• Kelvin Gomez Athlete Ambassador

    athlete running finish line triahtlon world champs

    Kelvin is an athlete who has won the World Sprint Duathlon Championships representing Great Britain. He talks to Sundried about life as an athlete.

    Have you always been into sport?

    Yes - since primary school. I can remember always enjoying sports and being part of all the teams. Once I moved to secondary school, this is when I started to take on athletics more seriously and decided to join the local club for sessions. In fact, it has shaped my life so significantly that I cannot remember not ever doing any sport!

    What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?

    I have found triathlon, in particular, an exciting sport for a long time. I have always wanted to try out the sport but never dared to take the plunge after doing athletics for so many years. I was worried that all my training and hard work in athletics would go to waste but after another disappointing performance in the Gotland Island Games in 2016, I knew it was time to try something fresh.

    I had lost most of the enjoyment that athletics had brought me in the past and I knew that my performance in the sport was not reflecting my training in any way. After starting triathlon training, I suddenly found that enjoyment again and this may well have been the key to my success at Duathlon. 

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

    It definitely has to be the World Duathlon Championships in Denmark. Representing Great Britain alone was already a goal which I had wanted to achieve for a long time and going into the event, I was very pleased to just be competing in the World Championships under such a prestigious nation. Claiming the World Title was definitely a surprise and I do not think I realised what had happened until I crossed the line. A huge sense of euphoria followed and I was perhaps more relieved to realise that all the sacrifice and hard work from training had finally paid off.

    And your proudest achievement?

    I suppose this must also be claiming the World Sprint Duathlon title as above! I not only loved the course and atmosphere at the champs, but it also turned out to be one of my best races in my career.

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

    Like with any sport, you always have good and bad days. I have had countless race disasters and you just learn to move on to the next one. Some have been more challenging to overcome than others and it becomes particularly difficult to accept failure when there are no underlying factors such as an illness or injury. This is exactly what happened to me last season - my training indicated otherwise but my body was just not performing on the stage. This is the part that no one tells you about, behind every success there are countless failures. You have to ride the wave and pull through the difficult times. 

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    While some athletes may find setbacks very psychologically challenging, to me they contribute massively to my motivation. I often welcome setbacks at times, as it makes me want to work harder to achieve my goal. Success always tastes sweeter when the challenge has been greater.

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

    Rest will make you stronger. Consistent across sports, the athlete's mindset to dig deep and bury themselves in training can often be a huge limitation. It has taken me over 12 years of competition to realise that my body actually functions at a higher level when it has more rest. You may be thinking that this is not rocket science, but it becomes very difficult to stop yourself from over-training when you always want to better yourself.

    What are your goals for 2018?

    To qualify for the Elite Duathlon World Championships and compete at the Island Games Triathlon for Gibraltar.

    Who do you take your inspiration from?

    It's hard not to be inspired by the performances of athletes like Vincent Luis, Mario Mola and the Brownlee's in the World Triathlon Series. However, I often find athletes like Yuki Kawauchi more impressive for his ability to balance a full-time job together with his professional marathon running career. To then see him succeed at the Chicago marathon was an amazing reflection of sheer determination and grit from the Japanese athlete.

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

    What particularity stood out from Sundried when compared to other sports brands, was its focus on ethical wear, without compromising in quality. I love that some of the newest kit is made from 100% recycled material and that it is also giving back to several charities. What a way to feel good about wearing some kit!

    I think that the men's trisuit has to be my favourite piece of kit, however, I do also love several accessories that go with it, like the race belt and socks!

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Anglian Water Duathlon Race Report By Megan Powell

    Megan Powell Running Finish Race

    “I’m never ever doing that again.”

    My first few words as I crossed the finish line as first lady overall at the Anglian Water Standard Distance Duathlon 2018 ITU World Championships Qualifier. After a 10km run, 40km bike and final 5km run it was safe to say that I was truly exhausted. The race was a mental battle right from when we arrived in the car park for registration at 7am in zero degree temperatures. I did not want to get out of the car, let alone strip off my millions of layers to run and cycle around in a thin piece of lycra for over 2 hours. However, I got on with it; assembled my bike, stuck my numbers on and did my pre-race ritual of at least 3 toilet trips.

    Whilst racking my bike, I was slightly unnerved by the £4,000+ super duper TT bikes with deep rim wheels surrounding my little blue road bike with clip on bars. However, whether these people could actually ride these bikes well in these conditions was another question..

    After a quick warm up in the icy car park we were called to the starting line and off we went. The run route was an out and back course on a narrow path/trail that hugged the lake. I had a great start and fought my way through the field to get good positioning on the narrow course (my cross-country racing this winter had taught me well). My study of the route suggested that the course was flat as a pancake, however, I was surprised to discover that in reality it was so undulating I don’t think we actually ran flat at all! Whilst the undulations weren’t huge, the run required considerably more focus than I had anticipated! Additionally, icy, muddy puddles had accumulated in the dips; whilst most people tried their best to run around them to avoid wet feet, I used my cross-country instinct and ran straight through them…hmm!

