Australia’s Young Up and Coming Triathletes in Europe – Training and Racing

By Karl Hayes

Many of our young up and coming elite triathletes are now in Europe at various training camps being run by the state institutes of sport. NSWIS and VIS are in Vitoria, Spain. The young guys and girls have either arrived or are arriving now after doing a few initial races in Europe. Some have been racing for French triathlon clubs and have been doing some Continental Cup races and other races they can find.

The NSWIS team, headed by coach Jamie Turner, are all filing monthly updates and so that we can keep up to date with what they are doing and where they have been. This report is made up from Aaron Royle, Charlotte McShane and Shane Barrie’s recent updates and covers the last four weeks. I’ll try to get as many results as I can to add to this.

Results from the Cremona ITU Sprint Triathlon European Cup in Italy from the previous week are below.

Aaron Royle is one who has an immense amount of potential. Aaron spent the first two weeks of his European trip in France training in Aix Les Bains, the Triathlon Australia Elite TAHP/AIS base. Training there with great weather and good athletes to train with was a great experience for Aaron. “Prior to being in Aix I had 2 weeks off the bike and running Aaron-Royle-Lekeitio-Spain-2011due to a rolled ankle so it was great to be in a familiar place and get back into the training.”

Aaron Royle winning at Lekeitio, Spain 2011

“My first and only race so far was for my French team in the Northern region of France, a place called Dunkerque. Unfortunately for me and my team I flatted on the bike with 4km’s to go – I managed to finish but I was well down –not great but it was my first time running since my rolled ankle so my expectations for the race was pretty low anyway. I was down to race in Belgium in a European cup the following week but because my preparation was drastically hampered I decided to give that race a miss and get stuck into some solid training.”

This weekend Aaron raced and won in Lekeitioko, Spain and sent through a report last night. Charlotte McShane won the women’s race after backing up from a win the previous week in. Lekeitioko is a city by the ocean in the Basque region. It’s a very old town with a modern touch of nice cafes and shops. It was only a one hour drive from their base in Vitoria and didn’t start until 4pm. It was a sprint triathlon and if it lived up to last year’s expectations then Aaron and the other Australian triathletes were going to have a tough but fun and exciting race.

“A mass start of about 400 males took to the beach for the start of the race. The Australian athletes and a few Basque athletes quickly formed the front group early on in the swim. The guys found the pace easy to handle.”

“The bike was always going to be challenging, it was 22km with 10km of that climbing either side of a small mountain. A couple of Australian athletes and a few Basque athletes were dropped early on in the bike with only myself, Ryan Balie, Josh Maeder and two other Basque athletes able to hold on.”

There were a few attacks on the bike which made the guys work pretty hard to bring back but eventually the attacks stopped and they were able to then work together to build a lead over the field. “We came into transition with a commanding lead over the rest of the field, which was a great feeling with loud local community screaming at us.”

The pace at the start of the run was pretty quick and the three Aussies were able to quickly get a gap on the other two athletes straight away. “I was feeling good but I was biding my time waiting for the right moment to make a move as I was unsure of how the other two were feeling. We had all trained very hard right up to the day of the race so it was hard to know how the others were feeling. I sensed the other two were hurting when they went from running side by side to slotting in behind me so I decided to make a move then. It was about 2km into the 5km run. I was able to stay controlled and hold good form all the way to the line for the win which is always pleasing.”

Charlotte McShane is another of the three triathletes covered in this report. The past month has been the busiest month of Charlotte’s life. In the last four weeks she has been to Florida, Mexico, France, Belgium and has just moved to my European base in Vitoria, Spain. Unfortunately the travel and stress of it seems to have taken its toll in her recent races in Mexico and Belgium.

As mentioned Charlotte won comfortably in Lekeitio in the weekend. “I led the 750m swim the whole way although my navigation wasn’t much better than last week! I exited the water with 2 other girls, one Australian (Ellie Salthouse) and an Israeli Junior girl who are also both training in Vitoria at the moment.”

