It’s all about the racing

Academy member Florence Davey-Attlee on getting through the winter slog, Bill Black's transition tips and why triathlon is all about the racing

Here’s Academy member Florence Davey-Attlee on getting through the winter slog, Bill Black’s transition tips and why triathlon is all about the racing…


After a long, cold winter of training ups and downs, it was a great surprise to hear in March I’d been selected for the 2010 Triathlon Academy to help me prepare for this year’s London race. The news was just what I needed to re-invigorate my motivation and build on what I’d achieved last year.


It couldn’t have been timed better as I struggled to maintain my focus and work-life increasingly crept in to fill training hours. Now, after the seemingly never-ending winter slog, the first major race is upon us. Suddenly, I remember again why it’s all worth it!

After competing in my first-ever triathlon only last summer, the Academy has been an exciting opportunity for me to learn from someone who knows all there is to know about triathlon. Bill Black seems to have the knack of making the daunting seem straightforward and encourages us to believe that the path from beginner to winner is achievable. He’s set us monthly training schedules for the last two months, to develop us mentally and physically for our first race on behalf of the Academy – the Mazda Blenheim Triathlon this weekend. He’s also taken us through various practical sessions to develop the skills specific to the sport – swim-sighting, running off the bike and, of course, transitions.
The most useful lesson from Bill so far has been the T1 and T2 training session he took us through at our group training day. Running around the ‘transition zone’ (aka an underground car park!), practising taking our wetsuits on and off as quickly as possible and making the mount and dismount from the bike as smooth and speedy as we could, may have felt stupid at the time, but it’s definitely given me the confidence to execute this more technical element of racing. I’m still yet to master the T1 with shoes already clipped in, but I’m confident I’ll nail it by London!
But for me, triathlon is all about the racing. This is when I come alive and I remember again why all the hours training were worth it. I love the vulnerability of having nowhere to hide – no excuses and no room for doubts, just the lake, the bike and the road to conquer. For a few hours, only the race matters and only I can do anything to change my own outcome. I’m looking forward to well and truly blowing away the winter cobwebs in my race at Blenheim on Saturday and I know that, for an hour or so at least, all the hard work really will make sense again.