Shane Reed Update – Kestrel’s Olympic athlete

Posted: September 13, 2008 in KestrelBlog

Here’s an great update from Shane Reed’s Olympic experience.

The Olympics was a fantastic experience and definitely a dreamed fulfilled for me. The build up in Boulder, Limoux France and Che Ju Island Korea went very well. Earlier in the year when I was chosen by Triathlon New Zealand and the selectors they had mentioned that I may start the Olympics as a “Team Player”. Earlier in the year I was also sidelined with a hip injury and was probably 5 weeks away from running my best at the Olympics. Because of this my coach Brendon Downey and I decided that to get the most out of the race, working for the two other Kiwi’s was the best option. At the Korean training camp we sat down as a team and discussed strategies for the race and a contract was made up. If the Kiwis either medalled or got in the top 10 then I would receive substantial funding for the next year.

Because the temperatures were so high in Korea, Beijing the day of the race seemed quite cool in comparison. On the start line I wasn’t that nervous and got a flying start, even easing up at 200m. I led the swim from start to finish, soaking up precious media coverage. Once out of the water I looked around for Bevan and Kris. Bevan was in the pack but Kris was 1 min down. For the first lap I sat on the back hoping that Kris would catch up. Realizing that he wouldn’t I then set about riding for Bevan. There were a number of attacks early which I managed to cover, by filling in the gaps and pulling the others up. Around the 3rd lap on the bike the 2nd pack with Kris was 15-20 secs down so I dropped back and pulled the 2nd pack the remaining distance to the 1st pack. The 4th lap was a very fast lap with the Swiss attacking on the long climb; this was the major attack of the race and an important one to cover as there were some main players in this attack. Shortly after this attack 3 guys attacked again and actually broke away by themselves but these guys weren’t dangerous, knowing that they weren’t runners. The 4th lap people continued to attack at the front, with nothing major happening. The 5th lap the pack stayed together and a glance from Bevan meant I had to jump on the front and ride hard to keep the gap between the front 3 and 2nd pack minimal. If the gap went out to more than 1 minute then there was danger. I rode hard for about 2.5 km on the front.

The last lap was the most important as this was the lead out for the run transition. Once we rolled over the top of the last hill Bevan gave me a nod, all 3 off us Kiwi’s were at the front and positioned well. I rode to the front and put the hammer down. The plan from here was keep the pace as high as possible for as long as possible so that nobody can come around to the front while the guys get a good sit on me in a good position. I rode super hard and gave the guys a perfect lead out onto the run, Bevan running to a Bronze medal, Kris at the front for a lap but pulling out because of injury. Unfortunately this meant that my legs going into the run weren’t so fresh. I ran quite slow for the first 5 km and then freshened up and passed 8 people. I could see my brother coming back to me and he only finished 2 places in front of me.

What an experience, to be able to control an Olympic race, I felt very satisfied with my performance even though myindividual placing wasn’t as good as I would have liked. But that was a sacrifice I had to make. Johnson & Johnson flew my wife Tammy over to China to watch my race was alsowonderful having her there to watch me.

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