Sunday, March 21, 2010

Simon Billeau's Abu Dhabi Race Report

(This race report was translated from French by an online translation engine)

International triathlon of Abu Dhabi.

Saturday April 13 took place the inaugural triathlon Long distance of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. It is with honor that I belonged to this prestigious adventure. Unfortunately for me, I am French and French does not have good reputation abroad (in term of tourist prospective customers. It should well be acknowledged, we are a little skinflint on the edges…). So that I was not likely to be invited by the organizer.

In what relates to me, this triathlon consisted of a diagnostive evaluation of the efforts authorized since the recovery and for the IRONMAN of South Africa on April 25. This last constitutes my primary goal of the season. Concretely, I hope to take down there my qualification for Hawaii by a podium but more especially to obtain my first victory at the mythical distance.

To acclimatize me to heat, I had opportunity of carrying out a training course in Spain under the aegis of the GM-Tri-Org company of Gaël Mainard. The softer temperatures on the Iberian side enabled me to carry out a progressive passage towards canicular temperatures in the Middle East (my shoulders will still remember it a moment, for those which saw them!). Thus, just time to pose the luggage of Callela, which I embarked Tuesday morning for London Heathrow with British Airways. Large a mercy besides with Daniel and Pascaline for their hospitality on Paris. And yes, some can criticize Abu Dhabi for their élitiste tariff practised on the level of hotel trade (101€ the night in what relates to me) whereas the night in Roissy in a poor Formula 1 would have cost me the moderate amount of 180€.

J-4: Upright with 3:45 ', presence with the airport 3:00 before takeoff obliges with a bicycle out of compartment…
The tour starts badly with a look of deja vu with the airport of Roissy CDG. One hour of delay on the takeoff and the price of a crossing to the step of race (and it is an euphemism), I thread before the closing of the door of the plane the made-to-order of a celebrity slipping under the door of Fort Boyard not to be made devour by the Charente-native tigers… 45 ' 'later and the plane left without me! I stressed all the journey time to the airport of Abu Dhabi as for the mean probability that my bicycle followed me. Happy surprised with the landing by noting the presence of my Ceepo Katana. Still 45 ' of taxi and I pose my luggage in International Rotana.

J-3: Lifting with the dawns by me to give at once of the weak jet lag (+3h). Then large meeting with foot on the famous Cornice, their Walk of the English Arab way is 2 times longer and 1000 times more flowered and composed of watery jets to no one another similar. The afternoon is devoted to the shrinking of the numbers via an escapade in the city with my cycle. After on the occasion to lose ten time the life on their (car) roads, I decide to return bredouille (and unfortunately, that will not be the single time…).

J-2: Lifting even morning to prepare me with the alarm clock of Saturday morning, D-day. I spring towards the beach where place will have swimming and the first park with bicycle. It is about the private beach of Emirates Palace. In the passing, the monument is sumptuous. At side, the Elysium and the White House do not appear… Water is turquoise and much to my regret already hot in spite of the winter which prevails in the Persian Gulf (32° in the shade!).

Small a 1500m to go back in the bath… with the Torpedo made by Kiwami. The afternoon is again devoted to the attempt at shrinking of the numbers. This time, I manage to join Park Rotana Complex, a kind of hotel for millionaire (4000 Dhs the night is 550€). It is here that the whole of the athletes of reputation invited by the vent organizer was based.

I find there charming it Juliana de Trimag, Thierry Deketelaere de Triathlete, my friend Jacky Evraerdt media for Triathlon Hebdo, Olivier Marceau our Swiss pet preferred. I benefit from the occasion to throw an eye with the start list. Hoouuuu, I would not have had. I put myself the moral one in the socks… Northwave…

14:00, departure of drunk towards the swimming pool of the officers of the Army. A small watermark by athlete, small a 2500m and a salad fried later, we turn over to the HQ.
16:00: One leaves to discovered Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque to make some photographs of this religious temple.
18:00, briefing for the “Pros” with 5 ' minute of questions/answers at the end of the intervention of the organizer and the director of the referees. I adore these 5 ' where my “friends” (adversaries) resemble imbeciles of mercenaries… (the 2 only questions which worry highly developed brain of a triathlète elite are not other than the prize money and drafting regulates it. To believe that some of best of our planet are neophytes or have a red fish memory concerning the distances between 2 individuals).

