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The Triathlete Blueprint newsletter #03-My Story

Updated: Aug 12, 2023

Read time: 3min.

By Coach Yan Busset

I was a late bloomer. At age 16, I was afraid of water. While my friends were in the big pool, I was still awkwardly splashing with the kiddies. I had a near drowning experience when I was five, which created a deep fear of water. It was time for a change. Thankfully, my childhood friend Eric and I started a dare challenge encouraging each other to push our limits over physical tests. We started small, 50km cycling rides. We soon progressed, by end of summer, we were going on 200km rides, climbing passes, and running 10km races. I was without realising it I was developing a new superpower, a mix of perseverance, determination and resilience: The Grit.

Soon after that, it gave me the self-confidence to overcame my fear of water. Armed with snorkel and mask I took to the Mediterranean, I was finally having fun in the water! I didn’t look back, from that moment on.

I tried many sports but swimming, biking, and running became my lifestyle. My goal became clear: I had to do a Triathlon!

I self-taught the basics of freestyle swimming, I started going to the local pool every day. I started with 25m, then 50m, and so on. A few lanes away, there were some experienced triathletes doing fast laps. I swam in my lane, trying to keep up for a lap, then waiting for them to come back and repeat. After some time they noticed me and asked me to join their training. That was 33 years ago. One of them, Patrick, Ironman World Championship finisher and ultra runner became not only a mentor and such a good friend but also the godfather to of one of my sons.

To participate in your first triathlon, in the 90’s, you had to show a certificate proving you could swim 500m. My friend Eric and I went to a local 24-hour swimming charity event that provided swimming certificates. Three months after overcoming my fear of water and 4.5 hours later, I ended up exhausted but happy with a very satisfying 10km as first ever swimming diploma.

When race organisers asked for the 500m certificate, I showed them the 10km diploma, that felt good! They probably thought I had forged it! Ironically, swimming became my strongest of the three disciplines.

Triathlon - It was love at first sight! I won one of my first races, I was hooked! I was good at it. I kept going: I was selected for French National Junior selection in Duathlon, chosen for a High school Triathlon "Sports Academies" Program, later served in the military for an Elite Triathlon team, and raced in the French Triathlon Grand Prix as member of one of the best French pro teams.

But life is a roller coaster, and sometimes it can take back what it gives: Fast forward a few years later, major life changes, moving abroad, a divorce, a boring job, I stopped training. My body didn't recognise itself, it showed me the hard way: I was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease that almost killed me twice. It was a tough time but now I believe it was a blessing in disguise.

I had deviated from my path of true passion and the real me. This was a wake up call. I decided to turn my passion into my job and my job into my passion. Thanks to what started as a teenage dare challenge and built my resilience I found my grit again and started my own coaching business.

Many years have passed but my passion remains. I still burn for Triathlon. My greatest pleasure now is to pass my knowledge, experience and enthusiasm to those who want to start this sport. To experience the fulfilment of becoming a finisher, build a better version of themselves and find their inner grit.

It's never too late to pursue your passion and overcome your fears. I've been through ups and downs, faced challenges and setbacks, but I've come out stronger and more determined than ever. Triathlon has become a part of who I am. My goal now to inspire others to discover their own potential and push through their boundaries.

Whether you're a beginner looking to take your first steps or an experienced athlete aiming for new heights. I'm here to guide you, share my experiences, and help you reach your goals.

Triathlon is more than just a sport. It's a way of life, a powerful combination of endurance, strength, and mental fortitude. Through dedication, hard work, and a never-give-up attitude, you can achieve incredible things both on and off the course.

So, let's dive in, pedal hard, and run towards success. Follow me, share this newsletter, and let's inspire others to unleash their inner triathlete. Are you ready to embark on this life changing journey? Let's do it!

Thank you for reading and see you next week!


Whenever you’re ready, there are 3 ways I can help you:

1. If you are looking for support for your triathlon journey, I recommend you book a 30min 1on1 video consultation with me here.

2. If you are looking for an online coaching service check here.

3. if you are in the Helsinki area and looking for the best training group check here


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