Alex Vanderlinden was introduced to triathlon during his time studying at Western University. As a child, he started cross-country running when his family lived in the USA for a while. Now racing as a pro triathlete, has earned some top results at Ontario races in the last few years. Focusing on the half distance, he continues to work hard to reach the top ranks of the sport. We caught up with Alex to find out more about his goals in triathlon.
TMC: Where do you currently train?
AV: Angela Quick (my girlfriend and fellow triathlete) and I moved to Kitchener recently where I’ve started the Waterloo Region branch of Healthy Results Training. We have an awesome spin class Sunday morning and a lot of fun things in the works for 2016.
How did you decide to turn pro?
At my first triathlon I was last out of the water but able to catch a couple people on the run. I was bitten by the triathlon bug and competed at Queen’s University a few weeks later. My first true tri with an open water swim was the MultiSport Canada Woodstock Triathlon. Angela still gives me a hard time about that race because she beat me by over two minutes!
After some steady improvements, I was starting placing quite well at local races. I decided to jump into the shark
tank head first and race with the big boys. My goal in anything I do is to perform with the best. By taking the leap and working hard, I’ve moved up the ranks each year. After finishing second at Ironman 70.3 Muskoka last summer, I look forward to what 2016 brings.
What has triathlon taught you?
The biggest lesson for me is that if you work hard at something you can achieve your goals. After lots of hours in the pool with some help from Ken Fitzpatrick (Western University swim coach), I been able to go from an adequate swimmer to consistently swimming with the chase pack in half distance races.
Does any part of triathlon scare you?
Prior to 2015, no part of triathlon really scared me. However, after crashing hard at the Barrelman Triathlon last September, that incident sticks in the back of my head. I’m sure once I get out there in 2016 and the excitement of racing takes over, I’ll forget all about it.
What draws you to the sport?
Originally I was just drawn to the challenge of it. The run’s thrill of the hunt was great as I chased people down. As I’ve become more involved with the triathlon community via coaching, being part of the MultiSport Canada Ambassador team, and racing week-in and week-out, I now really enjoy seeing others improve and accomplish goals. And I enjoy the friendly rivalries that have developed over the past couple of years. We’re lucky here in Ontario to have a really strong group of long course guys all getting into the sport around the same time.
Favourite race and why?
Rev3/Challenge Knoxville. It’s gone through a few name changes now, but the run course goes right by the University of Tennessee on some of the same roads where I started running. It’s also an awesome bike course through the Great Smokey Mountains.
Locally, I love K-town. The finish line is right in downtown Kingston which is spectacular and the community support behind the race in fantastic. I’m sure Barrelman will be up there as well – as soon as I can make it to the finish line!
Do you have a pump-up song?
Kid Cudi is my pump-up artist. I find the mellower hip-hop calms me before a big race. My iPod is pretty varied with music ranging from country to rap to indie.