Comrades at Ironman Geelong 70.3
Next weekend we see the start of the 2020 Ironman 70.3 race season in Australia at Geelong 70.3. The event has become one of the most popular courses on the Australian race calendars and this year is set to be even bigger with 80 World Championship spots up for grabs it’s sure to be a hot race not only for the pros but the age group athletes as well.
Camino has five athletes heading down to the Geelong foreshore to fly the flag for our team. We were lucky enough to sit down with the guys and ask them their thoughts leading into the race.
Tim Van Berkel
Berks will lead the Comino guys out as our professional male athlete. After a 3rd place finish in 2019 we are excited to see what Berks will do this year in a strong professional male field.
Thanks for taking the time in a busy race week to chat with us. How’s training been going since IM WA last year?
Cheers mate. Training has been going well, thanks. I have a new coach in Mitch Anderson so been enjoying doing something different this season.
3rd last year at Geelong, no doubt you are heading back to try stand on the top of the podium, but what is it about Geelong that makes you want to go back?
It’s very early in the season for me, and I had a big break over the Christmas period. A podium again would be excellent but no pressure, just a good hit out to see where the form is at. It’s a good honest course conditions can be tough if the wind is up. I have raced there when it’s been raining and cold to stinking hot.
In the women’s pro field Grace Musgrove will be testing her fitness after a solid summer training on the Gold Coast with a new group. It will be only her second time racing across the 70.3 distance and we are excited to see what she is capable of after a focused training block.
Hey Grace! Thanks for taking the time to sit and have a chat with us in your busy schedule! Late last year you started with a new group and started focusing on some new goals, how is that going for you?
I moved to the Gold Coast pretty much a year ago this week and 8 months into my move I felt settled enough in terms of work and study that I decided I wanted to make a change to my training group. In October I contacted Izzy to help me with my programming with a focus on the 70.3 distance and with that came the opportunity to train with the Camino Comrades. I’ve had my most consistent year of training in a long time, so this is why I feel like this change is suited to me. Consistency has always been a huge goal of mine and previously I think I was so focused on being consistent in triathlon I lost life balance and I have found since working a bit more and studying the consistency has just fallen in to place. Everyone in the Comrades has a life outside of training so there isn’t a whole lot of time for procrastinating before sessions and we all also have big goals in the sport, so everyone is giving 100% at all the group sessions with the added bonus of some great personalities which makes training so much more fun.
That’s great to hear! It’s your second time across the 70.3 distance, your first race at the distance was a last-minute decision. How are you feeling leading into Geelong after a focused 70.3 training block?
Yes, Challenge Iskander Puteri in Malaysia was a very last-minute decision. About 2.5 weeks out, I was asked to race, and I picked up Beth McKenzie’s TT bike 1.5 weeks before the race to borrow (which I have since bought off her and I am so obsessed with). Malaysia was very hot and very humid, so I was pleased to get through the race and even more pleased when I realised it inspired me to continue exploring my ability over the 70.3 distance.
Since then I have been full time training on my TT bike for Geelong and getting in some good consistent sessions. The 70.3 distance is still very unknown and somewhat scary to me. However, I am confident in the work I have done while trying not to put too much pressure on myself because I am very new to this style off racing compared to some of the other girls, so I can only continue to learn each race. If anyone is in Geelong supporting, I would love a little cheer!
After 18 months away from the racing scene Nathan is heading to Geelong to open what will be a big 2020 for him as he returns to racing and being his best physically and mentally.
You must be excited to be back on the racing circuit, how are you feeling about your first race back in a while?
It’s exciting to be back on the circuit racing wise and I’m very fortunate to be back doing what I love to do. Many others don’t get the opportunities I’ve had so I’m very grateful to have first class support both during my time away with mental health issues and in my return to the sport.
As a coach and a pro what are your top tips for your fellow comrades out on the race course?
