SMP X EJ, a Super(league) rundown!
What a brilliant month of sport it’s been, near & far.
Back in Aus we saw Wollongong host the UCI Road World Champs, Geelong get up over the Swans to win the AFL GF (sorry AK, it’ll be the Pie’s time to shine next year…), Melbourne Marathon festival last weekend, awesome results by the SMP team at the Amy Gillett Foundation Gran Fondo, & daylight savings is here so summer racing feels just around the corner!
For me I’ve had quite a whirlwind of racing these past 6 weeks, zipping around race courses & the globe; Bergen-Norway, London-UK, Munich-Germany, Malibu-USA, & Toulouse-France. I kicked the race block off at Bergen World Cup, a World Triathlon Series Event, before starting the separate Superleague Triathlon 2022 Championship Series.
Bergen is home to the current Olympic Triathlon Champion, Ironman World Champion & Sub7 IM record holder; Kristian Blummenflet, so its only fair a home race was gifted to the champ. And after such a spectacular day of racing it’s hard not to see this race becoming a staple on our World Series event calendar. The race venue was set in the bustling heart of the city, harbour side with a mountain backdrop & surrounded by the old town facade. The Norwegians came out in force on race day to watch they’re champion & the atmosphere was electric!
Diving in with a full 68 women field to the chilly 16 degree Nordic water, the swim pace was on from the start. I had a respectable swim coming out just off the lead pack of women. A good Transition 1 meant I got onto the front bike group for one of the most technical bike courses I’ve ever raced. For “the rainiest city in Europe” we were counting our lucky stars that race day was dry, otherwise it could have been carnage! With large cobbles, tiles, countless turns, a switchback footpath section, & sharp downhill corners. I positioned myself towards the front of the large group that formed, & headed off on the run well. Fading towards the last 1-2km, but overall a pretty good race & accurate reflection of where I was at after the last month at home.
As a squad we were able to enjoy an evening in town post race & headed up the Mountain for panoramic views over Bergen & the surrounding fjords at sunset. It’s these little “pinch me” moments in an athlete’s life, of which I’ve been fortunate to have many lately, that leave you in awe of where this job takes you!
I bid farewell to Bergen (& its $7 regular coffee) for London, staying with family friends in Twickenham for the week ahead of the first round of Superleague Triathlon in London. I was impressed with how great the training was there with both Richmond & Bushy Park nearby, perfect for riding on closed roads & filled with endless run trail loops & free roaming deer. A little London site-seeing, a workout on The Sir Mo Farah Athletics Track & a hearty old English Pub meal all before heading into Canary Wharf to meet the Superleague team & entourage.
How to explain Superleague Triathlon?
It’s not like any other triathlon racing..
Fast, furious, brutal, chaotic, refreshing & very entertaining!
Since its inception in 2017 Superleague has changed the game of elite short course Triathlon racing. A true professional series where us athletes are paid to start with & treated like superstars, travelling on chartered flights, staying all together in hotels, & making appearances as a group over the intense 5 race championship series. In Superleague race formats are completely reimagined with the Triple Mix (where we mix up the disciples order over the 3 SBR to RBS & finally BSR with only a few minutes rest between stages), the Enduro (3 continuous triathlons- no rest), the Eliminator (where we eliminate the bottom 3 athletes at the end of each stage) & Pursuit styles (in the Triple Mix & Eliminator you start stage 3’s race in a pursuit from the time you are behind the leader after stage 1 & 2.
Racing on incredible, challenging & scenic courses that have never been seen before. We race within 5 teams, where both men & women in the team contribute to the point score with a huge bonus prize pool at the end. And if you’re not confused already, we can also score points based off who is the fastest over each individual disciple of swim, bike & run within each round too, which equates to its own point score & prize pool, giving us athletes the incentive to go as hard as we can from start to finish, no holding back! In each race location we’re also fortunate to do important work with the local communities, foundations & sponsors; visiting & speaking at school visits & sports clubs, running clinics, large public appearances & just genuinely giving back, hopefully inspiring the next generation of triathletes to have a= go!
This is my 4th season of Superleague, & first time with the new teams concept.
I was drafted into the Bahrain Victorious BV13 Scorpions Team, wearing red, and was told red goes faster… With 2x Olympic Medalist Georgia Taylor Brown in my team, that rings very true!
Here’s a brief race run down from each event so far;
LONDON Superleague Triathlon
Format: Triple mix
Course: 300m swim in Canary Wharf, a 4x 1.2km technical bike lap, with many changes of surface & a fast mile run. The crowds in London were mad, the Britt’s always come out in force!
