welcome to Team ribble – beau smith

We are delighted to introduce to Team Ribble our sponsored athlete, Beau Smith. Beau is a great talent and we are delighted to sponsor him throughout the 2019 season. He will be competing throughout the 2019 race season on a Ribble Aero 883 and Ultra Tri. We wish Beau all the best for this upcoming season and look forward to seeing his progress and regular updates over the coming few months.

My Road to Triathlon

I am a 25 year old triathlete living and training in Lancashire, and am very grateful to now be supported by Ribble Cycles. I first tried a kids’ triathlon as my parents attempted to tire out a highly energetic nine year old and I’ve never really looked back! I’ve grown up competing in a wide range of sports and then around the age of 14 I focused my energy on triathlon and the three disciplines involved.

After completing my A-Levels in 2012, I went to the University of Leeds and studied Sport Science and Physiology over four years. During which time I trained as part of the British Triathlon High Performance Centre with many top athletes. After I graduated, I was given an opportunity by a close friend to be coached and mentored in my athletic development. Which, also included me coaching some other athletes for triathlon and cycling during which time I learned a lot. After two years I had improved my understanding and the way in which I train and race and it was time to go solo. I have been self-coached since September of last year and am now raring to go in the 2019 season!


Image courtesy of Gary Hill (Art of the Portrait)
https://www.facebook.com/GDHPhoto/

The bikes

Beau is competing in selected events upon the custom colour Ribble Aero 883 with Sram 11spd eTap with Mavic Cosmic Carbones.

Thanks to the fantastic support of Ribble Cycles in 2019, I will be racing on a Ribble Aero 883 with SRAM 11speed eTap. I will use this bike for elite triathlons in the British Triathlon super series, as well as some crits and possibly cycling road race events. I will also be racing some non-draft triathlons, such as those in the Welsh Triathlon Super Series, and open time trials, where I will use the super fast Ribble Ultra Tri with Ultegra Di2!

Beau will also compete on the Ultra Tri with Ultegra Di2 and level Disc/ Level Tri Spoke wheels.

Training

A cold, windswept Bedford Autodrome hosted the athletes.

My training can vary quite a lot week to week; I am now self-coached so I plan my own training to work on the areas I think need improving. I work part time in order to support myself and shifts can vary slightly so I plan my training to work for me, around my employee commitments, the time of year and any upcoming races and events.

  • In general, I aim to fit in four swim sessions, some of which will be with the local swim club and some I will plan and execute myself, working on specific aims I have highlighted for that session
  • I aim to run at least five times a week which will include: a longer, low intensity run of at least 90 minutes, but this can be up to 2 or 3 hours of easy off road running.
  • Two higher intensity sessions, usually one on the track and another either tempo or 5/10km paced road intervals; a ‘bric’ run which is straight after cycling; and one or two shorter steady runs or ‘recovery runs’.

On the bike each week I aim for:

  • At least one longer ride of 3-4 hours, although this could be longer, or I might do a couple of long rides if I have extra free time and no weekend races – I just love exploring new roads.
  • At least one high intensity interval session, usually done on the Watt Bike which will either be TT specific, longer steady-state efforts, or mixed intensity higher power efforts to prep for draft legal racing.
  • I also try to include a couple of shorter steady rides and when it works either a mid week crit, or evening time trial as a good solid workout.

The First Races of 2019

Chasing down the leader for the close finish. Image Credit: Mark Christie (Northerntrier)

Sunday’s British Elite Duathlon Championships was the first round of the British Triathlon Super Series and also my first elite race since 2016. Training had gone well, I felt I was in good shape coming into the event and thanks to sponsorship from Ribble Cycles I would be competing on a quality Ribble Aero 883 bike. I had my new Arena trisuit freshly printed with my name and the logo of my sponsor Egan Associates; all in all I was raring to go!

The motor racing circuit at Bedford Autodrome made a great venue with a flat but exposed two lap 5km run, transition in the pitlane, a four lap 20km bike course with a combination of technical corners and fast open straight sections, before repeating the same run course. It was an overcast morning with a strong cold wind, but after setting up my gear in transition a couple of miles running soon got me warmed up. It was great to be back amongst plenty of familiar faces from previous elite races and several of the guys I used to train with in Leeds, but I was focused on what I had to do and executing my race.

On the way to winning the Stockton standard distance Duathlon 2019. Image credit : Mark Christie (Northerntrier)

I was ready; the horn blasted and I reacted quickly and we were off, soon settling into a pace I felt I could maintain, despite some fast starters and some very enthusiastic under 20s in the mix. A large lead group soon started to move clear but I was aware there’d be plenty of athletes pushing too hard to go with it who would end up blowing up and coming back to me – I trusted myself. (There ended up being just five in the lead group on the bike). Through the second half of the 5km run I was in a small group and we started catching and passing a few stragglers, I arrived at T2 in 15:47, close to my 5km PB but with just enough intensity knocked off to allow me to ride 20km and run another 5km strongly.

Trainers off, helmet on and I was heading to the mount line, I was quickly on my bike and accelerated onto the wheel of another athlete. We soon started working well together and formed a group of four – we started to move through the field really well passing at least two other packs and several other pairs and lone riders during the first 10km. The strong headwind along the long back straight was a slog and the intensity of elite draft legal racing was certainly tough on the legs but I kept myself in a position to run well off the bike.

After a quick T2, I was back out on the run course and the bric sessions from recent training helped me soon find my legs. I made up a few places over the 5km run and got two more in a sprint finish to come home in 15th position. I would have liked a top 10 but the standard was high and it certainly whet my appetite for the rest of the elite series and for continuing to work hard to move myself up the rankings throughout the season.

A big thanks to Ribble Cycles, Arena UK through Solo Sport and Mark Egan of Egan Associates for supporting me in the 2019 season.


Next up is the non-drafting Stockton Duathlon on Sunday 14th April where I’ll be looking to get on the podium and build on last year’s performance at the same event, and I can’t wait to fly on my Ribble Ultra Tri!

In action at the opening round of the Britsh Elite Duathlon Series 2019.

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