In­fected with ex­cite­ment bug

Multisport Mecca - - News - Grant Ed­wards Grant.Ed­wards@news.com.au

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.

PHOTO: DELLY CARR

Coolum’s Ben Shaw pushes the pace as part of the Su­per League Triathlon Series.

PHOTO: CLIN­TON BARTER

Mario Mola, Richard Mur­ray and Jake Birtwhis­tle on the podium.

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