Cozumel Tri Worlds Review:
Wow that was a trip and a half! Great memories are now deeply etched into my soul. For me it was a far bigger 13 days than I could have imagined – & that’s significant given the number of World Champs I’ve been to and times I’ve raced in Mexico. Simply put, life as a coach is complex, colourful and often exhausting but at the same time wonderfully rich.
We traveled with a large NZ contingent however I had the responsibility for coordinating the 10 Team Traction athletes before, during and after each of the 3 events. We had long days of action under intense heat, humidity and competitive stresses. Our athletes arrived in Mexico in different phases of preparation – some trained without a hitch and others gradually realised they were not in the best form possible.
It doesn’t really matter how you arrive on the scene; what you want on event day is your absolute best performance under the circumstances. In these harsh climes the way you manage your day makes all the difference. If you overheat you will cook yourself, however if you under-perform you will wonder if it was all worth it.
We had trained in the Medical School’s heat lab before leaving & in hindsight everyone thought this was incredibly useful exercise. Each one of our athletes stood on the start line knowing just how tough it was going to be to complete the event without fainting from heat exhaustion. Watch this video of Jonathon Brownlee falling apart – this happened to a number of athletes and is an example of the negative effects of mind over matter and ultimately poor judgement.
This was the World Champs in a very hot, humid and unforgiving land. To boot the coach is not exempt from sickness and I was struck down with ‘digestive issues’ over the key event days, which added to the multifaceted management of my days.
My main concern was ensuring that each athlete was managed in a way that worked for them - some athletes require a considerable amount of reassurance and others prepare more independently. There is no single unique way to prepare two different athletes; however the coach must have each athlete stand on the start line feeling as comfortable and confident as possible.
I’ve bigger expectations on myself to perform as a great coach than I have expectation on any athlete to be a great athlete.
The event is ITU’s premier event and we’d trained very hard over many months in preparation for it. I was also well aware that we had travelled to one of the World’s premier tourist destinations and that we needed to enjoy this opportunity. For many, this trip to Cozumel would be a once in a lifetime event & a very expensive one at that. As an elite athlete I had put too much pressure on myself on several occasions & I’d made a pact with myself, at that time, that I would never squirrel myself away at key events focusing on the outcome at the expense of the journey. As a coach I believe that a happy relaxed athlete is more likely to perform than an up-tight pressured one.
I believe our team had the right balance of fun and function about it.
This was the typical race mornings’ process for me:
- Collect athletes staying elsewhere & take to event
- Meet athletes & supporters at transition to ensure preparations were complete
- Provide ice, water and flannels to lower pre-event body temperatures
- Reassure athletes as their events rolled closer
- Encourage & capture images of athletes during the event
- Find athlete & assist post event
By the end of the 2nd event, we all needed a few days rest before the final standard distance event on the Sunday. We had a bit of down time to explore the island. It was during this period that Amy and I had the great fortune to bump into the turtle conservationists and had a unique experience of releasing turtles into the sea.
I’d like to congratulate every one of our team – athletes and supporters – we had an awesome time and everyone went about supporting each other and the other Kiwis. We made new friends and have returned to NZ much richer people for the experience.
For individual results the link is HERE.
Personally I’d like to thank Viv and David for providing me support over the week. Logistically the team benefited immensely from having Viv act as the travel manager in difficult circumstances. The Hitchins also provided a team vehicle which made our lives so much easier.
I’d like to thank Amy who logistically organised me to get to the event and back safely and cheaply. Amy had to put up with a roommate who was unwell for most of the trips, whilst at the same time manage her own 2 events. Thanks a million!
Many thanks to all the supporters who made my life easier during the week by managing their athlete’s health so well.
Thanks to the team of athletes who put their heart and souls into delivering their best efforts each event and under extreme conditions. You all did yourself proud and I’m rapt with you all – great fun to be around, great athletes and superb teammates.
Finally, I’d like to thank Ange who supports me each and every day and allows me the stability to bring energy to every session, as well as being a central part of our team.