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Aaron Farlow's Blog

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Taupo…Oh-ooooooooo

March 1st, 2012 by aaronfarlow

Got some wild weather heading our way for Ironman New Zealand this weekend and there is talk of possibly turning it into a bike run again.
This is the forecast I got a few minutes ago.

Today
Thursday 1
Fine and cloudy periods. Cool southwesterlies, strong and gusty.
Issued: 4:43pm 1 Mar
Tomorrow
Friday 2
Fine at first but becoming cloudy during the day and some rain developing by evening. Southwesterlies easing, and tending northerly at night.
Issued: 4:43pm 1 Mar

Saturday 3
Morning rain, briefly heavy, easing to a few showers.Strong northerlies turning strong gusty southwest, gale gusting 110 km/h in exposed places.

Yes the race is on Saturday when they are predicting 110km/h winds… Could be interesting!

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2012 ready to rock!

February 21st, 2012 by aaronfarlow

With the start of 2012 we welcome some new blood into the team for what is going to be a huge year.

Most of the new athletes we have trained with previously or known in some way and I’m excited to be joining them on the team this year. As Brett has said the athletes have been chosen because they are tough, willing to work hard and have shown ability rather than just having raw potential.

One of my most memorable moments last year was when I went to Thailand to meet the rest of the team and sponsors. One of the days was a cruise around some islands and some photos for the sponsors, at some point we were all sat down as a group and were told that the critics didnt think the athletes in the team were any good and we were not going to get any results. I remember Sutto said ” This happens every year, and every year we prove them wrong”

The talk!

And we did! Though looking back at the new members in the team last year I can see it from the critics side, it was a huge gamble. New to the team we had Mary Beth, Dave Dellow, Dan, Dianna, Christian, George, Felicity and myself among others. None of us really had any great results.

Dave had been plagued with injury for years, got some solid results but never able to train long enough to reach his full potential- By the end of 2011 he won the biggest race in Australia at Noosa raced 2 Irondistance races and had a list of great results in some of the toughest races, without injury.

Mary Beth had taken the Ironman world by storm with three wins in the space of two months, after looking like she might have been washed up before joining the team.

Dianna went from battling for  top 10 results to fighting for podiums at every race she attended.

And I had my best year by far winning my first Ironman tittle and some other solid results in the UK and Europe.

The big fella wins Noosa!

We look forward to what Bella,Mathias, Carrie, Matt, Ali and the Hairy man from Gran-Canaria Bayliss have got up their sleeves for this year.

The season starts for us as a team mostly around Australia/Oceania from January through until about May with a Camp on the Sunshine Coast and lots of races here and there before the Aussie winter kicks in and we head back to Switzerland for the European season and off coarse the big dance in Hawaii.

Look out for us around the races!

Cheers, Aaron.

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Wanaka wrap

January 24th, 2012 by aaronfarlow

Sometimes you get a good result without a good performance and sometimes you perform well but don’t get the result your after.. Well Challenge Wanaka was both for me. I finally put together a complete race that I was happy with and came across the line first.

After a long tough windy day I crossed the line 10 minutes ahead of second place Jamie Whyte then Kieren Doe both from New Zealand. I barely had enough energy to stand and my body was aching all over but I couldn’t have been happier at that point, it was all over and I was the new champion.
After hearing about Wanaka for the past few years I decided this was the year to have a crack. From what I heard it was a tough course. Windy and hilly over rough roads and a fair chance of some cold weather- very similar to the races I went well at in the UK just a few months earlier.
I wasn’t disappointed. My first two days there the wind was almost strong enough to blow me over and it was pretty cold. What I didn’t even think of was the amazing snow capped mountains that surrounded us and provided a perfect backdrop for the race coverage that was beamed right across the world on Saturday. That really was amazing.

view from a walking trail just outside our house


I knew that if the wind continued as strong as it was, I wouldn’t be allowed to use my disc and I didnt have a spare wheel. So I organised a backup from the bikeshop that was going to be running a shimano cluster on a Campagnolo groupset. Not the perfect situation, I just hoped it didnt come to that.
As it turned out, the day was alot calmer to begin with and the technical officials decided it was safe enough to race on the disc. I have learnt my lesson for next year!

