Zone 3 Latest News

23 April 2015

Whinlatter Xtreme Duathlon with Chris Stirling

After a winter of very successful training and hard work it felt great to be back racing again. Such an amazing race to kick off the season as well, loads of hills and a very technical course, another HighTerrain Events masterpiece, it certainly lives up to its name and has to be the hardest (most fun?) of its type in the U.K. It was also my first multisport race since the Wasdale Triathlon way back in September, so I felt a little more nervous than usual standing on the start line. I knew the field had some great athletes racing this year so it would be a very good test of where the winters work had left me.

The format is 9km fell/mountain run, 25km MTB and 9km trail/fell to finish, with over 1600m of ascent/descent. The summits of Grisedale Pike, Seat How, Lords Seat and Barf are all visited on the runs.

I think the rustiness and lack of racing showed from the start, my warm up was not great and I was not fully switched on and ready for the fast 2km loop to start. A gap opened up to the leaders quickly, I decided not to spend any more than I was already. Never the less my head was down a bit, the race plan was to be out front and I thought I should have been. This is not something I usually worry about when I am into my racing more, much better to race your own race than someone else's and its pretty much essential to do this for the longer stuff. I settled in for the rest of the run, but never felt I got going till the final technical part of the descent. Single track down into the woods, steep and twisty, I finally felt I found my legs and had warmed up.

A bit of faffing in transition (its hard to undo laces with MTB gloves on, more rust!) and I headed out onto the bike leg. The trails at Whinlatter forest are great, but I have not been out on the MTB too often recently and do lack a bit of skill so I was pretty happy to make up some places early on and only lose a couple coming back into transition. I felt great on the ups, all the threshold work over the winter has left my biking legs in good shape, good news for the seasons main races. I enjoyed the bike but its hard to tell how you are doing, the trails are in the forest and twisty. On the way into transition I saw Dave Wilby (last years winner) just in front, so I had an idea the ride had been ok, I now wondered if holding back on the first run
 would pay off heading out onto the the final leg.

I knew straight away I felt good, I love running up hills, I enjoy it even more off the bike. Don't know why, something about the extra challenge of keeping the legs turning over, battling gravity at the same time and fighting the feeling to give in and walk. I know made up around 3 places on the run and actually felt stronger the further into it I got. More good signs that the diesel engine is waiting to be revved up for Celtman and Norseman. A very solid run split confirms I was right to hold back, it was close in the end, under 1min30 to first place and seconds between the rest.

Late to the party but a good performance for the first race of the season and great signs that all the training has paid off. Great to be back racing, time to build and tweak before the Slateman in May.

Recovery has been great, off to Torridon for 4 days end of this week, a little bit of training on the course and chance to get some mega miles in the legs after Sundays speed session!

Congrats to James Walker and Marie Meldrum, winners of Whinlatter Extreme.

Massive thanks to Dave at DPB Images for helping out with a lift to the race, he also took all the awesome photos :). Thanks to Zone3WetsuitsLaSportivaBlair Davies Coaching,CurraNZ , TrecNutrition and Designed2Run Sports Therapy as always, helping me concentrate on the training and racing!

Race results here.

MovesCount of the race here.

Strava Bike route here.

Next stop Torridon with Steve from MovieIt!

