#bikeschool: 2012 Talks
As I’m sure you are aware this week’s #bikeschool class is being hosted by two special guest Professors; Joe from @ryderseyewear and Canadian Olympian Lauren Campbell (@gunzycampbell). Having both hosted a class before I’m sure they will be very comfortable with the format but we wanted to find out more from the lady who will be pinning her hopes on selection to the Canadian Triathlon squad for London 2012 and hoping for some retribution dating back to Beijing!
Stevie Dexter – An athletes’ first Olympics can notoriously be a nervous and overwhelming time in their career. Having experienced the 2008 Olympics and the added media pressure that comes with that, are there areas of your life, training or racing that have changed because of those experiences?
Lauren Campbell – There’s no question that the Olympic experience was like none other and it’s something that has definitely left some lasting changes. The added media pressure really did affect how I carry myself, as I find that I am more comfortable speaking publicly and being interviewed. I used to be an incredibly shy person, nervous to even speak with sponsors or interviewers over the phone, but since I’ve come out of my shell a bit and put some of those fears behind me. As for training and racing, I guess you can say I’ve been carrying some unfinished “Olympic business” and have had that on my mind over the past four years! (I was involved in a bike pile-up in Beijing, resulting in a broken elbow and a DNF).
SD – Within the cycling peloton there are riders who are allowed to boss the race due to their experience, calibre or both. Is the same true within Triathlon and how do other athletes react to seeing you on the start list?
LC – There are definitely some more dominant riders in the pack, those that tend to be the stronger riders and want to see something happen, rather than sitting in and waiting for the run. The packs can be quite large in some events, often with the entire field of a World Series race, with over 60 women, so you can imagine some of the stronger personalities can emerge in those conditions. There are some women who are known to make some noise out there to get the group organized, which I respect (as I am often one of them), but the races are tactical so none of us want to work more than we have to get in position for the win.
Being away from racing for most of the past two years, I’m no longer a “big name” on the start lists. As a past podium contender and decent runner, I might be on the minds of some, but there are so many other potential winners these days. I’m still working my way back up to the top!
SD – Your blog mentions some of the ups and downs you’ve had in the last couple of years from ‘marriage, to injuries, crashes, sickness, surgery, frustrations, comebacks, and everything in between’. These are things that might happen to all of us, but how does a professional athlete cope with them?
LC – It’s definitely been a challenge to work through all of this over the past couple of years, and given the fact that my job relies on a healthy and functional body has made some of these setbacks even more frustrating. I have been very fortunate to have an incredibly supportive network around me that keeps my mind on track when I start to doubt my ability to return to form. Injuries and illnesses are all part of the game and I’ve learned that they DO heal, but you have to be patient and pro-active throughout the recovery. I can’t tell you how many physio, chiropractic, massage, surgical, and doctor appointments I’ve had over the past two years. It’s definitely been quite a process!
SD – When you see or hear LONDON 2012 what is your first thought?
LC – Pure excitement! It’s been a LONG road over the past few years to even get myself into contention to qualify for the team, so the Olympics will be nothing more than a celebration of everything I’ve been though. That, and the most competitive race I’ve ever done in my life. The sport has really grown over the past four years and I’m excited for the challenge to step-up and see how I go amongst the world’s best.
SD – Anyone with dreams of London 2012 has had to put in some big efforts during 2011 and this early part of 2012 to make sure they shine in front of the selectors. What are you doing to make sure you get to the start line in London this summer?
LC – Because I’ve been out of competition and training for all but 5 months over the last two years, I’ve been playing a lot of catch-up in terms of fitness and earning World Ranking points. Thankfully my health was back on track as of October of last year so I was able to put in a consistent block of aerobic, strength and base training, a critical component that I’ve missed out on over the years. By December I was able to add in some intensity and now I am away at a training camp in Florida, putting in a solid pre-race build that will hopefully set me up well for the busy season ahead. Because of the missed World Ranking Points, I need to race as much as possible between now and the end of May (the end of qualifying). The Canadian qualifying criteria is top-8 finishes at both Sydney and San Diego World Series events in April and May. As much as I’d like to only target those races, I haven’t earned that luxury and need to earn Canada another “country spot” for the Games, which is determined based on my Olympic ranking. It’s a bit of a confusing process, but thankfully I have a coach who is good at math and has figured out where I need to race and how I need to do at those races to earn the spot!
SD – Swimming… Cycling… Running… Which do you consider your forté and how do you use that to your advantage against your opponents?
LC – Running has always been my forté so I always race to get myself at the front of the race, or at least in a position to run myself up there. Racing has changed over the years though and there are many more strong runners, who are strong swimmers and bikers so I can no longer plan to run myself up from the 2nd pack. I’ve worked hard at my swimming and riding so that a) I’m in the lead pack off the bike and b) I’m strong enough on the bike that it won’t completely zap my run legs. But basically my race strategy is pretty simple: race hard and smart!
LC – I love to cook and have plans for my next career to be something food-related, so I spend a lot of my down-time researching recipes, sourcing foods, and of course cooking! I also love to read a good book, go for coffee, catch up with friends and do a spot of shopping every now and then.
SD – Many #bikeschool class members are triathletes or time-trialers and I find it hard to give advice… as I have no idea what I’m doing on a TT bike and swim like… well like a Richards Bay blue-bottomed monkey! What are your top 3 tips for #bikeschoolers?
LC – Top 3 tips, eh? There’s a lot I could say here but if it’s only three things then..
1) Enjoy what you are doing. There’s no sense in pursuing this path if you don’t enjoy it. Life’s too short, so find something you love and work hard at it!
2) Embrace the pain. I’m talking about the “good” pain, the lung-bursting, quad-burning pain that comes with a great workout or race. Getting to the next level is going to take you out of your comfort zone so you might as well welcome this discomfort!
3) Have balance in your life. Triathlon, cycling, etc is wonderful and exciting, but never let it take over your life. I’ve learned through my setbacks that there is much more to life than my sport/job. So whatever your goals, always remember why you are doing this and what’s most important to you in life.
SD – You’re running #bikeschool this week with Joe from Ryders Eyewear and we’re all really stoked. How does a relationship with a company like Ryders help you compete to your maximum potential?
LC – I’ve been so fortunate to have connected with a company like Ryders Eyewear. I’ve been on board with them leading up to the Beijing Olympics so we’ve been able to share this roller coaster of events over the past four years. They have been incredibly supportive of me through this hard time and this is the type of support network I mentioned earlier that has help keep me moving forward. So it’s this support AND getting to wear some of the sweetest sunglasses out there is what keeps me going!
SD – Finally, why are YOU loving the bike?
LC – I’m loving the bike because it’s a chance to see the world at my own speed. There’s nothing quite like rolling around a beautiful place and soaking in the sights! That, and getting to fill my belly with delicious post-ride treats!
My thanks to Lauren for some great answers and a lovely insight into a professionals career and life off of the bike (and out of the water). Don’t miss this week’s class as it’s sure to be a real doozy!
Keep The Rubber Side Down