Team Nagi Coaching Newsletter – August 2019

Hi Guys,

It’s been another month of high drama on the racing circuit for our guys and girls. So much so I think Coach has developed another few grey hairs to add to his growing collection.

Imagine this scenario…

You are about to do your first Ironman (Copenhagen); you’ve invested an enormous amount of time, energy and money into it. To help you on this quest you buy a beautiful Canyon time trial bike to give you that extra bit of confidence that you can finish inside the bike cut off time. The legendary bike fitter Richard Melik builds the bike to you so it fits like a dream, every time you’ve been on it the relationship strengthens like two lovers who were meant to be together. Your nerves have been on red alert for weeks and the fear of a DNF or not finishing inside the cut off is at it’s highest even though your preparation has been first class. Race week arrives and the excitement starts to build, you can’t wait to just get on that plane and get out there. You check your baggage in, say goodbye to your beautiful bike stored in the latest all singing all dancing bike box, you are finally able to breath a sigh of relief.


You arrive in Copenhagen, the nightmare begins….the bike doesn’t show up. Gulp.

You try not to panic because this can and does happen, everyone reassures that the bike will arrive on a later flight or the following day. But each time you go back it hasn’t and they can’t locate your bike. 3 days later and the bike still hasn’t arrived and you find out it has gone on a whilstle-stop tour of Europe (thanks B.A).

After 3 days of anger, frustration and enough tears to fill a river you are both emotionally and physically spent. Luckily the day before a race you find someone that can lend you a bike, it doesn’t fit well and looks like it should have a basket with a bell on the front of it. The saddle could also double as razor blade.


Most importantly it’s a bike with wheels that move so there is now hope if you can only find the mental and physical strength to lift yourself on race day. You doubt whether this is possible, this wasn’t the way it was meant to be, why me? You constantly keep asking yourself, why you indeed.

But on race day you find something within yourself, something that you didn’t know was there, a strength and resilience that Coach told you was there all along. You rose on race morning like a phoenix from the ashes (or so Rod told me), you put the bad memories to one side and threw yourself feet first into to the challenge at hand with a huge smile on your face. Fortune favours the brave and brave you were.

This was your first Ironman experience. You were worried about finishing, you were worried about not being inside the 16 hour cut off, you finished in 14hours 10mins and had one of the best race experiences of your life.

I’m still not sure whether it was Coaches words or the sign below that drove you on?


Huge congratulations to you Connie Tram, doing an Ironman is never easy but you did it the hard way and will be immeasurably stronger for this experience.

As the legendary American Football Coach Bill Walsh once said:

“When you stand and overcome a significant setback, you’ll find an increasing inner confidence and self assurance that has been created by conquering defeat. Absorbing and overcoming this kind of punishment engenders a sober, steely toughness that results in a hardened sense of independence and personal belief that you can take on anything, survive and win”


Team Race News

Ironman Copenhagen (Denmark)

  • Connie Tram
  • Splits: 1:30:08 swim / 7:19:43 bike/ 5:04:33 run
  • Total Time: 14:10:06
  • 35-39 category
  • Next up: McDonalds



  • Phil Shields
  • Splits: 59:32 swim / 5:28:30 bike/ 3:45:28 run
  • Total Time: 10:25:27
  • 45-49 category
  • Next up: Several bottles of VB 
  • Huge congrats to the big man on one of the best first time Ironman performances I’ve seen, you nailed this race perfectly, it was a pacing dream. You also learned to discover the value of writing a good race plan along the way! 

Ironman Kalmar (Sweden) 

  • Elvira Stromback
  • Splits: 1:04:45 swim / 5:38:21 bike/ 4:23:23 run
  • Total Time: 11:16:35
  • 40-44 category
  • Next up: Ironman Western Australia
  • Huge congrats tough girl, so much to be proud of with this performance. Not only for your performance in the swim & on bike but more so how you coped with the run injury that plagued you going into this race. It was damage limitation but you never gave in and that says everything. 



  • Simon North
  • Splits: 1:26:33 swim / 6:17:36 bike/ 4:57:51 run
  • Total Time: 12:58:01
  • 60-64 category
  • Next up: Taking Coach out for lunch 
  • Huge congrats Simon on completing your 3rd Ironman with another terrific effort. Just reward for some great training consistency this year. 



