Attracting thousands to Sydney’s most remarkable sites (including an age group cycling route over the Sydney Harbour Bridge!) the Dextro Energy Triathlon Sydney, held from April 13-15, is the pinnacle of Olympic distance racing that makes the whole world stop and watch. And with the Olympics only months away, it was evident that triathlon fever had well and truly taken hold.
In typical Sydney form, the beautiful harbour city provided a stunning, sunny backdrop for a weekend’s worth of exciting triathlon action during the event from April 13-15. A veritable who’s-who of elite, local and international triathletes came out to show the world just how well they could swim, cycle and run on the Saturday of the event.
And indeed, the world was watching! With this being an Olympic year, the cream of triathlete crop was keen to shine brightest, and show selectors they had what it took to represent their respective countries in the London Games. After all, this was the most valuable event for earning Olympic qualifying points.
But with three months to go until the Olympics, the international triathlon community can still look forward to a delectable array of events to spectate and participate in throughout the lead-up. The ITU World Triathlon Series is among the most well-reputed and heavily attended on the planet.
A set of seven, world-class triathlon events, held in seven of the world’s most iconic locations, the ITU World Triathlon Series attracts top-tier triathletes who recurrently compete with each other throughout the series. Closely following Sydney was San Diego in May, then Madrid, Kitzbuhel, Hamburg, Stockholm and Yokohama.
It all culminates in a breathtaking grand final – held this year in Auckland from October 14-22. This pinnacle event sees the crowning of the 2012 ITU male and female World Champions.
Now in its fourth year, the series has grown considerably – with increased athlete prize money (a total prize pool of $2 million), and wider media coverage all amounting to heightened excitement and greater awareness for the sport itself.
The Dextro Energy Triathlon Sydney is a fitting start to the series, with memories of the 2000 Sydney Olympics evoked each year the ITU event is held here.
“Sydney is such an iconic place to hold a triathlon,” said Aussie triathlon star and Olympic hopeful Emma Jackson. “This is where triathlon was raced for the first time in an Olympic Games. There are a limited number of major triathlon races around the world, so it is great that Australia can continue to have a major championship race in this location.”
Indeed, many athletes at Saturday’s event harboured Olympic dreams. Among them was winner of the women’s elite: Australia’s own Erin Densham. This 26-year-old NSW native outran two of the sport’s leading ladies: ITU World Champion Helen Jenkins (GRB), and ITU Grand Final winner Andrea Hewitt (NZL), in a crowd-pleasing victory. Both Jenkins and Densham went on to win first and second place respectively in San Diego.
Having already competed in the Beijing Olympics, and following a harrowing four years riddled with injury and illness, Densham attained a podium finish. She now has London firmly in her sites, with an undefeated elite ITU season (she also won in Mooloolaba), putting her fourth in line for Olympic contention.
Fittingly for naming rights sponsor Dextro Energy (a German brand distributed in Australia and New Zealand by an Australian-owned company) the winner of the elite men’s race was German.
Stefan Justus was visibly elated as he sped past Richard Murray (RSA) and Laurent Vidal (FRA). The Aussie males didn’t fare as well, with home-grown triathlon superstar Chris (Macca) McCormack, finishing first of his countrymen in 34th place.
Unfortunately, fellow top Aussies Brendan Sexton and Brad Kahlefeldt pulled out of the contention early, with Sexton exiting on the second lap of the bike, and Kahlefeldt on the second lap of the run. Kahlefeldt has already been pre-selected for the Olympics, however.
And what a course it was! The 1,500km swim saw 70 elite men and 68 elite women plunge into Farm Cove waters, just beneath the Sydney Opera House, powering to complete the two laps.
From here they slid onto the bikes, racing along an eight-lap, 40km course, peppered with some of the city’s best vistas. The pack cycled past Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney Royal Botanic Garden, all the way up to Mrs Macquarie’s Chair and back down to Hyde Park, where they transitioned into the run. Beneath the majestic spire of St Mary’s Cathedral, the athletes commenced the 10km run course, consisting of four laps.
