Cycling in wind

Riding in wind used to really get me down.  On race morning if I heard the wind whistling through the trees I’d dread what was to come during the bike leg.  If a training ride was on the cards and I could see the trees in my front yard leaning over I’d begrudgingly turn to the indoor trainer.  Deep down I knew that surely it’s just a state of mind, and there’s a way to deal with the challenges of a solid breeze.

It wasn’t until 2007 when I was training for IRONMAN Hawaii that I figured I had better get used to riding in the wind.  The infamous Kohala winds along the Queen K Highway were going to be a force to be reckoned with and I had to know how to cope.

I’ve now turned things around and have found a way to use the wind to my advantage.  It the same for everyone, it’s just how each person copes with the conditions that defines how they will be impacted.  This is what I did…

Learn to love the wind

These days I don’t mind training and racing on a windy day but sure, I’d prefer a light breeze any day, but if the wind does pick up on race day or the course turns into a significant cross or tailwind I see that now as an advantage.  I’m not scared by it, or nervous of how I will cope, I just know how to handle it.  I also bank on the fact that most people are the opposite, so from a competitive perspective I feel I relish in a windy day.

Get out there in the wind and learn how your bike and body react to the wind from various directions and speeds.  Your Triathlon Bike may behave different to your Road Bike so you have to find that out before race day too.

Get aerodynamic

The smaller the surface area you present to the wind the better.  It’s not possible to reduce our physical size by a great deal, but we can position ourselves with a smaller frontal area through having a good bike fit.  Keep in mind you need to work at this position, get comfortable on it, and be aware that the most aerodynamic position may not be the most comfortable, especially if trying to hold it for hours and hours.  So there may have to be a small compromise here for comfort and efficiency over aerodynamics.

One big difference can be just to drop your head.  Be like a turtle and retract your head and lower it a bit.  This will affect your ability to see up the road clearly so be very careful when you do this.

It’s well worth finding ways to be more aerodynamically efficient with your bike position.  Small changes here can be worth a lot more than a flash new set of wheels on your bike.

Keep low on your bars

As mentioned above, the more aerodynamic you are the less you will be affected by the wind.  But it may be so strong that staying on your aerobars is too unstable and dangerous.  Therefore you should ride in your drops or on your bull horns.  Get low, widen your elbows a bit to create a wider stance, bend them every so slightly and soften your grip on the bars so your bike is still able to move a bit as the wind gusts on and off. Put a bit of a smile on your face, make people around you wonder how the heck you can be enjoying it so much….it might be enough to put them off their game.

Lean on a crosswind

Air is pretty dense, and air that moves swiftly can provide quite a solid medium to lean on…that’s why it’s harder to ride into the wind.  You can use this to your advantage when it’s coming at you from the side.  Learning how to lean on the wind has a similar affect as a yacht sailing across a breeze.  You’re getting blown from the side and being pushed forward a little bit.  Used properly a crosswind can be your friend, used incorrectly a crosswind can be a real hinderance to your forward advancement.

Let the wind move you

Being all tense and fighting every gust of wind is very stressful, uses a lot of energy, and can leave you feeling quite exhausted.  If you just relax and let the wind move you slightly as you regain your control and balance you will be much better off for it.

One thing you should never do when you get pushed by a crosswind is stop pedalling and sit up.  Suddenly you have lost all control of your bike.  One piece of advice I remember Chris Lieto saying (IRONMAN Super Biker from the mid 2000’s) was ‘Tension on the chain, point and shoot”. This really resonated with me, it makes perfect sense and it’s something I tell all my athletes to think of when they are dealing with a crosswind.

Think of your wheel selection

I could write a whole blog on this, and one day I probably should.  But the basic idea is that the deeper your front wheel is the more surface area is presented to a crosswind and the more your front wheel can be shifted, sometimes very dangerously with horrible outcomes.  The is less significant with a deep rear wheel, but a less powerful lightweight rider will still have to be careful.
The best piece of advice would be that if you think it’s going to be too deep it probably is, and it would be safer and more effective to go for the shallower rime depth, certainly on the front.
Don’t be that person sitting up out of their aerobars, white knuckled trying to deal with an 80mm deep front wheel and a 20koh crosswind. Instead be that person riding smoothly and comfortably in the aerobars with the nice 32mm deep front wheel, easily riding past.

Invest in a Power Meter

The moment I started using a Power Meter the head and crosswind stopped, not literally obviously but theoretically it did.  That’s because power is power, it’s absolute, it’s the output of your effort right then and there, regardless of the environment.  The environmental conditions (and a few other things) will dictate how fast you are going to move, but if you can’t push any harder on the pedals than you are at that time then you can’t do anything about it.  If you’re going slower then I guarantee the majority of the field will be going slower too.

A power meter will very quickly teach you how much harder you are having to work into a headwind to maintain a given speed.  And the converse to this applies to a tailwind, you will be surprised how little power you have to put out to maintain that same speed. You get a real appreciation of how important it is to be smooth and efficient in your pedaling, and remain at an effort you know you can handle for the duration of the ride.

That being said, you should actually push a little bit harder into a headwind than you would in a still day, and when it comes to the tailwind, ride a little bit easier and use that time to regain some energy.  A crosswind is similar to a headwind, so be prepared to push slightly harder here too.

This is stuff you wouldn’t be able to manage if you didn’t have a power number in front of you to refer to.

Watch the road ahead

Quite often a bike course may have long sections of trees lining the road intermittently broken up with gaps where there are no trees.  The wind will funnel through these points and create quite a gust, often taking you by surprise, especially if you aren’t familiar with the bike course.  If in a race watch the riders ahead of you, so if you see one suddenly shift to the side from a gust then you know what’s coming and you can prepare for the same gust.  If you are on your own just keep looking ahead and making little decisions about what may or may not happen at various stages.

And a small tip when passing other athletes in these sections, they can get blown into you if you are too close, so just give another meter of space just to be on the safe side.

Triathlon Race Swim Tips

Open Water swimming is a tough thing to grasp if you are new to the sport, in fact even some experienced athletes still struggle with it! Read on to find out what we recommend to work on your Open Water swim skills. Go away and practice these regularly so come race day you are ready to take on what ever the race gives you.

To check out the original article you can read it on the Foot Traffic website here


Build Confidence

This is very important.  Being comfortable and confident in a variety of water conditions will make your Triathlon race experience much more enjoyable and you will perform better for that.

Following are a few key tips that will help you build your confidence


The more open water swimming you do the better.

