Monday, 29 October 2012

Port Macquarie 70.3

Port Macquarie 70.3 was a race i have been looking forward to for a long time. It started the beginning of my campaign to establish myself as a successful 70.3 athlete and make the jump from ITU racing to long course non drafting. It also served as on opportunity for me to grab some valuable points in my quest to qualify for World Champs in Las Vegas next year.

Cairns 70.3 in May earlier this year exposed my weakness on the bike. I got smashed on the ride up there and ran well below my potential, so for Port i tailored my training around getting in some big miles on the bike and building a strength base so i could ride harder for longer, and get off and run fast with fresher legs. I think i succeeded in this and i was pulling out some of the best training sessions in a long time so i was eager to see how i would hold up against some of the best Australian 70.3 athletes with the likes of Clayton Fettel, Tim Berkel, Leon Griffin and Matty White toeing the line.

The day started off as 99% of people thought it would  Clayton took the lead from the get go. I swam comfortably, leading the chase pack out of the water about 90 seconds down. I was second onto the bike, got in my nutrition and settled in for the hills out of town. It wasn't long before Leon Griffin and Tim Berkel went past me which is exactly what i wanted to happen. My pre race theory was that Clayton would be up the road and myself, Berkel and Griffin would ride together to limit the damage he would do. The ride was two 45km out and back laps with hills for the first section and a flat windy section to the turn around. We rode hard out the turn around together and were joined by Kiwi cycling powerhouse James Bowstead. I was thrilled with this as I was feeling great and he would serve as another strong cyclist in our group. The ride was hard sure, but i never felt like i was going to get dropped nor did i feel like i was riding too far out of my comfort zone.

On the way back into town i was following my nutrition strategy and without thinking i discarded my gel wrapper. It wasn't until about 15 minutes later that the technical official who had been following us for the whole ride came up along side me and showed me a yellow card, stating i had received a penalty for littering on the course. I couldn't believe it. I was so angry, frustrated and upset. In fact i could probably write a whole page on all the emotions that were bubbling inside of me. I spent the rest of the lap trying to get my head back into the game and forget about it. Whats done was done. But i couldn't help feeling hard done by. I know it the rules but it just seems like such a harsh penalty, to essentially ruin someones day for this minor infringement.

I served my penalty after 45km and felt a great sense of dismay as i watched the group i was riding with ride back out of town as i stood there in the penalty box of shame (much to the amusement of a few spectators might i add). After what was the longest 4 minutes of my life i set back on my bike, 4 mins down, all momentum lost and my head not in the right place. I completed the ride with another group of athletes including Jason Shortis and Adam Gordon but i knew we had lost so much time on that second lap. I got a time check when we got back into transition, 8 minutes down on the Berkel group. My 4 minute penalty essentially cost me 8 minutes.

After years of ITU experience i blitzed through T2 and was running solo from the start. I went out hard, as i still had adrenaline pumping through me as i stewed over my earlier misadventure. I set out trying to reel in as much time as i could. I had nothing to lose and went for it. I focused on running fast by staying relaxed and keeping up a high turnover to remain efficient. I ran evenly throughout the whole half marathon to finish 5th place and posted the 2nd quickest pro run time of 1:16:49. I'm not saying i would have ran that quick if I didn't get the penalty because riding with the front guys may have taken the sting out of my legs, but I am disappointed i wasn't able to test my running form against the guys in front. 

Despite this harsh learning experience i've taken away some valuable lessons and also boosted my confidence in my ability to mix it up with some of the best 70.3 athletes in the country. The penalty put my out this time, but I am now even more hungry and believe i can go toe to toe with these guys. 

I'd like to thank a few people for helping me get to this race. Glen Duggan from VoloSport for his continued hard work and support of my progression as a pro athlete, Paul Dukes from Duke's Real Estate for giving me a helping hand with nutrition, Sterling Ashbee for letting me borrow his equipment that is worth more than my bike, Scody Apparel for the last minute race suit and Rodney Forrest for his belief in my ability. Without these guys it would have been alot harder for me to get up there on the weekend.

