Yarrawonga-Mulwala OD Race Report

Yarrawonga-Mulwala OD Race Report – Ben Shepherd


Pre Race

Ben ShepherdI hadn’t had much time to think about the race. Noting that there was no open field, the professional athletes were racing in the age groups. This meant that I was already a little more relaxed going in as I had no aspirations of winning. I simply went in to the race looking to race smart and hard in the conditions.

Unlike every other race, the event started in the afternoon. This gave me a lot of time to think, drink coffee, and think again. Dangerous. I definitely prefer racing in the morning, but all in all a good learning experience.

One of the best things I did was showing up to transition early. I managed to secure an excellent spot right by the entry to T1, allowing me to see my bike right out of the water. Unlike every other race it was not a ‘select your spot’ deal, but rather an alternating, 7-to-a-rack deal where we were ordered where to go. If you were late, you got lost in a rack, making it nigh on impossible to spot your bike. Once I had the bike racked, I went off to find an early lunch and grab a quick nap in the car.



A two lap swim (boo), fresh water (yay), murky as anything (boo). The field appeared super aggressive at the start with a lot of shouldering and nudging even before the buzzer went off. I was pushed out of the way by a dude about three times my size, which was a bit offputting. It did give me a good target to chase though.

When the buzzer went off, I experienced the most brutal swim start I have ever seen. Punching, kicking, pushing, I even saw someone have their head held underwater. It left a really bitter taste in my mouth as to how aggro these competitors were. Still, I focused on keeping good form and trying to find fast feet to hold.

Once the field cleared out a little bit, I started to see some clear water and some fast feet ahead. Keeping a thought on form and technique, I powered on a little bit and managed to grab hold of a trail of bubbles. Turns out that trail was being created by Nathan Shearer, a newly turned pro who won the 25-29AG at Kona last year. Once we entered the relative calm of the lagoon, we bounded up the ramp to T1 and continued with the rest of the race.

All in all, I swam a 22:30 – or spot on 1:30/100m. Not bad considering the start, the visibility and the fact that it was a freshwater swim which is traditionally slower. Even better was the fact that I left the water feeling very fresh and relaxed – I have never done that before, which to me means a whole lotta progress. Positive signs.

Positives: Finding (and holding) feet the whole way. Consistent power, felt like I still had something in the tank when I left the swim. Surged when required.

Negatives: Allowing myself to get beaten up at the start, getting frustrated by the washing machine effect, focusing my anger on the guy who pushed me out of the way before the gun – more control needed here



Not a lot to say here. Bike was nice and easy to spot. Ran to it whilst unzipping the wetsuit. Goggles and cap off, wrenched the wetsuit down the rest of the way. Helmet on, grabbed bike, turned bike computer on while running.

Huge transition layout meant I had to run a long way with the bike. This wasn’t too bad because it gave my HR a chance to settle down as I made my way to the exit. Mounting the bike was a bit poor – right foot went in well, but shoe came unclipped when trying to get the left foot in. A bit more practice needed here but not a whole lot of damage done to the race clock here.

Bottom line: Transition needs work!



Oh boy. This is where it gets fun. Two lap course around the bay. For the first 6km, I had a tailwind or a cross/tailwind. I was holding low 200’s on the power meter, and sailing at 46+ km/h. Happy days. Then as the course went around the corner, it became more of a crosswind, then a cross/headwind. Struggletown! I watched my average speed play jump rope with 40km/h, then watch it dip significantly as I made the turn and powered into the headwind to return. My average speed was about 39.2 by the time I had finished the first lap. I picked up the power for the second lap – as planned – but the wind seemed to have picked up as well. I surged for a bit at 300W to try and make up some time, but then race experience spoke to me and I accepted that my final return leg was going to be a bit slow. I retained a NP of 255W, and an average speed of 38.6km/h, giving me a 1:02:06 bike. There were a few moments during the ride that I was passed by someone punching out significant watts, but for the first time (ever), I accepted it, didn’t go outside the plan, and put faith in my run to catch them. It wasn’t quite the ride I wanted (sub-1 is the goal), but all in all I am happy that I rode intelligently given the conditions.

