Triathlete Europe Europe's leading source for triathlon news and information. Wed, 20 Aug 2014 08:10:40 +0000 hourly 1 74 Pros Accept Kona Spots (including Craig Alexander) Wed, 20 Aug 2014 08:10:40 +0000 Liz Hichens

Photo: Aaron Hersh

Ironman gas revealed that all 74 athletes who were offered slots after the first qualifying period ending July 27 officially registered for ]]>

Photo: Aaron Hersh

Ironman gas revealed that all 74 athletes who were offered slots after the first qualifying period ending July 27 officially registered for the 2014 Ironman World Championship. The first round offered 40 men and 28 women, plus six automatic qualifiers (four men and two women) the opportunity to register and for the first time in the short history of the Kona Pro Rankings (KPR), every eligible pro athlete accepted his/her slot. Veterans Craig Alexander (AUS) and Cameron Brown (NZL) had previously said they were unsure about returning to Kona, but both accepted their entries.

The final 17 spots (10 men and seven women) will be handed out at the end of August. 2012 Ironman world champion Leanda Cave (GBR) is competing at this weekend’s Ironman Sweden and with that validation she will be offered an automatic qualifier spot along with that final group.

See the qualifying pros below:

Male Pros
Sebastian Kienle GER*
Frederik Van Lierde BEL*
Bart Aernouts BEL
Tyler Butterfield BMU
Timothy O’Donnell USA
Ivan Raña ESP
Luke McKenzie AUS
James Cunnama RSA
Jan Frodeno DEU
Terenzo Bozzone NZL
Victor Morales ESP
Andy Potts USA
Michael Weiss AUT
Joe Gambles AUS
Tim Van Berkel AUS
Igor Amorelli BRA
David Plese SVN
Marino Vanhoenacker BEL
Eneko Llanos ESP
Maik Twelsiek GER
Faris Al-Sultan GER
Cameron Brown NZL
Paul Matthews AUS
Andrew Starykowicz USA
Marek Jaskolka POL
Christian Kramer GER
Jeremy Jurkiewicz FRA
David Dellow AUS
Cyril Viennot FRA
Filip Ospaly CZE
Ben Hoffman USA
Nils Frommhold GER
Kyle Buckingham RSA
Dirk Bockel LUX
Romain Guillaume FRA
Marko Albert EST
Craig Alexander AUS*
Matthew Russell USA
Bevan Docherty NZL
Daniel Fontana ITA
Tim Reed AUS
Axel Zeebroek BEL
Boris Stein GER
Pete Jacobs AUS*

Female Pros
Rachel Joyce GBR
Meredith Kessler USA
Liz Blatchford AUS
Caroline Steffen SUI
Mirinda Carfrae AUS*
Gina Crawford NZL
Yvonne Van Vlerken NLD
Caitlin Snow USA
Elizabeth Lyles USA
Linsey Corbin USA
Melissa Hauschildt AUS*
Catriona Morrison GBR
Mary Beth Ellis USA
Åsa Lundström SWE
Kristin Möller GER
Lucy Gossage GBR
Michelle Vesterby DNK
Jodie Swallow GBR
Natascha Badmann SUI
Julia Gajer GER
Lisa Roberts USA
Corinne Abraham GBR
Simone Brändli SUI
Amanda Stevens USA
Kimberly Schwabenbauer USA
Bree Wee USA
Jessie Donavan USA
Heather Wurtele CAN
Kelly Williamson USA
Katja Konschak GER

*Automatic qualifier

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Entries Open For Israman Negev Wed, 20 Aug 2014 07:55:07 +0000 Press Release When it comes to destination races around the globe, few can match the beauty and difficulty found at the ISRAMAN Negev – a half and full iron distance triathlon in Israel’s most popular vacation destination of Eliat.

What started back in 1999 as an intimate amateur race with only 26 athletes, has grown and developed dramatically in the past few years, and today ISRAMAN Negev in one of Israel’s major international sport events with 1400 participants from more than 25 countries.

