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Returning to Cervélo at the start of 2016 represented a homecoming of sorts for this Ironman 70.3 and ITU Long Distance world champion.

ALL IN THE FAMILY

After two years of racing on a different bike, “My Cervélo P5 (and now P5X) feel like home,” Jodie says. “The team treats me like part of the family...and it is apparent that their values run deeper than results and branding. I feel valued as a person and as an athlete here.” This is especially true given that James Cunnama, her husband and Bahrain Endurance 13 teammate, also rides a P5 and P5X.

JOY, PAIN AND BACK AGAIN

The early days of Jodie’s triathlon career, which now spans more than 15 years, were spent climbing podiums in Olympic-distance races such as the the 2000 World Student Games, the 2001 and 2003 London Triathlon, and the 2003 ITU Athens World Cup. She also competed for England at the 2002 Commonwealth Games and for Great Britain in the 2004 Olympics.

The latter was an unconventional turning point for Jodie. A disappointing 34th-place finish, the result of an undiagnosed Achilles injury, plunged her into a state of depression that worsened her struggles with an eating disorder and led to a violent relationship.

But with the help of others, including mentoring from champion decathlete Daley Thompson, Jodie was able to work her way back to the top of the triathlon world. “My proudest accomplishment is in my ability to convert the mental agony of an eating disorder, an abusive relationship and low self-esteem into a productive source of inspiration to fuel my dreams and transform my psyche,” Jodie says.

FROM ITU TO IRONMAN

Jodie completed her comeback in 2009, when she was crowned ITU Long Distance World Champion, finishing some 11 minutes ahead of her nearest rival. The next year she jumped to the pro Ironman circuit and wasted no time in making her mark by winning the 70.3 World Championships in Clearwater, Florida.

With the ultimate 70.3 achievement under her belt, Jodie went on to win a string of 70.3 races: In Lanzarote, Boulder, Boise and Sweden, as well as in South Africa an incredible six times. Combine this with African Continental, Sweden and South Africa Ironman championships — she considers the latter to be her most memorable moment as a triathlete — and it’s no wonder she is among the top contenders for the Ironman World Championships. With a superb 2016 under her belt — including another ITU Long Distance World Championship and an Ironman Asia Pacific Championship on her P5 — she cites a “sub-nine-hour Kona” as one of her top goals for 2017.

Her return to Cervélo has boosted her confidence and fuelled her ambition, she says. “I trust my bikes. They feel responsive and solid and fast. Very, very fast. I hope I can get my legs to match it!”


Website: http://www.ifollowtheJodie.co.uk/

Twitter: @jodiecunnama

Instagram: @jodiestar

Jodie Cunnama