Athlete Profile – James M

Nickname: None really but my sister calls me Wamesey….

How long have you been in tri?: On and off since I was 16. I had a three year career break whilst I studied/drank at University.

How did you get into tri?:
I’ve always enjoyed long distance running and was part of a club in England. A few members would do the local tri’s so I joined them in the first of the season. We all finished close to each other and had a great time so I entered the rest for that season and continued from there.

How many bikes do you have?:
Just one in Australia – Cannondale Supersix. Plus one in England – Giant TCR Advanced. I love both but I get a lot of bike envy so one day I’ll get a TT bike!

Something we wouldn’t already know about you?:
I spent four months working at a cattle station on the Nullabor, I learnt to ride a motor bike and muster cattle. Before that, I was petrified of cows.

What do you want to achieve this season?:
My goal was to go sub-5 hours at Bunbury Sufferfest which I achieved. I want to race a couple more times this year but I have no real goals in mind.

Confessions of a triathlete

It’s not a glamorous sport. Sweat, chaffing, dehydration, blisters, sunburn, butt cream, black toenails and the full body lycra suits that leave nothing to the imagination! We go to bed early on a Friday night and get up early on Sundays. Most of our ‘normal’ friends have abandoned us as lost causes.

But the truth is we love this sport, warts and all, so we laugh at ourselves and others and keep on swimming, riding and running.

Here are some of the true confessions of the PHTC triathletes and the dumbest, funniest and worst moments of their #trilife

Confession#1 – I was riding with the group and about 50km into the 112km ride someone mentioned that my bib shorts may be a bit too old…I cycled at the back of the crew after that.

Confession#2 – I stacked my bike on a group ride doing something stupid and was too embarrassed to tell the truth so I made up a crazy story about a big dog running in front of me. It was just so outrageous I thought it would get a laugh and divert attention from the real cause, but everyone believed it.

Confession#3 – I did my first “real” triathlon (a national qualifier no less) with a plastic tote as transition bag, turtle-honky-horn on the cruiser-bars of my bike and a “YOU DID IT!” self-congratulatory balloon on my bike so I could find it in transition.

Confession#4 – At the Mandurah interclubs event, I swapped another athletes run shoes around as a joke after he had set up in transition. I asked him after the race how his shoes were for the run. Any issues? He said nope had his fastest run ever??? I had actually put them the right way around so it backfired!

Confession#5 – I put a mocha flavoured gel in the back pocket of my race suit and it exploded making me look like I’d crapped my pants during the race.

Confession#6 – During my first Busselton half ironman team race in 2015 I thought peanut M&Ms were good nutrition. Perhaps, but having chocolate all over your face and teeth is not a good look out there!

Confession#7 – I was 15 in my very first triathlon at Port beach, it was the perfect day for it. I had this very basic ali road bike, I was actually pretty chuffed with at the time, even had some cleats and shoes. I was all set up for a wicked race. The swim went well, managed to navigate through transition and onto the bike ok. Yay! At that point, i was passed by almost every other competitor on course (told myself it’s ok, cause I can run). But one thing I had not practiced, or even thought about, was that before you stop, you need to uncleat your shoe from the pedals. So at the end of my ride (thank goodness that was over) I approach the transition line, everyone is there, clapping and cheering, (go me!) and I get to the line, and I suddenly realise can’t get my foot out. The officials are yelling at me to take my foot out, I’m yelling back, then I got that momentary hover you get, you know the one when you know your about to fall and there’s bugger all you can do. So I fell. In front of everyone. ON the swim/bike/run transition sign. I was so embarrassed! But at least my foot came out and I could finish the race. I don’t know what the end result was, but I will never, ever forget my first race.

Confession#8 – I rode 15km with a flat at Cairns and only realised when I went around a corner and the bike went from underneath me in front of 50 cars waiting at the traffic lights. I had 5 km to go so rode on my rims back to transition.

