SMP X Emma Jeffcoat- Racing, Training & Life!
Hey long lost friends,
Sorry for the radio silence, the last time I updated you guys I was off to the first of 5 races in a row & a lot has happened between now & then, both on & off the race course. So let’s go back & catch up!
The block started with a French Grand Prix in Dunkerque on 19/6, where we raced in teams of 5 & our best 3 finishers across the line count towards the teams position. We finished 4th on a freezing cold & windy day in the north of France, which felt more like a Melbourne winters day. French racing is always known to be chaotic & this was just that, I lead the majority of the swim, had technical issues with the team bike so ended up in the large & majority chase group & ran okay to finish in 12th.
I was straight back training in our base in Girona, Spain that night, & off to Morocco the next Friday where I raced in the Larache Premium Cup Triathlon on 26/6. Africa, its an experience!
My bike decided not to turn up until the evening before the race, so race morning I rode down to scope the technical & hilly course out. I’m glad I did as I ended up breaking away solo off the front in this race on the bike & used the technical section to do so. Leading the swim, bike & run it was a great boost to take the win here!
Africa continued to follow me from Morocco to Girona the following day with a nasty bout of food positioning, I don’t wish that on anyone when your travel looks like; a bus, plane, taxi, train, & another taxi. It was all about recovery that week before I headed to the Netherlands on Thursday for the next race that Saturday 2/7 in a Dutch town called Holten.
Why stop the smooth travel stories there…our flight from Girona to Holten’s nearest airport (a 90min drive away) was delayed which meant we only landed at 11pm. We had a hire car organised to travel to Holten for the weekend, but despite calling the car hire to let them know the new arrival time they were no where to be seen on arrival, so we walked at midnight from the airport to the nearest hotel 1.5km away, booked a night & walked back to the airport in the morning to pick up our car & drive straight to race registration & course familiarisations. Adaptability & one of those “if you don’t laugh you’ll cry moments” at its finest.
Holten has been a staple race on our circuit for decades, the whole town & surrounds come out in support. The race has a split transition 1 & 2, meaning we swam the 750m at a reservoir out of town, transitioned from swim to bike, rode 10km into town before starting the 2x5km technical laps around town & then transitioned to the 5km run in the city centre. I took control early in the race & lead the swim out, established an early breakaway of 4 girls on the bike & we worked hard together to keep a handy lead onto the run where I finished a solid 5th.
Next up was the infamous Tiszaujvaros which runs in a semi final & final format. Racing a sprint distance race on both the Saturday & Sunday- tough! I’ve had success here winning the World Cup in 2019 & so carry fond memories, it’s also a race that knows how to throw a great after party. I cruised through the semi final leading the swim, getting a solid breakaway group on the bike, allowing me to “cruise” the run to finish 2nd & secure my position in Sunday’s final.
Sunday’s race was on, the 3 lap 750m swim is a very tight & rough swim, an average start from me meant I had work to do in the swim to make up ground, I did that & got onto the bike just behind the 2 leaders, we soon formed a strong front group of 8 girls & I pushed the bunch to continue working hard to stay away. Getting off onto the 4 lap run I held a podium position until the final lap where I faded slightly to finish with another 5th position, good but not quite there!
Before Tiszy World Cup I got one of those calls from home that nobody wants, some of you may know I had a horse called Cherokee who was like my child, I grew up with her for as long as I can remember. She was really sick & I needed to get home from Europe as soon as I could to say goodbye. I always knew this time would come, but nothing can prepare you & I was shattered. I was able to keep process orientated for Tiszy World Cup & still perform, but after another week unable to get home & I was mentally struggling.
As a result I wasn’t sleeping well, caught a head cold & just wanted to be back in Australia yesterday. I wanted to race Pontevedra World Cup as it will be where our 2023 World Championships is held, I wanted to race on the course & gain that valuable experience despite not feeling ”right.” I’m glad I did because it was a very unique course with a swim up river, a technical bike course with over 220 speed bumps & a dynamic run through the old town, despite pulling out of Pontevedtra midway on the run I was able to walk away with that insight & familiarity of the course hopefully ahead of 2023.
The next day I flew home. I had 5 ‘beautiful’ days with my girl Ched before she quickly went downhill & I had to make the heartbreaking call to put her down. I’m grateful that after 33 wonderful years of life, she held on for me to get home & say my goodbyes.
I was in a daze & had some time off training, social media & surrounded myself with family & friends, but after a few days I found getting out in the fresh air to exercise made me feel better, & I slowly eased back into regular training program for my last 2 weeks at home.
One thing I’ve had to learn first hand (after plenty of experience) is to never underestimate the effect & toll that stress takes on your body. It affects your sleep, recovery, hormones, nutrition, emotions, & physical performance. I’ve learnt to rest, regroup, reach out to appropriate support networks & be kind to yourself.
Awhile back now I got the team at SMP to put out a poll of questions to get feedback on what you guys want to know more about. Thankyou for the feedback, its really valuable & I’ll definitely touch more on the day to day life, specific training & sessions, fuelling & nutrition, travel stories & continue the race recaps over upcoming blogs in this next racing block.
Speaking of, the next 7 weeks are busier than my last racing block & I’m very excited for “part 2” of this very long season. Superleague Triathlon Championship Series is back in a 5 round series. We’ll be racing the following schedule;
4/9- London, UK
11/9- Munich, Germany
17/9- Malibu, USA
1/10- Toulouse, France
29/10- Neom Grand final, Saudi Arabia
I’ve been involved in Superleague’s innovative racing series since its inception in 2017 for the women. The racing is over a super sprint distance of 300m swim/7km bike/ 1.9km run & held on some spectacularly unique courses. We race different formats each weekend; Enduro, Eliminator or the Triple mix, I’ll give you the run down on these next update, but one thing is guaranteed, it’s fast, furious & very entertaining racing that you can all watch live.
But before Superleague kicks off next month I’ve got a World Cup race in Bergen, Norway which I’m currently on route back to Europe for. This is a new race to the calendar & a credit to the Norwegian athletes with it being a home town race for Kristina Blummenfelt, gold medalist at Tokyo olympics. It’s going to be chilly with 15 degree water temperatures & rain predicted on the very technical course.
It’s certainly been a challenging period personally but I’m proud of how I’ve paused, regrouped, reached out to people when I needed help & not just soldiered on.
Now I’m really looking forward to getting back to racing, & having some fun along the way. There’s still plenty of opportunity left in 2022.
Thanks for the love near & far gang, always very appreciated.