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Conan
Joined: 09 Feb 2005
Location: Gold Coast, Australia

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 Washed up pro takes on life... 
 
 
Well here we go again...
Sun Dec 06, 2009 11:44 am Conan
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My entry for Roth in July has just been confirmed and paid for!! I now just need to fix up my entry for IMOZ and I guess it's official that I'm back in the game...

My Criterium debut the other week turned out to be a real balls up on my behalf, I just rode like a true numpty. Since then though I've been redeeming myself and whilst I'm not winning I'm working hard and am either at or off the front.

I think this Friady will see my track debut and my TT bike will hopefully be finished off in time for the Saturday ride (my first Sat off for months) and then another crit on Sunday. Some swims and runs when I can in the week and I'd call it a solid weeks training. It's funny that now I'm working I'm happy to just slam in an hour or two of balls out work where as I wouldn't have pulled on the lycra for anything less than a 120k ride when training full time.
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Kulia i ko Ikaika

It's good to share...
Tue Nov 10, 2009 10:09 pm Conan
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Thought I'd share this oncase you've not seen...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bt2ftbMjK6M

Daz - nope I'm helping them out but also have a full time job (does that mean I actually have 2 jobs??) working in a local bike store. www.avantiplusrobina.com.au

TT and track bikes were ordered yesterday!!
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First of many?
Mon Nov 09, 2009 8:49 pm Conan
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Well it really has been a long time since I updated this and something that I have been meaning to do for quite a while. Since my last update I've fully entered the real world - mortgage, job, and a few too many kilo's being carried around. I've always been doing a little bit of training maybe a ride or two a week but nothing more than that. I enjoy the riding here more than anything else. Well this has now seen me join a local cycling club and dust of the "race brain". I now have a few new bikes on order to assist my conversion across. The silly season (summer) is now fast approaching here which means a lot of criterium racing with some strong fields. I think my first race will be in a few weeks with the headline rider being Robbie McEwen - though I'm not sure I have the balls to just step up to that level straight away. It is a flat course though so the 7kilos extra I'm carrying from when I last raced won't handicap me too much...

It's not all about the bike however - I am planning a return to Tri's as well. Nothing flash mind so please don't get too excited. I'm going to be racing IMOz here at the end of March with a view to snagging that ever so ellusive Kona slot. The thing is the 7kilo's aren't helping in any way and on only 2 sessions for each discipline a week I am truely asking a lot of myself as the majority of top AG'ers here are all full time, or have at best very flexible working conditions. I have a 50k running event in a few weeks and that will give me a fair indication of whether I am capable or not to complete the distance - it's the run I'm the most fearful of at the moment. I think I have about 20weeks till the race and hopefully about 4or5 of those extra kilo's will have dissapeared.

Thats about it for now really. I'll do my best to keep this up to date with whats going on, and ofcourse on the development of my Mo(vember).
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Kulia i ko Ikaika

The Big Woody - Better late than never!
Tue Sep 09, 2008 4:59 am Conan
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It has taken me a lot longer than planned to get this race report out, but we have a showery day here today on the coast and I thought now was as good a time as any to put fingers to keyboard and get something down.

When I started my full time Ironman journey just under 4years ago I had the saying in my head - ďFar away in the sunshine are my aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them and try to follow where they may lead.Ē I had no concept of what lay ahead or where my journey would take me. I of course had hopes and dreams and it is interesting to me which of these I have met and which I have ďfailedĒ at. When I set out my goals were purely investigative Ė just simply to see how fast I could go, or rather get. There was no drawn out long term plan or strategy. It was by chance that I ended up on the Gold Coast (first time round) and that I would end up with the training group that I did. Luck it seems does play its part whether we as athletes like to admit it or not. When it runs in our favour it is all our own doing and when not we clamber for reasons why.

My trip back to Europe started off on a sour note as you will be able to tell from my previous report on Ironman Switzerland. It is fair to say that luck did not run in my favour that day... I had one more chance for some form of retribution and means of justifying the trip back from my new Australian home. The race was up near Chepstow just over the river Severn and was appropriately named ďThe Big WoodyĒ as it ran in parts through the Forest of Dean. The venue and course were spectacular and honestly made me wonder why people pay so much more for events with less scenery. I was seriously underdone in terms of my training going into the event. When I returned to the UK after Switzerland I was pretty beaten up mentally and was then hit by a chest infection which had me laid up for a week and a half. All up I had 3weeks of training time to try and minimise the loss of fitness from my premature rest period.

