Professional triathlete and Seattle resident Ben Collins took the title at the Nautica New York City Triathlon this past weekend. We chatted with him on his win, racing in inclement weather and how he got into the sport.
Triathlete.com: Congrats on your win at the Nautica New York City Triathlon. The day was extremely humid. What advice do you have for triathletes racing under those conditions?
Collins: Thank you. It was a great race with some interesting conditions. The rain mixed with humidity and heat make the weather feel much less hot than it really was. I struggled with nutrition a little myself because your thirst mechanism really doesn’t kick in when you’re being pelted by rain drops. The best way to beat conditions like that is to stick to a race plan. Plan how much and when you’ll eat and drink, and then stick to it no matter how uninterested you are in drinking once you get to that point on the bike.
PHOTOS: Nautica NYC Triathlon
Triathlete.com: The course also had what you called “massive hills.” What type of training did you do to prepare for climbs?
Collins: Between Seattle and training at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado, finding hills really isn’t a problem. I love running trails and going for, what I call, adventure runs—where you try to get lost in a park. I routinely take advantage of my Garmin’s “return to start” feature after I lose all sense of direction.
Triathlete.com: You are based out of Seattle, Wash. What is the triathlon scene like there? What are the training grounds like?
Collins: The triathlon scene in Seattle is nice. We have lakes and mountains and for a few weeks a year we even have sunshine. I would love to see a marquis triathlon in downtown Seattle. It would be brutal, but stunningly beautiful.
Triathlete.com: How did you get into triathlons?
Collins: I was working in Honolulu after college and I joined the Volcano Triathlon Team to meet people. I did a few races and got hooked.
Triathlete.com: You are a member of the USA Triathlon Project 2012. Can you explain more about this?
Collins: The members of the team are athletes who have proven themselves at the World Cup level. USA Triathlon funds us to race World Cups and Continental Cups. Their help makes it possible for us to focus on ITU racing full time, or at least most of the time.