Cotswold Classic Middle Distance 

  • Helen Read
  • Splits: 40:23 swim / 3:33:39 bike/ 2:59:47 run
  • Total Time: 7:21:55
  • 3rd / 65-69 category
  • Next up: Brighton & Hove Triathlon
  • Another gusty performance from H on the back of several weeks of injury & illness combined. That luck will change soon enough, the mist is already starting to clear. 

Sundowner Middle Distance 

  • JJ
  • Splits: 33:19 swim / 2:33:47 bike/ 1:53:16 run
  • Total Time: 5:02:58
  • 45-49 category
  • Next up: Weymouth 70.3 
  • A super swim, a solid bike and transitions that were like lightening. The run will come soon enough when the time is right, make no doubt about that. 


Dorney Olympic Triathlon 

  • Terry Rodham 
  • Splits: 31 swim / 1:07 bike/ 49 run
  • Total Time: 2:29
  • 45-49 category
  • Next up: Zell Am See 70.3 (Austria)
  • First race of the season ticked off for Tel, a really solid performance and the perfect build into Zell Am See. Great work. 

26km Zurich Marathon Swim 

  • Sami Robertson
  • Total time: 8:41
  • 10th place overall
  • Huge congrats to Sami for completing an absolutely outstanding swim in Switzerland recently. Swimming the length of Lake Zurich is a huge undertaking, we all know how much hard work and commitment that went into this. Bravo. 



Book Recommendation

Screen Shot 2019-09-03 at 10.15.41

A Boy in the Water by Tom Gregory

Winner of the William Hill 2018 Sports Book of the Year
Sunday Times Book of the Year
Telegraph Best Book of 2018

If ever a book deserved every accolade that comes its way it’s this one. This is a beautifully written book that will make you laugh, cry and inspire you at the same time. It’s also one of those books where you don’t want to give to much away because you want other people to discover the magic within it for themselves.

This is the the true story of a young boy who falls in love with open water swimming. What helps to fuel this fire is his amazing relationship with his enigmatic swim coach who sees something in him from a very early age. They then set out to conquer the swimming world together by attempting to break the World Record for the youngest swimmer to complete a solo channel crossing aged just 11.

This book is life-affirming in every sense of the word, it will stay with you for a very long time. Books like this are so rare and don’t come around very often. I can pay it no higher compliment.

Team Nagi Athlete Interview – Ellie Bishop


Name: Ellie Bishop

Age: 26

Star sign: Virgo

Years in triathlon: 5

Occupation: Commodities Trading Structurer

In another life you would have been a….

I almost decided to pursue a career in dance and musical theatre, but chose a more glamorous lifestyle of Maths instead… so I guess it would have to be something in the arts.

If not musical theatre, maybe interior design? I have unusually strong views about almost everything related to home design – latest themes include toilet brushes and bathroom bins. As a result, I can spend hours searching the Internet for such items (and will stop at nothing to find what I had in mind!)

It might have been good to put this trait to some use…

Who is your athletic alter ego ?

When I’m riding uphill (particularly when standing, which I often do), I sometimes imagine Matty White’s Aussie accent barking ‘Go on Yatesy’ at me… so I guess one of the Yates brothers.

Which one? Well – depends on their form! Back in July 2016 I was definitely an Adam, but of recent years, maybe I’m more of a Simon.

Favourite training session:

Honestly, I just LOVE doing sport, so I find this one hard to answer.

It would probably have to be a long, mountainous ride or run ‘for the soul’ in beautiful, empty scenery; maybe back where I grew up (the Peak District) or in the Alps.

Least favourite training session:

 As per my comment above, training is my release, so I can pretty much always find something to enjoy in a session.

Having said that, I have been known to be a bit of a ‘pool-swerver’ at times. It’s not because I don’t like swimming (because I generally do) but more because I like to train in an uninterrupted environment. I don’t know how many times I must have said ‘I hope the pool is quiet today’, and I get REALLY aggy when the pool is full of people who evidently struggle with basic swim etiquette… (cue, deep breath for Ellie)…

So, I guess my least favourite session would be a swimming set involving fast reps, in a busy pool.

Favourite training track:

I actually only use music on the turbo / watt bike since I much prefer to run without sound in my ears. I think it’s nice to be fully present and don’t find I need the distraction, even on very long runs.