I'd also like to give a quick shout out to my Mum who has always supported me. She also won her age group up there on the weekend so she goes alright for an old duck. And lastly my girlfriend Kat who did everything for me pre race and wouldn't let me lift a finger up there on weekend. 

Next up I'm trying to get a late entry into Shepparton 70.3 in two and half weeks time, and then onto Canberra 70.3 in December. Hope to see you guys there.

Photo Credit:

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Extra Curricular: Part 2

Welcome all to another edition of the abode.

It's been a month since my last post so I thought I'd update you all with what I've been up to, and what I'm about to embark on. The week before last I went to the snow with Kat to get away before I have to lock down with training and uni over the next few months. I borrowed gear from my brother who's an avid snowboarder, packed the car and drove 6 hours to Jindabyne. I took my running gear with the good intention of going on some scenic runs in the Kosciusko National Park, however the DOMS that accompanies a novice snowboarder prevented this. My body was aching more from snowboarding than it has done on past training camps where coaches dream up their malevolent sessions and try to outdo each other on the lactic acid scale (Canberra AIS camp anyone?). Fortunately, I found my footing after a few days of eating snow and spent the rest of the time thinking I was Shaun White.

Prior to my snow escapades I attended the Panthers Triathlon Club Ball. This night brings most members of the local triathlon community together to laugh, drink and celebrate the season just gone. Free wine and beer for the opening hour is not a great idea for triathletes as most of us were well under by the time the presentations rolled round. I was fortunate enough to receive Club Champion, a prestigious award that I have been aspiring to for years and this time managed to come home with the bacon. A lot of work has gone into the club over the past few years and I think we have developed arguably the best club around which I'm honored to be a part of.

I am now gearing up for this coming season by getting some base miles under my belt. There's not much to this, except looking at the oven clock on the way out, peddling/trotting for a number of hours and noting the time on the oven upon termination.

I'm looking at racing Port Mac 70.3 at the end of October. Unfortunately it's the same day as the local Nepean Triathlon, which is a fantastic event that I'm sorry to miss. However, I need to look at races that are going to develop me as an athlete and hopefully gain some exposure if I am able to post a good result.

That's all from my end friends, thanks for reading!


Kat and I on the Ski Tube to Perisher

Kat and I at the Club Ball 

View over Mt. Kosciusko

The old girl and I

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Extra Curricular

Greetings all,

First of all I'd like to thank everybody for taking the time to read my blog. It's great to have positive feedback on what I've been writing and it's extremely gratifying to know that people are enjoying what I'm putting on here. I'll try to post regularly but I don't want to fill the pages with mindless dribble about things that most of you won't care about.

I'm currently on a break from training. I think breaks are super important for athletes as it gives the body a chance to rest and it also recharges those mental batteries that can deplete over extended periods of training. My break hasnt been that relaxing though as I've swapped my training equipment for text books to get me through my uni exams this week. As most triathletes that study can relate, I'm trying to fit in a whole semesters worth of information into one week. I'm looking forward to finishing exams so I can really enjoy my break by catching up with friends and heading out for a few beers and enjoying other things that I give up for most of the year. I'm heading to the snow in a couple of weeks too which I can't wait for. Ive never snowboarded so I'm not really really sure what I've gotten myself into (stay tuned). I'm going to Perisher and staying in Jindabyne so I might even manage to sneak in a few high altitude running sessions.

This morning I had the opportunity to have a meeting with Glen Duggan from VoloSport. Glen is a sports manager who I'm very excited to be working with and I'm looking forward to the future with Glen's wealth of experience and expertise. Glen managers other athletes such as Liz Blatchford, Ashleigh Gentle, Ollie Whistler, John Polson and open water specialists Trent and Codie Grimsey to name a few. He is leading me in a direction that will hopefully gain me more exposure and fingers crossed I'll be able to attract some potential sponsors and I can stop racing and training in borrowed gear (I used my mums race shorts at Huskisson long course).

