Interview with Calgary Professional Triathlete Jordan Bryden

Coach Todd: Today I am talking with Jordan Bryden who is a Calgary based professional triathlete. I can remember watching you as early as 2000 and hearing someone in the crowd say “wow that guy is the next Simon Whitfield”. It has been very cool to watch you grow up in Calgary follow your racing career.

Some of Jordan’s career highlights are:
– Canadian Jr. National Champion
– Canadian U23 National Champion
– Canadian Elite Bronze Medalist
– Xterra Jr. World Champion
– 5x Top 10 Pan Am Cup Performer
– 6x Canadian National Medalist

Coach Todd: Jordan thanks for doing this interview today. I am sure there are many people out there who will appreciate / enjoy your thoughts.

Jordan Bryden: I’m excited to have the opportunity Todd. Thanks for having me here.

Coach Todd: In the past few years you have been a short course focused athlete (Olympic distance) with your sights set on being one of Canada’s best Olympic distance athletes. In 2011 I noticed that you tried some longer distance races. Can you talk about your 1st Ironman?

Jordan Bryden: I have always been attracted to the Long distance racing, but I have a long race season each year. With the Olympics in 2012 I really felt I needed to stay focused on the goal, but I also wanted to experience an Ironman race. After Xterra World Championships last year (2010) I felt fit and saw that IM Arizona was only 4 weeks away (and at the end of my race season) so I signed up and did some longer training sessions to get ready for the race.
The race was really exciting to be involved in. It had some very big names including Chrissie Wellington and Jordan Rapp (who just won Long Course World Championships). The swim was super relaxed and I didn’t touch a single person the whole time. After coming out of the water in 6th I rode well but had my stomach give out on me with 60 Km to go. This eventually lead to cramping and puking that meant I didn’t get in any calories during the marathon. Nutrition is without a doubt the 4th event in Ironman.

Coach Todd: What did you do different in terms of training for IronMan?

Jordan Bryden: With only 4 weeks to prepare for the race I didn’t have much I could do. I figured I better be able to run a marathon so I ran 50 km in the Maui heat after Xterra and felt like I handled the distance well. In the summer I weekly put in over 30 km in the pool, 250 km on the bike, and about 60 km on the run so I was still fit.

This past year however I have added in some long rides and runs that have left me feeling better about finishing long distances, while feeling stronger in ITU racing. I just got back from Long Course World Championships where I felt I rode and ran better than ever before.

Photocredit: FLMultisport

Coach Todd: What has been your favorite race?

Jordan Bryden: Here in Canada my favorite race is the Edmonton World Cup followed closely by the Kelowna Apple. Both events put on such a great show! I won bronze at the Patco championships and had my first world cup start in Edmonton.

Kelowna’s race feels so energetic and although I have had some struggles there in the past couple years, I really enjoy the race course.

Abroad I loved World Championships in Lausanne, Switzerland. For my U-23 race there was over 100,000 spectators which is an indescribable feeling. It just makes you push beyond your limits.

Coach Todd:  Many people think that professional triathletes are living the dream. Do you feel that you are living the dream and what is the best part of being a professional triathlete?

Jordan Bryden: No question about it. I am so blessed to be able to do what I do. My parents supported my endeavours from a young age and I just kept it up. It helps that my girlfriend Madi is also a triathlete. The journey has its struggles. Injuries, and health problems (like this years 3 month battle with a parasite) are commonplace. Lack of funding here in Canada is a huge problem holding back athletes in a variety of sports, but there is always a way to do what needs to be done. I get to work with kids and train with some amazing athletes. It can seem like a very selfish job at times, but I really believe in the community of the sport. Working with the community feels great not just here in Calgary but also abroad. The best part has got to be travelling to races and experiencing different cultures!

Coach Todd: You have trained with many great athletes over the years. I heard that you swam with Lance Armstrong over the summer. Was he able to keep up? 🙂

Jordan Bryden: I have been able to get to know so many of the world’s top triathletes and so many of the top pros are very approachable.

