my bike is comfy). I even considered blatant drafting to get further up the road AND hopefully get a time penalty so I could have a nap on the side of the road for 5 minutes! Something was off. Speaking of drafting – this race is the worst that I have ever encountered by a long way. With such a competitive field and a mass start, it’s going to happen. Between 1hr02 and 1hr07, 525 male athletes emerged from the water this year. There were another 600 ahead of them. So you’re looking at 105 athletes PER MINUTE cycling out of transition. To stay out of a pack or not to draft is really difficult. It’s like the M1 north on Friday afternoon. You’re supposed to leave a big gap, but then a BMW, a taxi and a granny in a Hyundai i10 all pull into the gap you’ve left. So you close the gap… but now you’re drafting. And you can’t drop back to the end of the group/bunch/pack because they’re surging and decelerating all the time, and you’re either 20m back or right up back in the pack. Packs on the bike. Short climb up to the Kuakini turnaround. But that’s everyone else’s race. After 50km, I put in a little effort and felt a sharp twang in my lower back. Nothing dramatic, but I sat up, applied some Deep Heat and may have left my shirt a little high. When racing, I carry a small medical pack of salt tablets, Rennies and Deep Heat. My back seemed to loosen up after another 10km, and I actually found some more power. The wind had now picked up as we approached Kawaihae and the climb to Hawi.My race was slowly getting better and I picked up a few spots on the climb up to Hawi. At the turnaround, I grabbed my special needs bag (fortunately without stopping or getting my bag caught in my wheels) and headed down the hill. In the weeks before, I had really struggled here. The wind had blown me all over the place. Today though I was committed. I stuck to the advice I received from Tina Walters – now a Kona resident and former 9th place finisher – ‘don’t get out of your aero bars, and pedal… just keep pedaling’. I picked up a few more spots on the way down, and was now looking forward to the ride home. Unfortunately, as we turned onto the Queen K again, the winds had turned (obviously), taking the wind out of my sails if that’s possible! Again I felt flat, and started dropping the places I had just gained. This is a long and lonely stretch of road. Lots of lava, lots of wind, no spectators, and no chat. Everyone head down and fighting the wind and their own demons. As the lava fields rolled by, I decided not to fight the bike anymore, and just do what I could. Mentally I had wasted a lot of energy in looking for answers, so I set a new power goal (about 15% less than my target) and kept focused on the task at hand. I held a controlled but light effort for about 30km, and was delighted to see the new airport, and then the floodlights of the old Airport Recreation Ground as I rolled into Kona. After the dreadful quiet and loneliness of the Queen K, it was good to be back in town with spectators. I was through T2 with no issues. Shoes and socks, cap, glasses, another med pack (more Rennies in this one) and some gels. I didn’t check my watch now, but from the few auto alerts on my Garmin I guessed I was 5:20-5:40 bike split. I had to get out onto the run and do what I came here for. My running had been going particularly well. In training, I was reaching good speeds, my recovery was good, my mileage was up, and my form was good (thanks to Claudia at Synergy Holistix). I had studied the run course, I knew the challenges, I had run 95% of it in the last two weeks and I had quiet confidence. The first section up and through town is quite easy. Not too hot or humid, and a sprinkling of spectators. You then hit the Hell of Ali’i. Well that’s how it felt to me. My pace was a little off, and my heart rate was again very low, but I felt comfortable for about 3km’s. Then all of a sudden it started getting oppressively humid and hot. As per instructions, it was lots of ice and sponges in and on various parts of my anatomy, and then coke. However, this was not changing anything or keeping me going. My heart kept dropping, and so did my pace. As my friend said when he saw a picture of me, ‘he looks moeg…’ (very, very tired). This was now the worst sporting event I have ever participated in (getting snowed on and rescued from a vegetarian cult in the Karoo is a distant second). My mind had been in overdrive all day. Normally it’s pedal, eat, watch power/heart rate, drink, pedal, don’t blow. Repeat for run. I had been struggling all day to find solutions to get my body working. 