Plan some open water training before the race.   If you aren’t able to get to the race venue to practice then do some sessions at a location with a similar sea state.  Grab some training partners so you can simulate swimming close to others, and learn the affect drafting has.  If you aren’t familiar with the location then check beforehand if there are any tricky currents or rips to be aware of.  If you are swimming on your own let someone know what you are doing and how long you expect to be, and use a Blue Seventy Tow Float so you can be easily seen from boats in the area.

Relax in the water and enjoy it

This may be difficult to do initially, but remember that you are wearing a wetsuit which is designed to keep you afloat.  Don’t fight the water, feel it, know how it behaves, where your floating point is when you are treading water and don’t forget to breath deep controlled breaths. Find out how enjoyable open water swimming actually is when you are in control.

Panic attacks do occur, but learn how to deal with them

Panic attacks happen, it may never happen to you, or it may happen regularly.  Panic attacks can even happen to the very best Professional Triathletes. I had my first panic attack a couple of years ago, after 25 years in the sport!  It was a horrible experience, but I got through it.  I actually wrote a Blog about it which you can read here.  The main thing is you have to stop moving, relax (yes it’s hard to do that), put your hand up for a rescue boat to come to you, and take a few minutes to gather yourself.  It will pass and you will be back swimming a few minutes later like nothing happened.

Ditch the bilateral breathing

Breathing bilaterally (breathing to both sides) in a pool is an important part of your swim training.  It teaches you to develop a smooth and even stroke, and is a great way to limit and control your breathing for aerobic benefit.  But in the open water, especially a race situation, it is restricting you from performing to your best. Forcing yourself to breath every 3rd or 5th stroke means that you are restricting the air getting into your lungs which carries the oxygen your muscles and brain needs to operate on. When you are in a race you are working at a higher work rate than training too, so the demand for air is even greater.

But don’t forget how to breath bilaterally in the open water, as you need to be able to breath both sides to see what’s going on around you, avoid waves and keep the sun out of your eyes. I actually find training to breath every stroke is even more useful as you aren’t waiting seconds before your next chance to grab some air or have a quick nosey at the person next to you to make sure you’re still right in their draft.

Practice in your wetsuit and fit it properly

Having a properly fitted wetsuit is so important to make your Open Water swim more enjoyable, and get the most out of your own performance.  A poorly fitted suit can be uncomfortable, restrict your movement and chafe your neck badly.  Check out this video on how to correctly fit your wetsuit.

Check out this video on how to fit your wetsuit properly

Spend some time swimming in it in the pool before the Open Water and feel how it affects your arm movement and buoyancy.  Altered buoyancy can actually change the way you kick so you have to know what to expect when in a race.


Race Start

Check the waves

Triathlons tend to take place at very safe beaches for swimming and not often at a Surf Beach so you won’t find massive rollers crashing in, but as with any beach there is a chance of an On Shore Wind and this may cause some chop to contend with.   Ocean or Lake swims can still get a decent chop.

Check your entry point

Most races are a Wave or a Rolling Start, which mean you run into the water to commence your swim.

Before the race wade into the water up to about thigh depth, where you know you will be running to shortly, and check for drop offs, rocks or other debris and what the surface is like.  You will also be able to feel if there is much of a current to contend with.  Return to the beach to run in as you would in the start and find out how many steps it takes you to get to mid-thigh depth.  At this point if you are training you may want to start swimming, or if you are racing you may want to practice again, and a bit faster, maybe add a Dolphin Dive if the depth allows for it (more on this later).

You should also swim around for 5 minutes or so to warm your muscles up and elevate your Heart Rate, even do a few faster strokes to simulate the race effort you will be doing shortly.  This will do a lot to help calm the nerves and ready you for the task you’re about to encounter.

Running into the water

Depending on the tide it may be a longish run to the water, 20-50m.  You don’t want to take your first arm stroke already anaerobic as this is a sure way to create panic.  Instead you want to run to the water at a comfortable pace.  The faster and more competitive you are the quicker you will have to run, but if you are just wanting to get through the swim and keep within yourself then don’t rush this.

Run into the shallow water lifting your feet out to each side over the smaller waves so you are clearing the water.  As it gets deeper this will also get harder to do, to the point you will be slowed down, and working too hard, if you keep running.  At this point it’s time to start Dolphin Diving.

In a Mass or Wave start  race, If you are a more nervous swimmer and don’t want to get clobbered from an over-zealous swimmer, then just wait a couple of seconds after the starting hooter and let the melee go off ahead of you. All of a sudden the water will be clearer, people will be friendlier, the vibe a bit more chilled.  That could make all the difference for a great experience.

Dolphin Diving

A dolphin dive is a shallow dive where you push forward off the ground with your legs and dive just under the surface of the water. When dolphin diving, keep your head tucked between your outstretched arms with your biceps squeezing your ears. Do not look up. This is important for both speed and safety, and you will probably lose or dislodge your goggles as soon as your face hits the water.

Start with shallow dolphin dives and push off the ground each time to propel yourself forward.

Dive under the waves breaking in front of you. As soon as the wave starts to form, dive deep enough to touch the sand with your fingertips. Find the calm spot under every wave and let the wave go over your head. Push forward off the ground so, rather than coming straight up, you continue to move forward the entire time.

Depending on the depth of the water you may have to do a few of these.  The Dolphin Dive is much faster than running, and done properly is faster than swimming too, so you should definitely do it if you get the chance to.  If you stop to think about it you will probably get knocked by a wave or another swimmer, so practice the Dolphin Dive a lot so you are comfortable with it.

As soon as you can’t Dolphin Dive again it’s time to start swimming.

Get swimming

As soon as you have to start swimming go for it and just keep going.  Keep in mind that there are probably dozens of people behind you, so stopping right now may result with an accidental bump in the back of the head.  Yes people will be knocking you and you will get bumped around a bit, but you trained for this.  The main thing is you are heading for the first Turning Can and hopefully getting a bit of a draft from a faster swimmer in front of you.

You will be surprised how quickly the Turning Can has come, and before you know if you have turned for home and having a great time.

Exiting the water

Some races are an M Shaped course, or Triangular, which requires you to exit the water at halfway, before reentering for the 2nd half of the swim. So having good exit technique can make for a much better performance.

Head for shore

As you round the Turning Can and start heading for shore you have to grab a sight of your exit point. You may still be a few hundred metres from shore, but the sooner you can sight it the better.  Hone in on this point and keep checking that you are online.  You don’t want to be in the middle of a great swim only to find a lapse in concentration means you’re heading off course in the final section.

As you get closer to shore you may even find there’s a small swell behind you to help push you in.  Don’t let up your effort as you near the beach, there may be a bit of flow back with the retreating waves, so that could stop you moving forward momentarily.

Terra Firma

As soon as you feel your fingers touch land take one more stroke and then stand up.  Try to avoid standing just because you see the sand beneath you, it may still be too deep.

