In 2015 Brad Williams made the jump to the Pro ranks and had a successful first year. Kiwami gets his side of the story and how the adjustment process went.
Kiwami Triathlon : How has your first year as a pro been? Your goal for the 2015 season was to “get your feet wet and see where you stack up”, how has this gone for you?
Brad Williams : I believe that my first year went pretty well, but I am probably a bit biased and it is always good to have an outside opinion on things. As far as getting my feet wet, I think I jumped in and raced with the “big boys” quite well in some races, and others failed miserably, but such is life. There are the ups and downs, and how you bounce back and progress from those lows is what really matters. So yes, overall happy with how 2015 went as a first year pro.
Kiwami : What has been your most memorable experience as a first year pro?
Brad : Most memorable experience was having Hila and her mother at IMUK. It was great having them on the course and supporting me throughout the day. That is a tough course and just seeing familiar faces throughout the day helped a ton. I was out there in “no mans land” for a lot of the bike and run, early on. Then the run course got a bit more crowded since it was 3 loops. Crossing that finish line and having them there to experience my first “big” result was great. [note: Brad finished 6th overall]
I think a close second would be battling with Mitch Kibby at Incheon 70.3 for the final podium spot. We didn’t know each other at the time, but running side by side for a while of the run and then eventually losing the final podium spot by 40 seconds was bitter, sweet, but still a great experience.
Kiwami : How about your biggest learning experience?
Brad : Definitely IM Malaysia. I learned a ton there on a brutal day. Learned a lot about myself, the ability to finish on the toughest of days, and then being able to reflect back on a bad day and figure out what went wrong, and then go back to the drawing boards for the next race.
Kiwami : What things will you look to build upon when moving into the next year?
Brad : Still my Achilles heel of my racing is my swim. So we are going to continue to focus on that. I will probably only race into late summer early fall since I am kicking off the season early with Dubai 70.3, Challenge Wanaka, and IMNZ. At that point the swim will become the #1 priority and I will see what a 6 month swim block can do for me.
Kiwami : You moved to Oxford, England, to be along your wife as she completes her studies. How hard was it to adapt? Training wise, did this pose any additional challenge?
Brad : In the first 14 months that we were “living” there, I think I was actually only there 6 months of it. It took a little getting used to, but just about the time I was starting to like the place, it started getting dark at 4pm and the sun wasn’t rising until 8am, so with the short days that was when it was time to get out of there again. So I have been on the road since mid November, and Hila has been on field work. So with both of us out of there for a few months, it will be good to get back “home” in early March and be in our own bed. Honestly, training wise, there wasn’t really any challenges, other than the rain. Just getting used to riding in the rain was the only thing I had to adjust to. Didn’t take long, but now I don’t mind it as much, just takes a bit longer post ride cleaning the bike and keeping it maintained.
Kiwami : You’ve always been able to find several sponsors helping you out; anything new for 2016?
Brad : Yes, I am very fortunate to have great sponsors. Without the support and generosity I definitely would not be racing everywhere that I am. Late in 2015 I gained support from Precision Hydration and FireStar Energy, two great companies out of England. They have great products that have been a huge help during my racing and training. And new for 2016 a local business from back home has come aboard to assist, the company is Better Built Truss out of Ripon, California. Lastly, Cervelo has stepped up and helped me out, so I am glad to be back on the bikes that I first fell in love with and will be aboard a Cervelo P5 this year!
I am also glad to have Kiwami, Clever Training, Spinlister, ISM Saddles, Ceramic Speed, Zoot Sports (shoes) and SMITH back for 2016!
Kiwami : You’re very involved with Team RWB and USMES. Can you, in a few words, tell us about your responsibilities?
Brad : Yes, I am very involved with both organizations. At US Military Endurance Sports I work part time running the complete Apparel Line, Social Media, and IT Support, our Director of Ops just calls me the jack of all trades ;). Then at Team Red, White, and Blue I am in a volunteer role as the National Triathlon Team Director, which I have been doing for about 2.5 years.
It is great to be involved with both organizations, as transitioning out of the military can be hard at times. It is what I knew for 10 years, so during my transition out and even to this day, still being involved with Military / Veteran organizations still allows me to feel connected to that community.
Kiwami : How have you liked the new Kiwami Rio LD Aero? What benefits do you see over a traditional sleeveless tri suit?
Brad : I have really enjoyed racing in the Kiwami Rio LD Aero. Being in Kiwami gear since 2011, it has really been great to see the development over the last 5 years. Craig and Andre have been great at listening to everyone’s feedback and continue to fine tune and develop the best products in the industry.
Everyone is starting to pay attention to the little details, and racing in an Aero race kit is one of those things. So having the Rio LD Aero as my race kit for 2015 was great and definitely contributed to my bike split times!
Kiwami : Are you looking forward to testing the new Spider Aero?
Brad : Yes, really excited to be in the latest and greatest that Kiwami has to offer. I have only heard great things from others that have tested, so excited to be in the new kit sooner rather than later.
Kiwami : Your wife Hila is conducting studies on Penguins in Antarctica. Did you learn anything helpful for your training and racing?
Brad : I wouldn’t say I learned anything helpful directly from the penguins. However, being based in Oxford and being surrounded with so many students and people studying different things has been very eye opening. We tend to go out to events at least once a week, so just being surrounded by students has been interesting to learn about all sorts of things.
Thanks again for all of the support and I look forward to continuing to represent Kiwami in years to come!