14km into the run, looking moeg and about to break down. I hadn’t been going hard enough physically to blow, but mentally I was on the edge. I ran back along Ali’I Drive past our condo and my wife ran with me for a bit and then I broke down – thinking of all the sacrifices I’d made, all the effort I had put in, the years in the sport… and questioning whether it was all worth it. For this? Being ‘moeg’, struggling through the heat, not able to get going, and I still had 28km to suffer through. It wasn’t pretty. I ran up to Palani – and started my walk. Palani is maybe 500m long, and by walking I would lose maybe 1 min overall, but would be a lot stronger for it. Unfortunately, there was now a big gap in aid stations. Normally they are every mile, but this seemed a bit longer. To give a sense of the heat, I honestly felt that if I didn’t get something in the next 500m, I was going to pop. Fortunately, this was ‘Merica, and one of the spectators was smashing an oversize burger with his 30 oz Coke sitting next to him. I picked it up, walked a few yards had a few gulps and plopped it back down on the side of the road with a mumbled ‘Thanks’. A bit later, on the Queen K and between aid stations, I also felt a bit on edge, and found a very warm Gatorade that someone had tossed off the bike about 7 hours ago! Lifesaver!! As I hit the Queen K, there’s a slight downhill on which I actually felt good. I had had an excellent confidence building run on this stretch the week before. And I thought, right let’s get home with a strong finish. And then the wheels fell off. They had been threatening for a while, but they came off at about 18-20km. It was nothing in particular, but the heat, the stress, the mental anguish of feeling flat, and maybe too much coke – the side of my stomach pulled me into a pretzel. When I could straighten and get going, it was sore and slow and there was a lot of walking. Nothing seemed to get me straight – not even a few magical Rennies tablets. Early on in the run. Condo in the background and looking 'moeg' at 3km into the run. Down into the Energy Lab... Stitch forcing a walk. It was at about this point that I started to see teammates, housemates and what felt like the whole of the triathlon world go past on the other side of the road. My stitch got worse and I started turning sideways.There is a place on the highway where they stop spectators, and then there is no-one for the 8km loop into and out the Energy lab. It feels like you’re heading off to Mordor with Frodo and Bilbo. I wasn’t daunted going down into the Lab, but as the mental and physical fatigue grew, everything was hard. I started noticing guys who had popped or had tough days like me. I don’t believe the Energy Lab is harder than any other part of the course, but its at 28-32km on the run, and I just believe that this is where guys' races often go wrong. As my stitch pulled me sideways again, I was trying an awkward shuffle and now started shouting at myself to go. At one point I was particularly vocal, aggressive and sweary, but it was the same moment as one of the age group ladies came past me. She thought I was swearing at her! I did find her after the race to apologise! I’ve never taken special needs on the run, but it was suggested I pop something sentimental or delicious in there. Firstly – Milo. Brilliant! It was a little box of warm, sweet, milky chocolate goodness. Thank you Brad! And a laminated photo of my two children with an elastic band for my arm. My son was particularly proud of me, and was truly confident I would win the World Championships (sorry my boy). So with my son cheering me on, my daughter’s blue eyes wishing me home and my wife waiting at the finish, I struggled home. At this stage I had stopped the coke, and was taking on ice. It seemed to be working. I found about five other strugglers and appointed myself head pace maker. My stitch and hip/glute niggle had forced me to run with my torso at 45 degrees to my direction of running. What a sorry group of limping, sideways-moving, shuffling, vomiting runners on the Queen K. Now I took a time check for the second time of the day. I worked out what I needed to make certain times and splits, and then it was “vasbyt” time. My legs were fine, but the head was tired, my stitch was ever present and my heart rate was just above my ‘sitting watching TV’ level. My pace slowly started getting back to something that resembled a run, and I headed back to town. As I turned right down onto Palani, I had a look at the picture of my family and basically cried the whole way home. I had wanted to come down Palani for about 25 years, and here I was. Unfortunately, the crowds that had cheered Jan Frodeno and Daniela Ryf had gone. Aid stations were running out of water, and they were sweeping up. This was massively humbling, for even when I have relatively bad Ironman races, I’m still in the front part of the field. A short and faster run into town, and I was turning onto Ali’i Drive, which had retained its crowds. Fortunately, I was finishing a little before sunset, but the floodlights on the road still made an impressive glow. I ran through the tunnel of spectators, up the little hump and attempted my finishing jump (about 10cm high). 