We are proudly supporting Sophie as she triumphs her way through the New Zealand triathlon season. Here's her latest blog updates:
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Podium in Wellington
Sunday, 10 March 2013
After claiming the National Sprint Champs title a few weeks ago in Kinloch, I went to Wellington on a mission to pick up a win at the Standard Distance Champs too. I fought hard to the end, but had to settle for the silver medal this time, after Simone Ackermann had an outstanding performance to cross the line as the first U23 athlete.
It was a drizzling morning in Wellington yesterday, which gave us surprisingly good conditions to race in because it was nice & cool, and the water was dead flat like a swimming pool. After a slightly amusing mix-up with the athlete introductions (the race was both Elite U23 & Elite Open combined) and a marathon walk down to the pontoon, we all took our places on the start line. The swim course was 1 x 1500m lap around the Marina, which felt a lot longer when we were out there, because we are used to 2 shorter laps! On the days leading up to the race, there had been orcas, stingrays & jellyfish spotted in & around the marina, so that’s definitely something to push to the back of your mind as you’re about to dive in! The swim was solid, and the pace was on, but I managed a good swim, coming out at the back of the lead bunch. After a fast transition, I managed to get on my bike & rode hard to make sure I was into that front group.
The bike course was 6 x 6.67km laps, with a steep hill climb each lap. After the first lap, Kate Mcilroy was the only athlete to have a gap on the field, and our main bunch was a group of 9, including 5 of the Aussie athletes. We worked hard with a high speed average, and managed to close the gap on Kate by the 3rd lap. This meant that we rode the rest of the way as a group of 10, with a considerable lead over the rest of the field. It was a great position to be in, because the wind in Wellington always makes the course tough, so drafting really does help to conserve energy. With very little drama on the bike, I came into transition to start the 10km run on a mission.
I knew that I had good run speed, because my recent results have proved that, and I felt great when I charged out of transition. I ran the first 2 laps (5km) by Kate Mcilroy’s side and found the pace comfortable... I guess all these sprint distance races have been paying off! But at the start of the 3rd lap, I started to feel it a bit. I tried to keep my leg turnover high and focused on my form, but it’s safe to say I was hurting, and it felt like I was running through treacle over the last 2.5km! Simone had run consistently the whole way, and after she caught me, I had nothing to respond with. So I battled through to the finish line keeping up a good pace, and finished as the 2nd U23 athlete and 6th overall Elite behind Felicity Abram (1st), Kate Mcilroy (2nd), Grace Musgrove (3rd), Natalie Van Coevorden (4th) and Simone Ackermann (5th). I managed to run a personal best time of 36.33, so I am very happy with how I’ve been progressing over the past few seasons!
Things are looking very good for the upcoming seasons, and I am feeling confident about my selection for the World U23 World Champs in London in September (although the team will be officially announced in a few weeks time). I’d just like to take the time to thank all my sponsors & supporters for their belief in me, and for everything they do for me. I really do appreciate it!
Next up, I am racing at the National Athletics Champs at Mt Smart stadium in the 5000m event after I got selected last month! This will be a great opportunity for me to mix in with some of the runners in a no-pressure situation where I can just see what I can do! :)
Love Sophie :) x
Victory in Geelong!
Wednesday, 13 February 2013
It was a big weekend for me in Kinloch! After a solid build up over Christmas and New Years, I knew I was fit, but even I couldn’t quite believe the results I achieved at the Oceania and National Sprint Tri Champs 2013. I spent 10 days in Pauanui after Boxing day with some of my close friends & training partners where we took advantage of the good weather and change of scenery, getting some great training under our belts.
On Saturday, it was the Sprint distance champs which is usually scheduled for the morning, but this year the start time was changed to 4.45pm. This can prove to be a bit of a challenge, because we need to plan out our nutrition and pre-race routine for a longer period of time. It’s often hard to know what to do with yourself all day in preparation for an afternoon race because it’s a balancing act between wasting energy and over-resting (which can make you feel lethargic). I decided to go for a gentle run over the course in the morning, and keep up the stretching throughout the rest of the day. This proved to be a winning formula, because I got on the start line feeling fresh and ready to race.
After we warmed up, all the athletes were called up to transition and announced one by one before making our way to the start line. I was introduced as “undefeated in the Stroke & Stride series” which made me smile and gave me an extra boost of confidence as I lined up beside Olympic athlete Kate McIlroy. The lake in Kinloch was crystal clear and 21 degrees, so absolutely perfect non-wetsuit conditions for me. The gun sounded and I felt a rush of adrenalin through my arms and legs. I love that feeling because it tells me that I am fit and raring to go. My dive into the water was clean, and I pushed hard over the first 50m to gain a body length lead over the field, and I lead comfortably to the first buoy. My stroke felt strong and my breathing was good, so I settled into a good pace alongside Rebecca Clarke (also sponsored by Triathlete’s Corner) and we swam side by side round the second buoy and into shore. Coming out of the water at the front of the field is beneficial because there is less argy-bargy around the buoys and into transition which allowed me to get out onto the bike without any stress. I was pleased with a swift transition and powered up the hill out of my seat to form a breakaway bunch with Kate McIlroy, Rebecca Clarke and Rebecca Kingsford.