Once standing your first instinct might be to run, but you should start to Dolphin Dive, and continue doing so until you are certain the water is about knee deep.  Now is the time to stand and start running.

Running out of the water

Keep in mind you have been horizontal for some time now, and probably working quite hard. So as soon as you stand up the blood may flow from your head, and you may feel dizzy, perhaps even stumble a bit.  Take your time regaining your balance here, slowly start jogging and bring yourself up to speed as you feel your legs again.


We all want to go faster, whether it’s to win your Age Group in your next race, improve your PB, beat your mates or just nail a Strava segment to get that much desired Kudos, the drive to go faster is high.  Don’t just keep doing what you’re doing, sure it might get you faster eventually, but there are ways you can accelerate your improvement.  If you are smart about it your competition won’t even know….until race day when BAM, you hit them with this new level of performance.

So what are these secrets??

Train your weaknesses and race your strengths

I love this philosophy.  It’s the most effective way to create the complete athlete.  We all have strengths and weaknesses and we know that to improve something we have to work on it however it’s all too easy to resort to training those activities that we are good at.

Know your weaknesses

If you know swimming is a weakness and you know you don’t swim enough volume, or you have technique improvements to make, then substitute one of your preferred non-swim workouts for an additional swim session. Or perhaps stay for another 15 minutes at the pool and work on your technique drills.  If you know you need to improve your open water skills then join an Ocean Swim clinic, or enter an Open Water Swim race.

If you feel you aren’t able to maintain the same power in your aero position as you can riding sitting upright then spend more time aero.  You might even need to book an appointment for a bike fit where you can make fine adjustments to enable you to stay comfortable, strong and aerodynamic.

A lot of people struggle running hills.  If this is you then don’t head to your 400m track to hit out some Threshold 400’s, instead head to the hills and perform a similar Threshold intensity session on a hill that is of a similar duration to your 400m rep.

Gain confidence in your less favoured disciplines

Training this way means that on race day you will line up confident in your overall ability as what was once a weakness may now be almost as strong as your favoured discipline. You can now form a race plan, confident that your strength is where you will solidify your position in the field, but you certainly won’t be let down by what was once a weakness.


This may feel a little bit airey fairey for some but visualisation can be a powerful tool to help you achieve positive outcomes.

Visualise the course, conditions & competition

In the months, weeks and days before the race you should be visualising what you might be doing in the race at certain points…How will you feel?  Who’s around you? What’s the weather? Visualise a successful race. Visualise race morning, transitions, the course. Visualise how you want your race to go but also visualise what you will do if something goes wrong, like dropping a drink bottle or getting a flat tyre.  We don’t know what’s going to happen in a race but if you have worked through dozens of race scenarios and formed an understanding of how you will cope should something happen, you will immediately switch into the mode you need to be in to deal with it.

Then it all clicks

Visualisation is a learned skill that you should practice regularly and one day something will click, the stars will align, the celestial powers will be focused on you, and that race plan you had been thinking through will take place… as you foresaw it.  Visualisation and positive affirmation is an important technique and one worth adding to your repertoire.

Adopt technology

How many times have you heard “Back in my day we didn’t have all these fancy gadgets…..” Triathlon has had a rapid growth and the competition has progressed.  Technology is a wonderful thing, adopt it, learn it, embrace it. Wetsuits, bikes, shoes, suits, googles, nutrition – everything has had a major makeover since the birth of triathlon. A lot of science has been invested into understanding how we can eek out a little extra from various parts of the race. An investment in technology can help you manage your racing and training better and give you the edge you were looking for.

Do your research

Find the technology that works for you. Do some research. Talk to others. Once you have invested make sure you are making the most of that investment by understanding all the features that are built in so you can use it to give you that extra edge.

Technology enhances not replaces

Technology doesn’t omit the need for athletes to understand what various paces feel like. Use technology to get a better understanding and improve your sense of feel.

If the budget allows, get into it and make the most of today’s technology…..just remember to charge your device batteries before the race, the future isn’t quite here yet with life long battery power.

Don’t change a winning formula

**ok, I realise this does contradict my opening statements to some degree, but for a few of you it’s relevant, so keep reading anyway.**

You may have had a couple of good races, maybe knocked over a few PB’s, finished strong, beaten your mates.  That’s all good then, why start looking around to make changes?

Why change?

Don’t fix what isn’t broke. If you are having some good results then it’s clear that your body is responding well to what you are doing. Changing training now can turn this all around and lead to injury, over training or backwards progress. The time to change is when you have become stagnant not while things are moving forward.

Do what the Pro’s do

Talk to some of the great Pro’s in the sport, they will perform the same session routine week in week out, year after year after year.  You could almost pinpoint on a given day of the week exactly where they are located, how far through the session they are and what time they will be due home.  These athletes know what works for them, and don’t see a need to shift off that path.

Train and race single sports

Triathletes are good at triathlon but most would not be considered experts at swimming, cycling or running. Racing the individual sports can provide great insight into what makes athletes successful in each discipline, much of which can improve your triathlon performance if applied correctly.

Learn from the experts

Racing in cycle races provides race situations that you will never come across in triathlon but the training stimulus will have a great effect on your overall performance. Watch how the front riders handle the changes in pace, climbing, drafting. Learn how to turn the pedals over more efficiently because cyclists are far more efficient at this than triathletes.

Immerse yourself

Get into some Open Water Swim races. The field is far more diverse, spreads out quicker and without the bike and run to worry about you can put yourself outside your comfort zone, practice holding onto feet and changing your stroke to meet the conditions.

Hone your race craft

Running races against pure runners exposes you to skilful pacers. Runners understand how to hold back at the beginning, and how to dig really deep so they can blaze past in the final kilometres making it look effortless in the process.

How much will it cost me to do an IRONMAN?

To read this article in the Foot Traffic Coaching website click here

How much will it cost you to do an Ironman?  … Well that’s a bit like asking “how long is a piece of string?”

Like any large scale project, training for and racing IRONMAN comes at a cost.  This cost can range between manageable to significant. Where you sit along the IRONMAN cost scale can depend on a number of factors …your motivation for racing …how well you manage your budget …the size of your wallet … the tolerance of your significant other…

Below is a list of items that you will definitely need and therefore can expect to have to purchase when training for your IRONMAN.  This is a “minimum items” list  (if you’re wanting to do IRONMAN on a tight budget this is the list of items your really can’t do without).

banking business checklist commerce
Photo by Pixabay on

For the Budget Conscious

Keep in mind that you don’t have to splash out and buy brand new gear, jump online, you will be surprised at what gems people are trying to sell.  Trademe, Ebay, Gumtree and Sale groups on Facebook are excellent resources and you can often pick up great deals on secondhand gear.  You’ll also be surprised how much stuff is just lying around peoples’ houses not being used, so there’s no harm in asking other athletes if they have any gear that they are willing to part with.

