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In a race packed with a “who’s who” of triathlon’s top performers, three-time IRONMAN World Champion Craig “Crowie” Alexander (AUS) stayed strong and outran most of his competition to capture third place at IRONMAN 70.3 Vineman this weekend. Next gen star and last year’s winner Sam Appleton (AUS) took a close 4th place after fighting for the lead throughout the race.

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Two-time XTERRA world champ Lesley Paterson (GBR) was victorious this past weekend in her debut at XTERRA France. The win in Xonrupt, France is Paterson’s third win of the season after claiming the top podium spots at XTERRA Tahiti and XTERRA Laguna Beach.

“The Scottish rocket soars again,” said the Human Interest Group Director Michael Cardoza. “Congrats to Lesley for her accomplishment at XTERRA France.”

“Defeating two previous course champions on her first attempt at XTERRA France shows that Les is fit and racing well, despite a hectic calendar this time of year. We can’t wait to see her in action later this fall at the world championship on Maui.”

Paterson started her race conservatively: she had a 20:21 swim time and managed a steady pace on the first loop of the bike course. On the second loop, however, Paterson powered to the lead spot that she kept through the remainder of the bike (2:24:09) and onto the run (51:09). Her final time of 3:38:39 was about four minutes ahead of the second place finisher.

“I felt great all day and just so grateful to be able to compete against great gals and in one of the best XTERRAs I’ve ever experienced! Roll on the rest of the summer!” Paterson told XTERRA after her race.

With the XTERRA World Championships in Maui on her horizon, Paterson is planning a summer of focused training and selected races, including XTERRA Italy in a few weeks.

XTERRA France

Lesley Paterson (GBR) 3:38:30

Renata Bucher (SUI) 3:42:48

Helena Erbenova (CZE) 3:48:04

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Off-road triathlon phenom Mauricio Mendez (MEX) continued to rack up wins on the 2016 XTERRA circuit with a victory at XTERRA Sweden this weekend, and only one week after taking 2nd at IRONMAN 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship, Radka Vodičková (CZE) blazed through Challenge Iskander Puteri for a 2nd place finish.

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Six Human Interest Group (HIG) athlete clients stormed the podiums at four IRONMAN races held this past weekend.

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Heather Wurtele received another accolade for her stand-out 2016 season: Triathlon Magazine Canada and Triathlon Canada named Wurtele Canada’s Triathlete of the Year alongside fellow Canuck Lionel Sanders.

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This year’s XTERRA World Champion. The IRONMAN North American Champion. The top American male at Kona.

Mauricio Mendez, Heather Wurtele, and Ben Hoffman are examples of what the Human Interest Group clients achieved as they raced around the world in 2016.

Day after day, weekend after weekend, the crew enthused fans with hard work, professionalism, and an inspirational attitude that led to the podium. While individual achievements were impressive, the potential power of the whole HIG stable was undeniable this year too, as this holiday video shows.

Here’s how 2016 rewarded the work of these amazing influencers:

HIG athletes racked up more than 25 first place medals:
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Stiff competition and strong winds at IRONMAN 70.3 Bahrain were no match for Sam Appleton (AUS) as he took 3rd place at this year’s 70.3 Middle East Championship. The desert race was the fourth time Appleton won a podium spot in a season that started with a 1st place victory at IRONMAN 70.3 Buenos Aires.

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The use of technology in sports is nothing new and as new equipment is devised, elite athletes have taken advantage of the developments in their training.

runTraining for a triathlon is one of the toughest preparations an athlete will take on. In this article we look at how technology is aiding both professional and amateur athletes in their triathlon preparation.

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In his book Triathlon 2.0 Jim Vance talks about the importance of using data to keep track of progress. In an extract from the book on Human Kinetics Vance asks several questions to address how useful collecting performance data is. One of the questions is “what if I told you there was a way to determine exactly when you had enough aerobic fitness, so you could maximize training time by focusing more time on weaknesses, instead of aerobic work?”

This is one of the key advantages that technology has in preparation. It allows athletes to tailor their training to focus on their weakness using information that would otherwise not be available to them. Vance goes on to state that race goals can be calculated and measured which gives athletes more power and freedom to create the best way to train. Training with data tracking technology to measure performance is used across many sports such as soccer where Premier League preview and betting site Betfair write that GPS devices are worn by players in training during pre-season.

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Heat-rate variability tracking (HRV) is the ability to measure the variation of heart beats and is a commonly used technology for triathlon athletes. Colorado-based triathlon coach Alan Couzens spoke to Outside Online about the benefits and disadvantages of the technology. He says that one of the benefits of HRV is that it is “a good indicator of whether your central nervous system is in fight or flight mode or a rest or repair mode.” Athletes can use this information to measure how well they are recovering from their training.

While the benefits are huge Couzens also had a warning about over relying on HRV technology. He believes that athletes jump into using the technology too quickly before they’ve established a baseline to work from. He goes on to state that athletes need to discover their own norm and patterns so that they will know what to work from.

Once data technology was only available to elite athletes but with the advancement of tracking devices, particularly smartphone technology, anyone from amateur to professionals can use data tracking. Amateur triathlete David DePiano writes on his blog about the benefits of training with data tracking. He writes that he uses two apps to for training analysis: Garmin Connect and Strava. These apps allow him to tailor a workout in the same way that a professional athlete would use GPS. The apps also allow him to measure his average pace, sleep time and mood. This technology is essential for athletes who train on their own as it can give them the same information that a professional coaching team could provide.

