Team Intrinsic Review of the Year 2018
We join Team Intrinsic’s Matthew Cox and Chris Roberts, MD of Intrinsic Facilities Engineering, as they take stock of another successful year of racing and plan their 2019 competition diary.
The Lemur Loop 12-hour ultra was a first for you and the team. What are your event highlights?
Matt: Running the last lap of the Lemur Loop 12-hour ultra as a team will stay with me for a long time. All six of us encouraging one another, chatting rubbish and taking the mickey for the final 10km was a truly special moment.
Another highlight would have to be the lap at sunset – the course was beautiful and the sunset that evening was very special … in spite of the prospect of a further five hours running!
Chris: I’d kept a low profile going in to the Lemur Loop having lent moral and training support to an ironman ‘virgin’ by completing the Barcelona Ironman alongside them. I’ve tackled a few endurance events but never as a team on this scale, so for me the banter and camaraderie of our Team Intrinsic ‘all-stars’ made the Lemur Loop a sociable and lively end-of-year race.
2018 has been Team Intrinsic’s busiest racing season yet. Can you share some of your favourite memories?
Matt: Lots! Its been an awesome year. Racing Breca Swimrun Buttermere with Chris in the Lake District was brilliant with just incredible views all day. Coming from 3rd place on the run to take the win at the Mumbles Middle Distance was also pretty special. It’s the first mass-start triathlon I’ve won so taking the tape at the finish line felt amazing! saving the best for last, achieving a major Team Intrinsic goal of winning the King Sturge Cup was the icing on the cake at another superbly organised JLL Property Triathlon.
Chris: I’m with Matt, Team Intrinsic has enjoyed an incredible year. Winning the King Sturge Cup at the JLL Property Tri was an unexpected reward for the team’s efforts. The accomplishment reflects the form that the team and Intrinsic Facilities Engineering (IFE) has been in as we continue to punch above our weight in the property sector. There’s also something pretty special always about competing at the Eastbourne Triathlon, our ‘hometown’ event.
What A-races do you have planned for 2019?
Matt: We’ve talked about heading up to Scotland to tackle the Ben Nevis Middle Distance Triathlon. I’m going to commit to a marathon from the outset next year rather then decide a month before as is my usual custom – I’m going for a big result at the Beachy Head Marathon in October. Apart from that, I’ll be keeping it short and fast for the first half of the season whilst I finish my university course. Then I’ll be focussed on middle distance for the second half of the season, including a possible cheeky swim-run event and ideally something special towards the back end of the year again.
Chris: Early season competition will inevitably build towards defending Team Intrinsic’s standing at the JLL Property Triathlon in June. And like Matt, I can’t imagine a year without a “cheeky” swim-run event. Oh yes, and there will inevitably be some epic just-because-we-can event that Matt signs us all up for again!
What are your top tips for recovery after such a hectic season?
Matt: It’s crucial to make time for mental and physical recovery after the effort of a busy season. Personally, I like to end the season by taking a couple of weeks off from any triathlon-linked activities. I’ll follow this with a month of unstructured exercise basically just doing whatever I want, whenever I want. This will likely involve some of my favourite pursuits: trail running, mountain biking, walking and hopefully some surfing or paddle boarding.
I’m a big fan of unstructured training. I got into triathlon and endurance sports because I like being able to go out and do awesome things, but it can be very easy to get bogged down by goals, races and training schedules. So although I’m pretty good at doing things all year round its always important for me to make time dedicated to simply getting out and enjoying the beautiful places our country has to offer.
What’s your secret to beating the winter training blues?
Matt: Winter Blues can be hard yeah, which is why having a good break is so important. It means that when I come back to training I’ll usually be chomping at the bit to go again. I already fancy going for a run after just a week off! You can also fall into the trap of repetitive training in the winter: turbo, indoor pool, run around town under street-lights, repeat, so I think its really important to try and mix it up. Make sure you get out and do something different when you can: things like training with mates, evening trail runs or rides with your headlights on, etc. It’s also helpful if you can to introduce another sport into your training – I play 5-a-side football once a week all year round, and try to play squash over the winter.
Chris: I look forward to the R’n’R at the end of a competitive season, but removing the structure of training can also be quite a mental challenge. To be honest, company business for IFE has filled the void so effortlessly it’s difficult to imagine how I ever found time to train for anything this year! Nevertheless, no matter how busy the professional diary, it’s important for me to make time to enjoy the social side of exercise with friends: just the other day I was privileged to run a short distance alongside Brighton ‘endurance woman’ Sam Alvarez as she raised money for Crisis with a 60-mile, 12 hour night-time run. Puts everything into perspective.
How do you juggle training and competition around work in a demanding business sector?
Matt: This is the hardest aspect for me as I’m studying for an Environmental Management & Technology BSC alongside my full-time job. This means finding time for an additional 15-20 hours a week study. It does mean that when I’m juggling all of these demands with family life and friends my training during the winter is significantly reduced. I try to address this by doing things like run with the dog, swim when my wife goes to the gym, run with my wife, etc. But mainly I give myself an hour block each weekday to get out and do something straight after work. If I miss it because I’m busy, then I simply miss it and try not to worry too much or beat myself up about it. I’m not much of a TV viewer or a gamer so my screen time is pretty low, which frees up a surprising amount of time!
Chris: Focus, ambition and effective time-management have got IFE where the company is today. That and teamwork: it’s the cornerstone for everything we have achieved, both professionally in the property sector and competitively in sport. IFE has expanded its team, its portfolio and moved into larger offices this year and is set for an exciting 2019. Bring it on!
What’s on your kit wish list for Father Christmas?
Matt: I run, ride and swim in some of the country’s most beautiful locations so it would be cool to be able to record some of these as I go – a GoPro 5 Session Camera would be top of my kit list.
My thighs after the Mumbles Middle Distance Triathlon were not pretty, so I’m looking for a new Fizik or Fabric TT saddle.
But most of all, I’m looking forward to my time off over Christmas to catch up with as many friends and family as possible, whilst getting out on some beautiful trails!
Chris: You can’t beat quality kit to put a smile on a triathlete’s face. But a decent red wine wouldn’t go amiss either.