    I felt really good for the first 3 miles, I had no idea where I was in the field but I felt strong, my splits were good and I felt like I could run forever. Then I reached the turnaround point and experienced the headwind, ah. The 3 miles back were tough and I had to battle hard to maintain my splits. However, I soon entered transition, clocked 38:47 and was currently 4th female overall (not that I knew this at the time). The prospect of mounting my bike was looming. I hadn’t had a chance to fully practise my mount since my last duathlon in November. I am relatively new to the ‘keep your shoes on the bike with an elastic band’ trick and so it can be very hit and miss as to whether it is successful. Transition was very narrow here with speed bumps and an uphill segment to navigate whilst trying to get my feet in my shoes. However, I just about achieved it and made it on to the bike course.

    cycling duathlon winter race

    My first few miles on the bike were a little wobbly as I tried to settle down in to a rhythm with my legs burning from the run before. I spotted my boyfriend Hugh on the bike looking very strong and we cheered each other on. I then picked off a couple of girls as I approached the first turnaround point and soon realised that due to seeing only one girl cycling back my way, I must have been in second place overall. Wow. My bike legs suddenly kicked in to action and I was off on a mission to catch the girl in front. It didn’t take long. When I passed her she appeared to be struggling and I knew this was my opportunity to put more power down, increase the gap and give myself enough time not to be caught on the final run.

    As we started the second loop, my plan was going well until a different lady came out of nowhere and tried to overtake. Nope, I was not having that. I put a little sprint effort in and pulled away from her. I then spent the next 15km hoping that I was putting enough power down to maintain a good gap. My final bike time was 1:09:56. Pretty pleased with that.

    T2 came along and it was a disaster. I left it far too late to get my feet out of my bike shoes and as I approached the dismount line I knew my beautiful ‘touch down’ dismount was not going to happen. I ended up carrying one shoe across the line with the other attached to the bike. The official on the line shouted “well done you’re first lady, keep it going!”, all I had going on in my head was “oh cr*p”. I got my bike back on the rack, slipped my shoes on and headed off for the final 5k struggle to the finish.

    My legs were gonners, but all I had pictured in my head was me crossing the finish line in first place, taking my first big duathlon win. I had to push and make it to the end. I saw Hugh early on in the run about to finish and knew he must have been doing well, hopefully good results for both of us if I kept this going. I soon reached the 2.5km turn around point and knew I would soon be able to work out how close the other ladies were behind me. It took me about 30 seconds to see the next lady so she must have been about 1 minute behind me. If I held it together I knew I could do it. There were some excellent spectators and other competitors on the final stretch cheering me on which definitely helped to keep me going. I passed a man who was about to start walking and cheered him on too. The buzz pushed me through the pain, I glanced at my watch- ½ mile to go. Right, that’s two laps of the track- that’s your track warm up. I started to stride out my legs and up the pace. I could see the finish line and hear the loud speaker calling me in. My first standard distance duathlon was completed. My first big duathlon win and another age-group qualifier accomplished.

    Megan Powell GB Age Group Triathlete running winner

    My overall time was: 2:11:30. I beat the next lady in my age group by 14 minutes which definitely secured my spot on the GB Duathlon team for the World championships in Fynn, Denmark in July. However, this qualifier was very much intended on being a ‘back up’ option for the sprint distance event. I did not expect to do well in it at all! However, Oulton Park sprint distance duathlon this Sunday 18th March will be my world championships qualifier for my preferred distance so I am excited to see what happens there!

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Natasha Pertwee Team GB Age Group Triathlete

    Natasha Pertwee Running Trail Run

    Natasha made a big move to Australia the same year she qualified for the Team GB Age Group team. She talks to Sundried about all things triathlon.

    Have you always been into sport?

    I have always been a sporty person and have actively participated in many sports from karate to climbing, hockey to skiing, but in the last 5-6 years I have been training hard for triathlon.

    What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?

    I was a member of a running club and after a while I felt that I needed to try something new. A couple of other people fancied a go at triathlon and so we got together and entered our first race. I haven’t looked back since.

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

    Without a doubt it was the World Championship in Mexico last year. It was perfect. Perfect venue, perfect support and the race went exactly to plan. I couldn’t have asked for more.

    And your proudest achievement?

    Qualifying for Team GB's Age Group team.

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

    Every race is an opportunity to learn. My worst race ever was a local race very early in the season. I decided not to put an extra layer on in transition and my hands became so cold that I couldn't change gear or press on the brakes!

    Cycling triathlon race

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    I have certainly had challenges along the way. Work, family and life in general can throw all sorts of challenges at you. As a family we emigrated to Australia at the same time as qualifying for GB. That’s a lot to organise in 1 year!

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

    Get swimming lessons straight away!

    What are your goals for 2018?

    I hope to qualify for GB again next year.

    Who do you take your inspiration from?

    There are so many people I take inspiration from. Those who have made it to the top of their field like Chrissie Wellington but also the mums, dads and kids who turn out to the local events and give it their all. It is a sport for everyone.

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

    My favourite things are the shorts and the training tops. I don’t need the warm things as much now that I am in Australia! I'd love to see more running shorts. I love the fact that Sundried has charity at its heart and as a company they consider the environment and ethics within the company structure. It is inspiring.