For the Not So Budget Conscious

If you’re in the position of being able to be extravagant, triathlon is an excellent sport to help you spend your money, it will not disappoint, so if you are planning to beef things up a bit there is a multitude of high tech flash gear, out there. In the list below we have included minimum amounts you can expect to pay for each item but also an indication of costs if you are shopping for top of the line items.

Be smart

Have a read through this list and use it as a gauge for your IRONMAN budget.  As mentioned you don’t have to purchase the top of the range equipment, but you do need to get things that are going to be suitable for the task at hand.  If buying secondhand items make sure you know how much it has been used.

Another thing is to really look after your equipment. Not caring for your gear is a sure way to wear it out quickly, and replacing it just adds more to your expenses.


A lot of athletes form a budget and plan to set aside a certain amount of money each week to add to their “Triathlon Fund”.  A Triathlon Fund is a great idea as it enables you to plan ahead for the expenses that will ensue over the coming training and racing season.


It’s a good idea to share this list and budget with your significant other so as they know what to expect and there are no hidden surprises for them.  This way you’ll also have to explain yourself if you are tempted to ignore the budget and sneak in a new set of race wheels or the latest aero helmet.

It’s Worth It

As you will see there are a number of expenses you need to be aware of when you take on the challenge of an IRONMAN and sure they can mount up but think less about it as an expense and more about it as enabling you to fulfil your dream.  So one last thing to add to that list:

How much time does it take to train for an IRONMAN?

To read this article in the Foot Traffic Coaching website click here

40 years ago when IRONMAN first took place the people who did this sport were considered reckless, weirdos, lunatics, idiots, fools, and that they were risking their life….but these days, nearly every weekend there are many thousands of people lining up to replicate what those seemingly crazy folk back in the early days were doing.

So is it really crazy or is doing IRONMAN achievable and how much time do you really need to train for it?


Make no mistake, IRONMAN is a serious event, it’s a massive achievement to cross the finish line, and you don’t just get there by chance.  But despite the required commitment, people who lead busy lives; work, family, other, can still train very well for IRONMAN. There are many busy people who perform to a very high-level year in, year out.

Training for an IRONMAN can take between 6 -18 months, depending on your current level of fitness, previous experience, ability or motivation.

Why are you doing it?

Regardless of whether you are planning for your first IRONMAN, or you have crossed that finish line many times before, you need to consider the amount of training you have done to this point, your experience and current level of fitness. Then consider your purpose for completing it – what is your motivation?  Do you want to ‘race it’ or just complete it without risking illness or injury? Do you want to better your performance from previous years or beat your training buddies? Do you want to head to the top of your Age Group and onward to the World Championships? Are you trying to impress a girl or guy you’ve been chasing for some time?  Whatever your reason, getting to the finish line requires a well thought out and structured training plan. But IRONMAN is certainly achievable and may not take as much time as you might think.

Do I have enough time in my week?

For the Beginner athlete, just getting through and completing the event can be done on an average of 11-12hrs per week with the biggest week of about 15hrs. Intermediate athletes will be 12-15hrs per week, with the biggest being about 18hrs.  Advanced athletes who are wanting to push themselves to their best will be looking to average 14-16hrs per week through the largest volume phases (and beyond for some, if time allows for it). Consider an advanced athlete someone who is fit, has some decent triathlon experience and with a couple of good Ironman races under their belt.

With our half and full IRONMAN Training Plans the process from start to finish will progress over a 30 week period.

Phases of training

The main phases of training include Preparation, Base, Build and Competition. The amount of training throughout these phases will remain largely consistent, with the difference lying in the structure of the workouts and the intensity you will focus on.

Training during the week doesn’t need to take up too much of your time, as much of the larger volume training is scheduled on the weekends.  You should set a weekday routine that certain workouts will be done and stick to it, this will help you plan around training to manage work, family and other life commitments.

Following are examples from our 30 week half and full IRONMAN Intermediate Plans to show the layout of the Preparation, Base and Build phases.  The Competition phase is less about volume and more about freshening up for the race.

Preparation Phase

Average weekly training time – 7hrs

This Preparation phase focuses on getting your body used to consistent activity and building fitness.  Its designed to be low stress but you might still feel a bit of stiffness in your body if you’re new to training or if you haven’t trained in a while.

Base Phase

Average weekly training time – 12hrs

This is where you will load an increasing amount of training.  The intensity is usually pretty low and relaxed, but there will be some harder workouts.

Build Phase

Average weekly time – 15:00


This key phase of the training plan focuses on race specific intensity.  In this phase you will reach your maximum volume week but the Preparation and Base phases ensure you will be fit enough to go week after week of this higher volume training …a long way from where you were 20 weeks or so prior.

The Competition phase lasts only a few weeks and your training volume will reduce by about 30% each week setting you up nicely for RACE DAY!!

It’s Achievable

As you can see, when it’s laid out in front of you, the weekly time required is quite achievable.  But in order to get through an event of this magnitude you need to have a plan, commit to the training and stick with it.

How do you eat an elephant? … one bite at a time.

Are you cramping during the swim leg of a Triathlon?

We’ve all had this at some stage in our Triathlon career…the unmistakable stabbing pain in your calf muscles or quads.  Often it comes on inexplicably and it can be severe enough to force you to stop completely and attempt to stretch the affected muscles out.  Stretching may provide some relief but the damage may have already been done and for the rest of the race it feels like you are right on the verge of having it happen again.

There are a number of possible causes for the cramping, and a quick google search will give seemingly infinite numbers of articles citing electrolyte imbalance, muscle fatigue, poor kicking technique, neurological dysfunction and so on.  Whilst all these aetiologies have their merit, and should be considered, there is one potential cause that I don’t often see discussed….

Your body position created by swimming in a wetsuit in fresh water 

Yes, it’s quite a long and very specific cause, but it’s something I have seen occur numerous times over my years of being a Triathlon Coach, and I feel there’s a fairly simple thing you can do to perhaps avoid it happening to you in the future.

I filmed a short video about this, which was shared on the Blue Seventy NZ Facebook Page.  I have also uploaded it to YouTube.

This year at Ironman New Zealand I had a good friend (George) suffer severe cramping in his quads and calves, so bad that unfortunately he was unable to complete the swim leg.  George travelled to race Ironman NZ from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  A few years prior another good friend of mine, who incidentally was also from Pennsylvania, had similar severe cramping in the swim, and pulled out only 1 KM into the bike leg.

