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World, let us introduce you to Ellie Salthouse. A 20 year old star in the making. An Australian Youth Olympic Silver Medallist, the 2012 Junior ITU Oceania Champion and the winner of the prestigious Luke Harrop Memorial Triathlon. A Queenslander with an infectious smile, who dabbled with retirement in 2013.  She has re-ignited her passion for triathlon and begins the next phase of her impressive career as one of the newest members of the super triathlon stable of Siri Lindley. 

WITSUP: Hi Ellie, thanks for talking with WITSUP.

Ellie Salthouse: Hi Aimee, so great to speak with you!

W: I first met you back in 2011 in China at your first Professional Premium Continental Cup. 
What a huge few years it has been?!

ES: Yes, the past few years have been incredible, a mixed bag of highs and lows to say the least, but I wouldn’t change it for anything. I’ve had the chance to travel the world, live in a different country, dealt with setbacks as well as the triumphs. And to add the all of that, I even dabbled with retirement from the sport, but thankfully that didn’t last very long.

W: Let’s go back a little bit.
You had a very promising start to your triathlon career, earning a silver at the Australia U16 School Sport Championships before then taking out Gold in the U20’s three years later. You were selected to represent Australia at the inaugural Youth Olympics in 2010 where you took second.

ES: As a junior, I looked to have a very promising future ahead of me. I never really believed anyone who told me though, just going about my business and enjoying every second of it. I knew that I wanted to be good at the sport as I got older, but it wasn’t until I won silver at the Youth Olympics and got to stand on the podium in the green and gold that I realized I wanted to be a champion.

W: When we were in China, you had just finished year 12. Most people that age are out partying, being first year uni students, working full time, or maybe sunning themselves on the beach every day! Here you were competing as a pro athlete on the world stage. Did you ever feel like you were missing out on things back home?

ES: Definitely not, you can’t really beat travelling the world doing what you love. I had the best job in the world. Of course I missed my family and friends back home, but I never had any regrets or questioned what I was doing.

W: I remember after that night, I went back to our hotel, thinking how very impressive you were as a person and as an athlete representing our country. How brave & confident you were to be in a foreign, not western country, all on your own and you seemed completely un-fazed. Your bike had been lost in transit and hadn’t yet arrived for the race. And you were cool and calm. How do you deal with all the travel and spending such long periods away from home by yourself? Athletes much older find that difficult.WITSUP_Ellie Gtown

ES: When it comes to travelling you have to be prepared for something to go wrong, especially when you’re traveling with a bike.
I always travel with my essentials in hand luggage so if my bike or luggage is to go missing, I am at least able to borrow a bike and still race. It definitely saves a lot of stress and worry before the race.

Being away from home for such long periods can be hard at times.
Of course, there are times when I miss my family and friends, but I love the independence and being able to do what I love each and every day. It’s important to remember the big picture and have goals to keep you focused.

W: Let’s fast forward to 2012. A bitter sweet year for you I imagine.
You started the year being crowned the Junior ITU Oceania Champion. You recovered from a foot injury to take out the prestigious Luke Harrop Memorial Triathlon and the Memorial Bursey. You must have been thrilled with these two wins?

ES: 2012 was definitely the most challenging yet, but taught me so much about myself as a person and as an athlete. Winning the Luke Harrop Triathlon, along with the memorial bursary, was a huge achievement and I was absolutely thrilled. Loretta Harrop has been a mentor of mine for quite some time, so to win Luke’s race was just so special. The successes always taste that much sweeter when you’ve had to overcome a setback, such as an injury.

W: And you suffered a bad foot injury which cut your European Trip short forcing you to return to Australia for surgery. A huge disappointment after such a positive start to the year. Was it hard to recover and bounce back?

ES: Yes, I suffered a broken foot in France five days into my trip, requiring surgery back in Australia. As you can imagine, I was absolutely devastated. However, I knew that as long as I did all the little things right whilst I was out of action, I could overcome it. It took a little longer than expected but I now realize that it made me a stronger athlete.

