Javier, in 2019 you could qualify for Kona. A big dream you chased and realised after putting down your strongest Ironman in Cairns. A big step forward, of course you wanted to continue this step forward in 2020. Untill the lockdown in Colombia came. How did you experience the lockdown and training?
My pre-Covid19 plan was to chase a 2021 Kona Slot in IM Wisconsin (sept 13th) in order to have enough time to recover and prepare well. When the pandemic started I thought my late year race was not in cancellation´s risk. So I had no problems with keep high motivation´ levels. The lock down brought big changes and challenges in my job. The first 3 months were so difficult and needed a big effort to modify the way my team works. Fortunately I could manage and take the control back. The training gave me the mental refresh I needed to keep the calm. The homeworking let me avoid the Bogota´s Traffic jam and save about 90 minutes/day, so I started to sleep and recover better.
In Colombia pools were closed from April to September and now they still aren’t available very often. In Bogota you could only swim in the weekend, and for now all is closed again. You are a steady swimmer. How do you look to this difficulty? I spent my childhood swimming. This background still pays, I remember i raced in IM 70.3 Panama 2016 without any swimming training in more than one year, and survived to 1900 meters in Panama Channel, and achieve a 70.3 World Championship´s slot. This time I tried to save the shape with strength work at least 3 times by week, and did some open waters. When I came back to the pool I still swam relatively good. I could swam about 5 weeks until the Covid´s second wave´s lock down. I´m confident I can swim soon and fastly recover the shape.
Cycling and running outdoors weren’t possible also, which made you train a lot on the treadmill and turbo. This fortunately was something you are quite used to. U managed on doing your running sessions on a 68m parking lot, down at your appartment. Non-sportsmen call that crazy, sportsmen say ‘respect’ to this. How did you experience this?
The running sessions on the parking lot was crazy, I focused on my ipod playlist and not get an ankle´s twist on the thousands of turns that I have to do. I ran in that conditions about 2 months (from march to may), when I came back to street my running shape still was good. And my mental strenght too. My cycling training did not change, before Covid more than 95% of my cycling training was indoor because of time efficiency , bad weather and safety. With the lock down I started to do some sessions on Zwift,… so my lonely cycling sessions started to be more fun
In 2021 you are racing Ironman70.3 Acapulco, Mexico and Ironman Lake Placid, USA. Training is going fine, without swimming at this point. Performance and consistency are going hand in hand for athletes, past 9 months I never felt any lack of motivation but you always looked at the positive points in this matter. Eyes on what will be, when it will be…and meanwhile you are training smart, to perform better later.
You planned on me a recovery period last September. I could refresh the body and mind, and came back to training in good conditions. I think my shape is coming back and I´m going to be ready and strong for 2021 races. I hope to be able to come back to KONA.
I´m hungry for race again!
Thanx Javier for sharing us your thoughts and onwards to what’s coming next!
While the bottles of champagne are getting uncorked, glasses get filled…it’s time to have a look to what pas season brought to us! Evaluation is key to succces, looking in the mirror and being honest for you and the surrounding people to get to the best results. The hours athletes train must not be occupational therapy but results-oriented. Whether this reflects in personal growth, feeling good as performance wise.
2019 kicked of with victories and podiums in some runningraces in prep or as A-races for our athletes. Also our crossduathletes, mountainbikeriders and cyclocrossriders were under steam from the moment January and February began, victories in both disciplines confirmed this. Of course our annual after NY groupsession also was reflecting on the way our athletes were going to enter spring season.
When February came to an end, our road athletes and cyclists could show their power for the first time! With immediately strong results in cycling of Anthony, Dries, Tibo and Svenne who played a role for the podium from day 1 untill 9months later in the last races of the season!
In Triathlon the early season races such as Tenerife (1st AG, 9th Pro incl) gave a good insight in the way our athletes were going to perform later that season. With victories in several crossduathlons an trailruns in the beginning of spring the season couldn’t start better.
From April on all roadcyclists and triathletes were ready to go! With in triathlon Kona qualification in Ironman South Africa, 3rd in place in the duathlon nationals (and 1st master) and winning the regional championships Time Trial our athletes aimed very well towards the first series of championships. In triathlon, podiumplaces in Belgium, The Netherlands and France were earned. In cycling our athletes kept winning and taking podiumplaces, from juniors untill elite riders. For Bram a frustrating period by missing qualification for the Elite world championships mountainbike twice…by 1 spot! But perseverance kept him going and a few months later was capable of taking this qualification with both hands! In junior category Andres takes several podiums in the MTB marathons.