My bike playlists are full of rogue choices, but they work, in an unconventional kind of way. ‘International love’ by Pitbull and Chris Brown always seems to make its way in there… it is a banger (even if the lyrics are lols).

Favourite book:

I’m a sucker for a good quality crime novel / thriller, but nothing will beat ‘1984’ by George Orwell. Amazing on so many levels and despite being written so long ago, so relevant to the society we live in today.

Favourite training venue/location:

Ever since I first visited Club La Santa (at the grand old age of 7) it’s been my spiritual home for sport. It’s also most-likely responsible for planting some Ironman seeds in my brain, long ago…

Lanzarote is just such a fabulous island where the elements and natural landscape rule the roost; how could you not like to train there?

Runners up include the Dark Peak Moors, where you experience a true feeling of vastness and solitude, and Lake Annecy, which is breathtakingly beautiful; particularly in late spring.

Favourite race experience:

In Triathlon, it has to be Ironman Wales 2018; my first full distance race. It was one of the best days of my life to date, although my legs would probably disagree…

It had been a really tough year for me (including a stomach bug 4 days before the race) but it was just so amazing to stand on that beach on race morning and hear the Welsh National Anthem resonate around Tenby bay. At that point, I knew I’d made it.

The welsh people were INCREDIBLE supporters (which was probably boosted by the fact I had temporary tattoos of the welsh flag on my calves to look like a local), and I was so lucky that my family and closest friends were there to support throughout.

Favourite mantra:

 Ooof, that’s a tricky one!

There are a lot of variations on a theme, but something along the lines of “if you want something, go out and get it because no one else is going to get it for you”. Blunt, but more often than not, true.

I’m definitely one of life’s do-ers and think that we have to take control of our own destiny, where possible. I’ve always been very independent, happy to take accountability for my own actions and determined, so I think it sums up my personality and my approach to life quite well.

I also like “if you don’t try, you don’t know” because I think we should be encouraged and empowered to try new things, rather than fear the consequences or potential ‘failures’ that might result. Something good will generally come out of anything.

Which 3 famous people would you like to have dinner with & why ?

Well, people always say never meet your heroes because you’ll be left disappointed… but they never say don’t meet your hunky crush… 😀

So to avoid disappointment, I’ll take my favourite flavours of the month; Richard Madden (aka PS Budd from ‘The Bodyguard’), Taron Egerton (because how a man can make Elton John look attractive I will never know) and, of course, ‘the ZEfron’ (hopefully obvious, but if not, Zac Effron).

I can visualise the evening now. I’d have Richard Madden recite the dictionary in his wonderful Scottish accent, whilst ZEfron and Taron would be taking it in turns to stand in the middle of the living room and sing/dance for me. The dream…

Training hours per week:

Julian 🙂 help!


Training and race goals for 2020:

My H2 race calendar is yet to be decided, but I plan to do Dubai 70.3 early next year in preparation for Lanzarote Ironman in May. As I’ve said, it’s a place that is so dear to me, so it was an obvious choice. I also have a habit to choose hard races, so  no divergence from the norm there!

My goals are always the same: to be healthy, happy, to improve and to enjoy. There will always be ups and downs along the way, but provided I can reflect back at the end of the year and say this has generally been the case, I will be satisfied.

New Team feature: When they were young…



Bruiser with a feminine side who wears a pair of speedos well (leopard skin mainly), can only be one man….take a bow Tony Peach. That hat & swim pants combo are truly magnificent, can we bring it back one day soon?


Suave with an air of sophistication even at a young age ….Edoardo Mercadente


Pretty boy with lovely long lashes in a cutesy knitted cardigan, you can see why he went onto a short career in male modelling. Can only be the lovely…Terry Rodham


This little boy obviously oozes great fashion sense even at this early age. The side parting, the fitted denim dungarees, the hand knitted Italian jumper…this kid was way ahead of his time. Say ciao Stefano Lolli.

Team Nagi out & about


‘Team Tramster’ at Ironman Copenhagen!


Step away from the cake jar Remi Fackeure!


Halfway through a 28km swim, The Roberston reinforcement support crew arrive to do the final shift!


All smiles celebrating post Ironman, thankfully it’s another 11 months to the next one! Lol