Riley picked up the sport of triathlon in college and soon found the competitive side. He talks to Sundried about racing highs and lows.
Have you always been into sport?
I have always had a foot in sport, yes. Growing up, I played football and badminton and although I was never at a competitive level I enjoyed trying to beat my friends… which didn’t happen very often!
What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?
It was more chance than decision if I’m honest. During college, we were made to select a sport and I wanted to be able to cycle and run. So despite being as good at swimming as fish are at walking, I picked triathlon. I took it forward into university to fill the time and soon enough was hooked and looking to jump into the competitive side of things.
What’s been your favourite race to date and why?
That's a tough question as there have been some great events! I am going to go for Stockton duathlon 2018. It’s a lovely run route and the closed road and technical town centre bike loops mean you can keep an eye out for your club mates! Plus, 2017 Stockton was my first event where I was ‘racing’ so it was great to see how I had come on, even if I did go out far too hard and blow up!
And your proudest achievement?
I often ask myself this as I don’t think I have an answer. A lot of things feel very important to me for different reasons and they are not always through having good performances. That said, I was definitely smiling the most as I finished the 2018 AG duathlon world champs in Fyn. I had been expecting to be right near the bottom and came in second AG so the surprise had me on a high for whole of the last 3km.
Have you ever had any racing disasters/your toughest race yet?
There has been many a racing mishap! I could list at least 15!
The one that gave me the worst sort of gut-wrenching feeling was in Bedford. It was my first race where I was trying to qualify for the AG team. Clearly, my head was all over the place as with a minute to go stood on the start line, I realised I hadn’t put my timing chip on and had to leg it back to my bag and put it on!
How do you overcome setbacks?
The best advice I have been given on this is ‘control the controllable’. Things do come up in life and work to stop you training or affect performance. Indeed if you are anything like me mistakes will be made left, right and centre. I am not saying ignore the problems, but if it has happened then it’s happened, so look for what you can still influence and make sure you have a positive effect on them.
What advice do you wish you'd been given before you started competing?
I have had so much more fun since branching out and trying as many formats and structures as I can. Sure, I am not very good at most of them, but it’s fun and what’s the point in a hobby if it isn’t fun? I should tell myself not to get caught up trying to improve one area, go enjoy a local crit or running race and play around within the multi-sport environment. The improvements will still come and you will have more fun doing it!
What are your goals for 2019?
2019 will see me take on my first long course triathlon where the goal will simply be to get around it. I’m looking forward to setting that bench mark to move forward on. Then it’s a case of continuing to target to AG medals within my favourite discipline of duathlon.
Who do you take your inspiration from?
As a bit of a triathlon newcomer it’s probably not the usual. I am still learning all the big names and history. Thus instead my inspiration has come from those around me. Seeing some of the mega performances from coaches and athletes in my clubs and indeed the huge improvements by those starting at the same time as me has kept me on my toes and trying to improve. Living in such a connected world with Strava and Instagram etc. really helps with this as you know what everyone else is going out to challenge themselves with.
What do you like about Sundried and what’s your favourite bit of our kit?
Sundried are rightfully proud and show off their environmental and charity work. However, it’s hard not to be struck by the less obvious work they do to create a positive working environment throughout the chain with traceability and well-being programs such as EHOH (a workplace initiative looking to minimise some of the negative impacts of modern working environments such as screen time). It really makes you realise these actions go beyond the token goodwill you regularly see with larger companies.
The Grande Casse running jacket gets the most use from me because of its great flexibility in training. I use it as part of a layer system on the colder, wetter days and it works great as an independent jacket for those awkward weathers. Plus the fact it's packable means I don’t need to worry about trying to get it home if the weather heats up which is always appreciated.