Before the start of the 2017 Major League Triathlon season, Dylan Sorensen - Marketing Manager of Major League Triathlon decided to catch up a bit on the past, present, and future of Carolina Glider, John Rasmussen.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada in a small suburb of Ancaster. Hamilton is situated about an hour South of Toronto and an hour and a half West of Buffalo, NY. It has a population of around half a million people, but still has a very tight knit community feel. I think with Toronto being "The Big City", Hamilton has always had this sense of being the underdog and tried to differentiate itself in its own unique way. That culture has definitely encouraged creativity and pursuing your passion. You can see that now in the Hamilton Supercrawl and the revitalization going on in the city. Equally so, it may have just been my awesome parents fostering those values and similarly minded parents in the city, but I will always have fond memories of Hamilton.
How did you get involved with triathlon and in what sports did you participate before triathlon?
My Mom and Dad were both great role models for both my sister - Sarah and I being active and healthy. I played just about every sport you can think of growing up. I did hockey, soccer, volleyball, basketball, waterpolo, orienteering, rowing, swim lessons, cross country, track and field, cycling, and anything else that my parents would drive me to or the gym teacher could come up with! I was always really into cycling since my Dad competed on mountain bikes when I was young. I was "late" to competitive swimming, but I always enjoyed swim lessons - probably for the sticker you got if you passed and I enjoyed the challenge. It was running though that I'd say I feel in love with. After my first cross country race at Rousseau Public School in grade 3, I was hooked. As soon as the bus dropped me off in the morning, I would leave my back pack with some of my friends, and run around the perimeter of the school yard until the bell would sound for classes to start. I did that everyday from the start of grade 4 until grade 6, regardless of the weather and sometimes in rubber boots.
It was my Dad who brought home a flyer from the Toronto International Bike Show in 2000 from the Ontario Association of Triathletes at the time (now Triathlon Ontario) highlighting that triathlon was in the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games though that really got me started in triathlon. It said that there were triathlons for all ages and even kids! They even had a series called Kids of Steel. I mean who wouldn't want to sign up for something called that? I was already doing swimming, biking, and running, and my sister and I convinced our parents to drive us almost 3 hours to Leamington, Ontario for our first triathlon. I came 2nd in that race and then spent the following week convincing my parents to make the same drive again just a little further to Windsor, Ontario for the Provincial Championships where I came 1st!
I've been doing triathlons ever since! My parents always made the trips to races a fun weekend holiday excursion, so every summer my sister and I would look forward to the triathlons. We still kept on doing all our other sports during the year even through high school and I think that was really valuable in my sport and mental development.
What is your goal with the sport?
My goal is to be the best person and triathlete that I can be. It is really important to me to leave a lasting positive impact on the sport and my country. I want my performances to be a reflection of my dedication and determination, and to demonstrate that anything is possible. I believe that if I commit myself to my goals, I can represent Canada at the Commonwealth, Pan American, and Olympic Games, and be competitive at a world class level internationally and within Major League Triathlon.
What is your strongest aspect of triathlon, and why?
My strongest aspect of triathlon is my mental game. It's taken a long time to develop over years of competition and training, but the mental side of triathlon is what separates the smallest and largest of margins.
What is your least-strong aspect of triathlon, and why?
My least-strong aspect of triathlon is taking recovery days. I struggle taking days "off" and shortened workouts because I love training, but I am learning now that these days are just as important as my days "on".
What are your hobbies?
I enjoy going on adventures and spending time with my girlfriend, Geneviève Lalonde and all my family and friends. I don't know if you would call it a hobby, but I am currently trying to learn how to speak French/Chiac, which has been a fun challenge. Reading, playing the guitar, making stained glass, and playing board games (especially Settlers of Catan) are some more honest conventional hobbies.
Where do you live and where do you enjoy training the most?
I live in Guelph, Ontario with Geneviève Lalonde near the University of Guelph where we both now train full-time. Geneviève trains with Speed River Track and Field Club under Dave Scott-Thomas and I train with the Guelph Triathlon Project under Craig Taylor.
One of my favourite spots to train is on Appleby Line near Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area. It's a really challenging climb on the bike and often followed by some hard efforts on the University of Guelph track and preceded by some quality work in the pool, so it's a good day.
Where have your race travels taken you?
I've travelled a lot through triathlon. In Canada, I've been from Victoria all the way to Moncton. In the US, I've been from San Francisco, California to Portland, Maine. I've traveled to Mexico, Puerto Rico, China, South Korea, Hong Kong, and Australia as well for competitions. It's pretty amazing to travel the world and do what you love.
For how long can you see yourself racing?
If this healthy eating and exercise pays off, I see myself registering in races into the 100+ age category. I love triathlon and I don't see myself ever quitting. I'll definitely try new sports and new adventures as I get older, but triathlon will always have a special place in my heart.
If you could offer a piece of advice for someone looking to enter the sport, what would it be?
My piece of advice would be to have fun and set a goal! The best part of triathlon is that a 20 year old is doing the same course as a 75 year old. Both can have totally different goals, but both can cross the finish line with a big smile and feeling of accomplishment. If your goal is to run the entire run course or to break a personal best in the swim, set up a training plan before the race so that on race day you can accomplish your own goal. The journey can be just as or more rewarding than the destination.
What would you like to do after you are finished racing in triathlon?
I've always really enjoyed cardiology and working with children, so one day I hope I can go back to University and pursue a career in medicine combining those disciplines. I also enjoy research on how the brain interprets the world and how we interact with it. I also enjoy the idea of having my own small farm and garden. Thankfully I hope I have some more time in triathlon to postpone how my brain will decide on what career path is best to follow.
In all honesty, I've surrounded myself with an amazing group of people that are incredibly supportive and that network is not going to disappear after sport. I hope that wherever life takes me and I take life, I will be able to return the kindness and generosity that I have received over my triathlon career.
Which team do you think will bring home the MLT Cup this year?
See team logo below...