Sitting here pondering what to write, I am having one of those déjà vu moments, as, exactly a year on, Team Sky has handed me more ammunition for my one man, anti-doping campaign! However, it wasn’t my intention to discuss jiffy bags and asthma inhalers this month; it has become as tiring for me to write as it must be for this audience to read. Instead, I would rather reflect on what a successful year we have all had together in 2017 and to highlight some of the exciting things that are in store for 2018.
Sadly, since we started this coaching company, we have not kept a tally of all the National Champions that we have had the great pleasure to work with. Going back through the athlete records to establish this number is a task for a rainy afternoon (after all the other tasks have been completed, that is). Suffice to say that we have been extremely fortunate to have coached several over the years, and 2017 saw us add another title to that, as yet, unwritten list. The same athlete, Vikki Voysey, also added a Bronze medal in her category at the World Sprint Triathlon Championships in Rotterdam, taking our international tally to 28 medals. Chapeau Vikki!
This is certainly a figure to be extremely proud of, however, we take just as much pride in the fact that this year we helped several people compete in their first marathons and triathlons, we guided others to achieve PBs and others still to international qualification and international racing and helped coach the new LB Tri Junior Academy! Additionally, some of us (in fact, hopefully all of us) just simply had a little fun irrespective of the distance or the performance. This, we are proud to say, has been a reasonably consistent theme for a number of years and, we hope, will be the case for many more years to come!
What is perhaps more remarkable than you all providing us with these satisfactory outcomes, is that much of the scheming to support your success over the years has taken place from a small home office in whichever home we had been fortunate enough to be living in at the time. The establishment of our new clinic in Weedon Bec is therefore a significant step forward for supporting our athletes in 2018. Whilst we don’t necessarily expect to be able to achieve greater success than we have in the past (more of the same would suffice!), we at least now have a long-term platform from which to support all our athletes. We also now have the opportunity to test more athletes, more regularly, without having to pack up afterwards, thus making the testing quicker to set up and easier to administer.
Therefore, next year should see more opportunities for bike lactate testing and analysis, more running form analysis, more swim video analysis, and even greater opportunities for holding group training sessions both at home and abroad. Our developing relationship with Britta Sorensen has created more opportunity for training camps in 2018 at the Coaches House in the Midi-pyrenees and the terrain around Weedon Bec is perfect for hosting hilly brick sessions which are ideal preparation for Bolton IM and short and long distance duathlon. Please keep an eye on the web site and Facebook page for further details. Please also watch out for our planned trips to Bolton to recce the bike course and more open water swimming opportunities and (hopefully) regular coached swims at local pools.
This will also be a busy year for team management for the BTF, covering for the Standard Distance Triathlon team in Estonia as well as leading my own teams; the ETU Sprint Triathlon team in Glasgow and the ITU Long Distance Duathlon team in Zofingen. I am delighted that some of you have already qualified for these events but I hope to see more of you there if possible! The big news for Glasgow is that this will be the first AG triathlon event at which there will be an anti doping team conducting random testing on athletes.
All team GB athletes competing at this event will be required to attend a webinar on anti doping prior to taking up their team GB slot. This is a fantastic step for age-group triathlon above other sports and I am delighted that our sport has chosen to take this direction. I hope that the AG athletes both understand the seriousness of the situation and realise that, for the future of clean sport, they can take the lead on making sport a fairer place to be.
I realise that anti-doping may feature in too many of my ramblings, however, perhaps cycling could learn a thing or two from AG triathlon. As too could athletics judging by other news featuring in the sports headlines this week. At least it was a good week for my favourite running model, Sir Mo Farah, in winning the Sports Personality of the Year. It has also been good for us all in that he has finally left his former coach, Alberto Salazar. I wonder if he left his inhaler behind?
Back to Applied Tri, with so much success in 2017 and so much planned for 2018, we have taken a short break to recharge the batteries and are now back and raring to go!
Wishing you all very best wishes for 2018.