Having just come off a big win at the Red Hills Tri (Florida), it‚Äôs a pleasure to introduce our April Athlete of the Month, Tommy Barton! His coach, Mike Ricci, has had the pleasure of coaching Tommy for a few seasons now and is excited about his improvements each year. Coach Mike had this to share about Tommy, ‚Äúhe‚Äôs a young guy with a lot of talent and he‚Äôs one of the hardest workers I‚Äôve ever coached.‚Äù
Read his interview below, and I think you‚Äôll come away inspired to take your own training and racing to a new level!
1. You won a race! That must have been exhilarating and exciting, to say the least. Tell us about why you chose the Red Hills Triathlon, and also share the highlights of what it was like leading the race, or realizing that you had a shot at winning. Help us relive that excitement with you, and tell us the story!
I chose Red Hills Triathlon for a couple of reasons. I used it as a tune up race for St. Anthony‚Äôs, raced Red Hills in the past and knew that it was a fun, tough course. I also attended Florida State University so it was a good opportunity to revisit good friends and my alma mater.
Leading into Red Hills I knew that I was in good shape, but still didn‚Äôt work on a lot of speed work which was ok by me because it is still very early season. It was a perfect race morning ‚Äì cool with slight overcast and no wind. I knew that I had a shot at winning from the start.
I exited the swim in front, but there were a few guys right on my toes. On the bike, I hit it hard for the first two miles knowing that there were a few steep climbs and see if someone would go with me. I looked back at one point and didn‚Äôt see anybody so I just kept riding in a comfortable but hard pace.
As I was exciting T2 I saw a few guys heading into transition and knew that I had a good lead but couldn‚Äôt relax. I pushed hard for about a mile and a half. For the last mile, I relaxed a bit and enjoyed the last mile to the finish.
2. What else do you have planned for your race season?
Planning on St. Anthony‚Äôs, Tri Miami, Cap Tex, AG Nationals, and a few more, but haven‚Äôt figured the second half of my season yet. Maybe one or two 70.3s ‚Äì sky‚Äôs the limit!
3. You have the opportunity to reside in both Boulder and Florida, describe what training adjustments you need to make between those two locations, and whether or not you notice anything in your training when you are in one location over another.
I am testing out residing in Florida and Colorado. Both places have their benefits. I‚Äôm a Florida guy so Colorado winters hurt me more than I would like to admit. Colorado, you have the advantage of the altitude, amazing climbs, and weather that you could train any time of day. In Florida, you could train all year long outside, and even race year long (If you want), the humidity teaches you to focus more on your nutrition/hydration, and racing in hot climates. Being able to train in both areas is an amazing opportunity that will only help me be a better athlete.
4. Prepping for the Red Hills race, what was one of your favorite workouts from Coach Mike?
There were a lot of workouts that I was looking forward to suffering that Coach Mike gave me. I really looked forward to the hour and half easy spins, just kidding. One workout that I really do enjoy is doing bike/run race simulations where you ride as hard as you can for 3-4 miles then transition into a mile run. These hurt a lot, but they are short and you get to test your run speed off the bike.
5. Do you have a go-to race day strategy or mantra that gets you ready to race?
No go-to race strategy or mantra. I like racing short course (Sprint/Olympic) because it‚Äôs fast, it hurts, and then it‚Äôs done. You have to be ready to go from the gun so I like to envision the race and position myself with guys I know I need to watch throughout the race.
6. What‚Äôs your favorite recovery routine?
Right after the race, I try to eat a lot of fruits like oranges and bananas while sipping on water/sports drink. I do enjoy some banana pancakes or a massive Denny‚Äôs/IHOP breakfast!
7. Outside of triathlon, what do you enjoy doing (work, family or other)?
Since being back in Florida I have enjoyed spending quality time with family and friends. I love doing anything outside and being in Miami which means time on the boat.
8. What is something about yourself that I‚Äôve not asked, that you would like us to know?
You have covered a good amount. Can‚Äôt wait to get back to Colorado!