When Lucy Charles-Barclay was forced to withdraw from the IRONMAN World Championship in St George it was a devastating blow for the British star.
Lucy came into 2022 on the crest of a wave after obliterating a high-class field to win the 70.3 World Championship in St George last September. She was poised to start as a hot favorite to claim her first full-distance World Championship on May 7.
Then, disaster struck, with the revelation that she had suffered a stress fracture to her hip and would be forced to miss that golden opportunity in Utah.
Lorang on impact of LCB injury
It was also a huge blow for Lorang, whose addition to the LCB team had been such a success in 2021. But instead of affecting their adversely adverse, Dan believes instead it has ultimately strengthened the bond.
He told TRI247: “Since I’ve been working together with Lucy and [her husband and fellow coach] Reece, we have a really good trusting relationship.
“But if you start to work together, everything should work quite smoothly. And this was now one year in but then she had this really bad injury. And personally, I thought, okay, perhaps that is already now the point to lose trust in the coach and to lose trust in the new system. And I was also prepared for that. And I would completely understand this.
“But I must say there’s been something really nice. It brought us even more together. So we talked openly about it. We talked about what could be the problems, what could be the mistakes, what could we have done better? And it was never about blaming somebody. It was more about learning and about saying, okay, we start this journey together now and it’s a long-term project.
“It was something really special for me to say, okay, they still trust. That’s why I’m really even more motivated than ever to go that way together with them and to come back stronger than she was before because I know this kind of injury. It’s not the first time that I’m going through this. And I know there’s also something good in it by working on details, working on things that you often never have time for.”
While the short-term for Lucy may involve painstaking recovery and rehab, Lorang is more confident than ever that the future is extremely bright.
“Basically I told Lucy, okay, perhaps it sounds really ridiculous, but I’m pretty sure that you will play a really major role at the next World Championship because I know what we are going through now and I think together we will also know to bring you back at perhaps even a higher level.
“We are now on a new journey. In this situation, if you are successful, everything is fine and nice. But if you come to this point, then you really say, okay, is it something that should last for longer? Is it really a long term project or is it not just okay, no, sorry. We go back to the other thing. And like I said, for me when it happened, it was not clear. I was not 100% sure in which direction it would go.
“That’s why I’m really happy that we can continue and also have the feeling that it’s been a really a honest way how we dealt with the situation. And also when we talk about the rehabilitation process with the team that is involved there, it’s really like, okay, we are working together now on that. And it’s also some kind of good feeling.”
The Lorang/LCB partnership of course was very new in 2021, and he admits he saw Lucy as almost “unbreakable” – such was her capacity for training and racing.
2022 a challenge
But the coach said he knew 2022 would provide a massive challenge – with three very specific peaks required – all over the full distance. Two IRONMAN World Championships and that Sub7Sub8 project. He also feels it is likely the injury was not down purely to one thing, but instead due to multiple factors.
Instead of that treble bid Lucy is now just working her way back to full health before she can resume training. Lorang is positive about her recovery, but reticent to predict when we can expect to see her racing again.
“I think it’s always hard to set targets when you don’t know how these things will go. But she has a really good team with doctors, with the Red Bull Performance Centre, and her physiotherapist.
“So I think we had five or six people in the calls involved in that so that everybody really takes care that we are doing the right thing at the right moment and we are also optimistic that it goes in a good way. But first of all, let’s see how fast the healing process is. And when we know we are on the right track.
“From there we can also calculate to the next goal and work towards it because it’s not always nice to look too far ahead and then be faced with what can feel like setbacks.”
Kona 2022 the dream
Right now the dream would be to have LCB on the start line at Kona in October, but Lorang knows there are many bridges to cross before that can become reality.
“If we know we now have a good healing process, then we can also make the plan for the rest of the season – no matter what it will be. And for sure, somewhere in the head there’s the idea to go to Kona for sure. That would be really the big thing. But for now it’s really step-by-step.”
Dan Lorang pre-St George TRI247 interview