Q & A: Bex Rimmington (Merlin Cycles)

A Bronze at the World Paracycling champs (tandem), bronze in the 10 champs and 5th on a stage of the Tour of Reservoir, Bex Rimmington has been a big achiever in cycling before focusing on triathlon with some cycle races along the way ;-) 

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Q & A: Bex Rimmington (Merlin Cycles)

How long have you been doing triathalon?
Bex: I had a brief spell in triathlon way back in 2005 but made the decision to switch to cycling after a year. My return in 2017 was only supposed to have been a one year project but after being part of the first year Zwift Triathlon Academy, I really enjoyed it so decided to stay on with it for a little while longer.

On the bike, what have been your best results over the years before you went to triathalon?
Bex: I would say Bronze in the National 10-mile TT & Circuit Championships and also coming 5th on the final stage of the Tour of the Reservoir when it was snowing and freezing as well and I ended up in a 3-up sprint for third against Dani Rowe and Ciara Horne! Winning Bronze at the World Paracycling Road Race championships as a tandem pilot in 2009 as well was a highlight.

What made you make the switch from one discipline to training for three in the one sport (cycling/swimming/running)
Bex: Unfortunately I had a crash at a stage race in the Czech Republic when I was racing for Team WNT. I ended up breaking my opposite wrist and ankle and with the help of my physio’s at Stansfield Sports Injury Clinic, we put together a cross training rehab program to help me get back to full health and fitness.

The wrist proved a bit more problematic than expected, and by the new year I was still struggling to weight bear still so I knew racing my bike wasn’t going to be an option. I love racing and always wanted to do an Ironman so decided to enter Ironman UK in Bolton in July, which I ended up winning the overall age-group female category and came 4th out of the pro athletes which booked me a ticket for World Championships in Kona.

Is the bike part of the triathlon the strongest discipline for you?
Bex: I think so, although I originally came from a swimming background so that’s pretty close.

How much training do you give specifically to the bike?
Bex: It’s definitely a balancing act now with the other disciplines and being smart with the bike training I’m doing, so it’s probably 3-4 times a week.

What have been the highlights for you in 2019?
Bex: I raced at the 70.3 World Championships in Nice in September coming 13th in my age group. It was a great course with the bike section taking on the roads that the Tour de France are racing on next year so I was in my element. Then, I would also say the final race of the year Challenge Peguera in Mallorca. Again, the bike course had a real mixture with a good climb and some time trialling a well.

Would it be fair to say you race less but travel far longer distances to events?
Bex: I think it’s very comparable to bike racing. When I was racing my bike, I was in a different location every weekend – whereas now it’s not every weekend but the cost of the events aren’t cheap so it all balances out.

How many times a year would you race a triathlon?
Bex: In 2018, I did two Ironman races but I love to race so decided to drop down a distance to 70.3, so it was five half distances this year.

How has Merlin helped you in 2019 with your sport?
Bex: I’m really lucky with where I work at Merlin as they’ve been so supportive right from the beginning. They’ve sponsored me with a Merlin Nitro SL road bike and Castelli team kit this year. I guess one of the perks of working in the bike trade as well is getting to product test new items as well so you get to know and understand the products that you’re selling and working with.

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Tell us about the cycle leg of a triathlon – is it a time trial?
Bex: The middle and long distance races that I’ve done this year are very time trial orientated, however it is a lot more tactical than what you realise. If you come out of the water first, then it can be a full on TT where as those who are mid-pack tend to form packs so even though they are 12 metres apart, there are definitely some drafting benefits.

Compared to a cycle race, how much more does a triathlon take out of you – ie, is the recovery process much longer
Bex: I think when I was doing the Ironman distance, I didn’t realise how much it takes out of you, especially when it’s your first one and your used to racing 3-4 hours and not 10-hours! The half distances certainly seem to be a lot better so I had three races in six-weeks which was certainly manageable. I guess the more you do, the more your body adapts to the demands of the sport.

Do you need a back up crew for a triathlon or can an individual compete alone – it sounds very demanding if so.
Bex: I’d definitely say triathlon is a team effort even though it’s an individual sport. I was really lucky that my parents and Simon (Wilson) came out to Nice this year to watch me race but then I was set the challenge of being able to do these races on my own – so I headed off to Mallorca for the last race of the season to give it a go.

Do you still dable in bike races from time to time
Bex: Absolutely – I still love a bike race. I’m tending to stick to time trials these days and can sometimes be found doing the odd race on Zwift as well.

Highlights for the year were?
Bex: Winning my age group at Weymouth 70.3 & Challenge Peguera, and also a couple of time trial course records as well.

Finally, was 2019 a success based on targets at the start of the year?
Bex: I think so. It’s been a fairly solid year – I can be a very tough critic but I’m still learning the art of putting together all three disciplines but definitely looking forward to next year and trying to build on the results.

 

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