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After 13 years in Missoula, Montana and four years under the coaching guidance of Matt Dixon of purplepatch Fitness, multiple 70.3 and Ironman champion Linsey Corbin is settling into a new house in her hometown of Bend, Oregon, and has signed on with a new coach, Jesse Kropelnicki of Boston-based QT2 Systems.
“After Kona, I was evaluating my performances from the year (and Kona) and looking ahead to where I want to be,” says Corbin, who turns 33 next month. “I don’t think I have struck my potential as an athlete. I felt I reached a bit of a plateau in my training and racing. I wanted some fresh ideas, new challenges and new motivations. I think I am headed towards my best years as an elite athlete and I felt that making a coaching change to get the most out of myself would be a smart choice.”
In addition to Corbin, Kropelnicki’s 15-member pro athlete squad includes Caitlin Snow, Pedro Gomes, Jessie Donavan and Jennie Hansen. “I’ve known Linsey on the racing circuit for a long time,” says Kropelnicki, who admits he’d often ask ‘What do we have to do to beat Linsey today?’ in coaching some of her competitors in the same race. “A couple weeks after Kona, Linsey reached out and we talked about her potential limiters that maybe hadn’t been addressed. She was looking to add some detail to her program—I’m generally known for my quantitative/numbers focus, and we have very specific objectives on the macro and micro levels, for every workout. I’m also very comprehensive with restorative techniques, whether it be juicing, nap time or massage. I also have a very deep nutrition background. She’d seen the results I produced with the other athletes I coached and like what she saw.”
Corbin acknowledges that 2013 did see some mental breakthroughs that accompanied the challenges of dealing with persistent injury: “I struggled with on-and-off injury the whole year and had to learn to prepare for races under not ideal circumstances,” she says. “Prior to [last year], I believed the only way you could nail a race was if you nailed your preparation perfectly. I learned to truly believe the statement ‘There’s more than one way to skin a cat.’ What I will take with me moving forward is a focus on doing a 100 percent job of preparation with what’s available to me at that moment in time and not wasting time worrying about what’s not available.”
Looking ahead to 2014, Corbin says small tweaks and less forced downtime will be instrumental to her success. “I’d like to see a bit more consistency with my training year in and year out. I think in order to have an upward trajectory you have to always be slowly chipping away. So a bit shorter off-season and less time off due to injury will make me a happy camper. And as always, I will be looking to improve across all three: swim, bike and run.”
Her renewed commitment to strength work and injury prevention is part of the reason why she landed back in Bend. “Montana brings a lot to the table (amazing scenery, quiet roads, peacefulness, simple way of life, strong sense of community), but it also left me wondering if my career could excel if I was around a few more training partners and elite athletes, had daily access to healthcare and physio, and had new motivation from new training routes,” she says. “I grew up in Bend and have been coming here for training camps off and on throughout my career. The past two years we have spent the fall in Bend preparing for Kona and I could really see myself living here. After Kona, the pieces fell into place perfectly and here we are!”
As for her ‘Montana Made’ moniker? It still rings true. “I am still Montana Made,” she recently wrote on her blog. “It’s where I rode my first road bike; it’s where I learned how to flipturn in the pool; it’s where I learned the tough, gritty, enduring work ethic required to succeed in Ironman. I competed in my first triathlon (a sprint distance in Kalispell) in Montana; it’s where I joined the University of Montana Tri Team and we collected a slew of titles; it’s where I learned about Ironman; it’s where I got my cowboy hat tradition (Team Stampede). None of these great qualities or stories will change with a new training base.”
Linsey Corbin’s 2014 (rough) racing schedule
Ironman Los Cabos – March 30
Ironman 70.3 St. George (U.S. Championship) – May 3
Ironman 70.3 Hawaii – May 31
Ironman Austria – June 29
Ironman World Championship – October 11
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