The common factor in both these athletes was that they had travelled to the race after a long block of training in the pool through a brutal Northern Hemisphere winter.  No matter how many miles they logged in the pool they wouldn’t have performed many (if any) sessions in their wetsuits as it was the middle of winter.  A lot of people don’t want to wear their wetsuit in the pool as it can get very hot, and there’s a chance the chlorine may damage the material.


Ironman New Zealand is swum in a fresh water lake, and is cool enough that wetsuits are compulsory.  I believe if the lake was warm enough that wetsuits weren’t allowed they probably wouldn’t have had issues with cramping.  A wetsuit places the swimmers hips and legs into a position that is quite different to that of a non-suited swimmer, and herein lies the problem.  Wearing a wetsuit in the sea isn’t too bad, as there’s a bit more buoyancy than in fresh, but it still can be a problem.  But your kick in fresh water may feel subtly different, forcing you to alter it slightly and possibly engaging your quads and hip flexors a bit more, and enough to place them under more stress than you’ve trained for.

One piece of equipment I find that does a great job of simulating the position created by a wetsuit is the bluseventy Core Short.  These are neoprene shorts that provide lift to the hips, so you are able to use them in specific sets where you are getting close to or even over race pace.  This allows the wearer to feel how their kick differs when held in the new position, and enable the necessary adaptations to get used to what race day will be like.

The shorts allow you to get a feel for your potential race pace, as most people will swim faster in them than not.  However, here’s a word of warning….don’t use them in all sessions, for the whole session.  You still need to perfect your body position unassisted, and the shorts will take away the necessary feedback of your hips sinking so you won’t recognise and correct.

So if you are planning a getaway race in a location where wetsuits are likely to be worn, and it’s not practical for you to wear your wetsuit in training I highly recommend having a pair of blueseventy Core Shorts in your swim bag.

Another cause of cramp could be a poorly fitted wetsuit.  For tips on fitting your wetsuit correctly check out this video


Be a Knowledgable and Responsible Athlete


Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

As we draw near to Ironman New Zealand (and other key events) it’s a good reminder of the important topic of Drugfree Sport.  A clean sport is a fair sport, so we encourage drug testing in sport.   As an athlete who has registered for an event (not just Ironman) you may be subject to drug testing, so it is important that you understand your responsibilities. 

Ingesting supplements such as protein shakes, pre-workout formulas, sports drink, energy drinks, herbal remedies, vitamins or any number of things could make you susceptible to contamination of a prohibited substance.  You need to know what you are taking and ensure it is not on the prohibited list.  In the past few years, athletes across a variety of sports have tested positive to prohibited substances, believed to have been ingested through nutritional supplements.  Each of those athletes faced a ban from all sport for up to four years.

Be aware that any supplement you are taking may be subject to contamination during the manufacturing process.  Many non-prohibited sports supplements that can be purchased ‘over the counter’ are manufactured in factories that also produce prohibited supplements and therefore can be accidentally cross contaminated by other substances made in this same factory. 

Also keep in mind that many supplements have inaccurate labelling. Ingredients can have more than 20 different names and not every version is listed on the label. Labels may also fail to list every ingredient or refer to “proprietary blends” where ingredients are not specified.

In addition to nutritional supplements, many prescription medications contain substances which are on the Prohibited List and are therefore banned in sport so you need to be vigilant about what you take.  If it is necessary for your Medical Practitioner to prescribe you something then make sure they are aware that you could be Drug Tested.  Check if the medication is prohibited in sport, and follow the Therapeutic Use Exemption process if need be. (More information on the Therapeutic Use Exemption process can be found on the Drugfree Sport website.)

As an athlete you are solely responsible for every substance that goes into your body. I stress to you to visit the Drugfree Sport website as there is great information on there about medications and supplements and how to check if anything you are taking is on the prohibited list. 

Visit and don’t run the risk of ruining a great race through lack of knowledge.

Indoor Training: To be aero or not to be aero?

Contentious debate this one, and I will preface my discussion with this is just my opinion.  You may disagree with me and that’s all good, but I have done a fair bit of thinking about it and I like the way I go about it.  It wasn’t until after I listened to a Podcast (pretty sure it was this Velo News Fast Talk episode) that I realised I wasn’t the only person thinking about it this way.  The TrainerRoad Podcast also has some great discussion around this topic.

You can do the same as me, or you can do it differently.  But let me know your thoughts in the comments section, I’m always open to hearing differing opinions.


I’ve never much enjoyed the Indoor Trainer (however over recent times apps like Trainer Road and Zwift have certainly helped).  The indoor trainer is uncomfortable, I’m easily bored and distracted and I just love riding out on the road so much.  However the fact there’s a lot more traffic on the road and safety is becoming more of an issue, I’m finding myself doing more and more of my training indoors.  I also don’t really like doing hard intervals on the road, as there’s too much risk and too many interruptions.  I find the indoor trainer fantastic for interval training, but not so much for steady state endurance training.  I’m using a direct drive Wahoo Kickr and it really helps to give a smooth, accurate and reproducible power reading, which is much better than the old ‘wheel on’ style trainer.

I now view my cycle training as being broken up into a different styles of workouts.  You have your testing, your interval work, your technique/neuromuscular stuff, your adaptation and your endurance.  

It’s obvious that the more aero you are the the faster you travel, however a lot of people find that the more aero they are the less power they can put out.  That right there is the reason for my opinion on bike position when Indoor Training.

When I’m doing high power intervals and neuromuscular training I want to get the most out of myself.  I want to push myself to the limit of the training zone I intend working, and when I am on the Indoor Trainer those zones will range from Sweet Spot (88% of FTP) right up to Anaerobic Capacity (130% FTP and beyond), the durations for these intervals are anywhere from 15 seconds up to about 20minutes.  If I am sitting up out of my aero bars I am able to push much higher power than if I remain aero.  So why would I want to limit the power I’m putting out?  I very rarely race at those intensities on the road, and if I am it’s generally when I’m up off the aerobars anyway (climbing or accelerating out of corners).  I’m not racing an Individual or Team Pursuit on a Velodrome, I don’t need to produce massive amounts of power for 4-5 minutes and remain super low and aero.

When it comes to endurance intensities below Sweet Spot there is another thing I’m conscious of, comfort.  Who else finds it so much harder to stay in the aerobars on an indoor trainer than on the road?  I don’t know about you, but I struggle to remain aero for 5-10 minutes on the trainer, however on the road I can stay aero for long long periods of time without being uncomfortable or losing feeling in the ‘downstairs’ region.  So I give myself shorter periods in the aerobars where I focus on holding power, but as soon as I feel like it I come up out of the bars and just ride comfortably.  I still want to enjoy riding my bike, and battling in the mind about how long I can stay aero isn’t enjoyable for me.  One thing you may find though, is the lower your target power the longer you can stay aero, so sometimes I might be happy staying down for as long as 10 minutes!!

