Professional triathlete Taylor Reid participated in his second race of the season on Sunday, April 8, in Galveston, Texas. Reid, 27, has been racing professionally since 2015. Reid made a name for himself on the half circuit with good results in 2015, including his first win at Silverman 70.3. He seemed to suffer from a sophomore slump in 2016, but started 2017 in an explosive way by winning his first race of the season in Puerto Rico.
The first half of 2017 represented some ups and downs for Reid. He began with a win, then had a poor finish in the Oceanside 70.3, followed by a fifth-place finish in the Olympic-length St. Anthony’s Triathlon. He followed that up with a second-place finish in Victoria, BC, where he had claimed first place the year before. He then returned to Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, where he again challenged Lionel Sanders for the top spot, finishing second to the reigning course champion.
After Mont-Tremblant, Reid’s season took a turn for the worse. He had a misstep in his only European adventure on the 2017 calendar, the Vittoria-Gastiez Triathlon. He returned to Canada following a fourth place finish in a race he’d hoped to perform better in, in order to train and focus. The Steelhead 70.3 in Michigan was one of Reid’s only DNF’s to date, due to a bout of illness prior to the race. Following that frustrating experience, Reid suffered from a nagging knee injury, which hampered his performance at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The lingering knee issue kept him out of the Cozumel 70.3. He returned late in the season with a fifth place finish in Austin, Texas. His last race of the season was Los Cabos, in which he finished in X place.
Continuing Frustrations on the Course
Reid had hoped to open his 2018 season with a solid performance and finish in the Campeche 70.3. Knowing the field would be deep in this Mexican race, Reid still decided to try his luck and test his training. The week before the race, he reported he felt quite confident and ready. Indeed, he hoped to shake off lingering doubts that had followed him since mid-2017. While his late season performance at Austin suggested he was recovering from his injury, it didn’t represent a comeback. Los Cabos presented the triathlete with more frustration.
The 2018 season opened in a similar way: with more frustration on the course. Reid swam well and appeared to be doing quite well on the bike course. He rode his way up into fourth place from seventh. Part of the way through the bike, however, Reid began to fade. He fell off the pace and began to move backwards through the pack.
Reid has gained a reputation as a threat during the run portion of the race, so there was hope he would recover as the race transitioned into his strongest discipline. That wasn’t to be: Reid continued to fall behind, eventually finishing in tenth place.
Second Verse, Same as the First
With three weeks between his season opener in Campeche and his next race in Galveston, Texas, Reid knew he needed to up the ante on his training. He arrived back in Tucson shortly after the race and picked training up almost immediately.
The Texas 70.3 initially looked like it could be Reid’s comeback race. He started further back in the field than in Campeche, but a solid swim put him in contention for a top-five finish early on in the race. Reid rode well and held fourth place for most of the race. A jumble in Transition 2 saw him fall back to sixth, but only momentarily. He quickly regained fourth. His pace initially seemed as though he could begin closing the gap between himself and third place.
The field in Texas was quite deep, however, and it’s never wise to write off one’s competition. Reid knew he would be fighting for every position, and Australian Paul Matthews quickly proved him correct. Matthews overtook him to claim fourth, as Reid fell back into fifth position. American Matt Hanson was hot on his heels, as was former squadmate and fellow Canadian Trevor Wurtele. Reid lost positions to both competitors as he continued to fall off the pace and move backwards through the top ten. Argentinian Raul Tejada, who had also bested Reid at Campeche three weeks before, again pulled ahead of the Canadian.
Reid fell back to tenth place, and in the final miles of the run, he was overtaken by an additional two competitors. He ultimately finished twelfth.
The Season of Change
After the 2017 season, Reid began to make changes to better align his personal and professional life. Early in 2017, he had moved from Caledon, ON, to Guelph, ON. While Guelph was familiar to him, it also represented a large learning curve in terms of training. Reid had to familiarize himself with bike routes and running trails in the area, including where to go to find an area suited to his workout.
While Guelph has offered many advantages, including access to the University of Guelph’s swimming and track facilities, Reid is still adjusting to the new training location in 2018. To further assist his adjustment, he made the decision to switch coaches after the 2017 ended.
There have been many positives about this change, including the way Reid’s swimming and cycling have evolved in the past few months. Of course, as any athlete knows, changing coaches is not a transition that happens overnight. Both coach and athlete have to adjust to new regimens, new communication styles, and new needs and demands. In short, it’s a process, often one that takes months of working together quite closely.
The change also impacted Reid’s winter training plans. For the past few seasons, Reid has spent most of the long, cold Canadian winter training near San Diego, California, as facilitated by his coaching situation. Changing coaches in December 2017 meant Reid had to search for new training grounds on fairly short notice. As a result, Reid delayed his departure and spent most of January and early February doing indoor training at home in Guelph. He departed for Tucson, Arizona, in early February, which gave him about a month of training prior to his first race.
Searching for Results
Reid had hoped Texas would show him to be back in the form he showed early in the 2017 season. Despite the initial outlook, it wasn’t to be. The depth of the field was most certainly a factor. The course, which is largely flat and windy, didn’t play to Reid’s strengths either. Of course, Reid is also aware he has work to do in order to effectively compete with the best of the best. He flew back to Tucson after the race with training on his mind.
After reviewing his times, Reid felt he made a solid effort in Galveston. His swim time and bike splits reported a solid effort, which Reid agreed with on his own assessment of his performance. The problem, it seemed, lay within the run. While Reid indicated his times were generally good, the most major issue was the depth of competition and the ability of other competitors to dig deeper on that cold April morning in Galveston.
Despite turning in what he felt was at least a solid effort, Reid is by no means content or remaining complacent about the results. Reid has shown himself to be a contender for top-five and podium finishes over the course of the last few seasons. In short, he knows he can do better, and he has the drive to do so. While Galveston has left him empty-handed in his quest for results, it’s only reinforced his determination and drive. Reid knows that if he wants to be better, he’ll need to dig deeper and train more effectively. As the level of competition continues to rise in every race and every season, Reid must rise to the occasion.
After careful thought and consideration, Reid chose his next race. He’ll be making his first return appearance of the season at the St. Anthony’s Triathlon in Clearwater, Florida, on April 29th. Reid finished in the top five there last year, and he hopes returning to a familiar course will help him restore his confidence as he continues looking for success in his 2018 season.
Until then, he has three weeks to focus on training and ensuring he’s ready for this next challenge.
Next Race: St. Anthony’s Triathlon
Location: Clearwater, Florida
Date: Sunday, April 29th, 2018