We had the pleasure of sitting down to speak with pro triathlete, Jocelyn McCauley as she prepares for Ironman Texas in the Woodlands this weekend. Her professional journey began after clinching a win as the fastest female amateur finisher at the 2014 Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii. This year at Ironman Dubai 70.3 Jocelyn hammered out the second fastest bike split amongst the pro women with the help of our Cantu 55C and Cantu disc setup. With her ever emerging talent and ability, she has true dedication for the sport.
Cantu Wheels: Take us back to your childhood, where you grew up, and how you got into athletics.
Jocelyn McCauley: I grew up in College Station, Texas. It started in elementary school where I really loved running. We had a thing called Road Runners, so in PE they would bring us out and make us run laps around the field. I would always beat all the boys, so I thought it was really cool. My sister [Meredith] started doing cross country and track in junior high. We have a very competitive streak in my family, and I really had to beat her. I started running in junior high to be able to beat her. Then I continued through high school and college and loved it. I went to Brigham Young University in Utah and ran my last year at the University of Cincinnati. After that I did a couple of elite running races, but kept getting back into old running injuries. [Meredith] started doing Iron Man races. I went to her races and absolutely loved the atmosphere and electrifying excitement. I was like, well, I have to do one. It was a domino effect from there.
CW: What has been your biggest inspiration along with your sister?
JM: I love the athletic side and the people atmosphere. I love meeting new people. I think what got me into athletics in general is that I love to push my body to the limits and see how hard I can go for how long I can go, and be the best I can be.
CW: Can you give us a recap of your most memorable race?
JM: It was my second Ironman race [in 2014]. I had qualified for The World Championship in Kona. I went out there without any hard expectations on myself. I had goals, but I wanted to have fun. I told everyone I wanted to be top 5 in the amateur overall. I had a secret little goal to myself that I wanted to win overall, but I didn’t even tell anyone, not even my husband. It was an amazing day. I was able to do it with my sister. I swam on her feet for the entire swim. I kept touching her feet and she told me after the race that if it was anyone but me she would’ve have screamed and yelled at the person, because I touched them way too many times. I passed her on the bike. That 2014 Kona was crazy. It was really windy. I had been told that Kona was windy, so I thought it was just a normal thing. It’s a normal day in Kona, it’s suppose to be this windy. I think that helped me mentally. It wasn’t defeating me because this was normal. I went out on the run and I remember coming out of transition. There was this really young boy. He told me, you’re number five amateur woman. I didn’t know to trust this little boy or not, but if that was the case, let’s see what I can do on this course. I remember seeing my husband right before I went into the Energy Lab. He told me, you’re number two, number one if just right in front of you. You got her, no problem. That feeling that came over me, I wasn’t feeling great, but I wasn’t hurting. So I passed two women in the Energy Lab. One was a pro and one was amateur. I passed them and was like, Well, I’m in first, now I just have to hold on. I crossed that finish line and it was surreal. Then somehow on the way to drug testing we ran into my husband and that was the real moment. I just gave him a hug and looked into his eyes. Oh my gosh I just did that. It’s those moments that you live for.
CW: What keeps you motivated?
JM: Since having my daughter, I think that gives me an extra reason to do this. I want to show her you can have these dreams and goals in your life. You can go out and make them happen no matter how crazy they seem. She’s fun to see at the finish line.
CW: How do you overcome the mental challenges in a race?
JM: I think that you continue to grow into yourself and figure out how to deal with those as you train and race. A lot of people say the highs are really high and lows are really low in an Ironman race. Just keeping that in your mind. Yeah, I might feel really horrible right now, but let’s take some nutrition in, let’s give myself 10 or 20 minutes and then re-evaluate and not base my whole race on this. Something that Coach David has said a lot is chunk it down. Chunk down the elephant. Don’t try to eat the whole thing all at once. There’s no way you can mentally think about 140 miles and I’m going to do this all. Let’s get through the swim. Let’s get to each station and go from there. The same with the run. One mile after the other.
CW: What has your journey been like as a professional triathlete?
JM: I qualified to be a pro in my first race in 2014. I hadn’t really thought oh, I’m going to be a pro triathlete or anything. Then after Kona I thought well, maybe I can take a crack at this. So, I discussed it all with my family. I started [professional triathlete career] in January of 2015 doing a race in New Zealand. I grew a lot that year in triathlon and personal life in realizing different limitations that I had. I was looking at different coaches. I was looking at athletes and who I thought I lined up with in similar backgrounds and strengths. Then looking at their coaches and talking with them. I really enjoyed David and started working with him in August of 2015. That has sent everything into overdrive. My training is a lot harder, more intense, more specific. My racing has taken off since then as well. It has been great.
CW: How are you feeling this week building up to Ironman Texas?
JM: I feel good. The thing is if I felt bad it wouldn’t make a difference either. I remember how I felt before that Kona race. I felt horrible. I was drained and not happy. It went fine. There’s something special about race day, race morning. Whatever has happened up to that point has all washed away. Let’s go out there and do this. My training is going awesome.
CW: Do you have any fun pre-race rituals?
JM: I always have to have mismatching socks. One has to be bright orange. The other one, it doesn’t matter the color. I have a specific sports bra I always wear. I always have a new pair of goggles. Other than that, race morning I used to do buckwheat pancakes. This year I’m on to a new trend of blueberry muffins. I love having my husband there. I say a prayer before the race for safety and the ability to do my best.
CW: What’s one piece of advice you have for people training for Ironman?
JM: Go out there and have fun. The thing is I started this whole thing with the ultimate goal of having fun. To me having fun was doing well and beating people. Whatever is fun to you, go out there and do that. How are you going to accomplish that goal? Set specific process oriented goals of how you’re going to accomplish that process.
CW: How was your experience with the Cantu Wheels?
JM: My first experience on them was in Dubai. There were 30 mph winds. They had to do the swim in this little yacht harbor. You were swimming by these massive yachts as you go around because the winds were too horrible. I was a little nervous going out on the Cantu disc in these crazy winds and not being a big person. The wheels sliced through the wind like butter, it was just amazing. I was able to have the second fastest bike split [in the Pro Women]. I really contribute that to the smooth Cantu Wheels.