The team at Sands Beach said farewell to Bella, her husband Stephen and son Charlie this week, as they headed off to their home in Switzerland for the summer.
They will be returning to us in September, but now is a good time to reflect on what they have achieved in their time with us over the last few months.
Bella has completed her transformation from Champion triathlete to world class coach, and she has spent the last few months busier than ever at the resort, working with a mixture of elite professional athletes, age groupers and a large bunch of kids of all ages, most of whom are members of our Tri Active triathlon club. The 25 metre pool, the gym and the streets and roads around the resort have seen people swimming, running and cycling every day and in all conditions.
Stephen trained hard all winter, and started the season with an excellent 2nd place at Ironman Los Cabos, and Charlie has become a fixture on his bike around the pool, in his role as assistant coach.
My wife Julie and I have had a fantastic winter working with Bella as our coach, as she prepared us for the legendary Ironman Lanzarote event, which she won herself twice. It was a real privilege to work with Bella, as she patiently built up our stamina, strength and endurance using all of her experience and passing on the kind of tips only a professional would know. Being able to use the facilities at Sands Beach Active has been amazing – we swam all through the winter in the heated 25 metre pool, we used the gym regularly. When it was too windy to cycle we used the turbo trainers, and we ran many miles on the tracks and hills around the resort.
When Bella gave us our first programme, it was a real shock to the system as our training load doubled overnight. But she was in touch with us every single day, and often coached pool sessions from poolside, and sometimes by joining us in the water. She also introduced us to the turbo trainers and showed us how to do core exercises in the gym. Every few weeks she’d send us a new programme, designed to build key aspects of our training, and when we had to travel or we suffered from illness, the programme was instantly tailored to reflect what was needed. I won’t reveal her training secrets here, but we did many things you would never find in a training programme online or in a book. But every single session was designed to work specific parts of our bodies and build on the previous sessions.
There’s an old cliché that if you train hard, you race easy. And this winter we both learned the truth of that, as we completed Ironman without any big issues and enjoyed every moment of the race.
I have no doubt that I either would have failed to finish, or I would have been one of the famous “walking dead” that cross the line close to midnight without Bella’s amazing help. Instead I had a day that I will always remember with a smile and great affection.
It’s also been inspiring to watch so many other people benefit from her coaching – people ranging from bright young stars of the future to older people like me, whose lives have been changed beyond all recognition.
There’s something very special happening at Sands Beach Active and I’m proud to be a very small part of it.
Here’s wishing the Bayliss family a great summer, and we’re all looking forward to seeing them back at the Sands Beach Resort in a few months.
This post was written by Mike Cliffe-Jones, find out more on his profile page