In this blog I’ll try to portray some of the most important lessons and tips I received, from training with 3 of the best in our sport for three months. Sebastian Kienle(Sebi), Flora Duffy and Brad Weiss. I’m not going to expand on all there achievements here, but if you’re reading this, odds are you know who they are and what they’ve achieved. All I can say is all 3 of them have been a world champion which is enough.

Sebi was in Stellenbosch from beginning of February until the Absa Cape-Epic which was his main focus, whilst teaming up with another Ironman legend Ben Hoffman. Words to describe this guy is difficult, he is genuinely one of the nicest people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting, even when training and pushing 500 watts up Franschhoek Pass. He is also not your typical slow twitch Ironman athlete, let me tell you that. I witnessed first hand how he drops some sub 3min/km’s on 1 km repeats. He is a machine on the bike, everyone knows that, and this guy has no easy rides. He says if he wants to bike easy he might just as well and I quote “sit on the toilet for 2 hours.” He taught me during his time with us that sometimes comfort outweighs the benefits of aero, and that finding a good group to get your training done with might extend the longevity of your career significantly. There are no easy ways to the top, it takes discipline hard work, consistency and most of all, time (lots of it). I genuinely miss training with him, he always had good funny stories at each session and made the session go by so quickly no matter how hard it was. What a legend, my money is definitely on him for Kona 2018, and I’ll be rooting for him big time!

Flora Duffy is a 7 time world champion, but who is counting? She has recently been awarded an OBE from Bermuda, I’m not sure what this entails exactly, but basically it makes her some sort of royalty. As fellow Bermudian triathlete Tyler Butterfield put it: besides the President, she might be the most famous person in Bermuda, and could be the face on their dollar bills quite literally. I think the saying goes that behind every successful man, is a very strong woman. In this case, the opposite is true. She recently married Dan Hugo, who needs little introduction himself, and is one of the coolest people I’ve ever met. Super talented and versatile, however he has decided to play the role of Patrick to Gwen Jorgensen, however if I may say, doing a better job at it! Dan takes care of everything, training, food, recovery (apparently he is quite a good masseuse as well) he is quite a barista (naturally being a cycling enthusiast, and a coffee lover) and takes brilliant photos! Did I mention the guy has some talents? The attention to detail is quite impressive to witness, from the way they book their flights, accommodation they wisely choose to getting Ernie’s mandatory long run done the Sunday after a race. Flora has really transformed the sport of triathlon on the ladies side, some might say Gwen did, but I beg to differ. Having the opportunity to celebrate and witness her gold medal performance on the Gold Coast in April at the Commonwealth Games was really special for me, and I hope come 2020 she will repeat that performance in Tokyo, as I know and have seen what goes into the preparation.

Last but not least, is Bradley Weiss, the 2017 Xterra World Champ. Brad is definitely the one I’ve known the longest of the trio. We have shared many all you can eat sushi platters and countless hours suffering on the bike. One very interesting thing he taught me is that weight is the enemy of performance. Brad weighs about 60kg give or take, I’m 84kg. I remember one particular Saturday morning when Sebi was still with us, mid March and we did our usual Saturday set up Franschhoek Pass 3 times, done as 30 hard, 1 min steady. No world records are usually broken here, just good honest work. On this particular morning however, with three very passionate climbers and maybe some TDF talks prior, the records flew out the window. Of the three sets I only managed to stay on the wheels of these monsters for the first interval, on the 2nd and 3rd I got dropped at 9 and 11 min respectively no matter how hard I tried. I averaged 432, 437, and 448 watts for those repeats respectively, good enough to keep up you’d think? Well not quite! Brad is super consistent in training, always gets the work done, and I’ve seen him persist through some very challenging personal times lately. Yet come race day, he always finds a way to be on the podium, and more often than not, claim the top spot. I think it would be foolish not to bet on him, once again at Xterra World Champs in October.

I was so fortunate to have had the opportunity to train with all these exceptional athletes for such a long period. And believe you me, I definitely don’t take any of it for granted. The experience was truly something that no money can buy!

Jp out ✌️