A season as part of #SidsSquad

Earlier in the year we met Laetitia, our first winner and member of #SidsSquad.  Now that race season is over, we wanted to hear how the year had gone & what it was like being part of the team.  This is what she had to say:

 

Being a part of #SidsSquad meant I was given the opportunity to represent their Sponsor’s brands. At first it just looks like a crazy load of amazing kit coming your way, but its actually far more than just the cool swag. You get given a responsibility to represent these brands to your fullest potential, I found it made me much more accountable for making sure I was not only training to the best of my ability but keeping a healthy lifestyle, being true and honest, a person that these brands would want to have representing them. 

 

I was seriously excited to get stuck into Sid’s training plan. I don’t honesty know what I was expecting but ‘woohzer’ these sessions were good. It was amazing how quickly Sid could tell what I liked and didn’t…where I needing pushing etc. I won’t lie, it wasn’t all pretty!

 

Photo: Two26 Photography

When a session is so hard you cant hit the numbers it can be pretty soul destroying… but these sessions don’t only build physical strength but mental resilience. I think the mental side of the training is probably the biggest part I would take away from this year. It has been amazing to see the changes I have made over the past 8 months, the training has made me far stronger, my swimming is getting stronger and faster, I have been really challenged on the bike; being so new to cycling it has been so cool to see how fast I am improving and Sid has been invaluable with technique, especially with cornering. I originally found the run training the hardest but I am learning to love these harder sessions. 

 

Sid has been such an epic mentor, she truly understands the body and when you should be pushing and when you simply need, to stop and rest. The belief and confidence that she has helped me build is something that will not only go with me into my triathlon adventures but into everyday life and I’m so grateful for this. I still can’t believe I was the lucky girl who got this opportunity.

 

The kit that I have been given has helped such a huge amount, it has given me the biggest step up in the sport which otherwise, I never would have had. The Parcours wheels have given me so many extra watts and they look so unreal. Not only has the kit literally helped me, but turning up to races knowing you have the best kit and look the part has really helped me feel a lot more confident this year. I hope that I have represented Sid’s sponsors well and they continue to be part of Sid's Squad and my future adventures.

 

At the start of the year I had a meeting with Sid and Dov, owner of Parcours (who gave the final push into starting #SidsSquad) about what I wanted to get out of this year, what my goals where and just a bit about me. We discussed a bunch of local races that I was going to do and then the main goal, Ironman Ireland, with the hope to qualify for the world champs.  Plans then changed [due to covid] and I ended up racing Mallorca IM. In the lead up to the race I had an old injury flare up. In hindsight, I actually think this was a blessing is disguise. This was a great learning-curve, as not having being coached before I wasn’t really sure what I was meant to do… so after communicating the issue to Sid far later than I should have, Sid got me straight into a rehab programme that was so interesting. She hooked me up with her physio in Girona (Spain) to help with exercises but getting back to actually ‘running’, was a long way off. Sid created a plan which instead of ‘real’ running involved Xtrainer running and pool running! I wasn’t really sure what I thought of this but when your coach is Laura Siddall you trust her madness because she knows her stuff!

 

Long story short, nearly 2 months without running I was pain free  - it was just 2 weeks before Ironman Mallorca and I went on to have simply the best day of my life. I swam the second fastest swim of the day, had a solid bike leg that felt comfortable and was actually super fun; then to finish off with a marathon that I couldn’t imagine myself running 2 weeks before, with the biggest smile on my face, winning my age group and qualifying for Kona! Dreams really do come true.

 

Without sounding corny, this truly changed everything for me… keep your eyes peeled for something exciting coming, maybe its your turn….

 

 

Of course, none of this would have been possible without a lot of time, dedication and input from Sid herself.  This is what she had to say about a year of working with Laetitia:

 

SidSquad was something I’d been wanting to set up for a while, but hadn’t known how or where to start. Thanks to Parcours who offered a set of wheels for me to give away in 2021, in anyway I liked. This was the kick, or nudge I needed and then more of my partners came on board. I’m passionate about sport, women in sport, the development of sport, and well… everything really, and wanted to create a programme that would support female triathletes. Whether just supporting them to pursue a hobby, be fit and active, mentally, physically healthy and strong, or whether it was someone wanting to chase Olympic Games, or Professional status. I was blown away with the response we got when Sid Squad launched. It was overwhelming but it also showed me that there was a need and great opportunity here, and not just in the UK, but further afield, as I had many people reach out from around the world, wanting to apply or ask if there were similar programmes in their countries and regions.

 

The final decision to pick the lucky athlete was so hard. There were so many good and worthy applications, I really wanted to take everyone on, which also showed me that there was and is a need for something bigger to support these athletes. However there was just something that made Laetitia stand out. I can’t pin point it exactly but I just loved her approach, energy, enthusiasm and attitude. Something clearly resonated with me.

 

I can say that I feel I’m the lucky one to have the opportunity to work with Laetitia. She is so positive and enthused about life and her outlook, it’s been infectious to get to know her. But I’ve been impressed at how she’s tackled the year. I can imagine perhaps a lot of pressure, or suddenly feeling responsible with brands and partners supplying her with amazing kit and products, but she’s taken it all on board, with a smile and air of ease. I know at times she’s been nervous, unsure, anxious, but she still has this amazing outlook, and isn’t afraid to ask the questions, which I respect. She’s also worked really hard with the training, and that must have been a huge step up in the sessions and training plan we put together.

 

To say I was a little bit excited and proud when she won her Age Group at Ironman Mallorca is an understatement. It hadn’t been a smooth run in, with an foot injury which limited her running and could have completely derailed her decision to race. But she stuck to the rehab and plan, and managed her day so well, I was stoked with the experience she had and the day she put together. I’m excited for 2022 and supporting and working with her through her goals next year. I’m also incredibly grateful to Parcours for their huge support and help with getting the programme off the ground, and to all my other partners who kindly came on board. That means a lot.