• David Dew Team GB Age Group Triathlete

    David got the triathlon bug after running a half marathon with a friend and hasn't looked back since. He talks to Sundried about life as an age grouper.

    Have you always been into sport?

    I played rugby through school for a local club and my county, but have only been into endurance sports since university.

    What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?

    I actually owe this to a friend of mine who persuaded me to sign up for a half marathon with him. I’d love to say I was instantly hooked but my parents still quote me as saying “As soon as this is over I’m never running another step!” Training with friends was great fun but I struggled to run on my own after playing team sports for so long.

    I can’t remember why, but not long after the half marathon I signed up for a sprint tri and that’s where the enjoyment really started for me. Strangely, running is now my favourite discipline.

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

    Chateau de Chantilly from the Castle Triathlon Series 2017 was my first year racing there and it was awesome. Fast bike course and then a nice flat run on gravel paths, all in about as spectacular a setting as you can imagine. It’s a beautiful part of the world and the roads are so smooth (once you’re over the exciting gravel section out of transition) that you can’t help but feel good on the bike.

    And your proudest achievement?

    I remember feeling so proud to have qualified for the GB age group team for the first time I managed it. More recently I’m really proud of my 4th place in the first Castle Series Race of 2017 in Lough Cutra.

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

    My last age group event was at the world championships in Cozumel. I was in pretty good shape going into it; I had a decent swim and the bike was going well too. I’m not really sure what happened, it was a bit of a blur but I managed to go over the handlebars and flip my bike into the ditch on the side of the road and ended up with pretty heavy road rash all up my hip and back. Luckily it was near some of the race officials so they helped me get my bike working again and I managed to finish. The run was pretty ugly because my back completely locked up after the crash but I’m still proud to have finished!

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    I’ve struggled with this in the past, but I try to look for positives in any setback. It may take a little time but usually in the first couple of days after a disappointing race I start to pick apart the result and look for positives. Injuries are difficult, but you can usually come back stronger. With my recent running injuries I have been spending a lot more time in the pool and I’m really starting to benefit from that!

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

    Look after your body. I’ve had a couple of difficult years with injury, and got to the point this year where I picked up a couple of DNFs because of it. There are so many aspects to Triathlon but there are a lot of very knowledgeable people out there, so find a good coach (private or in a club) that can keep you as injury free as possible while having fun!

    I’m certain the best thing I’ve ever done for my performance is finding a strength and conditioning coach to work with going into 2018. I’m already feeling stronger and I’m confident that I’ll be a lot more injury resistant going forward.

    What are your goals for 2018?

    Initially my goal is to get my running fitness back but my main focus is definitely on the Castle Triathlon Series. I race at standard distance and really hope to get a podium or two this year. It’ll be tough as there are a lot of very fast guys out there but you have to set goals that stretch you.

    Who do you take your inspiration from?

    I take inspiration from athletes across a lot of sports, I think it’s their work ethic and positive attitude that I find inspiring. You can easily find those qualities in other jobs and I think it’s also important to take inspiration from people outside of sport too.

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

    Sundried’s ethics are what drew me to the company, and the kit looks great too! My favourite bits of kit are the t-shirts, and the Albaron training top is great as a base layer now it’s getting colder again.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Megan Powell Team GB Age Group Triathlete

    Megan was inspired to get into triathlon by her mum who is an Age Group triathlete. She talks to Sundried about following in her mum's footsteps.

    Have you always been into sport?

    Yes definitely! When growing up, it was the norm for my family to spend the weekend out exercising or playing sport. I used to do a lot more team sports when I was younger such as netball, rugby, cricket and hockey with a little bit of running and swimming on the side to keep myself fit. I wanted to give every sport a go! The only ones I haven't quite mastered are gymnastics and horse riding.. but I'm not too sad about that!

    What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?

    Having watched my mum (also an age-group triathlete) compete and have great success for years, I was always tempted to give tri a go. However, I didn't have the confidence to do so or a road bike. I asked for a bike for my 21st birthday and it all took off from there!

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

    I did a small duathlon at the Olympic park last March on a weekday evening for a bit of fun and training. However, I ended up finding myself in second place, seconds behind first for the majority of the race. On the bike leg, my boyfriend kept shouting my splits at me each lap and I was gaining more and more time on the girl in front. I caught her in T2 and ended up leading the race for the last run- going on to take my first overall win! I absolutely loved the chase and my very first overall win was something special.

    And your proudest achievement?

    Winning my qualifier for the Sprint Duathlon European Championships 2018 and getting the chance to represent team GB! I didn't expect to win my age-group at all, perhaps scrape a qualification place.

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

    At Eton Dorney Super Sprint in May, I was leading the race the whole way but got a horrendous stitch and stomach cramp as soon as I started the run. I didn't want to stop as I was still leading but I was in so much pain- it was the hardest 5k I have ever run!

