I can’t believe 6 months has passed since my last big race at Bahrain 70.3 back in December! After the success of that race I got asked a lot of questions about getting my Pro License. Having thought about it long and hard, and despite ticking the box from a British Triathlon perspective of being within 8% of the winners time and winning a number of Ironman 70.3 Age Group Races, overall I feel I still have more to do.
Following Bahrain, after a couple of easy weeks leading into Christmas, I was soon back into training and looking forward to 10 days in San Francisco with Matt Dixon of Purplepatch. This was a great opportunity to immerse myself into the Purplepatch experience, train alongside his pros and educate myself as much as possible. It was an amazing experience and a special thank you to Matt; Paul Buick for passing on some of his biking wisdom; Jordan and Rich Blanco for putting me up and generally carting me from session to session; and Sarah Piampiano and Sarah Cameto for allowing me to join them for most of their training.
Newly inspired from the trip, it was time to get back to reality and enjoying February in the UK! Making friends in California isn’t good when they are posting themselves riding their bikes in beautiful sunny skies on social media and it’s barely above 3 degrees here, and I’m confined to the Turbo once again!
Matt’s last words to me before I had left SF were “these last 10 days are not reality. Get yourself back home and into normal life and see how you manage to incorporate the training around work and family”. Two months later and none of the desire had disappeared, so I made the step to start 1:2:1 coaching with Paul Buick. Paul is some kind of biking guru, with a great eye on biomechanics across all three sports. He understands what I am trying to achieve and think he will be a big asset over the coming years.
On a sponsorship front I am delighted to be working with Giant St Pauls and H2 Clubs. After four successful years racing for Torq, it was time to make a change. It’s early days with the Trinity, but I am massively impressed. I’ve managed to get a great position from the learnings in the wind tunnel and with Paul’s input, and integration with front bottle and nutrition on the frame means I am riding the fastest I ever have by quite a long way.
After a few early sprint races and time trials, Challenge Lisbon was my first real test to see what progress I have made over the winter. I’d been looking forward to the race for weeks in the build up.
Swim – was poor. A bit of a wake up call about more swimming with Masters and the fact it was the first open water swim of the year. Nothing I can’t put right, but need to work on especially if I am going to race in pro fields in the future.
Bike – 4 laps out and back with a 1k climb towards the turnaround. Went a little hard to get back up to the leader on the first lap (320 watts), but wanted to be in contention. I settled down for the remaining laps, using my training partner and strong cyclist Phil Murphy in second as a gauge of progress. Overall, I averaged 309w for the bike split, up from circa 285-290w over the last couple of years, and was only 4 minutes slower than fastest pros who rode in a pace line throughout, so pretty happy.
Run – 4 laps out and back. Getting pretty warm with highs of 27 forecast. Feeling the hard bike leg. Been working on pacing in training to deliver a 1.17. This never really felt on, I was always a little behind this but held it together for a 1.20.
TOTAL TIME – 3:57. Age group winner overall and 14th with pros. Not my perfect day, but solid day out all the same and progress made.
What’s next? Onwards to Deva Middle on the 4th June and a chance to retain the title from last year, and then the next big one is Edinburgh 70.3. Very much looking forward to this race before it’s time for a break. Having trained and raced through to December last year and then through to the start of this year. I think I will be ready for it! I’ll then be starting to think about IM Florida in November with a couple of 70.3’s in the lead up.