TRIATHLON: Self-quarantined from a festering relationship with Triathlon Australia by a move to the US, a mentally liberated James Seear has returned to Queensland to resume his quest for an elusive Noosa title.
The Brisbane-based athlete spent the bulk of this year based in Boulder, Colorado, after he decided to abandon the ITU World Championship Series and tackle non-drafting races in the US.
Seear made an immediate impact in the States, finishing seventh in both the 5150 Triathlon Series and the Toyota Cup.
The 26-year-old said he decided to head to the US after "some disagreements" with TA over its high-performance program.
"I decided to go my own way and race over there," he said.
"I don't think it (the program) was run very well, in my opinion and quite a few other athletes' opinion.
"So I had quite a few disagreements with them … I ended up getting messed around by them a little.
"So instead of getting messed around and jumping through hoops, I decided to go off to the US and basically take care of myself and race where I want to race."
In the States, Seear has received "guidance" from three of Australia's best ever triathletes - three-time ironman world champion Craig Alexander, 2010 ironman world champion Mirinda Carfrae and short-course specialist Greg Bennett.
"They've done similar to me," Seear said.
"They used to race ITU, but moved across to the non-drafting.
"Craig and Mirinda were world champions at Hawaii, so they're very good role models to follow.
"And Greg Bennett is very good at shorter Olympic distance racing."
Seear, who spent time as a child in the US, knew the decision to sever TA's umbilical cord was packed with risk, but was "very, very happy" with his season.
"I'm very excited to have a good off-season and go back next year and try and improve on my result," he said.
A good off-season for Seear would be made great by a win at Noosa on November 4.
Having made his debut in the sport at the Noosa Triathlon, he has established himself as an athlete to watch at the event.
Three times he has finished on the podium at Noosa, including third place last year, and he makes no secret of desire to one day win the race.
"It's frustrating, but I think when I finally get a win up there it will make it a bit more enjoyable," he said.
He added: "I always like to win, so hopefully I'll get a win up there in the next couple of years."