1:03 Swim 5:30 Bike 3:56 Marathon Overall 10:39 Was it a horrible day? My word! I never want to repeat that. Ever. Mentally and personally, it was, and has been, very tough. To put so much effort and time into one day, and you wake up and the engine doesn’t work. I’m disappointed about the lost opportunity. Disappointed that I wasn’t able to perform near my best. It took me a few days before I looked at the results. I went swimming with dolphins and looking at volcanoes instead. I have only looked at the results once. And when I did look, I took some solace and slowly accepted that it wasn’t a disaster. My name wasn’t on the first few pages, but I was in the middle. There were people who had beaten me in other races around the world who were way behind or just ahead of me. I realised it was a tough race for a lot of people, and I had still done okay.My race wasn’t bad, but it was below par. I didn’t blow, but there must have been some mistakes in the preparation. I did finish, and many people didn’t. I didn’t win, or place where I wanted, but I finished in the middle third of a World Championship race. Six years almost to the day, I joined my first triathlon group. Back then, I swam in the slow lane, got dropped off the bike pack, and didn’t run with the group. If then you had offered me a chance to race in Kona and to finish with a 10:39 – I would’ve taken it with both hands. And for that, I am so truly, truly grateful. Thank you. My experience was amazing but my race wasn’t. I did something I never thought would happen. I qualified for Kona and I finished. Swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, run 26.2 miles… and brag for the rest of your life! John Collins, Ironman Founder, 1978
  14. I had always dreamed of Kona, and had read so much about the race, the course, the athletes, Huggo’s, the undie run, and so on. What I didn’t envisage was how tough writing about the race would be. Unlike my only attempt at racing on the Big Island, this is my sixth attempt at this race report. Click here to view the article
  15. I’m on a plane somewhere above the Rockies at the moment, and I’m slowly trying to pull the pieces of my race together. For now, I’d like to let you know what the experience is like before and after the race. I’ll get to the experience of the race in the next post. Click here to view the article
  16. The night before. Ali'i Drive with our condo just behind the beach. The World Championships have been coming to Kona since 1980 (the first two were held on the more populous and smaller island of at O’ahu). This means that the operation is slick. The impressive transition area is housed on a very small pier – less than half a rugby field in size, and the finish line is on the main beachfront road – Ali’i Drive. The whole setup is undertaken on Thursday, and by Friday morning, the bike check-in opens. Bike racking and check in done... Now just an Ironman tomorrow. Registration was on Wednesday, and our bike check in was on Friday. I went down to transition with my housemate, Iainbio, and the check in was seamless. There are approximately 5,000 volunteers who fly in from all over the world to come and help out on the day. Many came from the States, some came from Europe, and the pregnant wife of one our fellow Saffa guys also volunteered. At check in, you are assigned a volunteer who walks with you to rack your bike, explains what route to run around the pier, where to change, walks you to your bag racking and then takes you back out to the exit.All through race weekend there are volunteers at check-in, at registration, on the swim course, around town, on race day etc… it really is fantastic to see what these people do to make this race possible. On the morning of the race, you arrive earlier than most Ironman races, as you have to get body marked with a temporary number sticker and then be weighed. The weighing is partly to determine if you’re too fat to race (I just snuck in). It actually serves as a useful measure to determine your level of hydration or hyponatremia should you collapse during or after the race, or if you are submitted to the medical tent for any reason. Tim Noakes used some of this data when writing his book Waterlogged on the effects of over-hydration in endurance racing. I would suggest anyone coming to Kona reads this book as one source of information when planning your race and travel. At check-in with Paul Kaye from South Africa - the first non-American to welcome people home on Ali'i Drive. The non-wetsuit swim and mass floating start (you’re in the water – not off the beach) both add a different element to the advent of proceedings. The swimsuit that I picked up at the expo (soooo much cheaper than in SA, and you’re going to have a lot of choice) was well worth it. I won’t get into the specifics of the race here, but if you are racing in Kona either borrow a swimsuit or take a few extra dollars along and buy one at the expo beforehand. They are not like wetsuits which may restrict arm movement but more like a very tight fitting tri suit made with water repelling and non-flexible material. Leaving my race out of the story for now, we move onto the finish line party. A unique part of this race is that there are very few slow