Rev3 Quassy Half Ironman

Last weekend the Rev3 team put on another awesome event in Conneticut….the Quassy half ironman.

We travelled from the West to the East coast a few days earlier, and were homestayed by the wonderful Amy and Wade and their gorgeous kids Olivia and Nick. Image

The few days before the race were spent exploring the super scenic and extremely hilly course, a couple of lake swims and lunching at the Panera breadhouse. The day before the half was the olympic distance event of which the athletes were greeted with bucketloads of rain! My homestay Amy braved the freezing conditions, so we rugged up and headed down to the finish line to watch her come in! It was great to see so many people out there with smiles on their faces despite being drenched and covered in mud!

Thankfully the next day I was greeted with a perfectly calm day, chilly but sunny! I was feeling excited to race, as it was a super tough course with the hilly ride followed by a hilly run, and against the most competitive field I have ever raced. Many world class athletes were toeing the line including Mirinda, Angela Naeth, Heather Jackson, Kelly Williamson and several others at the top of the game.

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The lake was flat like a big swimming pool and just warm enough to be a non wetsuit swim, so I got to try out my new Blue Seventy swimskin, which I loved! The air temp was pretty cold, and with it being a beach start I opted to skip my normal swim warmup, as I was shivering and freezing enough standing on the start line dry let alone wet! The gun went and off we raced……well for a whole 20 metres or so! I found myself in the midst of a panic attack/hyperventilating about 5 strokes into the swim, unable to breathe! I tried to continue swimming for a few more strokes but it wasn’t a happening thing, it felt like my breathing tube had been twisted into a massive knot and any air that was passing through my mouth was going nowhere near my lungs. So next step was to try a bit of backstroke which was no help. So I stopped and just sat there, watching everyone swim away from me. I looked back at the beach and couldn’t believe here I was in a race I was so geared up for, lying in the water just off the beach as the race went on beyond me. As a kayak proceeded towards me I tried to take a few more strokes to get back into the game but same thing again. So back to the floating and waiting for it to pass game! A thought crossed my mind that my day over, which was quickly erased by “like hell it is, I haven’t flown across the whole of America and lined up against the worlds best to swim a mere 20m!” Anyway, I dont know how long I floated for, it seemed like an infinity, but what was probably a minute or so later I managed to get my breathing under control and get my game underway! I ended up feeling really good in the water and got myself to around mid-ish field, but swum the course solo, which is normal for me, but this race I had a goal of which I was so focussed on…..sticking on the feet, and I had “the feet” marked from the start! Next time! So, I dont know why that happened, it hasn’t happened before, it wasn’t nerves as there were none, perhaps going from being shivering to diving into the cool water set off a reaction? All I can hope is that it doesn’t happen again!!

Into T1…..My trusty steed was awaiting me in my transition spot, rearing to go! After a few quick words of dissapointment and frustration to Clay, the swim was behind me and forgotten…..now onto the bike! Yay!

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The bike was super fun and super tough, with relentless climbs. I rode parts of the course in the days leading up to the race, but just at an easy pace, so I had an idea of what to expect. Not having raced the course before, I often found myself overgearing on a lot of the climbs and in turn doing a lot of standing climbing, of which I could feel the calfs were being overworked, and of course was going to kill my running legs! But I was having fun out there and riding alongside Angela Naeth and Rinny for a lot of the course, so I wasn’t paying as much attention to my gearing as I should’ve which was a bit of a tactical error!

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I entered T2 in 5th position, with the 3rd fastest bike split! Onto the run, sure enough I could feel the calfs were going to struggle! The run course is really beautiful, it goes on the road around the lake in which we swim, with an extra loop at the end. There are tonnes of trees, so it’s pretty shaded which meant it didn’t get too hot out there. My main battle was……all of the hills to come and my quickly fatiguing calfs! I did what I could, but knew there were some super fast runners closing in from behind!

I crossed the line in 8th position, happy with my total result, made up of……..a frustrating swim start, followed by a reasonable swim, an awesome and fun bike, and a run that was slower than it should’ve been, but got me to the end!

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Thanks so much to our amazing homestay family…..you guys were the best!!! Thanks to my husband/main sponsor Clay who was able to accompany me on the trip! And of course my wonderful coach Siri for your fabulous mentoring over the last few months! Thanks to the Rev3 team to putting on another great event! Be sure to check out http://vimeo.com/43370544 for a post race recap.

I had a lot of new gear for this race………thanks to the support of these great companies…….SOAS Clothing for my awesome new race kits! Asics for my much loved DS Racing shoes! Blue Seventy for my swimskin, which felt amazing to swim in! Shimano for my race wheels! Kask helmets for my super comfy custom helmet! Ryders Australia for my sunnies! Cobb Saddles for the best saddle ever! Hammer Australia for my nutrition!

