I headed up to Batemans Bay to take a look at the Challenge Race and support the team racing there, including Luke Woods, Chris Stevens, Brett Murray and Anne Louise McClean.
Huge thank you to Luke Woods and his family who hosted me for the weekend at their holiday cabin.
The male race was won by Sam Appleton, who is coached by Tim Reed. Sam looked so strong on the bike and came off with almost a 9 min lead on second place. Peter Robertson was second after a DNF last week at IM Melbourne.
He explained to me that at Melbourne when he came off the bike he felt so good but it wasn’t to be. He put in some leg work at the end of the bike to try and catch the leaders and just used too much energy. He is now weighing up what to do next, having zero points so far for Kona he will need a couple of podiums to get there.
Third place went to Per Bittner (other half of Yvonne Van Vlerken). Per was backing up after coming ninth at IM Melbourne. His run was fantastic.
For the girls it was close all day. Van Vlerken, Blatchford and Ellis all out of the water together. On the bike it was a similar story with Liz Blatchford and Yvonne Van Vlerken leading onto the run. Yvonne was also backing up after finishing second at IM Melbourne, with a sprint finish to take the place from Caroline Steffen.
I don’t think anyone believed she’d be able to stay with Blatchford let alone take her 100m from the end! Yvonne is seriously in very good shape this season, and coached by one of the best, Siri Lindley. I can’t wait to see her in Kona. Mary Beth Ellis finished in third place.
Yvonne said that the course was very well suited to her, a flat swim, hilly bike and flat run. She said she and Per felt so great after Melbourne they wanted to race and after much pleading Siri agreed.
For the team it was great to see Chris Stevens and Luke Woods finish so strong. A couple of weeks ago Chris was told he wouldn’t be racing. But he did and he raced well. It was a training day for Chris with IM Cairns in June coming up. Luke broke his leg playing soccer last year and was very happy to finish sub six.
Brett Murray was also happy to get a sub six having spent the past two weeks talking in New Zealand, training had very much taken a back seat.
What a great day for the team and for Challenge. Australians, you need to go support this race. It was one of the best I’ve been to.