A member of Glasgow Triathlon Club for some eight years, Dan Gates also plays a key role on the club committee.
He is the child welfare protection officer and has some responsibilities for health & safety, general welfare and HR.
Dan, who is dad to four-year-old Harris, has been taking part in triathlons for 15 years. He came to triathlon via a range of different sporting passions.
Dan says: “I started off as a mountaineer and climber and then found mountain biking. From there, I wanted to do something when it was raining so I entered bike events. After that I discovered multi-sport events and triathlon.”
Dan, who races in the veterans age category, enjoys the personal challenge of triathlon. This was especially so when he started. He says: “I couldn’t swim initially so I saw a huge progression at the beginning, which was a buzz.
“I also like the concept of triathlon, combining three disciplines into one event. This allows you to mix up your training.
“And I like triathlon as a shared experience as part of a club. Being a part of GTC really motivates me for training.
“I also think there is no better feeling than on race day.”
Biking over swimming
Dan’s favourite triathlon discipline is biking “probably because it’s the one that is most in my comfort zone,” he says.
While swimming is the one he finds the toughest. “That’s because I need to focus outside my comfort zone,” he adds.
Dan most enjoys the longer triathlon races and “adventure” triathlons/events, such as The Heb and Craggy Island Triathlon.
He says: “I did a few adventure races with club member and all-round legend Elizabeth O’Donnell. The old Hebridean Challenge is still my favourite.”
When training and racing gets tough, Dan’s focus is on “the next lamppost or competitor”. He says: “I just try to get to the next point and repeat!”
Lockdown saw Dan focusing on a “good routine”. He says: “You won’t find me complaining about lockdown – I just sat in my house! However, I did make sure that I got daily exercise and I have a wonderful network of support through friends and GTC members. It’s nice to be part of a community.”
Dan’s race goal for this year was the epic Glen Coe Skyline. He has re-entered for 2021.
His lifetime sporting goals are inspired by people who are still swimming, cycling and running in their 60s and 70s.
He says: ”I can’t think of anything better than being able to continue to enjoy sport and being fit and healthy. My mum, who is 71, recently cycled around Loch Rannoch. I think I might choose an e-bike at that age!”
Dan’s tips for triathlon
It might look scary but just go to as many sessions as you can. The coaches aren’t there to pick winners, rather they are there to ensure everyone gets a good session and feels the buzz from improvement
It’s a sport about “personal bests”. So, if you have a sit-up bike with a shopping basket on the front that’s fine. It’s just you and your PB on the day
Scour a website like Triathlon Scotland or Entry Central, pick an event and enter. I definitely need an event on the horizon to motivate me.