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20th Aug 2007Issue 24

Welcome to the newsletter

Emotion, excitement, a pumping sound system, rain, mud, a couple of 'last-all-day' MCs -- it's Glastonbury all over again... ...except that instead of rock heroes we are talking ironman triathletes and the grounds in front of Sherborne Castle weren't quite as muddy as Michael Eavis' farm! We've been to a few of the M-dot races now and each has its own distinctive flavour, its own particular challenges in terms of the course or the environment, but there are also similarities too.

We aren't just talking about the branding here either, although that big M logo is pretty much all-pervasive. There's the volunteers to start with. People who give up days, some even weeks, to set up the venue, crew the whole race day and then help tear it all down again afterwards. (Although we suspect that Mother Nature may well have to repair the turf in front of the castle as that's past the hand of man to fix!) On more than one occasion it has been said that crewing an Ironman event is harder work than actually doing the race - and that's not simply a PR stunt or someone having a laugh! For those racing it's a day of complete focus with everything you need being placed where you'll need it to try to ensure that you get round inside that magic 17 hours. For the crew it's a matter of trying to make sure all that happens - which means thinking on your feet for, perhaps, 20 hours on just a few hours sleep and, in many cases, with precious little recognition.

To give examples is difficult - highlighting one person's efforts might seem to belittle anothers. There are, however, two people who can be highlighted as an example because they are there for a slightly different reason. We are, of course, talking about the two commentators, Don Ryder and Paul Groves. Imagine having to constantly communicate with an audience for around 20 hours - they work to inform before the swim starts, they cheer athletes through T1, they then spend four hours keeping the audience informed as to the race progress before moving into overdrive for the run and then a constant stream of finishers - each one personally cheered to the line - which lasts for another eight and a half hours. They are, in their own special way, each triathlon legends in their own right and, while we aren't suggesting that you should (or could) do the same, we seriously recommend that one year you make your 'Ironman event' a volunteering one. You'll make new friends, learn a whole new side the the sport and, who knows, you may even find it tougher than actually doing one!

In this issue:

Results

Weekend action

Onto the main business from the weekend, Ironman UK. In our preview we indicated that the men's race was pretty much sewn up by Bryan Rhodes and that we would expect Bella Comerford to be challenged but emerge as the winner for the women. And, as is always the case in these things, we didn't quite get that right...

From the gun, slightly delayed due to problems getting everyone into the site, it was entirely clear that Rhode's game plan was to expunge last year's DNS and dominate the race. With a record-setting swim of 44:39 he was out of the water and on his way out of T2 before Brad Storm (RSA) had started his run to the change tent. Rhodes' face was set and the look simply said 'stay out of my way'! And, for the entire bike course, it stayed in place as he put 12 minutes into his rivals.

By the end of the first two laps of the run inside Sherborne Castle's grounds, however, it was clear that all was not well with the Rhodes machine. With punctures, cool conditions and the Dorset hills thinning out the chasers he should have been opening up the lead. Instead, it was closing down! And the hunting pair were both British! Scott Neyedli and Stephen Bayliss were running pretty much stride for stride and as they left the Castle gates for the double lap of the infamous Babylon Hill section the lead was down to less than four minutes.

By the time they reached the Powerbar aid station at the start of the A30 'out-and-back' our spotting crew (aka Bob Holloway) reported the gap as even closer and the course radio gave the news that the lead had changed as the ran down the hill. Rhodes was walking!

At this point the bookies tightened the odds on Stephen Bayliss - after all, what's a neo-pro like Neyedli got to offer compared to a man who has five fourth place finishes on his resume?

Bad news for the bookies because when Neyedli reached the top of the hill and looped the aid station he had put a clear minute into Bayliss! Back they both went to the bottom of Babylon Hill and by the time they came back the gap was doubled. The Scott Neyedli fan club, aka Zero2Hero, were going ballistic. And Rhodes was still walking...

Fifteen minutes later after 8:35:53 of racing it was all over, there was a new winner on the podium and he was a very, very happy Scotsman. His supporters were even happier as they rushed round trying to assemble the cash to pay for his Hawaii slot! Bayliss left a decent two minutes before he crossed the line to record his best-ever finish at the distance and his first podium slot and Jimmy Johnsen (DEN) rounded out the day for third.

