Triathlons Are Tough

Eric Ross, a genetic engineering major from Amarillo, started participating in triathlons in 2009 and said he has no intention of stopping.

Close your eyes. Imagine waking up at an ungodly hour then proceeding to swim a 2,300 meter swim, followed by more swimming. After putting your fifth grade swim lessons to good use, you get out of the pool and proceed to get on your road bike and ride for about 40 miles or so, while attempting to reach 32 miles per hour. Are you exhausted yet? Later that day you’re going to continue with a 10 mile run. This is just one of the many workout routines for a triathlon trainer. Do you have what it takes?

Ross said his motivation comes from his father, who passed away from type 1 diabetes when Ross was a child. He said after his dad began to suffer from side effects of the disease, such as losing his eyesight and becoming nearly paralyzed, he still managed to be active.

Ross said his father was a champion skier and he was used to an active lifestyle, but even with being sick, he still tried to be progressive throughout his day-to-day. Ross said his father had a type of strength that others should try to demonstrate for every opportunity they get, especially when it comes to fitness.

“If there’s a will, there’s a way. It doesn’t matter if you believe in that destiny crap. What I’m saying is it’s about putting life in your own control,” said Ross. “I think that by putting work into being fit, you have more of that control.”

Control is one thing, but what about dedication? Ross said he sticks to a healthy diet and extensive workout regularly. And if he’s training, what he eats and what he does regarding exercise become more extreme. His devotion to this specific field of fitness was not always a dominant factor in his life. The athlete said he has always been active in sports, but he never saw himself running triathlons.

Ross said the buildup to his eventual love for triathlons came about because he did not know how to swim. He said he would have died if someone had put him in deep water. So in order to learn, he joined the swim team his freshman year of high school. Eventually, Ross said, he became a good swimmer and he eventually became swim captain.

After graduating high school, Ross said, he received his ideal graduation gift: an extensive bike escapade through 510 miles of Colorado with his uncle. He said it was a great experience and from there he knew he was becoming even more interested in triathlons.

Ross said when he started training for meets he found his dad’s old road bike and began riding it for practice. He said he also riding with a team and met a coach named Douglas Fairchild who helped him get a jumpstart on his training for triathlons.

He said his first race was in Austin and he ended up placing 26th out of 2000 people, and third out of his age division. He continued to race and after a couple of races, he said, he participated in a national race in 2010. During the competition, the athlete said he was hit by a car and skidded 20 feet, (after all, he was only crashed into at 40 miles an hour).

After the incident, Ross said, he started racing again and ended up winning in the South Midwest Region, which consists of Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana. He said after achieving such accomplishments, he plans to continue with triathlons and said he wants to participate in an Ironman competition one day.

In regards to advice about fitness, Ross said, the best thing to do, is to simply be active. And if one is interested in training for a triathlon, Ross said, take it slow and gradually push certain cardio exercises, such as running.

Overall, he emphasized that no matter what, there is always something someone can do when it comes to fitness. He said it is not simply about keeping a healthy physique, but it also helps you prevent health problems for when people get older and can be a positive factor in your life.

“I think what people need to realize is that it will help save them in the end,” said Ross. “It will help them save a lot of money with medical bills, plus you’ll live a happier lifestyle.”


About Lauren Estlinbaum

Entertainment Director    —    Journalism major, Class of 2014
Lauren Estlinbaum grew up in Pearland, Texas, south of Houston (go Texans). She is a journalism major with a minor in apparel design. Lauren would like to work for either a fashion or lifestyle publication post-graduation. As she likes to say, she considers fashion magazines survival guides.

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