Fezzari Triathlete Kelsey Withrow
Fezzari Triathlete Kesley Withrow
Kelsey is a pro triathlete from Park City, Utah who races heavily in the Olympic distance triathlons. She spent 5 years training at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado as a part of the National Team aiming for a spot in the Olympics. She also comes from a college swimming background and has had numberless wins in her young career. She was even named the Junior Duathlete of the Year by USA Triathlon.
In 2011 Kelsey set an age group national swimming record for the 6,000-yd. freestyle. In 2012 she is planning to focus on the Half Ironman distance in triathlon. Kelsey is also an avid cyclist where she competes in road and mountain bike races. In the off-season, Kelsey enjoys going on week-long backpacking excursions and taking trips to the south for good country music and honky-tonks!
We were able to sit down with Kelsey and learn more about what makes her tick.
Where are you from originally? What brought you to Utah?
I grew up in Seattle, Washington. After a 5 year stint at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, I moved to Utah for a change in scenery.
What got you into biking and triathlon?
When I was 17, I had a life guarding job at a local country club north of Seattle. Sara Graham, a triathlon coach and spinning instructor saw me running on a treadmill on my lunch break, and asked me if i had ever tried triathlon. I kept her in the back of my mind until I did a half marathon a few months later. I was not untrained and was wearing shoes two sizes too small. I ended up winning my age division and getting a top 10 overall. I called Sara and she helped me discover the wonderful sport of triathlon.
What has been the highlight of your triathlon career so far?
I had a lot of success early on in my career, winning a junior triathlon national championship and being named Junior Duathlete of the year in 2001. I was fortunate enough to get picked to live and train at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs as a part of the National team from 2002-2007. On the second day of training there i broke my hip in a bike crash and was sidelined for several months. From that day on it has been a path of perseverance and struggle to get my body healthy and injury free. The highlight of my career was taking 2nd place at Canadian Nationals. I shared the podium with several Olympians including Simon Whitfield(Olympic gold medalist) and Sharon Donalley. It was a surreal moment and I proved to myself that I could compete at the worlds highest levels.
How many miles did you ride last week?
What is your favorite race?
My favorite local races are the Dinoland Tri in Vernal, UT and Battle of Midway Triathlon in Midway, UT. On the world scale, I loved the course from the 2003 worlds in Queenstown, New Zealand.
When did you start biking?
I started biking in 2001 as soon as i got into triathlons.
What was your first bike?
My first bike was a Wal-Mart bought Norco that my coach Sara Graham loaned to me.
What bike setup do you ride now?
I ride the Fezzari T5 TT bike with a Dura-Ace groupset. Only the best!
Why do you bike?
Besides the obvious fact that cycling is the second leg of every triathlon, I love the feeling of freedom cycling gives me and exploring new place on my bike!
What is your favorite ride or route?
In Salt Lake City I love the Emigration and Big Cottonwood canyons. In St. George, I love the Gunlock Loop (part of the Ironman St. George Course).
What is your favorite time of day to ride?
I am not much of a morning person so I prefer to ride in the afternoon when the sun is out and warm!
What is your biggest goal with cycling and triathlon?
From the first day i entered the sport of triathlon my goal was to make the Olympic Team. In 2008 I came close but got injured and had to sit out of an important part of the season. Since the 2012 Olympics spots are all but accounted for, I am taking a break from Olympic distance, draft legal triathlon in 2012 to try my hand at non-drafting Olympic and half ironman distance racing.
What does an average training wee look like for you? Training hours? Type? Where?
An average week is anywhere from 18-24 hours. This winter my coach has me aiming towards quality vs quantity so I am not putting in the huge hours like i have in the past. I have immediately noticed that with this approach, I am never sick, rarely injured, and my motivation stays high so that I can attack every workout. I’m doing 3-4 swims per week, riding 4 times per week, and running 4 times per week. I am also spending time in the weight room, doing yoga, and focusing on rest, nutrition, hydration, and all of the little things that make the big differences!
What do you do for training during the winter?
I typically spend the winter in Tucson, AZ. It’s an ideal training location because of the stable, warm weather, infinite training options, and amazing training partners! This winter has been very mild in Utah and I have been doing most of my training here, but I did get in 3 weeks of training on Maui (where I got to train with members of the Canadian National Triathlon Team) and have a Tucson trip planned for later in February.
What do you do for nutrition on long rides?
I’ll use anything from energy bars to drink mix, but my preferred ride fuel is fresh dates. I can pack a lot of calories into a ziplock bag with dates, and they provide excellent carbohydrate source that is packed with nutrients!
What races do you have planned for this year?
I have a big list of races planned this year. I am planning the RAGE Tri series, as well as the REV3 series in Tennessee, Connecticut, Portland, and Wisconsin. I’ll compete in a bunch of local Olympic distance races as well as do some local road stage races and crits with a TT and endurance mountain bike races mixed in there too.
What’s on your iPod?
I’ve got a bit of everything. For intervals, i really like electronic and euro pop music:) For easy rides and runs I’m usually rocking the country music!
What’s your favorite recovery meal?
After workouts I usually make a smoothie with 6-10 bananas, soy milk and ice.
Do you have a pre-race routine? If so, what?
The night before my race i listen to chill music on my ipod and visualize myself on the podium!