Hi, I'm Melanie McQuaid

I started as a cross country mountain bike racer. I represent and endorse long term sponsors that mirror my commitment to a healthy, balanced lifestyle including healthy nutrition, regular physical activity, environmental awareness and top performance with integrity. I hope that I can encourage more girls to get into mountain biking and triathlon to further what we thought was possible for women in sport.

How MelRad Started

MelRad Multisport coaching was born from my frustration with being coached in a program designed for the best athlete in the group (not me). 

For years I was part of the National Team training program but the program was designed to support high-performance results, not development. Every year I would come into the season with my best results in March and April, and by the time Nationals and selection rolled around, I would be burnt out, tired, and slow.

In 2000 I needed a change. I switched to Triathlon racing and started coaching myself. I learned EVERYTHING I could about my new sport and how to improve. My initial foray into triathlon resulted in modest results, winning the provincial pro series and some podiums on the XTERRA circuit. My second year I won my first race on the XTERRA tour and by 2003 I won the World Championship. At the time, XTERRA (or cross triathlon) was a new sport and coaching that sport was in its infancy.

Learning to coach myself was a necessity – my mission is to discover what works best for an individual as we work together. Learning Ironman racing and coaching was a game changer.  Ultra distance racing has a myriad of variables related to strength, nutrition, injury prevention and recovery.  At the same time strength training concepts have become mainstay in my programming in order to properly prepare athletes for ultra events and mountain bike races like Leadville and long stage races.

My Story

I started as a cross country mountain bike racer. After five trips to the UCI World Championships and 7 years racing the World Cup as a pro, I needed a change.

In 2000 I tried road racing and went to the UCI World Championships with the Canadian National Team. That same year, I raced my first XTERRA. I finished 2nd in Maui that year and knew triathlon was my passion. By 2003 I won my first World Championship which led to three more and a streak of finishing first or second at nearly every race for almost a decade.

In 2012, I needed to find a new challenge and switched to Ironman. In all, I earned six half distance victories and 15+ podiums in long-distance triathlon. I did my first full Ironman in 2015 and took 2nd place at 42 years old. See XTERRA article featuring me here!

I have been in the sport a LONG time.  I have hosted an online blog since 1998! This was my original logo when I created www.melrad.com in order to promote girls in sport.

Melanie McQuaid Racergirl logo

I am the first person to win three professional XTERRA World Champion titles and took the inaugural ITU Cross Triathlon World Champion title in Spain, April of 2011. I took my second victory this year at the 2017 ITU Multisport World Championship in Penticton at age 44.

I also have many podiums I am proud of:  4x second place and a third at XTERRA World Championship.  For ITU Cross Triathlon I tried to defend my world title in 2012, fought hard and ended up in second place.  I have five overall USA XTERRA series titles, an undefeated record of seven XTERRA Canadian Championship wins and five USA National Championship victories.  In all I have won more than 50 professional races without counting my mountain bike racing career before 2000.

I also have a lot of not winning in my history that is just as important – it has made me resilient.  My career was derailed when I broke my ankle in 2016 and lost 14 months to injury.  It is an amazing ride being a professional athlete, both the ups and the downs.  That experience was crucial for me as a coach… understanding what it takes physically and emotionally to work back from injury is a powerful asset.

Fun Story from 2011 ITU World Championships:

McQuaid overcame adversity when her bike was lost while traveling to Spain.  She was forced to race on a borrowed bike for today’s championships but didn’t let that stop her from powering to her first ever ITU World Championship, adding to her three Xterra world titles. Even a 15-second penalty wasn’t enough to stall McQuaid in her unstoppable march to victory.  The Canadian never looked back enroute to her first career ITU World Championship, stopping the clock at 1 hour, 43 minutes, 2 seconds. (Triathlon.org, April 2011)

I started coaching in 2006.  In 2009 I launched the first MelRad Racing team and recently brought the team back as my MelRad squad of coached athletes. In 2018 I launched Tri The Dirt, and offroad skills camp for triathletes.

I am more than an athlete and coach.  I have appeared as a public speaker. I hosted a television segment for two years, co-hosted a sports radio talk show, managed a professional cycling team and an age group triathlon team, and along the way appeared on major television networks including CBS, NBC, ABC, ESPN, OLN, TSN, CBC, CHUM and CH television.