J-1: I turn over to check the temperature of water: Eh not of miracle, always with 24°, that feels prohibition to swim in combination…
Deposit of the bicycles and the bags transition as on a traditional IRONMAN.
Return to the hotel and small meeting of recall VMA the afternoon, history not to be fresh.
D-day: After the breakfast containing energy cake GO 2, I join the starting surface. After the traditional inflation of the bowels and the installation of the gel on my tube of framework, I intend the arbitration body to announce the prohibition of the port of the combination. No the chance, my europium will remain in the bag. I leave to the heating.

With 6:45 ', the departure is given for 3000m in 2 rectangular loops with exit to the Australian one. I spring relatively quickly. And I am in contact with a group of 5 competitors. I carry out the 1st turn in their company. I make the effort not to eject of this group. The exit with Australian is not fatal. The second turn is harder. I find myself esseulé.

I extirpate myself water in 41 ' 15 ' 'with the 33e place is some 3 ' of delay on the head, which confirms my progress in swimming. Because those of front are in particular Philip Graves and Bryan Rhodos, the first quoted having left at the head to the championship the World in Hawaii.

I make as with accustomed fast transition and enfourche my bicycle for the 2 return tickets and half proposed is 200km CLM in nozzle of saddle. The course is composed of long straight lines with a half-turn on Yas Marina Formula 1 Grand Prix. Imposing!!!

I note much to my regret that a group (group) of 19 units is with the outposts. Signal 10 will be difficult.

I finish some with strolls with bicycle with 41,2km/h of average is 4:51 ' 09 of saddle SMP and 15 boys re-installed with the passage.

The park for T2 is located on the family beach of the Cornice. My 2nd transition is harder.

The pedestrian course of 20km consists of 2 return tickets to the “Heritage Village”.

Contrary to the cyclist part, the public is massed along the course and the local population is more cordial than I would have imagined it just like the sun which at this hour of the day recalls you with the order.

I am carried out in 1:13 very round as envisaged. I crossed the line in 11th position. In front of, the victory was played between Eneko Llanos, Dirk Bockel and Rasmus Henning in the order of arrival.

For my part, I finish in 6:47 ' 22 to some 12 ' of the winner. I put in the order of disciplines 3/6 and 3 ' moreover than the Spanish champion. It remains still much of work before reaching the top hawaiien.

I am rather satisfied with my service and my management of race. I think that they is good omens for the African objective. By then, there to date remain to me still 15 days of keen drive and a week of training course again in Spain to try to breathe the same air that Eneko… and I bring back for you a charm of South Africa. It is necessary well that French undertakes some because they are not our footballers who go décarcasser for that…

For information, the race east retransmisse on on line. As Africa is almost under the same latitude (+1h), you will be able to follow the race in real-time for the early risers. Departure of the race at 6:30, local time of Elizabeth Port. If not, there will be a remote retransmission on Sport +.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Ceepo's Belinda Granger Won Ironman 70.3 China 2010!

Belinda does it again! Belinda Granger had just won Ironman Malaysia two weeks ago, and now she has another crown to add to her collection. She is a racing machine on her red Ceepo Katana! Belinda won 70.3 China today in Haikou, Hainan Island, China. Her race report to follow soon. Big congratulations Belinda!!!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Ceepo's Dirk Bockel gets 2nd in Abu Dhabi International Triathlon 2010

Ceepo's Dirk Bockel from Luxembourg finished 2nd in Abu Dhabi International Triathlon today! Congratulations!!
Above is Dirk on Ceepo Viper in white. Dirk's race report to follow soon.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Belinda Granger's Ironman Malaysia 2010 Race Report

IM Malaysia 2010

Well this was my 4th trip to Langkawi and IM Malaysia. I first raced there in 2003 and finished 2nd in what was the hardest race I had ever entered at that stage of my career. Move forward seven years and it is definitely still one of the hardest races on my calendar. It is not the course that makes it difficult, it is purely the conditions- the heat and humidity are like no other- not even the big one in Kona compares with this race. But funnily enough, it is the reason I continue to return to this beautiful island- the tougher the better for me.