Positives: Consistency, intelligence, and lack of ego.

Negatives: Rough mount of the bike, went too easy on the way out, could probably have pushed a bit harder on the way back in too. Need to find another 20+ watts in my opinion.



Another long run back in which allowed time to get the head together. When I arrived, I noticed someone had knocked my visor and glasses around, so I scrambled to grab them. Shoes on smoothly, race number on, visor and sunnies on, locked and loaded. Another long run out, but everyone faced that. I left feeling pretty calm, thinking I was in around 10th or so position (but in reality had NFI).



‘Run Smart, run within yourself’ was my mantra as I set out. I didn’t want to burn my matches too early like I had done in Townsville, and I needed to keep the pedal down for the whole 10km. The run was another 2 laps, a small climb up and over a bridge between Vic/NSW, and part gravel/part bitumen surface, which was quite tight in some places. Not my favourite run course, but not the worst by far. I kept an eye on the heart rate, as I didn’t want to blow up on this one like I did at Townsville. Surprisingly, with a comfortable HR of 165, I was able to hold a 3:47 for my first KM. This trend continued, holding around 3:50 or better for the first 5km. Then the wind picked up and I slowed slightly. My last 5km averaged out to be about 3:55, with my slowest going 4:01 – into wind and up the bridge. No negative split, but definitely a solid improvement compared to my last race. My official run time was 37:07, but the course was 300m short – so I’d probably be around the 38 minute mark. Still, a good day out. Good signs included not needing to smash water into myself like I did at TVL, and feeling relatively comfortable apart from a bit of shoulder pain at about the 5km point. Manageable but uncomfortable.

The best part? I passed the guy who shoved me out of the way with about 3km to go. Vindicated. Happy days.

Positives: Consistency, aerobic fitness, and no need for excess hydration.

Negatives: No negative split, noticing the soreness in the shoulders.


Summary: A 2:05:32 isn’t a bad effort. There is plenty of room to grow, but plenty to be happy about. Third in the AG (won by a pro), which from my count puts me at 45 out of a possible 50 points so far. The quest for ITU world champs is alive and well.

Looking forward to Robina in January with a bit of time to grow.


Do Your Best! – Tim Franklin

Chain Reaction – Gerrard Gosens

Tri Nation Triathlon July Newsletter

Mark Kona Training

April Newsletter

IM New Zealand 2016

March Newsletter

Race Results

IM New ZealandWe had a particularly big weekend of racing with many squad members racing locally and overseas. Full results can be viewed on Facebook but we have a few special mentions from the weekend:

Tweed Coast Enduro

Chris Bailey 1st place 35-39 and 5th overall in 4:21. Chris’ family and work commitments make training extremely challenging but he works very closely with head coach Mark on a very specific program to ensure when he races he is fit. Next up is Malaysian 70.3 in an attempt to qualify for the Age Group World Champs.

Stella Foley 2nd place in 30-34 and only her second long course race in 5:01. After doing our beginner course late last year and having come from a marathon running background Stella clearly has some natural talent and is now working with Mark on getting ready for Ironman Cairns. 

Sue Meehan 2nd place in 50-54. Getting back into the long course game and also getting ready for Cairns , Sue is working with coach Brad to have her fit and firing for her third Ironman. 

Jane Saxby completed her first half IM in 7.22.  The family that plays together stays together as fiance Ian Parnell also raced. Next is their wedding. 

Thanks also to Ian for taking the tent to Tweed for squad members to use. 

Coffs Harbour
Paul DoddNew Tri Nation member, ex pro and World Age group medalist Paul was 7th overall in his first triathlon at Coffs Harbour tri yesterday since Sunshine Coast 70.3 last year. Paul is aiming for 70.3 Worlds later in the year. 