Dextro Energy branding appeared all along the swim, bike and run courses – emblazoned across kilometres of strip banners, huge inflatable arches, hundreds of teardrop banners and even a colossal inflatable Dextro Energy Liquid Gel!
Complementing this, the brand also had a prominent presence in the Sports Lifestyle Exhibition – running over the three days in tandem with the event. Advantageously located opposite the registration tent and right next to the bike-run transition area in Cathedral Square, the Dextro Energy booth was well populated with customers throughout the weekend.
Attendees converged at the booth, not only to learn about and purchase the full gamut of Dextro Energy Sports Nutrition, but also to partake in several activities the brand had organised.
People seeking professional nutrition advice could make an appointment with 220 Triathlon Magazine sports nutritionist Rebecca Hay. In a dedicated area within the Dextro Energy booth, Hay chatted one-on-one with athletes of varying abilities – discussing and advising on their sports nutrition needs.
If you fancied yourself as a bit of a cycling champion, you could put your pins to the ultimate test on Dextro Energy’s Wattbikes. Pedalling as fast as they possibly could for 400 metres, the fastest contestant of the weekend won a trip to the ITU Grand Final in Auckland. With flights, accommodation and a start in the big race up for grabs, it wasn’t surprising that the bikes themselves got a good workout over the three-day event.
Dextro Energy products were not only available from this booth; they were also on-course. Athletes slammed down the Carbo Mineral Drink in the transitions, and replenished their bodies with the After Sports Drink and Carbohydrate Bars in the recovery.
On-course nutrition was provided to both the elite athletes, and the age groupers – the latter of which competed on the Sunday.
The Olympic distance age group course also took-in those iconic Sydney landmarks, with the added bonus of a cycle route over the Sydney Harbour Bridge! For many age-groupers, the chance to ride across the famous “coat hanger” was the main selling point for the race.
Dextro Energy ambassador Sam Betten came first in the recent Dirt n Dust Triathlon 2012. He tells us why it’s such a special event.
The Dirt N Dust Triathlon held in outback Queensland is one of my favourite races and one that I usually use to kick-off my season (this was my fourth year racing at the event).
It is a really unique event with great press coverage as well as past winners such as Brad Beven (arguably Australia’s greatest male triathlete), Loretta Harrop (Olympic silver medallist), Aaron Farlow (2011 Ironman UK winner) and this year, Olympic hopeful and my training partner Emma Jackson.
The race is held in the small town of Julia Creek which is located between Mt Isa and Townsville, and it really is the middle of nowhere. After winning the event in 2011 I was invited back as defending champion and really wanted to keep the title for 2012.
This year I was lucky enough to have Emma Jackson, coach Stephen Moss, his wife Leesa and their son Charlie come out to the event with me.
Race day showed conditions typical of the event, with scorching heat and a nice little headwind on the cycle leg to make the race just that much tougher.
The 800 metre swim is held in a muddy creek with surprisingly cold water then it’s onto the bike for the 25km back into town. Once you’re off the bike its just three laps on the run, totalling 5kms, which coupled with the outback heat and winds, made for a much tougher race than it seems!
I attacked the race hard from the start, putting-in a fast swim and strong bike (averaging just over 42kph) on my new S-WORKS SHIV which was crazy fast out there, even with having to ride into the head wind.
On the run, I ran within myself, knowing that I had built up a big lead on the swim/bike.
I really enjoyed the support from the crowd down the finish shoot as I walked the last hundred meters or so to take my second Dirt N Dust Triathlete win in as many years.
For more from Sam, visit his blog: sambetten.blogspot.com.au.
