Infected with excitement bug
AGGRESSION is what Coolum’s Ben Shaw promised to take into the inaugural Super League Triathlon series.
He delivered by pushing the pace on the bike, and ultimately it proved his undoing.
Currently undertaking bouts of antibiotics to combat staph infection, Ben came off his bike twice as he attempted to apply pressure to the star-filled 24-man field at Hamilton Island.
The invitation-only line-up saw superstars of triathlon battle it out over a range of formats all vying for a piece of the $200,000-plus prize pool.
“I went out of my way to contact Macca (organiser Chris McCormack). I grew up watching the F1 series and I was excited to race Super League,” Ben said.
“He ended up giving me a wildcard. My job was to turn up and spice things up and be aggressive.
“Maybe I went a bit overboard. The first crash I didn’t hit the corner any harder than any other lap, but in between transition the carpet got wet, when I went over it was wet on the tyres. I was tired anyway and when you get tired you lose a bit of concentration.
“The second crash my bike was trashed. I had borrowed wheels with racing slicks – completely my fault.”
Ben finished 18th overall after he was unable to complete the final race due to the crash.
Overall $100,000 winner was South African Richard Murray, followed by Spaniard Mario Mola ($50,000), Tasmanian Jake Birtwhistle ($25,000), Spain’s Javier Gomez Noya ($10,000) and Richard Varga of Slovakia ($8000).
The new League saw three action-packed afternoons of racing, where the traditional triathlon format was abandoned. Racing included the Triple Mix where the order of disciplines was rotated with three events, the Equalizer where athletes started in the order where they finished following a morning’s 6km cycling time trial, and then the three-race Eliminator where the lowest five finishers from the first two races were relegated to the sidelines.
“The formats are awesome. It’s a really refreshing change,” Ben said.
“Having to back up each day, short rests and short loops, it’s just explosive and you can be rewarded for aggressive racing.
“It was a shock to the system for the Europeans. It was boiling hot, it was 38-40 degrees.
“It was a good atmosphere too, and felt more professional. Every race is different, and you reset and everyone has the same chance of racing well or bad. That’s the excitement and there was a lot of unknown.”
Following his injuries, Ben withdrew from the April 8 ITU World Cup event to be held on the Gold Coast.
He will instead look to race Continental Cup in China during June as he continues to work his way back from a stress fracture in his tibia.
From there Ben hopes to improve his run under the guidance of run coach Pat Clohessy, and expects to run the 10km as part of the Gold Coast marathon festival and then target Noosa Triathlon.
Coolum’s Ben Shaw pushes the pace as part of the Super League Triathlon Series.
Mario Mola, Richard Murray and Jake Birtwhistle on the podium.