Drew Clark Athlete Ambassador
Drew is a young triathlete with aspirations of going pro. He talks to Sundried about training and racing.
Have you always been into sport?
Primary school was where my interest in sport began. I enjoyed attending after-school clubs which included football, rugby and cross country running. Everyone was encouraged to participate no matter their ability. The cross country was a big part of the school year with multiple races as part of the South East Cornwall League. My primary school also hosted the annual Landrake Run which included mud, marshland and mega hills and over 700 pupils participated. This was the inspiration for me to start training on my own to improve my results at events.
What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?
The summer of the London 2012 Olympics, I spent my time watching the amazing sporting successes of Mo Farah, Jessica Ennis and the Brownlee brothers. I discovered sports that I’d never encountered before (triathlon included). Even though I’d never ridden a bike and was a weak swimmer, I was inspired to take up triathlon.
What’s been your favourite race to date and why?
My favourite race to date has been the Lake 62 Cotswolds Standard Distance Triathlon which was held on 31st August 2019. This was my first Olympic distance race and I was pleased to come 3rd overall and 1st under-20 against a high quality field of athletes containing a couple of professionals. It was the best experience of 2019 because all my training and preparation came together on that day with an added bonus of being on the podium.
What’s been your proudest achievement?
Getting a podium finish in my first Olympic distance triathlon is also my proudest achievement due to the calibre of athletes I was sharing the podium with. The result gave me a huge confidence boost and increased motivation and belief that my dedication to training was paying off.
Have you ever had any racing disasters?
A duathlon at the start of the 2019 racing season, I competed in a duathlon to sharpen my racing skills. Whilst I mounted my bike, I knocked one of my cycling shoes off the cleat so had to stop, run back and collect the shoe and put it on before remounting the bike and doing my other shoe as planned. The bad luck didn’t end there because as soon as I started my second run I dismounted and instantly cramped in both legs. This forced me to stop and stretch in transition whilst watching the competition run into the distance.
How do you overcome setbacks?
As there are three disciplines in triathlon, there will always be something positive to take away from one of these elements if you’ve encountered a setback. I reflect on each performance in comparison to my competition and look at areas where improvements can be made, this is important for both successful races and the not so. When setbacks occur, I often investigate the possible factors and consider implementations to make future progress. This can be psychological or physical approach to training and racing.
What advice do you wish you had been given before you started competing?
Stay motivated, injury-free and ensure training is interesting and varied so boredom doesn’t take over. As a junior, I was limited to 30-minute events which did not suit my endurance ability. Therefore, it was hard to stay motivated until I was old enough to compete in races that better suited my ability and enabled me to achieve my potential.
What are your goals?
My goals for the 2020 season were to compete in my first British University Championships (BUCS) Olympic Distance Triathlon with aims of a top 20 finish. I also had plans to compete in the Cotswold Classic 70.3 event with a target time of a sub 4:30 finish. My long-term goal in triathlon is to become a professional triathlete over the half-ironman distance.
Who do you take inspiration from?
Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee initially inspired me to take up triathlon. Since racing in the southwest I have been inspired by Cornish GB age-group triathletes who have supported and encouraged me in training and racing. I have also built a strong local training network of keen amateur triathletes. Recently I have been inspired by Kristian Blummenfelt who set up a YouTube channel documenting training and racing.
What do you like about Sundried and what’s your favourite bit of kit?
The Sundried Men’s Performance Trisuit is the suit I have used for the 2019 season. It’s a great piece of kit because of the design features such as the rear zip and breathable material. It is well fitted which increases aerodynamics on the bike and of course looks good. Looking forward to my goal, the Sundried Cadence Men's Aero Skinsuit will be my go-to racing suit because of the drag reduction dimples on the sleeves as well as having three rear pockets to store nutrition whilst remaining sleek and fast. I’m also impressed with Sundried as a brand due to their commitment to sustainability whilst still providing high quality equipment at a competitive price point.