Falls Creek- Australian Long Course Championships

February 13th, 2012

Falls Creek- Calls Freaks*!

Australian Long Course Championships 2/80/20

By Mitch Anderson

Doing a long course triathlon is not for the faint-hearted. It’s a long-ish race (4-6 hours) and is physically demanding when you’re going at top speed at sea level. But when you combine the altitude of Falls Creek (1600m) with challenging weather conditions (6-9C) it means you have to be seriously fit and an experienced athlete to boot. And what better situation to put the National Championships on than when the environmental and geographical challenges meet the best athletes?

The Supersprint team had their work cut out for them on so many levels last week at Falls Creek. Not only were their rivals USM putting on an event of the same distance on at the ‘easier’ location of Geelong (the winning times put it at 20min faster or ~9%) the next day, but the weather was proving a headache. That said, there was no better man to make sensible decisions about race timing, safety and practicalities than David Hansen. He juggled the start time to fit the weather (pulling it back by 75min) to hit the best window of conditions for the day.

The field was decimated by apprehension of the difficulty of the event, but it was still stacked with quality at each category at the top end. The men’s race had Luke Bell, Joe Gambles, Tim Reed, Jan Rehula and David Dellow: all proven big stage performers, whilst the women saw world champion Melissa Rollison go head to head with Madelaine Oldfield. I mean literally- no one else turned up to challenge for the title. Through the age groups, the pattern of small but comprehensively credentialed athletes appeared: Sam Hume, Peter Loveridge, Chris Bradford, Damien Angus, Chris Southwell and Wendy McAlpine to name just a few.

Sunny and calm conditions greeted everyone for the start- it didn’t feel like 6C! There had been enough information and warnings for everyone to rug up on the bike, which was generally well heeded. To my knowledge, no-one had to go to medical for hypothermia. There were a couple of lads that had some serious injuries following a bike crash, but more on that later.

I tried a short warm up and was shivering by race start 3minutes later. A flu I’d picked up in Adelaide was still filling my lungs with mucus and caused me to have a serious panic attack in the cold water (14C) 100m into the race! This has never happened to me before and I have empathy for anyone who suffers this sensation regularly. I couldn’t breathe and had to tread water and breast stroke a couple of times before I could get into a good freestyle. Indeed, I almost pulled the pin and called for assistance. But years of racing told me that the feeling (however foreign) would pass and I would get going…which I eventually did. Sam Hume passed me in the last 400m (from a wave three minutes back!) and I knew that I was having a shocker!

I got out and just told myself to get going on the bike and do the best training day from here that I could- no sense in passing up the opportunity. The leaders were 4-5min up the road- and that was never going to come back with their class and the shortish race. I zipped along and almost came a cropper on a tricky off-camber descent near the turn around of the three loop bike. Luke Bell was the coming the other direction and I’m sure he heard my rear wheel juddering along the road metal as I wrenched it under control (under heavy braking)! “Phew, that was a close call!” I remember thinking.

On the second lap, I was arrested on the same descent by an official waving frantically and yelling competitors to slow down. I stopped as I saw two motionless bodies on the road side who had a couple of vested TA officials tending to them. I asked the official if they need medical assistance. I clipped out of my pedals and clopped closer as he said there was “a collar bone and a broken hand”. I quickly ascertained that both the patients were conscious (shivering too!) and asked about head injuries, to which the official replied that “things were under control and an ambulance was en route.” I was convinced and got back to the race!

Despite the disruption, I got back to a good rythmn by chasing down Sam Rix, who had ridden past (like a horse!) while I was stopped. He flatted at the turn around so I was left to my own pace for the last lap. I started the run 4 minutes off the lead and well down in 7th or 8th place. It wasn’t terrible, so I set off at a good clip running to see where I could get to. Before I knew it, I was in fifth and just behind Jan Rehula who was running the descents fast. Luke was in third, but seemed to have slowed (turns out due to an ankle) markedly. I caught him a couple of km later and he offered to tow me the last 20 sec up to Jan (who I was battling to bridge up to). 800 painful metres later we’d made contact and Lukey dialled it back with some quick words of wisdom (“sit for a bit, then when you attack make it count!”) which I did on the long descent back to the lake finish.

