Joe Gambles On Fire, Course Record - Lake Stevens 70.3
Race Report written by Joe Gambles
It’s nice to come back to a race that you have done before especially if it was a ‘break through’ race! Last year, Luke Bell, Chris Legh and I came off the bike in a pack and ran together until the half way mark where I pulled clear only to be re-caught by Bell with 3 miles to go. It came down to a sprint finish which I mistimed and lost by 1 second! Returning this year, I didn’t have Bell and Legh to contend with but I definitely wanted to improve on last year’s performance.
Wetsuits were allowed in the swim (unlike last year) which meant that most would stay in the main pack. I tried to get out fast and find clean water but after picking the wrong line, I ended up in the middle of the main pack, fighting to hold my position. I tried to relax and prepared for the bike. I had a good transition and jumped on the bike at the front of the main pack but in 4th overall, over 2 minutes behind Flanagan, who led out of the water.
Once onto the bike, I put my head down and focussed on getting into the lead as fast as possible. I quickly moved into 2nd at 4 miles and eventually hit the lead around the 15 mile mark. I felt strong on the bike and continued to push hard to build a lead over other strong athletes such as Ben Hoffman. The 2nd lap of the bike was a little congested with the age group athletes out on their first lap so I had to really concentrate on maintaining my pace and staying out of trouble!
Coming into T2, I didn’t really know what kind of lead I had and I wouldn’t know this until around the 6 mile mark of the run where there is an out and back section. I felt great on the run and quickly settled into averaging 5.30 per mile. Nearing the end of the first of two laps, I realised that I was about 7 minutes in front of 2nd. I continued to try and stay relaxed and maintain my form and concentration. With 1 mile remaining, the memories of last year’s race were vivid where I was knocking elbows with Luke Bell! This year was a lot more relaxed and I enjoyed crossing the line without collapsing:) My time was 3 ½ minutes faster than the course record set the previous year by Bell so this was a little bonus and indicated that my training is progressing well.
My main goal this year was to win a 70.3 and to win two in a row both in record time is fantastic. I feel as though I am well on my way in this sport that I have been part of for 14 years!
I next travel to Gerardmer in France to defend my title from last year. The course has been reduced to a half ironman which is nice. The race is on the 5th of September. Stay tuned…
Follow this link to read a great little interview with Joe...
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