Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Race Report- ITU Premium Asian Cup, Chengdu- China

Race Report – ITU Premium Asian Cup Chengdu, China

Hey everyone,

I am home from China where on Saturday I competed in the ITU Premium Asian Cup in Chengdu. Before I get to the race I will just give you a quick rundown on what we experienced there. For those who have been to China, you would understand that when the Chinese decide to do something, they do it BIG!!! And this race was no exception....

With this event being the unveiling, the Chinese built an entire ‘Triathlon Venue’. It included a giant manmade lake, a closed road cycling track and an enormous grand stand. This venue is a dedicated Triathlon venue and I don’t think I have ever experienced anything like it before.

As I mentioned previously, China (and Asia in general) usually throws up a whole bunch of challenges to overcome for the race including the heat, language and cuisine. I felt I had prepared much better to face these this year after my experiences in Jiayuguan in 2011 and it turns out I was right. I never had to resort to eating only rice and Oreos :)
 So fast forward to race day....the guys were up first and I rolled down to the race to be greeted by what I was told was 100,000 was absolutely crazy with so many people and so much noise, plus the Chinese locals love Aussies so you feel like a bit of a rock star with the amount of people who want autographs and photos with you!

My race had a couple of good points and a couple of bad ones. As has always been the case in this ITU gig, my swim is my Achilles heel and it proved to be the case again. While I was a little closer to the front pack than usual, I was still not there and I exited in the 3
rd bunch. I think I made a bit of a tactical error at the beginning by following the wrong feet and might have been able to make the 2nd pack should I have had approached the start a little differently, alas hindsight is a wonderful thing. Onto the bike and the chase began in earnest, thanks to all the long course riding I’ve been doing I was feeling exceptionally strong but with a very un-cooperative group my efforts were to no avail. Finally onto the some previous races where the heat and humidity have been high, I have really faltered here with a couple of DNF’s or 40+ min run times due to some pretty bad cramping. This was another positive of the race was that I have managed to eliminate that cramping from me....I came up with a slightly odd solution to the problem in March this year and have tested it at every race, now after a couple of Olympic distance races, a 70.3 and the final test, a race in extreme heat and humidity, I can say that cramping is no more. So back to the run, thanks again to the long course training I have been doing I felt strong and could have started the run all over again when I finished. What I have been doing though has not super fast. I ran across the line in 32nd place and was pretty devastated to say the least.
Upon reflection with Coach Matty I had an on par race considering the style of racing I’ve been training for and have taken some good positives out of the experience.

On a side note, I would also like to let you all know that my girlfriend, Brooke Langereis also finished her first ITU event, coming in a very strong 11
th place. At the beginning of the year, after two major operations to fix blood clots, including the removal or two ribs, she is back training exceptionally well. She had a solid swim, exiting in the 2nd bunch. On the bike she rode very strong and they managed to claw back the front group on the final lap of the bike. She posted a solid run to finish and was extremely happy with her first event.
For me I am now head down, bum up with just over three weeks til my next race, the Forster Ultimate Triathlon. This will be a great test with a very challenging 2km swim, 120km bike and 20km run to finish.

Ben Hammond

Friday, August 31, 2012

中國我來了 (China Here I come)

Heading Abroad – ITU Asian Cup Chengdu, China

Hey everyone,

Just a quick heads up, next week I will be back on the plane, this time heading to Chengdu in the centre of China for the ITU Asian Cup. I will be accompanied there by my girlfriend, Brooke Langereis who has just recently earned her professional license and this will be her debut International competition. She also needs a little twitter loving so if you don't already then jump on board (@BrookeLangereis)

The race will be held over the Olympic distance (1.5km swim, 40km ride, 10km run). Asia is one of the hardest places to compete for a number of reasons, firstly it is HOT, often approaching the 40 degree mark or greater and the humidity always comes into play. Secondly, the language barrier is a nightmare, and third, the culinary options are not even closely related to what we have on offer in Australia. Despite this, the challenge of trying to overcome these factors and still perform makes the whole trip a little more fun. After my experience competing in China in 2011 I would like to think I have learnt a few lessons and will be able to apply them to this trip.