ISRAMAN Negev is a MUST-DO race for every long distance triathlete seeking a real challenge to test his limits. Former World Champion, Normann Stadler, equated this race to a combination of Kona and Lanzarote. The race aims for the more experienced athlete who is searching for new challenges rather than the popular flat courses, yet it offers also a half distance race and an option to race in a relay team in order to make ISRAMAN Negev suited for all athletes.

While Europe is freezing, the athletes and their companions will love Eilat’s warmer and more pleasant climate with a season average of 15°c and always sunny. Serious athletes can take advantage of the dry weather to combine ISRAMAN Negev with an early season outdoor training camp, while the more recreational athletes the can relax in the sun and enjoy the many tourist attractions that Eilat has to offer, from nature scenic, to live performances, diving and various night life opportunities.

Since it’s a small country, all other Israel’s major attraction are within a reachable driving distance, such as Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, Tiberias, Nazareth and Beth Lehem.

The 2015 edition of ISRAMAN Negev is scheduled for January 30.

For more information about ISRAMAN Negev please (please use coupon code ea162 for a special discount on registration).

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Timo Bracht’s Race-Winning Challenge Roth Strategy Tue, 19 Aug 2014 12:30:52 +0000 Robert Tobin

Figure 2 - Frommhold's attack is the first darkened section

Timo Bracht of Team Powerhorse triathlon team recently won Challenge Roth – possibly his best victory to date in his career against a ]]>

Figure 2 - Frommhold's attack is the first darkened section

Timo Bracht of Team Powerhorse triathlon team recently won Challenge Roth – possibly his best victory to date in his career against a stellar field. Rewind 18 weeks back. Timo had contacted Matt Bottrill (current national 25 and 50 mile champion) and myself (Bob Tobin of to ask if we could help him on his bike leg. He had seen the massive jumps forward that Matt had made in the last few years in domestic time trialling, while I have been coaching him on relatively little training. He felt his bike leg was no longer competitive enough against the best ironman athletes. He knew his running was up there with the best and he needed to change something if he was going to win. Having talked to him about his current training we knew we could help him and he knew we were the right people to get him where he wanted to be.

Timo is a very level headed athlete. He has plans, back up plans and backup backup plans. His optimist plan was to swim fast and get out with the other top guys and get on the bike with them and stay with the group to the end. His realistic plan was to swim maybe 60-90s slower and bike by himself for the first 40k to catch the group and then try and stay with them to the run. His pessimistic plan was a bad swim then he would probably have to do the whole bike leg by himself and then try to run them down – we gave Timo a pacing plan if that was the case to get the most of his individual effort. If you don’t have a plan for your race start planning now and consider what you are going to do if things don’t go as planned.

Fast forward back to race day. Timo’s swim went very well finishing in 48:58 only 19s behind the fastest swimmer and he got out on the bike in 8th place within seconds of the leader. This was going to make his plan to stay with the other athlete’s on the bike leg much easier. Having to chase them down would have risked blowing later in the race. A group of 7 formed on the bike leg. Just behind this group was Kona silver medallist Luke McKenzie. An unusually slow swim put him in 18th place, McKenzie would spend the whole bike leg chasing largely by himself. This was great news for Timo and would be McKenzie’s undoing. By the end of the bike leg McKenzie showed his recent trip to the drag2zero wind tunnel and new Scott bike had given him a super fast bike leg – he was 2nd fastest on the bike riding solo trying to catch the group. But this wasn’t a bike race and on the run the heat and solo effort on the bike cracked him and he lost 38 minutes.

Racing as a Professional triathlete is a lot different than for an amateur athlete due to the group dynamics on the bike leg. Racing in a group has some distinct advantages and some major drawbacks. This is not a full drafting race so although it is a group you need to stick to a 10m gap to the next athlete. The main advantages are; that it feel much more like a race, your are literally racing against the others around you rather than for a time (like most age groupers) and secondly even with a 10m gap there is a slight reduction in power to ride the same speed. The drawbacks are the potential to get a drafting penalty if you get closer than the 10m gap, your pacing is in the control of the group and you can end up going very easy on descents and too hard on the climbs as other athletes try to break the group up.

