William Huffman is 19 years old. He’s a freshman at Texas A&M University. He’s from Colleyville, TX and has been involved in triathlons for about 3 years. Outside of that, he enjoys hiking and pretty much any other outdoor activities.
Oh yeah. He’s also a professional triathlete.
Instead of going the junior elite route, William decided to go straight to the pros. He was also a straight “A” student in high school, as well as an accomplished cross country runner and swimmer. I got to speak a little bit with William about his experience with international racing. His experiences are below.
My first international race was the Youth Olympic Qualifier in Monterrey, Mexico. I was invited to the event after my second triathlon and was still learning the ins and outs of multisport racing at the time. For instance, during my first two triathlons I carried a crate filled with my transition gear rather than a tri-bag. I quickly found out that habits like this wouldn’t work at international races. I remember spending tons of time on the internet searching how people organize their gear, set up transition, mount their bikes, etc. One of the biggest challenges was learning how to pack a bike! I was very intimidated the first time I squeezed my 58 frame into a small case and sent it down conveyor at the airport. With time though, it becomes second nature (especially after I packed/unpacked my bike 14 times within a month this past summer haha).
Besides these aspects of international racing, the biggest shock was the intensity
of the field. Lining up in Monterrey, I was expecting the usual kind of triathlon start with everyone going their own pace based on swim ability. After the horn blasted, I immediately found myself in a washing machine of 70 athletes all in a full blown sprint. I quickly learned that regardless of where you expect to come out of the water, you sprint for the front of the pack! With this kind of knowledge I was able to fine tune my training to prepare for this style of racing. Even now I learn something valuable at every event. The key is figuring out what to adjust so you can be better prepared next time.
Overall I’ve found international racing very rewarding. It’s amazing to see the world from the perspective of traveling athlete and immerse yourself in foreign culture while preparing for a race. Oh, and that reminds me of another challenge… always pack some familiar pre-race food so you don’t have to rely completely on international food. Sometimes it’s best to be adventuresome After the race.
Interview by Patrick Labrode