I'm also in the process of mapping out next seasons races. I'm excited about what next season can hold for me. But more of that later, I don't want to use all my ammunition in one blog post.

That's about all from my end,

Take care.


Tuesday, 5 June 2012


In other news, Cairns is a pretty awesome place and was lucky enough to be up there for 5 days and got myself acquainted with the locals.

There is no swimming in the beaches as there is crocodiles lurking in most bodies of water. I found this out before the race because there is signs everywhere warning of crocodile activity. Apparently USM events conducted a sweep of the swim course prior to the race gun sounded. Glad i could put my mind at ease!

So the response from the council was to build a lagoon for all the tourist that come to Cairns. I dont think they enjoyed the triathletes getting in there with their paddles to do pre race swim training. (Yes i did see people in there practicing with wetsuits and paddles prior to the race).

Post race i ventured out the great barrier reef and snorkeled with the marine life there. I was tempted to ride the turtles back into Cairns Jack Sparrow style but i thought better of it.

Huge shoutout goes to my house mates Josh and Kylie McGuiness and Renee Workman for putting up with me and helping me get to the startline hassle free. Also a massive wrap to Sterling Ashbee who helped me get up to Cairns and his generosity to loan me some of his eqipment.

Cairns 70.3 Race Report

I decided to race Cairns 70.3 about 9 weeks out from the race. I thought that this would have been enough time to prepare myself and condition my body to cope with the demands of racing a 70.3 at a high level and post a solid result. My training leading into the race was solid, and I could see myself getting fitter as I trained through the two months. I was happy with how I was progressing, especially in my run. I increased my volume and was able to train harder and post some really quality run sets that gave me confidence leading into the race.

There was some good names lining up for the 70.3 which included Pete Jacobs, Josh Rix, Luke Mckenzie and Tim Berkel to name a few. I wasn’t intimidated by these big names, but more excited to test myself against some of the best 70.3 athletes in Australia. I got off to a good start in the swim and was leading the first 500m. I have been trying to do as little swimming as I can but making sure i maintain some level of fitness and speed (usually about 10 – 12km per week). I did this so I can focus more on my running strength and cycling which I have targeted as areas of weakness for me.  After 500m Pete Jacobs surged away and i couldn’t respond. Luke Mackenzie came up next to me and we started swimming off each other for the remainder of the swim. I exited the water about 40 seconds down on PJ with Josh Rix and Luke Mackenzie.

After a long run into T1 we started out on the Captain Cook Highway on our bikes. Ex cycling pro Casey Munro came around myself, Josh and Luke and started lighting it up and driving it to catch PJ. We went with him, and it was tough for myself and after 30km I was stinging out at the back trying to hold onto the guys in front. Perhaps it was a mistake to try and go with these guys, but I don’t regret giving it a go. I wasn’t going to sit up and let the group ride away from me.

There was a little out and back section and I was really surprised to see PJ only about 15 seconds up on us. I don’t really know what happened next but all of sudden I was dropped and fortunately for me,  Mackenzie’s aero pad broke so he also dropped off with me. We rode up to the 57km turn around to head back into town for 33km. I was cooked. I was in and out of the saddle and the heat was getting up to close to 30 degrees now.  It was also really hilly out at the turn around and this taxed my legs. By 80km my quads were cramping and I was peddling squares. Mackenzie and myself were caught with 5km to go by John Polson and Matt Bailey.

Looking back on the ride, and my training leading into the race I believe I did not do enough bike mileage. After racing Huskisson Long Course and Batemans Bay Ultimate I think I got complacent with my training and where I was at. I didn’t change my program leading into Cairns and I think that was a mistake. I kept telling myself I was doing enough riding but I was kidding myself. The level of racing in a 70.3 pro field is a lot different to racing something like Huskisson or Batemans Bay.

