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Rachel Joyce Overcomes Setbacks To Rise Near The Top Of Ironman

  • By Holly Bennett
  • Published Dec 6, 2013
  • Updated Feb 18, 2014 at 12:15 AM UTC
Photo: Endura Pix | Michael Raushendorfer

The Fire Inside

Joyce keeps her competitive instincts contained most of the time, but has the ability to switch to reach a rare level of intensity when necessary.

Lidbury: A lot of people say to me, “I can’t understand how Rachel is such a competitor. She’s so nice!” Well yeah, she is that nice, but also every now and then you see little flashes of that fire, that killer instinct. It’s there; it just lies dormant the majority of the time. But it comes out to play when it’s race time, and then there’s no shit. It’s, “I want to win.” The lawyer in her comes out as well: “Here’s the job I have to do. How am I going to do it?” It’s very matter-of-fact.

Joyce: When I was at high school I used to swim competitively, and actually one of the reasons I stopped was that I couldn’t switch off that part of me that was fiercely competitive when I wasn’t swimming. I didn’t like being that way. I didn’t want it to turn me into that sort of person when I was not in the pool. So when I started doing triathlon, almost 10 years later, I was like, “Racing has to always be fun. You can have that part of you, but channel it when you’re in the race or when you’re doing hard training sessions. Otherwise you need to switch it off.”

Julie Dibens (Ironman 70.3 and three-time Xterra world champion): I’ve seen the competitive side of her in training. I know where I’m at with my cycling and I know that if I’m working hard, she’s working hard too — but she won’t give an inch. It’s very similar to when I would ride with Chrissie [Wellington, four-time Ironman world champion] — a similar kind of stubbornness in many ways.

Scott: On the surface she’s really sweet. She has kind of a soft demeanor — she doesn’t seem to have a vile bone in her at all. But she has a hidden streak of venom that percolates to the top. She’s very demanding of herself. Anyone who is trying to be the best, they quite often have that personality trait. They can dig, dig, dig. And when the standards are so high, athletes have a short memory. They don’t recognize that they had a phenomenal workout seven days ago but now they’re a little bit off. All they can think about is, “I’m off.” I’ve seen that trait in her. In some ways I really like it because her standards are extremely high.

RELATED: Breakfast With Rachel Joyce

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