Sitting second in the US XTERRA Championships but always keen to test himself in different disciplines, Wanaka’s Braden Currie has been dipping a toe in the water of 70.3 (half-ironman) racing in the United States and Ecuador recently.
Contesting the Ironman 70.3 Ecuador and the Ironman 70.3 Timberman in New Hampshire, United States, the following week was always going to be a tough turn-around for the Red Bull backed endurance athlete.
While the swimming and running sections were similar, his bike training need to change over the past month from the XTERRA-focused mountain biking, to hitting the road on his time trial bike.
Ever-adaptable, Currie excelled himself in Ecuador on August 8 and despite getting a flat tyre on the 90km road cycling stage, he finished second to former world champion triathlete Tim Don, of Great Britain.
Returning to his base in Canada, Currie felt he couldn’t pass up a chance to pit himself against the best half ironman triathletes in the world and entered the Ironman 70.3 Timberman.
Racing yesterday against five of the top 10 ranked 70.3 ironman athletes in the world and other incredible New Zealand triathletesDylan McNeice, and Mark Bowstead, Currie knew it would be a big ask.
“I wanted to just give it a crack and see what times I could do against the best in the world,” Currie says.
“I was really happy with my swim but I found the bike ride hard. Racing on the back of another half ironman last weekend meant I couldn’t match the pace of these specialised half ironman athletes.”
Now overcoming a frustrating Achilles injury – sustained at the first of the three XTERRA races in the United States and saw him unable to run for about eight weeks – Currie was pleased his trademark fast pace on his feet was returning. His run was the 6th fastest split for the day and he finished eleventh overall, two places behind triple Challenge Wanaka winner McNeice.
“It was a case of two out of three disciplines working for me at Timberman. My run is coming back and my swim was good. If I focus on some more time trial specific training and cut down on the travel miles before a race, I think 70.3 could be a viable future focus for me,” Currie says.
Based in Canmore, Canada for the next six weeks before returning home to Wanaka, Currie’s major goal will be winning the overall US Xterra Championship title next month. He is in second place after a win, a second and recently a third at the US XTERRA Mountain Champs in Avon, Colorado.
The final XTERRA US Championship race is in Utah on September 19. Currie will race his main rival 10-time XTERRA US National Champion, American athlete Josiah Middaugh.
“Josiah is an incredible athlete who is rarely off his game, but I have beaten him once earlier this year and I will put everything I have into this event, so I hope it will play out for me and allow me to bring that US title home to NZ,” Currie says.
After the USA Champs, he will return with his family to his base in Wanaka before heading to Hawaii to compete in the XTERRA World Championships on November 1. It will be his third time racing in this event and his finishing places have jumped from 17th in 2012, to 5th in 2013.
Given the huge experience he has gained racing in Europe in 2014 and the United States this year, plus the progression he has made in his technical mountain biking, Currie will be a force to be reckoned with.
“It will be interesting to see how much I have improved. Although I’d be stoked to podium, I’ll always be trying to win,” Currie says.
Photo: Red Bull endurance athlete Braden Currie, of Wanaka, will be aiming to run down victory in both the US XTERRA Championships next month and the Hawaii-based XTERRA World Championships in November. Photo credit Xterra
Braden Currie’s upcoming event calendar
September 19 – USA Xterra Championship.
October 31 – World Xterra Championship, Hawaii.
November 8 – WA Adventure Fest, Augusta, Australia.
November 15 – Shepparton Challenge, Victoria, Australia.
December 5 – Bahrain Challenge half ironman, Bahrain.
January 23 and 24 2016, Red Bull Defiance, Wanaka, NZ.
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