After my performance in Yeppoon I am looking to build on that with this race and keep that going throughout the remainder of the year. Training has been going great and I am looking forward to this one.

Ben Hammond

Monday, August 20, 2012

Race Report - Ironman 70.3 Yeppoon

 Well, Ironman 70.3 Yeppoon has been run and won and now I am back home trying to get the legs to move again. In short, the 70.3 distance (1.9km swim, 90km ride and 21km run) is LOOONNNGGGG.

So now for the longer version; I travelled up to Yeppoon on the Friday and enjoyed the day off relaxing and eating. Saturday rolled around and after a little ride and run I started to get my head ready to tackle this race. Being my first attempt at this style of racing I wasn’t quite sure what to expect so I went in with a very simple plan. Get myself to the finish line the quickest way that I possibly could. The intricacies of this meant pacing was a key factor and not getting trapped into someone else’s race plans.

On race morning it was a crisp temperature with a light breeze which somehow turned the ocean into a washing machine. After a very rough 1.9km swim there was a small breakaway, followed by the main bunch including all the main players of Aussie Long Course racing, including Australian Long Course Champion, Tim Reed. I exited the water 40 seconds down on these guys which was a little heartbreaking having to watch them run out of transition while I was coming in, knowing that it would be much nicer to have them with me. Anyway, I stuck to the plan I had set out and got busy riding a solid tempo that I thought gave me the best chance of a solid race. Also big thanks have to go to HED Wheels for helping me out this weekend and letting me roll around on a Jet Disc and Jet 9 front. This course was flat and fast and aerodynamics was a massive factor so it was great knowing that the wheels would perform regardless of how the legs went.

I jumped off the bike in 9
th place and was still feeling strong, slipped on my brand new Nike FlyKnit Racers (the coolest shoes going around and SOOOO comfy). Throughout the run I was aiming to hold a consistent tempo throughout and get to the finish line in good shape. Obviously with a race of this distance nutrition plays a large role, I had a pretty simple plan using a combination of Dextro Energy gels and their Carbo-mineral sports drink , this combination got me through the race without any cause for concern and I was very thankful I had them with me. After about the 14km point I managed to move into 8th position and this is where I would cross the line in a time of 4:08:06. The feeling of collapsing into the pool at the finish line was amazing.

I went into the race with a plan and executed it exactly as I had intended. For my first crack at long course racing and to be in the mix with some of Australia’s best felt absolutely fantastic and a massive step forward.

Finally, the biggest thanks has to be reserved for my new coach Matt Koorey, he has an ability to get through to me that I have never experienced with any other coaches and it sure is a rare talent. I am very excited about working into the future with Matt.

Ben Hammond

On the run course with my Nike FlyKnit Racers at Ironman 70.3 Yeppoon

Waking Up from Winter

Hey Everyone,

So, a quick update on what’s happened the last few months. As of my last blog I was targeting the “Revolution 3” Series in the USA. Due to a bit of ITB syndrome and missing key races I decided I would re-focus and target a number of Australian early season races. With that in mind we come to now, and this weekend I will be tackling my debut 70.3 event at the Ironman 70.3 in Yeppoon, Queensland.

It’s been a long and cold winter; I have survived relatively well and managed to get some good training under the belt. The biggest change I have made is to move under the guidance of super coach, Matt Koorey of Team TBB. Matt is a former competitor of the highest level himself and competed in the 1990 Commonwealth Games. I have known Matt since 2008 when I began working for Cycling Sports Group. His experience and knowledge will be a great asset for my future and I am very excited for the future. The only downside to winter was a bout of ITB syndrome in my left knee which minimised some kilometres in the legs. Despite that, I am feeling fit and strong and ready to race.

