They say the power of visualization can help bring you the things you want most. This young lady watched her farther race in Kona when she was 11; 7 years later she still has the event poster hanging on her wall. Competing in her first 70.3 this year, this 18 year old has a desire of her own to one day race in Kona. It is my pleasure to give our readers a chance to learn more about: Charlotte McShane
KK: Please tell us a little about yourself, where did you grow up?
CM: I was born in the far north of Scotland, in a place called Wick. I grew up in West Scotland in a little town called Helensburgh, about an hour from Glasgow. I trained around the hills of Loch Lomond (and in the loch, but there are no monsters, like in Loch Ness.)I now live in Australia with my parents and younger brother. I live 4 hours east of Melbourne, near a small country town called Bairnsdale.
KK: What sports did you play before starting triathlon?
CM: I have been involved in triathlon very young, so triathlon was actually my first sport! I was also a student at the Glasgow School of Sport, where I had some excellent coaching in Athletics.
KK: How old were you when you did your first triathlon?
CM: Seven years old - it was a local kid's triathlon that my dad helped to organize. I definitely wasn't a prodigy. It was on closed roads, and I went slowly at all the SLOW signs (which were for cars) and walked when other people in front of me were walking.... I just thought those were the rules!
KK: Does Scotland have a big triathlon community?
CM: Not really. Triathlon is a minority sport in Scotland. It just doesn't have participation numbers or interest in Scotland as it does in Australia or the USA
KK: Is there a race that you would recommend to someone visiting Scotland?
CM: Definitely the New Years Day triathlon in Edinburgh, fantastic atmosphere. Very very very cold though!!
KK: When did you move to Australia?
CM: November 2005
KK: Tell us about your Xterra experience.
CM: I raced elite in a televised adventure triathlon series in Scotland from when I was 14 until I moved to Australia. I loved the experience and the challenge of adventure racing. When I found out there was an Xterra in Australia last year, I was really excited and I already had my eyes on Maui! A lot of my training is mountain biking, but on hilly firetracks. M y technical skills aren't very impressive on downhill's and single track!
KK: In the junior ranks you have built a nice resume for yourself; what are some of your accomplishments so far?
CM: I won a few National junior titles in Scotland, in duathlon, aquathlon and triathlon. When I came over to Australia, I raced some ITU junior elite races and achieved a few state titles and a National Olympic distance title, as well as an U20 long distance champion title. I was never really interested in the drafting format in the ITU races though, so that is the main reason I switched to long course so early.
KK: What does it mean to be The World U20 Female Xterra Triathlon Champion? Describe your day to us.
CM: The swim was crazy - everyone starts together so it was pretty scary and punches and kicks in the face are normal! The cycle was by far the hardest thing I have ever done. I honestly didn't know how I was going to be able to finish, it was that hard! I don't think anyone can prepare themselves for that. Riding at midday, the sun was just beating down; the trails are really dusty and full of sharp lava rock. There are so many athletes on the narrow course that you have to end up getting off your bike and running up a some of the steeper hills. It was just climb climb climb, then an awesome hold on for your life downhill. I was so scared of falling off on the downhills because of the sharp lava rock, but luckily I managed to stay on! I really enjoyed the run, and I felt great. I had 2 girls in my age group ahead of me going into T2.The first half is uphill, and unshaded, so hurt a lot! I caught one girl about 6k into the run, and I caught the other girl, who was the defending U20 champion, Monique Avery who had beat me at the Australian championships 2km from the finish. It was definitely a big relief!!
This race definitely meant a lot to me, I worked very hard, and it's tough competing against experienced mountain biker racers.
KK: How excited are you that you get to race as a professional at the Geelong 70.3?
CM: It was so much fun! I loved it. Just to be standing on the start line with some of the world's best triathletes, people I have looked up to for year's .To race as professional at just 18 years of age was incredible.
KK: Do you look up to any triathletes?
CM: I look up to all the physically challenged athletes and the age groupers who have a full time job / have a family and manage to train for an Ironman!
KK: I read somewhere that you have your sites on winning Kona someday?
CM: Who doesn't?! Kona is definitely my ultimate goal. I think about it every time I train.
KK: Do you have family or friends that have competed in Kona?
CM: My dad raced there in 2001. It was such a great experience. My whole family went over and watched. I remember standing the corner of the swim finish watching the lead men running out of the water with the TV cameras following them. Even at 11 years old I had butterflies in my stomach watching that! I've had the IM poster from that year in my room since then.
KK: What non triathlon related things do you enjoy doing?
CM: Shopping, catching up and going out with non triathlon friends (!), relaxing at the beach...
KK: What is a typical training day for you?
CM: Swim in the morning, cycle and run during the day and sometimes swim at night too. Depends what phase of training I'm in. Most of my training is off road, on hills and in the bush.
KK: Do you have a coach?
CM: Yep - Myself! My dad, Frank, also helps with my coaching & planning, but I'd like to think I know enough about the sport and have been in it long enough to write my own training sessions. I train with the local swimming club, and have a great swim coach who helps with triathlon specific swim workouts.
KK: What are some of your goals for 2009?
CM: I wish to race Ironman, and podium finish at a few Half Ironman races in Australia. I have also just been selected for the Australian Elite team for the 2009 World Long Distance Championships in Perth in October - this will be my main focus this year.
KK: Is there anything else that you would like us to know about you?
CM: I couldn't live without a can of Red Bull every morning (and no they don't sponsor me!) , my favorite color is pink, I'm 5ft 2in, I'm 100% against drafting, my favorite training partner is my younger brother Stephen, and I need a sports drink/gel sponsor!!
Race: Xterra World Championships, Maui. Such an awesome experience! The race and the whole week leading up to it is just awesome and I met some amazing people.
TV Show: Scrubs!
Movie: The Flying Scotsman
Place to train: Out in the Australian bush - we have some really awesome trails for running and mountain biking.
Swim Bike or Run: BIKE!
Person you would like to meet: Muhammad Ali