- Were you confident going into the XTERRA World Championship in Maui that you would claim the $100 000 prize in this elite off-road triathlon? Going into a World Championship event it is difficult to feel 100% confident that you are going to win, however my preparation was perfect and after a very successful season I believed I could win if I executed to my ability.
- Why the XTERRA series? The opportunity to travel and experience cultures all around the world is incredibly appealing and fulfilling – I competed in 13 XTERRA Championship races across Asia, Europe and America this year. Living my 20s while traveling to remote corners of the world to compete in a sport I love, has been a blessing, a privilege and one I never take for granted.
- So what’s on your diary for the remainder of the year – lazing on the beach, brewing home made craft beer? 2017 has been an emotional roller coaster and has left me a little spent and craving home. I plan to get lost in the moment and celebrate, in a deep visceral way for these moments of elation are rare in sport and only a lucky few get to experience. I plan to take the time to not only thank but also celebrate alongside all those who played their part in my fairytale. Luckily Stellenbosch will provide plenty of fine wine to keep us going late into the night.
- What makes a great triathlete? Dedication and persistence! Never resting on your laurels and always striving for improvement while maintaining a good life balance. It’s a constant juggling act between accumulated fatigue, both mentally and physically and the right amount of rest and recovery.
- What terrain do you need for training and why travel to Boulder, Colorado? For the majority of the year I am based in Stellenbosch, which is pretty much the perfect location. I am able to train with the very strong swimming squad at Maties (the local university), and there are ideal cycling and running facilities. My running squad is based in Stellenbosch, with our coach at every track session keeping an eye on us. For XTERRA athletes it is also very important to have access to good trails to keep refining technical off road skills on both the mountain bike and run. So having the Jonkershoek nature reserve so close to home is a massive asset.
Boulder was our choice of training location this year because of the altitude, sitting at 1600m above sea level on the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Altitude is incredibly beneficial to improving the aerobic athletic ability of endurance athletes. Quality athletes train there and at any given time you are surrounded by World Champions in the swimming pool or on your Sunday long run. These training partners are incredibly beneficial and a massive part of my success this year. Lastly the World Champs takes place in Hawaii each year which is VERY far away from South Africa and the travel really broke me last year. So in 2017 I chose to base myself closer to the race.
- Pro golfers can make a decent living off their sport in their 70s. What about triathletes? For XTERRA by the age of 35 you have probably reached your best in terms of top end performance and your body’s ability to recover from highly strenuous activity. I don’t see myself beating up a tired body in my late 30s. Once my passion begins to shift, new and exciting opportunities will present themselves. Millennial’s will no longer work one job from 20-65 and then sit back to cash in our retirement fund, it’s just not how this generation is wired. I am just looking forward to making a living sometime in the future without my heart rate at 200bpm!
- Talk us through your gear?
Swim: Orca Alpha wetsuit or Orca Speedsuit depending on the temperature of the water. These are incredibly fast and have been a huge asset.
Bike: Specialized Epic S-Works. The best bike for multisport athletes, incredibly versatile and regardless of the terrain almost always delivers the fastest bike split of the day.
Run: PUMA Speed 300 Ignite. I switch between these and the 300 trails depending on the conditions, but more often than not I race in the 300 Ignite Road Racer. It’s incredibly light and just feels so good under my feet. I tend to be a forefoot striker and this shoe offers a great platform for a solid landing and a strong explosive take off. Running off the bike on tired legs is never easy, but this shoe fills me with confidence.
- How has your partnership with PUMA benefited you? I started with PUMA as an enthusiastic youngster with a dream back in 2012. I was already running in the product as it worked so well with my bio-mechanics. PUMA clearly saw potential and I couldn’t be more thankful to the crew for always having my back. The individuals who have made this happen will never understand the impact they have made on my life, both as an athlete and as a young adult.
- You are active on Twitter and Instagram as well as Facebook and you have a Website – what content do you share? I like to share my life experiences on my social media platforms, both good and bad with a little humour for good measure. I try not to take life too seriously and it comes through online, I like to think. I love the opportunity to connect with so many people globally. From updating my Gran back home, to a fan in the Philippines it can all be done in a simple Tweet or Instagram update.