Yeppoon 70.3 is competed over a 1.9km swim, 90km ride and 21km run. I am looking forward to racing against some of the Aussie long course guys and seeing what I can do in this long course caper.

For more info you can check out-

Friday, March 2, 2012

2012 - Lets Go!

2012 has begun and the races are underway. I have decided this year to try my hand a some non-drafting racing in the United States. This will be new to me as I have never competed in the US before but I am very excited about the opportunity.

There are a number of very big races over there including Wildflower, Alcatrez, the Lifetime Fitness Series, the newly formed 5150 Series and many others. I have decided to target the "Revolution 3 Series". This is a 10 race series across the US (with Race #1 in Costa Rica). It includes a range of distances including Olympic's, Halves and Full Iron-distance events. I will be competing in 8 of the 10 races, skipping Costa Rica and the Iron distance event in Cedar Point (maybe).

The dates for this season are in the "Schedule/Results" section.

Also, one change that I have made is that I have withdrawn from the ITU Oceania Cup in Mooloolaba on the 24th of March in favour of travelling to compete in the ITU Pan American Cup in Mexico on the same date. This was a bit of a last minute decision but am very much looking forward to heading over there in just a couple of weeks.

Hope you are all well and training hard!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

2011 / 2012 Australian Calender

Hey Everyone,

I have been pretty quiet lately after recovering from my stress fracture in my foot. All is good now though and I am putting some kilometres back in the legs. The foot is holding up and hopefully after a few more weeks I'll be back in peak form.

Below is what I have got planned out for my season.

13th November- Nepean Triathlon
20th November- Kurnell Pro Tour
18th December- Warringah Triathlon Club Race
15th January- Kurnell Pro Tour

These above races are all lead up races for the big races on the Australian Elite calender which are:

February 12th- Australian Elite Sprint Championships, Geelong VIC
March 10th- ITU Oceania Championships, Devonport, TAS
March 24th- ITU Oceania Cup, Mooloolaba, QLD

The above three races are my focus for this season, I'm looking forward to a big summer of racing and hope to see you all out there soon.

Ben Hammond

Sunday, August 28, 2011

ITU Premium Pan American Cup- Kelowna, Canada

Hey Everyone,

Last week I travelled over to Canada to compete in my first race in the America’s. It was set to be a very high quality field and close to 60 starters. In the weeks and days leading into this race I had to overcome a number of hurdles and it almost seemed by race day that the world just didn’t want me to compete in this event. First it was a broken bike, followed by a niggle in my left knee, and to top it off, the day before the race on a very light jog, I was reduced to walking with really bad pain in my left foot. I tried to put everything out of mind and just have a crack. Apart from everything though, the sessions that I had managed to do recently had really raised my confidence and I was feeling pretty strong and was really pumped for a good result.

Then the race came and I am still lost for words.

I had a horrible swim and never felt like I could grab any water, immediately out of the water my stomach felt like it wanted to explode and I ended up throwing up twice during the hilly and hot 40km ride. By the end of the bike I was in a terrible position, had dribbles of spew on me and my bike, but was still hopeful that I could at least put something together on the run as to not make it a completely terrible day. About three steps into the run I knew this wasn’t going to happen. I really struggled even just to stand up as my stomach was again feeling like it was trying to escape me. No more than 500m in and I was again hurled over in a garden and barely able to stand up. My race was over.

I have wracked my brain trying to come up with answers and what I have come up with is still just a guess. I really don’t understand what happened when, despite the obstacles, I had felt so good beforehand.

I am back in Australia now and will have a good chat to the coach and try to work out what went wrong and to get back up. Canada was certainly not the trip I was hoping for but it will not keep me down. I am getting straight back into training and want to make sure something like that never happens again.

I’m sorry this update couldn’t have been a more positive one but again, thank you all for your support and I’m sure next time I can come to you with some much better news.

Aside from the race I have to say a massive thanks to Greg and Sarah Johnson who hosted me for the week I was there. They were so helpful and made my trip so much more enjoyable.

Ben Hammond