Sundried athlete cycling

David is a triathlete who has competed internationally. He talks to Sundried about training and racing.

Have you always been into sport?

It all started from a very early age of 8 when I was swimming for Leek ASC, plodding up and down the pool. As part of the club I progressed through the groups and was training in the National lane by the age of 14. To keep training at a high level alongside similar ability and better swimmers, I moved to Satellites ASC. I got fixed on one goal to become an international swimmer so I trained hard each session to see where it took me.

Over the years I had competed in some awesome events and achieved so much:

  • Regional Midland Swimming Championships 2013 and 2014
  • Welsh National Swimming Championships 2013
  • ASA Staffordshire County Championships 2012, 2013 and 2014
  • Lake Windermere Great North Swim 17th out of 3566 swimmers, first in my age group.

What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?

I entered Ashbourne Triathlon which was a local race to see how I did and they looked like a bit of fun to do! Never having done any cycling or running before, I ended up winning the U20 category and finishing 44/381 overall. From this point on I was hooked to the triathlon life. This was the turning point from competitive swimming to my competitive triathlon career.

More recently I have competed in a number of international races, representing Team GB Age Groups:

  • European Sprint Triathlon Championships in Dusseldorf, Germany 2017
  • European Sprint Triathlon Championships in Glasgow 2018
  • European Sprint Triathlon Championships in Kazan, Russia 2019

What’s been your favourite race to date and why?

Alpe D’Huez Triathlon - 1200m open water swim - 28km bike including the legendary climb - 7km run at 1860m altitude. Starting with a crystal clear lake swim at Lac du Verney, followed by a cycle down the valley floor to Le Bourg-d’Oisans. From here you tackle one of the greatest climbs ‘Alpe D’Huez’ which has 21 hairpin bends and is 13.8km long, averaging 8.1% gradient - a killer! Finally to conclude an awesome event you run around the town of Aple D’Huez finishing down the blue carpet with crowds cheering you in. Having watched the Tour De France go up the climb over the years, I have always wanted to ride in the Alps so this race the best of both worlds, triathlon and Alpine cycling.

And your proudest achievement?

My proudest achievement is when I first qualified to represent Team Great Britain out in Dusseldorf, Germany for the age group European Sprint Distance Triathlon Championships. I had trained and raced so hard to try and chase the times needed and eventually got there. Actually going to race with the GB kit and with my family’s support meant so much to me. Was a moment I won’t ever forget.

Have you ever had any racing disasters/your toughest race yet?

2nd April 2017 - 3 months prior to my first international event representing the country out in Germany I took part in a well known fell race called ‘Laps Leap’. This 6 mile fell race was held at Crowden just outside of Glossop, Derbyshire and the run route took us onto the tops. Half way into this race I needed to jump a large puddle and when I landed, my left leg was fully submerged into the peat bog! I got myself back on my feet and started running again. I soon realised my left shin didn’t feel right so I stopped for further investigation. The pins from my number and my vest made an ideal bandage. I finished the race and off to A&E I went. Went under general anaesthetic twice and needed approximately 14 stitches. One month off sport and work, what do I do now with the Europeans just around the corner?

How do you overcome setbacks?

I overcome setbacks by taking things one day at a time, slowly progressing day by day. It’s key to keep a Positive Mental Attitude when you have been setback either from injury or a bad race. You can use this time to benefit you in the future by looking how you can improve, setting your mind to focus on something else. If you put the work in you will overcome your setbacks.

What advice do you wish you'd been given before you started competing?

The main pieces of advice I wish I was told prior to competing:

  • Have a tick list to ensure you have all the correct kit with you one race day.
  • To have read through the race information fully not just skim reading and assuming.
  • Especially for the bigger competitions.

What are your goals?

I would love to come away with a European triathlon medal and also keep improving my personal bests through each of the disciplines.

Who do you take your inspiration from?

My inspiration had to come from the professional triathletes who are competing at the highest level. Also friends and members of the club, seeing their achievements makes me want to work harder enjoy similar success.

What do you like about Sundried and what’s your favourite bit of our kit?

What I like about Sundried is that they are producing their products out of 100% recycled materials, promoting the reduction of waste and helping to save the environment from plastic pollution. I’m all for supporting a company that is sustainable and creating innovative ways to make sportswear out of coffee beans - that’s COOL! My favourite bit of kit is the Sundried cadence short sleeve jersey and the matching pro bib shorts. Once we get into race season it may change to the aero suit, yet to find out.