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Sam Gardner: Tagaman report
Posted by: Editor
Posted on: Tuesday 19th March 2013


Tags  Sam Gardner  |  Tagaman


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Having finished third (XTERRA Philippines) and fourth (XTERRA Saipan) so far on his annual Pacific tour, Sam Gardner collected another podium finish last weekend with third place at the Tagaman Triathlon, part of the annual Saipan Sports Fest.

Here is his report from the event, which just leaves XTERRA Guam this coming weekend - before the glamour (?!) of the Surrey Hills next month...


The third race in my four week spring Pacific campaign was the Tagaman road triathlon, 2.2km swim, 60km bike, 15km run.

I was very lucky that my wife brought out my Cannondale Slice TT bike with Enve wheels and Rotor Q-rings, as it makes such a difference having your own bike that fits (and is super fast and aero), as opposed to borrowing a bike from a local resident here.

It had been an interesting week before the race with Abi (my daughter), very jet lagged before last weeks race, and then getting a stomach bug all week. More sleepless nights all round, but luckily she was better by Thursday and what a difference a couple of good nights sleep makes for all the family. I (almost) leaped out of bed on Saturday morning at 4:30am.

Compared to the previous week, when I lost four minutes in a 1500m swim, I was very pleased to only lose three minutes here to the leaders in a 2.2km swim.

A slow bike transition, where I put on socks to protect the blisters on my feet and I started the bike conservatively. Keeping a nice high cadence and making slow steady progress through the field, I caught third place triple Olympian Olivier Marceau about 20km into the bike and was slowly gaining on the leading pair of Rory Downie and Ben Allen. I felt comfortable and in control, but the event is slightly longer than most XTERRA races, so I was careful with my nutrition and took a Maxifuel gel every 45 minutes and plenty of Viper energy drink too.

At T2 I had the quickest bike split, but I'd only gained 45 seconds back on the leaders and was still 2:45 back with the run to go, but I felt fresh. Again, maybe I was too conservative early in the run, as I tried to find a nice tempo, and only with 5km to go, when I was less than two minutes behind Rory did I start to push it hard. Coming around the final aid station, I could see Rory ahead and I knew the gap was closing, but it was too little too late and I finished four minutes down on Ben and a minute down on Rory.

The final event of this trip is next weekend is Xterra Guam which I've won three times previously, but on current form it'll be very hard to beat Ben and with the South African duo of Dan Hugo and Brad Weiss back in action, It'll be more fast and exciting racing in store, for sure.


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