     

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Outlaw Iron Distance Triathlon 2017

    Outlaw Triathlon Iron Distance Podium

    Sundried ambassador Matt Leeman gives us a race report of the tough and challenging Outlaw Iron Distance Triathlon in Nottinghamshire, UK.

    When my coach and I first decided I was going to race two full distance triathlons in two weeks, I was intimidated to say the least! But I have great trust in my coach and we have been at work getting myself into the best possible shape going into these two races. I won the first race which was the Bastion triathlon at Hever Castle and immediately got to work on my recovery ready to go again in a short space of time. 

    At first, I seemed to recover quite well and felt good pretty quickly, but as I got back into a more substantial training load I began to feel tired, not the ideal feeling going into a full iron distance triathlon. However, when you're racing at an elite level you have to make the most of the race season, get your head down, trust in the training you've done and get the job done on race day.

    As soon as the gun went off for the swim I felt relaxed and controlled. Others were around me for the first few meters but soon dropped off the pace, which is always a good boost! I exited the water in first place with no idea of the time as I was just focused on getting myself ready and out on the bike as soon as possible. As I emerged from the changing tent I heard the race commentator announce I had completed the swim in 46:38, taking the swim course record. This gave me a massive buzz as I set off on the 180km bike. 

    My coach had given me a talk the day before the race and instructed me to start the bike conservatively and allow the strong bikers to catch me then let the bike race begin! There was a group of three of us changing positions until about half way through the bike, then the lead biker broke away. I pushed on to limit the time lost along with second place but once we had hit 100km I lost second and was in third position. This is when the race became very tough. I was riding out of my ability in an effort to stay at the very front of the race and now found myself in no man's land. Triathlon is an individual sport, therefore you have to be mentally tough to dig in and keep going, even when you feel like just pulling over to the side of a road and lying down on a hay bale (a genuine thought I had as I passed a farm). But the feeling of giving up and not doing all the hard work and sacrifice justice would stick with me a lot longer than a few hours of pain. I kept pushing on and got off the bike in third place.

    Second to swimming, running is my next favoured discipline. But after all that exertion, running a marathon is still a daunting prospect. The run course at the Outlaw takes in laps of the rowing lake followed by a more or less out and back loop along the Trent river into the city of Nottingham. I broke the marathon down into more manageable chunks in my head and paced myself accordingly. I was in third place and knew I would be happy with a podium finish.  As I was running along one of the straight sections of the river I saw an athlete sitting on the side of the course and thought it was the second place runner, as I got closer I found out I was correct and they had pulled out of the race. This meant I was in second and so I kept pushing as I knew there was a strong runner behind me. Eventually, I was caught with around 10km to go putting me back down to third place. I was able to hold this position and finish in a time of 8 hours and 54 minutes. 

    All the times I felt like giving in and said no, was fully the right decision. I had managed to hit the podium and perform at two big races in two weeks. Taking a long standing course record in the swim and a personal best improvement of 37 minutes in the process. Very happy to be in the sub 9-hour club!

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Austin Hall GB Age-Group Triathlete

    Austin Hall Triathlete Age Group Team GB

    Austin qualified for the Team GB Age-Group team after a brilliant performance during the 2017 season. He tells Sundried about preparations for future races.

    Have you always been into sport?

    My life has evolved around sport from a very young age. Being at boarding school I was playing sport every day and a big variety as well, including rugby, hockey and cricket. School also made me very competitive and motivated me to be the best I can be.

    What made you decide to enter triathlon?

    I was a club swimmer and a county runner and the achievements of the Brownlee brothers in 2012 made me throw the cycling element into the mix as well.

    What’s been your best race to date?

    BUCS Standard in May 2017 at Southport was a very good race for me. I surprised myself in the swim, setting a new PB and the cycle course suited me as it was fast and flat. I finished 62nd against some of the best university triathletes in the country.

    And your proudest achievement?

    Qualifying for the Great Britain Age Group Team for the European Standard Championships in 2018. I did not expect to automatically qualify as I wasn’t in great shape due to just overcoming a hip injury.

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

    My friend convinced me it would be a great idea to enter the Mud Sweat and Gears Mountain Bike race at Hadleigh Park, which was the London 2012 MTB course. Safe to say I haven’t raced MTB again. There is a video on youtube of me falling off my bike around pretty much every corner and obstacle.

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    The sooner I overcome the disappointed of the setback, the sooner I can move on and refocus to getting back in form and increasing my motivation.

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

    Just chill out and take a step back to look at the bigger picture because there are so many elements you just can’t prepare for, so there is no point in worrying. Prepare everything that is in your control and then just enjoy it.

    What are your goals for 2017?

    For the 2017/18 season my main focus is on the European Championships where my goal is for a top 15 finish.

    Who do you take your inspiration from?

    Mo Farah because he never gives up

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

    What I most like about Sundried is how they value their staff, as understanding the needs of their employees will result in better productivity. My favourite bit of kit is the Grande Casse Hoody as it is so warm and comfortable to train in.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren