Recently, our own SLS3 Team member, Nate Dressel, was featured in a cover story by SlowTwitch.com. (For the full article, see the attached link here.) From a military enlistee, to a Green Beret, to a now professional triathlete living with his family via motor home in California, Nate has been through the ringer as far as life experiences goes. But, as we note his accomplishments and success as a pro, it is his humility and inspired words that we would like to share with all athletes looking to pursue endurance sport.
Nate originally enlisted with the Airborne Infantry in 2004, until he was approached by a Special Forces Master Sergeant to pursue the Green Berets. Sure enough, a few years later he was assigned to the 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne), in Ft Lewis, WA. It was during his time in the military that he raced his first Tri with a friend in 2006, The Mission Man Sprint Tri in Burlington, NC. As he describes it, “I did not drown, completed the bike on a borrowed yellow steel Schwinn, and puked three times on the run. It was awesome!”
From there he continued the dual partnership of serving his country and racing triathlons. It wasn’t until this past September 2014 that he stepped down from active status as a Special Forces Medical Sergeant, bought a motor home with his family, and moved to California to train as a professional.
“The motor home was certainly not our lifestyle goal,” he tells SlowTwitch, “but at the time we made the decision to motor home full-time, it was a necessary step to get on with our lives and pursue this career. We knew that we wanted to be somewhere in the Monterey Bay area, but we had no jobs, no guaranteed income, and really didn’t even know where in the area we actually wanted to live. My wife’s family had gone to Moss Landing when she was a kid and I have raced Tri California’s events for years so we just knew it was gorgeous, temperate, and would be a great place to train year round and give this a go.”
As a pro, Nate has worked to be more than a seasoned endurance athlete. His goals go beyond being a top finisher to being a true representative and supporter of this sport. When asked about acquiring his official Pro status, he offered up this introspective response:
“What is an actual pro? Is it the top 5 to 10% of pro license holders who repeatedly win enormous races, grace the covers of magazines and ST features on a regular basis? If that’s the case, the rest of us holding licenses are nothing more than camera fodder for the big guys to pretend they actually have competition.
If an actual pro is someone who supports their family, encourages newer athletes to find their love for endurance sports and healthy lifestyle, and generally makes their career through racing, coaching, and being an ambassador for the sport, then yes, I think I’m doing a decent job as a pro.
This tier of professionals is real and attainable; we participate in the local triathlon clubs, the masters swim groups, the group rides, and the fun runs. We are the base of the professional pyramid and the accessible resource for all the newer athletes trying to gain insight into triathlon or looking to improve upon their own PRs.”
Currently, Nate is gearing up for his first race in March, the Oceanside 70.3, and we are all excited and looking forward to was is to surely be a great 2015 season.
For all of you out there, professional or no, remember why you race and the type of competitor you want to be. Nate’s words and active emersion in his sport and community are inspiring to athletes everywhere, and we are proud to have such individuals as a part of our SLS3 team. Congratulations, Nate! And to all of our members, for being the triathletes we can be honored to race alongside of. We are proud of you!
Here’s to wishing you a great 2015!
Racing professionally is a job, but it should also be a very enjoyable job.
pictures courtesy of slowtwitch.com