If you’re in Perth over the past few summers, you may have notice that the coffee shops are full with UK athletes in lycra. Perth has become a summer training base for the British Track cycling team and Team Sky and we can now add Triathletes to the list with Joel Jameson and Tom Lowe in town, Trizone had a chat with Joel to find out what the attraction was. If you haven’t heard about Joel, a few months ago he took out 2nd place in Challenge Henley on Thames. He came 2nd by only 90 seconds after a running a 2:42 marathon! Now that’s quick..
TriZone: Joel tell us a bit about your athletic background before Triathlon?
Joel: I was born in the mountains of Switzerland, but grew up in the U.K. since the age of 3.Â As a kid I use to do a lot of cross country running and did ok, with a few results until hard work overcame talent, but when I was still the same weight as all the girls in my year at school I switched across to rowing to try and bulk up. I rowed pretty seriously from 15 to the age of 23 and then switched sports again to triathlon.
TriZone: is there much similarity between the athletic endurance of rowing and triathlon?
Joel: If you look at the position of rowing, it’s always very compressed and your torso is over your hips which is basically the same as riding. I think rowing did hinder my running as the position is compact and closes your hip angle, I’ve had to work quite hard to open up my hips for running. The mental and physical side of rowing is right up there, you basically don’t get anywhere unless you’re a hard man or women. It’s always the person who can hurt themselves the most will always win in rowing, which you can apply quite well to triathlon.
TriZone: Your first race in Triathlon was a local Half Ironman followed by Ironman U.K. in 2005 that’s jumping in the deep end?
Joel: Yes that’s right, I basically just entered Ironman UK giving myself 10 months to train for it. My first race was a Half Ironman which I came 5th which I thought was alright and I really enjoyed it. I did another Half Ironman which I won, then my 3rd race was IMUK which I didn’t have a clue what I was doing over that distance. I ate only two energy bars on the bike and drank only three bidons of water before beginning the marathon, that was the only nutrition I had all day. I ran the first half of the marathon in 1:35 and then blew my doors off and struggled home in a 4 hour marathon, 10:48 race time. I missed out on getting to Kona by one spot which made me realise if I took it more seriously I could go somewhere in this sport.
TriZone: in 2006 you switched to Olympic distance racing?
Yeah in 2006 I thought if I could go ok in the half ironman distance than I could probably do just as well in the short course racing, but as it turned out I got belted. It turns out that all I have got is a diesel engine, not any speed at all to keep up with the faster short course guys. Since then I have only really focused on the longer form of Triathlon.
TriZone: Just looking at your results over the past two seasons, you have had some great results, a 4th place in Lanzarote where you ran a 2:51.
Yep I would say that Lanzarote was my first serious attempt at Ironman distance race as it was the race of that distance that I had properly prepared myself for and I had done the correct training.Â I had PB’ed the swim in 53 minutes, which if you had seen my previous swim times had come out of nowhere. Looking back I was pretty weak on the bike but I was scared of going too hard and then on the run I gave it everything and went out hard. I faded in the last 10K but ran it in 2:51 which I was really happy with.
TriZone: you followed Lanzarote up by racing Ironman Florida, Coeur d’Alene, Melbourne and a 2nd at Challenge Henley on Thames.
I’m never really happy with how I went in most of my races which is typical of most athletes out there, there is only really two races out there that I have though that this is awesome let’s do that again. Coeur d’Alene I got a bike penalty when I drifted into the zone at the start of a hill, but I should have known better. I was well back at the end of the bike, I faded on that run and 6th place just happened to be there at the finish line. Florida was really bad, I had an awful run there and Melbourne, let’s not go there.. it was horrible!
TriZone: you missed out on telling me about your 2nd at Challenge Henley on Thames, you ran a 2:42 marathon which is astonishing?
Yep, I had been training for three months in Boulder before that race and I had changed coaches to Julie Dibens as well. Julie didn’t work me so hard on my running but training at altitude really worked out for me. I had another terrible swim where I was 9 minutes back, I had worked hard on the bike to get back into the main group and then on that run.. I felt if I was floating really.
TriZone: So the 2013 season, what are you doing and why are you starting it in Perth?
Good question! At the moment I have no races planned, I’m here in Perth to work on my swimming with Paul Newsome at Swim Smooth. After my race at Challenge Henley and other races its really evident that my swimming is letting me down. I’m working with Paul to get my swimming down from a 57mins to a 51 consistently, if I can do that I will be in the game in every race and not relying on my bike and run so much. So my main goal for 2013 is to swim consistently 51’s and not worry so much about the results. But having said all this I will be putting together a race plan which will have me racing in America in the middle of the year.
TriZone: Perth has become a bit of a little Brittan in the summer with the British Track cycling team and Team Sky coming down to train in the WA summer for the past few years, plus yourself and Tom Lowe who is arriving next week, what is the attraction?
Definitely for Tom & myself its training under Paul at Swim Smooth who is super enthusiastic and wants to invest his time in us to make us quicker in the water, Paul has got me swimming 10 hours a week, and I’m so tired! Also seeing the sun really helps, in the UK at the moment the weather isn’t that exciting for training and if you offered it to any athlete over there, they would be on the next plane over. It’s an easy place to fit in with the local Tri community and train in the hills, in and around the river.. plus the coffee is much much better.
TriZone: Where do you see yourself in two years, apart from swimming consistently 51’s?
Hopefully getting on the podium consistently in Ironman, and obviously getting to Kona and knowing I’m a good chance at a top ten.
TriZone: last question what’s going on for you with sponsorship?
So I have one main sponsor, Clearwater Wealth Management, based in London who allows me to invest my time into getting quicker. So basically I am able to come to Perth and work alongside the best swim coaches available and able to travel to the best places with the best people to improve. Without their support I wouldn’t be able to follow a career in Triathlon. Two other key sponsors are Carreg.co.uk who also add some finance to allow me to race certain races, and I have just signed with Sigma Sport who are one of , if not the best retailer of cycling and triathlon gear in the UK. They are a tight team and run a very professional ship. They provide Specialized bikes and the necessary equipment to know I have the best set up in every race. Without these guys all this wouldn’t be possible so massive thanks to them and hopefully I can turn their support into results!