ATHLETE SPOTLIGHT: LES PEREIRA: AGE GROUP TRIATHLETE & PRESIDENT OF TRIATHLON CANADA
CP: How did you get into triathlons?
I have sort of been in multi-sport all my life. My dad took me to the beach at age two and held me in the water while I swam and I have been swimming ever since (no dad though). I have always run and did a little competitive running in my teens and I also rode in my teens including racing back in the days of the leather hairnet “helmets”. In 1998 I just decided to put it all together and joined the Pacific Spirit Triathlon club to learn the fourth discipline, transition.
CP: How long have you been a triathlete?
I’ve been in Triathlon since 1998.
CP: What is your favorite discipline?
For me it’s a toss up between swimming and cycling. Sadly, I have not been a great runner since a breaking my sacrum back in 1996. Not my age, it is the wear and tear!
CP: What is the greatest challenge you’ve overcoming when training/ racing?
Coming back from a shattered collarbone last year only two weeks out from doing Challenge Penticton. Knowing that I was in the best shape I’d been in for the last ten years was very hard on the psyche.
CP: What is your greatest accomplishment in triathlon?
That is a toss up between completing the Iron (long) distance race and becoming President of Triathlon Canada. Both are sources of pride and accomplishment in very different ways.
CP: Who in the triathlon community inspires you?
Mostly training with people that keeps me motivated. The triathlon community has this great blend of people who are incredibly competitive and yet so supportive that they’ll stop in the middle of a race to hand a competitor a spare inner tube.
Our Olympians and para-triathletes inspire me, of course, but ultimately it is the five year old making her way across pool with water wings in her first triathlon.
CP: Tell us a bit about your story.
In the past 18 years, I’ve raced four Iron distance, 19 half and untold Olympic and sprint distance races and each has been a journey of its own. I was a bike leader for my tri-club for 15 years and still coach swimming for them. I was president of Triathlon BC for 5 years and then was elected to the Triathlon Canada board. During this time, I helped pilot the Intro to Competition Coaching course while on the TriBC board and have kept an avid interest in coaching ever since. I am also a Level 2 official for TriBC. Now, as President of Triathlon Canada, I have the opportunity to give back to the sport that has given so much to me.
CP: What is your best advice to other triathletes?
Talk to the folks that have been at it for a while. Almost everyone in the sport is willing to help, try out his or her advice, keep what works for you and discard the rest. There’s no need to go it alone.