Dextro Energy’s newest ambassador is a very busy athlete. Merely a week after racing at the Dextro Energy Triathlon Sydney, BEN HAMMOND was at it again last weekend. Travelling up to Hervey Bay with his girlfriend and family for what was originally intended as a holiday, Ben just happened to “stumble upon” the Hervey Bay Triathlon. Unable to resist, he thought he’d have a little crack.
We arrived in Hervey Bay on Wednesday to perfect sunshine and 30+ degrees. Despite the temptation to relax and soak up the sun, I found myself torn between being in race mode and holiday mode, and it was tough trying to get everything in.
On a few course recon rides though, I had pretty much decided that the Hervey Bay Triathlon course was going to be seriously HOT and even faster! Plus, this race had a pretty hot field with Pete Jacobs (second place in 2011 Ironman World Champs) and Tim Reed (Australian Long Course Champion) headlining.
But that didn’t mean I’d abandoned the opportunity for some RnR. When in holiday mode, Hervey Bay is one of the most beautiful places I have been. We went stand up paddle boarding, walked along the Urangan Pier (and saw a guy catch a two metre shark!), tried my hand on a “stationary wave” and spent much time on the beach. The biggest downside to this was when I jumped on a submerged rock and sliced my foot open!
As you may have guessed, my ambition for this race was modest. I was using it as a bit of fun before getting stuck into the winter training and races, plus I could hardly even walk on my foot, let alone run. Despite all this, it’s always nice to do well.
So there I was on race day, about to embark on another Olympic distance course (1.5km swim, 40km bike, 10km run). And then we were off.
I began to feel a little flat over the swim (which was definitely more than 1.5km). I lost around one minute on
the pack in front, and about two minutes to eventual winner Joey Lampe and Pete Jacobs.
I hopped on the bike – confident of a strong ride - and that’s exactly what I had! I reeled in a few guys and only lost a little time on the front few who were riding together. I got off the bike in sixth place and began the run.
A little tentative at first, my run was slightly hampered as the strapping I’d used to hold my foot together became
Over the next 10km, I wouldn’t say I ran super-fast; it was more just holding things together until the finish line. In the end, my foot was in agony and I was glad just to make it through the race in ninth place.
I was relatively happy with this little hit-out and am now looking forward to getting stuck into the big miles I have coming up. Stay tuned!
For more Ben:
Dextro Energy would like to welcome a new ambassador to its team. BEN HAMMOND is a professional triathlete hailing from Sydney’s Northern Beaches. This 24-year-old is the co-founder of BT Cycle Solutions. Planning to compete around the world in 2012, Ben’s focus is ITU format, Olympic distance triathlon. So what better way to introduce Ben, than with his report on the first ITU race of the season: the Dextro Energy Triathlon Sydney?
The Dextro Energy Triathlon, held in the heart of Sydney, is by far the most iconic and spectacular race I have ever competed in. The city is literally shut down, making way for thousands of athletes to compete. For this race, we got to swim in the waters surrounding the Opera House, ride over the Harbour Bridge and run through the heart of the CBD, right up to Mrs Macquarie’s Chair at the opposite end of the Sydney Harbour.
The race was held over the Olympic distance and attracted approximately 2,500 competitors. I was racing in the open males, with hopes of a podium finish.
It was an early start and a wetsuit swim; I managed to get out in about 10th place and around one minute down (definitely a step in the right direction) from the first guys.
Onto the very hilly and scenic ride, I felt pretty comfortable. I listened to my coach Matt Koorey’s orders and “rode within myself” (rode conservatively). Despite saving energy where I could, I managed to pass a number of guys to enter T2 in fourth place, along with two other athletes.
Michael Murphy had around a two minute lead on me, while second and third place were about one minute up the road. Onto the run and I knew it was going to be hard to pull back Murph and Foxy (Michael Fox), but was confident that I could catch young Matty Williams who had torn past us on the bike.
I ran fairly consistently and felt I achieved a solid performance, considering my current form.
It did however come as a surprise to see the two guys whom came off the bike at the same time I did, outrun me in the end.