Ironman New Zealand
Christy Collis. First time Ironman finisher in the 45-49 age group. Christy balances 4 kids, working at QUT as a professor and training and did it with aplomb in 13 hours flat. Great effort and smiled the whole way.

Craig Stocks. First time Ironman finisher and in the process has lost around 12kg and did everything right to finish in 11:41. Is now looking towards Cairns Ironman as he enjoyed it so much.

Kate Wardrope. Another first timer, married to Dave and mother of 2 kids that balances everything very well. Came across in 11.56.

Sarah JonesMother of 2, wife to Brad and delivered a personal best time by over an hour to come 8th in 10.48 on the back of a 3.44 marathon. Very impressive. 

Amanda Lucas. A 30 min PB and 3rd in her age group just missing out on a Kona spot. Will only get better and executed the perfect race.

Kristin Muir. Has been struggling with a knee injury leading in but ran tough to record a 30 min plus pb and looked great all day.


March is race month for many athletes in the squad and sessions will work towards fine tuning the body in those final weeks. With such a busy month of racing and the conclusion of two of our major long course events, the Saturday morning sessions will take a break in March returning after Easter. 

In April the Cairns Ironman and 70.3 athletes will be focused on their last 12 weeks of training with Saturday sessions planned out accordingly. We have also now introduced a monthly short course weekend cycle. This ride will be with Ray and the date/location for the first ride will be released shortly.

Changes to the training timetable will be in place starting the week of the 21st March. These changes allow us to offer more in our cycling program as well as allowing the week to balance out better for most members.

Six Week Beginner Triathlon Course

Obeginner tri courseur last beginner’s course for the season will start on Tuesday 29th March. The course runs for six weeks and covers all aspects of the swim, bike and run. There is no minimum fitness or ability level required and all sessions have a technique and skill base.

At the end of the six weeks course participants will take part in the Byron Bay Triathlon weekend which includes Tempta and Sprint distance options. Full details are available online (click here).

Cairns Training Camp

Due to popular request we will be running a training camp in Noosa that will target the Cairns Ironman and 70.3. The camp will run over the Anzac Day long weekend and start late afternoon on Friday 22nd April. As we only have limited accommodation booked please ensure you register as soon as possible to confirm your spot. 

We now have over 10 athletes entered in the Ironman at Cairns and many more planning on travelling up for the 70.3 event so it should be a great weekend. Full details are online (click here).

Thanks Tim!

Tim ColesUnfortunately with our new timetable changes and Tim’s commitments to his new shop and trail running group he is no longer able to continue coaching with us at Tri Nation. 

We are very sad to say goodbye to Tim in a coaching role as he has been a great asset to the team over the last 2 years. With 3 sessions left, coffee post run next Tuesday will be an extra special one as Tim’s last Tuesday run session.

8 IM in 8 Days Around Australia

Our good friend Craig Percival is currently doing 8 IM in 8 days in 8 States to raise money for the John McLean Foundation. This Saturday he will be doing the Brisbane leg of the event starting at 6am from Healthstream. If you’re not at Mooloolaba for the Tri he would love for people to join him. It will be the 7th of his 8 IM events so no doubt he will need all the support he can get. The ride will be 6 x Riverloops and the run will be out and back from Healthstream to the Regatta along the bike path.

Beginner Triathlon Tip

Rest and recover. To get the most out of your training sessions you need to ensure you are recovering adequately. This includes not doing too much training too early, getting enough sleep and having something to eat within the first 30 minutes after a hard session. 

It is common to find people not recovering properly after they train. To see the best results, get your rest right and you’ll not only make improvements but stay in the sport for years to come.

Ironman triathlon at Melbourne

March Newsletter


It’s been a big couple of weeks on the racing front with Mooloolaba and then Ironman Melbourne over the weekend. For many especially the Ironman athletes it was their major race after months of hard training.  We would like to make a special mention of all the first timers over the Olympic Distance and Ironman events.  It has been a pleasure to see them progress and achieve something special:


  • Katie Sinclair
  • Barb Thurgood
  • Victor Neep
  • Ellen Meelkop

Ironman MelbourneIronman Melbourne:

  • Pat Dall
  • Taryn Swan
  • Joey Moore
  • Brett Allen
  • Andrew Hancox

On the subject of special mentions it was fantastic to see long time member Mark Gleeson qualify for Kona in the men’s 45-49 age group. He missed out by one spot last year in the same race so to see him make it this year was a testement to all his hard work and dedication.  He now joins Chris Bailey on the plane to Kona later in the year.