When the gun went on Saturday morning I immediately tried to go with the two swimmers who were expected to easily lead out, I thought I was swimming quite well and if I could go with the leaders I might be able to open a good lead on the rest of the field straight away. That didn’t go to plan and both Kieren and Bryan opened a gap back to me then another gap back to the rest of the field.
I still wasn’t in a bad position. Two and a half minutes down on the leaders and about 40 seconds back to the rest of the field. My plan was to go solo and to my surprise after my first time check at 30km I was shutting the gap rapidly and increasing the distance to the guys behind. I was now 1.30 behind and could see the leaders on straight stretches of road. Pretty soon I was right behind them, Bryan blew a tyre and Kieren was clearly struggling to hang in there.
Kieren and I rode together until about the 150km mark when he must have gone through a bad patch and I came into the second transition with a slight 2min lead on him, another minute back to Jamie whyte then the rest of the field chasing behind there.
The 42km was a tough run with some exposed windy trails and lots of little ups and downs. For me it was just a matter of getting enough energy into my body to hold a constant speed and avoiding cramping. I hit a low spot for a few km around 21-25km but managed to get it back together and have a good run and stay in front of a chasing field.
It was quite satisfying to get it right and be able to race the entire race instead of simply getting through it. Even though I won IM UK last year I didn’t feel I performed as well as I could have, whereas after this race I was totally satisfied with my performance and as a bonus I got the win.

A massive thanks to the Challenge guys for putting on such a great event, my homestay Jonh and Jen from Wednesday until Monday for being so accommodating, everyone from Wanaka who helped in the event and my supporters and sposnors.
Its races like this that make the hard work worth it!

Cheers, Aaron

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Wagga to Busselton

November 30th, 2011 by aaronfarlow


Last weekend I headed out to a small race in Wagga, regional NSW to get a race in my legs before Ironman Busselton this weekend. It was just a short trip from Canberra and a mid morning, Saturday start helped make it a relaxed weekend. It was great to go to a race just turning up an hour before, putting the bike in transition, warming up and waiting for the gun, not worrying about prolonged race briefings and whether or not you bike will still be there in the morning.

The distance was very similar to the race I had in Alpe Du’ Huez earlier in the year 2km Swim/ 120 bike/20km run, only the weather was a little better and we didnt have to climb a mountain to finish the bike!

I took the lead in the swim and headed out onto the bike solo with 35km/h winds and a couple of storms ensuring our day on the bike wasn’t to easy. It was the first time I had used the Campagnolo disc and after that all I can say is that it was amazing. At one point I had a huge tail wind behind me and I looked down at the speedo to see that I was sitting on 65km/h on the flat!

By the time I got to t2 I had close to a 20minute lead back to the rest of the field which was great, that meant there was every chance I was going to win, but that wasn’t the reason I was there. I still wanted to put a good run together after a hard bike. I went out pretty solid into a huge headwind by that time and ran well, over the 20km.

At the end of the day I achieved what I wanted from the race. I won and I was able to have a good solid race before Ironman this weekend.

If your interested the results are on the link below:

http://www.multisportaustralia.com.au/RaceTecResults/Results.aspx?CId=1&RId=623&EId=8

Tomorrow I head over to Busselton for Ironman. It will be a new experience racing the distance over a flat course and its going to be a tough race with some really good guys on the start list. I am recovering well from the last race and looking forward to this weekend!

Will let you know how it goes.

Aaron.

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Trip up North

November 15th, 2011 by aaronfarlow

It was a bit delayed but last week we headed up to far North Queensland for our “Honeymoon” and a chance to check out an interesting part of the world neither of us had seen before.
We spent our time in a small coastal town called Port Douglas which is about 60km away from Cairns and where Challenge has expanded with its first Australian race.

On a very flexable schedule we got to see most of the major attractions from the surrounding areas including a day trip out to the Great Barrier Reef, a cruise along the Daintree river, a swim at Mossman Gorge, trip to a crocodile farm and a spot of fishing. (I did catch some good fish!)

We had a great time up there and left feeling refreshed and fulfilled that we made the right choice for our break.
The people were friendly, it wasn’t over crowded and the countryside was just amazing. After this experience I am definitely going to make the trip back there again and have penciled Challenge Cairns on the calendar.
Trying to fit training into a trip away like that was quite a juggle but I managed to get something done everyday and came back ready to rip into a few good weeks of preparation before Busselton so we’ll see how that goes!

