David got the triathlon bug after running a half marathon with a friend and hasn't looked back since. He talks to Sundried about life as an age grouper.
Have you always been into sport?
I played rugby through school for a local club and my county, but have only been into endurance sports since university.
What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?
I actually owe this to a friend of mine who persuaded me to sign up for a half marathon with him. I’d love to say I was instantly hooked but my parents still quote me as saying “As soon as this is over I’m never running another step!” Training with friends was great fun but I struggled to run on my own after playing team sports for so long.
I can’t remember why, but not long after the half marathon I signed up for a sprint tri and that’s where the enjoyment really started for me. Strangely, running is now my favourite discipline.
What’s been your favourite race to date and why?
Chateau de Chantilly from the Castle Triathlon Series 2017 was my first year racing there and it was awesome. Fast bike course and then a nice flat run on gravel paths, all in about as spectacular a setting as you can imagine. It’s a beautiful part of the world and the roads are so smooth (once you’re over the exciting gravel section out of transition) that you can’t help but feel good on the bike.
And your proudest achievement?
I remember feeling so proud to have qualified for the GB age group team for the first time I managed it. More recently I’m really proud of my 4th place in the first Castle Series Race of 2017 in Lough Cutra.
Have you ever had any racing disasters/your toughest race yet?
My last age group event was at the world championships in Cozumel. I was in pretty good shape going into it; I had a decent swim and the bike was going well too. I’m not really sure what happened, it was a bit of a blur but I managed to go over the handlebars and flip my bike into the ditch on the side of the road and ended up with pretty heavy road rash all up my hip and back. Luckily it was near some of the race officials so they helped me get my bike working again and I managed to finish. The run was pretty ugly because my back completely locked up after the crash but I’m still proud to have finished!
How do you overcome setbacks?
I’ve struggled with this in the past, but I try to look for positives in any setback. It may take a little time but usually in the first couple of days after a disappointing race I start to pick apart the result and look for positives. Injuries are difficult, but you can usually come back stronger. With my recent running injuries I have been spending a lot more time in the pool and I’m really starting to benefit from that!
What is the best bit of advice you wish someone had told you before you started competing?
Look after your body. I’ve had a couple of difficult years with injury, and got to the point this year where I picked up a couple of DNFs because of it. There are so many aspects to Triathlon but there are a lot of very knowledgeable people out there, so find a good coach (private or in a club) that can keep you as injury free as possible while having fun!
I’m certain the best thing I’ve ever done for my performance is finding a strength and conditioning coach to work with going into 2018. I’m already feeling stronger and I’m confident that I’ll be a lot more injury resistant going forward.
What are your goals for 2018?
Initially my goal is to get my running fitness back but my main focus is definitely on the Castle Triathlon Series. I race at standard distance and really hope to get a podium or two this year. It’ll be tough as there are a lot of very fast guys out there but you have to set goals that stretch you.
Who do you take your inspiration from?
I take inspiration from athletes across a lot of sports, I think it’s their work ethic and positive attitude that I find inspiring. You can easily find those qualities in other jobs and I think it’s also important to take inspiration from people outside of sport too.
What do you like about Sundried and what’s your favourite bit of our kit?
Sundried’s ethics are what drew me to the company, and the kit looks great too! My favourite bits of kit are the t-shirts, and the Albaron training top is great as a base layer now it’s getting colder again.