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Interview with an Aquabike Champion

How did you get into Aquabike (swim-bike races)?
Well, if I wanted to compete at the National and International levels I had to not include running! There is nothing worse than arriving at T2 (2nd transition of a triathlon) in good position to win, only to get passed by a good portion of the field. Don’t misunderstand: I like to run, just not competitive enough. I’ve paid coaches and it has helped and although improvement was accomplished, a 26 minute 5k for a Triathlon anchor becomes an anchor when men my age are still running 19 and 20 minute 5k’s. One more reason, I have been swimming since I was 12 (just a few years ago!), and distance freestyle and breaststroke is my specialty. In the 2015 Senior Games (Olympics) I was awarded Gold in the 200yd Breaststroke and a Bronze in the 100yd Breaststroke. Subsequently, the miles of breaststroke has put a lot of pressure on my knees. Hence, one more reason for my need of KT Tape.   

 

Tell us how you ended up competing in the Aquabike 2018 World Championships in Denmark?

In April of 2017 it was brought to my attention that the International Triathlon Union (ITU) had included the Aquabike in its Multisport AG (age group) World Championships. This event really sparked my interest. Although, to compete at this ITU event an athlete must be selected to their National team; for USA athletes it is Team USA. There are two ways to achieve this task: a top 18 finisher at the National Aquabike Championships or by Annual Rankings.

All my currently scheduled plans were in route to the Senior National Games (Olympics). These plans and focus changed and in 2017 I competed for the first time in sanctioned USAT Aquabike events. The accumulation of these event-finishes positioned me with a 5th place ranking in the Nation (60-64 AG) and awarded me with All American Honors. But more importantly it earned me a spot on Team USA. Now, the 2018 World Championships in Denmark were in sight!

My training became very specific for the distances at the World’s. The swim is 3 Kilometers (1.86 miles) and a bike of 120 Km (74.5miles). I studied the field of competitors. And from the training and the research, my realistic goals were set - “Finish the event within five hours and place top 20”.   

It was July 8th and Ginger (wife, manager, and head cheerleader) and I left for Denmark. The event was on Saturday July 14th. I had five days to get acclimated. The weather was unusually calm for that time of year, at lease for the first 5 days.

On the event day the weather was atypical of Denmark’s conditions: overcast, misty to slight drizzle at 69°F and 15 to 20 mph winds. The water was choppy and at 59.7°F and the bike route was wet! Yes, everyone had the same conditions to compete in! Although I had Texas winds to train in and a cycling coach that would draft behind me, reminding me constantly, “It’s going to be windy in Demark! So get over it and pick up your tempo!”  

At approximately 7:45am Denmark time the gun went off and so did I. I keep mindful thoughts on my hours of training for this event. I was out of the water in 9th position and crossed the finish line 16th at the ITU 2018 Multi-Sport AG World Championships. And my final time was…4:59.24!

 

What were some of the biggest challenges of competing at the World Championships?
A simple answer, although a big challenge: maintaining a well-structured training schedule! Sustaining a healthy diet and staying injury-free using KT Tape for those stressed muscles, ligaments, tendons, and joints. Meet these challenges, and the rest of the journey across the finish-line will be rewarded!     

 

How was it competing for Team USA and having their support for an event like this?
As a senior athlete (over 60), there is no greater honor available than to wear the Red, White, and Blue uniform (kit) in competition! Memorable moments include: The Parade of Nations…walking the cobble-stone streets of Odense, Denmark with Teammates. The USA pre-race scheduled practices and meetings. Especially, the 100 plus member group rides. And the foremost Team USA memory was during the event with an occasional glimpse to the street sidelines and seeing the Stars and Strips being waived by cheering spectators. Some not even from the USA!        

 

What is your weekly training routine?
First and foremost, a daily disciplined stretching and yoga routine (during my morning coffee), this being the most important but at the same time the most difficult to observe. Three days of swimming totaling 10,000 to 15,000 yards. Cycling there is three specific types of workouts per week: Intervals, climbing, and endurance (distance), total weekly mileage of 90 to 120. On the off season toss-in speed lifting. More reasons for KT Tape! And one day of rest and “Date Night” with the wife! 

 

How have you overcome injuries and setbacks to stay active and train?
Supplements + Stretching + KT Tape = minimized setbacks! And on rest days…REST!

 

How did you first discover KT Tape?
Before discovering KT Tape and its personal usage, I would notice it on a vast array of athletes in a variety of activities and sports. Some may call it “old school” or plain “hard headedness”; if totally honest I had my reservations of the rationality and effectiveness of the tape, until three months before the World Championships when I was struck with knee pain. This new diagnosis of Patellofemoral pain syndrome was concerning if I could continue to train and be ready or even consider competing in Denmark. During an appointment with my Orthopedic Surgeon he suggested that if I wanted to continue to train at the necessary level for the World Championship, I would need to wear KT Tape on my knee and lessen my conditioning for a few weeks. I followed the doctor’s instructions and soon I was back on track with my training schedule. I know without a shadow of a doubt that without KT Tape I would not have reached my goals! To this day, if I am on my bike, KT Tape is on my knee!      

 

What is your favorite way to use KT Tape, and how has it helped you?
I have found that for my injury and need of support, the “full knee” application (https://www.kttape.com/how-to-apply-kt-tape/kt-tape-full-knee-support/) found on www.kttape.com is the answer! And the KT Tape PRO Extreme tape works the best for in and out of the water.

 

What events do you have on the horizon?
For my personal “bucket list”, I desire to get my running shoes on (yes! I said running) and complete a Full 140.6 distance triathlon. I have a few “Halves” under my belt but not a full.  I know to make this possible KT Tape will be a major part of this ambition. I also see myself, not in the near future, repeating the World Championship process once again. Who knows… maybe in the top “10” next time!!! 

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