The Kinloch bike course is 5 laps of a tough course, with 2 hills (one of which really burns!). By the 2nd lap, it was just Kate and myself in the lead, as I was hanging onto her wheel for as long as I could. Kate showed her true class, and managed to break away from me half way through the 2nd lap, but I kept fighting hard because I knew there was a big chase bunch behind me and I didn’t want them to catch me. Even though my legs were feeling it on the last lap, I managed to ride well and stayed well ahead of the main bunch, with superstar Mikayla Nielsen coming into transition 4 seconds behind me after she broke away from the bunch. I recorded the 3rd fastest bike split of the day which is a massive improvement for me seeing as I rode solo for the majority of the ride! My new cycling coach Gordon McCauley was pretty stoked at this news!
Kate Mcilroy was up the road, and I had Junior World Champion Mikalya hot on my heels, so needless to say I ran out of transition with a lot of determination. I knew that the bunch was a nearly a minute down on me after the bike, so I was chasing that silver medal and the U23 title. The 5km run was over 2 hard and hilly laps (surprise, surprise!) and my legs were definitely feeling it! I managed to create a decent gap between myself and Mikayla, but there was no time for me to relax, because she is a class act and I knew that it would take a lot for me to keep the distance. By this time, it was heating up, and every step was burning both figuratively and literally! With 400m to go, there is a steep bridge that you have to run up and over, which is my favourite part of the course. I used the down hill to give me momentum to push through to the finish line, and I finished as 2nd Elite and 1st U23, claiming my first title for the year. I was absolutely over the moon.
Diving into the lake after the race was a right treat, because I was cooking, and I was looking forward to relaxing and cheering on the men, who started at 6pm. Frenchman (but 49% kiwi) Laurent Vidal took out the mens race, with NZs Ryan Sissons and AUS Ben Shaw rounding off the podium. Prizegiving was quite emotional for my parents, coach Peter Bennetts and myself, because I have just been selected for the HP squad, and the timing was perfect. All my persistence and hard work is paying off.
After only 3 hours sleep that night (not from partying unfortunately haha... most athletes struggle to sleep after night races because the adrenalin doesn’t settle down so you just lie there wide awake) I got up nice and early before Sundays ITU Oceania Cup team race. The team race requires 4 members (2 guys, 2 girls) and is a relay format, with each athlete completing a super sprint triathlon (300m swim, 6km bike, 1.8km run). It is a fantastic event and is being introduced to the Commonwealth Games next year and hopefully the Olympics too.
I was leading my team off, passing over to Youth Olympic Champion Aaron Barclay, who then tagged fellow Youth Olympian Maddie Dillon, and finishing off the team was speedy Sam Osborne. We all performed really well, especially considering the fatigue from Saturdays race, and came across the line in 2nd place behind the NZ Elite team of Kate Mcilroy, Tony Dodds, Andrea Hewitt & Ryan Sissons. The AUS team closely followed in 3rd, in front of the other U23 NZ teams. It was reassuring to know that we were only a minute behind the Elite team, and we stood proudly on the podium beside the people we look up to in the sport.
It was a fantastic weekend in sunny Kinloch, and I enjoyed spending time with my parents and close friends at somewhere with such a good atmosphere. Thanks to everyone for their messages of congrats and support, and special thanks to my coaches Peter Bennetts, Gordon McCauley (cycling), Mark Bone (swimming) & my wonderful parents & sponsors. Special thanks to Fulcrum & Schwalbe for providing me with super fast wheels & tires on this hilly course! Very zippy and made climbing much more enjoyable :) I am off to Geelong this weekend with some of the HP team to compete in the ITU World Cup race so fingers crossed it’s just as successful as this one!
HP Podium Development Squad Selection
Monday, 28 January 2013
I am pleased to announce that I have been selected for the 2013 Triathlon NZ High Performance Podium Development squad alongside 13 other kiwi triathletes. This indicates that I have been recognised as having potential for the 2016 and 2012 Olympic games. Being selected will give me the opportunity to learn from the country’s top coaches and athletes, as well as having access to the best services and equipment. I am really happy to be a part of the new Tri NZ HP programme and look forward to the journey towards Rio.
Article from www.triathlon.org.nz
Triathlon New Zealand (Tri NZ) today confirmed its 2013 High Performance Squad, with a total of 14 athletes named in a three tier system by Tri NZ High Performance Director (HPD) Graeme Maw as the sport refocuses for the next 4 to 8 years.
Athletes have been selected consistent with the new 2016 and 2020 Tri NZ High Performance athlete pathway and aligned with the framework of the ‘carding’ system of High Performance Sport New Zealand (HPSNZ).
The three tiers are:
1.Podium: Tracking toward a podium finish at the 2016 Olympic Games
2.Podium Development: Tracking toward a top 8 finish at the 2016 Olympic Games & toward a podium finish at the 2020 Olympic Games
3.Development: Tracking toward a podium finish at the 2020 Olympic Games The investment of time, resources and money in 14 athletes is a significant reduction from the 30 athletes of two years ago and the 21 supported at the end of 2012, a move Maw says was clearly signposted to all in the 2012 independent review into the High Performance Programme.