Tim Reed won with the fastest run of the day (1:15) on a difficult off-road course, that saw Joe Gambles slip to second and me dash my way to third. Maddy got done by Melissa, but lost nothing in trying for the win. Yet another day for me where I reinforced valuable lessons in racing: never say die and heed advice when it’s from trusted sources. I’m feeling like a rejuvenated athlete after 2 years of injury and bad luck, and looking forward to the challenge of IM Melbourne late March. Thanks to my evergreen supporters Giant, Powerbar, Shimano, Rudy Project, CBD Cycles Cannibal, Blue Seventy Westsuits, Compurainer and Break Your Limits.

* I’d like to apologise for my attempted anagram in the title: maybe some points for trying would be good?

PS Thanks to Al Wilson for the cool shot

falls-creek-tri-3-of-56.jpg

And on Facebook: Giant Falls Album

Back in the City

July 19th, 2011

Hi Crew,

I have been training up North under the watchful eye of my parents! Hilarious couple of weeks, it’s funny how rigid we all get when we’re living out our own little worlds, then try to share them for a prolonged period. We stayed at their place in Currumbin, which overlooks the waves. It’s just awesome to wake/eat and sleep to the sound of the waves. I could move there, if only the coffee were better. Seriously, what is wrong with Queensland? Don’t they realise they have a whole host of addicts to supply with their drug of choice.

Along with wrestling my Dad (he copped a nasty bite mark bruise to the arm and a broken set of glasses, sorry mate!) I spent a fair amount of time out training, and managed to kick start my Kona campaign with some decent mileage. Almost cracked the 30 hours last week, but swim/run has a long way to come yet. I’ve had a niggling hip flexor, which I’m sure Charlie (masseur) will punish and improve at the end of the week. That’s meant a bit less running than I would have liked. It’s just over 11 weeks until Kona, so the serious km’s will be put under the belt between now and race day.

Obviously the TDF is on and into it’s final week. I’ve been watching and lapping it up, itching to get back over to France for a trip. Maybe IM France in 2012. It has a lot of climbing…You might have seen my legs and head on the Giant advert which has been showing during the Tour. If you haven’t, it’s embedded below. Spend a few minutes joining the Giant community and apply for a contract- I’m sure you’re a real rider.

See you on the road,

Mitch

PS Have an exciting Kona training plan in the pipe works, which involves altitude and heat acclimation…drop me an email if you’re going to Kona and interested. mitch@mitchanderson.com.au

Forrest 6 Hour and Ride Like King 3

June 8th, 2011

In this vast new land of progress, I can blog more than twice in a year. Hoora!

So here goes- I’ve done a number of interesting sports related projects in the last few weeks. Obviously the first is trying to recover form my 1.5 Ironman in 6 days gig. That involved a fair amount of sleeping and regular short sessions. I figured I have to try and maintain some semblance of fitness for a commencement of Kona training in July.

In pursuit of said fitness, I have done a couple of entertaining rides. The first was RLK3 (Ride Like King 3). Which pays homage to King of Giant in Taiwan- home of Giant bikes. Ironically and sadly, we also remembered Richard King, a stalwart of the cycling community who had succumbed to bladder cancer the previous week. This made for a sombre start to a great day, which started and finished with coffees in St Kilda. Probably not usual training pace, but it is a day well worth the effort. Thanks to the kids at Giant who set up the show- you know who you are. You can see some images and a short report from the day here.

The second Giant event was the Forrest Six Hour on the weekend. It can be summed up in one word- EPIC! I wouldn’t call my preparation perfect (I hadn’t been on a mountain bike since Tri X in Feb) and found it extremely challenging. The course wasn’t overly technical, which was to my advantage…but after 8 laps (~4hours) I was cooked. The relentless pushing over logs and bone jarring corrugations made for early fatigue for an unskilled rider like myself! I was in clear 2nd until lap 9 then still in 3rd until the final lap. Hard to complain when it’s not in my specialty skill set of swim bike run. Even so, it has whetted my appetite for future forays into the world of endurance mountain biking- maybe a 24 hour on the schedule for 2012?! Thanks to the little wheel for feeding me over the day- some hilarity was had despite the frigid conditions!