I really wanted to win the race this year as it would be my first 'hat trick'. I had never won three IM races back to back. I have won three IM Koreas but not consecutively. I also wanted to notch up my 12th IM Distance win of my career. Well I am happy to report that I was able to win and I am very happy with the way the day panned out for me.

Justin and I arrived on Langkawi on the Monday before the race- I like to get to this race a little early just so I am settled and 'semi-acclimatised' to the conditions if that is at all possible. I am from Noosa in Queensland so the weather isn't dissimilar but I am not sure if anything really gets you used to the extreme weather. I also get to stay at the Westin hotel and they look after me like no other place in the world.

The week leading into the race went really quickly. I was so happy to see my good friend and fellow K-Swiss athlete- Hillary Biscay. I got to do some great little training sessions with her and of course got up to speed with everything that had been going on in her world. We used to train together every day, but now I only get to see her every few months so that first ride together turns into a hypoxic session as we barely take a breath between sentences.

Race day came and I woke up feeling calm and ready to race hard all day…..and I say all day because we don't start until 7.30- a late start as far as Ironman goes but it is too dark to start any earlier. My last IM race was Kona and it was nothing short of a disaster so I was eager to get out there and make amends. In fact the whole of my 2009 season was a roller-coaster ride. I would have one great race followed by one horror race. After my surgery back in March last year I just could not find the consistency that I am renown for so I was eager to start my 2010 campaign on the right foot.

I had a great swim. I knew things were looking good when Hillary and Justin swam past me at around the 200m mark. I jumped on their feet and thought to myself 'now you just have to stay here'. Well I did manage to stay there but I was red-lining it for most of the swim. I exited the water right behind them and quickly made my way through transition. I jumped on my bike and remembered thinking to myself 'ok now it is time to go hard'. I love my Ceepo Katana- it really is the perfect bike for me- so small and compact and it had been decked out with a brand new SRAM Red group-set. It was my first race using SRAM and it was just perfect. I am just so comfortable on this bike and it loves going fast. I was controlled for the first 20kms and then I decided to start picking things up a bit. After about 45mins I really started to feel good and concentrated on putting as much time as I could between myself and the other girls.

It is a four loop bike course with some fairly challenging hills thrown in there on every loop. They feel fine for the first couple of loops but by loop four they feel like mountains from the Swiss Alps. I definitely felt them on my last loop and suffered through the last 40kms but entered T2 with a good lead- around 17 minutes, and it really is a nice way to start the marathon. By no means did I think that I 'had it in the bag'- I still had to get through the entire marathon and in this heat it is easier said than done. I have seen athletes literally melt in this heat and it is not a pretty sight.

The marathon is a 5 loop course- it almost does your head in but it also makes it very easy to keep pace and to see where your competition is. I took the first lap out nice and steady and concentrated on getting in a much liquid as I could. The aid stations are great and the water is icy cold- it makes such a difference. I was pouring water over my head from the get go . The most important thing is to try and keep your body temperature down as much as you can. Honestly I expected my shoes to fill with water and feel like cement bricks but I was wearing the new KOna C's and they are by far the best IM shoe I have ever worn- not one blister and they were as light as a feather as they have this amazing drainage system that gets ride of the water as quickly as you pour it on. I wasn't feeling great but then I didn't expect to have 'that fresh out of the shower' feeling happening-it is Malaysia and it is the middle of the day= crazy hot!