The important part of all this is adaption.  It’s one thing to be able to put out massive watts on the trainer, but as mentioned earlier, if you can’t stay aero, comfortable and produce good power on the road then your performance will be affected.  So when I am doing an endurance session on the road I use that time to build up the time I am in the aerobars, and I will work through the range of powers I expect to be racing in to make sure I’m capable of maintaining it.  I make sure I give myself plenty of time to build this up weeks or months before a key race too.

I’m often asked if power testing should be done sitting up or in the aerobars and I think it should be done the way you expect to train.  I have two different FTP values and training zones, Indoor and Outdoor.  My Indoor FTP value is measured using the Trainer Road Ramp Test sitting up as I know I will do most of my interval training this way.  My outdoor is tested as either a 20 minute or 60 minute TT in the aerobars as I want it to be the closest to the way I will race.  Having access to both these values means I can be confident that my training will be optimised and realistic.

I hope this has given you a bit of insight as to the way I like to do my Indoor Training.  As mentioned earlier I’d like to hear what you think works best for you.


Anatomy of a Team Time Trial – Part 1

I used to race Team Time Trials (TTT) quite regularly in my school cycling years, however that was a very long time ago.  I’m also not much of a Team Sport player, so I haven’t really done much in a team environment.  So when the opportunity to join in the cycling team, Watchguard Technologies Racing, I jumped at the chance especially since the Dynamo Teams Championships series that the team is competing in had a TTT.  I was wanting to revisit this aspect of cycle racing.  The aforementioned race took place on last Sunday, 23 September 2018.


Apart from the technology of the bikes, clothing and helmets from my early days of TTT, not much has changed.  The races are still fast, they still hurt and they are a true measure of team work.  Probably the most significant change in equipment is the use of Heart Rate monitors and Power Meters.  Now instead of just looking at a stopwatch and determining how the race felt, we can now delve deep down into the Belly of the Beast and break down the way the TTT played out in very fine detail.  Communication between the riders is crucial as you rely on your stronger riders to do more work in order to keep the team together as well as possible.  In the case of the Dynamo one we could start with six riders, and our time was taken on the third across the line, so we could afford to drop a few in the process.  Looking at the data after this particular race was very interesting indeed, and you can see how it unfolded just by looking at the numbers.

I’m certainly no expert when it comes to analysing race files, but I have a good understanding of the metrics, what they mean and I can recall pretty well how a race played out and what the contributing factors were that led to a result.  Hopefully as you read on you will be able to create a picture of it and will understand how fascinating races like these can be.


I don’t really consider myself a ‘Roadie’.  I’m a Triathlete first and foremost, and quite frankly large pelotons, descents and mass field sprints scare the crap out of me, but I love the exhilaration of a bike race.  Despite the conflict in my brain I just keep turning up for more and more.  I absolutely love the high intensity you encounter in Bike Racing, and it’s a level you don’t often see in a Triathlon.  That being said I do wish a bike race would finish off with a running race, at least that way I might have half a chance of a good result.

When it comes to Individual Time Trials (ITT) I struggle to sustain a high power much over Threshold, which translates to road speed, despite this I am very comfortable on a TT bike for hours on end riding at a steady Sub-Threshold intensity.  One thing I find I can do though is hang on to a wheel and punch out some fairly high watts for a short time before dropping back in the pace line for a short recovery, I have pretty good 1-5 minute power for my body weight, so for this reason I enjoy a TTT much more than an ITT.

It was fortunate that the Counties Manukau Cycling Club were hosting a 3Up TTT on 22 July 2018, and this was a perfect opportunity to get an idea of how the body was going to cope with a TTT of the same distance and very similar course to the Dynamo one on 23 September.  So I gathered a couple of the Foot Traffic athletes (Sam Daley and Rob Humby) and dragged them along as my teammates.  It suited Sam as he was training for the Sprint Triathlon Worlds too, and Rob was rung in just simply as he’s a super strong young fulla who could help tow these old boys around.  I was thinking I’d go pretty well in this first TTT, but boy was I quickly knocked down a level.  As it turned out it kicked my butt, and I soon realised I’d have to alter the structure and intensity of my bike training sessions thereafter going into the upcoming races, so it was a blessing in disguise that I had raced in this 3Up TTT.


Having done more Iron-Distance races than someone probably should do, I have developed an engine that is built for long steady efforts, not so much for short punchy stuff, and certainly not for long, multiple SupraThreshold over/under efforts.  I recently raced Challenge Roth (3.8km swim, 180km bike, 42km run) on 1 July 2018, and was due to race the Sprint Distance Triathlon World Champs (750m swim, 20km bike, 5km run) a couple of months after on 13 September 2018, and obviously the Dynamo TTT the week after the Triathlon Worlds.  These are totally different events, utilising quite different energy sources….consequently I have confirmed it’s hard work to turn around an athlete in such a short time, but with a bit of focus on the right work it can be possible, and here’s the proof.


3Up TTT Race

Since the Triathlon worlds was going to be raced in a Draft Legal format and on road bikes I told my team mates that we are doing this TTT Merckx Style (standard road bike, no aero helmet, no clip-on aero bars, no deep dish wheels).  This means that we weren’t able to make use of the aero advantages gained by these pieces of equipment.  It comes down to raw power, and team work.


So for the 24km we rode it in 36:34 (which incidentally is a few seconds slower than when I rode an ITT on the same course earlier in the year, but that was with the full aero package, which shows the effect of those bits and pieces).  We rode this race well as a team and shared the work evenly.  As one rider showed signs of weakening the others would pull a bit longer to try and maintain the average speed.

For the duration of the TTT I had a Normalized Power of 257w, Average Power of 245w, Max Power of 638w.  This calculated at an Intensity Factor of 0.86, and a TSS of 45, based off a Functional Threshold Power of 304w at the time of this race.  My Average Heart Rate for the TTT was 164bpm and Max HR of 177.  Average cadence was 97rpm.  The average speed for the race was 39.4kph.  Power to weight ratio for this was 3.45w/kg.  Yes you are correct, these are low numbers for what a TT should be.  Was I tired from the recent race and travel?  Possibly, read on.

