Ironman South Africa: Our Ironman athletes getting out of hibernation with the hammer on the block!

The only difference with bears and other animals after hibernation is that our athletes don’t have regular caves…their training’caves’ are made to come out of winter in shape!

Today was the first big day of the season for our Ironmanathletes, goals were set and realistic. All 3athletes were keen on…getting a slot for the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaï! The dream of many long distance athletes…simple? No! Not at all!

We were expecting a high level of athletes in this race, in the pro-field…but above all in the AG (non-pro) field. That meant our athletes had to be in shape, but not at all cost. I like to have a little bit of reserve into the prep towards an early IM. If one qualifies…ok, that’s an early good shot. If one doesn’t qualify…we take another chance later in the season! The athletes involved in this race are amateur athletes, with a big willing and day in – day out consistancy. A spirit of no-nonsense and taking care of the body with a close eye on practicing high level sports on a healthy way!

To give you a closer look on just 1 specific difficulty each athlete had to conquer oftenly, maybe you can find a difficulty of yourself in it:

  • Pierre: very irregular working schedule with long shifts and a 130K (1 direction) ride to his work
  • Cai: Often doesn’t know when work is done, as being an engaged doctor
  • Sam: Often has to start training at 8PM, finishing at 2am.

Just to show, that every athlete has his difficulties. Like everything…the way to approach the difficulties makes the man/woman in the end…today I can say they approached this as champions 😉

The swimcourse in SA is known as being quite difficult, you can see this at the times the pro athletes swimming times. Our athletes at the starting lines are not our ‘fastest’ swimmers. But that’s no issue at alle, a triathlon is about how fast you are beween start and finishline, the rest are only numbers 😉
It was Sam coming out of the water first (1h06), I remembered his 2015 AG win where he swam almost 2minutes longer. So I knew that was quite OK in order to get in front of his AG! Pierre also had a 3minutes faster swim than last year and Cai, who wanted to ‘feel free’ in the water and had a non-wetsuit swim was faster out of the water than her IM SA 2016.

On the bike Sam directly managed to move up, we planned a conservative pacing with only 260-270NP ;-), not having any high peaks and build up during the race! This worked very well, after the race we notice no other AG athlete could come close to the speed he produced (except for 1 athlete who rode 2′ slower but crashed a bit on the run).

Sam-Gyde-Zuid-AfrikaExceptional into this is the fact he had nobody of the same cyclinglevel  around him. With a 4h38 he moved up towards the top positions in his AG. But a fast run had to come out of the legs to get on the podium!

Sam Bike.jpg

Sam managed a consistent bikecourse, putting down the number 1 cycling split with 265NP!

Pierre was very annoyed only 12hours before the race…dead battery in his powermeter…ouch! Not the best moment for having this of course. So change of plans and pulse-pacing! No real problem, but if your mind is set on the powernumbers you need to make a mental ‘click’ in the head. He did! On the bikecourse Pierre moved up towards  32nd position in his AG before putting down the bike. Our cards were to play on the run….

Pierre HR bike.jpg

Pulses, not at all old school. On raceday definitely a good pacing strategy!

Cai, who came out of the water 10th had to move up on the bike, her strongest discipline.
She moved up towards 5th position at the end of the bikecourse and could start running where we expected her to be. The mission definitely was to run faster than she ever did in an IM!

On the run course we could immediately see the fast first 10km of Sam. What we know of the past is that…if Sam has a bad off-the-bike part that it’s mostly at the beginning of the run. He didn’t have that and we could already dream of another IM podium!

After 21km he averaged 4’08/km…that’s FAST! But in his 2nd part of the marathon there was hardly a slower pace to finish at…4’15/km, all of this after riding the fastest bikesplit…looking a bit further we see he also ran the fastest AG running split with this 2h58′ marathon! Really Amazing, once again (after Klagenfurt 2016) racing a sub9’er (8h51′) and taking his 5th FULL Ironman podium in exactly 2years!

Sam-Gyde-Zuid-Adfrika-run-2017

 

Sam Run

A well paced marathon of Sam, in which the engine kept ‘running’!