people. And I mean this with all due respect to those for whom finishing an Ironman is a challenge in itself. The race dynamic is that 40 odd male pros arrive in under 9 hours. Then about 25 females around the 9-hour mark, and then there is a steady stream of age groupers. These are the fastest age groupers in the world – most of them have podiumed at one of the multitude of Ironman events and there is very little separating them on the day. However, there are still the mature categories, some physically challenged athletes, a few fundraising slots, and local athletes. From about 10:00 pm, most athletes have gone home to shower, and returned to celebrate these heroes. For me, this was a huge highlight. I saw an 84-year-old Japanese man I’d met at the Underpants Run cross the line with a few minutes to spare, and then he was followed by two 70-something females who were struggling to stay upright. 84 year old in the middle. Oldest Competitor to finish this year - and just before the cut off. Finally, as the rain that would’ve been welcomed earlier in the heat poured down on Ali’i Drive, the first double amputee to finish the World Champs crossed the line. Without arms, he swam on his back only kicking. Then rode by using his chin for gearing, knees for applying brakes, and steered using his chest… and then he ran home. Perspective…. Destination for post-race swim. The next day was the Awards function. It was very much like a normal Ironman awards function, except the podium was 5 deep and not 3 and you receive a big wooden salad bowl as your prize!! Unfortunately, this year there were no South Africans up there. We were very close with 2 of my Trifactri training mates achieving a 6th and 7th place. Post race hydration. The worlds most active volcano from a safe distance Finally, the after-parties became quite raucous. I do have some incriminating evidence of drinking out of salad bowls, crazy dancing, and some general drunkenness – but what happens in Kona…! This is also a really good chance to chat with some pro athletes from around the world. At the closure of one of the last parties, our Dodge 7 seater was apparently the preferred Uber vehicle for the pro’s and their families. Not bad for a few days post-race R and R. The next few days were spent swimming with dolphins, turtles, and manta rays, drinking the local beer, eating some horrible fast and delicious slow food, visiting a volcano and packing. I’ll be writing a race recap shortly and get something out to you soon.
  17. Race week: Training wise, I’ve managed to tick on okay. There are some slight niggles that always seem to work their way into your system come race week. Some are genuine and will probably pass in a few days, but often they are manifestations of nerves, stress, intimidation or just demons in your head. Sitting on the beach, or overlooking the lava fields (whatever suits) is a nice way to get you focused.Talking expo and gear, I thought I’d include a little bit about what I’m taking into the race and why. This may be a bit boring for those wanting to hear about palm trees and turtles, but it may be of relevance for those wanting to race in or get to Kona. I’ve included this section down at the bottom. Amazing setting for an Expo with so many excellent products. The highlights of the expo has definitely been the high standard of kit. This is the place where fancy bikes like the Cervelo P5X, the new BMC and others are launched. If you’re not in the market for a superbike – there are loads of great options from Louis Garneau, Zoot, Roka, Rudy Project, Huub, Oakley etc. With athletes spending so much time in the town in the lead-up to the race, the exhibitors do go all out to make it an amazing spectacle. This week we had the parade of nations where all the countries and participants walked down Ali’I Drive. It was quite a special moment to be there with all the supports and locals out on the streets. I wouldn’t say it was like the Olympics, but it was damn cool. Walking down the street waving the SA flag and crowds cheering. One thing I can say is that there are many happy and excited people who have raced in SA, would like to travel to or have travelled to SA. It is a country that stands out by itself amongst the other nations of the world. We don’t always get the best stories out of our country, but despite that, we are very well received. Then this morning was the underpants run. A short two-mile trot through town with nothing more than your undies. Despite being a rest day on my programme, I decided that I needed to get involved as it is an iconic event. It doesn’t last long, but the participant numbers were huge. They took over the whole town. Paul Huddle leading the Underpants run. It really is a fun event to unwind a bit and donate something to charity. I think the pictures say it all…I was hoping to get another edition out to you before Friday in SA – but this appears less likely. The 12 hour time difference doesn’t help a pseudo-journalist in Hawaii make his deadlines!! Should the