There are more interesting metrics to consider though.  Aerobic Decoupling factor was 2.97%, which just shows I was working hard, but not really at my limit despite me feeling like I was in the box.  There was more to put out in my legs but my engine was just ticking along at the intensity we were doing, unable to switch into overdrive.  This may have been from the latent fatigue after Challenge Roth a couple of weeks earlier, and the fact I had just really started back training this week, but I certainly felt like I should have been able to perform better.  Variable Intensity was relatively high at 1.05 for a dead flat course where there shouldn’t have been much surging, so I feel I was probably freewheeling on the back a bit trying to get my Heart Rate down before the next turn on the front.  Efficiency Factor was 1.57, which I will discuss in more detail in the next blog post….that will make sure you come back eh.

Looking at the graph below you can see the clear demarcation of the sections where I am on the front and where I have dropped back in the pace line.  There is a distinct point where you can see power is maintained for a short time, then it starts to drop as I get to the point where I can’t hold a consistent speed any longer, at the same time there is an elevation in Heart Rate, and then the lowering while on the back.  For the first half the turns on the front were fairly consistent duration, however over the second half there were a few shorter turns as I was beginning to get gassed.

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You will observe in the Power Distribution that it’s a wide bell shape, and quite clearly skewed to the lower bins and not the upper bins where I’d like to see it in a TT.

Screen Shot 2018-09-27 at 1.55.50 PM

You will note in the Power Zone distribution that there’s quite a lot in Zone 2 (26%), more than there should be really.  Even though there’s 50% above Threshold its all scattered unevenly and likely to be unproductive given the high VI number.

Screen Shot 2018-09-27 at 1.56.43 PM

Meanwhile the Heart Rate Distribution is quite clearly just below Lactate Threshold (60%), with very little any higher, it just shows that the engine wasn’t able to rev any higher, I lacked the top end.  All my Peak Heart Rate points from 5 seconds to 30 minutes came at the back end of the race.  Despite a pretty good warm up there was still a long time before I was able to get the HR up to where it needed to be.

Screen Shot 2018-09-27 at 1.56.30 PM

The last graph is the Peak Power Curve which just shows there weren’t any large spikes in Peak Power, which is good for a TTT, however it drops away fairly rapidly after 30 seconds, an indication that there wasn’t really a lot more power in the muscles before I was having to drop back in the pace line.

Peak 10 seconds was 395w, Peak 30 seconds was 380w (both coming towards the finish line).  Peak 1 minute was 320w as we headed to the turn around which was up a short climb.  Peak 10 minutes of 257w was the over the last 10 minutes.

Screen Shot 2018-09-27 at 1.56.12 PM



You can imagine I was pretty disappointed with my performance here.  The team worked really well together, but I really should have been able to hit bigger numbers for longer.  It highlighted a number of important things that had to be addressed before I went on to the Sprint Triathlon World Champs and the Dynamo TTT, so really it was very important and had I not raced it I would have probably continued down the wrong track in my training without it.

So look forward to the next blog post where I discuss the Dynamo TTT, and you will see why I am much happier about that performance.

Check back later.

Winning an Age Group National Title in the small chainring

One of the things I try to in still in my athletes is the importance of dealing with an adverse situation by keeping calm and not panicking.  When things happen it’s important to do a quick systems check, figure out what is going on, and what the options are for dealing with it.  My experience in the Challenge Wanaka Half (TriNZ Mid Distance Champs) was completely my fault, something that could have been simply avoided, but I am proud of how I accepted it, and coped through the day….younger Rob may have done something different.  For something that could have impacted the performance significantly, I don’t think I was at much of a disadvantage.

If you take one thing away from this blog let it be this….MAKE SURE YOUR Di2 BATTERY IS FULLY CHARGED, something my mother will now remind me of before every race.

Watch this video

Challenge Wanaka (Full) in 2016 was one of those races that nearly finished me.  I wasn’t super motivated to return, despite it being set in one of the most scenic locations you could put a Triathlon.  For some reason the conditions on the day and the brutality of the course was such that I wasn’t really motivated to come back to race here again.  I had gone through a scary panic attack in the swim that morning and I never really got back to my happy place through the whole day.  Step forward 2 years and I seemed to have forgotten that feeling.  Sure, this time I wasn’t here to race the full, but instead the half.  But after this weekend’s racing I’m pretty sure I will be back to have another crack for many more years to come.

As soon as Triathlon NZ announced this was to be the National Mid-Distance Championships I was already looking forward to returning.  I had won the title for my Age Group in 2017 at the Port of Tauranga Half Ironman, and I liked the idea of defending it…that was the motivation I wanted to be able to finish my 2017/2018 season satisfied.  I knew this wasn’t going to be an easy task as uber-biker Shane Vincent had signed up, and he had won my Age Group at the Sprint Champs 1 week prior in Kinloch, where I finished 3rd a couple of minutes behind.  I knew I would beat him out of the water, and I expected him to gap me by a decent margin on the bike, but I had backed myself for a strong run, and had visualised running him down in the final few KM’s.

How did the day pan out??  Let’s just say, some Rookie errors by both Shane and Myself influenced the day significantly.

I had made a tactical, quite risky, and possibly foolish decision to only come down with a Disc rear wheel and a Trispoke for the front.  Race predictions with the website suggested that this was the best wheel option for the forecasted weather, however the nature of sub-alpine climates such as in Wanaka is you just don’t know what you might get.  The race officials were talking about possibly banning disc wheels if the wind conditions were severe enough….that would have stuffed me right up. PI2L9QsgSmGo58hHMHqMPg

A morning swim the day before the race with Foot Traffic Pro Athlete Rebecca Clarke suggested it was going to be quite a difficult day.  I did a short ride on the course later that morning, to check the bike was working fine, and the disc wheel wasn’t behaving too bad so I was a bit less anxious.  My anxiety came back at me later that day when I had my bike checked and one of the officials remarked “You’re not using that wheel are you?”  I confidently bit back with “I’ve ridden it in much worse conditions before, besides its the front wheel depth people should be more concerned about and my trispoke is so narrow and has a very small profile that it will be sweet.”  Of course I knew I’d be fine, I just didn’t want to be questioned of my decision.  A quick phone call to my good mate and training partner Brodie Madgwick put my mind at ease when he said “Just set the spinnaker and hold on”.  That was perfect really, as it meant I had to be confident and aggressive all day, just how I wanted to race.

Funny how conditions can change though, the morning dawned fine and with a very light breeze across the lake, pretty much flattening it out and making it completely different to the day before.  My wheel decision was vindicated and I knew that this was going to be a great day.

I was determined not to have a repeat of my panic attack in 2016 (which I think was partly caused by an inadequate warm-up), so about 20 minutes before the start I dived into the cool lake and had a decent splash around.  Body felt good, nerves were low and I was ready.  As soon as the pro women took off I swam out to the start buoys as I wanted to be on the front left of the line, and didn’t want to be late to the party and have to work through the crowd.  I was surprised how casual everyone was getting out there, nothing like the high octane energy races I’d had early in the year, in particular Kona and Tauranga Half which are always quite crowded and aggressive.

