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John Fitzgerald Athlete Ambassador

by Alexandra Parren
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Sundried cycling ambassador

John has a passion for fixed gear cycling and has some big dreams and aspirations. He talks to Sundried about training and racing.

Have you always been into sports?

I have aways been drawn to individual sports; I love the nature of competing against what you believe is possible. I like to challenge myself and by always being on the edge of failure, you learn a lot about yourself.

What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?

As the saying goes, "Why be bad at one sport when you can be bad at three?" I got involved in triathlon with the aim to complete an Ironman. For my fourth triathlon I finished Ironman Wales, which was a huge personal goal for me and it set me up for more challenges to follow. In a way, I think the quick transition to Ironman was an advantage. I was unaware of what could go wrong as I didn't have much triathlon experience, but I don't promote this as a training method!

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

In 2019, I took part in the Audax 24-hour time trial in Athy, Ireland. I did 453km on a fixed gear track bike and loved it. Just seeing what you're capable of doing as there is no finish line just a clock. This was my first TT and I was the only person to have completed it on a fixed gear bike. If you can't win it, be the only person doing what you're doing, that way you are always the top of your field!

And your proudest achievement?

I once paddled from Wales to Ireland for the Council of the Blind and had the pleasure of doing it with Mark Pollock who has aways been an inspiration to me in his adventures and the work he is doing for paralysis research.

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

I think it was my second triathlon. I wore my watch over my wetsuit sleeve so as to see my time and then proceeded to forget, so in transition I was trapped inside the sleeve of my wetsuit. I think I may be the only person to put back on a wetsuit in transition one!

How do you overcome setbacks?

Accept that setbacks will come and acknowledge you overcame them in the past. Keep moving forward; each success builds inner strength. This is why having the possibility of failure is a good thing.

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

I think having two sporting passions is a good thing. If your goal is a running challenge, then cycle for fun. Many times I set myself challenges and felt if it's in a kayak then I just kayak, but over the years I realised by doing numerous sports they never lose their fun.

What are your goals?

Fixed gear has gripped me like no other sport. The simplicity of it and the history of it. I have built up an 80 year-old track path racer and I aim in 2020 to complete the distance of 467km which was the inaugural stage of the 1903 tour de France. I have a few more ideas but you can guarantee my steel fixed gear will be involved.

Who do you take your inspiration from?

The early pioneers of road racing, Maurice Garin and others from the early 1900s. In modern days I take inspiration from the likes of Mark Beaumont "the man who cycled the world" and Mark Pollock who I spoke of earlier both are Ted talk speakers you find yourself planning your next adventure as you listen to them.

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

First of all, I love the quality of Sundried gear. I have been using the Peloton Jersey and shorts as my daily cycling gear and love it. Plus the environmental aspects of Sundried using recycled fabrics and I'm gland to be an ambassador of the brand.

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