Thursday, September 30, 2010

My Superstar

Does this mean I have speed goggles????

Warning: Sharpe's turn ahead

In many ways, they are Simon’s Children. They were not even in their teens but were still inspired when Simon Whitfield of Victoria scored his breakthrough gold medal in triathlon at the 2000 Sydney Summer Games. Now, this generation is starting to make their presence felt in a sport that combines swimming, cycling and running.

Among the group is Victorian Matt Sharpe, who was ninth in the junior men’s division at the 2010 world championships in Budapest.

The contingent also includes the likes of Christine Ridenour of Cowichan Bay and Brook Powell of Victoria, who represented Canada at the 2010 Youth Olympics in Singapore, and Alison Hooper. They are assuring the Island triathlon scene won’t suffer post-Simon letdown when the 35-year-old Whitfield likely calls it a career following the 2012 London Summer Olympics.

“Christine, Brook and I started out and came up together in the Kids of Steel program and we’ve known each other a long time,” said Sharpe, 19.

“We’re tight friends, even away from racing.”

All harbour Olympian dreams. Some will make it, others might not. They know that’s sport. But however their individual careers turn out, they also know they can depend on each other. “It’s competitive to a point because we all share the same goals of winning, and that’s not a bad thing,” said Sharpe.

“But it’s not too crazy. There’s never much politics or crap going on. It’s a great group.”

And they’ve had the best of role models at the Victoria-based national training centre to show them how it’s done — Olympians such as Whitfield and Brent McMahon as well as Kirsten Sweetland, Paula Findlay and Kyle Jones.

“For sure, training right beside and with the senior national teamers on a daily basis influenced us,”

said Sharpe.

“You get inspired by them. They are the racers we look up to. I get to train with Simon a couple of times a week. He is such a good role model. He gives support, advice and time to any young triathlete who asks him for it.”

While thriving in the company of others in the vibrant Victoria training scene, Sharpe is also introspective about racing.

“I’m not a music, ear-pod guy before training or races,” he said.

“I like to be with my thoughts most of the time as I ready to race or train. Different things work for different people.”

Most triathletes have one of three entry points into the sport. For Sharpe, it was swimming, although he also took part in track and field in high school. Born in Campbell River, he moved down Island and attended Claremont Secondary in Grades 11-12 and graduated in 2009. “Even though I was very young, swimming was getting tough and I was not improving. A family friend suggested I try triathlon at about age 10 and I found it more fun.”

To the point where it became and remains a consuming passion.

“You tend to shut people out a bit during the race season and it’s great this time of year to reconnect,” he said.

“This sport has a way of becoming everything to you. But I love it. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Sharpe attends UVic part-time, taking two or three courses a semester. Your body is only in its prime once, he noted. Right now, triathlon comes first.

“I’m still figuring out what I want to major in at UVic. I don’t have a defined non-sports career path at the moment, but I’ve got lots of time. I don’t want school to be stressing at this point. The goal right now is to experience as many top-level races as I can, domestically and in Europe.”

Two-time Olympic medallist Whitfield has shown where such single-minded dedication can lead.

“Yeah, I think about the Olympics,” said Sharpe.

“But that’s so far ahead. Yet it’s always there in the back of your mind motivating you. But overall, I like to keep my mind on the present.”

And that’s going well. At the 2010 world championships, Sharpe became the first Canadian male junior racer in history to crack the top-10. “I pushed the pace but then I made some tactical errors on the bike,” said Sharpe, of his world championships race in Budapest.

“But it was a good result. It was the best Canadian finish ever for junior men’s. It was nice to get that. I’m enjoying that result now that the season is over. But I’m looking for bigger and better things.”

Those things just might come to pass for Sharpe and company as the Island’s triathlon Gen Next begins to state its case.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

First Primal Meal- Brekky

Almond flour bread, hard boiled eggs and cooked prosciutto:) I constructed an open-faced sandwich which was yum!

I think I can eat like this for awhile!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Well to be honest, I don't really know what to say or where to start...

It seems that now more than ever would be a good time for reviewing this past season because it has come to an end. I could review all my races and define the pros and cons of each one and which one I was most happy with or which one I was least happy with. I could review all the injures (some big, some small) that I have had to deal with. I WILL review most of the reasons of how I got these injures and what I am going to do to prevent them in the future. I could review my training. I could talk about the different stresses and changes I made in my life this year. But instead all I think I should say is that unfortunately I just don't think it was MY year. I don't regret anything (including racing at worlds and having to pull out)- I have learned so much about my body and things you need to do on top of training and recovering to become a high performance athlete. I did get healthy and fit and worked really hard to do so. Its good I had one of "these years" now because everyone is bound to have one sooner or later and I think sooner is better in this case.

There really are no words to describe how amazing the support staff and coaches were in Hungary- I would not have been able to get through as much of the race as I did without them. And the care and support I felt after the race was truly unbelievable for the whole team.

On to bigger and better things:
-getting all caught up at UVic and survived my first two days
-giving my body a nice rest
-enjoying the canadian lifestyle (Hungary is pretty different)
-catching up with friends
-being HAPPY

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Famous Group

Yesterday at the lake 75% of the 2010 Junior Worlds Team (Matt, Cole, Christine and myself)+Kirsten were interviewed. They covered a little of our open water swim at Thetis and thank god cut out the part where I bailed on the beach!
...check it out. (click the Triathlete video on the bottom)