May traditionally is the launch of the Ironmanraces, with Bert (Pro) and Pirmin (AG) our athletes performed great from the start of the IM season with Pirmin taking the Hawaii slot. An example followed later that month by Javier (IM Cairns), Vadim and Sam (IM Boulder). These athletes, together with Alejandro (2nd AG IM South Africa) were going to race Ironman Hawaii 2019. Pirmin (3rd), Vadim (3rd) and Sam (1st) also could mount the podium in their qualifying races. In Bould it was Cai, getting on the podium but missing her slot by a hair.
But not only the Full distance world championships in Kona were a main goal for our athletes. Hannah and Dave succeeded in qualifying for the Ironman 70.3 worlds in Nice, France by putting down a remarkable race in Staffordshire, UK.
As the season continued and in both cycling and triathlon our athletes kept going strong and win races. Our youngest triathlete Rens mounted on the podium in his first 70.3 race in Lahti, Finland, while our professional triathletes took top 10 in Ironman Vitoria-Gasteiz ( Sergio 9th, Bert 10th).
July was a busy racing period in Ironman with many races such as Frankfurt, Klagenfurt, Zürich, Hamburg, Vichy!
In Zürich Steven and Tony put down a smashing result. Tony realised to finish 21st overall in this Ironman classic!
Summer also is the moment elite riders take part in several stage races followed by some (pro)kermesse races. Our elite riders could battle within the first places of the peloton in those races.
In the same period Bram finally got himself qualified for the UCI Mountainbike world championships, where he was going to race against the best ever riders such as Nino Schürter.
And what to say about Svenne, taking 3rd in the UCI world championships for Masters after breaking his femoral head. A very tough preparation on the Turbo and off the turbo, with almost no races and a coach saying: ‘Pain is French bread’ but also joining the man in his first race with the healed hip…is not only a physical but also mentally TOPperformance ;-)!
Another comeback-man this season was Hans, for most people he never was away…but somewhere he was involved in an ‘impingement’ and had to slowly build his way back. In his first race of the season the performance was already very good…but what he realised furthermore in Jabbeke and in his main goal this season Ironlakes was EXCELLENT! Ironlakes, a full distance triathlon with over 2000D+ on the bike and 380D+ on the run was going the be the race to see if Hans was back already or net yet totally…it seems he was! He won by far in this tough race and also won his 2nd full distance triathlon in his career. Who has?
Winning Ironlakes was excellent, the 6th full distance win so far for our athletes…but this inspired with excellent performances in the Ironman70.3 world champs of Hannah And Dave and more 70.3 races in autumn, our athletes kept performing well untill the last 70.3 races of the season in Lanzarote and Turkey! Only 3 weeks after the win of Hans in Belgium, it was Ironman Pro athlete Sergio who took his first full distance win in his career in Guadiana, Spain! This in the same style of Hans, leading and dominating the race!
In Ironman Barcelona our athletes did very well, our agegroupers were all heading towards a PB race and Bert, starting in the Pro race. Was on for his 3rd(!) Ironman this season and how! Another time confirming his place in the mid-field of the prorace with another fast time as result!
Traditionally the Ironman World championships are held only 1 week after Barcelona! Our 5 athletes Pirmin (Swi), Sam (Bel), Javier (Col), Alejandro (Spain) and Vadim (Can) did their best from start untill finish. Going into the race in Kona always brings a bit of stress and uncertain factors. But the results were satisfying with top 10 place for Sam, but also a sick Alejandro who vomited from Km 1 on the bike but maintained and could make the stomach work again at the end of the bike to finish with a 3h15 marathon. Javier learned a lot in his first race in Kona about humidity and travelling. While Pirmin and Vadim, 2 experienced racers had the time of their life and know what their working points are approaching Kona again.
For Vadim this was a seesaw to Kona 2020, because only 6weeks later he realised the impossible by finishing 4th in Ironman Arizona (US) and taking his slot 1 year in front!
In autumn cyclocross restarted, crossduathlons restarted and our athletes took podium in several races such as Wetteren, Damme, Malonne, Maldegem,…
In ‘Hel van Kasterlee’, (15K run – 110K MTB – 30K run) our athletes were alive in the race and at the sideline! We saw Stijn, Bart, Lucian and Hans black and full of mud all day, but at the finishline we could somehow still recognize a big smile 🙂
With the groupsessions of last months we can say 100% sure that in 2020 the motivation, consistency and spirit is burning more than ever! Now it’s up to our athletes to ‘Train smart, perform better’!
