Luke is a triathlete who was inspired to get into the sport by his wife. He tells Sundried about challenges and adventures.
Have you always been into sport?
Yes, there’s always been something. I started Judo aged five and continued to train for a further eleven years, but towards the end other interests took over. Throughout secondary school I played rugby, swam, and was strong at athletics. Then there was the best part of a ten year gap without sport; uni, work, and life were all time-demanding excuses. It wasn’t until I started coaching my son’s rugby team that I returned to sport. My wife has always kept fit and I felt I needed to follow suit, finding something that was right for me.
What made you decide to enter triathlon?
My wife started it off by entering a local sprint triathlon with friends. It was quite possibly the worst weather for a triathlon I have ever seen; hail, gales, rain in icy cold temperatures. It wasn’t the triathlon itself as much as seeing the training that she had to put in that enticed me. It seemed to me it was something that I could do, training early in the morning rather than committing to a team sport. My first triathlon was a sprint booked eleven months away. Having not swum properly for years, swimming 400m continuous front crawl took the entire year to master. I even had no running experience so building up to 5km started with running and walking between lamp posts. Cycling was the only thing that I had been doing for years by commuting daily (only a few miles mind).
What’s been your best race to date?
ITU Leeds triathlon was a really good race for me. It showed the years of training effort I’ve put in with strong swim and bike legs and a PB run, finishing on the blue carpet. But what makes a race good for me is a challenging course and one which is family friendly where my wife and kids can get involved with the action; Leeds delivered.
And your proudest achievement?
Keeping at it! With three years under my belt, race day is still a nerve racking affair. Training however is different; I know enough now to push when I need to push and back off when things don’t feel right.
Have you ever had any racing disasters / your toughest race yet?
I’ve had a fall off my bike not long after the swim last year (2016). It was a lapse of concentration that caused me to clip the kerb, and I was off. After checking my bike over I was back on to race for another 2 hours to the finish, with concerned onlookers checking I was ok; there was quite a lot of blood.
Mentally and physically the toughest race was Caderman in Snowdonia National Park. From sea to the summit of Cadair Idris, I didn’t prepare for how hard the run up to the summit was going to be.
How do you overcome setbacks?
Five weeks before Caderman, I came off my bike after work, spraining my ankle and wrist. That put the brakes on training completely. It became important to ensure recovery was not being hindered by trying to train. To keep some level of fitness I swam using a pullbuoy. Things still aren’t right and it’ll take a while before the swelling is gone.
What is the best bit of advice you wish someone had told you before you started competing?
“Know why you are doing this”
There is always better, lighter, and more costly kit. There are more training aids available that I know what to do with. There is a shake, gel or bar for everything. I am no professional, I am doing this for me, and so all that matters is I have delivered my best given the equipment and training time I have available.
What are your goals for 2018?
This year is about pushing myself on a few challenges rather than quantity. Given my ankle is still swollen; I will start pre-season for 2019 early and start light to continue recovery. Next year I’m looking to make bike leg improvements and use winter to hone my swim technique.
Who do you take your inspiration from?
I do not liken or style myself on professional triathletes as they seem far removed from where I am right now. In all the triathlons I take on, there is always something new to experience and a new challenge, and so it’s adventurers such as Sean Conway that inspire me to keep searching for those experiences.
What do you like about Sundried and what’s your favourite bit of our kit?
The men's training t-shirt is a versatile T-Shirt that I wear a lot! My most recent addition is the Grande Casse Running Jacket, small and light to carry up to the mountain summit on Caderman triathlon but kept me warm for the descent.