My Stats

Hometown: Victoria, BC

Height: 172 cm

Weight: 61-64kg

Bike size: Size medium or 17″

Favorite food:  Coffee and almond croissants

I have a B.Sc. in Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Victoria and a variety of certificates in Marketing and Technical Writing.

I represent and endorse long-term sponsors that mirror my commitment to a healthy, balanced lifestyle including healthy nutrition, regular physical activity, environmental awareness, and top performance with integrity.  I hope that I can encourage more girls to get into mountain biking and triathlon to further what we thought was possible for women in sport.

I am proud to have won the following awards:

  • 2005 #3 Ranked Female Triathlete Across all Disciplines
  • 2005 Triathlete Magazine Offroad Triathlete of the Year
  • 2005 Triathlon Canada Offroad Triathlete of the Year
  • 2006 Offroad Triathlete of the Year at the Competitor Magazine Endurance Sport Award
  • 2009 Triathlete Magazine’s Offroad Triathlete of the Year
  • 2009 Triathlon Canada’s Female Offroad Triathlete of the Year
  • 2009 Offroad Triathlete of the Year at the Competitor Magazine Endurance Sport Award

I am an athlete and coach, and hope to inspire both the present, the future and the past generation to explore their potential and to find success and meaning in life.

My motto is “Keep It Fun” and I believe that is the path to success

Why Should You Choose MelRad?

My program fits your strengths, lifestyle, goals, and ability.  It will revolutionize your training and your entire athlete experience. Today Mel’s RAD RACING TEAM, which was the FIRST triathlon age-group team in the US and Canada back in 2009, now includes athletes racing mountain bikes, Ironman, XTERRA, gravel races, trail runs, road races, time trials and swim events.  The MelRad Squad is a versatile and diverse group of athletes training according to their experience, goals, and needs.  The Squad is built to support and encourage each other in reaching the objectives laid out each season while having fun and enjoying the process.  Whether you sign up for the squad or choose to join a weekend camp, you’ll learn how to become a better athlete.

It doesn’t matter if  a coach actually was a pro, or even a good athlete.  However, it matters what that coach knows, how many years of experience, how well he/she communicates, and whether the coach is curious to know more.  I have over 20 years in PROFESSIONAL endurance sport.  Over the years I have seen a number of training FADS come and go and have seen the fundamental principles that stand the test of time.  There is a lot of misinformation available on the internet.  There is no magic workout and there is no revolutionary training system.

I’ve completed NCCP Level One cycling and Level 2 triathlon coaching through Triathlon BC.  I also have PMBIA Level One certification – Professional Mountain Bike Instructors Association.  This is the gold standard of skills based mountain bike coaching and I completed this certification in 2018.

My influences are coaches like Houshang Amiri, Cliff English, Joel Filliol, and Joe Friel’s (just his book).  In 2020, I was fortunate to complete the Altis Apprentice Coach Program and be immersed in an elite running training environment. Learning from world class coaches Stu McMillan, Dan Pfaff, and Kevin Tyler (and others) about running mechanics and programming was invaluable to my coaching development.  This is not an exhaustive list of coaches I admire and try to learn from.  We are fortunate to be able to learn from coaches that share their knowledge on podcasts so many new coaches are added all the time.

I’ve been coaching since 2004.

Professional athletes are immersed in sport.  They work with the top coaches, therapists, psychologists and interact with the best athletes in the world.  This experience is invaluable.

I was lucky to learn from the best ITU, Ironman, UCI and development coaches.  This wealth of experience has shaped my approach to triathlon coaching which is my own.  I have my own philosophy and approach which is an amalgamation of the knowledge I took from years of mountain biking, road cycling and triathlon racing.  Training science is universal and sports are specific.  Training for so many different sports has shaped my understanding of how general preparation leads to specific fitness for any sport.

I’m a lifetime student of sport.  My degree (chemisty and biochemistry) taught me to think analytically.  My career is entirely documented as a gigantic science experiment on how to optimize  performance over time towards shifting goals.  I have complete training logs and physiology from the late 1990s.  Using a record of everything I’ve done since training with the National Cycling team, I taught myself how to train myself and others to optimize potential.