Ironman Hawaii, the race all triathletes are or following or
dream about competing in it!
Well for Vadim (Can), Pirmin (Sui), Javier
(Col), Alejandro (Esp) and Sam(Bel) it was hard reality!
4 out of 5 who qualified by geting on the podium
in their qualifying race!
Preparations were going very well, except for
Alejandro who crashed and broke his collarbone but was on his bike after 2days
Only 4 weeks before the race Sam got injured in
the hamstringtendon. First we thought a muscular issue but later it became
clear the tendon was damaged because of the saddle that was slightly too high
on his new fast bike (Ceepo). Above this he got sick 7 days before the race,
but fortunately athletes recover fast. No running untill the last 4 days before
the race, which made it unclear of finishing would be an option.
Our athletes took a good dive in the Ocean and
had good swims: Javier (1h02), Pirmin (1h03), Vadim (1h04), Sam (1h07) and
During the bikecourse it was in first place Pirmin (AG45) who moved up very strongly, he was chasing (former) professionals such as Alexandre Vinokourov and Mike Schifferle. Riding in top 10 untill T2. Vadim (AG 45) followed closely behind and positioned 13th before entering T2.
Earlier in the bikecourse our AG35 athlete Alejandro got sick, immediately on the bike it was impossible to eat and hydrate well. In a world championship in hot conditions that of course has a big impact on your race. But Alejandro kept going and at the end of the bike he started moving up again. Feeling in shape but not being able to eat and drink properly is frustrating of course.
In AG 40 Javier came out of the water first, but fast Sam was once again going fast on the bike. This year Sam suffered from a sudden injury on the hamstring tendon in the last 4 weeks and being insure if running would go a (slightly more) conservative pacing was followed than normal. With 257NP in the first half of the race and 256NP in T2 he did what was planned. And was ready to try running. For Javier Ironman World Championships was a new thing, on the bike first everything seemed to go well but abdominal pains started to play a role.
On the run course heat appears, and that’s the same for all athletes…every year! It starts around Hawi on the bike and then it never gets cooler again. Pirmin didn’t have his best day with pain in his back, and had to adapt his ambitions today. Or as he describes ‘Fitness was supreme today, and DNF was NEVER an option’! That shows the mental capabilities of an athlete and still finishing in 10h13′!
Vadim, 13th off the bike has the run as his weakest link in triathlon! Warmth and the marathon wasn’t his best friend today but he still manages to finish in 10h40′! Even at age 46 progression is to be made!
Sam (AG40) was uncertain how his hamstring would react on running a bit faster for the first time in a month. Adaptations in planning with a lot of ellipticalsessions and some aquajogging are good of course but never replace the whole run. Sam his plan was to start at 4’35/km and so he did, kilometer by kilometer and he moved up slowly. Halfway he positions himself 18th. but he and Olivier Godart (Lux) were the only 2 athletes not slowing down. The hamstring felt doable and pace was taken to a higher speed. So he moved up, towards 12 and with 5K to go a top 10 didn’t seem impossible. His wife Cai cheered on him and could tell him a top 10 was still in it. Fighting untill the finishline made Sam finish in 9th position! Another top 10 in the World Championships in his 10th year qualifying in a row.
Javier from his side suffered on the runcourse, abdominal pains and hamstring didn’t feel well but he maintained the drive towards the finishline in his first World Championships. In Kona many athletes crack down because of raceday facts, as we saw in the pro field with Lange, Ryf,…but Javier kept going and finishes his first world championships in Kona in 12h! Being there was a real dream for Javier. A dream he made come true!
In AG 35 Alejandro, uncapable of eating/drinking properly on the bike, was doubtfull approaching T2. DNF or trying to run and see what happens. We wouldn’t expect anything less than the 2nd idea of course! Alejandro started running a 3hà3h05 time schedule for the marathon. With a little drop of pace in the 2nd half of the race this perseverance was rewarded with a 3h15′ run, finishing in 9h27′!
A nice weekend behind us with athletes daring to race hard! Well deserved rest now and loading mind and body for Kona 2020? 🙂
Upcoming saturday, October 12th, our athletes will appear at the starting line of the Ironman World Championships! Getting at this starting line is the silent (or loud :-)) dream of most triathletes! In Kona, the physical format and psyche of the sport was born. Without Kona, there would be no triathlon as we know it today.
