A sixth, fifth and fourth in successive World Champs led to the natural conclusion that Rachel Joyce would podium at Ironman Hawaii in 2012, especially with a dominant Challenge Roth win in July 2012. Tonsillitis and bronchial problems, however, put paid to Joyce’s chances, with an admirable 12th overshadowed by Leanda Cave’s exploits.
Since last October, Joyce has dispensed with her long-term trainer Matt Dixon (and her tonsils), with six-time Hawaii winner Dave Scott (the man who coached Kona winners Craig Alexander and Chrissie Wellington in 2011) now overseeing her training. Here the Boulder-based athlete speaks to 220 about her 2013 season, what Dave Scott has brought to the table and who her rivals are come the World Champs pontoon on Saturday…
You were hampered by tonsillitis and bronchial problems at last year’s Kona. Have you prepared differently for 2013?
Well, one major difference is I no longer have any tonsils. I had a tonsillectomy last November and the surgeon said they were not a pretty sight. Since they’ve gone, my health has improved remarkably! Preparation for Kona this year is different and the same. I’m training very hard, but this year under Dave Scott’s coaching, having made the switch from Matt Dixon at the beginning of the year.
You clocked an 8:49 at a very hot Texas. How similar were the conditions to Kona?
Quite honestly, Texas was the hottest race I’ve ever done. It was hot and humid so conditions were pretty similar to Kona – we just didn’t get the cloud cover that often dilutes some of the Kona during the run. But I always like racing in the heat, which was one of the reasons I chose Texas. The timing and ease of travel was another factor.
Six weeks from Hawaii, how is your form compared to previous years? What input has Dave Scott had in 2013?
I feel like my training has moved up another level this year and I’m pleased with where I am at right now. Dave’s track record speaks for itself and I have thoroughly enjoyed being coached by him this year. The training is different to how I was training last year and that change is one of the things I was looking for by changing coaches. It’s also a major benefit living in the same town as Dave: he gets to see me train regularly so he can keep an eye on my progress and recovery first hand. I enjoyed being coached by Matt but, at the end of 2012, I was just ready to make a few changes to my training set up.
Who are your main rivals in 2013?
Too many to name! That’s what’s good about Kona- anyone can shine come race day. It’s hard to ignore the form of Mary Beth Ellis, and then the ‘usual suspects’: Mirinda Carfrae, Caroline Steffen, Leanda Cave, Meredith Kessler, Linsey Corbin and then some new names like Jodie Swallow and Liz Blatchford. I’m sure I’ve missed some names but one thing’s for sure: it’s going to be an exciting women’s race.
Image: Don Karle