Endurance Conspiracy recently reached out to 3X Ironman World Champion, Peter Reid, hoping to get a glimpse behind the mask of a triathlon great. What makes guys who can go out rain or shine and grind away endless miles all alone in hopes of achieving greatness months later. Thanks for your time Pete.
How would you describe the feeling you get from riding/running the trails to someone who doesn't do it? What is the draw to you?
For me the time on the trails is my time for reflection. I work thru all my thoughts. If I have something that is bugging me I head out on to the trails for a solo ride or run and by the time I am back everything is worked out in my head. When I was a pro athlete I would hear about all these athletes working with sports psychologists. I thought about getting when but I realized I already had one - time on the trails.
Would you agree that it’s more accurate to label us as “endurance junkies”. Are you an addict that needs to hit the trails or the waves for a fix? Can you explain?
It's important that I spend a regular amount of time on trails. If I don't I tend to get a bit cranky. Sometimes my wife will tell me to get some trail time because I am not as much fun to be around when I don't.
What’s the longest you’ve gone without working out / training?
When I began my career as a pilot I didn't do any training for about 2 years. I focused all my energy on my new job.
To be honest, I was working in a very difficult place to fly and the work was demanding. My wife jokes that I was "MAN STRONG" those 2 years. I was lifting a lot of heavy stuff on a regular basis. I was quite fit and strong but something felt out of balance. I was missing my aerobic engine and my meditation time on the trails. After the 2nd year I made an effort to get some trail cruising time even it when I was exhausted. I would go super slow but it was just what I needed to feel complete again.
In person, you seem very easy going and relaxed, but you were also a very focused competitor. Do you find those two aspects of your personality conflicting?
There is a switch that tends to engage during races. I can go well above my daily pain threshold when it does. I was never that fast in training but in racing when that switch would engage I could dig so deep and make myself really hurt. The more I hurt the more I would zone everything out and become completely focused on my racing. I would say tunnel vision would be a great way of describing it. My friends could easily tell when I was having a great race - I never acknowledged them.
In my life, my family understands my need for “Tony Time”. Do you feel the need to spend time alone, much like you did during all of those long, solo training days?
I still prefer my own company to training in groups. I would say 80% of my training is still done solo. I like it that way!
During your career, did you ever have a major period of “burn out” that you had to work through? If so, what did you do to re-light the fire?
I had a big burn out one year while racing as a pro. I wasn't burnt out from training but I was burnt out from doing the same 3 sports day in and day out. I grew up ski racing and playing lots of sports but with triathlon I was stuck with 3 sports. Luckily I found cross country skiing which really helped my cycling. It really helped re-ignite my love for the swim, bike and run. It was such an easy fix. I kind of wish SUP was popular when I was racing because I think it would have been perfect to add to my Ironman training.
Sounds like you’ve got a bit of the fire burning these days, with some competitive goals for the 2015 Cyclo-cross season. What’s on the schedule for 2015?
The goal for 2015 is to race hard on the local mountain bike marathon circuit until June. Once the last race in June is completed then it will be about exploring on my cross bike and my mountain bike. The best way to describe my summer plans - EPIC RIDES! In the saddle all day finding new routes. I plan on getting lost a lot and slowly finding my way home. The fall is all about cyclocross! I got into it last year and became an addict. We have the World Single Speed CX Champs on Vancouver Island this fall so it's going to be a blast. The season starts with a fun cross race in the village where I live, Cumberland, which features a downtown CX crit including riding thru the local pub, The Waverly Hotel.
Do you think you’ll ever tow the line at a big triathlon again? What other athletic endeavors are in your sight?
I did a triathlon a few years ago. I dug deep and won beating out most of the Canadian Development squad but I didn't enjoy it. I did BC Bike Race last year and I hope to return in 2016. BC Bike Race was definitely one of my top 5 events of my life as an athlete.