Still, I remain proud of my result: finishing up in fifth place.
Just two weeks ago, I began training under Matt Koorey, a Team TBB coach whom I met while working for Cannondale Bicycles a couple of years ago. I’m very excited about the future with Matty by my side and am looking forward to some big performances over the coming months and years.
Next up, I’m competing in Hervey Bay on April 22 against some very tough competition. I’m looking for another solid result to finish up the Australian season before getting ready to attack the winter.
- Ben Hammond
Follow Ben on Twitter: @BennyHTri
Read more of his blogs here: bennyhtri.blogspot.com
Dextro Energy ambassador GERARD WILD was thrilled with the result of his first Ironman attempt in the Asia-Pacific Championships, Melbourne last weekend.
Over the last few years there have been many whispers and much dreaming of the day the Ironman Triathlon would come to the city of Melbourne. Many prayers were answered when it was announced in mid-2011 that Melbourne would play host to the Ironman Asia Pacific Championships. When entries to the race sold out in less than five minutes – making it the fastest selling race in Ironman history – punters knew that this event would be world class.
I was one of the “lucky ones” who managed to get and entry. And so began the journey to my Ironman debut. I have often been told that the atmosphere surrounding Ironman events was nothing short of amazing, but the inaugural Ironman Asia-Pacific Championships exceeded all my expectations.
The week leading into the race was one of the longest I have ever experienced, as training had been reduced to nearly nothing, there was a lot of spare time to ponder what was to come. It was great to have my brother-in-law, Gene, who has plenty of experience at competing in big events and a vast knowledge of how to prepare for them, also racing with me.
To pass the time in the lead-up, I busied myself with final preparations, ensuing all of my equipment was in order and finalising my nutrition plan for both before and during the race. The only thing that worried me was whether the new-look Dextro Energy tri suit would be ready in time, and if I would get a chance to try it out before race day.
Friday arrived and it was time to register. It was real now! I was actually going to attempt to complete this crazy event. I couldn’t help but be blown away by the expo that had been set up in St Kilda. It was a good thing I didn’t have a credit card with me as I may have left in significant debt! It was great to see fellow athlete and Dextro Energy ambassador Cam Perkins flying the Dextro Energy flag at the Footpro stand. From what he reported there was plenty of interest in the product.
Once the waiver board had been signed and race pack collected, it was time to find more food to continue our carbohydrate loading. The afternoon seemed to fly and before I knew it, it was time to head back down to St Kilda for the “Carbo Dinner” and the official welcome show, to be held at the Palais Theatre. The atmosphere in the Republica restaurant was electric with athletes, surrounded by family and friends, trying to distract themselves from what lay ahead. This atmosphere intensified as everyone piled into the Palais for what proved to be a spectacular welcome show.
With the show over, the only remaining job for the day was to pick up the race suit, which Cam had left waiting for my collection. I was a bit worried when I got home and couldn’t fit into it. It seems I’d eaten too much at the carbo dinner! I soon stopped trying and went to bed.
On waking very early Saturday morning I opened the curtains to find that the wind was still blowing strongly, and it became clear that my worst fears may be realised – a gale-swept race day. I closed the curtains and began packing all my race gear into its specific bag, ready to be placed into the transition area later in the day. I packed all of this into the car, and we were ready to hit the road.
Upon arrival, we quickly checked-in – mounting our bikes and placing our gear bags on transition, before heading back to the Frankston apartment we had rented for the evening. There was too much nervous energy floating around the transition area, and up until now this had eluded the two of us.
4.15am. It doesn’t matter what you have on that day – this is not a pleasant time to be awake, especially when you have spent most of the night awake with nerves. We shovelled down a bowl of half cooked porridge and a very good coffee (courtesy of Gene bringing his percolator). After a final food and drink check, it was off to the start line.
