There was sadly to be no live World Triathlon Yokohama action at the weekend, but the stars came out on TriathlonLIVE to revisit some of the very best action from the city that has been a mainstay on the circuit for more than a decade.
It was a who’s who of Yokohama podium power, with some of the most dominant athletes of this flat and fast course offering their unique insights on the racing. Spain’s Mario Mola, Portugal’s João Silva, USA’s Current World Champion Katie Zaferes and teammate Summer Rappaport, New Zealand’s Andrea Hewitt, legend of Japanese triathlon Ai Ueda and Spain’s Carolina Routier fielding the questions.
The coverage took in eight years of races, with extended highlights from 2012 onwards, offering plenty of opportunities to get the inside track on how the course and racing itself had developed over the years.
MM - Hello everyone! Olá Joao! Hope everyone is doing ok. I look forward to joining this special race reLIVE of WTS Yokohama, and hopefully answer viewer questions if you have any!
JS - Hi, I am João Silva, looking forward to joining this special race reLIVE of WTS Yokohama, reflect on the races and answer questions - Have a special feeling about this race:-D Great memories!
JS – It’s great to go back to places where I did well as it gives you some more confidence. I really like the challenge of returning to places where it was not that good and make it right! And I really enjoy making new memories in new race sites. I just love to race:-D
In 2012, João beat another Spaniard who had enjoyed great success in Yokohama, the great Javier Gomez, to gold.
JS - I was super happy to win that day, and knowing that he was in the race made it even more special because, let’s be honest, he is one of the best ever.
MM - It’s always a good thing to be able to battle great athletes like Alistair or Javi, as it often means you’re having a good race. And you know it’s never going to be easy to finish in front!
JS - Yokohama fans are so committed. It does not matter what the weather conditions are they are there to support us! However, percentage-wise I believe every single person in Bermuda show up to push for the athletes!
MM - In my opinion, apart from the top 8-10 best swimmers, for many of us positions (out of the water) can vary quite a lot just because of a bad start or getting stuck around the buoys. I’ve done more or less the same during the last years (in terms of preparation) with completely different results.
There were also some great insights into the life of triathletes as they travel the world in competition
MM - We try to adapt to the new time zone when we jump on the plane. We travel a minimum 4 or 5 days before the event. And finally, we just ask divinities or anyone who is hearing to make sure we are not going to wake up every hour at night…
Then it was the turn of Ai Ueda and Carole Routier to offer their thoughts as they watched back the highlights of WTS Yokohama 2012-2015, followed by Katie Zaferes, Summer Rappaport and Andrea Hewitt taking us up to 2019. The specifics of the course again came up, starting with the swim.
CR - Water temperature is often at the limit of wetsuit allowance, so we’ve had both in the past. The water is usually choppy, which I like! I normally prefer one lap swims
AU - The swim course was changed from counterclockwise to clockwise from 2015. The distance to the first buoy became longer.
The bike section of the course also drew plenty of comments, the rain causing a few incidents over the years, including Katie herself who revealed the challenge of getting back up after a crash.
AU - Natalie fell down at that corner right in front of me, and I couldn’t avoid her. Because it began to rain, the road surface got very slippery. There were many chatter bar at that corner and positioning in a bike pack was very important.
KZ - Well first off it’s a challenge! One way is to not let the crash define me or be a reflection of my skills. I also make sure to work to be better and more uncomfortable. After a crash one of the first things I do is make sure I get back on the bike. My husband Tommy helps me a lot with the skills component and we will do a lot of practicing in parking lots and he lets me follow his wheel. Even on a ride like the basic one we did today, he’ll look back after the technical sections and give me a thumbs up if he thinks I did well. In addition, I talk to a sports psychologist. This has helped a lot with learning how to deal with discomfort on the bike.
There was also time to offer some valuable advice to those on lockdown and looking for ways to approach the lack of training opportunities.
KZ - Try and be aware of what helps you on a day to day basis. For me I realize I am much more motivated when I get started early in the day. I’ve really enjoyed exploring especially on the bike. It also has helped included family members with scheduling. Once I get out the door I’ve been good! But for me training does look a lot different than if we were racing.
SR - I think that right now, it’s important to 1) focus on what you can do, not what you can’t do and 2) find ways to make training fun. For me personally, some of the tougher days from a triathlon standpoint were spent trying without luck to find places to swim or trying to guess when X would be possible again. I’ve made a switch the past few weeks to trying to mix things up - like trying a new run trail at least once a week and that’s helped put me in a fresher mindset.
AH - Hi, I know the race calendar has been affected and non-existent at the moment. But training/fitness goals can still be set and achieved. A weekly goal could be to keep consistency in your training which will keep you fit, healthy and happy.
You can follow the conversations and watch back this and hundreds of classic World Triathlon races over the past 30 years on TriathlonLIVE.tv