2017 is set to be a big one for South African ultra triathlon fans. Hey with exchange rates, events are accessible to almost anyone! Today on 32Gi Sports Nutrition we chat to Damian Bradley, who heads up the MiWay Ultra Triathlon Series. Kicking off in Durban in March; the series takes you to Sun City, the Cape, and then back to KZN and midmar dam, over the course of the year.
Welcome back to 32Gi Sports Nutrition, I’m Mr Active, David Katz and we’re talking triathlon today. It’s a popular topic here on the podcast. I think it’s because triathletes out of all athletes probably need more supplements than anyone else.
It’s not so easy to keep going when you are doing a swim leg, of course a bike leg and a run leg and on top of that. It’s not just your regular Olympic, you’re now looking at ultras. There’s a lot of nutrition required to get through these events.
It’s a great pleasure now to welcome Damian Bradley onto the podcast. He heads up the MiWay Ultra Triathlon Series. Damian, great series that, Ultra Triathlon, it’s not the easiest thing in the world but it’s very rewarding isn’t it?
Damian Bradley: It is certainly, it’s not really a sport, it becomes more of a lifestyle. But it’s really, it’s an awesome sport to take up, if I can call it that. Yes, as you say, very rewarding and very open to people from many fields.
DK: Talking about the series, the first coming up in Durban down in South Africa on the 5th of March I believe it is, tell us a bit more about the series and the locations you go to?
Taking Ultra triathlon around South Africa
DB: Thanks David, look, what we’ve done over the last couple of years is built the series up with four events. It was two provinces and now we’ve gone to three with the Cape. This year is the founder year where we’re getting our national footprint and we’ve got our first event in Durban on the 5th of March.
After that we’ve got our second event which is up at Sun City, that’s the 7th of May. Then we move down to the beautiful Cape, that’s the 24th September. Then after that we’re back to KZN up to the beautiful Midmar Dam. That takes place on the 26th of November, the last one of the year.
DK: Triathlon as a whole, I’m not just looking at South Africa, I’m actually looking at the whole international market. With the advent of the Ironman events and the spread of that into 70.3, of course we’ve got the Challenge Series as well. There really is this interest and desire for people isn’t there to enter triathlon events and it’s a progress. You start with the smaller events and you build up to something like an Ultra?
DB: Definitely, as I say, the progression into triathlon for a lot of people come from running and cycling backgrounds, things like that. It’s really open, because it’s a multi-sport event, it’s open to anyone from stand-alone swimmers, runners and cyclists.
It makes it very open and accessible for the guys and what it does is you don’t have to be a top swimmer, a top cyclist or a top runner to actually be good or just to have fun. It really comes down to how you can put all three disciplines into one and that makes it enjoyable.
Triathlon and 32Gi are the perfect match
DK: As I touched on right at the start of the show, nutrition becomes very important, especially when you’re looking at the guys doing the ultras. It’s not just about race day, it’s all the preparation you put in. Trying to train three different disciplines throughout the week requires a lot of nutrition. 32Gi have come on board with you guys as a sponsor. I presume they’re going to have a lot of presence at the events this year?
DB: Definitely David, we’re very excited to have 32Gi on board. I have been speaking to Mark for a while and it’s a great partnership. I think we both really enjoy working together. It comes down, from the start of training for any triathlon, you need to get your nutrition right. Otherwise, you’re not going to make the training, especially for the longer distanced races.
On the day you need to race with what you’ve trained with. Trying new things isn’t going to cut it on the day. 32Gi have got a fantastic offering, they’re really coming to the party across the board with the full spectrum of products that they’ve got. I think athletes are going to be really happy to see the nutrition and what 32Gi can do for them.
DK: Fantastic products indeed and the nice thing they’re bringing out is called an Endurance Pack. I’ll put a link up if people want to find out more about that. You just buy one pack and it’s got almost everything you need for that specific event, which is fantastic. You’re an active man yourself Damian, you get out there, you get active and as an event organiser you know the importance of nutrition, from personal experience don’t you?