The scene on arrival at the transition/start area will stay with me forever! It was a still, cool autumn morning – pitch black, with flood lights shining over the transition area. Athletes were going through pre-race checks, some excited, some nervous and some (myself included) didn’t know what to feel, although there was some relief that the suit fitted!
It was still dark walking onto the beach, and everyone had suddenly become very serious, yet there was a collective calm. As soon as my feet entered the water, any nerves disappeared! A final hand shake with Gene and it was show time. I treaded water to the muffled tones of the national anthem and time seemed to stand still.
The swim was great! I got myself into the front group, found a comfortable rhythm and cruised. I had no idea of anything happening around me, but there was something comforting about this. The plan was to conserve energy through the swim leg. I normally like to swim on the front in “clean” water but decided to just sit on the feet of the leaders and let them set the pace. It was a long day ahead!
Into transition I was feeling good. I calmly got out of the wetsuit and loaded my pockets with food. I got a small fright when I cramped putting on my shoes, but it disappeared quickly. The Eastlink road surface provided an amazing ride, with not a bump in sight. I found myself in the lead pack of age groupers that were setting a great tempo and I soon got comfortable.
Now was the time to start putting my nutrition strategy into action! My plan was to consume a minimum of 80 grams of carbohydrates per hour. This equated to one Dextro Energy Isotonic Sports Drink, one Dextro Energy Carbohydrate Bar and one Dextro Energy Liquid Gel each hour.
We also included a cheese and Vegemite burrito and leftover Christmas cake. These were intended as options if we found ourselves not being able to stomach sweet food.
The nutrition plan was working to perfection throughout the bike, and there was no point where I found myself with the dreaded “hunger flat”. I used the un-caffeinated Dextro Energy Orange Liquid Gels throughout the ride, as the plan was to save the caffeine (in the Lemon flavoured Gel) until the run leg. I also supplemented the Isotonic Sports Drink with plain water to help keep fluids up.
Coming off the bike and onto the run, I was feeling great, and energised by the knowledge that I was leading my age group. I settled into a comfortable pace, but one that I doubted I could hold for the entire marathon. I had armed myself with eight Dextro Energy Liquid Gels (four orange, four lemon and caffeine) with the plan of having one at every second aid station.
I was passed at about 5kms in by Alex Houghton (eventual age group winner) who was setting a blistering pace. I let him go, knowing if I tried to stick with him I would blow-up before the half way mark. Alex was also making his Ironman debut and I hoped he was going to hard and would come back to me later in the race.
At 22kms the race really began! The flat Nepean Highway faded into a lumpy bike track beside Beach Road, with every change in gradient being another blow to my already tired legs. Rounding the corner to Black Rock, I saw that Alex was struggling like me and I had made up ground. This lifted my spirits but I was unable to lift my pace. I was also buoyed by the support from friends at the “Live Site” at Black Rock. Coming through the Brighton “Live Site”, Stef Hanson gave me a big announcement that I was only just behind. I couldn’t go any faster, but I was still feeling relatively good and was yet to “hit the wall”.
Coming into St Kilda, Alex had gained a good gap which I could not close. Despite this, the final 2kms will go down as the most enjoyable I have ever run. The noise coming from the finishing chute seemed to inject some much needed energy into my legs. It was also amazing to have family and friends scattered along the finishing chute to offer high-fives as I ran past.
The time displayed as I ran under the clock was 9 hours, 33 minutes. I could not have been happier! I hadn’t qualified for the Ironman World Championships as I had hoped, but I was elated with how well the race had gone. Plus, I had learnt so much!
Now it’s back to the drawing board to apply my knowledge as I set new goals for next season.
I would like to thank the team at Dextro Energy for its support; I could not have accomplished this dream without you! Special mention goes to Cam for putting up with my often crazy ideas, and somehow getting the suit ready. It will be great to have a race with him at the Dextro Energy Triathlon Sydney in a couple of weeks.
- Gerard Wild