Cliff English, one of triathlon’s star coaches for the last 15 years, currently oversees the training of athletes like Tim O’Donnell, Hunter Kemper, Heather Jackson and T.J. Tollakson.
In a phone interview this week, English announced that the newest addition to his stable of elite triathletes is Leanda Cave, the 2012 Ironman World Champion and Ironman 70.3 Champion. The British triathlon great, at the age of 35, is the only woman in history to collect both long distance championships in the same calendar year. After crossing the finish line at the 2012 Hawaii Ironman, Cave barely slowed down, taking first place at Ironman 70.3 Miami and 6th at Ironman Arizona.
However, Cave’s momentum came to an abrupt end in February 2013, after being diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma, a form of skin cancer directly related to over-exposure to the sun. In her tweets announcing the diagnosis, Cave said that BCC was a 100-percent treatable form of cancer.
Yet layoffs and injuries—along with the elevated media spotlight and work load that comes with being the Ironman World Champion—made for a year of “bad racesâ€ in which Cave said, by year’s end, she hit an all-time motivational low. Despite the injury problems, Cave attempted to defend both her championships, unable to finish within the top 10 in either race.
In a blog post on December 27, Cave announced that her desire to put distance on the events of 2013, she would be leaving coach Siri Lindley.
“Siri has been the most amazing coach for me over the past 4 years and what we were able to achieve was beyond my wildest dreams,â€ Cave stated in the post. “Siri believed I could do it and convinced me to believe the same. The journey has taken us through huge ups and downs, which not only made us a stronger team, but tight friends. So, to say goodbye to Siri as a coach was one of the hardest things I have ever had to tell someone in my life.â€
This will be the second time the two have worked together, English having served as Cave’s triathlon coach in 2005-2006.
Based in Tucson, Ariz., English has coached a range of triathletes from pros to age-groupers, draft-legal Olympians, like Sam McGlone, to XTERRA athletes like Melanie McQuaid, to Ironman stars like Peter Reid. English also served as the USAT National Team coach from 2005 to 2008.