Introducing Chris Mintern, 24 years of age, from Cork. Chris has been an active member of the Irish High-Performance Squad since 2010. He's achieved an enormous amount in a small time and is a multiple Irish National Champion. Chris has raced at ITU level for the last few years and now makes a bold move to 70.3 Ironman racing, and we're excited to see if this move pays off.
How did you first get into triathlon?
I was a swimmer originally and in 2007 I did Youghal Triathlon as part of a relay team. I was 12 years old and I didn't have wetsuit. I got such a buzz from the swim that I wanted to try and complete the full triathlon the following year. In preparation for the event I thought it would be a good idea to do a time trial to see how fast I could complete the bike course. I checked the previous years results and saw that the fastest cyclists were taking about 30 minutes to complete the 20 kilometer bike course. My dad followed me in the car and I rode my mountain bike as hard as I could to see if I had the ability to match the fastest guys. It took me 50 minutes, I was gutted, I had a lot to learn.
You're now focusing on 70.3 for the coming season, can you tell me what racing and training at ITU level was really like?
2018 was particularly crazy, travelling around Europe & Asia chasing points. I have always enjoyed training, that hasn't changed. I also enjoyed racing as well as seeing parts of the world I would have never visited otherwise. Looking back at the 2018 balance sheet, if I was employed by anybody I would have been fired without question. It's an expensive business, but I don't think anybody gets involved in triathlon to make money.
What’s your bike type of choice for the coming season and do you think it has an impact on your race?
I am very fortunate to be surrounded and supported by the experts in Base2Race who have ensured I am in the best sustainable aerodynamic position, as well as riding the best equipment for 2019. I will be riding the Quintana Roo PRsix, Zipp Sub 9 rear, 404 front with a Prologo T Gale PAS Tri saddle. It has taken me a few spins to adjust to the changes in position compared to the road bike. There are three factors to consider when riding a TT bike which determine performance: aerodynamics, power & comfort. The Bike Fit Analysis carried out with Dom in Base2Race has really made me feel dialed in and powerful.
Are there any major differences in your training now?
Honestly there hasn't been a huge difference in training. I'm still swimming about 20km per week, my long spins are slightly longer, I'm doing more long intervals on the bike. My running mileage has increased steadily throughout the winter, I'm consistently doing 2 hour long runs.
What advice would you give to any young triathletes coming into the sport?
Seek guidance from those who genuinely have your best interests at heart, don't believe everything you see on social media. Coming into the sport I was very lucky to be surrounded by positive role models who have shaped my view of life as well as sport. Donie Walsh & Timmy Barry particularly had a huge impact on my attitude towards training and racing, they've kept me grounded during the tough transition from secondary school through university.
Are you excited for the season ahead?
Yes. I have always considered myself capable of more than any of my results have shown. The past few years have been disappointing, I have been quite critical of my own performances, but I sat down at the end of last season and had a conversation with myself about what I want to do, and what I need to do to achieve those goals. I'm working with Eanna McGrath & Gavin Noble, their obsession with performance and constant analysis of training is unparalleled.