22 April 2015

Zone3 ambassador Jamie Bedwell sets his sights on competing at Olympic Games

Uckfield triathlete Jamie Bedwell has the Olympic Games firmly in his sights and at the age of 17 he is gearing up with more than 25 hours training a week, programmed around college commitments.
He’s ruled out a social life so that he can get up at 4.30am and go to bed at about 8pm and while the Olympics in Tokoyo in 2020 might be too soon for Jamie he definitely wants to qualify through world championship events in 2024.
Triathlete Jamie Bedwell.
The commitment doesn't worry him because he loves what he does and is dedicated to succeeding.
“I sat down with Mum and Dad and my coaches at the end of last season to discuss: ‘Are we going to do this? If so we have to really go for it.’ And we have gone for it.”
Jamie, who lives in Mallard Drive on the Harlands Estate, Ridgewood, has been selected to compete in the British Super Series but crashed out of the first race, the British Duathlon Championships – run, bike, run – at the end of March.
He did a great run but then his bike sliced away from him and his injuries have affected his training regime ever since, particularly the swimming, though he was hoping to get back to swimming this morning (Thursday, April 16).
“This is the most difficult time for me. It’s not hard for me to find the motivation for training but having an injury is extremely hard.”
Looking ahead Jamie is determined to take part in European and World qualifiers on May 10 and then in the London Triathlon at Hyde Park at the end of May. There will be other races across the UK for the rest of the season, which runs from March to September, finishing with a European race at Mallory Park.
Jamie, who lives with his parents Ian and Karen and younger brother Henri – his older brother Tom is studying to be a doctor – couldn't swim until he was 13. “Well I suppose I could stay afloat but I hadn't done any swimming at all before then.”
The turning point was a talk by local triathlete Paul Hedger when Jamie was at Uckfield Community Technology College.
“After that I got more into it. I was playing really high level rugby at the time but did one triathlon and loved it and haven’t looked back since.”
Jamie now attends Sussex Downs College at Eastbourne so he can more easily reach his training sessions at Bodyworks, Eastbourne. He’s there five days a week. This includes four early morning starts, four evening sessions and training from 8.30am to 2pm on a Sunday. He also trains on a Saturday morning but that is on his own.
Jamie is currently studying sport and exercise science and he’s hoping to go on to read podiatry – following in the footsteps of his mother Karen – at university. It will help, if he’s accepted on to a course, that there is a podiatry clinic based in Eastbourne, right next to his training centre.
Most professional triathletes are aged between 21 and 30 but the current number one in the world is 32, so continuing success depends on the level of fitness maintained.
After that age triathletes often move into Iron Man, endurance racing, until the age of 40-45.
Then there are competitions for different age groups. Jamie knows of 90-year-olds who are still competing.
Jamie is grateful to sponsors for enabling him to follow his dream and says he couldn't have raced without their help this year. He has signed a deal with Zone 3, a worldwide triathlon brand which gives him 40% off their kit; The Lodge Dental Practice, Uckfield, has bought all his kit and Chrysalis Construction helps with travel sponsorship.
Jamie says a lot of money is involved in the sport. A bike costs between £2,000 and £2,500; a wet suit is £400 to £500; tri suit, £120; trainers £110.
Race entry is £50 a time and then there are hotel costs, and bike maintenance.
“I couldn’t do this without the help I get from my sponsors or from my parents who get up with me every day, take me to the station and to the competitions. I am very lucky to have the support of all these people.”
To follow Jamie’s progress see his Facebook page.

14 April 2015

Gold Coast WTS recap with Aussie athlete Dan Wilson

14 APR '15 - The weekend brought the unique and much-embraced opportunity to race a WTS without having to either dust off the passport or stare at a bike bag, willing it to magically dismantle one’s steed and pack itself. Nay sir, the Gold Coast WTS required little more than stuffing the Fiesta full of various triathlon paraphernalia, and making the ephemeral drive down from Brisbane. Luxury. 

It was the ITU’s first jaunt back on the Coast since 2009, a race that required much repression to eradicate from my memory, thus I was hoping to give a better account of myself than the World Champs of 6 years ago. 

It was a beach start into water bereft of surf, but with more currants (sic) than a Christmas pudding, and I swam like a man possessed. Possessed with the swimming ability of a donkey that is, and was just able to cling to the back of the large chase pack behind the heavy hitters up front. The bike course was more technical than an Ikea instruction manual, and combined with my sub-par swim, I spent the first few laps at the back of the pack getting stretched out like play dough around the corners. Once I’d got my heart rate under a million BPM, I made my way to the front of the group and did a bit of work for the rest of the bike, and with some work by Mola, Gomez, Murray, Bailie and Sexton, we dismounted about 30 seconds in arrears of Brownlee and Associates Inc.  
After a disappointing T2, I built through the run nicely through to about 7.5 km, then faded through the last lap to finish up in 14th. Another solid, yet not spectacular race, which puts me at 11th in the World Series for the year. Huge shout out to the friends, family and strangers who gave myself and all the Aussies a huge cheer for the whole race, it was an awesome atmosphere to be wearing the green and gold in!

