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Today at the offices of Philadelphia Insurance, the 100 company employees who are racing the Philadelphia Insurance Triathlon this weekend were treated to a lunchtime panel Q&A with pros Andy Potts and Tyler Butterfield, and challenged athletes Willie Stewart and Scout Bassett.
American pro Potts is a former Olympian and has won Ironman 70.3 California and the Capital Texas Tri (part of the Life Time Fitness series) so far this year. Butterfield is from Bermuda and was the youngest male triathlete to compete at the Olympic Games in 2004. Stewart has won three world championships in triathlon and duathlon, and Bassett is a two-time ITU Tri-2 silver medalist.
Here’s what they had to say today:
Tyler Butterfield, on why he’s back in Philly after placing third last year with the fastest run split: “You go to races you enjoy. … You make a relationship with the community, the race organizers, your homestay—that’s a big attraction to a race. … You also come back to challenge yourself to improve on your performance from the year before.”
Andy Potts, on why he’s racing in Philly: “I grew up in Princeton, N.J., so this will be the closest to home I’ve ever raced. … I actually have goals at the beginning of the year to try something new. You always hear don’t try something new on race day, but I got new shoes and a new bike, so don’t do that. … I enjoy trying something new and then coming back to try to improve on my performance.”
Scout Bassett, on why she’s racing in Philly: “This one came on the radar mainly because of the Philadelphia Insurance support of Challenged Athletes Foundation.”
Willie Stewart, on racing sports outside of triathlon (he has a Paralympic silver medal for cross-country skiing): “Triathlon is a great way to travel around the world … My real passion is cross-country skiing. … The Leadville 100 for a one-armed man is definitely a feather in my cap. … I paddled solo kayak the whole Grand Canyon. … The first time I did an Ironman the finish line announcer said, ‘Once you do this, you can do anything.’ And it made me believe I can do anything.”
Butterfield, on why the Olympics are important to the sport of triathlon: “The best modern-day triathletes in the world all came from ITU. … The London Olympics are important because of what it brings to the sport.”
Potts, on the Olympics and triathlon: “Globally the sport has grown leaps and bounds because of the exposure [through the Olympics]. … I love what the Olympics has done for the sport of triathlon and for sports in general.”
Stewart, on advice to beginners: “When you’re starting out, have fun. You can’t go fast [if you’re] stressed, but you can go fast [if you’re] loose.”
Potts, on his advice to beginners: “Keep your head up. Make sure you know your surroundings. Be prepared for anything, especially on the bike course. … The biggest tip I offer anyone is take the first three to five to event 10 minutes of each leg and build into it because it’s much better to finish with a flourish than to barely make it to the finish.”
Stewart, on his advice to beginners: “Don’t change anything. … Don’t go to the expo, buy all new everything and think that if Andy can do it, you can do it. … And enjoy it.”
Potts, on nutrition advice: “People ask me what do I eat? When do I eat? I eat what I like, and I eat when I’m hungry. I eat till I’m full. … Race morning, if you’re too jittery to eat, try to get in some calories liquid-wise. But other than that, don’t worry about it.”