To get there once hard work, talent and dedication is key. And even then, there’s no guarantee on success. Our squad of athletes is known as the very best in Belgium, with a large % of athletes being able to qualify and to perform. This season 7 of our athlete qualified for Kona, 3 got very close and one day will get there (again). Perseverance is key in endurance sports. Not 1 of our athletes racing this saturday got it all served on a golden plate!
This year we have a very international group of athletes racing, since we began coaching setting up an international approach has been one of our missions. The composition of this squad confirms we approached that mission.
Our 5 athletes racing on saturday are almost ready to go, motivated and meanwhile tanned. To make sure they don’t burn theirselves raceday may come now 😉
We have no glass bowl of course, and I hate pre-race talking about results. Let’s hit the race, be focussed and dig deep! Work is done now and I have full confidence in this strong and motivated squad!
One of the most loaded weekends with Long distance triathlon races of the season! A weekend in which our athletes raced in LD triathlons in France, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, The Netherlands, US and Australia! Important weekend also for a couple of our athletes with a World championships dream!
The first to hit the water this weekend was Javier (Colombia), putting huge steps past winter and working very accurate it was clear he was ready to do a personal very good race! There was a Kona dream (haven’t almost all LD triathletes have this…) but also realism. Doing a good race, and see what happens!
A very good swim made him step on the bike after 1h01′! On that bike Javier felt good! Living very high in Bogota, Colombia racing low should do good and it was! During training this sometimes is tough, but if there’s a positive effect on raceday…it’s very much a positive point!
This good swim combined with a fast and very well paced bike made Javier come off the bike within top 10. As Cairns is a continental championship…more slots are to be taken! Top 10 would be a certitude! On the run course Javier had previous bad experiences in IM and wasn’t planning to have this in Cairns! We paced HR wise, which worked out perfectly. The only focus was the focus on himself and a possible place close to IM WC qualification!
Doing a good run and being able to keep the pace in it untill the finishline, temperatures above and around 30°C. In Ironman an athletes must keep going, because the end of the race can be astonishing in all ways. 12th place for Javier and a couple of hours of waiting for the final salvation! Kona qualification was a fact! The day started perfect!
At the moment Javier’s race finished…our athletes in Ironman70.3 Staffordshire, UK hit the water. Not the best racing conditions, which made it a hard race! Both Hannah and Dave are in shape! Hannah could manage some very nice results in Elite cycling races and triathlons earlier this season, Dave prooved himself in his previous 2 triathlons.
A very big step forward was made this year. Balance in training is key, if the balance is not there an athlete falls back to underperformance. Always. Both athletes moved up well during the bikecourse to put down the bike in a position that would be very close to Ironman 70.3 WC qualifcation in Nice, France. And that’s also what happened!
Hannah kept her place within top 10 during the run course and finishes 8th! Dave from his side manages to finish 15th after a stunning race, perfectly paced and strong untill the finishline!
For both good enough to qualify for their first Ironman 70.3 world championships! A dream coming true! 3 world championships qualifiers on 1 day already? I was not dreaming!
In the Netherlands, 70.3 racing in Terheijden! Tony is in his last trainingperiod towards Ironman Vitoria-Gasteiz (Spain), this race would a last test and part of optimalization for him! Tony his weakest spot (if we may say this) is swimming, in Terheijden athletes have to swim 2500m instead of 1900m…perfect in full prep towards his IM.
Tony swam well, and this small ‘recovery’ week dit very well in his current shape! On the bike Tony paces at 320NP within HRzones and puts down the bike at exactly 320NP!
Tony, last year running a very strong marathon off the bike in Kona never disappoints when it comes down to racing!
A very tough challenger when you meet him in the end of the race!Running his half marathon at 3’50/km he keeps moving up untill the finishline and takes 3rd!
In Terheijden also MC takes 6th in the female race, which is very good in her first ever 70.3 race! Our athletes were also involved in 70.3 races in Bonn (Germany), Obernai (France) and Herning (Denmark)!
In Herning the athletes had to conquer cold conditions, rain and wind in the face for the first 50K which made several athletes go into hypothermia! But also racing in Belgium (1/4distance Beernem). Alex and Dimi both are in great shape and probably their best shape ever! 2 big boys who get faster and stronger by their age. ON this part they had a perfect example in Beernem…with Steven finishing 2nd (40+) in the masters race!