amazing guys at Bike Hub find some space, I would like to give a report on my race and the course itself. At the moment, I am feet up and waiting for a plane to arrive with my support crew of one. Fortunately, my wife has been able to come out for a few days and we will be able to at least enjoy some of the island after the race for a few days. Until next week… and hope to see you on the other side!! Now for the bike, gear and tech stuff I was previously involved in the bike industry, but none of the products here have been given to me or sponsored. I chose all the items based on budget, fit and if it just looks cool!!Bike: Frame: Argon 18 E-117tri from Cycletech in Kyalami. It’s no superbike, but it’s a very decent and affordable timetrial bike. The brakes and headset come in sensible configurations to allow for packing (because you fly to most races). Bottom bracket, seatposts, wheel clearance also offer no surprises. We get a free bike service here in Kona! Cervelo, BMC, Quintana Roo and Argon are the traditional SA brands that have a presence in Kona and most do a free tune up. Felt, Diamond and Ventum are the other bike brands that I have seen. Crankset and pedals: I ride Rotor 170mm 3DF cranks, a 54-42 Rotor Q-ring and Powertap P1 pedals. I prefer the shorter than normal length crankarms as I have suffered from hip issues in the past, and likewise the reason for Q-rings. I used to ride Osymmetric rings, but without the auto-adjusting from an automatic gearing system (Di2), I have found them a little tricky. I would move back if I had Di2. The Powertap pedals are excellent (from Cycleops in Rivonia). Two sided power, ease of setup (one Allen key), Ant+, Bluetooth and used on all training, indoor riding, and races. It really is great to have a power meter, and the P1 pedals do a superb job. I really like the ease of use to setup, sync, compatible with most head units, iPhone, iPad etc. Powertap however has a very minimal presence here in Kona this year. My groupset is a mix of Shimano from various upgrades, spare parts, and donations from older bikes. Nothing fancy or electronic here. These are all controlled from my Zipp Vuka carbon aerobars. They’re a bit old, but have lasted very well. Saddle: Cobb VFlow max – it's comfy, well designed for triathlon, and slightly narrower that other brands in the market. Fluidlines are the current importers in SA. Wheels: I borrowed a set of Zipp 808 tubulars from a friend. I have normally raced a disk wheel, but they are banned at Kona. Since arriving here, I’ve changed my front wheel to my custom built 50mm’s to keep the winds of Hawi at bay. There are many excellent wheels here. Zipp, Vision, Darknight (really impressed), Enve etc… Hydration and spares: I’ve gone for Xlab front and rear bottle mount systems. They work well on my bike, and generally function as they should. I don’t use the refillable permanent bottles up front. I’d rather shove a bottle in the cage than refill – personal preference really. Tech: Apart from the power meter (P1) I use a Garmin 920Xt watch for all three disciplines and have a backup 910xt on the bike in case I get some spike or connectivity/GPS issues. Gamin has a small presence at Kona within one of the bike shops with a little discount on all their products. Kit: Shorts, shirt and compression sleeves are from Compressport. Things fall apart in Ironman – and it’s probably a psychological thing, but I like decent compression gear to keep me together! I’ll be sporting a limited edition Kona racing top on Saturday… very nice indeed! Protection: I’m running in my orca visor that I’ve had for about 10 years… this may be its last race! And then some Oakley FlakJackets that have also been with me a while. Don’t fix if it’s not broke, I guess!! On the bike I have a Louis Garneau Superleggara TT helmet with visor. I have slightly larger than normal cranium, and I find that Louis Garneau is one of the only helmets to fit me. I race in a visor, as with your head down in the TT position, most sunglasses have the ridge which gets in the way. Shoes: Brooks PureFlow 5 – only this year I moved onto Brooks shoes, and I find most of their shoes to suit me very well. Generally a low drop of 4-6mm, good support and comfort, and no fancy pocket systems etc.. Just damn good running shoes. For the Bike, I use the only pair of road cycling shoes I’ve ever owned. A pair of Specialized tri bought from Tony Impey in 2009 – 6 Ironman races, 12 Half Ironman, 2 World champs and the odd double century etc.. and still going strong!! Swimskin: This is something that is not often used in South Africa, as we have an abundance of cold sea. Here we are not allowed to use wetsuits, so I initially borrowed one, but have now bought a better fitting Xterra Swimskin. With my swimming, I hope to get every advantage I can!! Right – so triathlon comes with a lot of kit – and mine is all ready for race day. Let’s hope the body holds out