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    I like to try and take a positive from every situation, even if it's overwhelmingly negative. For example, if I were injured, I would look upon it as having the chance to spend some more time studying (I am a medical student), resting and planning for when I was to be training again. Everything in life happens for a reason and so you just have to make the most of every hurdle thrown at you.

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

    Ignore everyone else who is there and focus on your own race. It's very easy to psych yourself out before you've even started!

    What are your goals for 2018?

    Qualify for the World Sprint Duathlon Champs and see how it goes from there... Also I really want to work on my swimming and bring it up to the level of my cycling and running.

    Who do you take your inspiration from?

    My mother! She has managed to juggle three kids, four cats, a job and training twice a day for years and I still don't know how she does it!  I also think Lucy Charles is pretty amazing. Although I have no intention on doing Ironman anytime soon, she has made such an impact on that world at such a young age, it's pretty inspiring!

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

    I love the charity involvement with Water for Kids that Sundried has. In the UK, we all take safe drinking water for granted and I think that combining charity support with the sale of Sundried clothes is an amazing thing to do.

    I love the Sundried Ruinette Capris, they are SO comfortable, extremely flattering and perfect for when you can't decide what the weather is going to do.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Katie Ball Triathlete

    Katie entered her first triathlon 4 years ago and has been hooked ever since. She tells Sundried about life as a triathlete.

    Have you always been into sport?

    When I was younger I never really took part in sport, I just did what I had to at school. I took an interest in triathlon 4 years ago and that's when I learnt to swim.

    What made you decide to enter triathlon?

    It was different from other sports and I had a few friends that were doing it, I never thought I would enjoy it this much.

    What’s been your best race to date?

    My best race was Holkham Half in July this year, I completed the race the year before and really struggled but this year I finished strong and came 2nd in my age group.

    And your proudest achievement?

    Qualifying for ITU Rotterdam this year.

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

    My toughest race was Deva triathlon in June this year. It was my qualifying race for Rotterdam and it really opened my eyes to how tough the competition was. I had a few problems with my bike at Rotterdam but I soon got it sorted and carried on.

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    Just carry on no matter what!

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

    Put the hours in and you will achieve more even if you feel like you're never going to be the best there's no harm in pushing yourself. Also fuel right for every session and race.

    What are your goals for 2018?

    I am aiming to qualify for the ETU middle distance in Ibiza.

    Who do you take your inspiration from?

    Lucy Charles, she's is amazing!

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

    I love the trisuit but my favourite is the Grand Tournalin hoody!

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Helena Kvepa Ironman Triathlete

    Helena worked as a bike fitter and got into triathlon to improve her service to her customers. She tells Sundried how that first triathlon led her on to complete Ironman races.

    Have you always been into sport?

    I have always enjoyed playing sport and loved riding my bicycle since I was a child. I also enjoyed winter sports too - from cross country skiing to downhill slopes. Apart from playing basketball competitively in school for a few years, sport for me has always been something I do for fun.

    What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?

    My 1st triathlon was an experiment for work. I worked as a bike fitter and we did setups and worked with a lot of triathletes. So entering a triathlon was a way in which to better understand our clients. I signed up for a pool-based super sprint triathlon in 2013. At that time I could only swim one pool length in front crawl before choking and getting out of breath. I got my first road bike a week before the race. I hated running. I joined Hampstead Triathlon Club and somehow managed to finish as 2nd lady. Not long after, I qualified as a triathlon club coach to help others in their journey and give back to the sport which I enjoyed so much.

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

    I absolutely loved Ironman Lanzarote!  Not just because it's such a beautiful course or because it was my first full Ironman event, but also because the physical pain I endured and what I learned about myself and how far one can be pushed in the process. The bike leg didn't go as planned so I was worried I wouldn't be able to run. Also, it was my first ever marathon - what an experience! It was great to finish the race feeling strong and seeing my boyfriend and sister at the finish line. It's an amazing race and the whole island is out to cheer you on!

    And your proudest achievement?

    Finishing Ironman 70.3 UK in 2016. I entered the race on a whim spurred on by friends. I didn't look at the race course and was totally unprepared. My training was chaotic and  I hadn't put in enough miles. I'm a fairly strong cyclist so finished the bike leg feeling strong and didn't walk a single hill, like many did. It's a beautiful but brutal bike course. However, the run nearly destroyed me. It was hilly and mixed terrain. After the 1st of 3 laps I was ready to quit. My quads had seized up, I was angry, tired and demotivated. I didn't feel like I wanted that medal enough, I just wanted to sit down, have food and go home. I don't know where I found mental strength to continue and finish it, but I persevered and came through to finish the race. It was my worst 70.3 time to date,  the toughest finish line I ever crossed and as such felt like a real achievement when it was finally all over. I really had to work for that medal! Sadly that particular race has now been cancelled, but I still feel I have some unfinished business with it.

