After this year’s Tranent Sprint Triathlon, we took the opportunity to interview one of our Alumni, Dechlan Wilson, as well as world champion Alison Patrick and her guides (http://britishtriathlonmedia.org/profiles/detail/alison-patrick), both of whom took part this year. Here’s what they had to say!
How did you get into Triathlon?
-I was a swimmer in my younger days. A family friend, Kyle, lent me his bike and entered me into East Fife Triathlon in 2004. I loved it and never looked back!
What would you say is your best discipline?
-Swimming definitely, as cycling can be boring and running is just hard!
And your inspiration?
-Rocky Balboa, he was a true heroic athlete and showed me what training and competing hard is like.
What about your greatest achievement so far?
-Winning Scottish Schools Triathlon in 2006 in front of a capacity crowd and against the fiercest competition.
Do you have a favourite race?
-Peebles Triathlon because it is set in the most beautiful area in the world, it is home, and there is always a tip top athlete who wins it. But seriously, it is a great race to do as it generally has great weather, it is relatively flat and is easy to get to.
Any top tips for the rest of us?
-Train hard and practice at racing speed / effort. Being good at medium paced effort is no good for racing!
Do you have any race day rituals?
– I always pray to God that I will use the talents I have to the best of my ability and race well and fast, and that nerves don’t get the better of me!
– I always make sure I have a can of Irn-Bru ready as my post race treat!
How long have you been doing triathlon for?
-Over the last three years, only the last year I did any sort of elite racing, previously I just did local races.
How did you get into triathlon?
-I was a runner, I was an international runner but I got injured and missed out on the qualifying time for Beijing so I kind of lost motivation and someone said, ‘Why don’t you try triathlon?’ and I was just doing it purely for fun and so that I could enjoy sport again.
What’s your favourite discipline?
-Well the run was my strength but to be honest I’m loving the bike at the moment because you can just go so fast!
Is there anyone in particular who inspires you?
-No, just the people around me, seeing people training hard in your group is inspiring really.
What do you think your greatest achievement is so far?
-Well, winning world champs after only a year was pretty good!
So what’s your favourite race?
-I really enjoyed Canada because the swim was in a chlorinated lake so it was just like swimming in a swimming pool but open water. It was really good and the bike course was tough, it was quite hilly; a lot of our races have flat courses because of the wheelchair athletes whereas this had quite a good hill on it and it was good going downhill, a very technical downhill which was quite fun.
Is there any top tips you could give for the big race day?
-Just don’t let any distraction affect you and remember you can only control how you are feeling and what you can do. Ignore all the external stuff.
What are your plans for the next year or so?
-This year from July onwards is all about getting qualifications for Rio but this year we’ve got Europeans, a test event in Rio and the world champs again, so in theory I want to be in a position to defend my title, and I’m getting much more excited because guides are getting a lot more supported everywhere compared to previously. Last year I only met up with my guide who raced with me a couple of times over the year, whereas Hazel (Alison’s guide) is based in Edinburgh so I’ll be seeing her quite a lot so it’ll be much better.
So do you train together all the time?
-At the moment we have been once a week but now Hazel has funding she’ll be going part time from work. So we can get a bit more of a plan together, because it helps on the bike just training to get used to each other because you don’t have as much communication. You know each other’s style, you know your changing gears and all that sort of stuff.
(To Guides) As guides, what’s your history of athleticism? How did you get into triathlon and being a guide?
-Well we’re in the same club so we swim together in the same lane, although now Alison’s a lot faster we’re not in the same lane. It’s just a case of realising that Alison needs that support to be able to get somewhere.
-Alison: when I first started off in West Lothian Triathlon Club it was just if any of the guys said “yeah we’ll try go on your tandem, we’ll take you swimming if you like”. They all just helped out loads, I wouldn’t have got through last year without them!
Hazel, how did you get into being a guide; have you been doing it for a long time?
-Well no, it’s all new to me. Got a phone call one day and it was the head of Scottish Triathlon saying “We’ve got this person wanting to go to Madrid, do you want to be her guide for the very last Series race. And I just said “yeah, sure I’ll go out.” Then that didn’t happen because of work commitments and stuff.
-Alison: I had a panic thinking, “really? I don’t want to race with a new guide?!”
-Hazel: and then British Triathlon went out and asked for potential guides to apply so they had a load of people applying and they picked ten of the top applications and we went down to Loughborough to get tested and then they chose the top 4 out of those. It’s not purely done on strength, it’s also done on your lifestyle as well, being the sort of person who can be selfless. I suppose it was just for Alison to get the best quality guide she could get.
(To Hazel): Did you ever consider going pro yourself?
-Yeah I was at that point where I was either going to take the next step and I’ve still got plans this year to do a few elite races. But the opportunity to support someone going for an Olympic medal, it was a no brainer really.
-Alison: yes it was very selfless.
-Hazel: It’s great, I’ve got a wonderful relationship with this one here!