Charlotte McShane being chased by Michelle Wu at Nepean 2010

“I was disappointed with how my races went in both Monterrey World Cup and Brasschaat Continental Cup. I have since reflected on these performances with my coach and I am currently in the process of changing a lot of areas and I am confident that neither of them were a true reflection on my current level of fitness.”

The three women started the ride together. “I could tell they were both struggling so I broke away almost immediately. I rode fairly hard the whole way and ended up making around 4 minutes by the end of the ride. I was quite tired going into the run as the ride took its toll on my legs, but I had a big lead so I didn’t have to worry too much. The first half of the run is mostly uphill and I ran quite hard up until the turn around and eased off slightly after that.” Charlotte crossed the finish line with a few minutes to spare in first place.

Charlotte also spent a couple of weeks in Aix Les Bains in France recently. “I am now happy to be settled in Vitoria, Spain for the next few months where I have the time and support to focus on all the ‘little things’ that add greatly to performance. I have quickly realised that it isn’t just what happens in training that counts! Vitoria is like a second home to me and I feel very comfortable here. I love training here and the numerous trails to run on make it impossible not to stay motivated. My Spanish isn’t great but I am working on it! (it’s slightly better than my French).”

“I have a few local races planned but my main focus is Edmonton World Cup in just a few weeks time.”

Shane Barrie spent forty hours getting from Australia to Europe at the end of May. “The trip is always draining and takes a toll on you especially with a missed connection flight to add some more time at airports … but that’s travelling! When I arrived in Spain at the hotel at which we will base ourselves, it actually had a sense of ‘home’ to it.”

Shane-Barrie-and-Alex-Price“I think that this helps me to train to my full potential without worrying about the little things when you are on the road and living out of a suitcase for long periods.”

Shane Barrie (right) with Alex Price before his comeback race after 10 months of injury

Shane raced in the ITU Sprint European Cup in Cremona, Italy along with 12 other Aussies. The women’s race was won by Erin Densham who then went on to place 8th in Kitzbuhel this weekend. “It was my first ITU race in ten months and I am really excited about the race and to see how my training and the improvements that I have been working on over the last few weeks/months are progressing. A big thank you to everyone that has been involved in getting me back to racing again.” It was a tight race with only a few minutes covering almost the entire field.

Shane, like many of these guys and girls, is currently in the process of setting up a website for all his news, updates, photos etc in relation to triathlon. I’ll publish their website addresses as they come to hand. Here is a link to Shane’s blogspot.

More details later!

2011 Cremona ITU Sprint Triathlon European Cup

Pos Name Time Swim  Bike  Run 
4 Jamie Huggett 0:55:36 0:09:27 0:29:29 0:15:58
14 James Seear 0:56:14 0:09:35 0:29:24 0:16:41
19 Aaron Royle 0:56:27 0:09:29 0:29:36 0:16:46
21 Joshua Maeder 0:56:40 0:09:30 0:29:29 0:17:04
30 Cameron Good 0:57:18 0:09:56 0:30:40 0:16:01
36 Mitchell Kealey 0:57:50 0:09:46 0:30:56 0:16:29
37 Peter Kerr  0:57:58 0:09:23 0:30:58 0:16:54
39 Ryan Bailie 0:57:59 0:10:00 0:30:38 0:16:41
42 Nick Kastelein 0:58:05 0:09:47 0:30:56 0:16:45
46 Shane Barrie  0:58:15 0:09:38 0:30:55 0:17:00
Pos Name Time Swim  Bike  Run 
1 Erin Densham 1:01:31 0:10:08 0:32:55 0:17:50
12 Ashleigh Gentle 1:03:38 0:10:52 0:34:34 0:17:36



Karl Hayes

Karl is a keen age group triathlete who races more than he trains. Good life balance! Karl works in the media industry in Australia and is passionate about the sport of triathlon.