Claire Cashmore and Dave Ellis on their World Triathlon Champs medal successes
Last month, Claire Cashmore won her first World Triathlon Champs medal, taking 2nd behind Team GB teammate Lauren Steadman in the PTS5 Category. Claire now has 4 🥈in ITU races since May 2018 and we have a feeling we'll be seeing her on a top step soon.
Meanwhile, her boyfriend Dave Ellis retained his World Title in the PTVI Category! That was Dave's 2nd World Title & marks his 8th consecutive win in the ITU series. Talk about a hot streak.
Both Claire and Dave had PH in their bottles Down Under and when they got back from a well-earned few weeks off after the Championships, Brad caught up with them to get their thoughts on their achievements...
First off guys, congrats on amazing performances down in Australia! Coming back with a Gold and Silver between you has to be quite rewarding! How are you both feeling about your performances now you've had chance to reflect?
Dave: Thank you very much! I was really pleased to retain the World Title as I haven’t achieved this before and it's always tough as people are targeting you as the one to beat.
It was great to race with my guide Bucko (Mark Buckingham), he brings a real sense of confidence and experience and he's great to have within the team.
Normally triathlon is an individual sport, but for me it's a team event and I wouldn’t be able to compete without my guide, so it’s great that we worked well as a team and produced a good performance on the day.
Claire: It’s still not really sunk in, I went to the Worlds really hoping that I might make the podium, but I thought it would probably be Bronze at best, so to beat the Paralympic Champion and get the Silver was a big surprise!
I managed to get out of T1 first and was almost waiting for Grace Norman to catch me, but she didn’t. It’s given me a lot of confidence going forwards but I also have so many areas I need to improve, which is exciting...
How was the race venue in Australia? Could you describe the course and what made it challenging or fun?
Claire: The sharks! Knowing there are sharks in that water, I wasn’t wanting to hang around in there too long...
The wind was pretty tough on the bike and - as the race is non-drafting - it meant getting into an aero position really essential (something I still need to work on). The bike was not very technical, which is what I love as you can just grind it out.
I personally found the run really hot and unfortunately couldn’t push on as much as I wanted to close the gap between myself and first position.
Overall though it was a great course and one I really enjoyed racing.
Dave: The course was not that favourable to the swimmers, which meant we didn’t make up as much time as we normally would against the fully blind B1 category, who get a 3 minute head start. This meant that my competitors and I were a lot closer going on to the bike.
The bike was a power course which probably didn’t suit me that well as Bucko and I are smaller guys, this left us over a minute behind and in 6th place going on to the run, which made things very challenging but exciting at the same time.
Thankfully we were able to produce our best run of the season and make up the gap, but there was definitely a few anxious moments.
How does this race effect the both of you in terms of being on TeamGB and slots for the 2020 Paralympics?
Claire: It'll push me up the rankings which is great, only the top 8 in the rankings get automatic starts at each World Series race, which means I won’t have to worry about getting invites and I can be more selective with my race schedule next season.
In terms of selection for 2020 that doesn’t start until next year.
Dave: Now that my category has been confirmed for Tokyo it means I'll continue to receive support from UKSport and British Triathlon. Another benefit is that they can finally invest in and fully support guides, which is exciting for the future.
Is it helpful having a partner who's striving for a similar sporting goal? We all know elite sport can require a lot of 'selfish' choices, how do you balance that?
Dave: 100%! We are both striving for the same goal, so we are living the same dream.
When Claire was a swimmer and I was a triathlete it was difficult as we had such different regimes and seasons and that made doing things together much more challenging.
We're very lucky that we get to travel, race and share so many incredible memories together. On the flip side it can be tough around race time as the pressure rises and at times we will take our anxiety out on each other!
Claire: I just keep a constant supply of cereal bars for the many ‘hangry’ moments which happen regularly when training load is high. This is probably what causes 90% of our arguments ;-)
Do you ever train together and, if so, what kind of sessions work for you? Are there any that don't work?
Claire: I try to keep up but it doesn’t really work. We generally train at the same time, but just do different things. I think it's quite nice that we train separately otherwise we would spend all of our time in each other’s pockets...
Dave: I'm looking forward to the day that Claire feels confident enough to ride the front of the tandem with me as this could be great fun! I do try to pace Claire in run sessions when I can.
With you both being in the sport, what do you do for down time?
Claire: It’s really important that we get away from triathlon - otherwise we eat, sleep and train the sport and that’s not always healthy.
We're both huge foodies and love going out to nice restaurants. We love to cook and to try out new recipes. Travelling is also another passion but this can only been done at certain times of the season. The theatre and cinema is also something we enjoy doing on a day off.
Does your off-season training differ much from in-season?
Dave: A little bit. Race season is much busier, with travel and competition and therefore your training routine can get a bit out of sync. The off season is quieter and that results in much more consistent training. It also gives us a bit more time to see friends and family, which is really important to maintain balance.
Any plans for a warm weather training camp to escape the rubbish British winter weather?
Claire: Fingers crossed! We both love training in the warmth. Training in the cold/wet definitely makes you tougher but it’s not that enjoyable!
It’s really essential to look after yourself well over the winter to try and avoid illness and injury. I get a real benefit from getting in some vitamin D and it has a huge impact on my mood, so the more time spent away from the grey days the better.
Dave: Training in a new environment can be slightly challenging at times as you don't know the routes and not knowing the surface can make things difficult with my lack of vision.
Finding guides that are able to take time off work and come away hasn’t always been feasible which has meant that I still had to do 90% of my work on the turbo.
This in itself is tough, but also meant I didn’t get as much benefit from being in a warmer climate. With more investment in guiding hopefully this will change going forward...
Now that the season is over, what do the next few months look like for the both of you?
Claire: We have just got back from a great trip in Australia. We rented a campervan and travelled up the East Coast which was great fun and full of lots of adventures.
Now it’s time to get back into a routine, lose the podge and get fit! We both race for Northumbria University so have the BUCS swimming competition in November.
Once we're back to a bit of fitness it will also be great to do some cross country.