  18. I’ve been on the big island for a week, and its quite clear that there is something brewing. We’re pretty fortunate to be staying on Ali’I Drive about 2 miles from the start. In our complex, we have three world champs and about 15 other professionals just hanging around, going for rides and runs like we all do. Click here to view the article
  19. Aloha to some fellow Joburgers and new housemates - Brad and Kino. This is one part of triathlon and particularly here at Kona that I really appreciate. The heroes and superstars rock up here in economy class flights, unpack their own bike bags and stand in queue at Safeway (the supermarket) to buy milk and eggs. One particular stalker is defending male champ Jan Frodeno. He must’ve downloaded the same “Your Best Ironman Training Programme” from the web as it appears we’re doing the same sessions (just kidding coach). I’ve been out riding the same routes as him about four times already, and yesterday he jumped into the pool just after I finished. Jan Frodeno, Terenzo Bozzone and some other dude popping out sub 3 minute KM's on Ali'i Drive. Today we went out to Hawi (Frodo was there as well) to ride the last 30 km of the course up to the turnaround and test the notorious winds. I had to make the seats flat in our big Dodge 7. Still half asleep and with the coffee intake not yet adequate, I went out to the car shirtless and in my pyjama bums. Remember it is about 25 degrees and 80% humidity at 6 am. Anyway, it was a bit awkward when I closed the car door and was staring at our neighbor ex-ITU World Champ, Tim Don, about to head out for a bike ride. “Morning Tim…” “Um morning….” Learning for the day: always make sure your PJ’s are decent!! Getting back to the matter at hand – the Ironman World Champs. After our Hawi ride today and a run through the Energy Lab, I’ve now had a look at most of the race route. If I uploaded it to Strava, I wouldn’t get many Kudos for climbs. Overall, it’s a fairly average route on paper (or Strava). However, the weather is brutal. Cape Town's Iain Bio floating through the Energy Lab. Energy lab done. First ride sunburn. It’s nice to be able to stroll around in your (clean) PJ’s at 6am. But by 3pm most days we are inside with the aircon on. The run is mostly along the freeway that heads out to the airport and then down to the Energy Lab. This area is surrounded by black lava fields, so at 2/3pm when you’re halfway through the run – the road temp can be 50 degrees, the hot air is 30 degrees and the humidity is 80-90%, with little chance of rain.Secondly, the wind. I grew up in the Bay of Plenty (Port Elizabeth) and lived in Cape Town, so I have fair experience of wind. However, the winds here are plain weird. It changes directions 4 times every ride. And behind all the bumps and through the eddys created by the lava flow, the wind can blow from three different directions in the space of a kilometre. For a first timer, don’t consider a deep section front wheel more than 50mm. You may be able to handle it, but A) it's not worth the risk; and B) you will spend a lot of energy fighting the wind. Thirdly, and this is probably for the guys that spent six months training on indoor bikes, running treadmills or being under a few layers – is the sun. Today we had our first bit of cloud cover, which made the run into the Energy Lab a lot more bearable, and also some evening rain en route to the airport for a pickup. But the sun is a shock to the system. Even with suncream lathered on, I picked up some serious burn on day one. Probably 8 World Champs in the pool at this time. Kona Aquatic centre. Outside of the challenging conditions, the training has been really enjoyable. When I’m not swimming in the pool with Jan Frodeno, I’m swimming in the sea looking at Nemo and Sammy the Turtle. The rides are on big wide roads with an excellent road surface, and the runs are mostly short. The first few days were however quite tough with the jetlag and heat adjustment. Even now, 7 days after arrival, I have some feet/ankle swelling issues. I don’t believe it’s wise to arrive anything less than 7 days out if you are coming from South Africa. Time-delay, heat, humidity, and the distance travelling is tough. The sunset from our condo complex. To get acclimatized, we are lenient with the aircon to get used to the temperatures and humidity. I’m paying particular attention to eating and drinking. Drinking wise, I’ve been smashing the Mai Tais and Pina Colada’s… I mean electrolytes and ice water. And eating, I’ve been trying to eat as much fresh veg and salads as possible with some proteins. I don’t know if it’s working, but I am feeling closer to normal (very relative….) every day. So there it is so far. Some of the exhibitors arrive soon to kick off a town-wide expo. I’ll check in next week and let you know more about what I’ve chosen to race with and why, and also some of the cool stuff we see at the expo. The Islands of Hawaii and, my name, in case I lose my bike. A sneaky preview: the new Cervelo P5 has been spotted (unofficially) and it looks pretty rad with some new features. This release is on Tuesday.
