Xterra Malta was the opening event of my triathlon season.
The build up to the event had been what I felt was ‘good enough’ but there were still improvements to be made. The Scottish ‘Spring’ had made it a little difficult to keep my motivation and consistency at times leading up to the race.
Qualifying for the Xterra World Championships was my main goal. This meant an Age Group win would have to be on the cards. With only a small number of athletes in my 20-24 category there was a good chance it would be a tight race for the top spot.
The beach start meant that choosing a good start position was important to get the best line to the first turn buoy – front and centre for me. It did take me a couple hundred metres to get into a rhythm but managed to sit with a small group for the first loop and upon the ‘Australian exit’ run along the beach to start lap 2 I could see that I had dragged a group along behind me. The end of the second lap positions hadn’t really changed and I exited onto the Golden Bay sand with a few others for company.
The run to transition took us from the beach and up a steep set of steps to the main transition area. In a quest to find some marginal gains I opted to get out of my wetsuit before climbing the steps. Out onto the bike I had dropped a position thanks to trying to put on bike gloves with wet hands (with the very rough terrain they were highly recommended). Once I was out on the bike I focused on keeping the athletes ahead in sight and gradually worked on closing them down. I didn’t feel great to begin with and struggled to put down any considerable power on the climbs. Nearing the end of lap 1 I started to feel better, but then that’s where it went downhill...
On the final rough rocky section of the lap I heard the dreaded ‘sshhhhhhh’ of a pierced tyre. I was hoping that the tubeless sealant would do its thing and seal the puncture as I rolled along but the hole proved just too big to repair itself and the tyre went down. And down. And down some more! All this just 2km away from the end of the lap. I stopped to attempt my best patch-work on the hole but alas – no joy! So, after a few naughty words to myself I slowly made my way back to finish the lap - essentially just riding on the rim for 2km on far from smooth trails. Just as I neared the final straight of the lap I passed Gregg, who had been waiting for considerably longer than anticipated, and I said, “this is going to be a long lap”. Yes, I was considering riding 15km on the rim…not advised! Then a very kind spectator offered me a tube to (try) fix the flat. It worked, to an extent. I managed to get *almost* 5km into lap 2 of the bike where on yet another rough rocky descent… ‘sshhhhhhh!’ And that was that.
It was a long 5km walk/roll back to the transition area that took around 40minutes. I had company of a young athlete from Netherlands who also suffered the same issue on the same section. We rolled back the most direct route to transition with a fair bit of sliding around on the rocks but eventually we made it back.
As I rolled up to enter transition, popping a wheelie upon arrival, the marshals and spectators were cheering me on before realising the state of my rear tyre. I handed in my timing chip and asked if I could still do the run. I could. So, I racked my bike in the most relaxed T2 I’ve done and exited to head out and enjoy the wonderful views on the run course.
On the run route I was trying not to interfere with the slightly slower runners who were still officially in the race as we marched single file up the cliff edge towards the highest part of the course. Once you reached the top, it was a nice technical rocky descent to finish the lap looking down onto the bay where the swim took place. I ended the lap in 24mins and aimed to get round the second and final lap in near enough the same time. I managed lap 2 in 25mins and finished with a run split that would have given me a top 3 split for my age group.
I am now looking at entering another Xterra event later in the year to hopefully put together a full race and chase that Maui spot.
Next up will be the Highland Cross in June and then Ironman Barcelona in October. Who knows what else will be in between those, I’ll wait and see.
Thanks to Gregg for Malta race photographer and supporter duties.
It’s been a busy start to 2018 for all of us at You Can Sport – both from an athlete and business perspective.
We sponsored our first event – the Stirling Duathlon. This race hosted the Scottish National Duathon Champs, the Scottish Student Triathlon (SST) Duathlon Champs and was also an ITU age group qualifier for 2019. The winning club of our free coaching session was the Grangemouth Triathlon Club.
Coming up in the next few weeks we have the return of the Scottish Sea Farms Triathlon Festival at the University of Stirling. This is set to be even bigger and better than last year’s successful event. We are still on the lookout for more volunteers to help throughout the day. So, if you are free on Sunday 27th May, and would like to help out, please contact email@example.com with your details. You will be provided with lots of food and drink throughout the day as well as some other goodies, and maybe even a tan (if last year’s weather is anything to go by!).
You Can Sport Athletes
Ross’ first event of this year was the Falkirk Ultra Race, an 8hr ultramarathon where he was able to cover a huge 68.6km within the time. He then opened his triathlon season at the East Fife sprint triathlon with a 6 minute PB and a brilliant 19min 5km run split.
Fionna completed her first ever marathon in Barcelona in a time of 5:48.
Gregg ran another half marathon PB at the Surrey Half in a time of 1:36.
Graham was back out competing in the Open Adventure Open5 series in the Peaks (Edale)as a Male Pairing with Keith finishing 5th, and then in the Dales (Grassington) as a Mixed Pair with Suzanne coming in 6th.
Craig competed at the opening Xterra event of the season in Malta. He was unfortunately forced to withdraw after a double puncture on the rocky bike course. Before that his swim of 21:11 was the 6th fastest age group time of the day. Wanting to make the most of the day, he was able to make his way back to T2 from the bike course and was allowed to go out and enjoy the run around the scenic coastal course. A detailed account of his day will follow.
In the next few weeks we’ll have athletes competing at the London, Stirling and Edinburgh marathons, the Tiree Half Marathon, Selkirk Standard Triathlon and plenty other events across the country!
Good luck to all our athletes.
Our first year has been a busy one with individual athletes, corporate events, commentating and our teams own personal racing. Here is a short recap of some of the things we’ve achieved in 2017.
Scottish Sea Farms Triathlon Festival
We organised our first corporate triathlon event for Scottish Sea Farms in May. With months of training building up to it the participants all thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Throughout the process some of them lost significant amounts of weight, gave up smoking, and everyone noticed increased camaraderie within the office itself. Then on day the day, with Olympian Michael Jamieson also in attendance, they were able to complete the event and raise over £30,000 for charity.
We are currently in the process of organising their 2nd annual Triathlon Festival for 2018 which will be even bigger and better than before.
We now have athletes being coached all across the world, from Grangemouth in Scotland to an oil rig off the coast of Malaysia.
All of the athletes coached by You Can Sport have achieved at least one PB this season, with many of them setting a new PB nearly every event they competed at. We have had a real cross section of abilities with athletes focussing on running only events, to some doing IRONMAN, ultramarathons and even the double-endurance triathlon at Deca UK.
We look forward to seeing how they all get in 2018 and can’t wait to help them work towards their goals. If you’d like to join them in being coached by one of our team then contact us to get started.
Graham has been busy with commentating at various events throughout the year with the diary already filling up for 2018. Some of the events we attended this year were IRONMAN 70.3 Edinburgh, Etape Caledonia, Strathclyde Park Triathlon, Perth Mo Run and the Aberfeldy Triathlon. If you have an event that you’d like an experience event commentator to attend then get in touch with Graham at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Craig was awarded the Triathlon Scotland Performance Development Coach of the Year award at their annual awards ceremony in November. Then, this month, Gregg completed his IRONMAN coaching certification to add to his British Triathlon L1 and will start getting more involved in 2018.
We have lots of exciting plans for next year in the pipeline and will be looking to expand our athlete base even more. So if you have set yourself with some goals for next year already and would benefit from some coaching guidance and personalised training plans then email email@example.com now to get started.
We know You Can achieve your goals!