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Mandy McLane Ready To Turn Pro

The Boulder, Colo.-based speech language pathologist will make her pro debut this season.

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The Boulder, Colo.-based speech language pathologist will make her pro debut this season.

McLane dominated her 2010 season. Photo: Brightroom
McLane dominated her 2010 season. Photo: Brightroom

McLane was recently honored as the USAT Age Grouper of the Year, a distinction she earned after a stellar 2010 season, which included winning the women’s 30-34 title at the Ironman World Championship 70.3, winning the USA Triathlon Age Group Nationals and a finish as the top elite amateur finisher at the Miami International Triathlon and the St. Anthony’s Triathlon.

Here the former collegiate pole vaulter tells Triathlete.com about how she got started in the sport and has been able to achieve such a high level of success so quickly.

Triathlete.com: How and when did you get your start in triathlon?

McLane: I initially thought about triathlon because I was bored with just running post-college. I wasn’t fulfilling my need to compete by just running. I had a swimming and track background. I was a swimmer for 8 years as a child. I was also fortunate enough to earn a track and field scholarship at Clemson University, where I excelled as a pole vaulter. Having experience with two of the three disciplines of triathlon, it only made sense to give triathlon a try. I started racing triathlon in Oct. 2008. I competed in two races that year. I realized I had some natural ability and decided to get serious with it; I hired Joanna Zeiger as my coach for 2009 and beyond.

Triathlete.com: What’s your proudest achievement in the sport?

McLane: My proudest achievement in the sport thus far is becoming a national and world champion in 2010, which then resulted in the honor of 2010 Athlete of the Year. The USAT National title and Athlete of the Year honors represents team success. I am lucky to have a strong team of people that support me every step of the way. I am so grateful for the support and expertise of my coach, friends and family. Without them, I couldn’t have accomplished everything I did during the 2010 race season.

Triathlete.com: What is your biggest strength as a triathlete—swim, bike or run?

McLane: My biggest strength as a triathlete? That’s a tough one. I feel like I am pretty well rounded. But if I had to choose one, I would probably say the bike. Ironic, I know, especially since that was the last of the three disciplines I learned. I think I will ultimately end up being a better runner though. After I have a few more years of distance running under my belt, I feel as though it might become my strong point.

Triathlete.com: What’s your go-to piece of nutrition during a race?

McLane: My go-to piece of nutrition during a race is the Right Stuff for electrolyte needs, First Endurance drink or shot for calories on the bike, and a mashed up banana in a flask with The Right Stuff for electrolytes and calories on the run.

Triathlete.com: Do you have a favorite race and race distance?

McLane: I am still figuring out my favorite race and race distance. Being that I am so new at this, I really haven’t been exposed to a large percentage of race venues. However, anything that is flat is great for me. Being from Florida, us flatlanders have to learn to climb hills. I’m hoping that will change now that I have moved to Boulder, Colo. I’m beginning to learn to love climbing on the bike and run. Based on the races I have competed in, I would have to say, St. Anthony’s is a great race venue for Olympic distance and Eagleman for half ironman distance. I originally started out really liking the Olympic distance, but now that I have more experience, I feel as though I may be better built for the half ironman. This year will probably be a big determining year.

Triathlete.com: Are you self-coached or do you work with a coach?

McLane: I began working with Joanna Zeiger in 2009, my first full race season. I continued to work with Joanna throughout all of 2010. She has played a key role in my success as a triathlete. 2011 is going to be a big year for me, a year of many new experiences and changes–racing professionally, new coaching, moving to Boulder and getting married. I’m excited to see how it all unfolds.

Triathlete.com: What tri gear can you not live and race without?

McLane: The tri gear I can’t live or race without: My Specialized bike, Profile Design hardware, 2XU compression and apparel, Smith Optics sunglasses, the Right Stuff (electrolytes), and First Endurance nutrition.

Triathlete.com: Any advice for age-groupers looking to take their training and racing to the next level?

McLane: The advice for age-groupers wanting to take their racing to the next level: Focus on consistency and systematic progression. It’s also very important to find a good coach or advisor.

Triathlete.com: Do you plan to go pro?

McLane: 2011 will be my rookie year as a pro. It’s time to step it up a notch and race with the best of the best.