From here, I’ve got a week to cram in a bit more work, before heading to Cape Town for the next iteration of the WTS for the year. This time, both passport and bike bag will be required, maybe this time my hopeful stare at the bike bag will be effective enough for an expedited dismantling. 

Take care friends,

Stepping Up: Transitioning from Paratriathlon to Long Distance with Sarah Pearson

Dreaming of Rio, 2016…

As a mother of two children just reaching double figures in age and working full time as an Occupational Psychologist, I hadn’t done much sport for a while other than some charity events. I fell into Triathlon after I had trained for the Commando Challenge and my team mates didn’t. I decided I could easily add swimming into the mix and do a triathlon!!! I soon found out just how difficult and technical swimming is. I always knew I had a bit of a dodgy left side but it wasn’t until I thought about transition that I rang British Triathlon to check the rules; they wanted to know what my disability was. I didn’t know, hadn’t even thought of it as a disability. I got in touch with my GP and soon became aware that I had Cerebral Palsy (CP) and a left side Hemi Paresis. By 2013 I found myself involved with the GB Paratriathlon Squad and by the end of 2014 had achieved gold at the European Championships, British Championships and Bronze at the World Championships.

In October 2014, the small but competitive world of Paratriathlon awaited the International Olympic Committee’s decision concerning which 3 of the 5 male and female classifications would be included at the Paratriathlon inaugural Olympic event in Rio 2016. Having trained hard for the previous years, I was desperate to have the opportunity to be part of the British Olympic team. Sadly for me my class, PT3 (which is one of the classes which include physical impairments in movement & function but competitors are ambulant) was not included. Funding and support ceased at that moment;

Disappointment and Changing Directions

The news that my category would not be represented at Rio was a huge emotional setback, and I was forced to reconsider my future sporting goals! Anyone who has been involved in sport will know that goals are important features of athletes’ lives. Without them, it is difficult to maintain any momentum and training becomes pointless. I desperately needed a new challenge, something to focus on both in the immediate future, but perhaps more importantly, throughout 2016 when my paratriathlon friends and team-mates would be giving all their attention to Rio.

Stepping up to longer distance triathlon to test my body bizarrely appealed. At the end of 2014, I set myself an interim goal of completing a Half Ironman in 2015. I have chosen a hilly one! Wimbleball in Somerset, with nearly 4000metres of climbing on the bike course alone! This would serve as a good measure of how my body could cope with the additional training load required for an endurance event.

My ultimate goal is to complete an Iron Distance event in 2016 (that is a 2.4mile swim; a 112mile bike ride and a 26mile run)  – not quite the Olympics, but in many ways, a much larger physical challenge for me as a disabled athlete. I will also be racing this alongside able-bodied participants, with no paratriathlon category. As far as I am aware there is only one other person and no women with CP to have completed this distance independently; the one person being Bonner Paddock.

Beginning the journey towards long distance racing

The left side of my body is affected by Cerebral Palsy. Luckily for me this is fairly mild, but I still need to consider fatigue, spasming, balance, muscle tightness and range of movement both when training and preparing for a race. Swimming presents particular challenges, especially in cold water, as my left arm cannot track the same path as my right side, and does not have anywhere near the same strength. Similarly, on the bike and run I have to consciously remind my left leg to join in otherwise it just ‘comes along for the ride’. Transition holds its own issues with fine motor skills and strength hampering wetsuit removal, helmet connection and bike racking, so I have had to find solutions and practice hard. Previously, I have had a lot of injury to my right side as it tries to compensate when my left side weakens or fatigues. I knew that this was likely to be a more significant issue over longer distances.

