New me, New shiv

Posted by Dylan on 2 June 2017

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Super stoked with my new Specialized Shiv.
Thanks to the team at Chain Reaction Cycles for the awesome build and for this little blog pre my 2017 racing season.

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Posted by on 8 January 2017

I had high hopes for 2016.

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Challenge Iskandar Puteri / Season Update

Posted by Challenge Iskandar Puteri / season update on 4 September 2016



Challenge Iskandar Puteri
It has been a busy few months. From Taiwan, to Ireland, to France, and now Malaysia. 
Although busy, it has been good too. I really enjoyed my time in France training with Tony Dodds and Sam Ward, under our coach Tim Brazier, and basically just doing what I was told each day. Generally I have quite a bit of input and set my schedule to how my ‘non triathlon’ week is looking. In France it was nice to not have to worry about that and simply get out there and ‘enjoy’ it, some days more than others! It was also cool to do some ITU training again, and pretty incredible to see how far Doddsy has come since we raced German league together a wee while ago now!
After France I made a quick 10 day trip home for a wedding before heading back to Malaysia for Challenge Iskandar Puteri. I had been feeling great in France and continued to feel good while at home. 
I had target C.I.P as a race I could win, and felt as though I was in the shape to do it.
It was a hot swim, but relatively uneventful apart from the huge schools of fish making the odd appearance. 
I climbed the ladder out of the water with about a 45 second lead. 
On to the bike and the legs didn’t feel too bad. I knew on arrival to Malaysia that I hadn't brought my best legs with me, so I was hoping that they would turn up on race day. 
I saw that Brad Kahlefelt and Mike Phillips weren’t too far behind after 5km on the bike so waited for them and we got in to our work. After about 30km I really wasn’t feeling it, but we were still putting good time in to the chasers. 
The 3 of us were surprised to get off the bike with an 8 minute lead and new that the race was essentially between us. 
Mike had a penalty, which I thought was a 5minute drafting penalty, and so decided to go for the win. I ran with Brad for about 500m and basically blew up then! I got one hell of a fright when I saw Mike only a 100 or so meters behind, he only had a transition penalty of 10 seconds, so I now realised that I had a race on my hands. Brad continued to pull away little by little and Mike slowly caught me. 
I had done some ‘sprint’ training in France and was looking forward to testing it out come the finish chute against Mike, who's got a serious turn of speed. However, at about 3km to go the wheels seriously fell off and I was left to mope home for another 3rd place!
Not the result I was after, but always good to be on the podium.
I am now building up for a real focus of mine this year, the ITU Long Distance World Championships in Oklahoma City, 24th September. It’s a distance that really suits me, 4km swim, 120km bike, and 30km run. I am seriously looking forward to having a crack.
On the news front, after ITU Worlds I will be going under the knife to have surgery on my Hip. The condition is called FAI (Femoralacetabular Impingement), and has been an issue since Challenge Wanaka this year, where I finally tore my Labrum – a common occurrence with FAI. Up until then it has been a gradual process of grinding away at my cartilage and hindering my muscle function. 
I have been managing it as best I can since Wanaka – lots of physio and strength work, but it is safe to say I can not operate at 100%, even more so the longer the race goes. 
So ITU worlds will be a stretch, but one I am really looking forward to.
I will update again on this front soon. 
In the mean time thanks for reading and I hope everyone is making it through winter well, or enjoying their summers up in the north.
Until next time,

Challenge Iskandar Puteri

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Challenge Galway

Posted by on 1 July 2016

Challenge Galway
The Irish are mad, generous, and the most inviting people I think I have ever met. There were so many instances where they went above and beyond to help me out and make me feel welcome, as well as a bit of a wimp when it came to swimming in the ocean!
The race itself was a great course, with a few bumps in the road, and from what I hear, many a hill in the full-distance race.
In typical Irish fashion it rained every day I was there, no wonder the place is so green, but I settled in reasonably quickly after a few good nights sleep.
I was a little shocked to do a pre-race swim at the local ‘spot’, black rock, and see the locals swimming in nothing but togs. I figured Galway must have some tropical currents or something and looked forward to a nice temperature when I jumped in. Nope, it was under 15d and felt it. Apparently a big bunch of locals swim there year well in nothing but their togs. Good for their health they say!
I got the chance to ride the whole bike course during the week, which was definitely a good idea!
On to race day and we were greeted with much of the same weather wise. I don’t mind racing in the rain, so for me it was an extra bonus to a day I was already looking forward to. The swim had to be shortened a little bit to keep us within the ‘sheltered’ estuary, but there were still a few bumps in the swim.
I exited the water first with a few guys in tow no more than 30-40 seconds a drift. It was a long run to T1, probably about 600 odd metres, and that gave the chasers a bit of a chance to run hard and make up some ground.
There were 4 of us pretty close and after 30km we had come together. The middle 30km of the bike is on an old country road, very narrow and at times very bumpy; it would put Wanaka to shame! The last 30km the roads opened up a little and so did the heavens. At about 70km Joe Skipper caught our group and made a go for it at the front. This left 1 of our group off the back and the remaining 4 of us rode the rest of the way in to T2. 
On to the run and David shot off with his ITU speed and left Joe and I, and Kevin a little bit back, to battle it out for the podium. The run was actually pretty good, I was happy considering my build up to run 15km with Joe (who went on to Roth a few weeks later and ran 2.38!), but I really wasn’t happy about Joes ‘code brown’ that made the head wind running sections interesting! Once Joe left me in his…dust… I quickly capitulated in to survival mode and was very happy to make the last spot on the podium. Another 3rd!
All in all a race I enjoyed. They have a few things to work on, but I genuinely mean it when I say that I hope to be back sometime soon.
Now on to France, Font Romeu and the Pyrenees to be exact, to train with one of my best mates in Tony Dodds, before the Rio Olympics.
Thanks for reading.
Over and Out.

