QT2 Systems Coach Pat Goes PRO

December 01, 2012

Very few are able to meet the criteria necessary to turn Pro, in the sport of triathlon. For many it requires years of consistent training and success in the amateur ranks. It is this consistency that has brought age-group athlete and QT2 Systems coach, Patrick Wheeler, to the door of a new career.

Last week, after his 2nd place finish in IMAZ's amateur race, Coach Pat decided to make the transition from a nationally top-ranked age-group athlete, at the Ironman distance, to first year professional, during the 2013 season. We posed a few questions to Pat to get an idea of what this will mean for him:

How long have you now been training and racing at the Ironman distance as an age-group athlete?

I've been training for Ironman since the winter of 2007 which was in preparation for Ironman Lake Placid the following July of 2008.

At what point did you consider the thought of turning professional?

Truthfully, I had always wanted to be a "pro" triathlete, because that's what my good friends (Tim and Cait Snow, Brian Hughes), and training partners were doing and thus I always had it in my mind as a goal. But it wasn't until Ironman Texas in 2012 when I thought I had a shot at actually being able to turn professional (4th place overall age-group finish). Ironman Arizona just a few short weeks ago (2nd place overall age-group finish), showed me that in the next 3-4 years I might even be able to become truly competitive.

How does one actually "turn professional"?

USAT gives an athlete seven different options to qualify to become a professional. One option, which I chose, was to finish in the top 3 overall of an age-group field in a race with $20,000 or more of available prize money.

Now that you'll be racing as a professional, will this change anything you currently do?

When it comes to training and racing no, I won't change a thing. I believe too many athletes try to make huge changes or adjustments to their training and/or racing regimens once they turn pro and it never seems to work out. I'll just keep doing the things that have pushed me to this point.

Have you decided on your 2013 race schedule at this point?

I am 100% committed to Ironman Texas again and I would really like to go back to Ironman Arizona as well as the Pumpkinman Half, but what happens in addition to those three races is really still up in the air at the moment.

Do you have any specific short vs. long-term goals as a professional that you would be willing to share?

My short-term goals are the same as they have been since day one; continue to nail training, nutrition, and recovery as best as I can on a day to day basis. Doing that usually takes care of the long-term goals. That said, I would love to win an Ironman some day…

Coach Jesse Kropelnicki said of their decision in Pat turning Pro - "He is ready. I'm much less concerned about the performance of those athletes wanting to turn "Pro" as I am their ability to operate as a true "professional" both in and out of training. I want to see the athlete not only having the speed required, but more importantly the ability to make unbelievable sacrifices day in day out in terms of recovery, nutrition, mental approaches, etc. At the end of the day, its these qualities that will continue to progress the athlete beyond being just another fast kid with a Pro card. Pat display's these qualities on a consistent basis which indicates to me that he is ready and validates his already apparent speed."

All of us at QT2 Systems are looking forward to following along and supporting Pat, as he enters into the Pro ranks. If he continues along the path that he has been following, there is no telling how far he will go!