See Figure 1

As you can see from his power data the first time up the big climb nobody in the front group attacked. On the short steep climbs just afterwards some in the group pushed the pace. In the other races Timo completed this year that was his weak point and he cracked on short steep climbs when there were repeated big bursts in power. With the appropriate training Timo was now able to stay with this pace and recover on the descent and was never in trouble. To try and keep the pace more stable and at the most economic pace for him Timo spent long sections on the front. Some others in the group didn’t do any pace making – were they playing a tactical game or were they at their limit? Only time would tell.

See Figure 2 – Frommhold’s attack is the first darkened section

At 105km Nils Frommhold attacked the group on a descent about 10k before the second time up the main climb. While initially the group chased him Frommhold persisted with the attack and he pulled away and the group dropped back to their normal pace. Going with Frommhold would have put Timo over his target power so he decided to stay with the other 5 riders. This shows Timo’s experience – not panicking when he could not stay with one of his top competition, trusting that he would be able to outrun them if he stuck with his planned pace and also knowing that staying in the group would save some energy. They wouldn’t see Frommhold again on the bike. By the finish he would take and impressive 4:30 minutes out of the group. By 153km the group had reduced to 4 under pressure from Timo to keep the gap to to Frommhold at around 4 minutes. Left in the group were, Bracht, Cunnama, Llanos and the 2013 champion Bockel. On the last steep climb Cunnama and Llanos would drop off the group so it was clear the others weren’t riding tactically – they simply had nothing more to give. [second darkened section on picture 2 in the run into transition] On the descent and ride into the transition Timo and Bockel backed off the pace by 20w getting ready for the run. They also took the opportunity to eat and drinking what they had left.

Out onto the run and from the training sessions he had completed Timo knew he could run sub 4min kilometre pace having ridden the bike leg at this power so he set about chasing down Frommhold. The question was how fast could Frommhold run? Timo set out economically for the first 25k so initially he lost some time but suddenly Frommhold started to slow significantly. Timo’s plan was to run flat out the last 15k, with Frommhold slowing the gap dropped precipitously and he was caught and dropped at 30km. Timo ran the last 15km 8 minutes quicker than anyone else.

Raw stats: Timo’s normalised power for the race was 285W exactly as planned and what we predicted he would need to be in the top 3 of the bike leg. This works out as just over 4w/kg which seems to be typical of professional ironman distance winning performances. Peak 2 min power was 380W the first time up the big climb, as this was preceded and followed by periods where the pace was backed off this didn’t put Timo into trouble. Peak 5 mins power was 345w at 68km on the 5th climb on the course, Peak 20 min power was 309w and also included the 5th climb where Frommhold started to test the group.

Total energy used: 4191kj which would have needed approximately 4000Kcal of food and drink

Average cadence: 90 rpm – relatively high for an Ironman athlete but this is very individual to the athlete.

Total climbing: 4390ft

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Time Management Tips: Gordo Byrn & Cliff English Tue, 19 Aug 2014 11:30:45 +0000 Holly Bennett

Twenty-four hours rarely seems enough in a given day. In fact, if you’re like most triathletes, you’re simply trying to fit ]]>

Twenty-four hours rarely seems enough in a given day. In fact, if you’re like most triathletes, you’re simply trying to fit everything in. But some folks do seem to master the art of time management. Today we enlist the advice of triathlon coaches Gordo Byrn and Cliff English.

Gordo Byrn
Gordo Byrn, a former pro triathlete, father of three, and renowned coach and author, shares key advice for keeping on top of a busy schedule:

Routine is a big one. Follow the same routine every week and book your training into your work planner.

RELATED: Matt Dixon’s Time Management Tips

Key workouts are always done first thing in the morning; second workouts are the secondary ones.

Try training camps — two to four days where you strip out all the distractions and train big. Normal life is about a moderate plan that enables the athlete to keep life in order. Then, overload for a couple days each month.

Make an effort to get that extra hour of sleep at night and nap on the weekends. Sleep may seem like a time suck, but the benefits to your training (and mood) will be huge and immediate. Sleep deprivation actually slows you down.

Let some things slide. During peak training, be OK with letting some non-athletic commitments shift to the back burner.