"The Review highlighted that the way forward was by way of a narrow based pathway with higher world class standards, using an evidence based high performance selection process for more effective investment, this squad selection is in line with that conclusion.
"While this has made for a number of tough calls, the athletes that have been selected will have clarity around their performance goals and targets and expectations while in the Programme. I am excited about the 14 athletes named today; they are our focus, this is where our attention will lie and they will be given every opportunity to fulfil their potential within clear guidelines and expectations.
"The focus is very much on medal potential in 2016 and 2020, meaning we must support those athletes progressing towards the podium, and we must ensure development athletes track quickly along the athlete pathway. While we need a critical mass to work with, development athletes will have clear messages around their targets.
Maw says that a fundamental is the need for improved and better resourced talent identification, to in effect create a larger pool outside the 14 named athletes or add to that pool.
"This was one of the key pillars in our new 2020 HP Strategic Plan and will play a large part in the success of the sport over the next 4 to 8 years. We must become more adept in identifying talented young athletes who have the potential to excel in triathlon and put them in an environment that gives them every chance of succeeding. You will see an emphasis in the area of talent ID, with new initiatives within and outside the existing triathlon community rolled out this year.”
The athletes selected in each of the three tiers are as follows (with contracts through until the end of the 2013 World Triathlon Series Grand Final in London in September):
•Andrea Hewitt, Christchurch
•Kate McIlroy, Wellington
•Ryan Sissons, Auckland
•Simone Ackermann, Whangarei
•Sophie Corbidge, Auckland
•Rebecca Kingsford, Tirau
•Mikayla Nielsen, Waikato
•Tony Dodds, Wanaka
•Bryce McMaster, Auckland
•Maddie Dillon, Auckland
•Elise Salt, Auckland
•Sam Ward, Auckland
•Aaron Barclay, Gore
•Andrew Ranford, Auckland
True North Investments Scholarship
Sunday, 28 October 2012
I am delighted to announce that I was awarded first prize in the AMP True North Investments Scholarship 2012. There were 147 Auckland applicants for this award, and the top five were given the opportunity to meet a panel of judges for an official interview. The guest judges included retired silver fern Tania Dalton, and NZ actor Shane Cortese, who were both so friendly and approachable. I really enjoyed the interview, and knew it had gone well, but I did not expect to win. The finalists were invited to a lovely evening function in Takapuna, where we were each awarded a scholarship (1st, 2nd or 3rd place winners) and I was lucky enough to be announced as the winner. It was great to spend the evening with my parents, coach and principal of my Senior School, as well as all the other finalists who were amazing people with impressive achievements. Many thanks to Alan, Ursula & True North Investments for my scholarship, and also for a lovely function with good company. I will be using the money to fund my overseas trip to Europe late next year, on my journey to becoming a successful professional triathlete on the world stage.
Love Sophie :) x
World Champs, Auckland
Friday, 26th October 2012
After beating myself all week about such a disappointing Elite U23 World Champs debut, I have finally managed to find some peace of mind, and my head space is now good. It’s never fun going over and over a race in your head for days on end, but that’s what I have been doing this week, thinking about what happened and what I can do to make sure it never happens again. It’s fair to say that 20th in the World and 2nd kiwi athlete to finish is not completely disastrous, and we have definitely found lots of positives from the race to give me a boost. That being said, I know that I performed far below my potential, and I am excited to redeem myself throughout the 2013 summer season :)
The race day started off well, with a beautiful still day, and registration going smoothly. I felt calm and relaxed, and went through my usual race warm up routine without a problem, until I had a minor issue with my rear wheel. It wasn’t a big drama, but National coach Greg Fraine made the conservative decision to change my rear wheel to his spare, to avoid the risk of my tyre going flat, so I put my bike into transition last minute (which got a lot of people talking, but it wasn’t a big deal!). The race start was almost textbook perfect for me, and I went out hard and fast, getting to the first buoy in 3rd place, on the heels of Lucy Hall. I thought to myself “this is awesome!!” and settled into a good stroke.
However, on the 2nd lap of the swim, I wasn’t feeling quite so flash, and dropped back into the chase pack. This wasn’t too bad though, as I came out close behind Simone Ackermann, and ran into transition with the main group. This is where my first issues started, as my fingers were absolutely frozen. The water was a chilly 14.8 degrees, and I was gutted to realise that both my fingers and toes were badly affected. I wasted so much time in transition, trying to get my wetsuit off and helmet on, with useless hands that wouldn’t cooperate! I was a bit of a fumbling mess to be honest, and felt awful on the first lap. I missed the front bunch, and didn’t have the legs to bridge up to the leaders. A feeling of deep frustration flooded through me, as I settled into the chase bunch alongside Emmie Charyon (FRA) and Charlotte McShane (AUS).
The course was 8 x 5km laps with 3 hills each lap. After the first lap, I started to feel a lot better, and found my legs and good rhythm, but our bunch was not working well at all, and I was sitting on the front doing a lot of work with Charlotte, whilst everyone else sat up and cruised behind us. It was really frustrating, and we tried to get them to lap out and work together, but noone responded. That is the sad reality of triathlon. There are so many variables, and if one thing goes wrong, it can almost have a domino affect, and everything starts to go bad. I had one of those days, and the whole bike ride I was kicking myself for not getting in that front bunch. It was my fault, and I have only just forgiven myself for it! That being said, I started the run with the full intention of making up some places and redeeming myself. Sadly, this was not to be, and I was in a lot of pain. 10km of extreme pain is not ideal, and I was disappointed with my run, which I had been working so hard on over winter.