Sam (42years and getting better by age 😉 ) finished as 2nd overall AG athlete, and 22nd overall (Pro included) today. It was former Pro-athlete Godart (Lux) who takes the overall AG win and category win in this strongest (!) AG. We congratulate Olivier for this victory and whis all the best in Hawaï. Here’s the story of why Godart turned AG athlete again.

Overall.jpg

Great to see Sam is among the PRO-athletes, being a ’24’ years old AG athlete! He didn’t have a ‘pro-life’ leading up to this race and even did every single swim-bike-run in ‘ergo-style’!

 

Pierre was doing the impossible and very soon he appeared within the top15 of his AG. BUT it was very exciting, he was running super fast and passed halfway on a 3h10′ pace…the densification in this AG (for the Slots-position) was huge. But Pierre felt great and had wisely decided to not go faster in the first part and try keep this pace as long as possible…well he realised something none of our athletes managed before in an Ironman. He ran exactly the same pace in his first as 2nd part of the Ironman! Not 1 second of difference! After his 3h10′ marathon (12th overall AG running split) he got 7th!! More than enough for his Kona-ticket!

Pierre Constant Run

Amazing run of Pierre, keep calm…keep calm…STING!

That made our athletes already go to Hawaï with at least 2! 2out of 2…it seems ‘normal’ but I can not say this isn’t a relief for a motivated coach…now we can work ‘relaxed’ towards Hawaï 🙂

 

Beaufort

Pierre does it again, stronger than ever before with a 3h10′ marathon he qualifies for the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaï!

And…then there was Cai, still in the battle for her AG-podium. She was tough on the marathon, was able to run her fastest marathon ever and finish within the TOP-5! Unfortenately the women’s Agegroups don’t have the same number of slots for Kona. Probably only the top2 will have the capability of going to the race in Hawaï! So Cai gave a present to herself and registered for her next Ironman at the beginning of July!

Well done!

Cairesult.jpg

5th place for Cai in her AG, cutting down her racing time by +/- 30minutes compared with 2016

 

I can’t be more proud as a coach than this…our athletes gave the best of themselves and nothing more was in it! Races went perfect and our athletes went into this race with ‘grinta’…lots of it!

Also in Holland we had 2 athletes racing the Hoorn-duathlon, Jan and Adrian had a pretty close combat on a fast race course. They went all the way and Jan got his first podium of the season, finishing 3rd overall! Adrian only a tiny bit further took 6th!

Uitslag Hoorn

Fast race course at Hoorn, something for the TT-specialists!

 

Train smart, Perform better!

Jesse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A weekend with plenty of surprises!

Past weekend was a very loaded weekend with Ironman South Africa, Ironman 70.3 Florida, 111Portocolom, Regional Champs road Cycling, Duathlon Ter Idzard and of course Marathon des Sables!

In Ironman South Africa we had 3 athletes going for their first race of the season: Sam, Cai and Pierre. Halfway the bikecourse Sam and Cai were close to get on their first Ironmanpodium of the season, while Pierre was pacing like asked.

Earlier in the morning Sam woke up with GI-issues and slowly he ran empty. Once off the bike he decided  not to run and overload his body. In Klagenfurt Austria he gets another chance which he will fully take!

Sam Fietsprofiel

Unfortenately Sam woke up with GI issues, which slowly emptied his tank. His HR shows us how he ran empty after 130k

And so chances to get a podium or a slot for Ironman Hawaii for one of our athletes got smaller, BUT both Pierre and Cai were well trained and in shape to race hard. Cai came off the bike as 3rd, Pierre put his bike in T2 as 18th. So both were in the game for their ticket.

Sam fiets

Sam testing his new bike, but having GI issues, now he knows how to finetune he bike

.

Cai paced her  race very well, and once on the run she could keep fighting for the podium. Unfortenately she missed the podium by 1 spot. Knowing this was her agegroupwinner, we can say she earned the podium!

Cai finish

Cai – Mum, doctor, triathlete,…and raw- may be very proud of her performance, we’ll get her an earned bronze medal ourselves!

Loopgrafiek Pierre

Pierre ran a consistent marathon – build up your race, don’t crash!