Challenge Galway

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Challenge Taiwan 2016

Posted by Dylan on 25 May 2016

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Challenge Taiwan

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IMNZ 2016

Posted by Dylan on 27 April 2016

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So it has been a while between drinks.
Sorry about that!
As gutted as I am after the last two results at Challenge Wanaka and now Ironman NZ, I am starting to see the light. 
I would have said I was in the best shape of my long-distance carrier prior to the ‘double’ this year, physically anyway. 
Mentally I was off the mark and missed a few key things that I should have adapted to fit my ‘new’ physical approach to training and racing.
After Wanaka I was extremely fired up to redeem myself at Ironman NZ. 
I recovered reasonably quickly and felt pretty good over the 2 weeks between events.
I felt as though I was good to go come race day in Taupo.
It was a Stella field in Taupo, probably the best ever and race day dawned with perfect conditions.
One thing I struggled with heading in to Taupo was controlling what I wanted to get out of the race. I wanted to win, which is great of course, but by wanting to win I forgot about the processes that would get me there, about doing the things that work for me and that get me the best outcome on the finish line.
The NZ Army fired their cannon and off we went. I started to the left and had a heap of clear water and was able to settle in and do my own thing. The swim was pretty non-eventful and some 45minutes later I exited the water feeling pretty good.
There was an amazing amount of people lining the carpet up to T2, a real buzz, and I may or may not have run my fastest km out of the water!  
On to the bike and everything was going smoothly. I even managed to get my feet in to my new S-works 6 road shoes without too much difficulty, a real relief I tell you! I was afraid of having to ride 180km on top of them (they are an insanely awesome shoe, but the new fitted design means they need a bit of time to get in to).
After Wanaka and my idiocy on the bike I had decided to be super controlled at the start and build through the ride. It meant watching my power up Napier Hill and keeping it well capped. 
Well capped it was and I was caught at the top by Terenzo and Paul Matthews, two guys I know can ride. We were working well together and I expected to see the group I did at the turn around and for them to be so close. We were pulled in about the 70km mark and ended up amongst the group about 12 strong.
Heading back in to town a few fireworks started to go off. I made a few mistakes during this time and was basically always at the front chasing the guys having a crack. By the 2nd time up Napier hill I was starting to feel it in my legs. For the next 20-30km I was very much a yo yo and was struggling to hold the group. I finally gave in about the 120-130km mark and let the group go. Riding by myself wasn’t that bad and I wasn’t losing too much time, but at the 165km mark I punctured. My pitstop didn’t work and I ended up getting a spare tubular off of another athlete and made the change. Overall I lost about 10minutes and in hindsight it was a bit of a blessing in disguise. 
Getting off the bike I knew my body wasn’t quite right. I felt quite good fatigue wise, but I once again, like Wanaka, had no rhythm and my right hamstring was ‘catching’ on every stride and slowly but surely began to egg away at me.
I saw my coach about the 10km mark and told him the news that this might be my first DNF over this distance. I was out of the race and not doing myself any favours by pushing the hamstring. 
I always prepare for full distance races knowing that I will give everything I have and will never have a ‘plan B.’ This time I had to think about the rest of the year ahead, which made it a little easier to swallow. 
Like I mentioned, had I not punctured I might have been tempted to carry on in the race and fight for a decent place, so again a bit of a blessing in disguise there. 
To the mighty Cam Brown – WOW!
Joe Skipper – what a race, solo all day and just went after it with everything he had.
Callum Millward – gets the race of the day in my book. Aggressive all day and took the race to everyone. His race will come.
Meredith Kessler – Dominated again, amazing racing and consistency. Something to aspire to.

So it has been a while between drinks.