Now back to LA for a few days of recouperation (including playing at Universal Studios! yay!), before the final hard yards leading into Challenge Roth. 🙂

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This entry was posted on June 6, 2012. 5 Comments

Living the Dream in California!

So it’s been 6weeks since I set foot in the USA, and a great 6weeks it has been! The first week however I was sick, so spent the week doing bugger all and had to boycot my first planned race which was the weekend after I flew in. Since then it has been all go! I have been lucky to have a homestay with the wonderful Bev and her two gorgeous dogs Teddy and Yogi!

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Training has been incredible around Santa Monica, we have some awesome riding areas in the mountains, climbs that take up to an hour, and the most amazing scenery of endless mountain peaks and the beautiful blue ocean. Todays ride was unreal, after climbing up through the low lying clouds we finally reached high enough ground to see blue skies and have the sun shining down on us, and looking back down across the valley was endless layers of clouds with the mountain peaks popping through! Truely amazing! The relentless climb to the top was well worth it!

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I’ve got some kick arse teammates, who are all awesome people and great training partners! Coaches Siri and “Calvin” are amazing, and with us for all of our sessions! Siri is great, I’m learning so much from her, I love having her by our side each and every day! I couldn’t think of a better place to be training!

Coach Calvin

I had my first race last weekend- the Rev3 Olympic distance race in Knoxville, Tennessee. This was my first ever Rev3 race, and wow what an awesome event! So well organised and tonnes of fun! I had a homestay with my friend Kristin White, who I met in 2010 when we had another homestay together in Texas! I haven’t seen her since then, so we had a great weekend together! Neither of us are short distance girls, we both do half-full ironman, so this was a race for both of us to just have a good hit out and (try to) get some speed going in the legs!

The swim is where I lost most of my time….wow those short distance girls can swim….faaaaast! So I came out with quite a few minutes between me and the front girls! Onto the bike, I passed a few, but rode similar times to the top girls, so didn’t make any ground up on them! The bike course was great, rolling hills, so there was really much space to get down in the bars and hammer out a good TT, but the ups and downs were fun and kept you honest! The run went good aswell, but I held the same position off the bike, so ended up with a 14th place at the end of the day. I had a fun day and was happy with my bike-run, just the swim needs continuing attention!

So the next race is another Rev3 race at the beginning of June, this time half ironman distance, in Conneticut. It looks to be a stellar field racing, so will be fun toeing the line with some of the top long distance girls and seeing where I measure!

For now, the training continues in our playground of endless mountains, beautiful run trails, and 50m outdoor pools and soon to be ocean!

This past week we had a couple of guest appearances to our training group. Firstly Macca came along to swim with us a couple of times at the start of the week, and then Lance Armstrong turned up on Friday, which was rather exciting! They both kicked my arse in the water, maybe I’ll give them a run for their money on the bike, haha, yeah right!

Abu Dhabi done…..Now bound to the USA!

So the last couple of months I have been based in the beautiful Noosa on the Sunshine coast training with Siri and our awesome team of athletes! We’ve had some great sessions, it’s such a great part of the world to be training in…..an amazing national park with endless running trails, stunning outdoor 50m pool, coastal and hinterland riding! That time has now come to an end, and as much as it is sad to be leaving Noosa, bigger and more exciting times await! I’m off to Santa Monica on Sunday, where I will be based for most of the year training. I’m a bit nervous about heading into the big wide world, I have been to the states before, but always had someone by my side. I do have my Team Sirius family awaiting and hubby Clay will be joining me in a few months time.

My most recent adventure was into Abu Dhabi for the long course triathlon- 3km swim, 200km ride and 20km run. It was a great trip, I was feeling really excited to race, especially after my last race which was interrupted by mechanical issues. We headed in to Abu D on the Weds, chilled out for a few days at the race hotel and around the town eagerly awaiting the race start on Saturday! By the time Saturday rolled around I was relaxed and ready to get this thing started! I have been eyeing this event up for a couple of years, as I love riding and was stoked to have a cycle dominant event!

The transition area is awesome, we got our own personalised stands, being new to the “professional” world, I get excited over all the little things!

Standing on the start line I was a bit star struck with world champions and top Kona placers surrounding me! But it was a great feeling to be standing alongside them in my biggest race to date!

The swim start is off the beach in Abu Dhabi in still calm clear waters, so it was a beautiful swim. Unfortunately I lost the feet of the two groups ahead of me early and swum solo! It doesn’t usually faze me too much and didn’t at this point either. However later in the race I learnt how important it would have been to try and stick with one of those groups…..I really under-estimated the tactics of this race!