Pierre ran out of T2 very fast, we knew by his prepraces his shape was very well. But how would his body react on running off the bike after 180K? Well, he kept on going and ran a consistent marathon, which resulted in a great performance. Pierre who chased his slot for years now became part of the Ironman Elite winning  his Slot for the Ironman World Championships Hawaii! Well Pierre, you can book your flight to Kona!

pierre

Pierre was a bit nervous before raceday, big waves in SA! But this never took his mind away of chasing a dream: Qualifying for Kona!

sam loop

Sam:”I tried but it was not going to happen. I came for the win – no other race plan, so it would be silly to waste more energy.” Sam started his road to Ironman Austria yesterday!

pierre

Here he is, the CondrozMan…winter is much more severe over there than in the rest of Belgium and still…he qualified for Kona,Hawaii! A relaxed, stressless 2016 towards Hawaii is left! Enjoy!

In Portocolom 111 Arne and Stefanie took part of the game! Arne had an irregular winter behind him and it would be hard to push back the 100hilly kilometers. Halfway he was doing well, but then he felt u can’t fool the basic principles. An early spring race is a good way to think and work from towards the rest of the season.

Stefanie went out with ambitions, but after the national Xduatlon championships she suffered of some kind of virus, with only  4 weeks left after these nationals,a long nighttrip to Mallorca  and of course studying things weren’t always easy. But still, the date of the race stayed the same: 10th of april. During the last 10days slowly she started feeling better. Stefanie didn’t ride her PB wattage on the bike and that must have played in the head. But with only 14watt NP

Powerbalance stefanie

Powerfile – bikecourse Portocolom ’16

 

less than her victory rides last year she did what was possible that day. Emma Bilham sure was a deserved winner, Stefanie at the end of the race took a nice podium again and got 3rd. An athlete with ambitions and sure tough and beautifull races coming!

Stefanie.jpg

Stefanie gets 3rd at the 111Portocolom behind E.Bilham as a winner. And look who won the men’s race 😉 Congratulations MVC!

In Florida70.3 Ironman Allan and Andreas, both hungry like wild wolves towards their first race of the season, had a great racing location. They left cold Canada behind them and chose for the heat of Florida! Both were well prepared, a lot of their sessions were done indoors and feeling the road under their wheels must have given inspiration.

Allan took off very well on the swim and immediately was in the front of his game during the bikecourse. Before the race we targeted a certain amount  of power to ride which he could maintain without blowing up his body. With a good off bike run he could keep his spot and finished 13th in this IM70.3

AllanHRfile

A hilly bike course – but a steady ride, the perfect recipe for a good off-bike run

Andreas did what u never must do before a race, forgetting to bring a wetsuit! So it was a non-wetsuit swim for him! Still he did well, but lost 1-2′ and got more stuck between the slower bikers.So chasing was his option…and so he did! Once off the bike he also felt great and with a 1h26’run on this hilly course he moved up to 17th position!

D+florida

The hills around the run course in Florida make the race a bit more challenging

Earlier on saturday Jan realised his first overall win in one of his favourite Dutch races at Ter Idzard. This 10-40-5 non-drafting duathlon came after a good 10 days in the Italian mountains! This is a race that’s  very satisfying, last year he crashed very hard and now he showed that an athlete is only defeated when he gives up! Fight back, don’t play Calimero, and try to be the best you can! Jan did…everybody can!

Jan M

“Fight back after your crash, fight back and try to win (and stop eating Snickers)!” is what we said to Jan. He did! Look how proud a man can be!

Also our cyclists are doing great, we saw Maarten and Svenne always in the breakaway at Diest (1.18) and this resulted in another podium for Svenne! He is doing super this season, and already very early in the season. While Dries and Anthony had regional championships road cycling, both did a good race and seem to get back on track after their crashes!

12963501_10206163228615935_2768496196749070613_n

Svenne is about cycling and smiling in one sentence, he loves to train…and loves to make the races! 3rd and a lot of healthy fruit to eat – aged 41 he’s only getting stronger it seems.

 

Think positive,think forward…and fast forward a lot of nice things will happen!

Jesse