Couch to 70.3 - jelly legs to iron!

Elle Klatsch rider

Yep, that's me (on the right). I’m Elle, a 32 year old Agile Transformation Consultant (fancy name for what is essentially like a football coach but for FTSE100 businesses) living in West Yorkshire. 

You’re probably wondering how I ended up in this situation….

I’m pretty awful at most sports. Most recently, I’ve been absolutely failing at cycling – but who cares! I love it! The last few years have been spent at the rear end of Womens 4th cat crit and road races. But why stop there?

I find that somehow, I’m the best and happiest version of me when I’m right on the far end of ‘not in my comfort zone’ and have a knack of saying YES, when possibly I should say at the very least ‘I’ll think about it...’

Elle Klatsch racing
So here I am, 18 weeks out from my first ever triathlon.

No biggie – its just an Ironman 70.3.

It all started with my best friend Amy (there’s a common theme here btw, as this is also how I started racing and set up a race team!) She’s been absolutely smashing it at triathlon for the last year and I love seeing her succeed. It’s awesome!

So when she flippantly says "You should try it", I think: YES YES YES! And immediately log on to the Ironman website to pay an extortionate amount of money for an Ironman 70.3 entry, including a tee-shirt and some pro photos (because I’m sure as shit only doing this once, right?)

The next minute I'm booking flights and bike carriage to Denmark. One 30-minute conversation, and all of a sudden I’m competing in Elsinore Ironman 70.3 in June 2023.

A couple of problems come to mind the next morning after my initial impulsive purchase. Like, I cant swim, and erm.. I really hate running – like unbelieveably so. And I've been trying cycling for 4 years and I’m really still mostly hopeless at that.

So how the hell am I going to do this?

I of course started youtubeing ‘How to swim front crawl’ and googling local swimming pools. Okay, I thought cycling was expensive, but 3 sports... I didn’t think this through, did I?

So here's the plan:

  1. Get a plan (Like literally! Find a coaching plan)
  2. Buy some shit (I’m gonna need some swimming clothes and I guess a wetsuit?? And maybe some running shoes and like a tri suit thing?)
  3. Join a tri club (misery loves company right?)
  4. Learn to swim
  5. Ride my bike a bit
  6. Try to run 


My only objective when it comes to race day is NOT TO DIE.

I think setting realistic goals is super important so, yeah that’s it. I have 8.5 hours to complete it, and I’d love to do just that and im going to do everything within my power to do just that, but with that said if I don’t and I still put in my all these next few weeks, I won’t hate myself if I don’t finish but I will do it again until I can.

Things I’m looking forward to:

-  Hanging out in a new country (I’ve been to lots! But never Denmark) with Amy for a few days

- Learning to swim and trying open water swimming (and working with Paria on something to wear!)

- The challenge, to failing lots and picking myself up again to go again.

- Having stronger arms than my current cyclist T-rex arms.

- Getting fitter, feeling stronger and feeling like I can do hard things.

- How great my ass will look at the end of this.

Things I’m not looking forward to:

- Running (let alone 21km). How the hell do you tri people enjoy this?

- Feeling tired all the time

- Feeling like I need to pee 15 time before I line up at the start of the race

- Feeling incapable and doubting myself.

- Having cold boobs after swimming whilst I cycle 90km.

I’m laughing at myself right now. HOW do I always manage to live so far off the edge of comfort zone?

I’m going to need some recommendations for fuelling – I’m GUESSING I don’t eat while swimming? I’m assuming I need to have things on my person, but where do you fit it all? And when do you put it on? Like surely, I don’t swim with gels? Who knows?

Wait, is it closed road or do I need to think about cars/boats? Do I wear a sports bra while swimming? How do you tame your breasts in the water if not?

How on earth do I fit 7 hours of training in a week? Whilst working away too?

Where can I open water swim safely (and ideally legally) in West Yorkshire/North peaks? How do I see in the water? (it’s a bay swim)

What on earth is a transition and how do I do it?

If you aren’t a 3 sport type person, maybe forward this on to a maniac that does? Or perhaps have a go with me? Failing with friends is always so much better!

Answers on a postcard please - or find me on Instagram @cycleelle

FREE Rides for International Women's Day...

PARIA are offering 50 free places (worth £30pp) for women to enter the annual Paperboy event in Leeds on Saturday 20th May. You don't need to ride fast, and you can buddy up with other riders for support on the day!

Use the code INTWOMEN23 at checkout

First come first served, and when they're gone, they're gone!

If you use this code but you don't actually identify as a woman, your place will of course be cancelled