From the start of the race my goal was clear; get a gap and then just hold it. Even though I had the 3weeks training in the UK summer (thereís a joke in there) I knew the cold would be an issue and there is a lot that can happen out there so the bigger the buffer the better. The swim was in a picture quarry which is now the National Diving and Activity Centre. It was a short swim but the long run up to transition made up for this. By the end of my 44min swim I had a gap of about 5min over the next group. I started the bike and was soon passed by my swimming companion. He was setting a pretty swift pace and I had inkling that it would become a long day for him later on. I sat 10-20m off his back wheel and was just happy to have another person setting the pace. It was on the main climb up to English Bicknor that I began to find my legs and warm up in the 12deg air temp with wind chill. I had every item of winter clothing I own and wear in Oz but somehow still this was only just enough! Once I had the gap I just put my head down and by the end of lap 1 of 2 on the bike Iíd pulled it out to 5min with the second ďgroupĒ at 15minutes. Just after passing the race HQ I had my first glitch of the day. A car pulled left and forced me to ride up the curb and onto the grass verge. This resulted in me collecting their left wing mirror (they obviously didnít use it anyway) and had me ending upside down in the hedge. After correcting myself and putting my bike back together practising my finest Australian at the driver I just rode off. What happened now though was exactly what I had built my race around. My legs turned to mush, all my power left me as well as my rhythm and I ended up eating through 2hours worth of food in 30min. I was going to struggle now with both calories and efficiency as the temperature was dropping due to some showers out on the course. The remainder of the bike was tough for me, as tough as I could struggle through. I hit T2 in bits but as soon as I started running I felt okay and knew that all I had to do now was hold my gap. As the weather deteriorated on the run and the kís ticked by I did just that. I had done enough and held on for the win, only the second of my triathlon ďcareerĒ. It was a special day for me as despite the conditions and the way the race panned out I was racing in front of my family and long term sponsor Elagen Sport using their new product Beta Alanine.

At the moment the funds have run dry and over the coming months I need to put some time into my business www.tri-ikaika.com in order to be able to afford to continue racing. Iím not sure how long itís going to take before or even if I will ever be able to go full time again. I guess now though I can see the merit in my opening statement. I have truly enjoyed the challenges of the past years and with every trial (and thereís been quite a few) Iíve discovered a bit more about myself in the process. My next race will be the Gold Coast Half Ironman and I might even then have a go at the state Duathlon champs but am not sure yet.
As always Iíd like to thank all of my sponsors and Juzzie who whilst was absent in person on the trip was very much there in presence. Thanks to all those that have helped over the past few years and I hope you have found the journey as rewarding as I have...
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Kulia i ko Ikaika

Ironman Switzerland
Thu Jul 17, 2008 7:21 pm Conan
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Iíve left writing up this race report for a while now to try and let my thoughts settle down after such a tough weekend. What has become apparent is that the scars from this race will take a long while to healÖ

I approached this race with my highest ever level of fitness and was as prepared physically as I could have hoped for. Iíve been living in Australia for a year now and my last race was at Ironman Western Australia where I managed to clock my second 8hr53min finish. I was determined to better this time and was looking forward to finding out just how my training over the past months had paid off. My training team comprising of my swim coach Graham McDonald at the Sports Super Centre, my physio Mark Barrett of Physiologic and training partner Rebekah Keat were all talking up my chances at Ironman Switzerland. My confidence was sky high, as it should be when in training you are able to complete sessions that previously had you beat. The real icing on the cake for me though was not only my fitness but my lack of injuries. I didnít even have the slightest niggle and once again I have my physio Mark and masseur Brenden to thank for this. For weeks they pummelled me with their fists and elbows and stabbed me with their acupuncture needles then to finish me off covered me in tape to keep my joints (specifically my Sacroiliac joints) in the correct place. Just so there is no doubt I was readyÖjust not quite ready for everything.

