Kate on the up after Oz trip | SASCOC - SASCOC

Kate on the up after Oz trip

After finishing 32nd at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, Kate Roberts decided she needed to change something in her preparation so that come the day when she decides she will no longer compete in the triathlon, she at least gave it her best shot to be the best she could possibly be.

‘I realized that if I was going to improve I needed to make some changes to my training. After discussions with my coach Libby Burrel we thought it best that I change my training environment. I needed to train with other people and not on my own anymore.’

Burrel, ITU Development Officer, suggested that Kate move to the Gold Coast in Australia ÔÇô approximately an hour from Brisbane ÔÇô and train with Darren Smith. A glance at who is in the squad with Smith is answer enough why Kate decided to join him. Lisa Norden, Daniella Ryf and Jenna Shoemaker were the athletes she joined. Norden had five top 10 placings in World Cup competition in 2008,┬á Ryf finished seventh in Beijing.

It was not easy for Kate to get to Australia, it is an expensive undertaking. Fortunately her sponsors, who are Australia based, came to the rescue. ‘They were wonderfulÔÇØ, says Kate. ÔÇ£Without Chocolate Graphics and Red Bull, there was no way I was going to be heading Down Under. So I am extremely grateful to them.’

Kate has decided that 2009 is the year in which she will make it, or break it and with that in mind she packed her bags in December 2008 for the Gold Coast. She recently returned to South Africa but heads off to Davos in Switzerland in May to rejoin her training partners and prepare for the World Cup and European Season.

Kate had three races in Australia, the Gold Coast OTF Triathlon Oceania Continental Championships where she finished sixth. She had a DNF in Mooloolaba and an eighth in Plymouth. ‘My chain broke on the bike ride in Mooloolaba and I came down hard. I needed stitches in my knee. I was also hoping for a top five in Plymouth, but eighth was ok. I am improving all the time. My biggest area that I need to work on is the bike, that’s where I lose the girls.’

Kate is not joking when she say she has improved. Upon arrival in Australia in December, she clocked between 7min30 and 7min40 for a 2km time trial run. Now she is down to 7:05/7:10. That is a huge improvement and would knock off 1min40 on a 10km run. Certainly worth a few placings.

The move to Australia was not that much of an adaptation for Kate. ‘The lifestyle is really similar to Durban, climate is similar and of course lots of surfing. Also, much like in South Africa, the Australians are a Caf├® (read coffee) Society. And coffee shops were a regular outing for us. The people were really friendly and I actually never found it too difficult to adapt to the lifestyle over there.’

The training environment clearly also agreed with 25 year-old Kate who recently finished her BCom in Human Resources.

‘The conditions were really great. Australia is a powerhouse of triathlon so it was the perfect place to go. We would regularly bump into the likes of Emma Snowsill (Olympic, World and Commonwealth Champion), Emma Moffat (third Olympics 2008), Brad Kahlefeld (16th Beijing ÔÇô a poor race by his standards) and Courtney Atkinson (11th Beijing).’

For now Kate is focused on improving and making a bit of money on whilst competing. At the end of 2009 she will reassess her position and then make her decision from there to pursue a career as a pro athlete or head off into the working environment.