Doing It All — Pro Triathlete Rach McBride on How to Race and Thrive at Triathlon, Gravel, and Mountain Biking

How do you reach the podium in not one sport, but three—and all in the same season? We chat with McBride and their coach, Mateo Mercur, to find out more.

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Photo courtesy PTO

The days when athletes stayed in their lanes seem to be behind us. It’s increasingly common to see Tour riders take on randonneuring and triathletes mix it up in long gravel races. Besides being a top professional who’s won some of the biggest races around, including the recent Ironman 70.3 Boulder, Rach McBride is also helping to lead the charge as an advocate for non-binary sport.

McBride, who uses they/them pronouns, could have made a career as a successful triathlete, but that wasn’t enough. This season, they’re also racing elite level gravel and mountain bike races, including the Life Time Grand Prix Series.

What is extraordinary is that most athletes will tell you that training for Ironman races alone is a daunting task. Mixing in gravel and mountain bike racing seems like a huge stretch—but it’s one that is bringing an extra dimension of fun, adventure, and enjoyment to McBride’s training and racing—and that’s clearly paying dividends. Designing a training program that can deliver an athlete to so many different types of start lines is obviously a big ask, so in this episode we talk not just with McBride, but also their coach, Mateo Mercur, about how he’s getting the maximum bang for McBride’s training buck.   

Mercur explains how he’s given every workout a clear purpose, whether that’s doing interval work on the time trial bike on a trainer to minimizing the risk of injury from running or mountain bike riding. Listen in to find out how Mercur and McBride have excelled at making training as efficient and effective as possible. Their teamwork has allowed McBride to jump from the Leadville Stage Race, to 70.3 Boulder, and back to Leadville for the 100-mile mountain bike race—all in three weeks—and all with brilliant form and results.

So, bust out your running shoes, time trial bike, swim cap, gravel bike, and mountain bike, and if you still have any energy left after that, let’s make you fast!

References

Barbosa, L. P., Sousa, C. V., Sales, M. M., Olher, R. dos R., Aguiar, S. S., Santos, P. A., … Knechtle, B. (2019). Celebrating 40 Years of Ironman: How the Champions Perform. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16(6), 1019. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16061019 

Etxebarria, N., Mujika, I., & Pyne, D. B. (2019). Training and Competition Readiness in Triathlon. Sports, 7(5), 101. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.3390/sports7050101 

Harper, J., Lima, G., Kolliari-Turner, A., Malinsky, F. R., Wang, G., Martinez-Patino, M. J., … Pitsiladis, Y. P. (2018). The Fluidity of Gender and Implications for the Biology of Inclusion for Transgender and Intersex Athletes. Current Sports Medicine Reports, 17(12), 467–472. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1249/jsr.0000000000000543 

Knechtle, B., Knechtle, R., Stiefel, M., Zingg, M. A., Rosemann, T., & Rüst, C. A. (2015). Variables that influence Ironman triathlon performance – what changed in the last 35 years? Open Access Journal of Sports Medicine, 6, 277–290. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.2147/oajsm.s85310 

Pigozzi, F., Bigard, X., Steinacker, J., Wolfarth, B., Badtieva, V., Schneider, C., … Pitsiladis, Y. P. (2022). Joint position statement of the International Federation of Sports Medicine (FIMS) and European Federation of Sports Medicine Associations (EFSMA) on the IOC framework on fairness, inclusion and non-discrimination based on gender identity and sex variations. BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine, 8(1), e001273. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjsem-2021-001273 

Episode Transcript

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