Cliff English
As a coach I try to match the training to each individual’s schedule so they don’t have to think about cutting back,” says English, coach to top triathletes including Heather Jackson and Hunter Kemper. “Communication is essential, so if something comes up that may change a session I always ask my athletes to text me and I’ll make an adjustment on the fly.

I really believe in the basics and the details — even if you are time-crunched you should never speed up a session and execute it poorly. You still need to warm up properly, cool down well, stretch and get in recovery modalities like massage every week or two. You can be efficient with your sessions and you can be efficient with your time, but do not cut corners.”

“Combo sessions are an effective strategy— not only are they triathlon-specific but they also make good use of a short block of time. For example, the classic bike-run combo: If you have a bike trainer and a treadmill (or just head outside) you can accomplish a lot in 75–90 minutes. The same goes for a swim- bike or swim-bike-run session. You can get a nice ‘training triathlon’ completed in two to three hours on a Saturday morning and have plenty of time for everything else in your life!”

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Gallery & Pro Report: Ironman Sweden 2014 Tue, 19 Aug 2014 10:15:03 +0000 Ben Leigh

Photo by Nigel Roddis / Getty Images for Ironman

The pro field at Kalmar was relatively small but did include some of the world’s best IM athletes. The men’s starting line-up contained ]]>

Photo by Nigel Roddis / Getty Images for Ironman

The pro field at Kalmar was relatively small but did include some of the world’s best IM athletes. The men’s starting line-up contained talented German Horst Reichel who had focused his entire season on this one race; the UK’s Tom Lowe, reputed to be one of the fastest ironmen in the world right now; multiple Ironman Champion Viktor Zyemtsev from Ukraine and a couple of home country favourites Jonas Djurback and Karl-Johan Danielsson.

Headed by Leanda Cave the world Ironman Champion in 2013 for both the 70.3 and full IM distances, the ladies field also included home favourite Camilla Lindholm and talented Hungarian Erika Csomor.

RELATED: Ben Leigh Ironman Sweden Blog: A Job Half Done

There had been some talk beforehand that this was not an important race for Leanda but she put that talk to bed from the off. She dominated the race from start to finish. Swimming a pacey 49 minutes and coming out with the leading men (Vicktor confessed to drafting her throughout) a full 11 minutes ahead and then struck out on the bike alone. Behind her the race for second place was much tighter with Erika, Emma Graaf and Jaqui Gordon all within a minute of each other.

Leanda continued to push from the front riding a 4:57 split 6 minutes quicker than the next best time. However the bike was where Camilla started to eat into the 9 minute lead Erika had accrued on the swim. Erika suffered a puncture about 25k out from T2 and made the decision not to fix it but to ride it in! Coming into the run neck and neck neither Camilla nor Erika were in a position to do much about Leanda’s huge lead which would continue to grow during the run despite some residual fatigue from last weekend’s European 70.3 Championships where she had come second. Leanda crossed the line in final time of 8:56:50. However, in a compelling foot race between Erika and Camilla it was the Hungarian who came out marginally on top crossing the line just over a minute ahead in a total time of 9:30:04.

It was a slow swim for the pros but Horst came out in 2 seconds behind GB’s Simon Oliver in a time of 49:24. Tom “I must swim faster” Lowe (as he was anointed at the press conference afterwards) was well down after swimming a 57 min split. Horst had decided to take the race on and he put the hammer down on the bike. He knew there were some strong bikers in the field who could also run a quick marathon so he had to be sure to keep his advantage going into the run. He completed the full 180k without seeing anyone else in a time of 4:29:38 20 seconds faster than Tom.

After his monster effort on the bike in the windy conditions he had hoped would materialise Tom came off the bike in second still 8minutes down on Horst. Viktor was 11th but having received word that he was only a couple of minutes down on a podium place started out on the run aggressively completing the first 10km in just 37 minutes. Running at such a pace it was only a matter of time before he picked up places and he had soon moved into 3rd place from where he began his assault on second place Tom. Meanwhile Horst, while running slightly slower splits than Tom, was holding onto the advantage he had gained on the swim. Horst ran a 2:51 marathon to cross the line 6 minutes ahead of Tom and Viktor in 8:13:01.