Initially, here were a lot of things to think about: the complete change in training structure and physical needs; nutrition; comfort on the bike; time to train and rest; costs; and importantly, finding a coach and mentor who knew me.

I decided the first and most important thing was to talk to someone with experience in coaching and racing at these distances with a hope of signing them up to the plan; I was looking for a coach who understood my specific needs, as well as having a good understanding of the trials and tribulations of ‘going long’. I knew just the person, and luckily she agreed to come on board. We commenced working together in January this year.
The second priority was to increase my general strength and conditioning. It is particularly important to focus on my left side, and build the strength as far as my cerebral palsy will allow. Via my Physiotherapy Clinic I started sessions with a Personal Trainer. This works well as he can talk to my Physio and Sports Therapist! The complete team was assembled.
The costs associated with my new goals increased and funding from other sources reduced. I also needed more time to train. I was lucky to have had support from work and family in the past. With a little negotiation this support was extended. I had been lucky enough to gain sponsorship from Zone 3 in previous years and this has been extended too. I dropped my work hours which enabled me to increase my training time without impacting too significantly on my family time.

Next on my list was to get to grips with nutrition; this had never been a massive issue in Sprint distance. I took a bit of a drink on the bike, and a gel before I set off, and that was generally was enough. I was informed in no uncertain terms by my new coach that this now had to become a central part of my thought process when training as getting nutrition correct could be crucial to finishing the race….. or not! It’s taken a while to even start to automatically think about it, let alone get the quantities correct and a few months on tweaks still occurring. For example, I am off to Majorca for a week’s training camp in April and I have just realised that the home made rice cakes that give me 20g of carbs are not likely to travel well! Substitute required.

Training for longer distance can be a lonely affair, setting off for hours on the bike on your own can be daunting especially if you are feeling a little tired. Add to that saddle discomfort and suddenly its more than just hard work. My bike had always worked alright for me over shorter distances but now the longer distances were highlighting some problems; not least the pain from the saddle. Knowing eyes quickly pointed out that my bike didn’t fit me too well and this was not just a saddle issue. I decided that if I was going to invest in a new bike I needed to make sure I had the best fit so I also invested in a good bike fit in London. The pain and discomfort on my original bike was really hampering my training and causing a bit of an aversion to riding at all. This has been the biggest low point so far and worrying despite making good progress on technique, like increasing average cadence over longer rides.

Interestingly, completing a lot more technique and drill based sessions in the pool has really benefitted my swim and this has had a bigger impact on pace than I thought it might. My Critical Swim Speed or time per 100m that I can sustain over a 1500m swim has continued to come down. Because I’m lucky enough to have the Victory D Zone 3 suit the flexibility in the arms of the suit and correct buoyancy should have a positive impact still further when I start spending more time Open Water swimming.

Lessons learnt so far…

  • ·       The bigger picture matters in long distance: nutrition, comfort and resting appropriately. Consistency of training is also key. I currently train between 10-12hours per week, with additional strength based sessions and sports massage.
  • ·       Strengthening the core muscle groups as well as specific strength training for weak areas can have a significant positive impact, both from a technique point of view and importantly to prevent injury.
  • ·       Small technical improvements can give big gains. For example, paying attention to the correct pedal technique as well as performing hours of swim drills
  • ·       You have to be ready to motivate yourself to get out there. Long brick sessions can be lonely.
  • ·       It is good to record progress daily, and look back at your training plan to help you to recognise positive changes. I find this really motivates me.
  • ·       Having a coach and mentor you trust in is invaluable. I work with Lucy Spowart from Believe & Achieve Coaching, who specialises in coaching women over longer distances.

