Joe Gambles Vineman 70.3 Race Report

Joe Gambles has been training and competing with ASCEND Elite products for over a year now.  Dedication to his punishing triathlon training regime is now showing great returns, after podium finishes in his last two international outings; Joe has topped a field of renowned champions including reigning Hawaiian Ironman champion Craig Alexander; with victory at Vineman 70.3!


Joe Gambles Vineman 70.3 Race Report

Vineman 70.3 Champion!  I like the sound of that!


I have managed to gain my first Ironman 70.3 victory against the likes of Craig Alexander, Ronaldo Colucci, Simon Thompson and Leon Griffin.  Not only that, I broke the course record held by Terenzo Bozzone.  I guess some days everything just goes according to plan!

 Gambles wins Vineman 70.3 setting new record. Photo: Larry Rosa.

Travelling to Santa Rosa in California’s north with my Mum and sister (who were visiting from Oz) I felt relaxed and ready to go.  I didn’t get a chance to check out the course prior to the race but after speaking with some of the other athletes, it sounded like it might suit me.  The swim was non-wetsuit in a shallow river, the bike was quite technical over rolling terrain and the run was a strength runner’s race.  The temperature was predicted to be in the 70’s (low 20’s) and, with little wind, it was going to be perfect conditions for some hard and fast racing.


The swim didn’t pan out exactly as I would have liked.  With the narrow course, it was a rough start and I lost touch with the front group.  I continued to push hard and managed to re-group with Griffin and, working together, we managed to keep the gap to 1 minute to our rivals.


Once onto the bike, I pushed hard and within 3 miles (5k) I had caught sight of the main group.  After a particularly technical and hilly section, I made contact with the group and settled my pace down.  My legs were feeling great and the pace wasn’t high so I made my move and, after looking back, I realised that I was on my own.  I continued to push, being careful not to overdo it.  I was getting time updates every 10 miles (16k) or so and the gap kept increasing.  With 10 miles to go, I had 4 minutes and by T2, I was 5.40 in front and feeling good… but you never know!


I settled into a nice rhythm and at about three quarters of a mile, crossed the main pack of 6 who were still on the bike.  The run course was a rolling out and back course with a mile loop around a vineyard at the turnaround.  When I crossed Simon Thompson, who was in 2nd place, I had a mile lead!  I had only lost 20 seconds so I thought that I would have to really blow up to lose this now!  I just maintained my pace and even though the last 3 miles started to hurt, I finished with a personal best run split of 1.13.17.


I am really happy to take my first 70.3 victory and it leaves me wanting to win more.  I still have a few things I can improve on so, hopefully, in 4 weeks time at Lake Stevens 70.3, I can do this.


A big thank you to everyone for all their support and well wishes.


Written by Joe Gambles


Vineman 70.3 Race Results 2009 - Mens Top 10

1st       Joe Gambles                3:49:18
2nd      Simon Thompson        3:53:38
3rd       Leon Griffin                    3:57:01
4th       John Dahlz                     3:59:45
5th       Brian Lavelle                  4:00:25
6th       Reinaldo Colucci          4:01:59
7th       Nicholas Thompson    4:04:15
8th       Craig Alexander            4:05:59
9th       Clayton Fettell                4:06:43
10th     Eduardo Sturla              4:07:07



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