Challenge Rimini Half - 6th

I just finished the Challenge Rimini Half here on the beautiful Adriatic coast in Italy. I raced the world junior duathlon champs here in 2001 and I was hoping to relive the magic from 13 years ago but I will have to settle for another 6th place finish after a tough closing 10km of the run where everything seemed to fall to pieces pretty badly. It may have been all the travel and crossing time zones but I felt great through to the half way point on the run so I am going to put it down to the epic crash I managed to get myself in at the 45km mark on the bike. The road rash on my arm was not too bad but it wasn't until after the race that I managed to assess the damage to my hip and there was some pretty good damage. 

It has been a great week here in Rimini and I have really enjoyed the change in pace. It seems Italy time is a lot like "island time" and when it comes to meals this place is off the chart. I love good food and there has been plenty of it the past few days, but I have been hanging out for some good italian wine so as soon as I finish this update …

The race was put on by an old italian legend triathlete – Alessandro Alessandri who I used to race with back in the ITU days and he did a great job organizing a tough and challenging course and making it a great race for the spectators. I must admit I did like the leisurely race start time of 11am, it was a nice change to the system but I still managed to seem to run out of time before the start. 

Beach start for the swim which I always like and this seemed to go very smoothly and soon we were onto the bike. The front group seemed to stay pretty tight until about 25km where we started climbing, first gradually into a head wind then not so gradually. There was a group of 4 of us that got away but just before the turn around we were joined by ex pro cyclist Dominico Passuello who would go on to win the race and he blasted to the front and picked the pace right up. My goal was to bridge back up on the downhill section, but my mistake was thinking bridging a gap to a pro cyclist on a descent was easy and trying to close the whole 10seconds in 1 corner, not the smartest move of my career. I was so so close to coming out the other side and if I did who knows what would have happened but after a good slide on a good European road there was no doubt in my mind about getting back on the bike and I managed to do this in good time, the 2 guys who were just behind me a minute ago passed me as I was mounting my reliable stead. I could feel my hip was sore but I tried to put that behind me as much as I could and focus on the job at hand and things were going okay.

Off the bike 2minutes down and soon we were closing the gap, after 7kms I was on the chase by myself and had brought my deficit down to 90seconds, I didn't think this was the best it was going to get but it seemed as each kilometer went by my pace slowed and I wasn't able to hold my stride together, quite possibly from the damage to my hip as using your gluts and core are essential. Ritchie Nicholls – another one of the fastest runners in our sport on his day, caught and passed me at 11km, I tried to go with him but could not change my pace and this was the start of a line of 3 other guys who paced themselves well and chewed me up and spat me out. I was now on Italian time… And soon fellow kiwi athlete Gine Crawford who was on her 2nd of 3 laps ticked past my with here beautiful cadence – I did manage to get back past her before she turn for her last lap and I turned for the finish but it was great to be racing with another Kiwi.

A great experience, one I wish I could have shared with Kelly, counting down the weeks until I see her – at 2 now.

Next stop Barcelona for the new 70.3 race next weekend. Looking forward to a nice relaxing week and all going well I should arrive on the start line with no aches and pains and 2 solid races under my belt. Again it is going to be a stellar field with the winners from this weekends Challenege Rimini and Malorca 70.3 taking to the start line.

Until next time – stay upright

Ironman 70.3 St. George - 6th

This weekend was the Ironman 70.3 St. George race in UTAH, it doubled up as the US Pro championships and was my first race of the Northern hemisphere season. Only being back into training the past 6 weeks from a small recovery period after Kelloggs Nutri-Grain Ironman NZ my goal going into the race was to test the body, see where the fitness was and test that against most of the best athletes in the world. All in all it was a very tough day but I am please to walk away after a solid race finishing in 6th Place. This was my first trip to UTAH and to be honest I wasn't sure what to expect coming in, but the truth is St. George has such amazing scenery and very friendly people I will definitely be coming back and exploring the area a little more.