Even though it is a non drafting event, 200km is a dam long way- and especially mentally tough time trialling it solo!! The bike course is 40km out, then around the formula one track- which was awesome riding around!- then 40kms back, repeat that, then the final lap is 20km out and 20km back. So the first 120kms went well, even though I was in no mans land, with me myself and my bike! I had caught up to and passed a few people along the way. I could see I was holding around the same distance to the front pack of 6-8 girls, but once I hit the turn around for the second time at the formula one track I was 120kms into the ride, alone, fighting a narly head wind, had sciatic pain roaring down my left leg, and I started to fall to pieces. From that point it came to a battle of getting myself through the remaining 80kms and trying to stay in the game mentally. I ended up loosing a lot of time to the front group in that part of the race, who were able to feed and pace off each other. I’m disappointed in myself for struggling mentally! It was my second super long distance race so still have a lot to learn and certainly learnt a lot here! Once I got off the bike…..finally!….I ran pretty well, but my mind was more on the disappointment of my ride than the task at hand! By the time I crossed the finish line, I ran across with my tail between my legs ashamed of my mind winning the game on this day!

I’m looking forward to heading back next year, with a better equiped mind, hopefully a faster swim so I can exit with the top riders and having a race I can be proud of!

So now the task at hand is packing my life and belongings up into mere 46kgs of baggage allowance- even though I’m usually pretty good at sneaking an extra 10kg or so in! And jetting off to a exciting year ahead!

Finally a big Thanks to those who are supporting me for the upcoming race season…..firstly my main sponsor/supporter/fan/husband Clay! Shimano Australia who have kindly provided me with some beautiful new race and training wheels, cant wait to get riding on them! Asics Australia for helping me with my favorite training and racing shoes and apparel! SOAS racing for the awesome new womans specific race clothing- the most comfortable race clothing…..ever! Ryders eyewear for the super cool sunnies! And Hammer nutrition for keeping me fueled!

This entry was posted on March 22, 2012. 1 Comment

2012, New Beginnings and New Adventures!

Hey and welcome to my new website and blogsite, many thanks to Jose for your great help with developing it!

2012 brings an exciting year, a few big changes are in store! I’ve decided to head to the States to base myself for the year and train with Siri Lindley and her team. So from March I will be living and training in Santa Monica, of which I hear is awesome for riding and running….cant wait to get there!

So I started the year off by returning to New Zealand to my beautiful hometown of Mount Maunganui to catchup with my family and do my annual half ironman race of which I have done every year since I started doing triathlon. It is such a great event, so well organised and set in an amazing location! I wasn’t too sure on how I was feeling pre race, as I felt kind of ready, but also kind of fatigued from IMWA. Since IMWA was my first full distance I had no idea of how I was meant to be feeling and how quickly you recover from an ironman. So it was just a matter of really leaving it up to the day and seeing what happened! The conditions of the day were near perfect with little wind and just a light drizzle. I swum as I usually do and came out a couple of minutes down and quickly got to work on my favorite part! All was going well…..until 10kms in, the bike started to feel really bumpy, I was hoping it was just the road surface, but knowingly looked down to see the dreaded flat! Having never changed a tubular tyre, I can now say it certainly isn’t my forte! After about 10minutes on the side of the road and still struggling with getting the tyre off I contemplated pulling out, but those thoughts were quickly erased by the fact that I had so many people there watching me, my Nana from Hamilton had made the trip over, my proud Mum and Dad, my brother, friends from the Mount and Auckland were all there waiting for my arrival back into town…..so I couldn’t just not turn up! So 15minutes later I finally got back on the road, and managed to swing the mind back into positive thoughts, despite the pain of seeing how far ahead everyone was, as they went by in the opposite direction! The rest of the race went great, I rode strong and ran well, even though my quads were screaming at me…..I think I must’ve done a fair bit of damage during the Ironman, as that was my problem area for the last 10kms of the marathon, and having not done any speed runs since IMWA I thought the body was all good, but trying to run race pace I could tell my quads were still not quite recovered. But regardless of the pain I loved the run, and managed to claw back a couple of places, coming in 6th place at the end.

So performance wise I was stoked with how things went, just a matter of a flat holding me back from a great race! But hey, that’s part of racing, it happens to everyone at some point! So now part of my training is learning how to change a tubular quickly!! 15minutes is a little bit out of control!