In transition I could see the other boys were struggling too. After a somewhat slow transition by all of us that lacked any kind of urgency we set out onto the run. Mackenzie dropped off really quickly and I dropped off not long after. I felt terrible. No energy and just flat as anything. It’s funny how things change in a race. At one point I was looking at a podium finish, and then next I was in danger of even getting there. Mackenzie went back pass me and I was sitting in 7th. There is nowhere to hide in the run in Cairns. It starts in the middle of nowhere and it’s a point to point run back to Cairns along an open highway with no cover. It was scorching. Up the road I saw Casey Munro walking. I passed him at about 5km and was in 6th. The race pays to top 5 but I didn’t even care at this point. I was in all sorts. I couldn’t hold down any sort of nutrition and I could only take water at aid stations. It felt as though I was running at least 5:30 km’s. At 8km I saw John Polson also walking, another victim of the heat and taxing bike ride. I was back in the money, but I knew that at my pace I was running some people were bound to catch me from chasing packs.

12km into the run I started felling better. I’d finally found my running legs. I picked up the pace and started running harder to see what time I could make up. Before I knew it I was in 4th after passing Matt Bailey at about the 15km mark. I felt the strongest I had been all day and I aimed to put as much time between myself and those behind me to hold onto 4th. I kept pushing the pace and in the final  1km I saw 3rd place in front of me, I couldn’t believe I’d run myself back into touch of the podium. I thought for sure the top 3 were ages ahead. It turns out it was Josh Rix who was going backwards in that final few km, although I ran out of road and finished 30seconds adrift.

I was happy to finish 4th after going through those dark patches on the run. I learned some valuable lessons and this race has been by far the best learning experience of my season. I know what I need to work on now over winter and I can’t wait to rip in next season and post some results and get my name out there. My run time was 1:21, which I was quicker than I expected. I thought for sure it was looking to be closer I the 90min mark. Although it was quicker than I expected I know I have so much more left in me, and I think the key to unlocking that quicker run time will come off more strength in the bike so I will be running stronger without being rattled after the ride.

Thanks for reading and thanks to everyone who has supported me in my training and racing, I really appreciate everything that everyone does for me.

Take care,

Thursday, 24 May 2012

New Blog

Welcome friends to the very first edition of Appo's Abode.

I've been toying with the idea of creating a blog for some time now, and this afternoon I thought I would go for it. It will mainly follow my adventures of triathlon, but it will also include some miscellaneous activities that I undertake. I am well aware that the triathlon season is drawing to a close (well for me it is anyway) but I figured I would start it up regardless.

Next weekend on June 3 I am competing in my very first 70.3 race in Cairns. Its my last race for season and I'm excited to go up there and get amongst the action. My training was going well up until last Wednesday when I struggled to complete my quality run due to nerve pain in my hip. I finished the run looking like a one legged man in ass kicking competition. That alone should have been motivation enough to stop, if not that then the questionable looks i was recieving from neighbours as i hobbled through my suburb, limping home should have done it. Sadly I did not stop. Triathletes with their impatience and competitive nature always strive for a "leg up" on their competition. As it turned out, my glute muscles had progressively gotten really tight and started impinging on my Sciatic nerve which runs down your leg. I got a few deep tissues massages and made some appointments with my physio (who happens to be my girlfriends dad, who doesn't love free treatment?) and all I could do was stretch and rest up. I took 5 days off running but I'm happy to say I've run pain free for the past few days and it is holding up nicely. I'm putting the finishing touches on my training now as i come into the last week. As some would say; I've baked the cake, all I have to do is put the icing on.

That's all for now, check back later for some more posts. But not too regularly, I lead a busy lifestyle and I'm probably biting off more than I chew creating this blog.

Take care.