Aaron.

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Changing of seasons.

October 18th, 2011 by aaronfarlow

As our calendar year and the European races draw to an end the Australian/Oceania triathlon season is just beginning.
This year as long course athletes we have more to look forward to and a reason to race in our own country thanks to a few changes from WTC (World triathlon Corperation that own and run “Ironman” branded races) and the establishment of “Challenge” races both in Australia and New Zealand.
Previously the Australian long course season has been made up of a handful of Half Ironman races and two full Ironman events in Busselton and Port Macquarie.
This year the branding of all half Ironman events has been changed to 70.3. Essentially its exactly the same race but now these races earn us points towards qualifying for Hawaii (KPR),the prizemoney has been more than doubled in most cases and there is drug testing at all events.
On the full distance side we now have three Ironman races. Melbourne being added as the regional championships with maximum points towards KPR and $100000 in prize money. Challenge Cairns will again take place next year after its successful launch earlier this year and over the ditch there is Ironman New Zealand and Challenge Wanaka.
All these races are great news, giving us plenty of races to choose from and I think will bring guys out of the woodwork that we wouldnt usually see race in Australia as financially it just didnt make sense.
Guys that normally live in Australia during summer for training then racing in either Europe or Americia now have a reason to race, sure its not going to attract alot of overseas competitors like the former Tooheys Blue or Accenture series as foreign athletes have to pay nearly 50% in tax but its going to bring back Australian athletes to race in Australia and create more interest in our sport helping it grow.
I dont agree with alot of things that WTC do and have done in such a greedy money hungry way but this is a step in the right direction.
Can we see Australia establish a series similar to what we had on the short-course side of things 10-15 years ago?
Probably not as there is many things that have to change for that to happen, but as an athlete I’m happy to see triathlon expanding and our sport becoming more popular.

Aaron.

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Triple Header: Challenge Henley Race Report

September 20th, 2011 by aaronfarlow
Another week and another race report- this time from Challenge Henley in the UK.
After Ironman Wales I made my way over to Henley midweek and started preparations for one of the “Challenge” series new events.
After a few races over here this year I have learn t that there is always going to be two common factors in the United Kingdom
1. Bad weather
2. Terrible roads
I had accepted that before the race had started  so there was no surprise that I was almost vibrated off my bike in the pouring rain several times during the race.
What was a surprise though was the atmosphere of the race and the lengths that the organisers went to, to make sure the athletes had the best day possible and were looked after.  As with anything for the first time there will be alot of things to change or improve but for their first event I thought it was great and am hoping that I will be able to get back next year.  As far as the race went, I finished third and put some more experience in the memory bank for the next race.
From the swim start Steve Bayliss and I broke away.  Steve did all the navigating following the lead canoe through some thick fog at the front while I tried to follow his feet and just hang on.  Getting out of the water we had close to a 7 minute lead to the next group of pro guys which is totally unheard of, Steve and I didnt know what had happened to them but went about trying to extend that lead during the three lap 180km ride and managed to push it out to about 10minutes at one point on the second lap.  On the last lap I tried to open it out even further and started to push a bit harder for the last 50km which broke Steve and I apart but the others now in a 5 man group also had the same idea and I hit transition with a couple of minutes to Steve then about 5 minutes to the group.  400m into the run as I went past the first aid station I started vomiting everywhere, I’m still not exactly sure why but I managed to get running again and some nutrition into my stomach but had started to lose alot of time. I hung onto the lead for the first two laps of four to make up the 42km but was passed shortly after by the eventual race winner and second.  I still thought it might be possible to get some form back over the last 10km and catch up with them so fought on as best as I could, running with Steve for a good part of it and finishing about a minute behind second and two minutes behind the winner.
I was planning on staying on in Europe for another couple of weeks before Challenge Barcelona on the 2nd of October but after a quick chat to Brett and a good think about it have decided to head back to Oz later this week to have some recovery time and start to prepare for the Australian season later in the year.

