Last month Andrew Talansky shocked the cycling world by announcing his retirement from professional road cycling, leaving behind a career that had catapulted him into the role of America’s top stage racer. At just 28 years old and coming off a top-5 overall finish in the 2016 Vuelta a Espana and a stage win in the 2017 Tour of California, most of us wondered why?
We soon found out that the bigger discussion isn’t why, it’s about what’s to come. The next chapter in Talansky’s career won’t involve sitting behind a desk letting his hard earned fitness waste away. Not even close. He’s taking aim at the sport of triathlon, namely, IRONMAN.
SEEKING A NEW CHALLNEGE
“You only continue to grow as a human being when you’re being challenged, and IRONMAN is the embodiment of that,” Talansky told us not long after bringing Topical Edge on as one of his small number of handpicked partners. He continued, “My favorite events have always been time trials; it’s a discipline that is down to you and provides the platform to show the work you’ve done and endure all the pain you can possibly bring on. It’s these moments that provide self discovery and allow me to break down barriers. That’s what IRONMAN events are, a true test of yourself.”
With a clear focus on the 2018 IRONMAN World Championship in Kona next October, there is no doubt that as hands down the most accomplished cyclist in the sport of triathlon he’ll be generating a lot of attention visiting Kona this week as a spectator. “I lived out a dream on the bike, I got to ride the Tour de France four times, I won some great races and those experiences will always be with me. But it’s time to keep pushing new limits and IRONMAN can do that,” explained Talansky.
Talansky is hardly the first athlete to change course during their career, but he’s one of the few that has made that decision while at the peak, both physically and financially. When asked what prompted the seemingly unexpected change Talansky said, “There are two sides of it. Definitely the birth of my son Bodhi seven months ago changed things and put life into perspective. Getting a result used to be the most important thing, it was what I lived for. As I’ve gotten older I’ve come to realize that the competition and racing is what motivates me, but life is the bigger picture and I want to be more present with my family. I don’t mind training 4, 6, or 8 hours a day as long as I can drop my son off at school and tuck him in at night.”
A pro cyclist lifestyle, where numerous training camps along with a full calendar of European racing, meant that some of those basic parenting duties on a consistent basis would not be a reality for Talansky. “I believe I can be a better athlete when I have my family around. I don’t do well when I’m isolated at a training camp on some volcano–I thrive off connections with friends, family, and fans. You can thrive and get so much more when the mental and physical sides are a cohesive piece. Family and sport don’t have to be separate and I truly believe the more emotionally happy you are the better performance you’re capable of.”
The other part of the career change is simply freedom. Freedom to align with product and brand partners Talansky believes in and that share his same core values. Freedom to train and prepare in the way that best works for him. And freedom to give back with charity rides such as Chefs Cycle and helping underprivileged kids get on bikes.
“I’ve always seen the path ahead of me and always gone for it. I believed in where I’m headed and everything I sought out to do. The most success I’ve had is when I’m in an environment where I have freedom and am allowed to follow my path, even if it seems slightly unconventional. I like to challenge the norm.”
BUILDING HIS TEAM
Topical Edge is proud to be one of a small number of select brands working with Talansky where he’ll serve as a brand ambassador and play an integral role on the athlete board. “I wanted to work with the brands and people I chose, which is the opposite of how a pro cycling team works. In IRONMAN, you build a team around you and surround yourself with people that want to be a part of the journey. Everyone has the same goal and that’s an amazing feeling to see the enthusiasm and cohesion as we head toward the ultimate goal of Kona in 2018 and beyond.”
Be sure to follow Andrew Talansky’s journey from cycling pro to IRONMAN triathlete at @andrewtalansky on social media.