Just a couple weeks ago I was able to talk with Jan Frodeno (Olympic Gold medalist) over breakfast after never meeting him before. It’s very motivating! I am such a “fan” of the sport. I still take pictures at races and use them as motivation to one day be “that good”. I still get excited lining up beside the Worlds best on a start line. I did my first World Cup race at 18 years old and I lined up on the start line with Hunter Kemper on one side of me and Peter Robertson on my other side. So Exciting!

And yes, I did get to swim with Lance before his race at Xterra World Championships where he was 5th out of the water! He wasn’t quite able to keep up in the pool but he definitely did not back down at all!

Coach Todd: What other athletes have you trained with that have really helped you as a triathlete and what was is the best tip that you can pass on to other athletes?

Jordan Bryden: I have been fortunate enough to train with many athletes that I admire. It’s great to be involved in a sport where everyone is accepting. I have worked with Paul Tichelaar, Simon Whitfield, Jarrod Shoemaker and Samantha Mcglone in the past. But like I said, I am still such a fan of the sport that I’ll go for a ride or run with anyone who I feel I can learn from. When I was in Kona a few weeks ago I trained with Amanda Lovato, Dirk Bockel, Trevor Wuertele, Chris Lieto and others.

After 16 years it very hard to pick just one tip that I have learned, but here are some very important things that stick in my mind right now.

Jeff Symonds: “Don’t eat without drinking and don’t drink without electrolytes during a long race”.

Jarrod Shoemaker: “Finish your long runs with fatigue. Build the last mile, and you’ll be able to touch what raceday will feel like”.

Peter Robertson: “You have 60mins of suffering in a ITU race. Use those minutes wisely and you’ll be successful”

Coach Todd: Just recently you competed in the Long Course World Championships in Las Vegas. The swim was cancelled due to the cold. How did this affect your race?

Jordan Bryden: It was such a disappointment to show up on race morning and find out that we wouldn’t be swimming. I was really gunning to be the first out of the water to get an advantage in the race and to win a cash prime offered by a sponsor of mine. Without the swim the bike started much faster than usual, and I really had to rely on only my run to move back up in the field. I eventually finished 20th in a Men’s field that had more than a dozen DNF’s. I really felt that I had a shot at a top 12 finish if the swim had happened as its my strength

Coach Todd: Before the LC worlds we chatted about the run having 3000 feet of elevation change. This seems like a challenging run course. How did you find it?

Jordan Bryden: The run was hard but actually felt really good. The hills were gradual but unending. Uphills were a bit slow but my long legs handle downhills really well. I stuck to drinking coke almost the whole 30km and never had my legs or mind bonk. I even split all three of the 10km’s within seconds of each other. It was a great feeling to feel strong the entire run.

Coach Todd: What is in store for Jordan Bryden in 2012? Short or long course racing? Or perhaps a mix of both?

Jordan Bryden: This year I am going to train full-time and push forward since it’s a Olympic year. It’s going to be hard to find the money to do what is necessary to be successful this year, but I have faith it will work out in the end. Most races will be Olympic distance ITU races as I hope to be a podium finisher in the continental races and a top-20 finisher in the WCS races by the end of the year.

Coach Todd: Many athletes look to the pros to see what gear they are using. Right now what is your favorite triathlon toy?

Jordan Bryden: My H2O audio case holds my iPod shuffle for long lonely swim workouts and works amazing. Felt bikes are amazing and I love my F75 cyclo-cross bike! It my favorite toy right now. Calgary weather is terrible but a tough cyclocross bike is good for commuting and training. It will give you awesome bike handling skills and can handle most mountain bike trails.

Coach Todd: What is on your Christmas wish list?

Jordan Bryden: The new Garmin 910xt and Garmin Vector power meter are both devices that I would love to get my hands on. The 910 has some very exciting features to help evaluate weaknesses in open water swimming. I think the Vector is going to set the standard for Power meters as it is a pedal-based meter and can be used easily on multiple bikes. So I will have power readings during training and racing on my road, TT and cyclocross bikes.

Coach Todd: Thanks for taking the time out to do this interview and we look forward to cheering for you at your next race!

Jordan Bryden: Thanks so much! I really think 2012 is going to be a breakthrough year and I can wait to see what it holds for all of us in the Calgary tri-community!

Jordan Bryden’s Contact
twitter: jordanbryden


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