Larry's Blog Pages

January 31, 2011

Age Grouper Spotlight - Carlos Vilchez

I was sitting back the other day, trying to think of ways to be more active on my blog. Since, I do not feel that I have the knowledge to teach folks about the sport, gear or nutrition, I will leave that in the hands of the professionals (see my blog roll for many of these people!). The one thing that I can offer is a passion to learn more about the sport and the people involved in this great lifestyle.

I have conducted interviews in the past with some of our country’s top Triathletes, receiving positive feedback from the athletes and readers when they view the finished product. With triathlon being relatively small, these athletes are featured many times a year in magazines, online and through other media so we tend to know quite a bit about our Canadian Pros.

This being the case, my thought was to promote the amazing Age Grouper Athletes from Ontario with hopes that others at their level may relate to their answers and feel more in touch with the triathlon community around them. The first subject of my new series is a Barrie, Ontario resident who picked up the sport after his college days and has juggled family, work and training in his quest to reach his full potential in all three disciplines.

I had the opportunity to meet Carlos Vilchez through my blog after he left a comment on one of my race report posts. Coincidentally, his name came up on a tweet I was reading not too long after our original contact and we started chatting regularly through Twitter.

When I came up with the plan to follow the athletes on the local scene, I was confident he would be game for a quick Q&A session. It didn’t hurt that I had some contact info handy, which took care of the initial set up for the interview.

10 Questions with Carlos Vilchez

Q1. How long have you been involved in triathlon and which event was your first?

- My first triathlon was actually a duathlon in September of 2005 when I did the Niagara on the lake Duathlon, hosted by the Subaru Series. I did it with my Brodie Bandit, 32 pounds mountain bike, as I wasn't sure about the sport just yet. Being my first multisport event, it went well but was extremely hard. I went a bit too hard on the first 4k run and really started to feel it halfway through the 23k bike ride (or maybe it was lugging my mountain bike around!). The last 4k run was sheer pain but being 27 at the time, I still felt invincible.

Q2. How much of your training is solo and how much is done with others, i.e.
Barrie TC?

- I would say 99% of my training is solo. Every once in a while I'm fortunate enough to team up with some fast guys but, based on my job and family commitments, my training times seem to be sporadic and I can never commit to someone's set schedule. I have some lofty goals for 2011 so I'm hoping I can jump in with some faster guys in all 3 disciplines to help kick it up a notch.

Q3. It is tough as an AG triathlete to obtain sponsorship; do you have any you would like to mention?

- I've never really considered sponsorships. Yes, the sport is extremely expensive and when your goals include reaching a podium, you're competing against guys who've got all the equipment (powertaps, race wheels, time trial bikes, etc..) but being an amateur and doing this "competitively for fun" I still have to treat this as a hobby and set a budget for it. But yes, I'm in the market for some race wheels... Specifically some a Zipp 808's or Easton EC90's... So if there are any sponsors out there, I won't turn these down!!

Q4. How do you measure your performance - your perceived fitness level, AG ranking in a race or overall position in a race?

- Up until this season, I've always measured my performance based on my own goals and objectives. I've always been looking to better my performance from previous years and improve the numbers across all disciplines. Being new to the sport, this was fairly easy to do since every year of somewhat consistent training means automatic gains. This season however, I'm paying more attention to the field and my age group and trying to measure myself against them. I'm a pretty analytical guy so I really take time to study past results for races I plan on doing and establishing a goal along those times.

Q5. Do you have a coach or are you self-taught?

- I do have a coach. I use the services of Sara Gross from Mercury Rising Triathlon based out of Victoria, BC. I used to be self-taught until I started taking the sport more seriously and decided to take on the Ironman distance. I'm now entering my 3rd year with Sara and it's been the greatest investment I've made in the sport. Generally speaking, having a coach is great to keep you honest and to help you structure your season. Specifically speaking about Sara, she has a great skill to really get to know you as an athlete (in fact, better than I know myself) and push through any plateaus or performance issues I may have. I also like the fact that she's willing to take risks and not follow the typical training plans available out there.

Q6. What are your triathlon strengths? Is this from past involvement in that/those individual sports?

- Ironically, swimming is my strength (based on percentile finish times in all disciplines), however, it's the discipline I've been doing the least! I'm not sure why it turned out this way, and as my coach likes to put it, what I've accomplished in swimming in 5 years is short of a miracle!! In high school, I ran track, with average finish times (nothing impressive) and running was the sport I kept on doing after high school (10k, half-marathon, etc...).

Q7. What is your most memorable moment in triathlon?

- My most memorable moment in triathlon was crossing the finish line at Ironman Canada in 2010. It was a big year leading up to that race and, aside from all the training and the hard work I personally did, there were a lot of sacrifices made by my friends and family. On top of the usual pressures of finishing a race, I had some added pressure that I owed everyone else around me the "finisher's medal", as well. So when I was about 800m meters from the finish line (and knew I would finish), the race really ended for me right then and there... It was a huge relief and I felt a big sense of accomplishment as well as being thankful to everyone around me who made it happen.

Q8. What are your 2011 goals? Any long term goals in the sport?

- My 2011 goal is to get a 2012 Vegas spot at the Muskoka 70.3 race in September. I wanted 2011 to be somewhat of a down year as we're expecting our third child and moving to a new house so there will be a lot of unknowns for the 2011 schedule. In terms of long term goals, getting to Kona to race the Ironman would be the crowning moment of my amateur career and, quite honestly, I'm just trying to set a really high benchmark for my kids in the event they wanted to compete in the sport or in any other sport.

Q9. What keeps you interested in the sport of triathlon - people, fitness, cool gear, etc?

- Knowing that I haven't reach the plateau, and that I can still squeeze minutes off my finish times, is what keeps me going in the sport. I really want to see how fast I can get before I can't do the sport anymore. In my family, it's become a lifestyle so, whether competitively or not, I can see myself doing this for a very long time. I've never been much into weight-lifting and I always got injured when just running so doing all three disciplines is a great way to stay physically and mentally fit.

Q10. Who is your favourite triathlete? What is it that interests you in that athlete?

- I'm a big fan of the ITU guys. The fact that they can race at their maximum ability the entire race really intrigues me, especially since it's mostly a mental game near the end of the race. It's probably been my biggest challenge (to mentally overcome what I can and can't do) so seeing those guys in a hurt locker for that long, helps me push myself when the going gets tough. I'm a big fan of Simon Whitfield and Javier Gomez. Simon, because he's really representing Canada in the sport and Javier because I was born in Spain. I'm hoping those 2 are shoulder to shoulder in London in 2012 and may the best man win!!

Thanks Carlos! Best of luck in 2011 and beyond!

Please help support our local Age Groupers as they drive towards their goals in Triathlon! You can follow Carlos through his blog or twitter board at the links below.

Blog Link =

Twitter Handle = @carlos_el_toro

Thanks for reading!



Carlos Vilchez said...

Dang! I feel like such a superstar!! Thanks Larry!



Anyone that works as hard at it as you deserves a little star treatment now and again.


Ryan Blake said...

Good luck this season Carlos!.. Your progression from 5 years ago is pretty remarkable.. Unfortunately, I've went the other See you out there..