Count down….BANG!

We were off.  Straight away a couple of fast swimmers took it out hard and I carried their wake for a bit until they pulled ahead, then I watched the right side of the course moving ahead of me.  I was still happy where I was as I knew I had the straightest line, and eventually I would meet them at the turn buoy.  A small group formed and I was with them for a bit, until the slowly pulled away, I recognised a few of the guys in that group and was a bit disappointed I couldn’t hold them.  Once I was about 2/3 of the way through I found I was at the front of a large group, and there was another good sized one about 50m ahead of me, so I decided to have a dig and swim across to them.  I managed to catch them about 200m from the finish and I was surprised to recognise the same guys from the group that had dropped me earlier…it seemed I just hadn’t warmed up quite enough.

I came out of the water in a sharp 29mins, which I was very happy wiht.  Thanks to my 2018 Blue Seventy Helix for some extra swim speed there.

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I was quick through transition as I wanted to gap the group I exited the water with, and was on the bike solo.  The rain had started falling but I didn’t really notice it.  Feet in shoes, Power Meter on and straight into my work.  As I hit a small climb out of town I dropped to my small chainring, crested it and then went to change back up again, only to be greeted with…..NOTHING!  No way, I knew exactly what had happened here, my Di2 battery was nearly empty.  How could this be, I had checked the battery light before I left home and had removed the battery for the flight so it didn’t drain, but clearly there wasn’t enough power in it.  Fortunately with Shimano Di2 it will stop the front derailleur  from changing, but still allows use of the rear gears, but I didn’t know how long that would last.  Could I get 90km out of it?  I will just have to find out.  I even stopped to ask a roadside mechanic if he had a spare battery with him, which he didn’t….carry on as I was.

There was no need to panic here, I played it cool, figured out a plan and stuck with it.  A quick check behind me revealed I had pulled away from a few guys I left transition with, and was catching some ahead, so I was still in good gears to ride the power I wanted.  The frustrating thing was that it meant I would spend a lot of the time in my 36×12 or 11, which puts the chain on an angle and rubs the cage of the front derailleur. Whilst I was pedalling at about 120RPM down a hill Shane Vincent came flying past me and gapped me within seconds, I couldn’t even react, I had no more gears and just watched him go off in the distance.  He must have thought I was such an idiot being in my small chainring down a hill.


My biggest concern was that I had to ration my gear changes out as I didn’t know when the battery was really going to die on me.  I didn’t want to be left in too low a gear, so I spent most of the ride in my 3 smallest cogs on the back, being very conservative on gear changes, which meant I ended up riding the hills out of the saddle at a high power to get up them, I could really feel my quads loading up here and was a bit worried as to the consequences of this.  I knew this was going to use a lot more energy, so I increased my carb intake significantly, getting ready for the eventual explosion/hitting of wall.  I had a few guys around me but I would pull away up the climbs as I was in a stupid big gear, and they would fly by me on the descents as I was in a stupid low (but the same) gear!


Once we hit the Hawea flats there was a slight cross tail wind, and I think this is where the disc wheel/trispoke combination really benefitted me, as I rode away from the guys I had been riding with!  I was pedalling well over 100RPM, and I feel great doing it, just being reminded of my stupidity by the terrible sound of my chain scraping on the derrailier.  I was now beginning to think that this super low gear situation may actually be not as bad for me as I expected it to be.  Could this be a blessing in disguise, sure I was missing out on extra speed not having access to a big chainring, but was I saving my legs by not over-gearing myself?

At about the 70km mark I decided to start using lower gears on the climb as I knew I was close enough to home that if the battery went dead I could still ride it out, and I wanted to save my legs a bit more as cramps in my quads were beginning to haunt me.  A quick check of my TSS showed I was already at 220 (about 30 points more than I had planned to be), so this was becoming an energy sapping ride – lucky I had decided to increase my carbs earlier in the race.  The last section through town went pretty quickly, and I was relieved to finally get off the bike without any further mechanical drama’s.  One thing I wasn’t aware of was by this time Shane Vincent had punctured, and didn’t have a spare tubular, so I was now in the lead of my Age Group, despite thinking I was still second.

I rode 2:33 and had a normalised power of 288, and average cadence of 88rpm.

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Starting the run my legs felt great and I was moving smoothly.  I started getting some very slight cramps in my quads, but a few Margarita Clif Bloks (extra sodium) soon dealt to the cramps and I was into my work.  I was following my run power closely, and wanted to hold 280-285w.  I don’t have pace visible on my watch, just power and time, although I have each KM split come up, so I have a fairly good idea of my run pace.  I was surprised to be ticking over quite comfortably between 4:00-4:10/km for the first few kms.  Following power output is a lot more reliable and useful than looking at pace, especially on a technical course such as along the Outlet Track as it has such varied terrain.  Power is an absolute measure of effort, where as pace is determined by many different factors that can’t be influenced by the runner.


As I hit Gun Road Kellee was sideline telling me I was leading my AG, and that Shane didn’t finish the bike.  She told me I had a 6 minute lead, and just to keep running strong.  At this point I was beginning to feel a bit tired and noticing the effects of the hard ride.  My power was now dropping, and despite how hard I was trying I couldn’t get the target up to where I wanted it to be.  But that didn’t matter, I knew I wasn’t going to get caught from behind, so I just focused on my form and tried to catch my athlete Rebecca Clarke in front of me, who was currently 7th in the Elite Womens race….as it turned out, she was running well and I couldn’t catch her.  I managed to keep moving ahead of 2nd in my Age Group and finished with a 9 minute margin.


The run took me 1:32, and ironically was the same average power as the bike, 278w.

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My overall time of 4:41 shows it isn’t a fast course, especially when Javier Gomez ‘only’ goes 3:57 to win it.  This is a tough honest race with amazing scenery and some testing wind conditions, the sort of course I love, and perfect for the NZ Championships.  I’d love to come back here next year to race again, and I can highly recommend it to anyone wanting to combine a race and a holiday at the same time, as there are so many things to do in the Wanaka region.

In terms of lessons learned, clearly charging my Di2 battery is a fairly important one, but equally so is knowing that just because something isn’t going as planned it isn’t the end of the race.  Problems can be dealt with quickly and easily, and don’t always end in a negative outcome.

I’m looking forward to watching Ironman New Zealand next weekend.  I’m sure some people will have things not quite go to plan, so I’m hopeful that my experience helps that person cope with it on race day.