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Ironman Wales

September 14th, 2011 by aaronfarlow

Coming into long course racing I didnt think I would be in another sprint finish again but that was exactly where I found myself last weekend. After leading most of the race and getting off the bike with close to a 10 minute lead I crossed my fingers that I could hold on for the 42.2 km run. Frustratingly I was caught with 200m left before the finish and had to settle for second.
Anyway this was the first time that Ironman had been to Wales and the locals were so friendly and accommodating that I hope it will return for many years to come even if the weather was terrible! I have included a photo from our swim start at 6.30 in the morning where the crowd was lining the streets.
The swim was a rough ocean swim and I exited about a minute behind the leaders which consisted of a group of three including one of the local boys which got the crowd excited. Onto the bike we were hammered by strong winds and a very tough course. My garmin said it was close to 2500 verticle metres over the 180km! And I caught up to the leaders at about the 50km mark and soon after started to open a bit of a gap which turned into near 10 minutes when I got off the bike and began the marathon.
I started running pretty well and thoughts of my second IM win started to entertain me, but pretty soon I really began to struggle and at the 30km mark I was hardly moving faster than walking pace just trying to make it to the next aid station, once I made it there I got as much energy as I needed and soon got back into a good pace. But after such a bad period I had lost most of my lead and the gap was down to about a minute with 5km to go.
From there it was a footrace to the finish line and we were both flying. Unfortunately with about 200m to go I was caught and all my efforts to get to the line first were smashed.
Although that was a bit frustrating I had a great weekend and met alot of interesting people. Now I am preparing for challenge Henley this weekend and hopefully another solid result.

Aaron.

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Gerardmer wrap

September 5th, 2011 by aaronfarlow

Near perfect conditions greeted us on Saturday morning for one of the toughest races in Europe and a good day of racing for TBB athletes.
Mass starting about 1200 athletes usually wouldn’t work, but the French managed it here without anyone drowning and we got away to a clean start.
Some quick swimming saw the field drawn out from the start with eventual winner Sylvain Sudrie leading out the swim with Dave, Steve and Faris close.
I was a further minute behind and struggled to make up any time on the leaders over the first lap. Two guys rode up to me and we caught up to Steve to form what was to be our group of four, for almost the entire bike leg but we failed to put any inroads to the leaders who had really put the pace down and started to split apart. Coming off the bike I was in seventh place with about 30sec to Steve and a minute to Faris. Sudrie had ridden well and opened up about a four minute gap with Poulat. Dave was tucked somewhere in between with Mathias Hecht and I was just hoping like hell I could do something on the run.
The first of three seven km loops I just caught Steve and we ran side by side for about the next 5km making some time up on the guys in front but soon Steve dropped off showing a bit of fatigue after completing two ironmans in two weekends and I continued to chase.
Starting the third lap Faris had about a 1 minute gap back to me and was in fifth place, I made that my goal and to my surprise caught Poulat first who was really struggling then caught Faris with about 1.5km to go on the run, moving me up to fourth place.
So what I thought was going to be a terrible race result turned into a respectable one. I was happy to hang in there and get some racing into my legs again before heading into Ironman Wales next week.
Dave had a great race and finished 2nd, strong all day and a well deserved result.
Caroline won the womens race easily and almost scraped into the top 10 men, so she is looking strong leading into Hawaii next month.
Tonight we have the presentation before we start our ride back to Leysin tomorrow morning.
Hopefully this will kick start me into the next few weeks of longer races and I can get some decent results.
See how we go!

Aaron.

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Possibly impossible!

August 31st, 2011 by aaronfarlow

Coming to the end of my time in Europe, my last weeks are going to be my hardest with four long course races within a month. This week we head to Gerardmer for a half distance race (1.9/93/21) before Ironman Wales, Challenge Henly then Challenge Barcelona.
Maybe I am getting a bit excited with all these races and I have bitten off more than I can chew but I figured if I am in shape I may as well be doing the races before I have to head home next month.

After Ironman UK I headed back to Australia for a week to catch up with my family and celebrate my sons first birthday and christening while recovering.
Traveling 50 hours in a plane is not the best recovery but to catch up with family after months on the road is a great feeling and left me feeling mentally recharged and ready to attack another block in Europe. So the past couple of weeks has been some solid training in an attempt to get into some good shape for my last races.

Tomorrow the trek begins as we set off on our 300km ride over to Gererdmer for one of Europe’s toughest races and hardest fields. If we manage to navigate our way over there successfully we race on Saturday then ride home Mon, Tue. I head to the UK on Thursday for a two week stint then come back and pack for Barcelona before leaving for home.
So alot happening in the next few weeks. I will keep you up to date with my progress!

Aaron.

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