After a promising domestic season, 22 year-old triathlete Harrison Dean is gearing up for an exciting international season ahead.
The young Nelson Triathlon Club member and winner of the national aquathlon championships held in Nelson earlier in the year, travels to Germany this week to race in the country's top domestic league.
It will be his second year with TriAs Hildesheim, a team based in the northern town of Hildesheim and it is an opportunity he plans to make the most of. Not only will he compete in the gruelling German season which often entices the world's best; he also hopes to be able to compete in other European and World Cup triathlon events.
"I'm heading over there to race for my team, but if I can find some extra funding I'm also hoping to compete in these other events," said Dean.
"It's a goal I have to have because it's going to give me the international racing experience I need to take this to the next level."
The full-time triathlete will be building on the last few months of racing here in New Zealand where he took out the national aquathlon title from Dutch triathlete Marco Van der Stel. He also showed his pace in winning race five of the prestigious Stroke and Stride Series in Auckland, and while the end of his season was hampered with illness, Dean showed his class in finishing fourth in the Contact National Triathlon series cup race in Takapuna, Auckland.
Life is transient for any top-level athlete, but even more so for Dean who left for Germany last year following the February earthquake, after two and a half years training in Christchurch. On his return in October, Dean made the tough decision to leave Christchurch, deciding to split his training between Nelson and Auckland.
"Before I left for Germany I was using a chemical toilet and washing out of a bucket. I really wanted to spend some time with my partner who had just taken a new job in Auckland, so I spent some time with her and some time at home in Nelson soaking up the sun."
In the end, Dean spent a valuable two months training in Nelson, time spent in his home town that Dean credits for giving him a boost over his summer season.
"I'm really lucky to be able to call Nelson home. It's great to be able to know I can always come back to Nelson and know I'm going to get the quality training I need."
Dean will be back in New Zealand in September and hopes to return to Nelson's familiar training grounds. He will also be returning to Auckland where he will compete in the aquathlon world championships as part of the triathlon world championship series grand final which will take place around the city's CBD.
For now though, Dean is focusing on the task ahead, packing up his life and building up for his four months in Germany where he hopes to prove himself on the world stage and in doing so find the support he needs to continue in the sport.
"I've decided to give my triathlon career everything I have got, I love this sport and I love representing my country.
"Sometimes it can be hard to make ends meet, but there's no way I'm giving up just yet, this is what I love to do."
Follow Dean's blog at harrisondean.blogspot.com
- © Fairfax NZ News