Leaving Australia was tough. I married my long term girlie in March and really didnít want to leave her home alone but this is my chosen profession and we both understood that this is just one of those things. My return flight had me back in the UK 12days before the race so enough time to get over the jetlag and recover from my solid training right up to the day of my flight. I landed to a perfect summerís day which I was a pleasant surprise. I had just over a week in the UK before I headed over to Zurich but had a very clear training programme and knew that I just needed to stick to it. Training in the UK is tough especially when you have been spoilt for the past year. Swimming requires a whole new technique as you play dodge the blue rinser during public sessions and of course itís imperative that you remember thereís a wall every 25m not the usual 50m!! I still managed to get a few swims in and some semi decent sets where I could. The riding before the event was tougher than I imagined, the wet weather combined with the jetlag resulted in a couple of miserable rides but I still knew though that all I needed was already in the tank. My running was exactly as Iíd hoped for and it really wasnít long before I headed offÖ

Arriving in Zurich I was hit by the cleanliness and the thinness of the air. Zurich is actually at 300m above sea level which I knew would help for quicker times come race day. Everything was just as I had hoped for in the days leading up to the race. I felt fantastic, with just effortless speed in every discipline and the ability to just pile on the pace during my ďpick upísĒ. This was going to be a super quick dayÖthe weather forecast was a bit of a tetchy point though with the forecast for wet weather to hit over the weekend but my thinking was if Iíve been training in the high 20ís then a bit of wet will just make me even more efficient.

A bit of wet though is quite a lot of wet to the rest of the world in Switzerland it appears. The day before the race was just plain wet but what hit me most was the massive drop in temperature from the days previous. We were down to about 17deg now from the high 20ís. Luckily Iíd packed a fair bit of ďwinter wearĒ and just went about my finals dayís tasks as usual with the weather not affecting me. I did have my fingers crossed that this would clear for race day and in the evening as the clouds began to break up I thought we were on for a good day. I now realise that I could have not been any more wrong. I awoke on race day after a good nightís sleep to the worst rain so far and yet another drop in temperature. I knew that Iíd just need to wear more clothes in the race and just hoped that there would be nothing more to it. Nirvana had arranged a coach down to the race venue and all went according to plan. I met up with David from Zero2Hero to use the pump and wished each other luck and went on our own way. Normally I like to hang around in transition to absorb the atmosphere but today I really wasnít in the mood. It was far too cold and wet to hang around so headed off to put my wetsuit on and try and warm up.

Once my suit was on I made it down to the swim start and only had time for a couple of hundred metres to try and get going. Even though the water was warm(ish) I still felt really cold and this shows in my swim time. I was aiming for a 51min swim but missed the pack and ended up leading round the second chase group. By the end of the first lap I just backed off and swam in the group but this easing off was probably the beginning of the end of me as I was actually getting cold now in the water. As it was I ended up swimming the second loop in the pack and on feet knowing that the race would be won out on the bike and run as most of the race favourites would still be exiting the water behind me. I had a fairly slick transition and was out onto the bike and tried to settle down into a decent pace. What I was hit with I truly didnít expect. I was riding okay but my heart-rate was just super low, about 15beats down on what Iíd expect. The effort was still there so just did my best to ease into the ride knowing that once I warmed up Iíd be able to start making some time up. Along by the lake the eventual second place finisher Stefan Reisen as well as Petr Vabrosek and Nick Saunders rode by but there was no way I had the change of pace required to go with them. I was stuck in a rut and had no change of pace at all. This should really have been a signal to me that all was not well. I figured that once I hit the first climb and the wind chill was no longer an issue my body temperature would work its way back up to a more acceptable level, by this stage I was struggling to not shiver. The first climb was just a steady rise and I waited patiently for everything to warm up but before I knew it and now had to contend with an even lower effort level and more wind chill. The next major climb was the Beast and this really was nothing like as hard as what Iíve been training on and yet my legs just felt like lead. This wasnít right, and certainly what I had planned. The race was slipping away from me but as Jason Shortis regularly states you never, ever, never give up and so I just kept plugging away. When we were back down onto the lake I was really struggling to keep focused on the task at hand. The urge to shiver now was stronger than ever and it was everything I could do to hold it off but by the time Iíd gone past transition and started Heartbreak hill I had the shakes. As I came back round to finish my first lap I heard my Mum at the roadside and just had to stop so doubled back and put some more clothes on. I was now wearing arm warmers, a race top, road jersey and a water proof jacket and was still shivering. Now is not the time for stepping down and giving up though and headed off on my way again. My legs by this stage just had nothing and I felt like I was just rolling along on an easy training ride. It was as I reached the bottom of the first climb by the end of the lake I could tell my legs were done but waited until the Beast to see what would happen as I tried to salvage my day. By the time the Beast approached I was done. My hands were blue and I had no control over my fingers making my bike handling really quite questionable. It was now that I realised that even if I made it to T2 my body would be in no fit shape for the marathon that lie ahead. I was doneÖ

