Mike Hillmer Xterra World Championship Athlete Profile
Name: Mike Hillmer
Division: Age Group – 40-44
Where do you live? Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Is this your first year competing at Worlds? What do you most look forward?
This is my first year at worlds. It is my first year racing Xterras. It was my stretch goal at the beginning of the year to get to worlds so I am thrilled that my hard work has paid off and I get to race against the best in the world in one of the most beautiful places on the planet.
What is your favorite aspect of Xterra?
I love the physical challenge of the mountain bike and the run. The races are always in amazing places with incredible scenery. The camaraderie among the athletes is one of the best elements of the races. There is an incredible vibe of support and everyone is really friendly.
How did you get into Xterra or triathlon in general?
A good friend of mine, Mike Cabigon, is an elite age grouper and we’ve been riding together for years. He’d raced Xterras for a few years and been to worlds and always spoke so enthusiastically about the race series. I decided to start a new training regimen and see what was possible.
What challenges did you have to overcome in order to qualify for Worlds, or what do you contribute your success to this year?
The challenge is finding the balance. I have a busy job and three active kids so finding the time to train is always a challenge. There have been lots of late nights and early mornings on the trainer, in the pool, or out on the road.
I attribute my success to my incredibly supportive wife and kids who have made sacrifices to let me get and train and travel to race and to my coach Josiah Middaugh whose mentorship and guidance has converted me into a serious endurance athlete.
What is your favorite discipline and why?
Tough question! I’d have to say the bike. I started out as a rider and I always feel the most comfortable on the bike. I love the technical challenge of the routes
What is your least favorite discipline and why?
I love the water and I’m a decent swimmer but this entire season, I just never felt that comfortable in the water. I will definitely be focusing on the swim in the off season to improve my speed and comfort level.
What is your favorite piece of triathlon/Xterra equipment?
My Trek Superfly. There is a huge bike sale in Toronto every fall and the Trek Canada team was selling off their bikes after the season. It is ridiculously nice bike with full XTR. It handles great and is really nimble out on the trails.
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?
Xterras are physically grueling races. I’d suggest lots of high intensity interval training. Training on tired legs. And building in strength training.
Who do you need to give a special shout out to for making this season successful?
My wife, Melinda. She made this season possible for me.
What are your expectations at Worlds?
I’d like to beat as many people in my age group as possible but my expectations are tempered by the fact that the best in the world will be coming to Hawaii and my age group is super competitive. I’ll be happy to finish with a competitive time.
If you had to choose one song to get stuck in your head for the entire race, what would it be?
Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson
What is your favorite activity outside of training?
I don’t have that many activities outside of training!! In addition to my day job, I also teach at the University of Toronto which I really enjoy and I love taking my daughter to her hockey practices and games.
After the season is over what do you most look forward to doing that you were not able to do leading up to Hawaii?
Taking a few days off and enjoying a few beverages!!!
What is one thing that you think others might be surprised to know about you?
I never played hockey as a kid and never imagined I’d enjoy spending time in a rink but I love watching my daughter play hockey. It is so gratifying to see her skills improve and develop a love for Canada’s game.
Anything else you would like to add?
I hope everyone has a fantastic race in Maui. I can’t wait to get there! #GoJaysGo