Boulder 70.3 – Executing a Plan

Depending on the race, more emphasis might be placed on the course, the competition or the overall strategy. I know this course back to front but the field was the strongest I’ve faced here so I needed a plan. After sitting down with my new(ish) coach Neal Henderson, we came up with a strategy that I would be able to execute with the training I had done since St. George six weeks earlier. Then all I had to do was handle the expectation and pressure (that I had mainly put on myself).

Game of Thrones episodes 3
Hours in ice bath .5
Hours Training – Bike 7
Hours Training- Swim 4
Hours Training- Run 3
Hours Training- Strength 1
Number of Beers Consumed 5
Number of Coffees Consumed 9
Testing it out Brooks T7 Racer
Pre Race Dinner Egg and potato scramble
Pre Race Second Dinner Rice, sweet potato and veggie sausage


Race morning had a more relaxed feel about it as most athletes rolled out of their own beds. I may have been a little too casual turning up 10 minutes before transition closed!

Pre Race Breakfast Beet juice, Coffee, Banana pancake, PowerGel
Miles Traveled 2.1
Support Crew Sage, Neal, Julie, Eric, Glenda and loads more


As predicted super fish James Seear led the swim, but this time with many other good swimmers to fill the gaps. So a select group exited the water together, which I was grateful to be a part of.


Goggles TYR Tracer
Wetsuit TYR Freak of Nature


The Bike was the crucial part of my strategy, and after a good swim I was able to implement it as planned. I put my head down and forced myself not to look back until I got a split. After 10 miles of taking myself and my competitors out of our comfort zone, I had gained an advantage of 1:15. I dialed it down a touch and settled into my normal 70.3 intensity. My whole tactic relied on my competitors racing each other for second, while I slipped away. Entering T2 I had four minutes on them, but the race wasn’t over.

72 dpi Joe Gambles rides IM703 Boulder 2014 DSC_5566
72 dpi Joe Gambles rides DSC_5576
Bike Trek Speed Concept
Groupset Campagnola Electronic Power Shift (EPS)
Saddle ISM Podium
Powermeter Powertap
Helmet Rudy Project Wing57
Shoes Bontrager Hilo RXL
Sunglasses Rudy Project Genetyk Racing
Wheels Bontrager prototype disk Aeolus 7 D3 (Tubular)  
PowerGel (on bike)  7
Powerbar Perform (on bike)  40 oz


Considering how hard I rode, my legs felt pretty good. I settled into a 5:40 mile pace quickly but after 4 miles I learned that Tim Don was charging and he had cut my lead down to 2:45. After one lap it was down to 2 minutes. From 4 to 11 miles was where the race was won or lost. I lifted my pace with the intention of placing doubt in Don’s mind that he could run me down. By mile 10 my lead was down to 90 seconds but I knew as long as I held strong I could win my fourth straight title. This was enough of a motivation to get me across the finish line.

Sunglasses Rudy Project Genetyk Racing
PowerGel 2
Visor TYR


Winning a race always caries emotion, particularly when you’re defending a title. In a close community such as Triathlon, especially in Boulder when you’re racing against your friends and training partners, it makes for much more than just a race for me and for many reasons I will remember it on a much more personal level. I am truly thankful for everyone’s support and encouragement.

72 dpi Joe Gambles wins IM703 Boulder 2014 DSC_6053


Swim: A big thank you to Paul (Barney) Matthews for wearing such a bright wetsuit for me to follow

T1 (exiting): Here we go

Bike: Is it bad to go so hard that you nearly hyperventilate in the first 10 miles?

Finish: Can’t wait to have my mid season break


Here’s a link to the results and look at the last four Boulder 70.3 races:

Year Swim Bike Run Finish
2014 23:15 2:03:03* 1:14:03 3:42:13
2013 24:48 2:03:25* 1:14:30 3:44:41
2012 24:02 2:00:21 1:17:33 3:44:04
2011 24:13 2:03:35 1:15:50 3:45:35

* Denotes a change in bike course


Thank you to the volunteers, supporters and my amazing sponsors, Trek, TYR, Rudy Project, PowerBar, Fuelbelt, Campagnolo, Bontrager, ISM.

Photo Credits : Timothy Carlson, Eric Olson

Here’s some more pictures from Ironman and the Daily Camera


Current World Rankings:

Ironman – 9th

70.3 – 5th

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