I pulled over to the side of the road full of thoughts and disappointment and removed my number and chip and rode on to try and find an English speaking medic or race official. At 160k I pulled into an aid station and waited for my lift back. As I arrived back at transition I was whisked into the medical tent and was given two bags of warm fluids. I just lay on the medical bed distraught, a shadow of what I had planned for myself. How can you go through all the pain in training, and sacrifice and end up like this. As Iíve told people this story since the event two words regularly crop up, fair and luck though generally with the words not and bad prefixing them respectively. These are not words I want to be associated with, I want a level playing field with no excuses but I know now after 2 years in the sport this truly does not exist. It is this and the lack of payback for my work and sacrifice that is driving me away from this sport. Whilst I do believe you get what you deserve and you deserve what you settle for I am not sure how much more of this I can take. My life is turning away from this sport as a profession such as it is (I still joke that Iím more FREElance than professional triathlete)Ö

I am now in the process of building all my training again to take on the Big Woody where I will race the full Ironman distance event. I am looking forward to the challenge of the event and catching up with some familiar faces. I will be travelling around a bit this week to try and catch up with some friends and sponsors and then it will be head down for the run up to what will more than likely be my last race as a professional on British soil.

I would of course like to thank my sponsors for all of their support, High5 care of fastgear.com.au, Forsport, Elagen Sport whose new product will blow you away, USE and my new pimp'd pods, KCNC, BlueSeventy for their new Helix and of course Zero2Hero who without their support I certainly wouldn't have been able to experience and discover all that I have.
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Kulia i ko Ikaika

Busy times!
Wed May 28, 2008 6:14 am Conan
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Weíre now right into it Ė Full on Ironman training and the fatigue that is associated with it. Itís not the training that I personally think is so hard but the mental battles you have with yourself before the training and during. Thatís not to say that the training is easy but the toughest battle with me at least is internal battle of my brain saying yes and my body saying no. Picture the scene, itís dark, in fact sunrise here now is at about 6.45am, its cold (okay relatively cold weíre talking 10deg), and Iím all cosy in bed. The alarm goes off at 4.20am and I wake up feeling as though I have only just got off the bike the day before. The first challenge is actually getting out of bed and if I can overcome that obstacle the next comes on poolside when all I want to do is get warm but Iím faced with a 5-6k swim set in an open air pool. Once in and going itís not too bad, after all I do get to brush up on my astrology when doing a bit of backstroke. Early winter here on the Gold Coast is the best time of year I think or maybe spring. We generally have clear skies, warm temperatures in the day around the low 20ís and colder nights which makes sleeping a bit easier than the summer months and the roads are much quieter as all of the summer tourists have left. All in all itís all pretty good...
My swimming is pretty steady at the moment and totals between 20and30k a week with 2 long aerobic sets and then 2 hard sets with a shorter recovery swim as and when needed. My biking is the most important to me in terms of Ironman performance and every week totals between 550 and 650k with a mixture of steady aerobic work, hill work and flatter race type efforts most of which also have a easy run backed up off them. My running was/is obviously my main concern given the stress fracture but I am holding up well so far. Iím at about 80k each week and gradually adding a little each week which will see me up to the 130k per week marker just before Switzerland and the Big Woody which will be a big step in the right direction. I have 6.5weeks till Switzerland and itís really the next 4 that are going to be the most important. The form Iíll need at the Big Woody will come off the back of the work I put in now so there really is no room for error at this stage.
Iíve also recently re-entered the working world having been a dedicated full time athlete for approximately 2years. I am still feeding off those years of work and experience but because I am my own boss there really isnít much of an interruption to my training. It really is actually quite nice sometimes to have something else to think about but there are those days where Iím shattered from training and I have to catch somebody in the UK which results in a later than Iíd like night. It will hopefully all be worth it though as I try to balance a real life with that of my alter-ego the professional triathlete! So what exactly am I up to? Well there will be an extension of my coaching so it wonít just be those in my close circle that get to tap into my experience as well as a full bike fitting service in partnership with my physio down at Physiologic Robina and even my own brand of bikes, wheels and components. These really are exciting times for me as for the first time I can actually begin to see how I am going to make a living out of doing what I love. Up until now I have been lucky to get race costs paid for by Zero2Hero but with their funding drying up I have had to look into how I can afford to continue doing this sport. Right now things really are pretty busy but very positive, I am excited about the months ahead and building upon my race at Busselton way back in December.
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Here we go again.
Mon Apr 28, 2008 11:15 pm Conan
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Iíve spent weeks of patient training so that once given the red light from my team I can truly begin to find out exactly what I am capable of. The past few years have been marred by poor decisions and bad luck topped off with niggles that should have been nipped in the bud but expanded into full blown injuries. Right now the injuries are gone, the bad luck was an opportunity to learn and the poor decisions are now rectified by consulting my team. In the words of my physio Mark... ďIím pumped Ė bring it on Ė YEAH!!!Ē