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

    I don't think of it as my toughest race, but it was certainly a hard day. Me and a friend did a Women's Running 10km in Finsbury Park, not long after I had a bad bike crash in June 2014. What I didn't realise was how badly my leg was hurt - I was more concerned about my missing front teeth from the accident! It was a two lap course. Towards the end of the first lap my left calf started to hurt and it felt like I had no spring in my step. I started the second lap but had to admit to myself that the pain was too much. Amazingly, the fantastic volunteers still gave me a medal and goody bag for my efforts trying to get around the course. I didn't feel like I deserved it, but at that time had no idea what was causing the pain, which was intense. My boyfriend had to almost carry me home. A bit over a month later I found out that I had a tibial fracture. It turns out that the pain was from a broken leg, which was a clean fracture all the way across the bone. I could barely walk, no wonder I couldn't run! That would have to qualify as my racing disaster.

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    I'm not very good with setbacks if I have people around me. I can be a bit of a drama queen and get emotional. When I'm by myself however, I just tell myself to get on with it and motivate myself to keep going. I deal with what I can and ignore what I can't deal with. I tell myself I've been in worse situations or that it could have been worse - I'm still alive. Then I do the drama afterwards once it's all over!

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

    It's not glamorous. Most importantly, racing is not the tough part, the training is!

    What are your goals for 2018?

    I've entered the Ironman European Championship in Frankfurt. I want to do better than Lanzarote. Also, if it can be considered a goal, to get a time trial bike - I never felt as destroyed as in the 70.3 Worlds in Chattanooga this year. My trustworthy Trek Mad One is a great partner, but it's time to step up the game.

    Who do you take your inspiration from?

    From my friends and club mates. It's great to see pros, but it's even more inspirational to see us average Joes overcoming obstacles, achieving, reaching goals or dealing with not getting there.

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

    I like that Sundried makes kit that does the job. Too many brands these days over complicate things. Having an eco-friendly approach is also a bonus, I spend a lot of time outdoors so feel passionate about preserving the environment I train in.

    The kit looks great, I'm really looking forward to racing Frankfurt in a Sundried suit.

    I love the seamless tights. Comfort is all on those long runs.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Rob Sneddon Ironman Triathlete

    Rob learnt the hard way that you have to take good care of your body and train carefully. He tells us about his favourite Ironman race and his hopes for 2018.

    Have you always been into sport?

    Throughout my life I have always played sport, starting with football and golf and then moving on to basketball. Eventually, through getting dragged to do a 24-hour relay running event, I was hooked on running and transitioned to triathlon from there. Sport for me is so important and is about more than kicking a ball or swinging a club.

    What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?

    Through a very inconsistent training plan and lack of looking after my body pre- and post-run I ended up getting injured and decided I wanted to maintain the fitness that I had gained. I really enjoyed mountain biking and I lived with someone who was an avid road cyclist so it felt right that I should transition into biking. Then once I had recovered from my injury I started running again so I joined it all up, started swimming then looked at competing in triathlon.

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

    My favourite race so far has to be the Outlaw Half Nottingham, a half Ironman (70.3) event which is incredibly well organised and a fantastic course. I will be doing it again in 2018 hoping to improve greatly on my time.

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

    My toughest race yet would have to have been a standard distance I raced July 2017  After a few really positive races, I started to feel ill the night before and just had nothing in the tank when I got to the run, it was very frustrating at the time but it just made me more focused on ensuring I was in great shape for my next race.

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    Fortunately, I haven't suffered many set backs so far but I am sure they will come. I think if one does happen it will be to look at the reason why it happened and try to focus on preventing it in the future.

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

    That's a tough one! From the start of my journey I have been lucky to have the advice of a very good triathlete who has pointed me in the right direction at each point. The main bit of advice that they have given me and the part that I advise everybody else is to take it slowly. Especially if you are training to go long distance, make sure you build a very strong and consistent base of training before you undertake any big sessions.

    What are your goals for 2018?

    My big A races for 2018 are Outlaw Half Nottingham and Ironman Copenhagen. I am hoping for a 4:50 finish at Outlaw and Sub 11 hours for the full Ironman.

    Who do you take your inspiration from?

    Being British, it is hard not to take inspiration from the Brownlee brothers, but other figures like Lionel Sanders who have overcome so much of a negative past to be one of the best Ironman athletes in the world is very inspiring.

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

    It's all about the ethics of Sundried and a strong brand ethos that I find fascinating. They create high quality, well-designed products whilst making sure everything fits within their ethical boundaries. In the modern day garment industry it is hard to compete with big brands and it is so important that companies like Sundried exist to give the customers product that they know has been made ethically.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren