Helen Cooney

Name: Helen Cooney

Athletic Background: Cycling – I have never raced, but have climbed every mountain and ridden most Sportives, including La Marmotte, L’Etape du Tour, Alpine Raid, Pyreneen Raid, the Tour d’Afrique (Cairo to Cape Town).

Biggest sporting achievement to date?: I have come into triathlon late, at the age of 48, and my best achievement so far has to be learning to swim, and then to be able to race in open water.

Favourite workout?: Any swim session. The "miracle" of being able to swim still hasn't worn off.

Least Favourite Workout?: Running home from work along Otterspool Prom in a headwind.

Worst Habit ?: I’m a bit obsessed with everything being really neat and tidy, which I thought was a bad habit, but has actually proved quite useful in triathlon transition!

Favourite song to train to / motivate?: “Can’t Stand Me Now” – The Libertines. Great opening riff.

Something about you that many people do not know?: In 2004 I set out from my front door and cycled solo 12,0000 miles around the world.

If you could tell other athletes one thing you have learned so far in your training what would it be?: As an older female triathlete, I would say to others in my position, just turn up at an event and give it a go – triathlon is a really friendly sport – you can achieve your goals without having to be ultra competitive, or too focused on technical training data.

What is your ultimate goal as an athlete?: Just to stay fit and healthy and feel that I have achieved my potential.

Favourite Race / Course?: Blenheim. I did a relay with my partner Martin. It was a fabulous fun weekend and showed everything that is great about triathlon!

What's your most memorable racing moment?: It has to be at this year’s Clitheroe pool tri. The run was a mud fest, traversing waterlogged fields, ankle deep in smelly cow dung. I was ill equipped, without trail shoes, and imagine my horror, running through a really muddy patch when I felt a soft squelch beneath my sock and realized my shoe had come off and was stuck fast in the mud bath behind me! I stared at it, trying to work out a way of pulling it out without submerging myself. Several minutes of acrobatics later (I didn’t know I could do a one-handed cartwheel…) I managed to retrieve the stricken shoe and pulled the soggy mess over my soaked foot and continued my run. My time for the 7km split? A sorrowful 47 minutes….

Any unusual race day routines or superstitions?: I never pump my bike tyres up on the day of a race - I think I did it once just before the start of a Cycle Sportive and blew the valve off, and missed the start of the ride.

What race / event / ride is on your bucket list?: Alpe d'Huez Long Course. Sorry - but riding up the Alpe is actually my idea of fun!

Swim: Sailfish wetsuit. Predator Flex goggles.

Bike: (A few over the years). Currently, my Tribike is an Argon 18 with very fast Reynolds Aero wheels. I can also be found cycling round on a Thorn Nomad tourer (my Round the World Bike), a Brompton folder and a Bianchi Infinito Carbon Fiber racer, when the sun comes out.

Run: Brooks Glycerin 11 - Bliss!

Nutrition of choice: Slow food (as opposed to fast food).

What piece of equipment couldn't you live without?: My wonderful Swimovate Poolmate watch, which counts my swim lengths and provides other exciting data like my swim efficiency (not!) and stroke rate.