May 24, 2022

Lessons From SuperLeague Triathlon And The Best Triathletes In The World

Coached athlete Nicholas Rachmadi learned a lot during his experience racing the Arena Games in Singapore. Here’s what he learned.

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There’s no substitute for doing. You can read books, watch YouTube videos, and talk to friends, but nothing hits the spot quite like doing the thing.

Recently, an athlete we coach, Nicholas Rachmadi, had the opportunity to line up against his heroes in the SuperLeague Arena Games. To do his thing at the highest level of the sport.

It was a crash course in excellence and how to race triathlon.

Nic was one of five Singaporean triathletes given a wild card to participate.

As a medical student with no desire to turn pro, this level of racing was significantly higher than anything he’s ever done before and was a fantastic opportunity to learn and hone his craft.

In his words, here’s what he learned …


The swim is FAST, and drafting matters. Stick tight in the swim pack because once they’re gone, they’re really gone.

During the heats, I didn’t stick tight enough to the hips of other athletes, and I found it incredibly difficult to bridge back to the pack, especially given that these guys are mostly front pack swimmers in the World Triathlon Series (WTS).

The next day during the Repechage (semi-finals), I focused on drafting and at the end of the swim, I was on the feet of Bence Bicsak, a Hungarian Triathlete who finished 7th at the Olympics and won third at the recent WTS Abu Dhabi race.

I also realised it’s critical to hold your line (they’ll try and move you to get the feet you’re on) and be aggressive around the turning buoys so you don’t drop places.

Cut Race Times, Not Corners.

Racing at your potential and enjoying training is easy when you’re following the right programme.


A high cadence is essential. I noticed that most of my competitors rode a high cadence and could do that when fatigued. My cadence dropped as I became tired, and I lost efficiency, power, and time to the leaders.

Race specificity matters. If you want to ride fast on a trainer, some practice on a trainer will undoubtedly benefit you.


Like the ride, I noticed my cadence dropped as I fatigued, and I had a harder time turning the treadmill over.

I had not run much on a self-propelled treadmill, so some dedicated training on one would have been a great benefit.


Transition is critical in such a short race at this level. The guys accelerated the second our feet hit the ground after the swim. I lost a surprising amount of time just from the swim exit to the bike mount.

Shoes were carefully attached to the bikes, and shoe straps were either out of the buckle and hidden away or carefully placed for quick access.

Some athletes had multiple running shoes for smooth transitions between races. You may not win the race in transition, but you can certainly lose it.

Final Thoughts

Stop thinking and act! It’s essential to get out of your comfort zone. I considered not participating because I felt I was not good enough to race with these guys. I did get beaten, but I was proud of my effort, and it showed me I could line up against the best in the world.

Details matter. Observing the other athletes allowed me to see the level of detail the pros put into their craft. They’re there to earn a living, and it shows.

Go with the flow. I couldn’t warm up on the bike because I didn’t have the right tool to attach my bike to the trainer. Obviously, I should have had the right tool (see details matter), but I didn’t and had to adjust my warm-up routine.

Thank you, SuperLeague and Triathlon Singapore, for the opportunity to race.

Related Articles

Essential Lessons From Three-Time Olympic Triathlete, Andrea Hewitt

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Ben Pulham

Ben Pulham is the founder of Coached, a personalised training programme that helps runners & triathletes optimise, track and enjoy their training.