The rest of January was spent in NZ between the Mount and Auckland. I managed to get all of my favorite rides done around NZ! The first was the annual Auckland to Coromandel ride done with a few of those training for IMNZ. I love that ride, its always a great feeling sitting on the ferry on the way back to Auckland knowing you have just cycled 200kms across beautiful countryside. We picked a forecasted clear/sunny day to do the ride, but as we set off the sky looked a bit gloomy and sure enough after 50kms the rain set in, and we were hit with a few showers and downpours along the way. I was frozen by the time we stopped in Thames for lunch, so Anna and I rushed into Farmers drenched and looking like Hobbos to buy a thermal top each, which was my saviour for the rest of the ride! Aside from the rain, it was an awesome ride, the wind played pretty nice to us along the coast out to Coromandel which I was grateful for, as its always a hard slog after 150kms finishing up into a strong headwind followed by the three massive hills that lead into the Coromandel township.

Back in Auckland, I was stoked to get some great NZ summer weather and get out and about in my old playground the Waitaks, did a few rides around Piha and Karekare and Scenic drive 🙂

Awesome west coast in the Waitaks! Love it!

The last weekend of Jan was spent up around Northland, organised by the wonderful Anna Ross! Friday night we road tripped up to Omapere, a small west coast town half way up Northland. The cycling adventures started from there, beginning with riding through the Waipoua Kauri forest- absolutely spectacular, I would have to say my alltime favorite ride! The ride gradually climbs for 20km or so through the amazing forest and reaches Tana Mahuta- the massive Kauri tree, before descending and climbing back up again. We rode on to Kai Iwi lakes for the night and camped lakeside, getting in a trail run around the lake that night and again the next morning, before embarking on our massive day of cycling bound to Mangawai Heads! Leon, Anna and I rode the

The Northland Crew

The Northland Crew

whole way, and the rest of the crew rode part way. This is a ride I’ve never done, so was exciting to be in new territory! After a long day in the saddle we rocked up to a glorious day in Mangawai heads for another night in the tent! The next morning we were greeted with another super day, and started the day off with a run out along the beach of Mangawai up to the clifftop trails. Wow, once again another beautiful part of NZ. The trail looks out upon the ocean and islands in the distance, down the cliff to the beach below, and on the picture perfect day that we had, it was stunning! The rest of the day was spent at the cafes, and relaxing on the beach! What a perfect end to my month in NZ!

So back to Australia, I’ve headed up to Noosa on the Sunshine Coast for February, and have started training with Siri and some of the Team Sirius crew. So far in my few days of being here, it’s been AWESOME!! A great place to train and a great bunch of people! Siri is amazing, so inspirational, provides out of this world motivation and is tonnes of fun! So Noosa it is for the month, then on to Abu Dhabi for my next race at the start of March, before hitting the States!

I’m excited about the upcoming adventures of 2012 in my first full year of training and racing full time! Thanks so much to my hubby Clay and the support from my Mum and Dad for helping to make this possible!, and to Hammer nutrition for keeping me fueled while training/racing and Ryders eyewear for the awesome sunnies!

Michelle 🙂

This entry was posted on February 9, 2012. 3 Comments

Kiwi Michelle Bremer wins big in Australia

Article by:  Triathlon New Zealand Inc. (Tri NZ)

Around 1,360 pro and age group athletes lined up at the SunSmart Ironman Western Australia, taking on the 3.8km swim, 180km bike and 42.2km run.

The women’s title went to a relative newcomer on the Australian scene, New Zealand’s Michelle Bremer, who won the race in outstanding style with Michelle Mitchell second and Carrie Lester third.

The top five off the bike were Bremer, Elly Franks, Kate Bevilaqua, Michelle Mitchell and Carrie Lester. The five of them headed out on the run as the crowds began to build around the town centre with plenty of action to watch.

With four laps of the run leg, spectators were guaranteed great viewing. Bremer stormed through the run to take the women’s race in 9:25:38.

She was excited with the result.

“I’m overwhelmed with how the race went. I knew it was going to be a tough race with a strong field lining up, and especially with me going into the unknown being my first ironman distance race. I have had a solid four month build up into the event, so felt in strong form heading in.

“The support from the crowd was amazing and really helped to bring me home over the last few kilometres. Overall it was an amazing experience and I’m still taking in the moment.

“I’m looking forward to heading home to Mount Maunganui now to prepare for the Tauranga Half in the New Year.”

Timo Bracht from Germany took the men’s title, followed by youngster Clayton Fettell, while third place went to course record holder Jason Shortis.

SunSmart Iroman Western Australia

Pro Women
1.Michelle Bremer 09:25:38
2.Michelle Mitchell 09:28:07
3.Carrie Lester 09:32:44
4.Elly Franks 09:37:51
5.Hilary Biscay 09:39:41

Pro Men
1.Timo Bracht 08:12:39
2.Clayton Fettell 08:19:02
3.Jason Shortis 08:27:31
4.Josh Rix 08:30:59
5.Aaron Farlow 08:34:09