• From Triathlete To Duathlete By Paul Suett

    cycling running duathlon

    Sundried ambassador Paul Suett had to move from triathlon to duathlon after a debilitating shoulder injury. He gives us an update on his plan for this year and qualifying as a GB duathlete for the first time. 

    Time for a change of sports

    The end of last season ended in pain with a foot and a shoulder injury which had to be worked on at the local private hospital. My foot got fixed pretty quickly but because I raced all season with an injured rotator cuff in my shoulder, the damage needed a lot of rehab. It’s now been 5 months of injections and physio on my shoulder and it's only just starting to feel slightly normal again but a lot of time in the pool has been lost which I cannot make up, so I decided it was time for a change of sports and looked into qualifying for Team GB again but this time in duathlon.

    I looked up all the qualifying races that I would need to do throughout the season and two are at the beginning of the year and two at the end. Realistically, I thought to myself that the last two would be the ones I need to aim for as I have no real experience in this discipline and the start of the year would be all about learning and reducing mistakes in prep for later on in the year. We had a local duathlon race a few weeks before the first qualifier so I decided this would be a good opportunity to start the adventure

    Gravesend Cyclopark Winter Duathlon 28th January

    The day was windy but not too cold and the event was on a closed road bike circuit so this was a good opportunity to race without the worry of cars on the road. The run was 6.5km partly on the bike circuit and then onto the roads. This was followed by a 20km cycle then a 3.5km run to finish it off.

    I was ready to race and unusually not very nervous but I think this was because I didn’t have to swim. The race set off at a frantic pace and I initially went out way too fast so I slowed up a little after the first mile and got used to the feeling of racing again for the first time this year. The first part of the race twisted and turned around the race track and then out onto the road up a steep hill for 1.5km before turning back around and down toward the bikes. As I ran into transition, my girlfriend Cassie shouted encouragement and let me know what position I was in.

    running transition duathlon bikes

    A quick transition and onto the bike with the thoughts of “I need to now catch some people up”. The track was damp and the first lap I took relatively cautiously as the bends were fast and I didn’t want to end up sliding off. Suddenly it hit me that this was a race and I needed to risk it all on the bike so I put my head down and started to power through the corners and around the circuit. I started to overtake people and lap others that were streaming onto the course after me. Shouts of encouragement from friends racing and best friend Joel as I left the circuit for the final run gave me the final push to give everything till the end of this run. The run was straight back up and down that hill again which had my lungs bursting but soon I was crossing that finish line and collapsing in a heap. It was over and I finished overall in 7th and also picked up a podium place for 2nd vet. The race had been tough but gave me the confidence that I was at least competitive in this discipline going forward to the first qualifier.

    cycling triathlon duathlon

    Anglian Water Standard Duathlon 18th February

    This was my first qualifier ever in this discipline so I had the normal nerves of not knowing if I would be good enough or if it was just too early on in the season with little preparation. I thought back to the last race and that combined with what training I had done I was confident that whatever the outcome, it would be the best I could do.

    Transition was icy and a cold bitter wind whipped through the car park where we warmed up and I finalised my plan of attack in my head. I knew what pace I wanted to go on the run to give myself the best chance of attacking the bike and the second run. We all got to the start line and chatted nervously before the race start and then suddenly the horn went and we were off.

    The start of the run was tight along a country pathway which was uneven and muddy but this was race time and I love to race. The run course undulated up and down hills which ultimately gave me a stitch with a mile to go. I kept powering through the pain knowing it should stop once I got on the bike and I raced into T1 and up to the bike.

    Previous experience played to my advantage in transition as people were slow getting ready to ride. I had this worked out perfectly and was in and out super quick, overtaking at least 5 people. I love my bike and straight away we were speeding along to the first turn around point. I was making notes of who was ahead coming back the other way and used them to target to catch up. The bike course was mainly flat with only a few hills so it was a case of head down and really put the power through the pedals. I started to overtake a few people and the targets I had were getting closer and closer. The miles ticked off and I was feeling good that the ride was going well, there were a few people up ahead in the distance taking advantage of low numbers of marshals so they decided to draft which was a bit unfair but nothing I could do about it.

