TRIATH­LETE of the year

So how tough has it be­come to be part of our an­nual Triath­lete of the Year cel­e­bra­tion?

Triathlon Magazine Canada - - TRIATHLETE - BY KEVIN MACKIN­NON

Get this: we have an ath­lete who won two Iron­man races this year – and she didn’t win an award. An­other spent the early part of the sea­son dec­i­mat­ing the best triath­letes on the planet ex­cept Olympic gold medal­ists Jan Fro­deno and Alis­tair Brown­lee. He also didn’t get the nod in any of our awards this year.

Face it, Cana­di­ans are pretty good at this sport, which is high­lighted once again as we join Triathlon Canada and rec­og­nize the best of the best. As the sport’s na­tional gov­ern­ing body, Triathlon Canada gives awards that re­flect the re­sults of ath­letes who have ex­celled at the var­i­ous world cham­pi­onships. Triathlon Mag­a­zine Canada, on the other hand, has a bit more free rein to ac­knowl­edge per­for­mances that aren’t nec­es­sar­ily tied to the In­ter­na­tional Triathlon Union’s world cham­pi­onship events, which is why you’ll see a few dif­fer­ences in our top picks.

This im­pres­sive list of com­peti­tors ex­celled on the world stage in 2018, con­tin­u­ing Canada’s im­pres­sive his­tory when it comes to swim­ming, bik­ing and run­ning.

com­pleted the 187-km bike and 42.2-km run in 7:10:22, tak­ing the ti­tle and earn­ing a spot on the start line in Kona in Oc­to­ber.

Two Iron­man races. Two Iron­man wins. In Mont-Trem­blant he beat San­ders, the 2017 Kona run­ner-up and Matt Rus­sell. In Chat­tanooga he beat Rus­sell again. A few weeks af­ter that race, Rus­sell would fin­ish sixth in Kona.

Here at Triathlon Mag­a­zine Canada, we’re not the only ones who have rec­og­nized just how promis­ing Beals’ Iron­man ca­reer might be. Now that he’s got his Kona start nailed down, he was able to ac­cept an in­vite from the folks at Chal­lenge Roth next year.

On his web­site Beals de­scribes him­self as a “nerd in jock’s cloth­ing.” He gets to say that be­cause he grad­u­ated at the top of his Queen’s Univer­sity phy­isics class in 2012. Chat­ting with the guy, though, you’d never use the “nerd” moniker. He’s well spo­ken, easy-go­ing and in­fin­itely ap­proach­able – not un­like San­ders, who he’s raced against for years as the two rose up through the pro­fes­sional ranks. Beals com­peted as both a run­ner and triath­lete in high school and at univer­sity. Af­ter grad­u­at­ing from Queens, he worked as an en­vi­ron­men­tal sci­ence con­sul­tant while “ap­ply­ing an an­a­lyt­i­cal, data-driven ap­proach to train­ing and rac­ing” and steadily rose through the age group ranks. In 2013 he took the On­tario Long Dis­tance Cham­pi­onships, break­ing the fourhour bar­rier, and a year later he turned pro.

Al­most im­me­di­ately he was mak­ing podi­ums at var­i­ous 70.3 races across North Amer­ica. In 2015 he set a bike course record on his way to win­ning Iron­man 70.3 Ea­gle­man. A year later he took 70.3 Ecuador and de­fended his ti­tle at Ea­gle­man. In 2017 he rounded out a sea­son that in­cluded a bunch of podium fin­ishes with a win at Chal­lenge Aruba. Good re­sults, for sure, but noth­ing that fore­shad­owed what we’d see from Beals in 2018.

The year be­gan with a win at Iron­man 70.3 Tai­wan. A flat at Iron­man 70.3 Texas left him well back in 22nd, which was fol­lowed by a sev­enth-place fin­ish at Iron­man 70.3 Mon­terey in Mex­ico. That’s when things re­ally started to click, though. A new course record helped him win 70.3 Vic­to­ria. He took the Ea­gle­man ti­tle for the third time. And then he got down to work pre­par­ing for his first Iron­man.

Beals has achieved all these pro­fes­sional top fin­ishes un­der the care­ful guid­ance of David Til­bury-Davis. Since he moved to Guelph in 2017, he’s done a lot of swim­ming with Craig Tay­lor’s Guelph Triathlon Project. He av­er­ages less than 20 hours a week of train­ing, con­sid­er­ably less than many Iron­man pros who rou­tinely rack up well over 30 hours a week of train­ing. Much of that work, though, is at a fairly high in­ten­sity.

The bot­tom line is that it works. Cody Beals surged onto the world scene in 2018 and earned our Triath­lete of the Year honours.

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