The course has to be one of the toughest I have ever competed on, add to the course the stellar field and the slight altitude of the area it was sure to be a hard hard day at the office. My feel in the water has been good plus I had a brand new Aquasphere wetsuit on so I was glad that I managed to put together a good swim and come out of the water near the front of the lead group. Andy Potts had a little gap coming out of the swim but with the large lead group we would catch him at some stage during the bike. Getting started on the bike my toes were a little numb from the cold swim and the the chilly air, very interesting though that the temps rapidly went up through the day and by the end of our race it was everything but cold. The guys were riding incredibly well, my power was definitely higher than it has been in a long while and being able to hold off the uber bikers like World Champ Sebastian Kienle chasing us down for the whole duration of the bike had to say something about the pace we were setting. At the 40mile / 60km mark we hit Snow Canyon which was a solid 5mile climb and was sure to be where the the race would be separated. I just hung onto the lead group and was thankful for the super aerodynamics of my Argon 18 on the long decent back into town. The climb did some damage to field and Jan Frodeno who is having a great year got dropped from the group. I half thought we could count him out of the running for the top spot but he proved the lot of us wrong coming away with the fastest run of the day and bridging back across to take the win.

The run was going to be interesting, there were no flat sections at all and the first 2.5miles was straight up hill. Defending champion Brent McMahon who would go on to take the silver set a pace that I struggled to match running out of transition, soon Tim Don who would later take the bronze came trotting past and again I couldn't change gear to hang with him, Gambles, Potts and Collington, all great athletes came past and again I could not find that next gear, my legs felt good, my heart rate was well within myself but I was noticing the altitude of 3000feet when it came to sucking in Oxygen, I just couldn't get enough in and now a day after the race my throat is killing me, I guess from breathing too hard! I still wanted to see what I could do out there and knew that the tough course may come back and bite a few guys in the but later on so I just kept my focus and kept the guys in front within my site. Unfortunately I was passed by Ben Hoffman at mile 8 and still could not change gear to stay with him. A couple miles later I knew we a long 2.5mile downhill stretch the finish and managed to bridge back up to 6th and 7th place. We were moving pretty well down the hill and knew we had to as Bevan Doherty was hot on our heels and closing the gap. It has been a while since my last sprint finish and while it would have been great to be sprinting for the podium it was still pretty cool to be able to be a part of the action and help put on a show for all the specters watching live and online.

I guess all those years of running on the track back in high school are still paying off…
In case you are wondering – I wore a black band around my arm in memory of good friend and amazing massage therapist who took his life 6 weeks ago. Ian McKellar was great person and will be missed greatly.

Back to LA for a couple day then I am off to Europe for the Challenge Rimini Half distance race next weekend followed by Barcelona 70.3. My last trip to Rimini was in 2001 where I won my first world title so I am looking forward to revisiting those memories and experiencing my first Challenge family race. I just hope my legs can recover in time from that downhill sprint! I have not taken off my 2XU compression socks and quads sleeves since the race.

So this weekend was a great test of my fitness, it was good to see where things are at for everyone and what needs to be done before the business end of the season and World Championships.

Kellogg's Nutri-Grain Ironman NZ - 3rd

This weekend was the Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain New Zealand Ironman down in Taupo. It was a very tough day but I am pleased with my 3rd place finish behind Marko Albert and Cam Brown. It was also a great way to mark the end of my Pre Season base training and put to rest some monsters that have been hiding in my Ironman closet.

Taupo put on a superb week with great weather leading into and on race day. I was happy with where my fitness was across all 3 disciplines and I was looking forward to testing the waters and seeing how far I had come since my last Ironman finish in 2011. 

Marko set a fast start to the 3.8km swim and soon a small group of us had a break. We quickly navigated through the waters to come out with a 2 minute lead over the chase pack which included Cam Brown.  Last years winner, Bevan Docherty along with several strong bikers made up the front group and I was sure we would work well together to slowly build our lead over the 180km, 2 lap bike course. Unfortunately by the 80km point Brownie had bridged the gap across and the whole dynamic changed.

Marko put in a small surge through the special needs section at the half way point and we soon noticed he was moving away from us. His lead would grow through the remainder of the bike to over 6 minutes. This was really impressive, as we were not wasting anytime riding home.

