Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Be Fearless! - Interview with Kyle Lewis

Kyle Lewis was the inaugural Utah Tri Buzz M3539 AG champion, only a few short seasons after racing his first triathlon. Here he talks training under the tutelage of Utah's "black sheep," gets completely exposed by a question, and talks monster goals for 2017.

Thanks for the time, Kyle!

What's your athletic background and how did you get into triathlon?

I played soccer, football, basketball, and ran track growing up in California. A few years after getting married, I started running and ran in a few races. I got into triathlon when I was visiting my brother in St George the same weekend as IMSG in 2013. He said he wanted to do the race the next year and asked me if I’d do it with him. We did Herriman Blackridge and Kokopelli that same year. I didn’t end up racing in 2014 due to a stress fracture in my femur, but I raced it in 2015. That was the last race I did before starting to work with Coach Nate.

How would you summarize your 2016 season, and what was the highlight & lowlight?

In one word, I would say “progress.” In 2015 I was able to age group podium in almost all my races. In 2016, I was able to get on the overall podium in several races, along with a few AG podium finishes. The highlight of 2016 was IMSG. I went sub 5 on that course with terrible weather conditions. The lowlight was my last race of the season down in Vegas. It was a half where the bike was all climbing or descending, so I never got into my groove, and the run was the rockiest and sandiest run I’ve ever raced. My feet were bleeding by mile 4. It was a long and trying day.

You were the inaugural Utah Tri Buzz M3539 Age Group Champion per our ranking system, and looking at our results database you keep getting faster with time. What have been the top 3 keys to your progression?

Be consistent with your workouts.

Take recovery seriously so you can really get after it on hard days.

Push your limits and be fearless.

Nate Dressel of Endurance Cubed described himself to me as "the black sheep of Utah triathlon." What do you think he means by that, and what's it been like working with him? How would you describe his coaching style?

Haha. Of course Nate said that. Let’s just say Nate likes to do his own thing. In all seriousness, Nate is a fantastic coach. The exact kind of coach that I need. I don’t need the cheerleader coach, I need someone to push me and give me honest feedback. Nate understands that I’m a father of 4 and a manager of 16 at work. We communicate often so he knows what’s going on and we do what we need to do to have me get the work in. He’s gotten me to where I am now and I have the confidence in him to get me to where we have set specific goals.

Who do you enjoy racing/competing against most on the local scene?

There are a bunch of people that I admire in the Utah tri scene and I always make an effort to hang with them as much as possible if they are at the same race as me. As far as straight competition goes, Xavi Lucio and I were within 1 minute of each other in the races we did last season. He’s always someone that I keep my eye out for. He’s a great competitor.

Manny Cypers, Lewis, & Lucio made up the M3539 podium at Daybreak

When I saw you a few weeks ago you mentioned some big plans for 2017... can you elaborate?

After last season, Coach Nate and I had some conversations about what our next goals were for next year. Based on recent progress, we decided our next goals would be for me to try to turn pro and qualify for the big race in Kona. It’s a big next step, but I asked Nate if I was talented enough to even shoot for those goals. He thinks I’m capable, so I’m putting in the work to try to get there.

What's motivating you for this quest?

I’m a highly driven individual. I enjoy challenging myself to accomplish rare things. I LOVE a challenge and putting really aggressive goals in front of me. The commitment and dedication to accomplish something like that is something that few possess. I’d like to prove to myself that I’m one of those rare individuals.

With those goals in mind, what's your planned race schedule for 2017, or still up in the air?

I’ll probably do Icebreaker, just to shake off the racing cobwebs, but that will be followed up with Oceanside on April 1, then IMTX on April 22. If things go well in Texas, I’ll hit up a few of the local Utah races, and then Kona. If Texas doesn’t go well, I’ll prepare for Ironman Santa Rosa (what used to be Vineman) in July. Kona is the ultimate goal, so gotta keep my eyes on the prize.


I'm gonna pull back the proverbial shower curtain and expose you as a contributor to the recent People's Vote Top 10 List... your personal "podium" was 1) Utah Half 2) Kokopelli 3) East Canyon. Can you give a quick summary as to why you chose these races?

So much for the anonymous survey ;)  

1) Utah Half is a great half. It’s super fast, and I just really enjoyed myself. 
2) Kokopelli is one of the first tris I ever did. BBSC organizes it so well. It’s a great spectator race and I like to go to St. George because I have family there. 
3) I did East Canyon for the first time this year. There was some great competition there and the bike is crazy fast.

East Canyon overall Olympic podium went
Manny Cypers once again (missing), Travis Iverson, & Lewis

Anything else you'd like to share?

Love what you are doing with Utah Tri Buzz.

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