And then, late in the afternoon (European Time) our athletes in Boulder, USA were on for a tough race! Watertemperature was quite cold but above all altitude was heavy the first days after arrival! Racing at 1600m above sea level is not for everyone. During their first sessions in Boulder their body clearly needed to adapt. Fortunately Cai, Sam and Vadim had a good preparation trainingwise but also altitude wise with periods of training high or sleeping high! The body surely adapted to racing conditions approaching raceday! In contradiction to previous years where very hot temperatures were measured in Boulder today’s race would be very cold. With temperatures below 10°C. Which is cold for triathlon! Fortunately our athletes could directly warm up on the bike, hitting the watts and going in search of the front of their AG! For Vadim, coming out 6th in AG45 pole position was visible very soon in the race! Sam from his side had a 10′ gap on the leader and Cai got on her bike with the same gap!
Once on the bike endurance, strength and globale shape becomes the most important issue! Our athletes moved up quite fast! Vadim got company from Swiss Mike Schifferle (Pro untill 2018), with his registration for the race…only 2slots would be divided between the rest of the athletes! Vadim and Schifferle in the lead, up to the opponents to chase them down. But these positions were held untill T2!
Vadim was in 2nd, but had chasing athletes close to him before the start of the marathon! With one of the fastest AG bikesplits and faster than a few Pro’s this 46year old Canadian prooved he was ready for a big effort!
Sam was aiming for a ride at 250-260NP , not overdoing it to save energy for the tough run course following! Very soon Sam took his place in the top 5 of his AG, once the athletes passed halfway the bikecourse Sam takes the lead and takes a massive advantage of 15′ when he enters T2!
His bikesplit was good for the 10th overall bikesplit, Pro field included! Without problems Sam was ready to take his slot and qualify for the 10th time for the Ironman World Champs!
On the bike Cai also did great, the bike discipline is definitely her strongest discipline and it made her move up towards 3rd position! In the first half of the race a couple of othere athletes sticked around her but once got further in the race her advantage on 4th and 5th place become bigger! Big enough to come off the bike with podium ambitions!
3 athletes on the podium at the end of the race? It became a possibility…and this ‘crazy’ weekend definitely gave confidence that all is possible! Sam moved up very strongly on the runcourse, the further the run was the more advantage he took in his AG…but he also moved up towards the Pro athletes and a very good overall position was in it!
The runcourse was tough, over 300D+ and a lot of turning combined with altitude didn’t make it an easy job. But he manages to become 14th overall and win his AG by far! Kona qualification was a fact! Packing and flying to Kona for the 10th time in October! When all goes as planned…things seem easy! But things aren’t always as they look like! For Sam also a preparation is full of ups and downs, being capable of dealing with small setbacks is what makes the difference between winners and losers…
For Vadim Schifferle (fastest AG athlete – 13th overall) was out of reach from the beginning of the run course, focus on keepin his top3 spot and Kona qualification! Only 3 slots, so no mistakes to be made! Vadim ran very constantly in the first half of the marathon! But then slowly HR dropped. Not a lot, but by small %. This definitely was caused by his first 40km on the bike, in which he kept a pace slightly to high.
This always comes back to an athlete at a certain point! But, fortunately we are talking about little% and shape, endurance and strength was at 100% before the race. Vadim never dropped a lot of pace keeps fighting untill the finishline, being passed by 1 athlete in the very end he takes podium, 3rd!! What a day! 3athletes qualified for Kona, 2 athletes qualified for Nice…on 1 day! At this point we passed midnight…so maybe I do was dreaming??!
Unfortunately for our sleepquality Cai was in a very close battle for the podium ànd for a slot! Putting down the bike in 3rd position with quite a gap in front of her. Focussing on her own race and not trying to close a 15′ gap was the best she could do! Behind her, a fast running athlete was coming step by step! With only 2,5km to go her advantage dropped to only 1′. Fortunately Sam already recovered a bit and ecouraged her to keep going strong! With success…taking 3rd place and making the race complete! unfortunately only 1slot in this AG which means no qualification but marvellous performance…her name needs to be changed to Le’Suffer’!
All 3 athletes on the podium in Boulder, this clearly lead to a party
This weekend also means that in Kona we will have ‘thé’ AG squad in the world ready to roll!
Qualifiers for the Ironman World Champs, Hawaii so far:
* Pirmin Christen (Switzerland)
*Alejandro Casado (Spain)
*Javier Cepeda (Colombia)
*Vadim Suraev (Canada)
*Sam Gydé (Belgium)
Working with athletes all around the world remains an eye opener, an experience that’s very unique in the world. Our approach towards training, vision and communication is key! Thanks for all these athletes to give the best of themselves…as we give the best from ourselves!
Straight forward and no-nonsense, at your service!