Triathlon’s 4th discipline – nutrition
DB: Definitely, I’ve done my hard draft, a few Ironman races and quite a few halves. I’ve raced overseas and been exposed to events over there. Seen what goes on behind the scenes and in front as well, for the athletes and nutrition is key, it really is. It’s like training and eating a diet, people think training is your biggest thing, your diet is just, if not more important. The same with training and nutrition. Your training is one thing but if you don’t get your nutrition right, you’re not going to get the training right.
DK: We’ve done some great podcasts with Mark Wolff over the last few months about triathlons and building-up to triathlons and the actual race day. But from your personal experience, what are some of the key points when it comes to nutrition? That you would recommend that people coming to do one of your ultras is looking at in that last week in the build-up to the event?
DB: Look, I definitely think hydrating, even if you’re training as much in the last week. Keep your nutrition and your hydration and eating exactly the same as the previous weeks. Obviously the 24 hours before the event you’ve got to take the right stuff, you’ve got to take your electrolytes and you’ve got to eat correctly.
Race day, really guys, you need to eat properly. Have a good breakfast, get yourselves properly prepared for the day. Even if you’re doing a short race, or the long race, you really need to eat a good breakfast and be prepared. Going out on an empty stomach is not going to help you in any way.
DK: We chatted to Grant Johnson, Elite Team Manager for Born2Run running club recently, same bit of advice. His biggest advice was don’t skip breakfast and it is such an important thing to tell people. Triathletes generally, it’s down to the T. They’ve practiced their nutrition, they know their nutrition, they’ve got everything set up. But at the same time accidents happen on the day. You maybe lose a bottle, you maybe lose some nutrition, what do guys have on offer at your events during the race for guys?
DB: What we’ve got during the race, we’ve got 32Gi Endure out at all the water tables across the run and the bike route. The bike route also has water out there, we’re handing out bottles to the guys on the bike route. So they can grab water sachets or a bottle of 32Gi Endure. On the run route we’ve got a whole plethora of various items for the athletes from 32Gi, bananas, we’ve got bars, we’ve got the gel, as well as some other items out there. Looking after the guys, making sure that they stay hydrated and energised.
Why triathlete’s need to eat on the bike
The key thing on these longer distance events, you’ve got a 21km run at the end of it. Your bike is really, although you’re pushing hard, you’ve got to eat on the bike to be able to run 21km after a 90km cycle. As much as people think they don’t get hungry on the bike, you’re actually eating for the run. That for me would be a key thing, a bit of advice to give the guys and make sure you eat enough on the bike. It’s a lot easier to eat on the bike than it is on the run.
DK: Very important that, eating on the bike and it’s a lot easier to eat on a bike than it is when you’re on the run. Damian for people out there who have maybe thought of trying triathlon, they’re a little bit scared. I know the swim for a lot of people, that’s the thing that holds them back.
It really is the shortest and the quickest of the three disciplines, it’s over, you can settle into your rhythm. The ocean might be a bit scary for people but there are races that are done in dams and rivers and lakes. What would be your bit of advice to someone who is sitting on that fence between doing their first triathlon and not doing it?
DB: My first initiative would be guys, go out and watch the events, watch your friends do it. I think it’ll pick you up and carry you into entering your next event. You know, it does sound a bit daunting, but it’s a hell of a lot of fun and that’s why it’s one of the fastest growing sports in South Africa.
Your swim is a bit of a mind game that you need to play but really as you say, it’s the shortest part of the event and our events, and all events, the guys focus on keeping the swimmers safe. Really, just enter, get in the water and they’ll be fine. You very seldom have problems out on the swims and the life boats are always nearby as well as lots of other competitors to assist.
Where to find out more
DK: Damian, if people want to find out more about the Series, is there a website where they can do so and can they follow you on social media?
DB: Definitely. Our Series website is ultratri.co.za and we do have various Twitter handles for each event. obviously Durban, @DBNUltra is the one coming up. We’ve also got on Facebook, we’re all over Facebook with our different events, Cape Ultra, Sun City as well. So I’d say the best and easiest place, go to the website, ultratri.co.za. All the information is there. We’ve got what to pack for your event, what to do, what’s coming up, all of that sort of stuff and the guys can take it from there.
DK: Great, thanks very much Damian, I’ll put those links up onto the show notes so you can just log onto the website and click straight through to all of those. From myself, Mr Active, David Katz, thanks once again for joining us on 32Gi Sports Nutrition.