Congratulations to everyone that raced at Mooloolaba and Ironman Melbourne. They are special events on the calendar and we look forward to watching many more Tri Nation athletes compete at these events in the years to come.

The times of Mooloolaba and Ironman Melbourne have been posted on the Tri Nation training FB page.

The next race is the Tweed Enduro this weekend, followed by Luke Harrop on the 12th of April which is also the third round of the ITU World Triathlon Series. There we will see the very best in the World racing so even if you are not competing we would encourage you to head down to Southport and watch the elites race.


Enoggera_Swim_area_2Each month we will endeavour to have a brick session followed by BBQ breakfast. Our last brick was at Redcliffe in February with March too full of races to find a free weekend. The Enoggera Reservoir is now open for swimming so our next sessions is scheduled at the Reservoir on Gap Creek Road on the 18th April.

Be prepared for something different with the reservoir surrounded by running trails and the ride course featuring Mt Nebo. We’ll have a BBQ breakfast after the session next to the reservoir – perhaps bring the family out to meet you for breakfast afterwards.


Later in the week we will start taking orders for the next uniform order. In this order there will be cycling gear including winter gear, run shirts and singlets and winter hoodies. As per previous orders it will be done through the online shop.

If you are in doubt as to what size to order we encourage you to visit the Scody shop and factory at 310 Montague Rd, West End.


Our good friends at Shoes Feet Gear have relocated to a new premises.  The new address is 108 Latrobe Terrace, Paddington oppositte the Coles Centre. It is a great new shop with more space and better parking options.


Save the date – Saturday 27th June at the Bulimba Sailing Club. After what has been a huge season so far this is shaping up to be a big night. One not to miss!

ironman triathlon training

February Newsletter


The training schedule changes we announced on facebook last week come into effect next week. These changes are as follows:

Healthstream QUT–          Windtrainer session is now a Wednesday morning with Mark

–          A new beginner swim on a Wednesday morning with Jan

–          Group ride focusing on skills and aerobic conditioning on a Friday morning with Brad and Alberto

We felt that the risk of crash was increasing too much to continue a hard interval bike session on a Wednesday morning in the CBD area. The amount of traffic and other cyclists is increasing all the time in the CBD area.  Finding safe locations to do hard bike intervals is becoming more difficult.

A wind trainer session allows the same conditioning effect if not better than a road session. By having the new ladies only ride on a Monday morning and the group ride on Friday, members will still be able to work on the skills side of cycling but in a safer environment with less risk of a crash where speed is not the focus.

For swim sessions now that we have separate times for beginner and intermediate/advanced swimmers, please try and swim in the appropriate session for your ability. As a general rule you need to be able comfortably hold a 2 min cycle for 100 repeats to swim in the intermediate/advanced session. The Friday morning swim with Ray is the all abilities swim for the week.

On a Saturday morning through to IM Cairns in June there will be a long course ride most weekends. These are non-coached sessions that anyone is welcome to attend. The rides vary between 3-5hrs and members need to be self-sufficient in terms of changing a tyre, hydration/nutrition and knowing the proposed route that will be posted on FB in the week prior to the ride.

Where appropriate on the racing calendar we will also include a monthly brick session which will be held in a mix of locations including QUT and Redcliffe.

Due to many members racing Kingscliffe and the Noosa club half this weekend there is no ride scheduled for this weekend.


Our next monthly breakfast will be on February 28th in conjunction with a swim, bike and run session at Suttons Beach Redcliffe. For the IM Melbourne athletes this is their last key race specific session. For those athletes competing over short course and half distance events this session will be modified to accommodate the different racing needs.


