At the Nationals this year, founding HEAT president Dean Bolt qualified for the World Sprint Championships.
When asked if he could provide words of wisdom to HEAT members at all levels, here’s what Dean had to say…
Everyone should try to go to a regional or national caliber race at least once for the experience. Big races have a different feel to them, and the excitement level is really amped up. The level of nerves and butterflies is always higher and it is tough to put in your best performance because of this. My success in Burlington came in my 4th national level competition. My first three were all marked by underperformance due to nerves, so for me it took that long to get to a national race relaxed and ready. This phenomenon also applies to folks who focus on a specific big race such as Placid and end up getting too amped to perform up to expectations. Treating the “big one” as just another race worked this time. Trust your training and taper properly.
After falling while trimming a tree a week before my race, I had no choice but to completely stop any training. Complete inactivity and mostly bed rest felt very tough to me but I had no choice. However, once I got going race day, I realized that I was more rested than I had been in any race I could remember. The lesson learned is that tapering works.
Despite the nerves and underperformances, I loved going to all of the large events and learned from each. The top performers in the country are folks who are just as friendly and approachable as everyone else in the Tri community. Watching the best perform is really a treat. The races are set up so you start with your specific age class and know exactly where you stand, particularly in the case of Duathlon Nationals which start with a run. Having multiple team members at the race in VT was awesome and made it more comfortable and relaxing.
Congratulations, Dean, and best of luck!