Michael Nunez Xterra World Championship Athlete Profile
Name: Michael Nunez
Where do you live? Salt Lake City
Is this your first year competing at Worlds? What do you most look forward? This will be my 3rd time competing at Worlds since 2005. I look forward to finally having the ability to tackle this course with proper preparation. Also look forward to sharing Maui with my daughter and spending time with my brother and girlfriend.
What is your favorite aspect of Xterra? It’s difficult to identify one thing. But, like many others will say, the family aspect is pretty amazing. Some of my best friends have been made through this sport, and I continually make new ones. Whether I’m acting as an ambassador for the sport or my sponsors, or chatting with a mentor, everyone is always approachable and friendly.
How did you get into Xterra or triathlon in general? After university I had moved to Durango, CO to race road. Ned Overend would join our team from time to time and suggested I attempt Xterra since I had a swimming/mountain biking background. He gave me a few pointers prior to my first race in 2005, and the rest is history.
What challenges did you have to overcome in order to qualify for Worlds, or what do you contribute your success to this year? I contribute my success to a few things, but the tops ones are: Finally hiring a coach that was able to maximize the quality of training while preserving my time with my friends and family. And, for the understanding of my friends and family for allowing me to pursue a passion and supporting me along the way.
What is your favorite discipline and why? I honestly enjoy all 3, but my heart is with mountain biking.
What is your least favorite discipline and why? I grew up swimming and biking, so I feel comfortable in those disciplines. I was never a runner (other than some cross training), so my progress has been slow. It’s my least favorite because it’s currently my weakest link, but I actually enjoy running.
What is your favorite piece of triathlon/Xterra equipment? Probably my mountain bike (Pivot Mach 429SL)
What is one piece of advice you would give other off road triathletes trying to qualify for Worlds in the future or to those participating in Worlds for the first time? Hire a good coach and be patient. Having the guidance of someone experienced is amazingly beneficial. Getting on the right track early in the season makes qualifying easier. Also, it can assist in making adjustments to training throughout the season. If racing Worlds the first time, I think patience is the key. I have always gone out hard, and suffered in the end. It’s a long course, and the heat/humidity will take its toll. Time your efforts and be sure to fuel properly.
Who do you need to give a special shout out to for making this season successful? A lot of people – mainly my coach (Josiah), my daughter for being a super fan, my family/friends, girlfriend and of course all my sponsors.
What are your expectations at Worlds? I would be thrilled with an age group podium or top 15 overall. Both are pretty ambitious goals, but I’m going to try my best.
If you had to choose one song to get stuck in your head for the entire race, what would it be? I like so much music that it’s hard to choose. Maybe something by Rage Against the Machine. Inevitably I end up with something ridiculous stuck in my head.
What is your favorite activity outside of training? Hanging with my daughter/friends/family, anything outdoors, and I love live music.
After the season is over what do you most look forward to doing that you were not able to do leading up to Hawaii? Relax
What is one thing that you think others might be surprised to know about you? That I’m an aerospace engineer and was almost a classical pianist?
Anything else you would like to add? I’ve probably already said too much.