Confession#9 – At the Australia Day tri this year I didn’t realize I had but my helmet on backwards. Abdul just kept laughing at me. Then the lady at T2 so politely said, “Just for next time dear, you’ve got your helmet on backwards.” Absolutely no where to hide…

Confession#10 – I once had to leave a group ride early because of bad gut. I didn’t make it back to the car – the vibrations caused by crossing a rail line caused some bad sh*t to go down and I ended up in a roadside drain with my knicks around my ankles hoping no cars would drive past and stop to help the poor cyclist who looked to have crashed in the gutter. On a positive note, I found a good use for the squirt nozzle on bidons.

Confession#11 – During my first 70.3 it was so hot I put ice down the back of my tri suit to cool off. Mistake! I was hopping round like an idiot as it slipped straight down my bum crack.

Confession#11 – I peed my self in transition because I couldn’t wait and couldn’t get a good flow going on the bike at busso 70.3 last year.

Confession#12 – I won my category at my first Olympic-distance triathlon but had no idea because it was really hot and I fell asleep under a tree and missed the awards ceremony.

Sunsmart Women’s Tri


Always a fantastic event, the 2018 Sunsmart Women’s Tri was a windy but enjoyable day out.

Anna did the mini which has lit a fire under her after missing a podium place in her age group. She will be working extra hard in the pool over coming months.

Jenny did her first sprint. She said of the event, “Great course, cross wind on the ride was a bit challenging, but it was also a blessing having the wind on the run course.” She is already planning her next race.

The blokes were down there supporting with unofficial club photographer Alex capturing the event and Coach Rob helping as a TO.

Could breathing better make you faster?

The part of breathing we generally think about is all to do with enough oxygen getting to the right places fast enough for us to do what we want to. Our bodies are pretty good at this in the absence of any serious health issues.

But you probably don’t realise our breathing also has a major impact on our overall posture and movement and our nervous system, particularly that crucial balance we need between our ‘ready for action’ stress response versus rest, recover and repair.

Breathing in sport is becoming hot news! We put emphasis on strength training especially when it comes to legs, but does anyone really target the breathing muscles?

The case for breathing training

In the last couple of decades it was discovered that like any other muscles our breathing muscles fatigue, swimming being the biggest culprit here. When they fatigue, there then follows a literal blood steal reflex shifting blood from the leg/arms to the breathing muscles. This happens because the brain reckons it’s more important to keep breathing than run faster!

So what can you do? Specific inspiratory muscle training (weight lifting for the diaphragm) will:

  • delay the blood steal reflex;
  • reduce our sense of effort (our heads are a huge barrier to performance);
  • hasten the removal of lactic acid;
  • speed up your recovery.

Breathing in triathlon

If that’s not a good enough reason then consider all the challenges put on your breathing muscles during triathlon.

Swimming – Our breathing muscles have to overcome hydrostatic pressure and need to achieve rapid inhales to maintain buoyancy and propulsion.
Running – we are permanently unstable when we run and breathing muscles have to both pull air in, push it out and keep the pelvis stable.
Cycling – horrible position for breathing! The breathing muscles need all the help they can get to overcome the restrictions imposed by crouching and again stabilising the pelvis to maximise efficient pedalling.

Breathing in recovery

Recovery is not talked about nearly enough in coaching yet the ability to bring ourselves back to baseline calm (think heart rate, breathing rate, blood pressure, relaxation, digestion, inflammation, immune response) is crucial to our ability to recover from our last race/training session and the success of our next one.

Outside of training/racing is another crucial area where sub-optimal breathing can play havoc. Recovery, otherwise known as all the hours we spend at work and home, awake and asleep is where breathing plays a crucial role.

You lot are by nature pretty busy and pretty driven! This is great for being out there on the run/swim etc but for adequate rest and recovery we need to bring our nervous system back to calm.