10 April 2015

Junior Zone3 athlete Aurel Sinko-Uribe shares his experience of getting into triathlon

Hi everyone, my name is Aurel and I'm a 15 year old triathlete competing in the British Triathlon Youth & Junior Super Series this year for my first time. I started doing triathlons last year and soon became addicted to the physical and mental demands as well as competing. I was very happy to come 2nd in the 2014 London Junior Series. I soon recieved an email from Tom Bennett from the London Triathlon Academy saying that he would like me to participate in the trials for the London Triathlon Academy. A 200 meter swim and a 1500 meter run later, I sat in the car on the way home from the trials. I was completely shattered as the trials were at the end of the summer holidays and I hadn't swam for a while.
I received yet another email less than 24 hours later informing me that I had got into the academy. I said to myself: "the hard work begins now." I had joined my local athletics club Highgate Harriers a few months earlier and had been swimming with Camden Swiss Cottage Swimming Club for about a year and my swimming had improved a lot. My athletics coach Chris Rainford had made me a training plan and my running was making rapid improvements. I had done very little road cycling in 2014 and even when I went on the turbo trainer, I had little idea what I was doing or why I was doing it. I got into contact with the head of the London Talent Academy James Beckinsale and he sent me some sessions that I needed to do to improve my cycling.
On my first academy session at St. Mary's University Campus, I did a VO2 max test where I pushed myself until I fell of the treadmill. I was then taken downstairs where I spoke with Tom about my training. He said: "Write down how many times you do each sport per week."
So I wrote:
Swim X 5-6
Cycle X 1-2
Running X 6
He told me: "I don't have to have a Triathlon England shirt to tell you what's wrong, there was a clear correlation between how much you train and how good you are at each sport." One of the first things I was told was to focus on quality rather than quantity of my training so I did less sessions but made sure to give 100% in every key session. 
I started competing in Cross-Country with my club last year in the Metropolitan League and found that I was beating people who I previously thought I would never beat. While I was running, I looked around and saw I was in a group of boys who had been at my old athletics club and used to beat me by miles. I tried really hard, broke away and was very pleased with my result. My hard work had payed off. I went on to qualify for the Middlesex Inter Counties XC team as well as finishing 3rd in Middlesex Schools XC and qualifying for English Schools XC. I finished behind the previous year's Mini Marathon winner, Terry Fawden whom I also train with at my athletics club and Jake Callis who is also on the Triathlon Academy.
I was invited to Spain on a warm weather training camp in the February of 2015. It was incredibly challenging but I made sure I listened to everything and took in the amazing experience. The academy shared the hotel with some GB Triathletes and it was really weird to see Tom Bishop walking down to the local super market in his flip flops. It sounds weird but it was then that I realised that they weren't some weird alien species, they were normal people who worked extremely hard to get to the professional level. The training camp opened my eyes and I now had a new attitude towards the sport.
I was very happy with my training until 17th March. I was running past a girl in one of the younger groups in athletics and to avoid her, I went on the inside of the track where I tripped on a steeplechase barrier and I heard a crunch in my foot. My coach told me to stop the session but I could barely walk back to the car. The next day, one of my friends literally carried me up the stairs but by the time it got to the weekend, the pain was gone so I raced with surprising results. It was a windy day at Eton Dorney but I managed to race with surprising results. I crossed the line in 1st place after all the fastest splits. I wasn't particularly happy with my runs but they were alright considering I had been hopping up to my History class 4 days earlier. I was very happy with my cycling as I got a good split in windy conditions. In fact, I had sliced more than 3 minutes off my 10K cycle time. It showed me that hard work pays off. The next day, my foot was on fire again and I was advised not to run that week. 
The National Duathlon Champs was my first big race of the season. I dropped off the pace in the run as my foot was on fire and there were some very strong boys in my race. On the first corner, a boy cycling in front of me crashed hard to the floor and I didn't want that to happen to me so I was careful in the corners. Again, I was happy with my cycle leg because I wasn't drafting off anyone and my cycle split wasn't too far off the best one. I managed to finish in 12th and my foot did not hurt at all in the second run. On monday, my foot still didn't hurt so I decided to go to athletics and I have been training well ever since. Hopefully in the next super series race, I can finish in a higher position because swimming is my strength and I want to take full advantage of that.