Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Ironman Melbourne...

The Musketeers have spent the last few months immersed in solid training, preparing for the inaugural Ironman Melbourne event next week.

One of the ways the Musketeers have been preparing is through various Multi-Sets. Usually the Musketeers will complete these sessions in Centennial park (cycling loops and running various sections of the park, over and over). More recently, the team has taken to completing the cycling aspect on their wind trainers in a central area. This has allowed each musketeer to work within his own limits whilst giving them the opportunity to test out various pieces of kit in a controlled environment, some successful (power meters) some not so successful (weight vests).

So as the days draw us closer to Ironman Melbourne, the Musketeers are 100% focused on the task ahead. For Todd, not only is he a part of the very first Ironman Melbourne, but its also his first race as a professional. He is looking lean, strong and ready to go. What better race to spread his Professional wings in than the inaugural Ironman Melbourne!

Brenton has been working hard over the past couple of months to ensure he can secure himself a Kona slot. It looks promising too. Bretons run is looking incredible - combined with his consistently strong swim and bike leg, Brenton is force to be reckoned with...Age groupers beware.

John recently returned from NZ where he planned to do Ironman NZ as a warm up for Melbourne. I know, it seems completely crazy if not impossible to complete 2 Ironman events, 3 weeks apart. Not for John, that's just the way he rolls. Unfortunately the race was cancelled due to severe weather warnings. John was quite disappointed, commenting along the lines of, 'Everyone should just toughen up, it's an Ironman, it's supposed to be hard'. This was later retracted when gusts of wind up to 160kph hit Taupo. It would have been a very interesting race, particularity given the amount of people sporting disc wheels. Instead, a 70.3 was run the day after. A quality training race in spectacular Taupo, not a bad consolation.

Andy has had a very interesting lead up to IM Melbourne. Knowing that he was to become a father in the week leading up to the race, Andy has been putting in a serious amount of quality training sessions. As all triathletes know, there is a degree of juggling required in order to fulfill both training and social requirements. In Andy's case, this meant backing up Sundays grueling long run with a friends wedding that afternoon. It was at this wedding that Jules (Andy's partner and devoted Musketeer supporter) went into labor. A very long day for our Ironman Andy- a marathon session indeed. But perhaps the greatest finish of all, their little boy Ethan. Congratulations Jules and Andy!

Happy Family

Mini Musketeer

So here we are - 10 sleeps to go. The Musketeers are entering race phase. Primed and ready for greatness, the Scotts are looking fast and the 2XU race kit is ready to go.

Whatever happens out there, the team are looking forward to taking part in this great event and of course, catching up with the crew from 2XU (Musketeer and IM Melbourne sponsor)

As Big Kev would say...I'm excited!

All for one.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Multi Madness

The Musketeers are back in full force with a solid weekends training.

Australia Day, the Musketeers head to Centennial Park with their turbo trainers and runners. This was the first of many Multi-Sets that will be run in the lead-up to IM NZ and Melbourne.

A Musketeer Multi-Set is traditionally comprised of drills, strength sets on the trainers, running, heart rate sessions and to finish it all off, a series of 800m laps in the park. This process usually takes around 3-4hrs (though Australia Day was cut short due to blinding rain).

Before the Rain


Saturday, the team assembled for a Wollongong ride. The weather came good and the ride down through the national park was a reminder of how good some of the cycling is around Sydney.

The way back however, proved a challenge for some. Andy’s shifter had a massive malfunction. As a result his gearing was jammed in 54/11 (big chain ring, hardest gear). If you have ever ridden the hill out of Wollongong via Stanwell park, you will understand that this sort of gearing is actually impossible to climb with.  Not one to back down from a challenge, Andy got cracking and rode all hills until the point of dismount, then ran…yes ran… with his bike, in his cycling shoes, to the very top. A champion effort.

An 18km run off made for a good days training.

Sunday saw the musketeers take on another Multi-Set, this time with a Watsons bay run (20km round trip) tagged onto the end…for good measure.

With 5 weeks to go until IM NZ, and 8 weeks until Melbourne, The Four Musketeers are right back into it.

All for one!


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Falls Creek- Day Five

And on the fifth day….its snowed.

Whilst the original plan was to rug up in their 2XU jackets and get amongst the elements on mountain bikes, it was just way too cold and the conditions too icy for the bikes.