As for Rhodes? Well, he won here in 2005 but was sidelined by a van in 2006 and couldn't start. He didn't go home though, he stayed as part of the commentary team and helped others through their day. This year, with a score to settle, he was quietly determined. Mid-week, in a completely surprise visit, his sister and mother flew in from New Zealand to support him - they had only watched him race in his native New Zealand and had never seen him win an Ironman. It wasn't to be but he walked out the second half of the run and still finished 31st and as we left the site he was back on the stage with the commentary crew giving his support to the 14 hour finishers. We bet he'll be back!

For the ladies it was also a New Zealand start to the day with Gina Ferguson leading out of the swim. Bella Comerford, however, had obviously been putting in the extra pool time while she was injured and came out the water in 4th and then just rode away on the bike. Report after report came back that the lead was unchanged until the final short leg back to the Castle when the shock news came in that the lead had changed and Karin Gerber (SUI) was in the lead. Somewhere on the back leg and amid all the lapping age groupers she had sneaked past and rolled into T2 as the new front runner.

And then, confusion! For a two laps of the Castle grounds Ferguson was in the lead but somewhere out there, just as quietly as she had taken the lead, she stepped off the track and withdrew. By the time Bella reached the Powerbar station our spotters knew she was back in the lead but the race was still catching up. The Bella game plan was for a consistent race and that's what she delivered, right to the line to take her first UK victory in 9:36:09. Team TBB team-mate Hillary Biscay (USA) was second and Nicole Klinger (SUI) was third. The rest of the ladies field was well thinned out but Yvette Grice made the top five.

Our grateful thanks to the tireless spotting crew of Cally Mansfield, Bob Holloway and Mick Barnes and there are a series of video interviews with the top finishers that will go up on the site later this week for your viewing pleasure.

And, thanks also to the IronmanLive crew, with just a little help from us here at Tri247, for providing the race commentary live to the internet with, for the first time since Sherborne started, real live timing. You can read the 'blow-by-blow' account and see masses of pictures on their website: www.ironmanlive.com

PosMenWomen
1 Scott Neyedli (GBR) 8:35:53 Bella Comerford (GBR) 9:36:09
2 Stephen Bayliss (GBR) 8:38:06 Hillay Biscay (USA) 9:49:44
3 Jimmy Johnsen (DEN) 8:40:47 Nicole Klinger (SUI) 9:52:36

Elsewhere on the Ironman scene were half-distance races in Germany and the USA. In Wiesbaden 70.3 the winners were Stephan Bignet in 4:06:53 and Virginia Berasategui in 4:44:29 while at the Timberman 70.3 it was Simon Lessing in 4:00:02 and Desiree Ficker in 4:25:54. We also note that a certain S Smith placed fifth... IronmanLive covered the German race live online so you can catch the commentary there but Timberman updates are on their website: www.timbermantri.com

PosMenWomen
1 Stephan Bignet (FRA) 4:06:53 Virginia Berasategui (ESP) 4:44:29
2 Alessandro Degasperi (ITA) 4:11:04 Wenke Kujala (GER) 4:47:27
3 Nils Goerke (GER) 4:13:59 Andrea Brede (GER) 4:48:54

 

PosMenWomen
1 Simon Lessing (GBR) 4:00:02 Desiree Ficker (USA) 4:25:54
2 Bjorn Andersson (SWE) 4:02:52 Kate Major (AUS) 4:28:48
3 Michael Lovato (USA) 4:05:59 Dede Griesbauer (USA) 4:41:11

On the European scene we had the Geneva leg of the ITU European Cup with Andrew Johns taking second place and Jodie Swallow third. Looking at the times, it seems as though this is quite a long, tough standard distance race as the times were around 12 minutes off the 'normal' pace. No news on the women's race although looks like Jodie Swallow had a solid race to finish in 3rd place behind Sydney Olympic bronze medalist Magali Messmer and Switzerland's European Championship bronze medalist Nicola Spirig. In the men's race AJ formed a small break away group including Simon Thompson (AUS) and Oliver Marceau (SUI), giving them a good cushion when they started out on the run. After a tough few days with a worrying groin injury AJ held good form to finish in second place just twenty seconds down on Germany's Maik Petzold.

Other GB finishers were Carol Bridge in 13th, Karl Shaw 25th, Oly Stanley 43rd, Paul Smith 46th, Todd Leckie 49th, Tom Room 53rd and James Cotton who was a DNF.