Points: 2nd in the Swim/ 1st in the Bike/ 1st by miles overall in Team Points- Bahrain Scorpions start on top!
Go for a run &/or ride in Bushy Park or Richmond Park.
I found a great 50km ride loop on strava (have a stalk 31/8) that took me through Hyde park, past Buckingham Palace, The Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, with views of the Tower of London, & London Eye, mostly all on bike paths & perfect on a roady.
MUNICH Superleague Triathlon
Course: 300m chilly swim in Munich ?? Year Olympia Park, a unique steep uphill grass run to transition, a 4x1km slippery & technical bike lap, & demanding hilly mile run, before running down the same slippery grass hill straight into the swim of the next race.
Points: 2nd in the Bike/ 3rd in team
points- Retaining 1st Overall
Wander around the old town of Munich, stop in the city square art 5pm to watch the famous Glockenspiel clock tower go off, spend a sunny day exploring the huge English Garden Park, go for a swim in the river that flows through the park or even a surf on Munichs famous static wave. I cant comment but I’ve heard Oktoberfest is also a blast..
MALIBU Superleague Triathlon
Course: Yahoo a beach start & 300m ocean surf swim, run up the beach to transition before a 3x 1.2km technical bike lap which saw lots of slips & spills before the all out flat & fast mile run.
Points: 1st in the Swim/ 5th in the
Team Points- us Scorpions slipped into 3rd overall.
Local Tips: Escape & go for a ride amongst the secluded mansions in Hollywood Hills, the ride should take you through Beverly Hills, Hollywood, with views of the big Hollywood sign & out over LA from Fryman Canyon Park. Go hire bikes for a ride along Venice Beach, & time it so you’ll get back to Santa Monica Pier for sunset & a fresh seafood dinner. (GoPro highly recommend)
After Round 3 in Malibu we had a weekend off racing, & taking 2022 for what it is, I took the rare opportunity to meet up with my little sister Meg for a week & see some of California. Meg had been working on a ranch just outside Banff in Canada & flew down to watch the event in Malibu before we drove from there North, along the Pacific Ocean on Highway 1, to the Big Sur, before tracing inland to the unbelievable Yosemite National Park where we settled in for 4 days. Then making our was to San Francisco for the weekend before heading back to LA, where I based myself out of a college in Santa Monica, before flying back to Europe for round 4 in Toulouse. Whilst I enjoyed a much needed “choice” recovery week, some of the locations I was able to ride & run were surreal, plenty of those pinch me moments! I think my jaw was dragging along the ground while riding the first time I descended into Yosemite Valley & saw El Captain & Half Dome in clear view.
The time with Meg was priceless & I’m so grateful we made that
week happen. I’m fortunate to have a coach who I can work with, who knows me, & see’s the big
picture. Whilst the 2022 season isn’t over yet, we knew this year wasn’t just about swim, bike, run
for me, & this week was an awesome refresh. Plus, I’ve always been someone to try & make the
most out of any destination I get to travel & race at. (They say Rome wasn’t built in a day but I saw
nearly half of it walking around on a 5 hour layover on my way over here..)
TOULOUSE Superleague Triathlon
Format: Triple mix
Course: 300m upstream river swim, a 4x 1km very tight, technical & super fun bike lap, & a fast 1km run, with a 2 lap final run leg. By far the BEST spectators I’ve seen on course in a very long time, every inch was covered & we were bombarded by fans post race!
Points: 3rd in the Swim/ 1st on the Bike/ 2nd in
Team Points- Bahrain Scorpions are back into 2nd place.
Local Tips: Just wander around the old town of Toulouse, the french architecture is so picturesque. The turquoise of Pont Neuf Bridge beautifully matches the Garonne River in the sun & is worth seeing. Best coffee in town; Allegory Coffee Bar.
There’s one round left with the Finale in Neom, the futuristic vertical city (seriously have a google search, you have to see it to believe it), in Saudi Arabia. We’ll be racing in the dessert heat, on gravel & over the Enduro format on October 29th. It’ll be one to watch.
You can check out the racing live from wherever you are in the world by looking here;
Sorry that was a lot..
What now? I’m currently on route down under, with a brief stop at home in Sydney, before heading back to Melbourne for my final block of training this season. I’ll be back in at the SMP clinic, on the SMP Bunchy, & cruising around swimming, riding, running & cafe stopping. Looking forward to seeing some familiar friendly faces & catching up.