So the team head down to Mt Beauty pool to do some swimming only to discover that the ITU National Squad had booked out the whole pool for the morning.  Since it was also raining, the next logical step was coffee.

Over a fresh brew, John Mergler mentioned to the boys, ‘I thinking of running back up to Falls Creek (a monster 30km hill with no relief)…what do you say?’  Brenton took a moment to consciously look over his body, making sure everything was working before responding ‘hmmmmm, yeah alright, lets do it’.  Whilst John and Brenton head off to get some provisions before starting their climb, Todd and Andy made their way out on a decent run around Mount Beauty followed by a solid session in the pool (once the ITU boys were done).

John and Brenton hit the road.  On the way up there, they endured every possible weather condition. First, there was heavy rain, then instantly the weather would dry up and the sun would shine bright creating a steam room effect.  In the next minute, the clouds would fly over and hail would fall.  Then sun, then snow, then gusty ice winds…..repeat x 4.

Todd and Andy met them at the 20k mark in the car and handed them some nutrition. This was very well received as the last 15kms of the run was incredibly steep.  Todd and Andy then dropped the car at Falls Creek and rode down to help them through the final 3-4km.

So this morning, the weather is a balmy -2 degrees.  The team have started packing a few things as today is their last day.  Mid morning the crew will head out for a long intense mountain bike for majority of the day.  The weather this afternoon will likely dictate other training opportunities for the day.

The weather has hindered the amount of kms that the Musketeers had originally planned to cover; however, this has allowed them to focus on quality sessions with a good amount of recovery time in between which has been terrific.

Wow this week has flown.  One thing is for sure, The Musketeers will return in top form and ready to take on IM NZ and IM Melbourne…. Bring it on!

All for one…

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Falls Creek - Day Four

Yesterday proved to be a cracking day for a long run. The Musketeers set out in cold but clear weather running across the Alpine Way and to Bogon High Plains at elevation. Everyone was running very well and they finished the 35km in under 4hrs which is a good effort given the terrain and altitude. The last km was a section of road where the Musketeers really picked up the pace. It was a satisfying feeling knowing they were able to finish strongly after a long and technical run.

Todd was unfortunately unable to join the other musketeers on their run as he has been nursing an injury for the past couple of months. Whilst it’s very nearly healed, he decided to exercise caution and sit out the run due to its terrain and distance. Injuries are a common part this sport, however if treated correctly and responsibly, one can ensure they are back into full flight in no time at all.

Not one to EVER miss a training session, Todd head out on Brenton’s brand new mountain bike and covered over 70km of muddy, technical tracks. At one point Todd was reaching speeds of up to 60km off road! Much to Brenton's relief, the bike (and Todd) came back in one piece.

Whilst the team had best of intentions for a swim in the lake, everyone was wet, freezing and hungry. So after a quick walk through the icy water to recover the legs, the Musketeers head back to HQ for some good food and rest.

Part of this rest included a DVD… its called ‘13’. Don’t get it.. particularly if your nerve endings are a little frayed after a days training. Quite a disturbing movie that did not aid in relaxation.

The Falls Creek weather has not failed to disappoint. Known for its extremities, the Musketeers awoke this morning to snow!! The temperature is 0 degrees, however the ‘feels like’ factor is -6!

Not to be put off, the Musketeers will be wrapping up in their winter goodies and heading out on the mountain bikes for a session, ending up at the base of mount beauty where it is a more civilised 21 degrees. From here they will do around 3-4km in the outdoor pool down there, followed by a 15km run.

For the record, next week in Falls Creek (once the Musketeers have left) will be 35 degrees.

All for one!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Falls Creek - Day Three

Yesterday (day 3) was earmarked to be the biggest session of the week… The Musketeers did not disappoint.
Pre Buffalo Breakfast

The Musketeers set out to tackle Mount Buffalo via Towango Gap, a 200km cycle with over 80kms of relentless climbing.  The weather seemed favourable, so no rescue missions this year…better luck next time I guess.

Brenton attaching his 'Go Pro' Cam for the day ahead.

What the Musketeers missed out on last year was the descent down Buffalo... This was their day.  As it turns out, Todd and Andy are fearless kamikazes, flying down the massive descent at speeds that would make Mark Webber flinch.  Andy, clearly using the descent to shake out the last of his recklessness before fatherhood in a few months, went ‘no hands’ for most of the way down…. mental.