When I started in XTERRA there were NO COACHES that understood the sport.   Learning how to train (coming from cycling) was an invaluable experience.  Taking what was relevant from great ITU coaches, it took two years in triathlon before I started finishing first or second in nearly every race for a decade (before turning my attention full time to Ironman).  Self coaching was only successful because I could access advice, mentorship, and education from amazing coaches.  Every coach has learned from someone.  I believe I understand how to train for offroad triathlon as well as any coach in the sport but I gained that knowledge by actively pursuing the knowledge from others.

In 2012 I decided to learn everything I could about IRONMAN, to ensure I could serve any triathlete who turned to me for advice.  I asked many coaches about their philosophy, tried a variety of approaches, and along the way learned for myself what it is like to come back from a devastating injury.  This type of experience is worth more than any coaching course could possibly offer.  There is a lot of mental coaching required for athletes going through this and that experience is priceless.

I have coached a male athlete to an ITU Multisport World Championship title and the podium at XTERRA Maui in M 30-34, coached a F40-49 to an XTERRA Canada victory and a trip to Maui her first year of mountain biking, coached a M45-49 to multiple age group IM 70.3 wins and IM World Championships, coached a F45-49 to her first podium ever in her life, and have helped athletes find personal bests across all disciplines of triathlon, cycling, and mountain biking.  This is not a complete list but more to illustrate I coach athletes of a variety of ages, disciplines, and experience, and all of their goals are meaningful and exciting to me.

The MelRad Racing Squad has fun working hard towards their goals.  All of this training is supposed to be fun after all

My Story

ALTIS Apprentice Coach Program
Mountain Biking Coaching Certification Program
Triathalon Coach Certification Program

Coaching Successes

My Athletic Experience

OFFROAD TRIATHALON

0 x
XTERRA World Champion
0 x
ITU Cross Triathlon World Champion

CYCLING

1994/96/97/98/99 UCI MTB XCO World Championship

Team 2000 UCI Road World Championship Team

Sea Otter Short Track Champion

BCBR/PISGAH/TR3 MTB Stage Race Champion

Melanie-McQuaid-Experience-Road-Triathalon-Champion-Circle

ROAD TRIATHALON

0 x
6x PRO IM 70.3 Champion
0 x
IM/IM 70.3 top 3

5150 Champion

2000 Tri BC Series Champion

RUNNING

2009 3rd Place XTERRA Trail Run World Championship

2019 3:13 IM marathon

2019 18:14 Road 5km

2020 10:39 Road 3km

Melanie-McQuaid-Experience-Running-Champion-Circle

What Athletes that Work with Me Say

I came to the triathlon scene with little biking and running experience and no prior swim experience. Melanie coached me from the bottom 20% of my age group to standing on the podium in 3 seasons with her coaching style that I understand. I live in Ontario with lots of local coaches to work with near me but I choose to work with Melanie in British Columbia.
Jason Pace
IM Athlete
Melanie has changed me as an athlete. I used to be content to “exercise” a lot and race by looking around and enjoying the scenery. She taught me to find the fierceness in working hard, the enjoyment in racing hard, and that it is pretty damn fun to get on the podium. She has made me see the value in being a balanced triathlete instead of relying on strengths. She also understands balancing a stressful job with training.
Alison Keple
IM Athlete
I’ve been coached for two seasons of XC mountain biking and XTERRA with Melanie. During that time I have gone from a “middle of the pack” XTERRA competitior to placing 6th OA amateur and 2nd in the 30-34 AG at the 2010 XTERRA World Championships finally to ITU Cross Triathlon World Champion. Melanie structured a program that balanced my work and home life with my desire to reach the highest possible level in sport.
Fred Smith
XTERRA Athlete
Having Mel as my coach this season was an incredible experience! As she states on her coaching page "if you want to put in the work, I will show you the way" and she did that plus much much more! She delivered me a detailed tailored training program. I found that she was constantly tweaking and updating my program to find a healthy, realistic balance between my work and home life yet pushing me to be my very best in all my athletic endeavors.
Patrick Nesbitt
Mountain Bike/XTERRA Athlete