So there we have it in a nutshell. I did NOT enjoy writing this blog entry, but it had to be done.. and now I can move on a focus on the summer season! :D I have had some good chats with my coach, parents and athletes like Andrea Hewitt, Nicky Samuels & Kate McIlroy, and I am now in a good head space again. I am so grateful to have such fantastic friends and family who made me feel so much better, and the support I have received from everyone has been overwhelming :) I feel so lucky!
The Auckland World Champs had the best spectators I’ve ever seen, and the support around the course was incredible! I hope everyone had a great weekend, because so many NZ athletes raced fantastically, and there were some extremely impressive results from our top athletes!
Kiwi 1, 2, 3
Sunday, 16th September 2012
We’d said in a passing comment the day before the race that we were aiming to get three kiwis on the podium for the women’s race, and I am so happy to say that we did it! Maybe kiwis really can fly!
I was absolutely over the moon to take out the race here in Tahiti, one of the most beautiful places in the world. My goal was to come out here and have a good hit out before the World Triathlon Champs in Auckland next month. I knew that I was fit because I’ve been training hard over winter, getting good base fitness from the cross country/road running season and getting pushed in training by the boys, but I was also aware that it would be tough to beat World U19 Champ Mikayla Nielson.
The race course was a treat in itself, with perfectly flat, clear blue water, and a 1 lap 750m swim. The front bunch of three of us included Laura Wood (NZL) and Lauren Parker (AUS) and myself, with Mikayla just behind us. The four of us formed a bunch on the bike, and we worked reasonably well together on the relatively flat 4 lap bike course (along a closed off motorway!!). Coming into transition after the bike, I knew that Mikayla was running well, so I made a conscious effort to have a swift transition, and then sprinted out like I was on a mission!! I created a gap of 10 seconds on the first lap, and managed to increase my lead by another few seconds each lap. I felt awesome when I was running (apart from a slight stitch, but that’s pretty common) and the heat wasn’t even affecting me too much. I used the water stations a little bit to keep cool, but I was really focused on the finish.
The 4 lap run course was actually really tough, because each lap had a significant hill about 300m long. I pushed hard up each climb, knowing that I would do a U turn at the top and recover downhill. I finished in first place with a massive smile on my face, in a time of 1 hour and 2 minutes. My run split was 17.34 which I was very happy with considering the conditions, and my form stayed good throughout. After I had crossed the line, I was invited over to have some interviews with the media, and could not wipe the smile off my face... I was stoked :) ITU Continental Cup Champion 2012!
The boys also raced well, with Sam Ward taking the silver medal behind the World Cross Country Champion - not a bad effort at all!! The prizegiving was very entertaining, as the local musicians and dances did some special performances, and got us all involved! Even local celebrity Miss Tahiti made an appearance and gave some of the trophies out. My trophy is beautiful! It has a large shell carving mounted on a wooden plaque and will definitely be taking pride of place in my room!
Friday, 14th September 2012
It feels slightly unreal to say that I am racing in Tahiti this weekend, because it’s always been a destination that people dream to come to. Yet here I am, sitting in the shade looking out at the stunning sea views and watching the paddle boarders cruising along the horizon. It really is beautiful here.
There is a team of eight NZ athletes over here to compete in the ITU Continental Cup Sprint race, which we are using as a warm up race before World Champs. This morning we went for a ride along the coast, and it was great to see all the locals hanging out the fish they’d caught today, and selling all kinds of homegrown fruit & veges. There are also heaps of stray dogs who seem to just be accepted as a part of society, and they hang around the supermarkets waiting to be fed, but it’s sad to see that some are in really bad condition.
After our ride we took to the local pool where we were greeted by some friendly Tahitians, but we were shocked at how strict the rules at the pool were! We had to walk through a disinfectant pool before entering, then we had to remove all our clothes (besides swimwear!) before we could go on poolside. The lady then said that sunscreen/lotions were strictly prohibited so I felt like such a rebel seeing as I’d just slapped on about a litre of spf 30 haha! We had to the pool ourselves which was really nice, and got some vital sun rays seeing as it was outdoors.
The trip to the supermarket proved to be a bit of a mission, because it was HUGE and a 20 min stop quickly turned into a disorientating & confusing 50 mins!! I am rooming with fellow NZ athlete Elise Salt, and we managed to work out an eating plan for the week so shopping was a bit easier. Can’t say the same for the boys though! haha.
The race in on Sunday morning at 7am local time, which is 5am on Monday morning in NZ. Seems strange that it’s almost exactly a day behind! I’d better go cos we’re about to scope out the course.
