Ironman World Championships Sundried Activewear ambassador triathlon

Olli is a German athlete who has competed all over the world. He talks to Sundried about life as a triathlete. 

Have you always been into sport?

I’ve been active since I was a child. Like most children in Germany, I played football growing up, then I swapped to athletics at the age of 17. However, after a couple of years of running around the track I got bored and picked up rowing while studying in California. Rowing was my main sport for five years and during the summer months we often went out for group bike rides to keep fit. That’s how I got into cycling.

What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?

One of my friends persuaded me to enter an Ironman in 2017 and I thought it would be a great challenge. I’ve never been a good swimmer and the farthest I had run before the Ironman was a half marathon. After the race, I said I would never do a triathlon again. A week later, I signed up for another one.

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

Ironman 70.3 Mallorca in 2019 has to be my favourite race to date. The atmosphere was incredible; there were lots of spectators shouting competitors’ names, perfect weather conditions, an amazing and very scenic bike course and a very unique and buzzing atmosphere along the run course. I can highly recommend the race to anyone. It is first-timer friendly too.

And your proudest achievement?

My proudest achievement is qualifying for the 2019 Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Nice, two years after I entered my first ever triathlon. I missed out on qualifying in Mallorca by one place so decided to sign up for another race four weeks after. Luckily it paid off.

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

I’ve had a few mini disasters along the way, ranging from having to walk the run leg of a triathlon because my knee locked up to cycling on a flat tyre for 40km and grabbing the wrong transition bag.

My toughest race yet was the 70.3 in Weymouth in 2018. The swim was shortened because the sea was choppy and it was very cold, very wet and very windy. I wasn’t prepared for the weather conditions and got so cold on the bike that I wasn’t able to eat or drink anything because my hands turned into ice blocks. Following the nutrition fail on the bike, the wheels came off during the run and I was just glad to make it to the finish line. A large number of competitors (including half of the professionals) were not able to finish the race.

How do you overcome setbacks?

Everyone gets ill or injured and I guess the key to overcome any obstacle is to be patient. These things are out of anyone’s control and will happen. You just have to believe in your training.

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

Don’t do a full Ironman as your first ever triathlon and don’t eat a large portion of raw green vegetables and meat the evening before a race. Your stomach will thank you.

What are your goals for 2020?

Of course I’d like to do well in my races, but my main goals are to continue enjoying the sport and to stay healthy and injury-free.

Who do you take your inspiration from?

I’ve read quite a few books that provide great inspiration, such as ‘Iron War’ by Matt Fitzgerald and ‘A Life Without Limits’ by Chrissie Wellington. In addition, there are plenty of triathletes in my circle of friends and each of them has their own unique story.

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

Sundried is a very unique company in terms of sustainability and offers products that are made from 100% recycled materials, thereby contributing to the reduction of the global carbon footprint of textiles. On top of that, the kit looks great and is very reasonably priced. My favourite piece of kit so far is the Cadence Men's Short Sleeve Cycle Jersey as it looks great and fits perfectly.