Hayden Wilde is fresh from a phenomenal step up and success in the first few rounds of the 2018 Super League Series...and reflects on how this is setting him up for future success.
Throughout the past month I’ve been given the opportunity of a life time racing against the best in the world in a new triathlon format taking the world by storm called Super League Triathlon (SLT).
This innovative series features arguably the best 50 short course triathletes in the world selected using a qualification system that rewards the best performances and offers new talent the chance to compete at the highest level. The Super Leagues’ Champions are the ultimate swimmers, bikers and runners on the planet. Race formats are condensed, unpredictable and challenging, requiring athletes to race hard, think smart and constantly fight for the win to score valuable points. The Super League races are hosted in some of the world’s most picturesque locations, with course designed with the spectator experience in mind. Multiple laps create an abundance of spectator options - it gets closer to the action than ever before (whether you are live at the event or watching on broadcast channels). With five different events within the event – it is a true test of speed and skill. (For more details see below). The winner is the first athlete across the finish line upon completion of the entire race sequence.
For me, as an athlete, this was not only an opportunity to race something new, exciting and fun against the best in the world but an also an opportunity to learn and develop my knowledge of Triathlon.
SLT is not just about racing, but also getting amongst the local community, and attending athlete workshops for social media help, team work, challenges and mentality. For me I was able to gain considerable learnings from all these opportunities. Having only being in the sport for a few years I made sure I learnt as much as I could to improve my knowledge.
As a result of a good ITU season, racing in Europe for the first time and racing WC for the first time, I was able secure a spot in the world U23 team where I place 9th. As it wasn’t the result I was looking for, I set my eyes on Super League. The race experience was next level, I never thought in a million years I would be competitive against the best in the world. All I was looking for when I arrived onto the Super League scene was to push for a top 10 finish - but after 3 rounds; I’ve found myself sitting in 5th place overall with a few stage wins too!
After finishing the Super League, I was extremely satisfied with my season finishing on a high. Racing the different formats and these super sprints have really helped my explosive power and endurance speed which will be extremely useful for next season with the Mixed Team relay and a significant number of sprint distance races next year on the World Triathlon Series circuit. Mentally it has put me in a new mind set coming into next year a lot more confident but more accepted into ITU and SLT racing. I can’t wait to take on the many challenges I have for next year front on and do everything I can to perform the best I can to better my ranking Ultimately I am aiming to get the chance to represent New Zealand at the 2020 Olympic Games - the 2019 season is the beginning of the selection and time to deliver!
So what's involved in the Super League stages?
The Super League Triathlon is like no other triathlon, with five different ways to execute the ordinary triathlon:
- Triple mix: Throwing the traditional swim-bike-run sequence out the window the Triple Mix shuffles the disciplines over three stages. Tactics for survival are fierce and athletes are eliminated from the race if they fall more than 90 seconds behind. Mistakes in this format are costly and the fight to stay in the race will be the focus. Nothing will be left on the course! MASTER OF: VERSATILITY
- Eliminator: tests the resilience, stamina and velocity of the athletes in a pressure-cooker format where field position proves key over timing. Athletes must finish high enough to not be eliminated whilst managing their effort against fatigue. Three stages of traditional swim-bike-run where athletes need to hold their ground and watch their backs in each stage to be eventually crowned as the most tenacious and tough athlete on the Super League Circuit.
- Equalizer: MASTER OF: TENACITY favouring those with an aptitude for individual efforts Stage 1 consists of an all-out solo TT, but in which discipline? The times taken here will set the scene and provide gaps for Stage 2. Athletes who post good individual times in Stage 1 will be fighting hard to stay away from a charging main field over the SWIM-BIKE-RUN-SWIM-BIKE-RUN of Stage 2. Fast pack swimmers, bikers and runners will be battling to come through the field while those with a time advantage give their all to stay out front. The Equalizer see’s the playing field levelled and racing in its purest form!
- Sprint Enduro: MASTER OF: PERSISTENCY Split into two stages, stage one is a SPRINT swim-bike-run format to determine the TOP 5 athletes from 2 heats selected by lucky draw to automatically qualify for Stage 2. The next 2 fastest athletes from the heats will also go through to Stage 2, giving the top 12 athletes a chance to race it out in a shortened Enduro style format of Swim-Bike-Run x2. Tactics for survival are fierce because if an athlete falls more than 90 seconds behind at the timing checkpoint in any discipline then they will immediately be removed. A true test of survival!
- Enduro: MASTER OF: TACTICAL RACING considered the most brutal format of all. Requiring endurance and tactics, Enduro is a non-stop burst of swim-bike-run-swim-bike-run-swim-bike-run without any break. The added element of speed is tied into the race demands of The Enduro; with the two slowest athletes at the end of each discipline being eliminated immediately