PosMenWomen
1 Maik Petzold (GER) 1:59:09 Magali di Marco Messmer (SUI) 2:14:06
2 Andrew Johns (GBR) 1:59:31 Nicola Spirig (SUI) 2:16:36
3 Olivier Marceau (SUI) 1:59:34 Jodie Swallow (GBR) 2:18:34

At the Aberfeldy Middle Distance race on Saturday the winners were Fraser Cartmell (Stirling Tri) in 4:31:39 and Kirsti Thys (AVS Tri) in 5:19:08. Full results are here.

At the Wolverhampton Classic the winners were James Ratcliffe (Black Country Tri) in 2:02:06 and Lou Collins (TFN) in 2:17:43. Full results are here on Stuart Steele's website.

At the Clash of the Tritons Aquathlon aquathlon races the main event was won by Chris Lionnet (Greenwich Tritons) in 23:58 and Bethan Hopewell (Ful-on Tri) in 27:00. Results for this and the accompanying childrens race are also on Stuart's site here.

The Stockton Middlesbrough Standard (aka The Three Bridges) race was won by Tim Ashelford (Leeds Bradford Tri) in 2:00:59 and Melanie Hayward (Barracuda) in 2:10:59. The sprint event (aka The Barrage Burner) was won by Jonathan Brownlee in 54:02 and Kay Stokes (Cleveland Biketraks) in 1:16:44. Results are currently only provisional and we have no splits, check the Trafeco website for more information.

The Borders Sport and Leisure Trust series continued with the Kelso Sprint and Novice races. In the sprint distance event the honours went to Mark Livesey with a time of 1:09:07 and Caroline Graham-Brown in 1:19:07. Full results are for the sprint are here and the novice results are here.

The fourth Liquid Leisure/OWS Aquathlon saw wins for Lee Greatorex in 29:34 and Susan Blackett in 23:23. Full results are here.

Gatorade

Exclusive Gatorade/Richard Allen Fitness Competition

Win a performance boosting package worth �£750 from Gatorade and Richard Allen to fuel your future triathlon success ... plus five runners up prizes worth �£50

Richard Allen, nine-times UK triathlon champion and a leading coach, has teamed up with Gatorade (www.gatorade.co.uk) to fuel one lucky Tri247 reader to greater triathlon success. Tri247.com's exclusive prize will take your triathlon performance to the next level! The package includes a day's private coaching in Bath with travel and accommodation* from none other than Richard Allen, nine-times UK triathlon champion followed up with a one-month training plan (www.richardallenfitness.com) and a world class hydration package from Gatorade, the world's most popular sports drink and sponsor of the London Triathlon and Ironman UK.

For full details of the competition you can read the story on the Tri247 website here...

How many laboratories does the Gatorade Sports Science Institute have, and what is each one called?

[To find the answer, take a virtual tour of the Institute at www.gatorade.co.uk]

Submit your answer by email to our competition address: competitions@tri247.com no later than 6pm on Friday 24th August 2007. Remember, we need to get back in touch so please ensure that you include your name, a contact phone number and a valid email address!

* Please note, 'travel and accommodation' means we will cover rail travel/petrol to Bath and one night's hotel up to a value of, but not exceeding, �£200 (receipts must be provided).

Trek

Trek to support Tri247 results service

Since its launch, Tri247 has been dedicated to bringing you the latest results direct to your desktop just as soon as they are available. We know that our results page is one of the busiest sections of the site and we are constantly looking for ways to improve the service to enable you to monitor your performance and log your personal times throughout the season.

We are delighted to announce that another company for whom association with winning performances is a key reason for their involvement with the sport has kindly agreed to support the section for the next twelve months. That company is, of course, Trek who are already sponsoring top triathletes including the current World Triathlon Champion, Tim Don, world-class events like the London Triathlon and the British Triathlon Federation. Please visit the Trek website for more information on their outstanding bike range including the new Madone used by Tim Don at London this weekend and the recently reviewed Equinox: www.trekbike.co.uk

 
Biketrax

 

O Donnells

 

Holiday in New Zealand

 

Fluid Force

 

Xtreme Terrain Festival



Top 10 Article Of Last Week
  1. Two pro triathletes hospitalised
  2. Bike of the Race: London Triathlon
  3. IMUK: nine ways to have a bad day!
  4. London Triathlon report
  5. The science of Ironman nutrition
  6. Weekend roundup
  7. UK League update #1
  8. Race long(er) in the New Forest
  9. Exclusive Gatorade competition
  10. National Club Relays

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