August Update

August 1, 2017

You know it’s mid-season when a month can go by in the blink of an eye! This update is way overdue, and lots to catch up on, so I’ll try to keep it brief.

In my last update I had planned to do Ironman 70.3 Switzerland and then Ironman Frankfurt and the rest of the year was very much ‘up in the air’ as far as a race plan went. Well these two races have come and gone, and based on them we have a solid plan in place for the rest of 2017. I’m excited about where I am, and also for the upcoming races. A year that started rather poorly suddenly as the potential to be my best yet!

Ironman 70.3 Switzerland was a form-test as we prepared for Ironman Frankfurt. I had a pretty good day, swimming with the leaders, biking solidly despite finding myself in no-mans land between the front 3 Swiss athletes and the rest of the field, and then running a solid, race- best 1:13:39 half-marathon to finish 2nd, not far behind winner, Ruedi Wild. That test passed, all focus was on Frankfurt. I needed a top-6 to secure Kona qualification, and that would not be easy in this stacked field...

A chilly non-wetsuit swim and a fairly average start did not get my day at Ironman

Frankfurt off fantastically well, but I came out the water in a decent position and started the bike with some strong bikers. I rode with Phil Graves until we caught the main lead group, with only Andi Boecherer and Patrick Lange up the road. About the same time, Sebastian Kienle

 

caught our group - and blew right by. I went with him, expecting a few others to do the same. But 10km later and it was only myself and Kienle, with no-one else in sight. When we caught Lange, Kienle put in a surge that neither Patrick nor myself could match, and so the two of us spent the rest of the ride together trying to limit our losses. We got off the bike 6mins down on Kienle and Boecherer, and 7mins up on the rest of the field. A back- and-forth dice with Lange for the first 21km did nothing to our gap to the leading two, but then Lange started struggling and, although I was hurting badly, I thought I had 3rd in the bag. Out of nowhere at 39km a flying

Patrick Nillson blew by me and I had no answer. I had to settle for 4th.
All-in-all, 4th in a race that big, and considering my expectations going in, was a great result but there were some serious chinks in the armor exposed, and we took away more than just the result, with some good lessons in the bag too. Having Jodie there cheering and supporting made the whole event that much more memorable too. Of course I also got all the KPR points I needed, so the second half of the season began to
take shape - it would lead to Kona!

 

A little break...

 

Jodie and I headed home for our 20-week scan (at 21.5 weeks) and it was great to have a break from traveling - even if there wasn’t much of a break from training! The little bun-in-the-oven is growing well and everything seems to be on track. Seeing the little face and feeling the first kicks through Jodie’s bump was incredible and it finally is beginning to feel real (for me anyway - it’s been pretty real for Jodie for a while now!).

Planning ahead:

The plan was to head back to St. Moritz for a little camp, then over to Penticton, Canada for ITU Long-Distance World Champs before Ironman 70.3 World Champs, and then build for Ironman World Champs. However, ‘the best laid plans’ don’t always work out - my Federation

(TSA) refused to allow me entry into the ITU LD Worlds. No reason was given, and now there is not a single South African on the start list. Unfortunately it is the state of sport in South Africa, with a similar (more dramatic) selection debacle tainting the SA team to the IAAF World Champs. Sport is run by bureaucrats with no idea about sport, and athletes (and results) are the victims. I could go on, but reaching out to ITU resulted in a ‘We don’t interfere in National Federations.’ line. I’m disappointed and frustrated but all the kicking and screaming in the world won’t get me in the race now. The plan would have to change...

 

So we decided to head to Ironman Hamburg as a further test-event for long races, before the Kona-focus begins properly. It was between this and a title-defense at Embrunman, and we decided Hamburg would be a better Kona test. I will race this on the weekend (13 Aug) and Jodie will fly out to join me one last time before her flying is curtailed by the ever-growing bump.

Thereafter, back to St. Moritz, before Ironman 70.3 Lanzarote, Ironman 70.3 Weymouth,

and onwards to Ironman World Champs. You will notice that Ironman 70.3 World Champs is not on the list anymore. This was never going to be a big focus for me anyway and was only considered as I would be on that side of the world already after ITU LD Worlds, so we’ve decided to stay in Europe a bit longer and skip 70.3 Worlds. From mid-September we will do our Kona prep in Maui this time, with the other Kona-qualifiers from the TriSutto squad there too, hopping over to the Big Island for the Big Dance at the last minute.

 

Race Calendar:

13th Aug - Ironman Hamburg
2 Sept - Ironman 70.3 Lanzarote
17 Sept - Ironman 70.3 Weymouth
14 Oct - Ironman World Champs 2017

 

 

Thanks for the support. More news soon!

James

 

 

 

 

 

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