Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Q&A with Xterra Wetsuits

Several weeks ago I was asked to be part of the Xterra Wetsuits photo shoot with famed photographer Tim Tadder. It was a really fun experience and my first time doing a studio shoot. After the fact, I had a quick Q&A with Xterra Wetsuits about the shoot and about all things triathlons. Check it out below. Thanks for reading! -HH

What was it like being a part of the Tim Tadder/XTERRA Wetsuits photo shoot?

This was my second photo shoot with Tim and Xterra Wetsuits and Tim produces some incredible shots! It comes as no surprise though because he asks a lot from his subjects. In action shots, he’ll have us repeat the motions over and over again. One thing’s for certain though, when he says he got his shot, he knows it! That’s how good he is! Great fun. 

What did you like/dislike about shooting in the studio opposed to in the field?

Obviously there’s a big difference in shooting on location versus in a studio. On location is fun because you can use the natural elements to your advantage. Shooting early in the morning as the sun is rising calls for a great back drop. This time around, there were a ton of athletes at the outdoor shoot so there was definitely some down time in between shots.

In the studio, there were fewer athletes so the turnover of being in front of the camera was much quicker. That was my first experience shooting in studio so the lights and constant touch-ups were a bit new. Working one-on-one with Tim however was very cool. Never a dull moment with him!

What was the hardest part about the photo shoot experience?

Nothing was too difficult honestly, but if I had to pick, I would say making sure Tim was satisfied with what he got. Sometimes he’d get pretty animated, especially at the outdoor shoot and he’d want you to reproduce over and over again with more and more intensity. Nonetheless, I saw how hard he worked so I wanted to reciprocate.

What are your favorite open water swim and wetsuit tips?

Getting a big warm-up in on-course if possible is helpful. Swim out to the first turn buoy, stop, turn-around and try to gauge in which direction you float relative to the buoy in order to read which way the current is flowing. This will help you decide where on the start line you should position yourself and what kind of line you should take to the first buoy, come race time.
As for wetsuit tips, I like trimming the bottoms of the suit legs to allow for quicker T1 times​. Also, shoulder flexibility is a big thing when wearing wetsuits so hiking it up a bit helps, but I have to say, Xterra's wetsuits are the most flexible around so most of the time its much ado about nothing!

What are the pros and cons of being a pro triathlete?

Great question! Sometimes the training can get a bit repetitive and tedious but living in LA, I have access to myriad roads for riding and trails for running. Con-- I do a ton of traveling to random and interesting places but I have zero time before or after a race to "visit" those places. All work and no play. Pros-- always wanted to be a pro-athlete my entire life. Mission accomplished. I love avoiding the 9-5 cubicle job, at least for now. And I love testing my body to the limit. We only live once, so why not?​!

What are your top 3 motivators when you train and prepare for an upcoming race?

Apart from pegging certain competitors, it's a matter of improving upon my last result or even the last time I raced that race. It's all relative though, because conditions could be vastly different, competition different, my physical shape could be different. For me, it comes down to complete and utter laser focus when the gun goes off.

Currently my top motivators are to qualify for the 5150 series finale in September and for the 70.3 World Championships in October.​

Do you have a motto or mantra that helps push you through triathlons or training?

Recently, my stolen motto has been "Let's get into it", something Bear Grylls from Man v. Wild used to say every time he was about to embark on a crazy adventure.​ I guess before that and still today, my motto is "to give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift". Pre's quote.

During a race though, if say I had a not-so-great swim or a not-so-great bike, instead of throwing in the towel and giving up like a wimp, I say to myself, “what can I do right now, to turn this race around?” You’d be surprised what you can do with a quick attitude adjustment. I’ve turned numerous crappy days into top-10 and even top-5 finishes.

What advice would you give to the competing age grouper who wants to join the pro ranks?

Jumping up a level is definitely a big transition and its important to embrace the humbling experience of getting your a$$ handed to you in your first couple of races! At the same time though, it’s motivating in and of itself and before you know it you'll be dishing out the beat downs! Stay hungry and enjoy it all because it’s a unique experience!​  

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