I love starting the marathon in the middle of Taupo, the crowds are so amazing and your spirits and adrenaline levels are lifted immediately. Soon it was Brownie, Docherty and myself on the hunt for the Estonian up the road. We were moving along very well but for some reason we were not taking any time out of our 6minute deficit. Lap 1 done and I was feeling okay, heading out onto lap 2 and things started to happen. Docherty dropped off at 16km, at 20km my legs decided they were not happy with the pounding I was giving them and I spent the next 4km yo-yoing off the back of Brownie trying my best to hold it together as long as possible. In the last 4km of lap 2 I lost over 1 minute. Things were turning to custard and fast! The final lap was the true test, would I be able to hold it together and stay positive? It was tough but I managed to hang in there and soon the battle would be to see if I could hold off 4th place Tim Van Berkel who was slowly closing the gap.  The finish line could not come soon enough and I was elated to cross in 3rd place behind Marko who had an absolutely amazing race and Cam Brown.

In the woman’s Meredith Kessler defended her title and Gina Crawford and Candice Hammond rounded out the podium.

Kelly and I are in a mad rush now to unpack, wash and repack before heading off on our 14 month overdue honeymoon to Hong Kong and Vietnam. We are both looking forward to some well-earned time off.
Photos thanks to Darryl Carey – 

Ironman 70.3 Auckland - bronze

So this weekend was the Ironman 70.3 Auckland Asia Pacific Championships, the first big race of the 2014 season and to kick things off everyone did a great job.  I was blown away with how stacked the professional field was. You wont see another pro field with this many big names in it until the World Championships later in the year. The race was put on to an unbelievable standard thanks to the organization, the volunteers and Auckland city and not to mention the great crowds of spectators out there making the hard racing so much sweeter, and last but not least the weather Gods were good to us giving Auckland an absolutely amazing day to showcase the sport and the great city I call home.

With not being able to stand on the start line last year after being taken out by a car door 2 days before the race which resulted in a slow start to my 2013 season due to a concussion I was very grateful to be a part of the action this time around.

I took the bronze which I will be happy with as it is still early in the season for me and I am just getting back into some good training. I am really pleased with how my body responded so to finish on the podium in one of the most stacked fields outside of world champs is very satisfying. I had a great time racing in front of my home crowd on an absolutely stellar day here in Auckland. Right from the start of the race I was excited and loved every minute of the action. The pro field did a great job putting on an amazing show for those watching and whilst I tried unsuccessfully several times to split the group I loved this challenging Auckland course which took in some pretty cool sights. It is not every day that you are allowed to ride over the harbor bridge and the North section of the course went around the roads I used to train on as a beginner. Put all this with the huge crowds, the multi lap course and an unbelievable back drop and I was in my element.

Olympic gold medalist Jan Frodeno took line honors with seasoned pro Richie Cunningham showing he has stepped up his game to a whole new level of racing to take the silver. The other names that were in the top 8 included 2 x Olympic medalist Bevan Docherty, home favorite Cam Brown, 5 x world champion Craig Alexander and super runner Tim Reed. The girls podium was Cat Morrison, Annabel Luxford and Jo Lawn.

A week of recovery ahead before getting back into the serious miles in my build up for Nutri-Grain Ironman NZ on the 1st March.

Until then, keep safe


Birthday: 1 March 1985.
Nickname: T.
Education: Two years Physiotherapy; 1 year Business Degree.
Occupation: Professional Triathlete
Coach: Performance Lab-Jon Ackland (since 1999)
Pilates: IQ Pilates-Raewin Hing
Language: English
Height: 179cm
Home Town: Auckland, New Zealand.
Favorite Food: Mums pizza. sushi, chocolate, Ice!
Interests: Snow Boarding; Tennis; Surfing; Movies.
Favorite Holiday: Banyan Tree Resort at Laguna Phuket, Thailand
Best Running Trail: Portland Oregon USA
Best overall Training: North Shore, Auckland, NZ / USA
Best surf Beach: Kumara Patch Taranaki.