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Boulder, Colo.-based Aussie pro Joe Gambles has his eyes set on another bid for the Ironman 70.3 World Championship crown after three top-five finishes (fifth in 2009 and 2011, fourth in 2010). But this year, he’s planning out his season a little differently and seems to be in top form heading into championship season after he captured his third straight 70.3 Boulder win. Triathlete.com caught up with Gambles to hear more about his Boulder race, his 70.3 worlds preparation and his future plans to race Kona.
Triathlete.com: Congratulations on your third straight 70.3 Boulder win! What did you take away from the day this year?
Gambles: Thanks! It was a tough day and I was very happy with my performance. Tactically, I was a lot smarter this year. I was more patient on the bike and paced myself evenly on run.
Triathlete.com: How’s your 70.3 worlds prep going, and how did this race factor into that plan?
Gambles: Preparation for 70.3 worlds is going well. I have planned out my season better this year. I have allowed for more blocks of training to specifically prepare for races. Boulder was a perfect race five weeks out from worlds. I didn’t have to travel, and I got to test myself against some of the best athletes over this distance.
Triathlete.com: You’ve had some great races this season, including your win at Rev3 Quassy—what can you attribute that to?
Gambles: I have cut my training volume back and really focused on making the key sessions count. I have built my season with the intention of remaining relaxed and not getting run down so I can peak later in the season. I definitely feel a lot fresher both physically and mentally than this time last year.
Triathlete.com: I saw you withdrew from Timberman and will be racing Ironman Lake Tahoe—is Tahoe a stepping stone to try to get to Kona in 2014?
Gambles: I am not racing Timberman this year as I feel that is where I left my Vegas performance last year. By not racing between Boulder and Vegas I have time to recover, train for both Vegas and Tahoe, and then properly taper. If Tahoe goes well then it will give me a good start toward making Kona in 2014.
Triathlete.com: It seems you’ve been focused on the 70.3 world championship—at what point do you see yourself building your season around Kona?
Gambles: All of my focus is on Vegas. After three top-five finishes at these championship races I am driven to podium this year. That said, Kona is the pinnacle of triathlon and I want to perform well there. Since winning on debut in Wisconsin in 2010, my Ironman career hasn’t really blossomed. I want to focus on Kona when I feel my body can handle the distance. Hopefully a good result in Tahoe will show that I am heading in the right direction.
Triathlete.com: What do you think of 70.3 worlds being moved to a different location every year?
Gambles: This is a great initiative by Ironman. Different courses suit different athletes. This might bring some new names to the podium in years to come.
Triathlete.com: What have you learned about the Kona course that you’ll take into your future training for that race?
Gambles: I need to stay with the lead group on the swim and be ready to ride 70.3 intensity for much of the bike. I need to be patient in the first half of the marathon as second-half strength is the key to a good Ironman run at Kona.
Triathlete.com: What advice would you give an age-grouper for succeeding at the 70.3 distance?
Gambles: Aerobic training and strength endurance are what make a good 70.3 athlete. Work on becoming efficient functionally and physiologically. Training above goal race pace should be done sparingly.
Triathlete.com: What are your goals for this season, and your long-term goals?
Gambles: I would like to podium at Vegas and Ironman Tahoe. Long term—that’s a big question. I want to keep winning races and eventually win Kona.
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