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Orca triathlete Roger Serrano

What do you do? What is your profession?

I do a lot of things: I swim, I ride and I run. Sometimes all together and always well feed. I also do physiotherapy and play guitar sometimes.

How long have you been a triathlete?

I started with this at the age of 19, five years ago, but my first x-terra was in 2013.

Do you think your education or your career have helped to prepare you mentally for racing?

I can’t talk about how hard other sports are, apart from swimming and triathlon, but I can say that when something is physically hard it is also mentally hard. Pain and suffering are not easy things to handle every single day, especially when you are a 14 year old boy and all your mates are hanging out with bikes, skates and other cool stuff.

University is more than what you learn, it's something you start and you must finish, and if you do, you feel confident about yourself. It’s a long distance race.

Have you been an athlete all your life or did you have some sort of epiphany that got you into it?

Since I was 8 I’ve been involved in sports. I started in a pool, had a one-year break after 10 years, and then, with some help from another ORCA athlete, Albert Moreno, I began with triathlon.

What do you do when you're not training or racing?

I like to spend time with my girl, my dog and my family. I also like good food, good wine and discovering new beers. When it’s off-season, everything is allowed. 

What’s been your worst moment in a race?

Alpe d’Huez short distance triathlon back in 2013. I had some hormonal problems due to my vegan diet. My body collapsed. I was not tired, but it was impossible for me to go any faster or slower. It was the kind of feeling you can’t explain with words.

How did you overcome this?

When you are out you can’t blame yourself. I just tried to reach the top of the mountain, stop thinking about the race result and start enjoying my first Alpe d’Huez climb. Thinking about what is next always helps.

Tell us the main differences you see between physical and mental strength.

Physical strength to me is something so easy to overcome. When your coach sends you your weekly plan and you see more than 30 hours of training you know that your legs will be sore. It’s something you can predict so you can be ready for that. But mental things are not that easy. There are many factors that affect your mental stability; family, food, friends, girlfriend, money, work, good or bad sets in you sessions…all these things can make you shake.

When you feel you can’t go any further, when you want to give up, what goes through your mind? What does your body tell you and how does your mind respond to it?

When It’s a big race and everything has been set for that, giving up is not an option. Too much time training for that race, too much suffering and fatigue, too much of everything to give up because of a bad feeling, a crash or someone that overtakes you. You just have to clear your mind and get ready for the most painful feeling of your life. That's it.

How do you normally feel before the start of a race?

I’m lucky about this. My swimming background helps me a lot. My whole year of preparation was for a 50 second race, so you can’t mess up a single kick. In a X-terra race there are so many things that can go wrong, so you can’t be expecting everything to go well. The best thing to do is keep calm and get ready to act quickly if anything goes wrong.

In triathlon is it necessary to have inner strength? Be made of iron maybe?

I think you have to be made of iron in any sport that requires you to give more that 100%. It’s said that triathlon is one the hardest endurance sports, but you know, that reward you get when you do your job, gives sense to every sacrifice you have done. There are a lot of iron people out there…they just don’t know it yet.