    I flew into T2 with my routine of transiting into the final run phase going around my head so I didn’t forget anything. Once again I overtook people and I was out onto the run. The second run I knew would hurt a lot but I also knew it wouldn’t last too long as it was only 5km, these are the times that really make or break qualification when you really want to slow up but you know every second counts.

    The final few bends were ahead and I could see the finish line and with 400m to go I felt someone behind me catching. I didn’t know if they were in my age group but I didn’t want to take the risk so I started to sprint towards the finish. This final burst left them behind and I crossed the line in 2:05:25. I didn’t know if this was a good time or not but I was confident I had given my all.

    After the race I found out it gave me 5th place in qualification out of a possible 20 slots with 2 races to go, this was my strongest start to a campaign so I am confident with also my best time percentage that I have a very good chance of qualifying for the Europeans and Worlds next year.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Joan Capdevila Athlete Ambassador

    Triathlete bike riding

    From racing disasters to proudest achievements, triathlete Joan tells us about life in the fast lane.

    Have you always been into sport?

    Yes, since I was four years old. First playing tennis until I got into triathlon.

    What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon? 

    I did it because I was good at duathlon, especially long distance duathlon. For that reason, I tried triathlon.

    What's been your favourite race to date and why? 

    I think the most beautiful race I've done so far has been Ironman Lanzarote 2011. It was the first time I qualified for Ironman Hawaii. I suffered but I saw that I could do well in long distance racing.

    And your proudest achievement?

    My proudest achievement was coming third in my age group at Ironman Wales in 2017. 

    Have you ever had any racing disasters / your toughest race yet? 

    I think the biggest and worst disaster was at Ironman Hawaii in 2011. I didn't have a bike so I had to rent one and didn't have time to test it out first or have a bike fit. My back was so sore after the bike I wasn't sure I'd even be able to run and my toes kept going numb!

    How do you overcome setbacks? 

    I just remember why I'm doing this and remember to enjoy myself.

    What is the best bit of advice you wish someone had told you before you started competing?

    The main thing is to have fun.

    What are your goals for 2018? 

    My goals for 2018 are to compete in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in South Africa and the Ironman Champs in Kona.

    Who do you take your inspiration from?

    My mother, who once told me I could achieve anything I put my mind to, and my wife, who supports me in everything I do.

    What do you like about Sundried and what's your favourite bit of our kit?

    One of the things I like most about Sundried is that they use recycled materials in their sports clothes and for me, that is a respect towards the athlete and also towards the environment.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Ironman Triathlon

    Ironman Triathlon Triathlete Running Swimming

    What is an Ironman Triathlon? How is it different from any other triathlon? We look into the massively popular endurance sport.

    Triathlon Organisations

    Ironman is a trademarked brand and is a specific family of triathlon events that take place all over the globe. Many people mistake the term Ironman for a specific triathlon distance, but not all full distance triathlons are Ironman events.

    There are several different triathlon organisations across the globe. British Triathlon is the main governing body in the UK and oversees triathlon races from local to world qualifying races.  ITU Triathlon is the International Triathlon Union and is the international governing body for many different multi-sport events from triathlon and duathlons to aquathlons and other non-standard multi-sport variations.

    On the other hand, Ironman is a privately owned brand and only incorporates the standard swim-bike-run triathlon in two distances: the full Ironman and the half Ironman (also known as the 70.3). A triathlon of this distance that isn't organised by the Ironman brand is known as a middle distance triathlon.

    Finally, the other main family of triathlon organisers is the Challenge Family whose biggest race is Challenge Roth in Germany. This is also a full distance triathlon, but as it is not organised by Ironman, it would not be called an Ironman triathlon. 