W: You have based yourself in Vitoria Spain for the last couple of years, where the Australia team is also based. You’ve also been racing with a team on the prestigious French Grand Prix circuit. How has that experience been?

ES: Vitoria is the ideal place for training, with endless running trails, lakes, pools and quiet roads, and was great to have the company of other Australian athletes. Racing in the French Grand Prix circuit was such an amazing experience, giving me the opportunity to race against the World’s greatest athletes, whilst still competing as a member of a team.

W: When you look back on 2013, how would you sum it up?

ES: 2013 was a very difficult year for me, with a lot of disappointment and heartache. I started off the season on a high, winning some local Gatorade series races. But as the season progressed, I just couldn’t put a race together. I ventured back to Europe and traveled to more countries than I could ever have dreamt of, but still no race results. It became obvious that my heart just wasn’t in the sport anymore and I ended up retiring from the sport completely and returning back to Australia. I just didn’t have the passion anymore and if I were going to be the best I possibly could, I knew I needed to either find the passion again or pursue different avenues. There was no point giving less than my best and expecting to get results. Thankfully, it didn’t take long to get my passion and love for the sport back. I was lucky enough to find an amazing new coach and start on the road to get to the top.

W: You made a huge decision to move coaches from your long time coach Warwick Dalziel. Has that been a hard move to walk away from someone you have worked with for so long?

ES: I can honestly say that it was the hardest decision I have ever had to make in my life. I left Warwick after 9 years together when I retired from the sport last year. It wasn’t a case of wanting to change coach; rather I didn’t have a love for the sport anymore. Walking away from my coach, and friend, was extremely difficult, but at the time, I had no idea what the future would hold for me. Words cannot describe how grateful I am to Warwick for what we achieved together.

W: Siri Lindley. She needs absolutely no introduction and the first thing that comes to mind is OMG she is amazing. How exciting is this move for you? Being able to work with someone like Siri must be a dream come true.

ES: Siri is absolutely incredible! Meeting Siri for the first time in a café a few months ago, it took less than 10 minutes for me to realize that she was the person I wanted to entrust with my dreams. I was ready to pack my things and jump on the next plane bound for Colorado to embark on this new chapter in my athletic career. To say that I am excited to work with Siri would be a complete understatement.

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Salthouse with TEAM SIRIUS Teammate Bek Keat

W: Boulder Colorado will become your new home over the Australian winter, this is a bit of a change from your previous base in Spain. Like Vitoria, Boulder, is another Triathlon Mecca of the world.
You will be training with World Champions daily…. how crazy is that?!

ES: Hopefully I won’t get too starstuck initially!! It will be such an incredible opportunity; being able to see firsthand exactly what it takes to be the best. Training alongside the world’s best will be so motivating and will help me get 100% out of myself each and every day.

W: Vitoria is a big base for short course athletes, whereas Boulder athlete base is probably more geared to middle and long distance racers. That will make for an interesting change for you?

It will be very different training with athletes who have a different race focus to me. However, we will all still have the same mentality; the mentality to win and be the best we possibly can. I know that Team Sirius contains the world’s best athletes; so to be the best, I need to surround myself with likeminded people. I have no doubt that I will be in very good company in Boulder.

W: Is this move a sign of your focus or is Rio still the goal?

ES: Rio is still definitely the big focus. I’m not ready to go to long course just yet.

W: What’s 2014 hold for Ellie Salthouse?

ES: At this stage, Siri and I are working very closely on our new training program to get me back to full fitness as soon as possible. I will be making the move to Boulder at the beginning of April after a month long camp on the Gold Coast with Siri and the Team. I don’t have an exact race schedule in place yet for this year, as I want to know that I am 110% ready to race at my best before I commit to any competitions. I know 2014 will be so incredibly exciting and I cannot wait!

We wish Ellie all the best for a cracking year and career ahead. To follow Ellie’s career check out

Website: http://www.elliesalthouse.com.au/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/elliesalthouse

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ellie-Salthouse/387421924634161

More on Ellie’s superstar new coach check out Siri Lindley’s TEAM SIRIUS website here

 

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