Neuff Red has a team of pro-triathletes, top coaches and others, but most triathletes are normal people enjoying swim-bike-run: The Age-Groupers. These athletes hold down a day job, manage their family life and still manage to dedicate time for training and racing. This series is a celebration of the age-groupers!
We have had the absolute pleasure of talking with Claire Adam about her triathlon journey. Claire is a TeamGB Age Group athlete, multiple podium finisher and a Race Hub team member. @hotflushtriathlete
How did you get into triathlon?
My triathlon journey started back in 2008 in Thailand as a complete novice and non swimmer. I almost drowned in the rough sea, rode my heavy mountain bike and still managed to come in 2nd lady! Back in the UK I joined my local tri club and took part in a couple of sprints but decided that it wasn’t for me. I wasn’t a swimmer and didn’t particularly like cycling.
So what happened that brought you here?
Fast forward to 2017 and I was looking for a challenge, deciding that the Outlaw Half Nottingham would be the one. I was embarrassed to tell everyone, but started training with a friend and found that I loved cycling (still a rubbish swimmer). I finished in 7 hours and loved every second of the race probably because I didn’t push myself! That was it, I was hooked!
The following year I had various injuries but I was back in 2018 with 3 x 70.3s planned and the full Outlaw. Training went well but on race day at Outlaw I had 6 punctures – yes SIX punctures - ended up with a new tyre and limped home 30 mins outside the cut off so I couldn’t start the run. We never did find out what was wrong with my tyre. I soon got over my disappointment and completed Holkham Half where I qualified for TeamGB and Sundowner 70.3 where I got my first age group podium.
How have you got on doing during lockdown?
2019 saw me complete my first full Ironman event in Copenhagen which I loved, my first outing as a TeamGB age group athlete in Transylvania and a few more age group Podiums. COVID 19 has stopped all racing this year but I have been keeping up with my training and doing a number of virtual races and plenty of Zwift racing which has been a highlight of the summer – racing with my Race Hub team mates every week. I still can’t swim very fast but I’m strong on the bike to make up for it.
Other than the swim, what challenges have you overcome?
I became menopausal around the age of 52 and was prescribed HRT which I took for around a year, helping me get over some of the initial issues (mood swings, insomnia etc) that many women suffer from, but I decided to come off it as I felt I could cope. Being HRT free coincided with what I would call ‘serious’ training – ie over 8 hours a week and I believe having this focus and keeping fit has really helped me get through the menopause. Since then I feel that I have been lucky and currently I seem to only suffer the occasional hot flush although I am generally hot all the time!
What do you love best about triathlon?
I don’t consider myself to be especially athletic – I’m not going to break any records – but I love encouraging other women to give it a go, although I realise that completing an Ironman may seem a little extreme for some! Working at Race Hub, which is currently operating as an open water swim venue, I am in contact with many people, some venturing into open water for the first time, some just missing the pool and the feeling of floating in water whereas others are Olympic hopefuls and world champions. I hope that in my role there I can encourage everyone whatever their goal might be.
What does the future hold?
I’ll be 58 at the beginning of next year and with many events rolled over, I’m looking forward to an exciting 2021 as an age group triathlete.