Viktor managed to pass Tom on the final lap but the race for second place wasn’t quite over and after over 8 hours of racing it came down to a sprint finish! Heading down the world’s longest finishing stretch, lined with thousands of eager Swedish fans Viktor looked over his shoulder at just the right moment to see Tom rapidly closing the gap and he reacted to sprint home on the blue carpet completing a rapid 2:44 marathon for 2nd place in a total time of 8:19: 17 a full 6 seconds! up on a disappointed Tom Lowe who had to settle for 3rd place.

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Ben Leigh Ironman Sweden Blog: A Job Half Done Tue, 19 Aug 2014 09:00:24 +0000 Ben Leigh

Photo: Anna Leigh

At 6:30 in the morning thousands of people were milling around Kalmar Harbour less than half of whom were squeezing themselves into ]]>

Photo: Anna Leigh

At 6:30 in the morning thousands of people were milling around Kalmar Harbour less than half of whom were squeezing themselves into wetsuits. Already the famous Kalmar crowds are beginning to gather to cheer off the 2700 athletes from 47 countries – the crowd will swell during the day to an estimated 70,000 people which for a city of just 36,000 is a remarkable achievement. We met some people who had travelled over 120km to support, none of them were triathletes themselves and when a community gets so behind an event like this it makes for a very, very special occasion. In fact it was mentioned by the pros that the crowds at Roth are amazing, the crowds at Kona are incredible but the best crowds on the whole IM world circuit? That would Kalmar!

In front of these amazing crowds today was going to be a first for Ironman in Europe. They were trying out a rolling start format. We were encouraged to seed ourselves into swim groups and then 5 minutes after the pros had been released to devour the course the age group canon fired and we charged down the green ramp into the water.

It was a complicated course making its way around the old town. It had lots of turns going back and forth so that the huge crowds on shore could see as much of the swim as possible. We had to keep the yellow buoys to our left and the orange ones to our right. To make things even harder there we thousands of orange caps in the water! My swim went terribly, I felt sluggish throughout so it was no surprise that I had missed my expected time, but at 1:02 to miss it by 5 minutes was very disappointing – in hindsight it seems the swim was pretty slow for everyone. Still the swim will always be my weakest discipline and I had been looking forward to the bike for months.

A couple of kilometres into the bike you head onto Oland Bridge, a 6km bridge that links the mainland to the Island of Oland, it is staggering landmark. Once onto Oland you complete a 122k loop around a World Heritage site famous for its wildlife. There are long straight roads with lovely surfaces and as long as the wind held off it would be a fast course. Everything was going well; I had been on my own for a long time so I knew I was going pretty fast and I got to 90km in exactly 2hrs 15 minutes and my HR was 155 bpm – bang on plan. In the last 20 minutes or so the bike had been a tad twitchy with the occasional gust but the headwind that greeted me when I turned back across the Island was totally unexpected. It was brutal! Heading back into that wind for the next 20km or so back across the bridge really put paid to a decent bike split. To add to that I suddenly felt empty. My HR dropped to 140 bpm and where normally I seem to get stronger and stronger as the bike goes on today was the opposite; I had nothing in my legs.

I struggled on through this dark period for well over an hour before I thought I had to try something different. I downed my last 3 High-5 gels and nearly 750ml of 2:1 and in about 10 mins I was gratefully back up to speed and my HR was back to normal. Why didn’t I do that an hour earlier?! As a result my bike split of 4:48 was also well off the pace I had set myself and I was beginning to doubt whether that Kona place was now possible.

Heading into T2, where I got a yellow card for being a bit too eager to unstrap my helmet, I was surprised but happy to see that the racks were still mostly empty.

The run course is 3 x 14km loops around the old town and then out and back along the coast and through some of the towns parks. I had heard of the Kalmar crowds before the race but nothing prepared me for how truly incredible they were. We would run past booming parties at the farthest point on the course, kids holding signs and cheering as they jumped on trampolines and, inside the old city walls, narrow, gently cobbled corridors packed with supporters 3 or 4 deep before entering the world’s longest blue carpet, teeming with the loudest most enthusiastic supporters you could possibly find anywhere.