So over the past month or so Iíve got married, been on honeymoon and started back training again. The wedding was great and very special as it was the first time Iíve seen many friends and family since coming over to Australia in July last year. The honeymoon was absolutely awesome and just such an unspoilt paradise. With no phone, internet or TV it was a great step away from the real world and to top this I didnít put on any weight either giving me a bit of a head start with my restart into training. Iíd say right now that Iím about 75% in the groove; the groove being the pattern of training. I find it essential to have a regular weekly pattern which eliminates the need to think as thinking when tired can be dangerous and unproductive! Everyone of my team is involved on setting the programme and determining the correct load that I will be able to handle. As the weeks progress Iíll be loading up each of the disciplines with each week generally having a different overall focus. At the moment Iím trying to just regain my groove and once in that Iíll begin to start pushing on in the sessions a bit more. My swimming is slowly coming along and my biking is already in a fairly good position but I do have some more condition to come. My running gets kicking this week with the start of my track sessions and hill repeats. After all those weeks of patience work it does feel good to be staring down the barrel of a 30+hour training week. Fingers crossed Iíll be as happy in 10weeks when it feels like my legs have been replaced by my Nanís.

So hopefully this sets the tone for what over the coming weeks will give you an insight into exactly what goes on behind the scenes. Iíll let you on to key sessions, exactly who is part of my team and their role in my race preparation and of course my own take on how everything is coming together. We now have just under 11weeks until Ironman Switzerland and 16weeks until the Big Woody thatís a whole heap of training and experiences to share. Right now though itís time for bed, I have to get up at 4.20 for swimming...
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The big day approaches!
Thu Mar 27, 2008 12:35 am Conan
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Things on the GC have been pretty busy of late. I have my wedding tomorrow which has obviously been my biggest focus of late. Training has been just a case of keeping everything ticking over with roughly 20hours per week. My training plan has now been set out.Once I return back to normality I will have 13weeks till Switzerland, meaning at least 10weeks of over 35hours a week so I'll make the most of the rest now. My shin is now fully recovered and I'm in the process of "bedding in" a new pair of orthotics which will help control my heel but leave my midfoot alone which caused the stressie last time.

My sponsors pages have all been updated now with one exception and that is my physio team at physiologic at Robina and Bundall. Without the help of Mark and Terese I would certainly not be able to plan moving forward as fast as I have since Busselton. I will try to get everything else updated as soon as I get a chance.

All in all during this busy time everything is just about right... I'm looking forward to Switzerland but am equally if not more excited about racing at the Big Woody in August. I'm not sure yet which race I'll be doing as it will depend on how I pull up at Switzerland but I'm not sure I'll be able to race the half knowing that there's a full ironman on the same day. I don't want to be know as a bit of a softie!! This race will actually provide me with a great opportunity to try out some different race tactics that are sure to hurt but equally hurt everyone else as well. Racing in the UK over a Ironman distance event is something that I'll always look forward to but with Trevor and his team behind the event I'm sure it will be a great day.

I'll be back soon as a married man and will endevour to keep you a little bit more updated with my actual training with a no bull attitude. There really is too much of that...
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About Me
 
Once a professional triathlete now an average man...will my path lead me back to Triathlon or continue to pull me away from it?
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