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Guy Petruzzelli Athlete Ambassador

by Alexandra Parren

athlete triathlon running

Guy is an American triathlete who works hard to achieve his race wins. He talks to Sundried about racing disasters and overcoming setbacks. 

Have you always been into sport?

I've been an athlete for the better part of my life. I started out playing football and swimming, then ran track in college, which led me to triathlon. 

What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?

I was a lifeguard for the Chicago Park District and used to watch The Chicago Triathlon every summer. I decided to do my first one as a team with 2 other guards. I did the swim, but I left the race wanting more. The next summer, I entered that race solo, and was promptly dusted. But that resulted in me wanting to be better at the sport, and find out how far I could go.

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

North American Tri Championships, 2012, in Tawas, Michigan. It was a 70.3, and I had dropped out the year before due to dehydration, and really wanted to correct that mistake. I came back in 2012, and won the overall. The course was beautiful and challenging, the entire town came out to support the athletes. The race finished in downtown Tawas, with live music and food at the finish line. 

And your proudest achievement?

Coming back from my broken collarbone 4 months ahead of schedule. I worked incredibly hard to make sure I was able to salvage my season in 2010. 

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

I've had several. The biggest one was developing vertigo while racing in the Catskills Mountains, at American Zofingen. I was doing well on the bike, had ridden myself into the top 7, and on the 3rd loop of an extremely hilly course, my equilibrium began to go. I had to stop several times to compose myself, but I couldn't keep it together. I was seeing double, and shortly thereafter I dropped out. That has stuck with me for 8 years. I plan to return in 2018 and get it right.

How do you overcome setbacks?

I'm admittedly a terrible loser. I can't stand it. It's nothing I will outwardly project, but I used to beat myself up internally. I've learned that to really overcome a setback, you have to look at it objectively. I'll walk away from it for a couple days. Then I'll look at it with fresh eyes. That allows me to see how things unfolded, and where I came off the rails. I then work those steps, to ensure it doesn't happen again. It's not about simply doing more work. It's not even about working hard. It's about working smart. I'm extremely fortunate to have an amazing coach who helps me through tough patches.

What is the best bit of advice you wish someone had told you before you started competing?

Fail often. Fail forward. When you blow up in a race, make it spectacular. Those are the opportunities for the most growth as an athlete and a person.

What are your goals for 2018?

To qualify for Kona in 2019, to place top 3 at American Zofingen, and to beat my record of 5 wins in a season. 

Who do you take your inspiration from?

My grandmother. She's 105, in great health, and as sharp as a tack. Her determination, her will, it fills me with the strength I need when I'm feeling low, when I'm feeling weak. She endured much to make it to America, and even more when she arrived. Her ability to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds reminds me daily that I am capable of more. 

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

I really love the mission and motivation behind Sundried. Their ethics, especially as shown in the film "The True Cost", highlights why cheap clothes are so cheap. There is someone, actually several people, who are paying the price to make clothes. The fact that Sundried is fighting against inhumane treatment of its employees means a great deal to me. As immigrants arriving in America, several of my aunts, both my grandmothers, and my mother were working in terrible conditions as seamstresses. Their stories still give me chills to this day. I support Sundried's fight to ensure the safety of its workers and all those in the fashion industry.

What are you favourite bits of Sundried kit?

My favourite pieces currently are the Roteck 2.0 men's training tights in black, and Grande Casse hoodie. Everything from Sundried is so versatile, you can use their gear for pretty much anything you want to do, from the gym to the road, to the coffee shop.  

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