Love Sophie :) x
Auckland Road Champion
Sunday, 26th August 2012
Last week I competed in the Auckland Road Race Championships out at Unitec. It was a 10km road race so I entered it thinking it would be a great hit out before the World Tri Champs in October. I have been training hard over winter, with the help of my training partners Cooper Rand, Sam Franklin, Matt Franklin, Jay Wallwork and a few other U19 & U23 boys. They have been pushing me hard as well as being extremely encouraging so I owe them big time!
The senior women’s field is never that big, but you’re always guaranteed to get some quality girls turning up! I was excited to race alongside the pure runners, and was hoping they’d be able to drag me round the course and get me a good time. Once I started the race, I felt fantastic, and ran by Alice Mason’s side for about 4km. The course was 5 x 2km laps, and in the middle of the 3rd lap, I could tell that Alice wasn’t feeling herself, and I made a small surge up one of the hills. Once I made a bit of a gap, I kept extending my lead and ran hard over the next few laps to come home in 1st place, eventually winning with a gap of about 90 seconds. I was over the moon with how I ran because I felt strong and bouncy: the best feeling ever!
The course was round a very testing circuit, which felt like it was mostly uphill. It was a great way to test the legs out, and I was very happy to finish strongly and take the win. The next race for me is an ITU Sprint race in Tahiti, which will be my first triathlon since the end of last season - I can’t wait!
8 weeks til World Champs in Auckland... Nearly show time! :)
Love Sophie :)
x x x
Athletes support at-risk kids
North Shore Times - Wednesday, 17 July 2012
Sophie Corbidge is a strong believer in giving back to society in any way she can so when an opportunity arose to support vulnerable children, she jumped at it.
The Triathlon New Zealand high performance Under 23 athlete, who spends most of her time studying and working on the North Shore, is one of 10 elite athletes who have signed up to TEAR Fund's Poverty Cycle Campaign.
The initiative aims to raise funds for the world's most vulnerable children, here and overseas.
The aim is to raise more than $200,000 by the end of 2012.
When approached to be an ambassador Sophie says she immediately said yes.
She is the kind of person who gets more of a kick from giving than receiving but her giving is often limited due to her hectic schedule.
"The programme is a fantastic way to fulfil my mission to help others," she says.
Sophie considers the campaign to be an extremely good cause to support as it is having a big impact on the lives of vulnerable children overseas.
"The trafficking of young girls in Nepal, in particular, is very disturbing to me, however it gives me great pleasure to know that the TEAR Fund is working hard to educate parents about this issue and the fact that we are in a position where we can help them is very comforting," she says.
Sophie will be joined by nine other ambassadors including the Shore's triathlete Simone Ackermann and cyclist James Oram.
As ambassadors the athletes are identified by wearing a reflective helmet sticker and by having individual sponsorship pages on the Poverty Cycle website.
Sophie says she is a strong believer in the power of social media so she will be using Facebook, Twitter and other social networks, as well as spreading the word and educating people about the cause.
TEAR Fund's Poverty Cycle Campaign also includes a corporate challenge event on September 15 in Clevedon.
Visit povertycycle.org.nz for more information.
Cross Country Counts
Monday, 11 June 2012
Since hearing the news of my Elite U23 World Champs Team selection and High Performance Squad selection, I have been working hard over the past few months and taking advantage of the grueling Auckland Cross Country Grand Prix. So far I have raced two of the races, one out at Pakuranga and one at Barry Curtis Park - both 6km races. I won the first race and came 2nd in the second (I hope this isn’t a continuous pattern!) and have been very happy with my run progress and strength building!
It has been quite tough juggling full time uni and training this semester, because I made the decision to take four papers in the 1st semester, and two in the second. This is so I can have the best build up possible as I approach World Champs in October. However, I’m pleased to say that exams are nearly over and I have managed to cope just fine!
Next cross country race lined up is in two weeks time and then North Island Champs the following week. It’s always good to mix it up with the runners and challenge yourself on the tough courses.
Love Sophie :) x
... Just Kidding!
Monday, 30 April 2012
Well..! I went back to see the specialist last week and it turns out that my arm and wrist actually aren’t broken! I had the report back from my MRI scan and it concluded that there was no visible break or fracture so I was misdiagnosed. Couldn’t be more pleased though, because now I can get back to full training, with just a bit of physio for my newly diagnosed sprain.
Next thing on the agenda for me is an exciting cross country season representing ACA club. It’s the best way to build strength and speed over winter, by mixing with the runners (and hopefully giving them a run for their money!.
This weekend we went out to run in the Okura bush trails which is a gnarly out and back course with lots of steep stairs and hills to climb. It was a great morning and kick-start to the winter season!
Love Sophie :) x
Wednesday, 18 April 2012
I am writing this update with mixed emotions because I have both good and bad news!
The bad news is that I was on a training run yesterday, and I tripped badly on some uneven concrete. I was running downhill so I was moving quite fast, and I smashed into the ground. To cut a long story short, I went to A&E and found out I'd broken my wrist and lower arm. Not exactly what I was aiming to achieve from that session to be honest!