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Challenge Wanaka 2016

Posted by Dylan on 28 February 2016

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Challenge Wanaka 2016
Well it wasn’t to be. 
My biggest fear heading in to the race was not being able to ‘race,’ for example having bad legs and simply watching the others go by without having a fight in me.
Looking back, there was a bigger fear than that, and I realised it a little too late.
I was/am in great shape, I wanted it bad, and I was prepared to and planned to race hard... Maybe a little too hard!
I always figured Dougal would still be the #1 threat. There were some great athletes in the field this year, but this is Wanaka, if you don’t know it then there's a good chance it will beat you up. 
Looking back I made the mistake of not just racing everyone out there, but also trying to race their race and play their games, when in reality there was only 1 guy I should have been focused on, myself. 
The wind was up early and it was obvious it was going to be a tough day in the swim and out on the bike.
After a little delay to the swim start for a few stray buoys we got underway and battled some pretty intense chop for the first section of the swim. I remember thinking that there would be a few very unhappy age-groupers out there if that continued. However, by the second lap the lake had calmed down a bit and I was surprised to have a decent lead on everyone, including Graham O’Grady who I thought would be on my feet. I had planned on having him on the bike and a bit of company for the first time, but it wasn’t to be.
Out of the swim I didn’t know what my time was or what the gaps were until I jumped on my bike and heard that Graham was 2 minutes behind me and had just swam 45.30 – meaning I had swam 43.30!? 
So, safe to say that the swim was significantly short considering the conditions and that in perfect conditions last year I swam 45.30ish. 
Anyway, I then got the splits to the others; 5mins to Maik Twelziek, the German Cycling Machine, and 10mins to Dougal – about where I had expected to be. 
Let the fun begin…
Mistake 1 was taking the 5minute gap to Maik to heart and thinking “nope, that's too close,” and basically reacting straight away to it. After all, it was my plan to be aggressive and to take the race to them on the bike a little more, so why not react!?
Taking the race to them a little more  was something my Coach, Tim Brazier, and I had discussed. We knew I had a little room to move on the bike and decided that this year would be a good year to do it. 
But, that is a little room, in watts that equates to about 5 watts higher over the 180km. 
For the first 2 hours of the ride I averaged about 20 watts higher than I did to the same point last year. My first 90km power was higher than all but 1 of my best half-distance events… Basically suicide. 
Mistake 2 was knowing I was riding hard (and knowing I was riding TOO hard), but never checking just how hard I was riding… After all it was the plan to be aggressive, to take it to them! 
I never watch my power when I race full-distance events anyway, it is always on feel, which is something I am good at… and obviously something I should have listened to.
By 90km on the bike I was starting to feel the pinch. I basically had to go in to survival mode and from 85km to 98km I went from 2.17 up on Maik to 1.40 down on him. 4minutes in 13km…ominous.
The rest of the ride was spent trying to minimise my losses and trying to save any run legs I might have left. I had spent so much in that first 90km, so much high end power that having a good run would be about (somehow) recovering out there on the ride and fuelling as well as possible. 
Dougal came past me about 130km – about where he should have always caught me, but obviously not at the rate at which he did, as if I was standing still. I watched him ride away in to the distance and I knew that it was going to take something ridiculously special to pull this one out of the hat! 
Getting off the bike my legs were a ‘little’ shot, but nothing I hadn’t experienced before and then followed up with a good run. 
I was 12 minutes down on Maik and 6 minutes down on Dougal. I knew I would be needing some great legs and a lot of patience to pull in Maik and the run of my life to even get close to Dougs. But, I still believed, and who was behind me never even crossed my mind.
I headed off and tried to stay relaxed and patient.
The first signs that things weren't really going my way was what I would describe as a lack of coordination – relaxing was hard, I had no flow, and it took effort to do those things that usually take none, But I felt as though I was still running good. 
At 5km I got my first reality check – I wasn’t actually moving as quickly as I thought.
By 10km my rhythm was going, Gun Hill felt about as spastic as I have ever felt, and by 15km I knew that I was digging a nice little hole for myself – And only losing time to Dougal and just holding Maik.
At 20km I felt as though I should have been at 41km and coming in to the finish line. By then I had switched to survival mode and I had to jog, which was as fast as I could go, for the 2nd lap.
Finishing wasn’t the usual relief, which is what I usually feel more than anything, but an emptiness and anger that I have never felt. I held back the tears, put on a brave face, and moved on.
It would have been a gigantic ask to have beaten Dougs on HIS day. He deserved that and it was an incredible performance. I wish I could have made it a bit more of a battle and pushed him along the way a little more. Well done mate. Next year!
And Congratulations to Maik and Matt Russell for 2nd and 3rd. Two guys that came to Wanaka and handled the conditions and the course better than 90% of people who have come and raced there. They did their thing and got two great results. 
For me over  the last week I have been furious at myself for racing like such an idiot. 
For re-learning the most important lesson in long-distance racing, one which I know very well – Race Your Own Race. 
Challenge Wanaka has defined me over the last 3 and a bit years. It saved my career, made my career, motivated me, inspired me, you name it, it did it. I have lived the last 3 years safe in the knowledge that the race that meant the most to me was still ‘my race.’ 
Like I said, it defined me.
But, it isn’t how many times you get knocked down, it truly is about how many times you get back up – If Wanaka defined me to this point in my career, then what I do next will define the rest. And that, to be honest, is actually pretty exciting.
It all starts next weekend at IRONMAN New Zealand. 
Fingers crossed for some firing legs and braincells ;), and maybe a little redemption.
Thank you for all the support out there.
Time to write the next chapter in my career…
Catch you in a week or so.
Thanks for reading,

Well it wasn’t to be. 

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