  20. How did I get onto this plane that is heading to the other side of the world for a bike race? Click here to view the article
  21. Spot the triathlete in the airport lounge. Now this is a very special bike race. It starts with a swim warm-up and ends with a jog to the finish. And it's a World Championship race. On 8th October this year, the cannon will fire on the pier at Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, and I will be off, racing in the Ironman World Championships. Over the next few weeks, the lovely guys at Bike Hub have offered to post some of my experiences. For the moment, this piece will be about my journey to Kona, and the first impressions. Firstly – getting to Kona has been a long dream of mine, but one of those that you think will probably never happen. Probably a little worried about failure - I had never fully committed to getting to Kona, although I knew I had a reasonable chance. This season I returned from a triathlon hiatus and posted some fairly average results. I was left a bit dejected and confused about whether I had truly reached middle age. Some honest discussions with my coach, Lucie Zelenkova, about my goals and my form in January left me in with a decision. Work very hard to get an outside chance of being close to maybe getting a slot, or do something else. Ironman South Africa was about 10 weeks away. Clearly I chose to go for it, and you can find out about my race here if you want. In summary - It was hard. To have a good Ironman, it's more than just hours and dedication. You will also need a sound strategy, good execution and to keep your head when everyone else may be losing theirs. Finally, the uncontrollable: punctures, illnesses, equipment malfunctions happen every race, and you just hope it's not your unlucky day. My Kona dream started when I saw some highlights on Gillete World Sport Special (before Macgyver on a Friday night). This was a way out there event, for the way out there super freaky 1%. It was a meeting with the Captain in 2007 that got my fire going. He was a real Kona qualifier who cycled a 450km round trip to join us for a weekend away. He wasn't a super human athlete, nor could he run a 3min kilometer. He was an honest Aussie, who put his mind to something, believed in it and achieved it. Our friendship also afforded him chances to teach me about setting up heat chambers in London flats, the Dirty Capitano (caffeine:sugar:water ratio about 2:2:1) and how to ride around Richmond Park with a broken collarbone and a concussion! But there's a whole book for those stories!! More importantly, he showed me that Kona was attainable. On the bike in Kona. If you are reading this and saying 'cool - but not me'. I also said that a few years ago. I went out and did a few tri's, found a group that challenged me, and a coach that understood me. I then multiplied that by a lot of hard work, got support from those around me and committed. I have never run a 3 min kilometer and I don't race Vets A. My swimming is still as fluent as my Mandarin. My wife is still grumpy when I wake her up at 5am on a Wednesday. Yet, I will be racing with the best endurance athletes in the world in two weeks time... I arrived two days ago after a JHB-LHR-SFR-KOA (Kona) marathon of flying. Quite a flight, and some great views of Iceland, Greenland, Canada and north-western USA. Those paled into comparison with the awesomeness of this place. My first morning, I was having breakfast on Ali’I Drive, whilst watching dolphins chasing huge fish about 100m offshore. The lava fields in Kona. I’ll go into more detail about each of the following, but in quick summary: 36 hours travel and 12 hour time difference: tough Lava fields: special Kona/Hawaii: Beautiful Weather: brutal World champs: Swam next to one in the pool, and casually passed one on the bike (he was running). Other athletes: I’m the fattest here… So that’s about all for me today. Feet up and watching some GridIron. Hope you enjoy the posts, and if there is anything specific you would like me to address about the Kona experience, please post a comment or get in touch on Twitter @rob_hth. Ice cap over Greenland.
  22. Hi Guys Anybody know a place where I can hire a carbon road bike for Ironman 70.3 East London 2017? Or someone who has a good road bike and willing to rent it out for the event? I am 1.80m, currently riding a medium 29er mountain bike so I will presume a medium road bike will work best. Preferably in Cape Town area as I need to ride at least 2 times with it before the event. I have done multiple xterra triathlons with my mountain bike, so never really needed a road bike. I have already emailed irideafrica, any other suggestions or someone who will be keen to make a deal please let me know. Thanks, Johan
  23. Date has been set as 19 June 2016 http://eu.ironman.com/triathlon/events/emea/ironman-70.3/durban.aspx#axzz3t9ufE3gW Entries open 3 December 2015 from 2pm Was fun this year, so will be in for it again!!
  24. Can't find a thread for 2016 Who's going to be there? will be my second (hooked after DBN). I have a better idea what to expect now, so hopefully I'll be better prepared. (I need to RUN RUN RUN and RUN some more)
  25. Hi, I'm interested to see who is doing/has done the Ironman 70.3 EL, full Ironman PE and Comrades in one year (6months)? If so, what was/is your training vs recovery plan? Is this possible?
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