I came here for a number of reasons. I needed a change. A change of scenery, of people, of weather … but I also had a gap year to fill so thought why not go to Australia and pursue my dream of becoming a professional triathlete. Having gained my Professional U23 licence the other week I’d say its been pretty successful so far. I joined the Eclipse Performance Centre, headed up by Stuart Durham, and I will admit that was probably the best decision of my life. The people there are just amazing. Within a few weeks I felt like I’d been a part of the squad from the beginning. If you're ever in Perth come find us and you won't regret it. I owe it to them for making me feel so at home.
I know haven’t blogged for a while and I apologise, but I’m sure you've been following my social media and seen that I've been training hard and racing a bit as we are deep into the tri season over here in sunny WA. The last two weekends have no doubt been the biggest two weekends of my life with my first two Continental Cups in Glenelg, South Australia and Devonport, Tasmania.
First up was Glenelg. Many of us lined up to take the horn, which failed the first time round, but once underway it was amazing. Racing against world class athletes that regularly race at WTS level, as well as Olympians, was an experience to remember. The swim was choppy, the bike technical and the run hot. I just missed the last big pack only by a few seconds which was so frustrating, but I ended up in a little group of 3/4 and we did out best to keep with the pace. Despite my Di2 failing on me the night before the race and having to ride on my coaches bike, I was pretty pleased with the ride and how I handled the stress. Jumping off the bike onto the run I didn't feel great. I’d done a lot of work on that bike and suffered finishing in 33rd. With numerous DNF’s and lapping this ended up being a placing quite far down the field. However, I was pleased with the performance. A little more work on the swim and things are looking very promising! Anyway this race was the first at Conti Cup level for me so it was 99% about the experience and getting a feel for this level of racing.
The most recent race which I have just returned from was the Oceania Sprint Cup and Sprint Triathlon Championships in Devonport. This was the second race at Conti Cup level for me and the field was looking strong. A field of only 26 lined up, but that was a field of 25 other super strong athletes! I definitely had to work hard for a good result in this one. The days leading up to the race were far from ideal, many hours of travelling and noisy neighbours in our hotel meant we were feeling a bit fatigued. However, the food in the local area was nice and my bike was in working order so there were positives. We were called upon the starting line one by one and I chose my favourite position on the far right. The horn went and we ran in, well I tripped as I was running into the ocean, but got up and kept running. As we got close to the first turn of two buoys, the swell became intense. I've never swum in water like that and I started to get dropped from the pack. I really struggled, feeling almost sea sick trying to find my stroke and sighting the buoys. Somehow I made it back to the beach, though a bit off the pace and also in no mans land. I saw two guys up ahead and chased hard to catch them. I'd been told about ‘the hill’ on this course ... it wasn't a hill it was a wall! Only 200m long or so but at a 20% gradient it was hard. I managed to catch them going up the wall, and as the race progressed we caught another athlete making us a group of 4. Arriving in transition I felt surprisingly fresh. A few 100m into the run I made a break and kicked away from the rest of the group. At the 1km mark one of the athletes chased me down and went past at some pace, but I was not going to let him go without a fight. Working together in the headwind and throughout the run we chased and chased athletes ahead of us and put more time into the other athletes we had cycled with. In the final 500m of the run he kicked and I felt almost broken but I had one last surge left which I saved for the final straight and was pretty stoked when I got past him. A run time of 16:40 ... I was very pleased with that. I finished 16th in the U23’s and 19th overall in the Elite Men. I was happy with that result and returned to Perth the next day looking forward to getting stuck back into training and ready for the next race. I’m not sure what this next race will be, but it'll be towards the end of March. Keep an eye out on my social media for regular updates like what race this might be and where! Follow them by clicking the links below!
Twitter - @sammileham
Instagram - @sammileham
Facebook - Sam Mileham
All of this would not be possible without the amazing support of my sponsors Pedal Potential, Sam Farmer, Zone 3 and Vorgee. I’m also really excited to be joining the Rocktape Australia team. I’ve used Rocktape for the last year to combat and prevent my bursitis. It has been crucial to my recovery and prevention and I’m looking forward to working with them!
Keep your eyes peeled for another blog near the end of March. They should be a bit more regular now!
All the best.