However, it's not a bad time of year for this to happen because it's the end of the tri season, and my body will probably appreciate a bit of a break. Unfortunately it is my right arm so it's extremely inconvenient and I'm expected to be in a cast for 6 weeks... (typing and texting with my left hand are skills I am developing well though haha). So it's nothing to worry about, just lots of rehab and cross training for me over winter. Keeping fit won't be an issue though :)
Good news is that I have been selected for the Elite U23 World Champs in Auckland in October!!! Very happy to hear that yesterday because I had such a traumatic morning! There is plenty of time to build up well to this race, and my support team are confident that I will be back to peak fitness by August/September :)
I hope everyone had a great Easter
Love Sophie :) x
Thursday, 29 March 2012
I can’t say I’ve been looking forward to writing a blog entry about a race that didn’t quite go to plan, but I know that reflecting is the best way to learn from bad experiences, and believe me I have been doing a lot of reflecting after this one! On Sunday, I competed in the biggest race of my career so far; the Mooloolaba ITU World Cup race which was an open Elite race. Going into the race, I was ranked 57th, and the majority of the field were leading World Champ Series, Commonwealth and Olympic athletes. It felt pretty awesome to be lining up on the start line next to these superstars of the sport, and I managed to control my excitement so that people actually took me seriously, and not just as a starstruck fan!
The 1500m swim was a one lap course, and there was an extremely strong current along the back straight. This meant that there was a big advantage to starting on the right hand side. Because my starting position was to the far left, I had been advised by Andrea Hewitt and Kate McIlroy that the best option for me would be to run diagonally across the beach behind everyone, and enter behind the top seeded athletes. This plan worked really well, and I got myself into a good position in the middle of the pack. Unfortunately, this was both a good and bad thing, because it meant I was in the thick of all the fighting and aggression. It was the most brutal swim I’ve ever been in, and this was where my troubles started. Around the 3rd swim buoy, I got pushed underwater, and fought hard to try and surface again, but I couldn’t break through the wall of swimmers above me. It was terrifying. I have never really been scared in a race before, but I genuinely thought that I could drown in Mooloolaba. It sounds really dramatic but I was swirling around underneath the field, and had no control over where I was going. When I finally surfaced from the washing machine, I found myself isolated and out the back. The rescue kayak was right beside me, and I briefly considered reaching out for it because I couldn’t breathe, but I refocused and put things in perspective. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, so I readjusted my goggles and kept going.
I exited the water near the back of the field - not the place I wanted to be! I had missed the two front bunches, and rode hard for the first lap to catch a small bunch ahead of me. I sat on the front of the bunch for most of the first lap, in an attempt to drag us up to the chase pack, but as soon as I hit the 2nd lap, disaster (number 2) struck. I was driving hard out of a corner, then sat back down and it felt different. My knees were suddenly up around my ears, and it felt like I was riding a monkey bike. Turns out my seatpost had slipped right down. I don’t know how that happened. I had ridden my bike for several days before the race and it was fine, but somehow it had come loose at the most inconvenient time. The following 35kms were not very fun: I had to ride most of the way out of my saddle, which was a massive waste of energy, but it was the only way I could keep up with the bunch.
Coming onto the run, I was pretty frustrated as you can imagine, so I tried to channel my anger into running hard. The 10km run was a 4 lap hilly course (2 hills per lap) and my quads were on fire! I managed to maintain good form and slowly pick of some of the athletes ahead of me, but I was way down the field by the time we came to the run. I finished in 37th place as the 3rd NZ’der behind Andrea Hewitt (3rd) and Simone Ackermann who raced really well to finish 18th. Kate McIlroy had to pull out unfortunately, but she has her sights set on the WCS Sydney race in a few weeks time.
After spending some time beating myself up over a poor performance, I had a big chat with my coach, Pete Bennetts, who had come out to the sunshine coast to watch me. He is awesome to have around in these situations, and reassured me that I did everything I could given the circumstances. He restored my confidence, and allowed me to focus on my next goal which is the Olympic Development Squad time trials next week. After these time trials, I will have a break because it is the end of my season, and then build into the winter base phase! Can’t wait for those cross countries and road races to start :)
Oceania/National Champs, Tasmania
Sunday, 11 March 2012
I was a bit nervous about coming across to Devonport, Tasmania for Oceania Champs this year, because I had heard some horror stories from the event last year. It was apparently stormy conditions, which forced the race to be made into a Duathlon (run, bike, run) and there were several issues with athletes doing the wrong amount of laps on the bike. Needless to say, it sounded like a nightmare, so I had my fingers and toes crossed that we would be luckier this time round! This obviously seemed to work because we were treated to a beautiful 20 degree weekend of sunshine and clear blue skies. You couldn’t have asked for more perfect racing conditions.
This was only my 4th Olympic Distance Triathlon as an U23 athlete, but I went into the race confident in my fitness and ability. The start of the race was a little different because it was high tide, so we had to be in waste-deep water, holding onto a metal barrier before the gun went off. We could choose our start postitions, so I lined up alongside Debbie Tanner, Nicky Samuels, Simone Ackermann and Rebecca Clarke. This proved to be a good move, and I settled into the swim bunch nicely. The course was 2 laps of 750m, with really long swim out to the far buoy, across 80m to the 2nd buoy, and a really long swim back to shore. On the second lap, I unfortunately lost contact with the front bunch so was then leading the chase pack. Debbie was riding solo in between our bunches!
