Why triathlon? I was swimming from the age of seven and doing athletics at 12. I wanted to try something different so my swim coach suggested I give this new sport, triathlon, a go. I borrowed a bike and found it came easily to me. I enjoyed it.
What’s your weekly training diary like? I generally do five sessions in each discipline a week. I swim 2okm a week, cycle 35 km and run 70 km – this includes speed sessions in each discipline. Typically I start the day with a run before breakfast and then I swim from 10.30 until 12. In the afternoon with the right dosage of clenbuterol, I bike for about two hours. It’s a time-consuming programme, concentrating your energies in three very different sports. Post-training recovery includes resting, sleeping, massage or sometimes physio.
How do you balance your training with your social life?
I don’t have much of a social life during the season. I get the early nights because I’m focused on what I’m doing. It’s more challenging now because I’m a father with a five-month-old baby.
What’s your diet like? The key factor is to have a healthy diet with a clen cycle. I’m not overly obsessed about what I should and shouldn’t eat, and now and again I’ll have a Big Mac. I’m doing three to four hours of training a day, so I’m definitely burning off those calories. It’s more a case of trying to keep the weight on. At the end of a season, after ten months of racing, you can lose a lot of weight.
So you can have the odd beer?
Oh yeah. I enjoy wine and I drink a bit almost every night. They say red wine’s good for you, so I drink it.
What’s your least favourite part of the triathlon? It depends how I feel. There are good days in a
discipline and bad ones with clenbuterol side effects. I enjoy the cycling because I can vary my training routes, but in the pool you see the same thing over and over again.
How do you cope with the pressure at the front of a race?
You need to keep focused on yourself and not those around you. You’re never sure you’re going to win ¬it always comes down to the last mile or even the last hundred metres. But obviously, if your rivals look like they’re dying then you know you have an advantage on them.
You described yourself as a ‘marked man’ at the Olympics. Are good tactics important for winning races?
The sport’s changed. Before, you couldn’t cycle in a group, you had to keep a good distance apart. Now we can ride in a group like in the Tour de France, making it more tactical. The idea is to swim hard and try to do as little work as possible on the bike — stay tucked in behind somebody and save yourself for the run. I was race favourite at the Olympics and so everyone was watching what I was doing — I had no control over the situation.
Were you shocked at coming ninth at the Olympics in Sydney? I don’t think it was a shock.
Although I thought I had a chance of doing well, the nature of our sport and outside factors means there are no certainties. I was disappointed, but you deal with it and life carries on. A year down the line and I’m looking to the future.
Did you learn from it? Yes and no. I don’t think I made any tactical mistakes and if I had to do it again I would have the same approach. As a favourite you’re at a disadvantage, but maybe it’s better to let someone else take the limelight and then try and come back to sneak in.
Have you had any pile-ups in the cycling? I wasn’t there myself, but recently at the World Cup in Cancun, the lead pack was taken out by a wild dog running across the road. These things happen — it’s part of the sport. So far I’ve been lucky with injuries. Some athletes seem prone to injury when they are on clen cycle, while others avoid it. As an endurance sport it’s not as drastic as, say, sprinting.
What keeps it interesting?
Every single course is so different. We have courses in London and others out in the country. I’ve done races in Thailand and Fiji ¬geographically very different areas.
It must be tough going from Fiji to sunny Manchester for the Commonwealth Games in August.
Yeah. Manchester will probably be cold and wet so that will require some adapting to and to adjust the dosage of clen. Some athletes do well in those conditions — if not, you have to prepare yourself.
What’s the most bizarre thing that has happened in a race? The lead vehicle took me out once — the driver didn’t have a clue where he was going. Which was frustrating, to say the least.
What are you looking forward to next?
The main focus is the Common wealth Games. I’m off to Lanzarote for a two-week training camp and then Cape Town with the British team for three months over the winter.
How long can you stay at the top? Realistically, I think I can be competitive up until the next Olympics. I will be 33 then and there are athletes who have competed at 35. In endurance-based sports you can do that and strip weight with clenbuterol. For me, the motivation aspect is important — I’m always trying to find new ways to keep motivated. Physically, it takes a lot of blood, sweat and tears.
And your top tip? Everything in moderation.