Ben Palentine - Athlete Ambassador
Have you always been into sport?
Not massively, I was rubbish at PE at school but not bad at swimming. I never liked team sports and couldn't run either far or fast! I've always ridden bikes, though, often just as a way to get around. I first started riding more 'seriously' in my mid 20s and it's just escalated from there.
How did you first get into triathlon?
As bad as it sounds, I've always said that anyone with a decent level of fitness should be able to complete an Ironman event so I entered Ironman UK on a whim and proceeded to avoid most of the training. I thought I should do some warm up races before so I took part in Boundary Tri as a mixed relay (I did the bike and the run in the end), Clitheroe Triathlon (in 20-degree heat on Easter Sunday!) and Deva Tri in Chester. I've found it to be quite a welcoming crowd overall with a lot less of the willy waving that sometimes occurs in cycling groups.
What has been your favourite race to date and why?
As I've only done a handful, it's quite tricky to pick one. Deva Tri was an excellent, low-key event run by the local club with a really nice course for everything and probably my favourite swim in the River Dee. IMUK was just another level in terms of build-up and race day support - closed roads and cheering spectators really make it special.
What is your proudest achievement?
Completing the big Paris-Roubaix sportive in June 2016. It's the one run by the local velo club and takes in all the cobbled secteurs. I had unfinished business, having been ill and far from 100% on my first attempt in 2014 so it was amazing to complete it and - as a point of absolute pride - ride every single cobbled secteur (no riding in the gutter) with no gloves.
Have you ever had any racing disasters?
I once turned up to a bike race thinking I'd forgotten something... turned out to be a wheel! DNS that day. I also got lost on a time trial so a DNF but some decent training.
How do you overcome setbacks?
I'll take stock, see where my fitness is (mental and physical), see if there's anything I can change to better position myself in future. Try to remember that it's only exercise and there are more important things.
What advice do you wish you'd been given when you first started out?
Don't buy a power meter. I swear I'm the only person who's ridden with one and ended up slower.
What are your goals?
Complete Triathlon X in 2022.
Who inspires you?
My wife and daughters! In terms of pro athletes; Annemiek van Vleuten because she's hard as nails and can win virtually anything, Thomas de Gendt because he's a breakaway king and his response to coming 3rd in the Giro d'Italia was to gain 10kg and take himself out of the GC pressure.
Why work with Sundried?
Because it's great gear that's sustainably produced.
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