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A native of Boulder, Colo., pro triathlete Cameron Dye makes his living by racing on the Olympic-distance non-drafting circuit, which includes the Life Time Fitness series, the Rev3 Series and the 5150 Series. A former college swimmer, Dye has since built his reputation on being a strong swim-biker, usually using his crushing bike splits to lead into T2. So far this season, he’s nabbed wins at Rev3 Knoxville and the Columbia Triathlon, and he’s looking to defend his title at TriRock Philly this weekend. We caught up with the reigning Life Time Fitness Series champion to hear more about how his season is going, his goals for the year and why he’s looking forward to racing in Philly on Sunday.
Triathlete.com: It sounds like you had a busy racing month in May and haven’t raced since CapTex—how has your training gone the last several weeks leading up to TriRock Philly this weekend?
Dye: Yeah, May was a really good month of racing for me with four races and a couple of good wins, but by the time CapTex was over I was definitely in need of some good training. Since then I have been able to get in a really good three weeks or so of focused work and feel like I am back in form and ready to race again. I really like to race a lot, so it becomes really important to be able to string together good weeks and months of training in a row in prep for a block of racing. Philly will be nice because I have had a few good weeks to get ready for it, and then I will also have a few weeks after it before my next race.
Triathlete.com: You tried a 70.3 earlier this year—do you think you’ll jump back up to that distance at any point?
Dye: Doing Auckland 70.3 at the beginning of the season was a great experience. I learned a lot about the distance, and the way I would like to race it—and it was a great excuse to get down to see New Zealand. Honestly, going into that race I didn’t know what to expect, and coming away from it I didn’t have a great result but I saw glimpses of success, and feel like somewhere down the road when I decide to move up it will be a good distance for me. That said, I love racing a lot, and short course is well suited for that, so in the near future I plan to continue to focus on that. I will probably do a 70.3 here or there, but it will still be a few years before 70.3 worlds becomes my focus.
Triathlete.com: How has the Fuji Norcom Straight been treating you this season?
Dye: The Norcom is amazing. I have had nothing but great workouts and races on the bike since the first ride out. When Fuji contacted me about making the switch, I have to admit I was a little weary of switching bikes after having such an amazing year on the Kestrel 400 last year. Both companies are owned by the same company though, and so I was dealing with the same people, and after having some long discussions about the new bike and then getting to help sort out the final parts of it, I was super confident when I made the switch. It is a ridiculously fast bike, and it allows for so much adjustability that it really is a super bike that anyone can ride, and ride fast!
Triathlete.com: How do you balance being a relatively new dad with the pressures and travel of being a pro triathlete?
Dye: Every day is a learning experience. I have an amazing wife that makes all of it possible, and we work as a good team around the house and with balancing our time. I think having been a college swimmer and having to balance school work and all the workouts, along with a social life gave me a head start on how to manage my time, but being a dad is awesome. There is nothing cooler than coming home from a good or bad day to a li’l man that runs at you with a smile. It certainly can make things difficult at times, but on the whole it is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me, and honestly I think it was really good for my racing. [There’s] nothing like a little extra pressure to get you out the door in the morning.
Triathlete.com: What’s your favorite part about racing in Philadelphia?
Dye: I love coming to Philly. The town is great, the people are actually really nice despite it being on the East Coast, and some of my biggest supporters in Nathan and Fuji are there. Coupled with a great bike course, Philly is one of the races I look forward to every year.
Triathlete.com: You’ve raced Andy and Matty quite a few times—do you enjoy seeing similar faces at these events?
Dye: It is cool to race the same guys all the time. I mean those two guys in particular are legends in short-course racing, and when I first started the sport, they were the guys that I looked up to and tried to learn from. The nice part about them is that they are really nice people too, so when we aren’t on the race course, they are great to hang out with and they are willing to teach, which I think is a great thing for all the younger guys in the sport. When we are racing, it’s a race, but as soon as it’s over, it’s cool to just have a bunch of good friends that you see on weekends and can kick it with.
Triathlete.com: What do you think is the key to being successful at non-drafting Olympic-distance races?
Dye: I think one of the really cool parts about this distance and format is that there are a bunch of different ways you can do it. It is the most balanced of all the triathlon distances, as in the swim actually matters, and unlike the ITU races, everyone has to carry their own weight on the bike. Guys like myself can win these races off the front from the gun, but there are good bike/run guys that win races, and there are pure runners that just run that fast and can win. It makes it so that every race has a different dynamic based on who is there, which is cool from a strategic perspective, and it’s also a type of racing where on any given day there are usually a bunch of guys that could get the “W.” In the end, you can be successful by finding your strengths and sticking to that—challenging the other guys to find a way to beat you.
Triathlete.com: What are your goals for the season?
Dye: For this season the big goal at the beginning of the year was to win Hy-Vee. Now that they have changed the course and the race a lot, it will be a different race, but that is still my single biggest race. Aside from that, I want to try to repeat as the Lifetime Series champion, and have some good results this year to put myself in contention for the Rev3 finale in Knoxville next year.
RELATED: Potts, Dye, Reed To Battle It Out At TriRock Philadelphia
The TriRock Philadelphia Triathlon, with title sponsor Johnson & Johnson and presenting sponsor Philadelphia Insurance Companies, takes place this Saturday and Sunday. Learn more about the series at TriRockSeries.com.