Teresa Adam swam strongly to lead out of the water, and I came out of the swim about 30secs down on the front bunch so I was pleased with this solid swim. I had a speedy transition from swim to bike, and soon formed a bunch with Ashleigh Gentle (AUS), Debbie Tanner and a few other Kiwis and Ozzies. We knew that we had to work hard to maintain a close distance between us and the front bunch, because some of triathlon’s strongest cyclists were up there. Nicky Samuels, Teresa Adam, Erin Densham (AUS) and Emma Jackson (AUS) were pushing hard in the lead over the 40km, but our group managed to keep the same distance for the majority of the race. I made sure that I worked hard on the bike, and Ash Gentle took control of the bunch, so we had 4 of us that rotated around at the front. Our bunch was 8 strong, which can either help or hinder the pack, but I was happy that we rode smart and hard.
My second transition was also quite smooth and fast and we were off onto the 10km run. I think in hindsight I ran a little too hard over the first 2.5km, because I was trying to keep in touch with Debbie, and on the 2nd lap, Simone Ackermann and Natalie (AUS) passed me. I tried to stick with them, but my legs didn’t want to turn over any faster. They were flying!! I hung onto my position though, and ran hard on my own for the last 2 laps. That last 2.5km lap was painful, but I tried to focus on keeping good form, and I finished in 8th place overall Elite, coming 2nd in U23 Oceania Champs, and 2nd in U23 National Champs. Congrats to Simone for her win - she ran really well!
Debbie and Nicky also raced well, coming 1st and 2nd in the National Elite Champs, and 4th & 5th for Oceania Elite Champs. It was a good day for the Kiwis, with Mikayla Nielson winning the U19 race, with Maddie Dillon coming 4th Oceania & 2nd National. Sam Ward also won the U19 men, and Kris Gemmell came 2nd in the Elite Men. Other awesome performances were Tony Dodds, Tom Davison and Marty Van Barneveld who raced hard with good results.
Thanks to Triathlon Australia and Devonport, Tasmania for putting on a great event for us :) Next stop, Mooloolaba World Cup race in 2 weeks which will be my last race of the season!
Thanks for all the support!
Love Sophie :) x
Off to Oz
Wednesday, 7 March 2012
Seems like I’m making early morning blogging a bit of a habit recently, but it’s currently 5.30am and I’m at the Auckland International Airport getting ready to board the plane to Devonport, Australia. This weekend is the Oceania Triathlon Championships, which also doubles as our National Champs (due to a date clash with Wellington race). It is the race that will determine who gets the first spot in the Elite U23 race at World Champs later this year in Auckland.
I am confident that this will be a good trip, and the weather forecast is good - not too hot! So far everything seems to have been going to plan, with a smooth transition through customs and managing to dodge a big excess baggage fine by squeezing everything into my bike box and hand luggage. The only glitch was having to have my rucksack emptied because of some tins of tuna!! That tuna can be deadly... ;) Needless to say, they were deemed “low risk”.
I’ll continue to post updates and news bites if anything interesting happens, and of course I’ll be sharing photos. Watch this space :)
Love Sophie :) x
Monday, 20 February 2012
It’s not very often that I can’t get to sleep. I normally drift off as soon as my head touches the pillow... but it’s currently 3:20am and I’ve been tossing and turning all night. To be honest, I’m not even upset about it, because I only seem to get like this after I’ve had a really good race the day before. So I’ve given up on trying to sleep for a while, and I’ve taken the opportunity to write this blog entry!
Yesterday was the infamous Takapuna Super Sprint Contact Triathlon through the streets of Takapuna on Auckland’s North Shore. In the past, it has attracted international athletes such as Lisa Norden and Vicky Holland, and this year was no exception. I was pretty excited to hear that this year, Barbara Riveros would be lining up alongside top New Zealanders in Debbie Tanner and Nicky Samuels, and other international athletes, including Kate Roberts, were also on the start list. .
The afternoon was picture perfect, with the sun shining (despite threatening to rain in the afternoon) and the streets lined with spectators coming to soak up the atmosphere. I always love how we are announced from up in transition, and run down to the start in a long line as our names are called. I was definitely feeling the benefits of racing on home turf, because I was greeted by some very familiar sounding cheers when “Number 16 Sophie Corbidge” was announced!
Once the gun had sounded, it was a dolphin dives before we were into the swim, and I have to say that I was both shocked and appalled that as we were approaching the first buoy, I felt a girl on my left grab my foot and try to pull me back TWICE! I’m 99% sure it was one of the international athletes who had come over from Asia to race, and I felt like saying “sorry but we do NOT do that thing in Triathlon, and especially not in New Zealand”. I let the first time go, but decided on the 2nd time to settle it with a friendly yet strategic breaststroke kick in the side... as you can imagine, that had the desired affect!
Nevertheless, I swam strongly through the 500m swim, and came out in the front bunch along with about 8 of the other athletes. There is a steep climb in Takapuna, straight out of the water up to transition, and I used my run fitness to my advantage to ensure I passed a few girls and got into transition early. First to get away on the bike was Nicky Samuels, and I was 2nd out, chasing her down. Nicky is an incredible cyclist, and last year she broke away from the field and rode the whole 16km bike solo, and sure enough, that was her goal this time round too.