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Capping one of her most accomplished race seasons yet, Olympian and long-distance champion Radka Vodickova (CZE) stood on the podium for the tenth time at major events this year after finishing third at the Laguna Phuket Triathlon.

In the thirteen triathlons Vodickova raced in 2016, she took first place twice, was a runner-up five times, and finished third three times.

Human Interest Group Director Michael Cardoza congratulated Vodičková on her success this weekend and the overall season. “Rads showed this year why she is one of the top pros on the circuit today, starting with 70.3 Geelong in February and ending with the Laguna triathlon nine months later. It’s not easy to remain in top form physically and mentally, es...

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Most people take a breather once they win their first XTERRA World Championship.

Mauricio “Mau” Mendez Cruz had a different plan.

One week after the 21-year-old professional athlete was crowned the 2016 XTERRA World Championship, making him the youngest ever and the first Mexican athlete to claim the title, Mendez again stood on a podium for first place at IRONMAN 70.3 Los Cabos, a road triathlon nearly double the distance of the XTERRA course.

Those back-to-back wins, and Mendez’s approach to life, confirm that the triathlon prodigy is assembling a one-of-a-kind career.

Work Ethic & Family Ties

Before turning pro in 2014, Mendez created a buzz about his potential as a multi-sport athlete thanks to superior age-group performances, including being the first overall amateur at the 2013 XTERRA World Championships at 18 years old. He also joined Mexico’s national triathlon team in 2011.

Even at that age, Mendez displayed a genuine passion and respect for the entirety of triathlon. From the daily training and constant traveling to sponsorship fulfillment and multiple race day pressures, Mendez naturally welcomes the demands and grind of being a professional athlete.

“Mau is unusually hyper-focused on his career but at the same time, thoroughly enjoys the process, in a way that makes this grueling sport look easy,” said Michael Cardoza, Director of the Human Interest Group, the sports management firm representing Mendez since 2014.

“It’s obvious to anyone who has worked with Mau that he does not think the sport owes him something. He accepts what he needs to do to excel in the sport.”

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His positive attitude combined with a powerful, yet to peak, athleticism also caught the attention of several brands since turning pro. Mendez enjoys partnerships with numerous companies such as Muscle Milk, ON Running, Viansi (Orbea/Orca), and Xterra Wetsuits.

Mendez’s work ethic is almost as important to his success as the connection with his family. Since he began training and competing at an early age – he participated in Mexico’s IRON Kids Series at ten years old – Mendez grew up as an athlete surrounded by family, and the link between his family and triathlon career continues today.

Mendez’s father coaches his son and cheers from the sidelines for Mendez to stay strong in the final push of a race. The family camping trips in the summer included mountain biking, stoking Mendez’s comfort on the trails.

2016 Season

Mendez exclusively trained during the first three months of the year before several early season races offered hints of what would propel him to the XTERRA podium in October.

At IRONMAN 70.3 Texas in April, he earned the fourth-fastest swim and second-fastest run to finish fifth. The next month, Mendez took second place at XTERRA Oak Mountain in Alabama with the top swim and run splits among the male pros. Mendez’s running power again was evident in June at the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon (where he set two records as an age grouper, M14&under and M17-19) after he clocked the third fastest run.

With three challenging races completed, Mendez next prepared for what would be an epic trip for any twenty-year-old: a six-week trip through Europe for five races on the XTERRA European Tour.

“My trip to Europe was, for sure, a once in a lifetime experience, something that is now part of me and motivates me to keep moving forward,” explained Mendez.

“From that trip, I have been able to see the purest happiness in the eyes of people following their values and dreams. I learned that what society often calls “normal” is the purest way to waste your time.”

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The tour began in Italy where Mendez celebrated his first XTERRA race win as a professional athlete; the experience was made even more special since his mentor and coach, two-time XTERRA World Champion Lesley Paterson, also took first place. The victory at XTERRA Italy was followed by wins at XTERRA Sweden and XTERRA Denmark; Mendez completed his tour with second place at XTERRA Poland and fifth at the XTERRA European Championship.

While the various terrains – choppy waves for the swim, rocky accents on the bike, technical trails for the run – tested the athletes, Mendez endured and often secured his lead against many older and more experienced pro off-road triathletes during the run portion of the races.

Mendez’ again flew with his feet at IRONMAN 70.3 Cozumel about three weeks after returning from Europe and two weeks before the XTERRA World Championships. At Cozumel, where he finished 11th in 2015, Mendez erased a time gap on the run to sprint past competitors and finish approximately seven minutes ahead of second and third places. The performance delivered Mendez the first IRONMAN 70.3 win of his career.

XTERRA World Championship

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Two weeks later, Mendez traveled to Maui where he joined fifty-one pro athletes, including reigning XTERRA World Champion Josh Middaugh and three-time XTERRA World Champion Ruben Ruzafa, to compete for the XTERRA World Championship title and $20,000 prize purse.

In what many athletes and fans called the roughest (and muddiest) weather conditions for the XTERRA race in twenty-one years, Mendez completed the 1.5-mile Pacific Ocean swim, 20-mile mountain bike ride, and a 6.5-mile trail run in 2:49:38, about three minutes ahead of runner-up Ruzafa to take the title.

Mendez additionally earned the fastest run split of the day. Mendez’s official splits were swim (20:33), bike (1:46:59), and run (42:06). The first-place win follows 5th in 2014 and 4th in 2015.

Resting for Next Season

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