Liz West: the cyclist turned triathlete just back from Kona

WE TALK to Liz West about how cycling has led her on a triathlon journey across the states of the USA and beyond.


Liz West started cycling shortly after she graduated from College.

LIZ WEST started cycling in California when she was stationed there in the Air Force raced all over the US and Canada. Her passion for the sport got her interested in triathlon and she has gone to compete in events across the country. This season has been her most competitive yet and she’s just returned from he Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. 


Here Liz talks about the highlight from her sporting endeavours and explains what she’s got planned for the year ahead and beyond.


When did you start cycling and who inspired you to take up the sport?


I started cycling after I graduated college. I was stationed in California for the Air Force, and I was looking for new opportunities to stay active outside. I had always been fascinated with triathlons, but was very intimidated about the idea of trying one. I met a wonderful friend, who not only let me borrow a bike and started to take me out to ride, but believed in me and encouraged me to live outside of my limits.


When was it you realised you had a talent for the sport and what were some of your earliest cycling successes?


I still wouldn’t say that I am a talented cyclist or triathlete. I love biking and have an incredibly competitively driven spirit, but mostly I just love spending time on my bike.


The first time I saw that I was starting to contend was when I was selected on to the Air Force Triathlon team in 2008. This was a group of athletes that I really looked up to, so getting to compete as one of them was very motivating.


When I finished my first Ironman in 2012, I started to really believe that I could accomplish anything I set out to.



Liz finished her first Ironman in 2012.

Where do you most enjoy cycling?


I love that I get to call Boulder, Colorado my home. I have beautiful riding all around me; I can shoot right up into the mountains any time I want to.


Where in the country and world has the sport taken you and what have been some of the highlights?


I have raced all over the US and in Canada. Just like training, I love to get to race at home, but I have gotten to race so many cool courses that I really get to challenge myself as an athlete. One of my favourite places to go race is in St George, Utah. The course is beautiful, and racing the same weekend every year could be 90* or could be 50*.


What do you see as your biggest cycling achievements?


I have just gotten home from by far my biggest achievement. This year I qualified to race at the Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii and racing there was a dream come true. I have raced 6 Ironman now, and this was my best performance yet on the toughest course out there.


Liz West

Liz has just completed her toughest triathlon season to date.

How hard are you currently training and what events and races do you have coming up in the near future?


This is the biggest season I have ever raced. I raced 2 Ironman 70.3 races and 2 Full Ironman which included two world championship races and a sprinkling of local shorter races as well. I am looking forward to some down time and some unstructured training.


Usually by now I have my next season completely planned out, but this year I haven’t even looked at it or talked through it with my husband or my coach. I am not burnt out by any means, just decided to focus on what was directly in front of me and worry about the rest later.


I am sure my season next year will look a lot like this one. I didn’t race as much locally as I usually do and missed that, so I am looking forward to doing some more grassroots racing. I am also sure I will continue to have some big goals, just not sure where they will be yet.

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