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In only her second year as a pro, Nicole Kelleher has gotten four wins in the Rev3 Series and is a top contender for the overall series title. The final race in the 10-race series, Rev3 Florida, which takes place this weekend in Venice, Fla., will determine whether she’ll be taking home the $25,000 prize for the series. We caught up with Kelleher before the race to hear about her most recent win, her mind-set going into Florida and her future in the sport.
Triathlete.com: You’re fresh off a win at Rev3 Anderson—how did that race go for you?
Kelleher: I thought that was a great race. It’s going to be very similar in a lot of ways to the race this weekend. The people there that I knew were going to be up front, Malaika [Homo] and Tenille [Hoogland] are really, really strong swim-bike specialists. There are going to be a lot of swim-bike specialists in the race this weekend, so it was nice to kind of get some practice at being alone on the bike and having to really push myself on the bike and being patient and waiting for the run. And not getting disappointed that I wasn’t at the front of the race right away, and just having patience, just staying focused the whole time.
Triathlete.com: You’re coming into Rev3 Florida as the points leader—would you say there’s a target on your back?
Kelleher: I don’t really feel that way. I know it’s going to be really close between me and Lauren Goss, certainly. I always feel like the underdog, and that’s how I feel in this situation as well. For me, that’s a great position to be in, and much more motivating than sort of being the person that everyone’s gunning for. So I think I’m still the underdog, and that’s how I’m going to race. I don’t feel the pressure too much of a target on my back.
Triathlete.com: What would it mean to you to be crowned Rev3 series champion?
Kelleher: That was my goal at the beginning of the season. That was something that my coach and I wanted to achieve this year. So it really would put the finishing touches on just a phenomenal season. Whatever happens on Sunday, I’m just really, really thankful to even be in the position to where I can contend for that this weekend. And I’m really thankful to Rev3 for providing the type of money that can support professional triathletes as a career choice. I’m thrilled all around, but of course it would be tremendously meaningful to me since that’s what I’ve been focusing my entire season around—winning this series.
Triathlete.com: What do you think of the Rev3 series?
Kelleher: I think it’s a really great series. I think it has a tremendous future. They’re so good to the professional athletes, they really support the sport, they’re really good to the age-group athletes—they’re very customer-friendly. They have great venues, and the atmosphere and environment is really fun. It’s family friendly. I see nothing but growth in the future for the Rev3 franchise.
Triathlete.com: Since you’re still a relatively new pro, so what have you found to be the hardest part of being a pro, and the best part of being a pro?
Kelleher: I think the hardest part is the solo training. I live in a place where I’m the only professional triathlete in my city, so I currently do a lot of training on my own. [Kelleher is currently completing medical school at the University of Virginia.] The discipline and boredom factor of that is sometimes difficult to deal with. I love racing, so I put up with the training so I can show up and race. The best part is the racing. I think to be able to race against the best people in the world, and to be able to be supported by institutions like Rev3, and to represent sponsors and to travel around the country—all those things are tremendous.
Triathlete.com: What are your long-term triathlon goals?
Kelleher: That’s a good question. It’s hard for me to answer because I’m so focused on this weekend and achieving my goals that I’ve set out for this season. But I think that long-term I’d really like to develop myself as a half-[iron-]distance athlete. This is going to be my fifth half-distance race, and I sort of have gotten the hang of it the last two. But I think at this distance I can improve quite a bit, so I think long-term I’d really like to develop into a half-distance specialist and just see how good I can get at that distance.