By lap two I was feeling better and started to get a great rhythm going. Edith, who was in 2nd place was not making up much time on me and I was actually happy to see that we were crossing in the same position. That spurred me on and lap 3 was also solid. By the 4th lap I was definitely staring to feel the effects of the heat and humidity. You know this feeling is only just around the corner but you just try and hold it off for as long as possible. I think by the time I turned to complete lap 4 I had really started to slow. But this marathon is not about running super fast times, it is all about maintaining a good rhythm throughout and trying to stay cool and hydrated for as long as you can. I knew the last lap was going to hurt but I also knew it was only 8kms- I could do that in my sleep so I set out on the last loop and just concentrated on making it to each aid station. It is amazing just how good cold water feels on your head and shoulders and how it can bring you back to life even if it is only for a couple of kms. I continued to do this all the way to the last turn-a-round and then I knew that I was on my way home to the finish.

I started to relax and soak up the atmosphere with about 3kms to go. I still felt in control and I knew that I could take some time and really enjoy this finish. I ran back past the host hotel and there were so many people there and the music was pumping- it was a really satisfying feeling. I had a about 1km to go until the finish and I couldn't wait to get there. I wanted to put the horror of Hawaii 09 behind me and move forward. Winning this race was like a new beginning and hopefully the start of a successful 2010.

Whit Raymond was there at the finish calling me in- just like he was back in 2003 when I first did this race. He has called me across the finish line of so many IM races now. He gives off so much positive energy.

I crossed the finish line in 9hrs23 and was just so happy and relieved to have made it and couldn't wait to see Justin as I knew he had had a fantastic race as well and I was eager to see where he had finished. He was there waiting for me and when he told me he had placed 4th, it made my win even better still- it was a great day out for both of us.

Next up is China 70.3 this weekend. I am looking forward to the shorter distance that is for sure. Lets hope I can make it two from two.

Thanks to all of my wonderful sponsors, friends and supporters- 2010 is going to be a good year.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Gina Crawford's 2010 IM New Zealand Race Report

I raced Ironman New Zealand on the weekend. Being the defending champion I really wanted to win this race again and I knew my main competition Jo Lawn (7 time champion of the race) would be tough. I therefore increased my training significantly in the months leading up to the race. I usually train 25-30 hours per week but I increased this to 35-40 hours per week. Of course I now know that was a mistake and the load was just too much for me. 2.5 weeks prior to the race I developed a compressed nerve in my toe which meant it was too painful to run or even walk, and cycling was not helping either, so it was swimming and aqua-jogging for me only, which of course was not ideal for my build-up, but it was the only thing I could do if I wanted the nerve to settle down enough for me to be able to run a marathon. 

So after a very good swim, I was out onto my Ceepo TT killer in front. At the 30km mark I was joined by Jo Lawn and we stayed together until 100km swapping the lead and staying the legal distance apart. She then increased her pace and I was feeling too tired to go with her. I then came off the bike 2.5 minutes behind and I believed I would make up the time as I have always been the faster runner, but unfortunately I felt tired, heavy and flat. I guess the lack of training in the 2 weeks before made me lose some of my speed and fitness, and I had to settle for 2nd place. Jo went on to win the race in a course record in tough conditions putting up an amazing performance. So although of course I wanted to win, I know that I learnt a hugely valuable lesson that I am sure will help me with my races in the future. 

The race ends my season here in the Southern hemisphere and I can't complain with 1st places at both Ironman Western Australia and Challenge Wanaka and a 2nd place at Ironman New Zealand. So next up for me is 2 ironman races in the States. Ironman St George (May 1st) and Ironman Coeur D 'Alene  (June 27th)!!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Gina Crawford gets 2nd in Ironman New Zealand 2010

CEEPO's Gina Crawford keeps on going! After her recent two wins from Ironman Western Australia and Ironman distance Challenge Wanaka, Gina finished strong, getting the 2nd place in 9:28.26. Congratulations, Gina! Her race report coming soon.

Video of Nina Kraft's winning ride on her CEEPO Stinger

You can Check out Nina's winning ride on her Ceepo Stinger at around 2:50 in the video below: