Tribune Tribute: Greg Sidden
A triathlete makes his official comeback
A State Road resident struck by an automobile in April 2011 has made a full recovery and will now compete this weekend in the USA Triathlon to be held in Milwaukee.
Gregory David Sidden, now 42, reflected on the wreck that put a major hiccup to his Iron Man training.
“This race is my official comeback. You have no idea on how much this means to me. I’m back. I feel I’m ready. Now I’m going for it,” said Sidden. “I lost six months from the injuries sustained in the accident. I found myself hospitalized in Baptist Medical Center over it.”
The driver of the vehicle was charged with a failure to yield traffic violation, said Sidden.
“This comeback is driven by my family who motivates me. I owe this comeback to my daughters, Katie and Lauren — who do so much and are engaged in every step of the way with their support — and my wife Kristy,” said Sidden.
Sidden is a familiar face in the community. He works as the agency manager for Farm Bureau Insurance in Jonesville.
“I was involved in regular exercise and heading close to age 40,” said Sidden when asked how he got into training. “Back then I wanted to push myself a bit further. I was training at the time and running with Brendt Cornelison (former Elkin Parks and Recreation director). I train now with Adam McComb (current Elkin Parks and Recreation director).
When asked why he wanted to become a triathlete, Sidden said he watched television in 2008 and saw and Iron Man competition. From there he set a goal. Sidden is competing in his first Iron Man triathlon in October.
A triathlon is a multiple-stage competition involving the completion of three continuous and sequential endurance disciplines, shared Sidden. He says that while many variations of the sport exist, triathlon, in its most popular form, involving swimming, cycling, and running in immediate succession over various distances. Triathletes compete for fastest overall course completion time, including timed “transitions” between the individual swim, cycle, and run components.
“The best thing I like about the sport is that you can set personal goals. I am a competitive age group participant,” said Sidden.
Sidden started swimming in the Elkin Municipal Park pool.
“I was an average swimmer proving anyone can do it. You can take your time like me and keep adding to the laps. It’s all part of training. The freestyle technique is preferred for triathletes,” he said.
After a good sprint swim, Sidden transitions into a cycling mode.
“A 15-mile bike ride is an average sprint,” said Sidden. “Going an average of 15 miles per hour means you can ride for about an hour.”
According to Sidden, the run in a sprint distance is always 5k.
Sprint distances are not the same as Olympic distances. This Saturday’s USA Triathlon national competition requires Olympic rules and regulations. Sidden qualified for the Olympic-type race at a Kerr Lake competition held in June.
“This weekend I’ll be jumping into a 1,500 meter swim, a 24.5 mile bike race, and ending it with a 10k run. It’s about a 2.5 hour average race,” he said.
Sidden stated that 2 hours and 32 minutes is his best time.
“A ton has to go right to get under 2 and a half hours,” said Sidden. “In the 40 - 44 age group there are 230 competitors. I would be thrilled if I can finish in the top 75.”
To prepare for the race Sidden eats protein and carbohydrates.
“Baked sweet potato today, tomorrow, and Friday. Lots of greens, water, and electrolyte tablets. On Saturday, just a bowl of oatmeal,” he said.
“No,” said Sidden with a chuckle when asked if he ever raids his fridge late into the night.
“Again, this is my comeback,” he said. “The next step for me is packing for Milwaukee.”
Reach Anthony Gonzalez at 336-835-1513 or email at email@example.com.
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