    Triathlon Distances

    Super Sprint 

    400m swim - 10km bike - 2.5km run

    Sprint

    750m swim - 20km bike - 5km run

    Standard Distance (also known as Olympic Distance)

    1500m swim - 40km bike - 10km run

    Middle Distance (also known as Half Ironman, also known as 70.3)

    2.5km swim - 80km bike - half marathon run

    Full Distance (also known as Full Ironman, also known as 140.6)

    3.8km swim - 180km bike - full marathon run

    Ironman 70.3

    Half Ironman events are a great way to get into the sport without making such a huge step up from standard distance triathlons. This is probably the most common event for novices and amateur athletes to enter, and can still count towards points for the Full Ironman World Championships. There are many big 70.3 races across the globe.

    Ironman Lanzarote

    This 70.3 race is always very popular with British athletes as it is in a convenient location and provides stunning backdrops and great weather for racing. Several Sundried ambassadors have competed in Lanzarote and it also provides a training camp for amateur athletes who want to improve in the sport.

    Triathlon Ironman Lanzarote 70.3 Half Iron

    Ironman Wales

    A new race has recently begun in Tenby, Wales and offers a few different distance options. There is the Tenby Long Course weekend in which athletes complete the full Iron distance but over three days, completing the swim on the first day, the bike on the second, and the marathon on the third. This is a great way to break down the tough sport and give more athletes a chance of completing the full event before tackling all three disciplines on the same day.

    Ironman Weymouth

    Ironman Weymouth is one of the most popular 70.3 locations in the UK as it is easily accessible and is a great way to transition from shorter triathlons into the bigger ones. 

     

    Full Ironman Events

    Ironman Bolton

    This is the location of Ironman UK, the biggest Ironman event in the country and the main British qualifier for the Ironman World Championships.

    Ironman Kona (Hawaii)

    The Ironman World Championships are held annually in Kona, Hawaii. This is the biggest Ironman event in the world and is the ultimate goal of many triathletes. Chrissie Wellington is an English triathlete who has won the Ironman World Championships four times and is therefore one of the most prominent names in the world of multi-sport.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Rui Dolores Xterra Triathlete

    Rui Dolores Xterra Triathlete Off Road

    Rui is a Portuguese athlete who competes in off-road triathlons. He tells Sundried about his performance at the Xterra World Championships and his goals for the future.

    Have you always been into sport?

    Yes. When I was a child I always played football and other sports. At nine years old, I started doing swimming competitions. When I was 18 years old, I did my first sprint triathlon, and I'm still doing them today.

    What made you decide to enter triathlon?

    I always try to find new goals to stay motivated and to improve myself. After many years of swimming, I was feeling the need for a different and bigger challenge

    What’s been your best race to date?

    I've had many great races, but the most notable was when I finished second in my age group at the World Championship Tricross in 2011.

    And your proudest achievement?

    My proudest achievement was completing my first full distance Ironman in Frankfurt in 2014. It was a long and hard day but it was a great feeling at the finish line.

    Have you ever had any racing disasters / your toughest race yet?

    During an off-road duathlon in my home town, I crashed and broke my bike frame, so I had to finish the race with bare feet and a bike in two pieces!

    My toughest race was XTERRA France this year. It was a very cold, rainy and muddy day!

    Xterra Triathlete Triathlon Bike Cycling Mountain Bike

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    I always focus on my goal, the priority is do my best and cross the finish line and don't give up.

    What is the best bit of advice you wish someone had told you before you started competing?

    Don't stop when you're tired. Stop when you're done!

    What are your goals for 2017?

    I've already completed my first goal of 2017 which was to compete at the European tour XTERRA, I finished in fifth place. My next goal is world championship XTERRA in October 2017.

    Who do you take your inspiration from?

    My inspiration comes from all those who support me.

    What do you like about Sundried and what’s your favourite bit of our kit?

    I care deeply about the environment so it was great to find Sundried, a brand that shares my ethos. Plus, the clothes are made in my home country of Portugal! I love the designs and the training clothes are perfect for before or after a race when you need to be comfortable. 

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Joe Trim Athlete Ambassador

    Joe Trim Sundried Athlete Ambassador Cycling

    Joe is a young triathlete who has been sporty his whole life. He talks to Sundried about learning from his mistakes and his aspiration to become the next Alistair Brownlee.

    Have you always been into sport?

