ATW Interview with Phil Graves
Philip, born in York, is a professional triathlete who announced himself to the Ironman world in 2009 in dramatic style by taking the title at both the Ironman 70.3UK and Ironman UK events at just 20 years old, in turn becoming the youngest ever Ironman Champion in the history of the sport. He was also the youngest male competitor at the 2009 Ford Ironman World Championships in Hawaii, leading the whole field on the bike and winning the Timex bike prime in the process.
His strength on the bike has continued throughout his professional career and stands him in good stead going forward.
He is a quiet, kind and thoughtful person always happy to help others improve triathlon and help more people to get into the sport. That is why Phil kindly took the time to complete our Q&A
Name: Phil Graves
Occupation: Professional Triathlete
100mile Time Trial – It is a great event to push yourself and go hard for the whole race unlike the Ironman event. There are no tactics involved, it is just you, the bike and the clock, I love to batter myself.
How did you first become in interested in athletics?
My parents got me into swimming from the age 2. They then got me involved with the local running club at the age of 8. I did not have much choice, my parents took me and I went along and joined in. Since I can remember I have always enjoyed it and I can’t imagine my life without sport and being actively involved with sport.
What is your best performance to date?
My best performance for me was winning the Sid Standard National Junior Road Race (National junior series Race, where Adam Blyth came 2nd). As a triathlete to race on the road and beat all the cyclists, to me was a great performance and huge achievement. Lots of people in that race who finished behind me have gone on to become professional Cyclists, so this is a big boost for me and for a triathlete to mix with the cycling world. More recently, being the youngest ever to win an Ironman race is pretty special.
What is your most important training session?
The training session that is important to me at this point in my triathlon career is a 150km Ride followed by a 6km Run at ½ IM pace. This session gives me confidence for racing, I can always recall on this session to give me the extra motivation to know what I can do.
What is the most impressive/craziest training session you have ever known somebody complete?
I really enjoy training in Lanzarote when the weather is not so good in the UK. I enjoy the wind, terrain and it really gets you strong. I heard while I was there recently that a couple of triathletes completed 10 times of the main climb on the island. The Tabayesco Climb, is not steep but is 9.7km long and a tough climb, to do this straight up and down 10times is mad even for my standards!
What are your goals for the next 12 months?
The goal this year, same as last year is to win as many races as possible. It is simple for me, all I want to do is win. People have commented on me not finishing all my Ironman races, but I want to win and if I am not going to win, I will save my body for the next race. I can collect points and go to Kona, Hawaii (Ironman World Championships) later as I am only young.
What is the most memorable athletics event you have ever watched?
For me it was watching IM Hawaii in 2008. It ignited my spark for IM triathlon racing. It really made me want to compete in the long distance racing and to go to Hawaii and race this great race.
Which athlete do you most admire?
I admire my Dad. He is just a great dad and has done a great job bringing ‘Phil’ myself up to the person I am now. He was supported and encouraged me and made me the athlete I am today.
Where is your favourite venue that you have competed at?
My favourite venue is Lanzarote IM. I train on the island a lot and know lots of the people there, so the race is great as I know the course, have huge support from locals as well as the British. The venue suits me as I am a strong swimmer and the bike course takes you around the island, suits my strengths with then a run along the sea front.
What is your favourite:
Film: . You, Me and Dupree
TV Show: American Office
Shameless Plug – Is there anything going on in your life at the moment that you would like to mention?
I am really excited to sign up with Cervelo, Pearl Izumi and Shimano. I am really looking forward to race in the top races around the world with my new sponsors with great products.
Question from previous person to complete Q&A (Chris Boardman) What are you going to do after you stop competing....?
I will probably just keep riding my bike and turn my hand to TT racing in the UK. Then when I cant do that anymore, I will probably just sit in a chair in my front room, read some books about history and watch TV.
What question would you like to ask our next athlete to complete our Q&A?
Do you believe in Aliens?
If your next race had to be in fancy dress what outfit would you choose?
I would have to race Naked!
(Photos courtesy of Bob Foy Photographs)
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Posted Date: 21st Feb 2013