Meet the Athlete: Sergio

Fueled by Cocoa Puffs, Craft Beer, and Strong Coffee, elite runner-turned-triathlete Sergio Zarate (#1 up there on the podium) is headed to Detroit this summer to earn his professional license.

Current place of residence:  Oxnard

Day job: Manufacturing Engineer

Favorite sports (besides triathlon): Cycling and Soccer

Current (2015) triathlon goal: Place top 3 in Detroit U25 Draft Legal Race

Best race leg: Running; at least that’s what should be my best leg

Dream race: Any ITU Pan-AM or World Triathlon Series Race

Race mantra: Ill never do it again, I promise” (might sound familiar to some)

When/how/why did you start triathlon?  It all started in 2011. Coming from a running/endurance background, I had always been fascinated by the Ironman Kona and the idea of putting one’s body through such extreme activity. One day, after one of  the many running injuries I accumulated over the years, I decided to try something that would allow me to continue to maintain fitness but help reduce the pounding from daily running: I showed up to a UCLA Triathlon Team workout.  And… here I am now.

Hardest race and/or workout you’ve ever completed:  The hardest race I have ever completed was at the 2014 USA Triathlon National Championships in Milwaukee–not because of distance, or because of the course, but because of the way my body behaved that day as a result of the high heat and humidity.  I over-heated during the swim, vomited during the bike, and had the most unbearable legs cramps I’ve ever experience in my life.  I could literally see the knots forming up and down my legs and there was nothing I could do to get rid of them. I would run some 50 meters and then stop to try and shake them off. It was very painful and embarrassing but I finished nonetheless.

Most memorable training and/or race moment(s): Riding along Lance Armstrong for a charity bike ride in 2014

Words of wisdom to someone considering training for their first triathlon: Enjoy every second of the “journey”: the road (training) and the destination (race).

Something you’ve learned about yourself through triathlon: I am highly adaptable.  It takes long hours of work and dedication, but sooner or later it will feel “easier’.

Pre-race ritual or superstition? Before the gun goes off, I try to stay relaxed, quiet–no music or anything to pump me up. I say a quick prayer and off we go.

Training/racing “secrets”/tips? There are no secrets, it just takes work.

Training/racing pet peeve(s): When someone complains about a workout given to the team or class

Why do you keep Tri-ing?: Because it’s addicting. You have to dig deep and go places you’ve never gone within yourself. It makes me more spiritual in a way (if that makes sense).

What does “Fuel” mean to youFuel to me means more than just the calories and nutrients necessary to perform. For me “fuel” includes everything that can help you accomplish your goals. It can be something or some one that fuels your emotions or your spirit. It can be knowledge from your coaches; anything that gives you that little extra boost.

What does being “Fit” mean to you?:  Maintaining a sound body and mind.

Pick one:
Long ride or long run? Long Ride
Open water or pool? Open, in  a lake though (motion sickness)
Chocolate or cheese? Craft beer
Watch on your left wrist or right?  Left
Morning or evening workout? I do both, but prefer morning
Hat or visor? Neither
Swim cap or no cap? Cap
Cheerios or Wheaties? Cocoa Puffs
Coffee, tea, or hot chocolate? Strong Coffee

Want to see yourself featured in a future edition of M.T.A.? All BrittFit Athletes are eligible. You could be next!

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