Introducing our first International Tri-Friend- Steve Crossman! I felt it only appropriate for it to be an Aussie as there are so many amazing pros that call the land of Oz home.
Follow Steve at Crosso's Corner and on Twitter
1. Tell us a little about yourself and where you are from:
I grew up on the NSW South Coast in Australia, an area called the Shoalhaven. Summers were ideallic with lots of days at the beach, growing up. I spent my youth playing rugby and socialised with mates - as you do! When I finished High School, I moved over to Canada to chase a girl (who I married!) and lived there for almost six years, mainly in Ottawa which is a great city with a fantastic multisport community. After getting in shape whilst working in a gym during my undergrad studies at the University of Ottawa, I got into some cycling and running. Triathlon was always something I wanted to give a shot, so, one winter night (after a couple of glasses of wine) I signed up for my first Sprint triathlon that forthcoming Spring. I was really dedicated to my training for that first triathlon and followed my program religiously! After racing that tri, and another later that summer, I was truly hooked!
Fast forward a few years and now I'm back in Australia studying to become a High School teacher in Wollongong - a beautiful city a little south of Sydney and the training grounds for a number of world class athletes including Olympian Brendan Sexton and U23 ITU World Champion Aaron Royle. Since that first triathlon, I've raced every distance from Sprint to Ironman and loved each one of them!
2. You are chasing a Kona slot, what is your plan to getting there as an AG athlete:
A good friend of mine and I, signed a 'contract' last year where we promised each other we would both qualify for the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in 2014, and Hawaii in 2015, before my mate gets the boot from m25-29. These goals are still alive so yes, Kona is a goal. In terms of qualification, I'm not sure where exactly it will be, as we aren't 100% on where we'll be living (My wife is Canadian so we may return to Ottawa). I will need to improve my swim, bike and run a bit to be in contention at most races, given our AG only gets one or two slots at most races. I will need to pick my race smartly, too. Perhaps at one of the regional championship events, or at a race like St Croix 70.3 where the odds are a bit better.
3.With so many pros from Australia, do you think triathlon is bigger there relative to the US?
There are probably a number of reasons why this tends to occur and I can't profess to have all the answers, but I have a few thoughts. Australians are pretty mad for Olympic sports, such as athletics, swimming and, of course, triathlon. Swimming is massive here and the athletes on the national team are superstars. In North America, on the other hand, I feel there is a lot of emphasis put on major-league sports. Football, baseball and the like tend to attract most of the athletic talent.
Also, given Aussies have a pretty close relationship with the ocean, most of us grow up in the water one way or another. Consequently, triathlon is, I think, not as big of a 'challenge' to get into for age-group athletes, if that makes sense. For professionals, many grow up in competitive swimming and find themselves getting into triathlon through the local club scene which is really strong. That being said, triathlon is still a niche sport so doesn't draw as much media as a lot of other sports, but does, I think, get a bit more press than the US which helps the local pros.
4. What is your A-Race this year?
Our local season will get under way in October. My goal for the season is to punch my ticket for Ironman 70.3 Worlds in Mont-Tremblant 2014. My A-Race will be Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championships in Auckland, New Zealand. I hope, though, to have solid races at other events such as Shepparton 70.3 in November and the Huskisson Long-Course event in February.
5. Favorite discipline (swim/bike/run) and why?
The run. Easy. It's pure, it's simple, and you can't fake it. With cycling and swimming, there are a lot of other dynamics with the other competitors but, with running, it's all about you and how you've prepared, and how you've raced your race thus far. That, and it's my best leg so it's always fun passing folks on the run!