Strangely, given my issues on the bike, I felt pretty relaxed right from the first stride. I was careful not to get over excited so ran the first couple of kilometres within myself before settling into a comfortable rhythm. I was making decent headway picking up a few places here and there feeling pretty good.

By the start of the 3rd loop I received word that I was the 2nd or 3rd age grouper and shortly thereafter I caught up with two guys. One was moving faster than the other so I decided I could afford to take my foot off, tuck in behind him and have a rest. I thought that with 4 km to go I would ramp it up again and see if I couldn’t create a bit of separation. I think he noticed me on his heels after a while because he upped his pace after taking a quick glance behind. The plan didn’t change, at 4km to go I would go for it and I did. I felt great and running through the town for the final time was fantastic, thick enthusiastic crowds less than a foot either side of you, calling your name, cheering you on – I have never experienced anything like it.

Unfortunately I crossed the line to find out that I wasn’t in fact the first age grouper, he had finished 4 minutes before me but with a 3:04 run split for a total time of 9:01:24, I was pretty happy with my day especially given how empty I had felt so early on.

So why a job half done? Travel timetables conspired against me and while I sat for an hour at the banquet waiting for my slot to be read out, they didn’t get to my Age Group before I had to leave or miss my flight. So as of writing, in spite of the result, I don’t have a Kona spot and I am utterly gutted!

Ben’s race splits: Ironman Kalmar 2014:
Swim: 01:02:24
Bike: 04:48:20
Run: 03:04:26
Overall: 09:01:24

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Jacobs & Luxford Headline Challenge Gold Coast Tue, 19 Aug 2014 07:55:49 +0000 Press Release

Photo: Thomas Vonach

Two former world champions Pete Jacobs and Annabel Luxford headline a star studded professional field to contest the inaugural Challenge ]]>

Photo: Thomas Vonach

Two former world champions Pete Jacobs and Annabel Luxford headline a star studded professional field to contest the inaugural Challenge Gold Coast this Sunday.

The Australian pair form part of a quality field assembled to contest the newest addition to the Challenge Family event roster in Australia, which includes events in Melbourne (Vic), Shepparton (Vic), Forster (NSW) and Batemans Bay (NSW).

The race to be held at the South Eastern end of the Gold Coast comprises a 1.9km swim in Currumbin Creek, a 90km one-lap cycle over the undulating terrain through Currumbin and Tallebudgera Valleys and a 21km two-lap run through Currumbin and Tugun Beach.

Jacobs, in his final preparation for an assault on regaining his Hawaii world championship crown he won in 2012 after a disappointing performance in 2013. He is determined to turn things around and this race is perfectly positioned.

“I’m really looking forward to racing this Sunday, I’ve just returned after spending time in Thailand at Thanyapura training resort with Macca (Chris McCormack), Caroline Steffen, Casey Munro and am feeling strong for it. This really kick starts my Hawaii preparations” said Jacobs.

“I’d be a brave man to suggest I can win – there’s any number of guys on the start line that can win.

“I’ve actually looked at the course profile of this race, something I’ve never done for any other race, and I have a rough plan for how to best attack this tough course against a tough field of competitors.

Jacobs believes the future of this race is a crucial one for the event calendar.

“Getting Australia’s best long course athletes competing for big prize purses is helping to drive the promotion of our sport and increases the spectator experience.

“I think over the coming years professionals will put great significance on this event and it will be a prominent fixture in their race calendar. It is great timing for the build up to two World Championship events and its course and location will make it memorable and prestigious to win,” said Jacobs.

The 25-strong field includes super-talented Victorian Tim Reed who has produced some of his best form in 2014 and continues to record fastest bike and run splits making him a real contender.

But there are many more lining up behind him to claim the inaugural title, David Dellow who has succeeded over the full distance in 2012, three-time ITU world champion Peter Robertson. Robertson now joins a select group of athletes that has made the successful transition to long distance.

A string of high-flying fellow Australian’s, Sam Appleton, Casey Munro, Joey Lampe and Sam Betten are also hunting for a slice of the AUD$35,000 on offer.

