In November 2016 Jason Reed represented South Africa in the ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships in the Snowy Mountains, New South Wales, Australia.
Located in the heart of Australia’s High County, and starting at an altitude of 1100m with Australia’s highest peak, Mt Kosciusko as the backdrop, this course will both delight and challenge athletes of all levels.
The course includes some of the best, fast and flowing single track mountain bike trails, and gritty off road running trails, found anywhere in Australia.
Jason Reed raced in the 30-34 mens Age Group and managed to attain a podium position finishing 3rd, in a time of 2hrs 46min.
2016 was my first season of triathlon having come from a competitive Mountain Biking background I was super excited to give this sport a proper go this year and in particular the off road variation of Triathlon "Cross" or "Xterra"
In February this year I raced my first Xterra in PE and that's were I met Richard Lawrie of My Training Day where we briefly chatted about triathlon training and how tough the Xterra triathlon discipline is, whilst standing in line to get a leg massage in the Xterra race village tent. (I was ahead of him in the queue...wink wink)
I complained to him how rubbish I was at swimming and how I needed to improve drastically to stand any chance of competing towards the front of the races, as I had the Xterra Grabouw in a few weeks time, so was keen to improve. That's when he really got my attention and off the bat, without any hesitation, he was confident, and assured me he could assist in improving my swim, and overall triathlon experience, through solid coaching and advice.
It was not too long after that informal meeting in PE I decided to pull the trigger and go for a coach. Not knowing what exactly to expect I was quite nervous. I have come to realize that you have to put your full trust into your coach and run with it. (excuse the pun)
When Richard asked me what I wanted out of triathlon and the training plan I replied via email that I wanted to be world champ in my Age Group in November. Without much fuss he went about his business and loaded weekly training programs that made me work to my absolute edge of my ability, which by the way was exactly what I wanted.
We focused on my weaknesses as I swam and swam, and swam some more, right through winter, along quality runs with intervals.
Being based in East London some 300kms from Port Elizabeth, where Richard is based, we use technology to keep on top of things. I found the utilization of Training Peaks massive, and along with whatsapp and email I am able to keep Richard up to date on my training and daily health and fitness.
By the end of October my swim had improved drastically and I still had good power on the bike. Having claimed multiple podiums in the local Mountain Bike Races I was ready for Cross Tri World Champs.
The race went exceptionally well for me as I had my hopes on a top 10 which seemed realistic for my first world champs. The swim proved to be quite a challenge as there were 5 buoys to negotiate in a very small cold mountain Dam. I completed the swim in around 12th place in my AG so I had a lot of work still to do on the bike (as usual) but had a stomach full of dam water thanks to another athlete ducking my head whilst trying to take a breath, so the first 5mins of the bike I was negotiating single track, drops offs and berms, whilst involuntary vomiting up dam water.
Soon after my stomach had settled I had a quick mental pep talk and decided I would lay down the law and start over taking other athletes, which I did for the entire duration of the bike leg and pulled up to 3rd place. I exchanged my bike for running shoes and hit the 3.3km tight, technical obstacle course of a run. There were bridges, balancing blanks, tunnels and hip high flowing streams to negotiate which made the run extremely tough and slow.
And over I went. 3rd place for South Africa at an International event will defintely go down as my greatest sporting achievement and one of the best days of my life.
Special thanks to Richard of MTD who seemed to believe in me all those months back. His dedication and attention to detail is what made all the difference !
Also Thanks to My Wife (too much to mention. Would need to write a small article on what she does for me to continue at this level)