    I've been into swimming from a very young age but used it as more of a means for recreation than anything else up until I was about 12. At this age I started getting involved in local galas in which I developed a love for racing which I've never lost. During the winter of year 8 at school I got involved in cross-country running in which I found an almost natural talent as I had kept a reasonably high level of fitness from my swimming and from then on I've had an almost innate desire to better myself.

    What made you decide to enter triathlon?

    After a few years of competing in both swimming and running I got to a certain level at which I was faced with a decision to make - whether to pursue a higher level of competition in either swimming or running as it wasn't realistically possible to chase greatness in both. Due to the my love for both disciplines, I couldn't make the step to give one of them up which leads us onto cycling. At the time I was quite a keen mountain biker, using the Olympic course at Hadleigh most weekends with a few of my friends, but obviously this wasn't what was required. So I decided to make the transition from the mountains to the road, which I loved from the first time I tried it and soon was chasing Strava segments all around Essex which is very fun! When I took a step back from it all, I realised that I could compete in all three disciplines at a high level. It seemed that the only logical option left was to enter the world of triathlon - taking the first step almost immediately by joining East Essex triathlon club.

    What’s been your best race to date?

    My first race happened to be the best race I've had. It was the English National Championships which I entered during the closing hour of the entries. Naturally, I was very apprehensive about this race as I'd never competed in a triathlon before let alone one of this calibre, but it turned out to be a total success. I dug deep into the swim and was shocked when I found myself in the lead coming out of the water. I maintained this lead throughout the run into transition in which I then lost it by over a minute due to my lack of transition knowledge and training. Then, in 3rd place, I entered the cycle leg of the race which started off well but soon taught me that this is where I needed to target most improvement as, at the end of this stage, I found myself in 23rd pace. Coming into the run I felt fresh and was able to push myself hard enough to gain a few places back and ended up running a 17:12 5k, finishing in 18th place overall.

    And your proudest achievement?

    My proudest achievement also happened to be in the English National Championships as I later found out that I was 2nd in the age category of under 20s and first in my own category of under 18s.

    Have you ever had any racing disasters / your toughest race yet?

    My only racing disasters occurred in the race which subsequently made it my toughest race to date. It was during the Trifarm sprint series race in July - I had a decent swim, coming out the water in 2nd place and an even better transition coming out first into the bike leg. Only 5 minutes into the race my worst fear became a reality - my chain had fallen off going uphill. After a quick stop I managed to get the chain back on without too much trouble and when I got back on my bike I was in 3rd place. The next disaster came on the start of the run where I had gone out too fast trying to chase down the leader which pushed my legs too hard, forcing me to slow for a couple of kilometres to regain proper running form.

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    Since starting triathlons I have encountered a number of injuries ranging from pulled muscles to shin splints. For me, the setbacks are either my equipment or my mental attitude. I always seek out the best equipment and make sure that it performs as well I do and I ensure that my training regime is flexible to cater for any injury or external circumstances that may prohibit me from training. I have also read numerous biographies from other professional athletes about their personal setbacks and how they have recovered from them.

    What is the best bit of advice you wish someone had told you before you started competing?

    The best bit of advice anyone could have given me before I started competing in triathlons was to target the weakest area of my race in training rather than place the most focus on the ones I knew I could perform well in.

    What are your goals for 2017?

    I have entered the European Qualifiers for triathlon in September and my goal is to give my best possible race there in the hope of qualifying for the GB age-group team.

    Who do you take your inspiration from?

    My biggest idol in all of sport is undoubtedly Alistair Brownlee. After seeing him dominate the Olympics both live on TV and on videos, I have followed him in almost every aspect of his career. I find his triathlon journey relatable to the one that I am now experiencing, coming from a swimming-running background at around the same age. The way he wins almost every race he competes in with such style and determination is awe-inspiring and has caused me to want to also become Olympic champion one day.

    What do you like about Sundried and what’s your favourite bit of our kit?

    I like the fact that the brand are creating athletic clothing that supports those in need whilst providing high quality equipment. I really like the look of the Grande Casse Hoodie and the Roteck 2.0 training tights.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren