Meet the Team: Spotlight on Ashley de Lotz
Head for the Hills
Ashley has been a supporter of ours since day one - and caught our attention through his fun-loving posts and can-do attitude to life and racing. But we could also see that under the bonnet there was a serious athlete, with a steely determination to win medals... (and has since bagged Gold at 2019's European championships) We're big fans of his work and wanted to dig a little deeper to find out what made him turn his back on road cycling... Over to you Ash.
'With 2020 looking like it is going to be cancelled, it does make you wonder why we do this. After all, motivation is finite and with no medals to win, what’s the point?!
Why do we choose this unconventional life? A lot of my family, friends and colleagues can’t understand why I choose to spend so much time and money on triathlon. A few years ago, I found myself asking the same question, I was enjoying racing on the road and had some “success” but it felt as though something was missing. It was only when I stumbled upon the world of Cross Triathlon and XTERRA that I realised what I had been missing. I think this relates back to growing up riding downhill mountain bikes and surfing, where it was about your physical performance but also about the thrill of getting barrelled or doing big jumps.
Don’t get me wrong I am still very much a “Type A” athlete, wanting to tick off every training session in the right heart rate zone and perfectly timing my rest periods between intervals.
...'by taking my racing off-road I found it extremely liberating'
But by taking my racing off-road I found it extremely liberating, yes intervals are still timed and heart rate zones important but there are more variables. It turns out I actually quite enjoy not being able to control everything as you can on the road, it is this uncertainty that makes it all the more enticing.
It enables a greater degree of flexibility and fun to be had in during training and racing. I am not saying that racing off-road is for everyone but I think everyone can learn from it. After all, when was the last time you went out and spent some of your easy ride trying to hit the same corner several times in a row because it was fun? Or were simply trying not to fall over whilst running, rather than going as fast as you can?
...'using an 800m trail loop instead will not only keep your training fresh, it will also help make you a more rounded athlete'.
I know that asking some people to not do intervals on a running track is similar to asking them to change religion, but using an 800m trail loop instead will not only keep your training fresh, it will also help make you a more rounded athlete - increasing your longevity in the sport from both a physical and mental perspective.
Since taking this stance I’ve fallen in love with racing cyclocross and XC mountain biking. Don’t panic I’m not going to hang up my tri suit anytime soon and I always prioritise my triathlon events. But they are a great way to race simply for fun and replicate race scenarios with less pressure, as I will always go 10 times harder chasing someone around a muddy field in November than I will watching the clock on the turbo trainer!
This years plan was to qualify for XTERRA Worlds in Maui - and a possible win at the ITU World's in Sept. Both of which helping to build towards an Elite license for 2021. It's unclear for all, what this year will bring. Given the current climate with races being off the table, perhaps now is the perfect time to reconnect with why you started on this journey or perhaps even discover and try something new... As at the end of the day, the athletes going fastest are also the ones having the most fun.
Ashley can be followed on Instagram @ashleydelotz
Special thanks to the hugely talented @georgiadelotz for photography.