Meet July’s featured athlete Allan Bieber, who’s been competing on the world stage since 1999 in Montreal. Bieber will be one of two age-group athletes representing the Cook Islands at the 2015 ITU World Championships in Chicago.
WTS Chicago: You’ve competed in almost every ITU World Championships for the last 15 years. What is it that keeps you coming back year after year?
Allan Bieber: I attended my first race (Montreal, 1999) due to a remark from a colleague/fellow triathlete who told me I was good enough to compete in the ITU World Championships. I said “no way,” but decided to try to qualify (representing Canada) and was successful. It was rewarding not only to compete in the event with so many other international athletes, but to also watch the elites race. That experience made me want to attend the next event (Perth, 2000), and on it went from there.
The ITU World Championships are now an excuse to travel and to keep myself motivated for training through the offseason. The events give me a chance to catch up with family and friends. The travel is a reward to myself (and wife) for the time I spend training. I still find the events exhilarating with all the different nationalities, languages and crowds.
While some destinations are not too “foreign,” there is no question that some (e.g. Madeira, Portugal) I would never have traveled to had the ITU World Championships not been held there. I find it more exciting to attend when the events are in locations I’ve never been to (such as Chicago).
So I’ll keep returning to enjoy the excitement of competing with international triathletes, the travel, and to watch the elites competing at the highest level.
WTS: What are you looking forward to most about competing in Chicago?
AB: I have a brother living in the area and my three other siblings will each be traveling from Canada so we can have a family reunion. I’m looking forward to the reunion and competing in front of them. And, in addition to my races, I’m looking forward to the thrill of watching the elites. It will also be a great opportunity to catch up with triathletes/acquaintances I’ve met during previous events.
WTS: Any advice for athletes who are participating in their first World Championships event?
AB: It is a big commitment to participate in the ITU World Championships so be sure to get the most of out of the event and be positive regardless of the situation. Arrive early if possible to avoid the stress of lost luggage, and get acclimatized. This will also give you time to assemble your bike and have a ride in the area. Be sure to read all the race information you receive at registration. In recent years I have been competing in the aquathlon as an opportunity to swim over the course, get a feel for the water temperature, and check out the transition area. My advice is to keep training during the week of the event with taper in mind. The goal should be course familiarity so that on race day you know the hills, corners and any other features. This may help keep you relaxed on race day when you are on a course that you have not previously raced. Remember you are competing against the best in the world so keep your expectations realistic. Play fair, be safe and encourage your fellow competitors. Above all, have fun and take lots of photos for memories.
WTS: What does it mean to have your family’s support at the race?
AB: Having family members at race is an incentive to perform the best I can, and to get a few extra cheers of encouragement. All supporters should be given credit, as without them many triathletes would not be able to make the commitments. Family supporters are extra special. But when family members are unable to attend I get energy and encouragement from other triathletes I have met over the years. My experience has been that the vast majority of age-group triathletes are there because they love the sport and everyone is very supportive of one another. Having a few family members and close friends does result in a few more photos though!
WTS: Why do you compete?
AB: I compete because I love the sport and believe it is a good excuse to keep fit, travel, and meet like-minded people.
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