Breathing is a powerful regulator of our autonomic nervous system – that balance between emergency response (heart rate, breathing rate, blood pressure up, muscles tense) and our rest, digest, repair, immune boosting state. Nearly all the athletes I see have a few things in common…

  1. They over-breathe at rest. This lowers the level of carbon dioxide in the body resulting in poor oxygen delivery, muscle spasms/tension, and airway and blood flow restrictions.
  2. They breathe into the upper chest. This results in fatigue of the accessory muscles (neck/shoulders i.e. muscles we need for effort) and a whipping up of the stress response (see above – not great for recovery).
  3. They are ab suckers. Your diaphragm is your prime muscle for breathing and core strength to name just two of it’s functions. It cannot work effectively against an abdominal corset.
  4. They frequently feel the need for sighs and often mouth breathe – this is hyperventilating, (see point 1).

Have a look at your own breathing

  • Do you nose breathe 100% outside of hard effort?
  • Do you have exercise induced asthma/ chest tightness/wheeze/tightening in the throat?
  • Do you sigh/yawn a lot?
  • Does your chest or belly move as you inhale/exhale at rest?

If you would like to read more about this, check out the series of articles by Robin McNelis for Runners World UK. He talks about running but of course this is relevant for all sport and life in general. It really is worth a read.

Pip Windsor is a physiotherapist and specialises in Breathing Pattern Disorders (BPD) and Asthma Education. She runs Physio2breathe which has offices in Darlington and North Perth and can help athletes improve their breathing for peak performance. In her free time Pip is an ultra trail runner and level 2 recreational running coach. She has dipped her toe in the triathlon pool but decided she prefers running up steep hills. Pip can be contacted via email at

Athlete Profile – Karen A.

How long have you been doing tri?: This is my second season

How did you get into tri?: I lost weight and decided I needed goals to help me go further so my psychologist suggested I enter the womens tri in March 2017 (it was October 2016) so I googled Tri Series and entered the whole of the 16/17 series, as you do!  Then joined the PHTC, went to one session and decided I did not want to be “that” fit but sussed everyone out from afar at each event!  Then I entered the whole series again this year and thought I should be brave and get a little fitter and meet you all so that I keep up the training better.

How many bikes do you have?: Well I started last season on a free road side collection mountain bike (which I still have) but once I enrolled to do the novice course last year, everyone had lovely bikes so I bought a second hand road bike which lives inside my house much to the jealousy of the mountain bike that lives outside.

Something we wouldn’t already know about you?: I was born in Zimbabwe and immigrated here when I was 16. In my real life I am a boring accountant. I have a 19 year old son who is a second year roof carpentry apprentice.

Athlete profile – Nikky

How long have you been in tri?:  Almost 2 years

How did you get into tri?: I started running about 3 years ago and all my running friends had done a few tris so I wanted to do one too. It was going to be a one time thing, get the finisher medal and go back to running. Ooops. I then joined the club to learn some swim technique and now I’m on the committee. I am still not sure how this all happened.

How many bikes do you have?:  3 – a second-hand Trek hybrid I bought to do my first few tris (because I wasn’t going to be serious about this). My Liv Avail roadie and my latest love is my Liv Pique mountain bike (the descent continues).

What do you want to achieve this season?: I was concentrating on my running in late 2018 so I was not doing much swimming or riding. This season I am aiming to be consistent in all of my tri training and improve my swim and bike strength. Maybe do an olympic distance.

Athlete profile – Floora

Name: Floora

How long have you been in tri?:  2.5 years

How did you get into tri?: It’s hard to say…it started with cycling. I then did the cycling leg of a Busso half ironman and got hooked on the atmosphere I think. Before you could say “swim bike run” I was signed up to the Sunsmart triathlon series in early 2016.

How many bikes do you have?:  3 – my Colnago Acr road bike, a Merida 96 3000D mountain bike, and my old faithful Malvern Star Oppy.

Something we wouldn’t already know about you?: English (Aussie) is not my first language, I speak Dutch in my family home. I have lived in Africa and Columbia.

What do you want to achieve this season?: Survive Karri Valley long distance and do the Busso half in under 6 hrs.