Ed­mon­ton’s Spec­tac­u­lar Champ

Triathlon Magazine Canada - - Front Page - By Roger Hospedales

Ed­mon­ton’sSue Lam­bert is one of those age group ath­letes that makes you won­der how do they do it. Re­mark­ably, the 2011 Xterra World Cham­pion in the 45– 49 age group, finds a way to bal­ance the de­mands of be­ing a mother of four, a lawyer and train­ing to be a world- class triath­lete and soc­cer player.

“I am my own boss and work from home for now, so I’ll some­times be up at 11:00 at night do­ing af­fi­davits. Most of my bike train­ing is done by com­mut­ing all year round, and soc­cer fills in my run train­ing so it’s re­ally only swim­ming that I have to find time for,” con­fessed Lam­bert. “Thank good­ness for cell phones. It helps that I work from home so I still see my kids a lot.”

It also helps to have a strong sports back­ground. The 49-year old played wa­ter polo for Al­berta from age 15 to 25 – a big help for rough wa­ter con­di­tions, sight­ing and mass start swims. She was also a pro­vin­cial age group cham­pion in moun­tain bik­ing and cross- coun­try run­ning in the early 2000s.

Lam­bert will be un­able to de­fend her 2012 Xterra Canada Na­tional Cham­pi­onship due to her suc­cess at an­other one of her in­ter­ests. Lam­bert is go­ing to Turin for the World Masters Games to play soc­cer when the 2013 Xterra Canada Na­tional Cham­pi­onship takes place. In 2011 Lam­bert raced and won her age group at the Xterra World Cham­pi­onship with a torn acl, and last year at the Na­tional Cham­pi­onship in Can­more, Alta. she toughed it out again.

“As I wiped out on the last lap of the moun­tain bike, a fel­low rider who stopped to help me told me it was just a race and that I should get a ride out and an am­bu­lance was called. I was not go­ing to quit, though, as I dearly wanted to be Cana­dian champ so I hopped back on my bike,” said Lam­bert. “At tran­si­tion I tested out my legs and de­cided I was OK enough to run so fin­ished the race and main­tained my lead and came first. I was very re­lieved, happy and in a lot of pain. The head guy of Xterra was there and also took a pic­ture and told me he had heard Cana­di­ans were tough and I had just proved it.”

Lam­bert got her start in triathlon as a swim­mer on a triathlon re­lay team. Af­ter the run­ner on her re­lay team moved away, she de­cided that since she biked ev­ery­where, all she had to do was do some run train­ing and she could fin­ish the en­tire race her­self, which she even­tu­ally did. She grav­i­tated to Xterra rac­ing be­cause it suited her own par­tic­u­lar skill set.

“I love swim­ming in the ocean and I re­ally love the ex­tra chal­lenges thrown into the Xterra whereby more skill is in­volved than just all out speed in nor­mal triathlons. My strength in bik­ing is climb­ing hills, and there’s al­ways lots of that in Xterra races,” re­vealed Lam­bert, who also rode a 900 km char­ity ride from Fernie, B.C. to Ed­mon­ton for Kids With Can­cer. “I pre­fer moun­tain to road bik­ing and trail as op­posed to road run­ning. I tore my acl three years ago and didn’t get it re­paired and found that road run­ning hurts my knee, so I was forced to find races with trail run­ning and Xterra fits that shoe.”

Lam­bert plans on re­turn­ing to Xterra next year where she will turn 50 and be the young one in a new age group. She re­al­izes that her big­gest chal­lenge will be find­ing time to train and to not over­do­ing it. She of­fers this bit of ad­vice to bud­ding Xterra ath­letes or even those who have been in it for a while.

“You have to learn how to re­lax and have fun. I have found the more I put into one race, in terms of train­ing and emo­tion, the less well I do. If I ap­proach it re­laxed with no ex­pec­ta­tions, I tend to do re­ally well,” shared Lam­bert. “Oh, and hy­drate, hy­drate, hy­drate! And if some­one doesn’t quite have the tech­ni­cal skills, my ad­vice on the bike is to walk any sec­tion that scares you (or run it). Bet­ter to lose a few sec­onds than be out of the race be­cause of crash­ing. If you can pre-ride the course, do. If a sec­tion gives you prob­lems dur­ing the pre-ride, get off your bike and walk your bike over the best route, over and over again. Then get on your bike and do the same thing. Rep­e­ti­tion is your friend.”

Above left Sue Lam­bert rac­ing the 2012 Xterra World Cham­pi­onship in Ka­palua, Maui

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