The last section of the ride was the climb back up to Falls Creek.  This was a very testing 30km as the team was completely spent from the days efforts. They managed to complete this section in around 1hr 45min, except Todd, who (without a second thought) powered up the 30km climb in 1hr 23mins. The total ride time was approx 8hrs.

Back at the ranch, the priority was food, and lots of it.  Steak, Rice, Salad, Ratatouille and plenty of water…then bed.

This morning the Musketeers rolled out of bed and into the sauna to prepare their muscles for the day ahead.

Today’s plan is for a long run.  Heading out across the Alpine Way and to Bogon High Plains, this 35km run will be off road, technical, and all at elevation.   

As soon as the run is complete, the Musketeers will be donning the wetsuits for a swim session in the (very cold) lake.

Will keep you posted.

All for one….

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Falls Creek - Day Two

The Musketeers awoke this morning feeling a little tired but in high spirits.  The weather this morning was in stark contrast to yesterday. The clouds were low and dark, there was plenty of rain and gusty winds up to 65km.

Off for an 8km run before breakfast, the general consensus was to explore the ‘Recovery Run’ Trail…though there was nothing overly ‘recovery’ about it given they are still finding their altitude legs.   The wind was cold and strong and pierced the skin as the Musketeers ran across the ridge – this seemed to set the tone for the day.

Back for breakfast, the Four Musketeers prepared every item they could think of. Boiled eggs, toast, fruit, yogurt cereal and coffee…all devoured with gusto.

After a brief meeting (which included stretching, core work and roller exercises) it was decided that today would be a mountain biking day- perfect weather for it. The team took out the bikes in some of the wettest, coldest, muddiest trails they had seen in a long time. There were periods where they were riding through plumes of icy water cascading down from overhanging rocks. 

For Brenton, this was the maiden voyage on his brand new mountain bike.  He also happens to be a budding camera man which meant he was able to document this important journey on film, including his very own spectacular stack…all caught on his new Video Camera of course.   

The whole day went by and the Musketeers didn't see a soul out on the road, seems most had written the day off and crawled back into bed.  On arrival home, it took a good 15mins in a steaming hot shower to thaw out.

So the plan for tomorrow is to conquer mount Buffalo, a 220km arduous cycle… The Musketeers have unfinished business with this mountain.  Last year, the Musketeers had had a massive day out on the bikes and were just at the top of Mt Buffalo when a horrendous storm closed in on them. There was lightening, downpours and icy gusts of wind.  Visibility was zero and there was no way they could descend in those conditions. On the other hand, if they stayed up there they would surely end up with hypothermia.  After a call to the emergency services, the park rangers went hunting and found them up the top and freezing in the -1C conditions. The Musketeers became honorary Rangers that day, donning their fleecy green ranger jumpers, drinking a hot brew and sharing wild tales of Mt Buffalo with their heroes.
So, let’s see what day 3 brings…. Weather forecast looks good, but as the Musketeers found out last year, you never know.

Merglers Cooking

All for one…  

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Falls Creek - Day One

What a drive! The musketeers arrived in Falls Creek at 2am Saturday morning. The drive made easier with a MacDonald’s stop.  Yes, MacDonald’s is not technically on the list of 'approved' foods for an athlete… but a road trip is a road trip…’nuf said. 

Food Shop at Golburn...Lucky they have the trailer.

After a sleep-in, the team set off on their first session for the week, a 155k ride.  This week the TT Scotts have been swapped for road bikes… an unfamiliar cycling position after nearly a year on the TT’s.  You might think a 155km cycle sounds quite tame for the Musketeers, however, the altitude combined with a monster 20km hill (the biggest/steepest hill in falls creek) made for a very big morning indeed.

Minor adjustments being made on the first cycle of the week.

Given there’s been a good dose of festivities over the Christmas Break… this mornings training was a bit of a rude wake-up call.  As it turns out, the Musketeers are mere mortals, but they take refuge in the knowledge that all athletes, pro or punter, would have experienced this same shock post Christmas… hopefully.

The Musketeers understand that adjusting to the altitude will take a few days, so for the moment they just have to suck it up and get on with what they came here to do. 

In the evening, the team prepared their dinner (enough to feed a small country), licked their wounds and prepared for the next days training.

Day 1 complete...

Spectacular Views