A few weeks ago, we spoke to an upbeat George Peasgood to find out what has been motivating him to focus on cycling alongside his beloved sport of triathlon.
How did you maintain your motivation after sustaining an injury at Yokahama?
Going into Yokohama I was in great shape, and I knew it could be a good race. I went into the race needing to get some qualification points – I had a bit of a niggle prior to the race, which initially seemed to have settled. However just days leading into the race it surfaced again and during the race it became incredibly painful. The swim and bike were fine, but from 500m into the run it just got worse and worse. I knew that the gap was closing and that I had to get to the finish line, as slowly as possible, whilst still finishing first. By the finish my foot was on fire, but to my surprise I actually ran 15 seconds quicker than I’ve run any other triathlon!
What determined you to switch to cycling?
The plan was always that if I could get to the cycling world championships that I would race. Then when it became clear that Leeds wasn’t an option due to my injury, I quickly put more emphasis on the bike in training. That is the beauty of Triathlon and injuries, there is always another part of the sport that you can focus on and improve. You have to look for that silver lining.
Did you think you could win the World Champs Cycling?
I thought there was a good chance. Although a week or so before I would have said probably not as my legs felt terrible, but I think that was more from a mental wellbeing perspective, due to the results of my foot scan and the emotional side of things. Then I had a test hit out at the Para Cycling British National Champs, which I entered last minute due to not racing at Leeds, and I produced some of the best powers I’ve ever had for that sort of distance. That gave me a lot of confidence and made me think anything is possible.
I couldn’t believe it when I realised, I had won! It’s one of my proudest achievements, especially as the rainbow jersey is so iconic and it means a lot. I couldn’t really have asked for more!
Give us some background and stats from your win at the World Champs?
It was Circuito Estoril, in Cascais, Portugal, which is a great circuit. For the days leading into the race, it was incredibly windy, 30kph winds, meaning that on a road bike I was hitting 60kmph without really doing much in one direction and then in the other I was pushing 400 watts into a headwind. This was good for me! On the day the conditions were perfect and I thoroughly enjoyed the race, albeit pushing myself to the limits.
The stats are strong, but not PBs for me – I hit an average power 341 with an average heart rate 169 and last-minute power going to the finish line of 518.. The podium splits on the day were 1st 45m 2s /// 2nd +1m 45s /// 3rd +2m 21s.
It is really inspiring to see how you were able to battle the mental and emotional demons and overcome the challenges faced by injury. Do you think this will make you stronger as an athlete?
It’s my first actual proper injury as a triathlete and yes definitely. Everything is a learning process, and I’ll take a lot from it – the ability to switch focus and turn it into a positive. I have been reassured that my fitness will come back quickly as I am still able to push forward in two sports = which is the beauty of triathlon.
Do you think being a triathlete gives you an advantage over other cyclists?
There are definite benefits of cross-training and there are examples of athletes doing this successfully. Swimming means my thoracic mobility is good and this is big thing for cycling. I enjoy the different modes of training and think I will always maintain them, even if I were to switch sports later down the line.
There have been many comments suggesting you should switch from tri to cycling – how to you feel about those comments?
I have had a lot of comments, but my love is triathlon, and I am going to keep going and pushing on my run, until I get told again and again that I can’t run.
Do you think you might pursue both sports side by side?
It’s definitely a possibility, based on my form and effort, but we’ll see!….
And see we did! In an amazing twist of fate, George has been selected to represent Team GB in the Cycling Road Time Trial and Road Race as well as the Triathlon in this year’s Paralympics. Good Luck George!