A chat with Liz Blatchford

Liz Blatchford took a convincing win at the recent 5i50 Liverpool Triathlon and was quite happy with her performance there. She also raced the Rev3 Quassy but still has aspirations to make the British Olympic team. Blatchford had a few words with slowtwitch.

Slowtwitch: Thanks for the chat Liz.

Liz: No worries

ST: Well first off congrats on the 5i50 win in Liverpool.

Liz: Thanks, it has been a while since I won anything apart from the meat tray at the local pub!

ST: What do you have to do to win a meat tray in a pub?

Liz: Buy a beer and a ticket for the raffle, cross your fingers and bingo! Then it is BBQ time for that weekend with a heap of friends.

ST: Is there any result you are specifically proud of?

Liz: I am proud of my 2 World Cup wins and my 2 British National titles.

ST: You mentioned you felt well in all three legs of the race in Liverpool. Were you actually able to slow down a bit during the run or were you going full bore despite having the big lead?

Liz: Yeah I had one of those rare days where swim, bike and run felt good. It would be nice to feel this way in some of my bigger, more important races but doesn’t always seem so simple to get right! A week earlier in Kitzbuhel WCS I had a shocker of a race as I was still in a hole from coming down from altitude and racing Rev3 Quassy Half. It is amazing the difference a week can make! So to answer your question yes I was able to cruise a bit on the run in Liverpool, which is a rare treat.

ST: Did it to some degree feel like you were racing at home? After all you were not born that far away from Liverpool.

Liz: Well I do have an affinity to the area but more so from visiting my late Grandpa who lived his whole life close by, rather than actually living there. We left Manchester and the UK when I was only 2 years old so no recollection of that. It was only my second time to Liverpool itself but good memories of that as I took my first British title there in 2004 on a lot of the same course.

ST: But you grew up in Australia and spend quite a bit of time there.

Liz: Yes as I said we moved out to Aus when I was 2. I grew up in beautiful Perth in the West before moving East to the Gold Coast as my triathlon career was taking off. I now spend 6 months over the Aussie summer on the Gold Coast with my husband Glen and dog Buttons.

ST: What kind of dog is Buttons?

Liz: A cute one! She is a Jack Russell cross miniature fox terrier lap dog who loves a pat and the beach. Umm, she looks a little scared here. Normally happier!

ST: So is it all non-drafting events moving forward for you or is London 2012 still on your mind?

Liz: At present I have a foot in both camps. I have never made an Olympic Team and still have aspirations there but I am also really enjoying the non drafting stuff. The new 5i50 series is a great opportunity and something I feel I am well suited to.

ST: What do you think it would take to make the British team for the Olympics?

Liz: The way the selection policy is written they are looking at proven medal contenders and then picking a team (of possible domestiques) to devote their Olympic race to help the medal contenders. So if you're a top 10 or 20 athlete but potentially 2nd or 3rd Brit you may be asked to work for a team mate or not be chosen at all. Call me old school but for me triathlon is and always will be an individual sport. Plus I do not feel the best athletes need a team to help them win. I personally believe the 3 best athletes from each country should go. It is a frustrating situation as I am currently not getting podiums in WCS therefore would not be chosen in my own right. Yet it is the Olympic Games and something I have always wanted to be part of. So I either need to step up and get some podiums at WCS level or consider taking a position on the team as a "team player".

ST: How do you enjoy the longer races such as the Rev3 Quassy?

Liz: I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with them. I love the fact that they are potentially more pure – ie if you are fit then you can usually find a way to get that out of yourself and have a good race. Dropping a chain or getting beaten up in the swim will not affect your race quite like it can in Olympic and especially ITU. I have not done the bike miles to be truly competitive over the distance yet (and here comes the hate..!) so I got to about 25 miles and was thinking "What have I got myself into…? I am not even half way!” haha. But it was Ok, it was hard to know what to expect of myself – whether I’d last the distance and hence not knowing how to pace.

ST: Anything longer in mind at all?

Liz: In mind only at the moment. I guess that was why I did Quassy, to see how I liked it and how I would go. I may consider another half later in the year. And I have always watched Hawaii and thought “one day.”

ST: Talk to us about your sponsors.

Liz: I have a corporate sponsor “Chocolate Graphics” who have financially helped me out over the past few years. The owner is a friend on the Gold Coast. They are a global company involved with making custom chocolates.

And I’m supported by Blue Bikes though the UK distributors.

ST: Have you always liked the color pink?

Liz: The pink comes from Chocolate Graphics. There have been a few of us ITU girls sponsored by Chocolate Graphics over the past few years and we have always raced in pink where we can.

ST: So you are telling us only your sponsor Chocolate Graphics likes pink?

Liz: I do also like the pink suits I race in, but yes it did start from my sponsor. It is cool, it brings a feminine touch to a sometimes not so feminine scene!

ST: Anything else we should know?

Liz: I love my life, this sport and the opportunities it brings. I have really enjoyed my experiences racing and traveling. I have seen both sides – the ITU/ Federation based racing and the Non Drafting/Age Group oriented US racing, each with their own appeals. My hubby has been documenting it via race videos for most of my races this year. Check them out on my youtube channel http://www.youtube.com/user/lizblatchford?feature=mhee

Below is one of those videos from the race in Liverpool.

To learn more about Liz check out: lizblatchford.com