Kiwi's dominate Trans-Tasman IRONMAN VR Pro Challenge


New Zealand’s Teresa Adam and Mike Phillips have continued their dominance over the Aussies with strong wins in the second Trans-Tasman IRONMAN VR Pro Challenge.


Three professional women and three professional men undertook an outdoor 3 km run in a setting of their choice, before hopping on their trainers to tackle a 40 km bike ride on a portion of the IRONMAN Lake Placid bike course through the beautiful and scenic Adirondack Mountains in Upstate New York utilizing Official Virtual Cycling partner ROUVY’s augmented reality.


2019 IRONMAN New Zealand Champ Mike Phillips (NZ) was too strong for former IRONMAN Asia-Pacific Champion, Tim Van Berkel (AUS), with 12 time IRONMAN New Zealand champion Cameron Brown (NZ) taking third against his significantly younger rivals.


“It was another tough one,” Phillips said “There were so many races within the race today. I pretty much went flat out to get the first prime but it very quickly followed up with the hill climb. It was really hard to pace and judge your effort this time around.”


Enjoying his first winter at home in eight years Aussie Tim van Berkel was happy to be involved in the VR Challenge and delighted to get second place.


“It was a lot of fun but I knew Mike was going to be very hard to beat, he is the virtual King. He is pretty good at this racing, but it was a blast and I really enjoyed it.”


In third place but still showing his dry sense of humour the 48 year old legend Cameron Brown was claiming an unofficial title at VR 13.


“I think I won the Masters title, didn’t I?,” he said. “Mike is a beast and super strong. I turned 48 this week so it is nice to be still racing as pro and still pushing the body. But this VO2 max stuff really hurts me. It was a good kick up the bum for me to get some real training in. I have done mileage but no intensity. This was a good time to start up and get ready.”


Professional men’s results:


                                                        RUN TIME          BIKE TIME              OVERALL TIME

1. Mike Phillips  NZL                     00:08:57             00:54:22              01:03:19

2. Tim Van Berkel            AUS       00:09:04             00:56:52              01:05:56

3. Cameron Brown         NZL       00:09:47             00:59:35              01:09:22


In the women’s event Aussie on the rise, Grace Thek had a devastating run leg but the formidable pair of IRONMAN New Zealand champion Teresa Adam (NZ), and Amelia Watkinson (NZ) eventually proved too strong on the bike section to take out the major placings in the women’s event.


Teresa Adam has adapted wonderfully to The IRONMAN VR Pro Challenge, dominating VR6 and VR 13 and in the women’s professional race she had another impressive performance, finishing the 3 km run and 40 km bike in an overall time of 1:10:02. Amelia Watkinson (NZL) followed just behind Adam, finishing in second with a combined time of 1:10:58. Grace Thek (AUS) rounded out the group with a time of 1:15:25.


“It was definitely a tough race,” Adam said. “The course was pretty brutal and Amelia and Grace pushed me the whole way. I knew I would have a bit of a gap to make up after the run. Cycling is my strength and I only focus on the IRONMAN, so I only have the IRONMAN pace dialled. So, anything above that I normally am a bit slower. I knew I would have a gap to close down and I knew I had to ride really hard to get the win.”


Second placed Amelia Watkinson had a 1:45 lead going into the bike but was unable to hold off the charging Adam.


“This is my first time doing the VR and I think it was the first time since high school that I have done a three km time trial on the run. The whole thing was a really neat experience and a very realistic course on the computer too. It was a bit of fun,” she said.


Professional women’s results: 


                                                       RUN TIME          BIKE TIME              OVERALL TIME

1. Teresa Adam NZL                     00:11:41             00:58:21              01:10:02

2. Amelia Watkinson      NZL       00:09:56             01:01:02              01:10:58

3. Grace Thek    AUS                     00:09:45             01:05:40              01:15:25