They are also racing for an invitation with a royal touch to the richest half distance prize purse in the world, Challenge Bahrain.

The top three male and female athletes will each receive an exclusive ‘Royal Package’ to Challenge Bahrain on 6 December and the opportunity to compete for the US$500,000 prize purse.

The ‘Royal Package’ will provide the winners with an unrivalled experience of the Kingdom of Bahrain. The winning athletes will enjoy the royal treatment to the Kingdom of Bahrain including business class airfare, four nights accommodation at a five star resort, on-call chauffeur and free entry.

Brisbane born Luxford is currently living and training in Melbourne and had her sights set on a debut in Kona in October but her season was derailed in June after colliding with the back of car.

The former world number one and Under 23 world champion is in her second season of long distance racing and has adapted seamlessly with instant results.

Luxford finished second as the Asia Pacific championships of the half distance, won the inaugural Challenge Melbourne and had five podiums.

“I was disappointed about missing the chance to race in Kona, but re-worked the end of season schedule to re-focus on the half distance world championship in September,” said Luxford.

A seasoned campaigner, Luxford knows that to attempt to chase qualifying over the full distance would be foolish.

“It would also be short-sighted to go into Kona without the background or preparation that I would require to do as well as I would like. After all, this is only my second season of racing the half distance,” Luxford said.

“This will be my first race back and will give me a good indication of where I’m at.

“The course is definitely a challenging one which I’m looking forward too,” said Luxford.

Luxford will also have to hold off one of the most recognized ladies and advocates of Challenge events worldwide, Belinda Granger.

The ever-improving Sydneysider Lisa Marangon will definitely be in the mix along with a number of emerging talents.

In addition to the professional field 1,400 age group competitors will also take on the challenge including some well-known identities. The Bondi Rescue boys continue their passionate pursuit of triathlon. Since taking up the sport two years ago the boys are now hooked.

Former Tour de France cyclist Nick Gates will take part in his hometown event on the Gold Coast, has heaped praise on the bike course.

“Bike course is solid. It’s great to have a tough one.

His advise to competitors on the 90km course is sound: “Ride within yourself for the first 35km, take it steady up the beast (hill) and you’re home,” said the former national road champion.

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Q&A: Nailing Your Nutrition On Long Rides Mon, 18 Aug 2014 12:35:30 +0000 Lauren Antonucci

Photo: Kurt Hoy

Question: With the warmer weather finally here, I’m taking my long rides outside. How should I be approaching my on-the-bike hydration? ]]>

Photo: Kurt Hoy

Question: With the warmer weather finally here, I’m taking my long rides outside. How should I be approaching my on-the-bike hydration?

Answer: The first step is to assess your fluid needs. Test and know your sweat rate (the average is 24–32 ounces an hour, or at least one bottle per hour), then determine how much fluid you will need to carry for a race. Find out the specifics for your race; for example, sprint tris often do not supply fluid on the bike course, so you’ll need to carry your own. Olympic-distance races may have one, two (or no) bottle refill stations, so you’ll need to carry enough fluid to either complete your race, or make it between aid stations.

Next, address your bike frame size and setup to determine how much fluid you can hold and where you can stash it. For example, my tri bike can only hold one bottle cage on my downtube; larger bikes can hold two. Aerobars allow for front-mount bottles you can reach and drink while staying in the aero position. Rear-mount bottles allow for “easy reach” when in the aero position, provided you feel comfortable reaching behind you while riding. Regardless of which you choose, I’d recommend one bottle of plain water to drink with gels, bars and chews, and one to two bottles of sports drink (with 50–70 calories and 200mg sodium per 8 ounces). I advise my athletes to rely mostly on their sports drink (for fluid, calories and sodium in each gulp) and add extra water once calorie needs are reached or in excessive heat conditions for those with higher fluid volume needs. Just be sure to have your hydration setup and plan ironed out before you race.

Clinical nutritionist and certified sports dietitian Lauren Antonucci is the owner/director of Nutrition Energy in New York City.

