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Lake Dunstan Triathlon

Lake Dunstan Triathlon

By Reuben Thompson

2018 kicked off the right way with the U19 win at the Lake Dunstan Triathlon and 2nd overall.  Out of the water I was 25 seconds down on the leader. I bridged the gap to the front within a couple kilometres before coming off the bike in first with another guy on my wheel. The initial pace was really fast off the bike and I lost touch with the leader for a moment before regaining composure and bridging the gap. With around 1.5km to go I lost touch to settle for 2nd overall. 

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I then spent the rest of January staying in Tauranga training with the Tauranga Junior Academy where I got some solid mileage in. Whilst in Tauranga I also got to train with 5 time ITU World Series Champ and 2 time Ironman 70.3 World Champ Javier Gomez. Javier was simply a boss.

The Tauranga crew then spent the final week of the school holidays at Blue Lake in Rotorua camping in tents. We spent the first few days training before the weekends Ecomist Blue Lake Multisport Festival. The festival had a Reverse Aquathlon and Open Water Swim on the first day and a Triathlon on the second day. In the Aquathlon I was 2nd U20 into the water for the swim but lost one position to finish in 3rd. The open water swim went really well to bring back some time from the aquathlon. In the triathlon I was quick to get to the front on the bike. I was first onto the run and held that position to take the U20 win. Wasn’t enough to win the series but enough to put me in 2nd.

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My only race in February was the New Zealand Age Group Triathlon Champs. Some issues off the start in the swim lost me valuable seconds. I never got all the way to the front on the bike only managing to pull up to 3rd. The run was very surgey and I struggled with this. I tried to maintain a good high pace but the group I was with forced the pace a lot. We ran down one of the boys who was up the road on the bike leaving a battle for the silver medal. It came down to the final 400 meters and I couldn’t match the pace of one of the older faster boys to settle for third as a 16 year old in the 16-19 National Champs.

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Waikato Triathlon Champs

Waikato Triathlon Champs

By Reuben Thompson- Ambassador

Reuben Athlete blog

March started off with a win at the Waikato Triathlon Champs. I lead out of the water for the first time ever in a triathlon before putting a descent gap into the rest of the field on the bike before running hard for a comfortable win.

Reuben Athlete blog

I spent two weeks away racing later in the month with two highlight races being the NZSS Triathlon Champs in Nelson on the 19th of March and the ITU World Cup in New Plymouth on the 25th.

Reuben Athlete blog

Nelson just went perfectly. I executed the swim I had wanted all season long and came out of the water in 3rd and made the lead bunch on the bike. Initially I wanted to split the group up that we had on the bike but that proved too hard to do without expending to much energy before the run. I just tried to animate the bike as much as I could and hurt the boys around me. We came off the bike in a group and it was to be a running race for the win. Early into the first lap I found myself with a gap and I put my head down and ran in fear to the line with older more experienced boys in pursuit of me. I won by 9 seconds with the fastest run split as a first year U19 since racing as an U16 the year before. 

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Between the races I don’t feel I recovered well enough with travel and trying to train on the road plus managing a good diet on the road. Although I had some extra confidence backing up from the NZSS race. The course for New Plymouth suited me better (on paper at least) with lots of hills and a very technical bike course.

In the end it wasn’t to be. My swim was good but not great. I expended a lot of energy to get across to the lead group on the bike. The bike was hard, and I simply didn’t have it on the run. I started the run in the lead for the Youth Olympic spot and finished up in the 3rd with one aussie and one kiwi ahead of me. This made me first loser for the spot but also first reserve.

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January Race Wrap Up

January Race Wrap Up

 By Reuben Thompson- Ambassador

In January I continued to build on my training, clocking in my biggest bike week ever as well as a good block of swimming and running. I was very privileged to do some training with Youth Olympic Triathlon Champion Aaron Barclay and now have Aaron helping me out with my triathlon plan and am also on board with the Willbike Cycle Coaching Team with James Williamson.
Even more exciting was the arrival of my new bike, a 2017 S-Works Tarmac. It is incredible! 

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Aboard my old steed I raced three final times in January. My first race was on the 2nd of January, the Dunstan Tri. I came away with third place in the “under 18 category” and fifth place overall.
The second race was the Dunstan Cycle Challenge. The 96 km race was a bit of a battle after missing the break. I worked quite a lot to keep the pace high in the chase group. With five guys out in front I was sprinting for the sixth place overall and for the second under the age of 20 in the final. After two hours and 20 minutes of racing I put in a pretty poor sprint to take the 11th place overall, but the second place under 20 in a field of 170 riders.
My final race on my 2016 Specialized Tarmac Expert was an 80km club handicap race from Hawea to Makarora and back. I was on scratch 33 minutes back on the first group off. Our five man group worked well to catch up with the riders ahead around 40km in. This was only a small bunch of riders though and there still a few groups up ahead. Two really quick A grade riders rode away to claim first and second while I soloed for 35km before catching all but one other rider. I was now in a three up sprint for fourth place and I came away with fifth in what was probably the hardest two hours of riding I’ve ever done.
 

My new bike started off sharply. My first ride on it was from Queenstown to Wanaka and back and aside from the rain and some snow on the top of the crown range it was great fun. I raced it the following day at the Cromwell to Alexandra handicap race. Again placed on scratch our four man group had to make up 27 minutes to the leaders over 39km. I came close to catching them but fell short by around 200 meters. I did however take the fastest time of the day after attacking on a short but steep hill to ride away solo from my group. My last race of January was a 35km mountain bike from Clyde to Bannockburn through farmland with 993 meters of climbing. I surprised myself to come away with 3rd place ahead of some very big fit lads who were on form one week out of The Pioneer. 

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In February I will be racing the first race of my secondary schools season at the southland secondary schools triathlon champs as well as the challenge Wanaka sprint tri as part the NZ Junior try series. I will also be riding for the first time as part of the Central-Benchmakers Willbike Cycle Team in Round 1 of the Calder Stewart Cycling Elite Series. 

 

 #WhereAdventuresBegin

 

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