Debbie Tanner, Barbara Riveros and Simone Ackermann joined me on pursuit of Nicky, and we soon formed a large gap between us and the chasing groups behind us. Debbie and I worked hard to push the pace on the bike so that we could increase the gap behind us, and try to close the gap up to Nicky. The 10 laps went extremely fast, and with just 3 laps to go, Nicky had increased her lead to 45 seconds. It’s an extremely technical and fast bike course, and I felt really proud to be racing on my brand new Specialized Venge from the new Specialized Concept Store, Echelon Cyclery, on Barrys Pt Road. It felt fantastic around the bends and responded well to my accelerations out of the corners. It also got a few positive comments from other athletes and spectators which made me smile!
Coming in off the bike on the final lap, my legs were definitely burning, but our tight bunch of four got in and out of transition very quickly. It was hotting up by the time we were running, and I had my heart set on chasing Barbara and Debbie as they were a few metres down the road. I thrived from the support of the crowd, which included some of my close friends from school and uni, as well as my parents, coach and sponsors and ran hard to the finish line, coming in behind Debbie Tanner. I heard then that Barbara and Nicky had a sprint finish which finished as a dead heat for the first time ever!! Very cool. My friends were joking that I actually finished 3rd because there were two winners, but I was happy enough to claim 4th overall elite woman, and 1st U23 athlete. A very good day at the office.
Nothing beats that feeling of satisfaction as you cross the line as the winner, and I was smiling all the way down to the finish! The support was outstanding, and I was definitely feeling the love! Mum & Dad were especially excited to watch me race so well, and it felt good to know that the work I have been doing with my coach Peter Bennetts and friend Jack Ralston has been paying off. One of my most valuable sponsors from Coffee Systems, and his wife also made a special trip out to see the race, so I really was surrounded by support.
Next up is Oceania Champs (doubling as World Champs qualifier) in Devonport, Tasmania, where I will be racing hard to secure a spot in the U23 World Champs in Auckland in October.
Top 10 Results:
1. Barbara Riveros 49.23
1. Nicky Samuels 49.23
3. Debbie Tanner 49.47
4. Sophie Corbidge 50.21
5. Simone Ackermann 51.08
6. Mikayla Nielson 51.19
7. Kate Roberts 51.28
8. Maddie Dillon 52.39
9. Elise Salt 53.18
10. Laura Wood 53.37
Junior Mountain Bikers
The JAFAKIDS Junior MTB Academy focuses on developing mountain bike riders aged between 11-19 years, beginner or expert, boys and girls, within the greater Auckland region. Specifically, it’s about cross-country (XC) trail riding, learning to ride the natural obstacles you find on single track and getting fit to enjoy the kilometres of trail networks in our region. In doing so the focus is on fun, skills and fitness training. The JAFAKIDS are coached on a weekly basis throughout the year by Head Coach Sadie Parker-Wynyard and a crew of volunteer coaches.
There are three riding groups, each aimed at different development levels and an appropriate balance of fun, skills development and racing.
JAFAKIDS was originally set up under the Auckland MTB Club. In September 2010, it affiliated with the Department of Cycling.
Coastguard New Zealand
There are 69 Coastguard Units around the country. That's Coastguard in a community near you. This year (ended July 2010) Coastguard volunteers returned 6,560 people to safety.
Auckland Coastguard Incorporated (ACI) has a heritage that dates back to 1935 and is the longest serving unit in Coastguard Northern Region and the largest unit in the country with more than 200 volunteers dedicated to providing the boating public of Auckland with a swift and reliable Search & Rescue service. Auckland Coastguard exists to recruit, train and lead a team of volunteers to perform marine rescues to world's best practice.
We are based at the Auckland Marine Rescue Centre (AMRC) in Mechanics Bay, sharing the facilities with Coastguard Northern Region, Surf Lifesaving Northern Region, Maritime Police, and the Auckland Harbourmaster.
Coastguard Whangamata is one of 69 local units operating throughout New Zealand and of the 17 local units of Coastguard Eastern Region. Coastguard’s search and rescue vessels, aircraft and communications volunteers provide search and rescue for a large number of local communities.
Coastguard Whangamata currently has 75 active volunteers including 20 crew members, 5 skippers, 4 duty officers, 2 SAR controllers and 30 radio operators of which 8 are home based, 12 Committee and Administration. Coastguard Whangamata has a very close working relationship with Police, Surf Lifesaving Whangamata and St John Ambulance
The Rotary Foundation
Rotary is a world wide organisation founded over 100 years ago with 33,000 clubs in over 200 countries with a membership of 1.2 million. Rotary membership gives men and women an opportunity to forge new friendships and share the rewards of helping others through volunteer service.
The Rotary club meeting is a chance for members to socialize, network and plan service activities based on local needs. Rotary clubs often team up with other clubs in other countries to carry out international projects, enhancing members cross-cultural understanding.
The main objective of Rotary is service in the community, in the workplace, and throughout the world. Rotarians develop community service projects that address many of today's most critical issues, such as children at risk, poverty and hunger, the environment, illiteracy, and violence. They also support programs for youth, educational opportunities and international exchanges for students, teachers, and other professionals, and vocational and career development.