A LIFE-CHANG­ING TRAN­SI­TION WITH TRIATHLON

Triathlon Magazine Canada - - WARM-UP AGE GROUP PROFILE - BY HE­LEN POW­ERS

IN A RE­MARK­ABLY fast tran­si­tion, Jenna-Caer Seefried went from be­ing an

over­weight, unath­letic woman in her early 20s to be­com­ing the 25–29 age-group long-dis­tance triathlon world cham­pion last Au­gust. Her first triathlon was only five years ear­lier, and she took two years off rac­ing in be­tween. As Seefried says of her triathlon ex­pe­ri­ence so far, “It’s been a wild ride.”

Not so long ago, Seefried joined a fitness club to lose 50 pounds of ex­tra weight and then, to keep it off, she joined a run­ning club in fall 2011. She was sur­prised to find she liked be­ing ath­letic, but a pelvic stress frac­ture was the re­sult of run­ning too much, too soon. Be­cause of that in­jury, she tried bik­ing and swim­ming, and that led to her first triathlon.

She didn’t waste any time be­fore get­ting se­ri­ous about her new sport. In May 2012, she bought a bike and started learn­ing how to swim. Her first triathlon, Iron­man 70.3 Buf­falo Springs Lake, came just ten weeks later, and her first Iron­man race fol­lowed 15 months later in Swe­den.

She got the con­fi­dence to go for a full-dis­tance race after fi­nally break­ing the five-hour 70.3 bar­rier at the Cotswold 113 in Eng­land.

“I put to­gether a race that showed what I was do­ing in train­ing with a 4:56 fin­ish, I was sec­ond in my age group, and it made me be­lieve I could re­ally have a crack at Iron­man,” she says.

In 2013, Seefried took third at Iron­man Swe­den and her time of 10:56 went be­yond her orig­i­nal dream of fin­ish­ing in un­der 12 hours.

“It’s also mem­o­rable be­cause a me­chan­i­cal prob­lem left my bike seat all the way down for the last 30 miles,” she re­calls. “I lost some time try­ing to fix it, only to miss win­ning the age group and (get­ting) that Kona spot by less than 12 min­utes.”

There were more races be­fore Seefried’s first born ar­rived in 2014, and then she de­cided to step away from rac­ing for awhile. Once she re­turned, her third-place fin­ish at the Cana­dian Long Dis­tance Nationals was an­other mem­o­rable podium.

“It was the race that made me be­lieve I could re­ally get back to com­pet­i­tive form after tak­ing two years off rac­ing to have my son,” she ex­plains, “and it qual­i­fied me for the itu Long Dis­tance World Cham­pi­onships.”

De­spite be­ing one of the slower swim­mers in her age group at the 2017 itu World Cham­pi­onships, Seefried took first place at 7:10:35, close to six min­utes ahead of the sec­ond-place fin­isher. It was her first time there, but she says it won’t be her last.

In 2018, Seefried has a busy sched­ule lined up in­clud­ing Iron­man 70.3 com­pe­ti­tions in Vic­to­ria and in her home base of Cal­gary.

“I’ve never fo­cused on the half dis­tance be­fore, I’ve al­ways trained for Iron­man or long dis­tance,” she says. “I’m ex­cited to see what hap­pens this year with try­ing to in­crease my top end speed. The train­ing has been com­pletely dif­fer­ent, and that’s been a lot of fun and a new chal­lenge.”

Seefried is also coach­ing and can re­late to many of the ath­letes who seek her guid­ance.

“I love work­ing with those ath­letes be­cause I’ve been there, I was 50 pounds over­weight and never played sports as a kid, so I un­der­stand the trep­i­da­tion of get­ting started and I love be­ing a part of that jour­ney,” she shares.

As a new­bie, the big­gest chal­lenge was swim­ming. “I never had swim­ming lessons,” she ex­plains, “so YouTube was my teacher for the long­est time, and that first length of a pool, I was pretty sure I would drown.”

Once a shy and quiet per­son, the sport took Seefried out of her com­fort zone.

“Triathlon shifted the di­rec­tion of my life com­pletely,” she says. “I am so grate­ful for ev­ery­thing it has given me, and I hope to be able to help oth­ers ex­pe­ri­ence the same.”

He­len Pow­ers is a reg­u­lar con­trib­u­tor to Triathlon Mag­a­zine Canada.

WHEELS

Some rid­ers use a disc wheel for added speed thanks to the im­proved aero­dy­nam­ics. You will usu­ally need a spe­cial pump adap­tor to be able to ac­cess the valve and fill a disc with air. These are some­times re­ferred to as a “crack pipe” and es­sen­tially serve as an ex­ten­sion of your pump to a 90 de­gree an­gle. Make sure you have one of these with you if you use a disc wheel – es­pe­cially when out on the road dur­ing the race. Some­times it can take min­utes for a sup­port ve­hi­cle to pull up, so make sure the es­sen­tials are on your bike.

Those es­sen­tials in­clude, at a min­i­mum: spare tube(s), tire levers and I highly rec­om­mend a CO2 in­fla­tion de­vice rather than a mini-pump. You want to waste as lit­tle time as pos­si­ble, and it takes just a few sec­onds to in­flate a tire to 100 psi with a CO2 car­tridge ver­sus the min­utes it could take pump­ing away with a mini-pump. If you are us­ing tubu­lar tires, be sure to also carry a spare that is pre­stretched so you are able to get it on eas­ily. You will need to be care­ful tak­ing cor­ners with a tubu­lar that hasn’t been glued, so it’s best to have a pre-stretched tubu­lar with a dried layer of glue al­ready on the base tape. En­sure that your spare tube or tubu­lar tire also has the cor­rect length valve or valve ex­ten­der in­stalled for your wheels. It’s al­ways bet­ter to have a valve that is too long than too short.

Try to bring a spare wheel set, if you can, in case you need to make a last-minute change. Test out both rear wheels at home to en­sure shift­ing is smooth. Some­times some ad­just­ments will be needed when chang­ing rear wheels. If a few turns of the bar­rel ad­just­ment on the de­railleur have to be made, take note of how many turns are needed and in what di­rec­tion, so you can eas­ily make the ad­just­ments once the wheel is swapped. If ma­jor ad­just­ments are needed, I would rec­om­mend against us­ing that par­tic­u­lar wheel as a spare.

POWER ME­TER

On race morn­ing, cal­i­brate your power me­ter be­fore the swim so it’s ready to go once you hit the bike. Also en­sure that your bike is in an easy gear so you are able to get up to speed quickly and ef­fi­ciently.

Nick Di Cristofaro is a me­chanic and VeloFix owner-op­er­a­tor.

Zone 3 Van­quish Squad Hor­net Alto (CC86 and CC311) Shi­mano Dura Ace Di2, SLF pul­ley wheels and Dura-Ace ped­als Shi­mano TR9

Kask Pro­tone (train­ing), Garneau P-09 (rac­ing)

ISM Pioneer

361° Spin­ject (train­ing),

361° Chaser (rac­ing) Po­lar 800 OwnWay

ABOVE Jenna-Caer Seefried at the ITU Long Dis­tance World Cham­pi­onships in Pen­tic­ton

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