We are right in the peak racing season at the moment with a race most weekends involving Tri Nation members. This weekend is the Kingscliff Tri and the Noosa club half. In 2 weeks is the next QTS race at Raby Bay while in March we have Mooloolaba, IM Melbourne and the Tweed Enduro.

In April is Luke Harrop, the last QTS at Raby Bay and then in May we have Byron Bay, Port Macquarie IM and Ultraman Australia and finally finishing the season at Cairns for the 70.3 and IM events on June 14.

Everyone has been working hard for a few months now and racing is all about testing our limits physically and mentally.  Training is great but nothing beats a race.


Our charity partner Smiling for Smiddy do a fantastic job raising much needed funds for cancer research. Over the last couple of years we have had many of our squad members participate in various Smile for Smiddy events. This year is no different with Tri Nation members registered to participate in the different events Smiddy organise.

All of their events are listed on their website at Also remember that fundraising is not the only way you can help. Jobs such as road crew at their events and training rides is also another really useful way to contribute.

Over the coming months we will be holding some events and functions to contribute towards this.   We would love to see as many of our members be part of these events as it is not only a great way to raise funds but it also builds moral within the squad.

Smiddy ambassadorAlso this week Smiddy presented a group of people their inaugural Smiddy Ambassador awards. These ambassador awards were presented in recognition of the contribution these people have made towards the Smiddy program. Head coach Mark Turner and ladies cycling coach extrordinaire, Claire Schneider were extremely thrilled to be bestowed with these ambassador awards.



IM Camp

January Training Update

Greetings of the Season

Welcome to 2015.  We hope everyone had an enjoyable and festive Christmas and New Year and that 2015 brings you much happiness and success.  Our coaching team are very much looking forward to the year ahead and the number of different events we have members training for.  Like you, many of them also have different events they are training for and I know that over the break they were getting out there and doing some solid training.

A special welcome also to our new members that have joined us over the festive period.

Events and Races

Our first race of the season is this weekend with QTS Robina.  We also have the dynamic duo of Taryn Axelsen and Darrell Giles flying over the ditch to race Auckland 70.3 as part of their preparation for IM Melbourne.

IM CampFollowing that we have the training camp at the RACV resort Noosa which caters for both short and long course athletes preparing.  We still have places left at camp so if you’re keen on getting a great fitness boost from 4 days of solid training then register now.  These training camps do give your fitness a big kick along by overloading training for 3-4 days and then recovering afterwards.  Once you have recovered your endurance levels will have increased which leads to improved performance.

Go to to register.

After camp we have Hell of the West, Caloundra QTS, Kingscliff, Raby Bay QTS, Mooloolaba, Tweed Enduro, Luke Harrop and Byron Bay.  Then on the IM side of things we have members competing in New Zealand, Melbourne, Port Macquarie and Cairns.  As you can see a big 6 months ahead.

Social Media and Tri Nation App

Tri Nation appWe use our Tri Nation FB training page as a means to communicate and inform our members of the latest news and updates.  Additionally we now have the Tri Nation app also as a means to inform members of different events.  An example was yesterday when the Gold Coast bike session was cancelled due to rain and a notification was sent out via the training page and the app.

We will also be posting more twitter updates, photos and snippets to again keep members informed.  You can follow the Tri Nation twitter account at @TriNationNews.

The Tri Nation app can be downloaded from the app store.  We are currently working with our sponsors to develop a reward program for members who use the app. Stay tuned for more details.


The next 8-10 weeks will see sessions focusing on higher intensity to bring everyone up to a peak towards the end of March early April as most of the short course and Half IM type races are around that time. For the long course athletes competing in New Zealand and Melbourne their sessions will differ slightly to be more strength focused with some intensity but not as much as the short course program.

With the higher intensity comes a greater need to get your recovery right.  Sleep is the best recovery tool available and the cheapest.  Try and get a good solid 7-9 hrs each night and you’ll be surprised at the difference it makes in your energy levels and training/racing performance.

