Memorable world title victory
AGE shall not weary Jonathan ‘Jo’ Hamwood.
Queensland’s oldest team member competing at the world International Triathlon Union age group championships in Denmark this month proved one of the most successful, securing the 70-74 age group aquabike title.
The 70-year-old from Mons produced a monumental effort on the day to claim is maiden world title — his first tilt at the swim-bike format after knee issues marked an end to his 33-year triathlon career.
Hamwood completed the 3km swim in 54min 54 sec, and then delivered an outstanding 3hr 30min 50sec bike leg over 120km to win by two minutes from Great Britain’s Michael Smallwood.
Ahead of the race Hamwood had done his research. Travelling to Canada last year to see how the event unfolded, he analysed recent results and knew Smallwood was the man to beat.
After getting through the swim ahead of all his age group rivals, Hamwood hit the bike full of confidence.
“I was motoring along quite smartly and settled into a good pace when a guy in a blue race kit flashed by going like a rocket. As I glanced at him I read his name on the back of his suit – Smallwood,” he said.
“My heart sank. How the hell could a guy in my age group be going so fast?”
Hamwood had to make a quick decision: Let all that time, planning, effort, training and money count for nothing or do something about it? He opted for the latter.
Digging deep he bridged the gap while maintaining the legal five bike lengths apart. Hanging on “like grim death” when they approached the 80km mark, Hamwood noticed his heart rate was gradually falling.
With about 25km to ride opportunity knocked when Smallwood opted for a banana at an aid station.
“They are difficult to peel with one hand and consume while you are racing. I belted past him as fast as I could go and determined to put some time into him. I was jumping out of my skin as I knew this was my best chance to win a world championship,” he said.
“For those last 25km I busted my buns and was not going to die wondering.
“As it turns out, he did not pass me and I had that warm glow of having had my best and most challenging race ever. Not only had I beaten him, I had outmanoeuvred him.” His performance was so quick it would have earned a silver in the 65-69 age group, and fourth in the 60-65.
BIG EFFORT: Jo Hamwood won the gold in this year’s aquabike at the ITU world age group championships.