The Wattie Ink. Professional Triathlon Team, Part One: Who Will it Be?
Ed. Note: the team is complete! With our announcement Tuesday that über-swimmer Lauren Brandon will wear the W in 2020, our complete professional team across triathlon and gravel numbers 19 athletes. Our cup truly runneth over, and we cannot wait to see these athletes take numerous champagne showers over the rest of this season. Today we formally introduce half of the triathletes (with a few crossover riders among them...), and we'll unveil the other half early next week, followed by our full complement of ambassadors and gravelistas.
Photo courtesy of @hot_route
Heather Jackson (Triathlon/Gravel)
Heather Jackson, of course, needs little introduction here, but let's just pause for a moment to reflect on her palmares: 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th place finishes at 70.3 World Championships. 3rd, 4th, and 5th place finishes at Ironman World Championships. Too many 70.3 and Ironman victories to count. Wildflower champion. Escape from Alcatraz champion. Is there anything she hasn't done? Well, this year, HJ expands beyond her normal slate of races, dipping her toes into the world of gravel racing, where we expect to see her excel as well. Above, she tows a long line of riders at the aptly named Old Man Winter Rally in Boulder, Colorado, making the front group before the race's cancellation. She'll race Belgian Waffle Ride and then the big one, Dirty Kanza, before turning her attention to Kona in October.
"In 2020, I am really excited to do some new races, spread the love of triathlon do different communities and people, and I am also really excited for our new 2020 AP racing camp in Lake Tahoe. It is an amazing place to train and I am pumped to share that experience with so many age group triathletes. As I've aged, I have sought new ways to keep things fresh for myself, my partners, my team, and my fans. Wattie Ink. defines freshness, and has really helped me stay excited about things to come and looking great doing it. For the first part of my career, I was also adamant about wearing clothes ‘off the rack’ because I wanted folks to be able to purchase whatever I used. In the process, I sacrificed both comfort and performance. With Wattie Ink., I don’t have to compromise. Every year I set both big goals and small goals- everyone should. Some are race goals and some are personal. For example, for the past three years, I have made it a priority to host more AP Racing camps and to take at least one overseas extended trip with my family. Having this family time has really helped me with my racing and helped my family connect. Beyond racing, I am really looking forward to creating memories both with my family and other athletes during the year."
Rachel McBride (Triathlon/Gravel)
"Wattie Ink. and the support of the Wattie Ink. family has helped my career by allowing me to feel confident being my fully-expressed self. Even science tells us that smiles and confidence makes for faster racing. I love hitting my training and racing in gear I’m comfortable and confident in, and being able to help design the Super Kitty kits over the years has given me a chance to fully engage with the brand and athletes all over the world."
Photo courtesy of Al Bello
"This season is all about getting out of my comfort zone and pushing my limits racing against the best in the world. I'm targeting the most competitive long distance triathlons: IRONMAN North American Champs, Challenge Roth and hopefully the Collins Cup and Kona. I couldn't be happier about working with Wattie Ink. as my apparel sponsor. Wattie Ink reinvented my style, elevating my race day look from mundane to fun, fresh and distinctive. Off the race course, the company and community makes me feel like family!"
"Because of my injuries sustained in my accident in Kona, and the delayed healing of my rib, I have been forced to do almost all zone 2 training—but LOTS of it. So training volume is much higher but less intense than it would typically be this time of the year. I am excited to see how this approach will affect my season, and how I can come back in 2020 even stronger than my races in 2019."
"As an athlete who has been with Wattie Ink since the very beginning, I feel so fortunate that I have had the loyal support of such a innovative and creative company. The belief that they have shown in me through the ups and downs of racing has given me the boost I've needed and helped me achieve my goals in the sport. As my family has grown, Wattie Ink. has grown with me, supporting me in those changes in my life, which is something special from a sponsor. I'm looking forward to another amazing year on the squad."
Sarah Piampiano (Triathlon/Gravel)
"I'm so excited to be mixing things up a bit this year, particularly at the beginning of my season, where I will be racing the Boston Marathon, followed by the Belgian Waffle Ride. I'm hoping to fit in another gravel race or two, but much of that will depend on how my triathlon season shakes out. It has been a fun start to my year changing up my focus and training structure. Working with Wattie Ink. has been incredible. They talk a lot about this concept of feeling like family, and I can say that this is truly authentic. You feel like you are part of something special, and it has been such a pleasure for me to work with a brand that has started from grass roots and through hard work, dedication and lots of perseverance, has continues to grow and bring out new and inspiring products. I feel like Wattie has my back. It isn't just an apparel sponsorship, it is really about supporting each other to chase big dreams, which I love. I think for me racing Boston and BWR is both exciting and risky. I'm taking a fairly big departure from how I typically build into my season. I LOVE the challenge and I can't wait for the new experiences, but it will be very interesting to see how it impacts my build throughout the year. It would be a fun outcome if I end up having a fantastic season, because I think it then opens the door to allow for less-than-traditional approaches to a race season and still with an ability to have a lot of success. If it doesn't go well, we'll learn something in that case, too!"