Remember outside of squad sessions keep the sessions nice and easy at around 70-75% of max hr and no faster.  Don’t make the mistake of going too fast on your easy sessions.  Easy on the easy and hard on the hard, do it consistently and you will improve, it’s that simple.  Sometimes we need to slow down to go fast!

We will have some planned recovery weeks and time trials in there to measure progress.  These are very important parts of the training process, even more important that the training itself.

And finally on the subject of training could everyone please ensure they have a full kit bag of swim aids when coming to swim training. This includes long flippers, hand sized paddles, ankle strap and pull buoy.  As part of our swim training program we like to use the different swimming aids to help improve performance.  The aqua shop at Camp Hill is our recommended swim retailer for all this equipment.

Monthly Breakfast

Our next monthly breakfast for both Brisbane and the Gold Coast will be in mid February most likely on Saturday the 14th of February.  It is the day before Kingscliffe tri and a nice easy run the day before for those competing will be a great way to freshen up.  On the subject of Saturday training sessions those athletes training for long course are doing rides every Saturday morning over a pre planned route.

These rides are open to everyone and all abilities.  The goal of these rides to build endurance so they are at own pace so it is important to be self sufficient in the event of a puncture and knowing the route.  There is always a mix of ability that attend meaning most often people will not be that far apart.

This week’s ride location and route will be posted on FB by coach Tim who is leading the rides each week.

Goodbye and Good Luck

We are losing two long time members this week as they head off to North Queensland and new adventures.  Jonathon Lucas is moving back to Townsville with his young family to be closer to his extended family and Clare Roohan has just got her first post university job as a physio in Mareeba.  Both Jonathon and Clare have been with the squad for a long time now and we are sad to see them go.

On behalf of everyone at Tri Nation we would like to firstly thank them both for all their support and wish them all the best in their new endeavours.  Hopefully we’ll see them at the Cairns IM and 70.3 as they both are aiming to compete in June.


Power Meters for Cycling

Training and Racing with a Power Meter

  • Power = the amount of energy being applied to the pedals.
  • A function of torque (pressure on the pedals) and cadence.
  • Provides immediate feedback on cycling effort.
  • Does not have the lag effect that heart rate does.
  • Is not affected by wind, gradient, temperature, fatigue, hydration etc that other indicators like Speed and HR are.

Functional Threshold Power (FTP)

  • FTP is defined as the average power that an athlete can maintain for a 1 hour effort.
  • All training and racing zones should be expressed as a % of your FTP.
  • FTP can be determined in a number of ways:
    – 1 hour TT average power eg. 260w
    – 20min TT average power ÷ 1.05 eg. 273w over 20min = 260w for 1 hour
    Your FTP should be retested every 4-6 weeks to recalibrate training zones

Training with a Power Meter

Power based training levels (zones) are developed based on your FTP. Coggan based training zones:

power meters for cycling

Zones are used for targeted physiological and performance adaptations

power meters for cycling

Typical Workouts for Power Based Training

power meters for cycling

Power and Heart Rate

power meters for cyclingPower and heart rate will not always track together. Fatigue, dehydration, tiredness will increase HR compared to power. In training or racing, this is called ‘decoupling’.

Important Data from the Power Meter

power meters for cycling


Analysing the Data

  • Use lap splits to allow easier power workout analysis.
  • Consistent Normalised Power from lap to lap, 5% variance.
  • Low Variability Index, < 1.05
  • Low decoupling ratio < 5%
  • Get a feeling of the level of fatigue for a given TSS.

Racing with a Power Meter

  • Establish your goal race power using formula.
  • Expect high power at the start but try to keep it down – PACING!
  • For an undulating course, aim to hold 95% of goal power on flats.
  • For a >3min hill, ride at 105% of goal wattage.
  • For a <3min hill, ride at 110-120%
  • Expect decoupling of power and HR.
  • Aim for each lap to be as close to target power as possible.
  • Avoid surges, and power spikes.