My mantra for racing doubles as my top tips for the comrades:
Relax: tension or stress on race day wastes energy, both mentally and physically.
Execute: whether it’s your race plan or just small things throughout the day. Little pieces of good execution lead to better outcomes. Lastly, enjoy: self-explanatory, but have fun. Smile. Throw some shakas and enjoy the experience. It’s supposed to be fun after all.
Tommy will have his eyes set on a top age group finish as he looks to get an early qualification for the 70.3 World Championships.
So, heading back to Geelong to surely try to secure a spot for the World Champs later in the year, how are you feeling?
Yeah, heading back south, back to good old Geelong to get the first 70.3 race of the 2020 season ticked off. It’s been a big block of work under the new my coach Izzy. I’m feeling confident with where I’m at, fizzing to test the body in a race though. Racing is always so different to training but keen to see what I can throw together. If all goes well and comes together on race day, I’m sure I’ll be in the mix to hopefully secure a spot at 70.3 World Champs for November this year. But, it’s not the main focus for the race and I’m not letting it dictate whether I had a good or bad race. I know the line-up for Geelong is solid and deep and it will be a tough day out. I just want to see some improvement from last year’s race and honestly just interested to see where the body is at. Bonus if I can qualify and get it out the way early.
You’ve recently changed training groups, how has the change been for you?
A new coach, which means new training group. It’s been a great change I’m glad I made it. It was hard to commit to the change at first, as everyone would agree it’s hard to leave something you know and then the thought of the unknown is always scary. Training is very different to what I did with my previous coach. Firstly, it’s a lot more hours and the structure of sessions is different. I found myself doing sessions I’d never done in the last one and a half years. I was asking myself: “how I have never done this before!?” It took me a month or so to settle into the new routine and working it around my full-time work but I guess if you want something sacrifices have to be made. Our little crew is funny the banter is amazing makes training fun, don’t worry we are serious when we need to be!
Just really looking forward to Geelong and testing the new training out in at 70.3 race format.
Chris Boyle (a.k.a Cousin Chris)
Chris will be looking to open his year and test out his fitness after a strong finish to 2019 as Ironman Western Australia where he placed second age group athlete overall and secured his spot for the Ironman World Championships in Kona.
Congrats on your strong finish to 2019, qualifying for Kona must have been a big bucket list item to tick off, how did it feel too secure that spot?
Yeah, I was really content with the results in Cairns Ironman 2019, two huge goals got ticked in June, up in Far North QLD:
a.) To go Sub 9 (8h53mins)
b.) Get across the line first in Age Grouper Overall (by 20mins I think). And always a bonus to knock off a few pros as well, spewing I didn’t get the prize money though!!
Knowing 2019 wasn't the year to attend Kona I watched my spot roll down which I was fine with. As time with family & support for Hayley was a bigger motivation, Coco was just 8 months old
Post IM Cairns blues and settling into Dad life, the Kona 2020 dream was formed. Hayley & Izzy (my coach & owner of Camino) set the about new goals, which was to get back to Kona as a competitor not just a number. We landed on Ironman WA, to try get that qualifying spot early, on a fast course and before the year is out. I was super relived to get the spot locked in early in WA, if not I was off to Kona anyway as Hayley had already booked accommodation, "No pressure Honey” I recall she said.
Heading to Geelong for an early year race, what are the goals for the race? Looking to take the age group win or just test where the fitness is at after some time off after WA?
The plan is to tackle Geelong 70.3, Kingy Tri (Olympic) and Port Mac Ironman. I have cramped and followed the similar plan - 6 weeks of hard work, a week taper before Geelong 70.3. Not overly sure how race a 70.3 as it been over a year but still hoping to be competitive.
Make sure to follow these guys on race day, and if you’re going to be out on the course yourself make sure your support crew tags us in, so we can follow along with you. Make sure you enjoy every minute, and get the job done. Pease out: we are off to the garage to join Chris on Zwift.