Real riders story is here

Get your entry in early for 2012 by book marking this link: http://www.forrest6hour.com.au/

Niki fisher won the women’s and put together a neat set of thoughts here

So just plodding through the rest of the month with a fair amount of work to see me in good stead for a critical Kona campaign! It’s going to be a bit of a referendum (of sorts) which will dictate how I spend the following 12 months. Also contributing a fair amount to the magazine (Australian Triathlete) who are getting much more content up on their website. Click over there for a look.

See you on the road,

Mitch

The low down.

May 16th, 2011

Hello Team,

Nice to be back in Melbourne and doing some recovery! Catching up on all the jobs I had postponed while I was away is probably a more accurate representation of my current status. I could also update my status as, I’ve got the flu after burning my candle at both ends. Still, a little sore throat and snot is probably the reminder I need that the body is still reeling after two races in 6 days.

You can check in on all the hilarity that was my race report and it’s response by the vocal minority after Port Mac. There were 189 comments, mainly covering my decision to race as an ager, rather than the important stuff like my race or better still my star sign and how that affects my mood. Check it here.

Swim Port:del_6796.JPG

Bike Port:del_7237.JPG

Run Port: del_8131.JPGThanks to Delly Carr for the images- the best shooter in Triathlon!Six days later, I race in Busso- finishing a respectable 7th in the half. I was hosted by the generous guys from Breakyourlimits.com- thanks to Tom and Ray, and all the fabulous supporters on race day.

Here’s the report: Busso blog.

Busso Run:img_6073.jpg

Thanks particularly to Anth from CBD who cleaned my rig and topped off the tyres with goo prior to Port. A soft tyre was far better than a flat one. He owns The best bike shop in the world.

Thanks to all my loyal sponsors, especially my banner sponsors: Giant and Powerbar. Thanks to the little Wheeool for making the last minute mercy flight to Port too- the support was much appreciated.

It’s great to have qualified for Kona and I’m now turning my attention to making the most of winter in Melbourne! My hammy has pulled up 100%, so I hope to be able to fill a full training load to do my best on the Big Island.Thank goodness for Liason and their coffee to cope with the vulgar weather of the wintry Melbourne Autumn …

see you on the road,

Mitch

Think I can blog again.

April 17th, 2011

For a while there (like since last September) I just couldn’t face writing anything on this blog. There wasn’t any more bubble and bounce I could manufacture to write something worth reading. I hadn’t had any improvement in my hamstring which really led me to believe I could return to an elite level…it was just depressing.

But I think with a few good months training behind me, I’ll be able to write more regularly about triathlon from my perspective. That’s hard to do when all you can do is watch it!

First up, I have been racing again, which is a boon for the confidence. I rode in 13th place at the Otway Odyssey in Feb, then backed up to do the BRW the next day, where I ran 12.50 for four km off the bike. Solid. Then the last couple of weeks I’ve dipped my toe back into some tri’s. I won the Victorian Off Road Tri Champs down in Anglesea (here’s the link to my report from: http://www.firstoffthebike.com/races/1969-tri-x-victorian-titles-review). Also, I had a good day at the Torquay Triman, with a second place. (Check the race report here: http://www.firstoffthebike.com/races/1980-mitch-andersons-look-at-triman).

In even better news, I’m racing IM Australia at Port MacQuarie in 2 weeks. Just the taper from here, so I think I’ll be able to toe the line! Making the start line injury and illness free is such a big challenge. I’ll be representing my absolutely patient and amazing sponsors at this event, Giant, Shimano, Powerbar, BreakYourLimits, Rudy Project, Blue Seventy and Cannibal. Thanks to all these ladies and gents for being so generous during my last 18 months of injury and bad luck! I really hope I can bring my A-game for the event, and gain a slot for Hawaii in October. Most of all, I’m looking forward to testing myself over the iron distance again. It’s been too long…

see you on the road!

Mitch


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