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Swim Q&A: Breathing Patterns & Flip Turns Mon, 18 Aug 2014 11:30:36 +0000 Sara McLarty

Photo: Shutterstock

Got questions about swim technique and training? We’ve got the answers! Top coach Sara McLarty dug into her mailbox to answer this ]]>

Photo: Shutterstock

Got questions about swim technique and training? We’ve got the answers! Top coach Sara McLarty dug into her mailbox to answer this month’s swim-related ponderings.

Q: I change my breathing pattern as I swim. Is there a normal pattern or is everyone different?
There is no “correct” breathing pattern. However, I do recommend that you become comfortable breathing on both sides (bilateral) of your body. You can do this by breathing every third stroke, which alternates sides every breath. If you need to breathe more often, try breathing to your right side for one length and your left side for the next length of the pool. Breathing three times to the right and three times to the left is also a well-balanced pattern. Do what is comfortable for you!

Q: If I literally just touch and go on the walls, what am I missing out on by not doing flip-turns (besides looking cool)?
Flip-turns, other strokes, underwater streamline and diving into the water are all ways to be a more comfortable and well-rounded swimmer. On one hand, none of those things is required for a triathlon. On the other hand, every race is different and can present unexpected challenges. Breaking out of your comfort zone in the controlled environment of a pool and learning a new skill, like blowing air out of your nose when upside-down underwater, can save you from panic on race day. Plus, when you’re in the pool you might as well act like a swimmer!

Q: Why does the pull with my left arm feel stronger than my right arm, even though I am right-handed?
A common cause of stroke imbalance is single-sided breathing. If you predominantly breathe to the right side, your left arm will do a majority of the work under the water. Single-sided breathers rarely rotate their breathing-side arm deep enough into the water to perform a strong pull. To develop a stronger and more even pull, practice breathing on both sides and rotating your torso to 45 degrees on both sides.

Pro triathlete and swim coach Sara McLarty has 25-plus years of experience and knowledge about swimming mechanics, efficiency and technique.

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Monday Swim Set: Get Sprinting Mon, 18 Aug 2014 10:20:03 +0000 Sara McLarty

Photo: Shutterstock

Triathlete Europe contributor and swimming all-star Sara McLarty has a blog with more than 500 creative workouts used in her Masters swim ]]>

Photo: Shutterstock

Triathlete Europe contributor and swimming all-star Sara McLarty has a blog with more than 500 creative workouts used in her Masters swim program. We’ll feature a workout every Monday so you have new ideas to take to the pool. On her blog (, you can pick a Monday set for a long distance focus, a Wednesday set for sprint training, or Friday for creative open water skills.

400 choice swim
300 IM (kick/drill/swim by 25)
200 pull (breathe every 5th stroke)
100 kick
6×50 @ 1:15 (25 dive and SPRINT/25 easy)
5×200 w/ paddles only @ 2:45
100 recovery/easy
6×50 @ 1:15 (25 dive and SPRINT/25 easy)
6×100 w/buoy and band only @ 1:30
100 recovery/easy
6×50 @ 1:15 (25 dive and SPRINT/25 easy)
8×50 @ 1:00 (IM switch)
300 cool-down
*4400 total*

400 choice swim
300 (kick/drill/swim by 25)
200 pull (breathe every 5th stroke)
100 kick
4×50 @ 1:40 (25 dive and SPRINT/25 easy)
4×200 w/ paddles only @ 3:50
100 recovery/easy
4×50 @ 1:40 (25 dive and SPRINT/25 easy)
4×100 w/ buoy and band only @ 2:15
100 recovery/easy
4×50 @ 1:40 (25 dive and SPRINT/25 easy)
6×50 @ 1:15 (25 non-free/25 free)
200 cool-down
*3500 total*

300 choice swim
200 pull (breathe every 5th stroke)
100 kick
4×50 w/ :40 rest (25 dive and SPRINT/25 easy)
3×200 pull w/ :20 rest
50 recovery/easy
4×50 w/ :40 rest (25 dive and SPRINT/25 easy)
4×100 pull w/ :15 rest
50 recovery/easy
4×50 w/ :40 rest (25 dive and SPRINT/25 easy)
200 cool-down
*2500 total*

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