We’re as proud of our triathlon kit as we are about our cycling-specific products. To put it through its paces, we have sponsored young Australian triathlete Matt de Vroet. Based in Melbourne and racing internationally, Matt will be racing and training in the colours of our new club, Ravey CC.
We phoned Matt up to chat about his switch from road to tri, growing up in Perth and racing in Belgium.
You’ve always been a fairly active person, was cycling the first sport you got properly into or did you come to it later on?
As a kid I gave about every sport under the sun a crack as I loved being outside and being active. I settled on playing football and tennis throughout my junior days but realised I was technically poor with my feet so decided that throwing myself in front of a ball would be a better option and hence found myself as a goalkeeper. One injury led to another before I discovered cycling and never looked back as I solely committed to cycling at the age of 15. Was lucky enough to race around the world before racing got the better of me and I took a step back. After a week of not doing much I decided to pick up triathlon...
What was it like growing up riding in Perth? There seems to be a very strong bunch of mid-90s babies currently competing at high levels everywhere. Was it something in the water?
I’d like to claim it’s because they trained with me and listened to my wisdom but I don’t think that’s the case. Perth is lucky to boast a few World Tour up and coming superstars and knowing those guys, their work ethics set them on another level. They are so focussed and determined which is really motivating for me and nice to see them rewarded for all their hard work.
The Australian calendar is very different to the European one, is it fair to say you guys don’t have an off season with the opportunity to race your winters in Belgium? How much of a difference is there between the scenes?
Yeah the Australian scene is one of a kind. The Australian domestic scene really runs from July-April which does not leave a lot of room for an off season. A few of the guys will take a break in May but most of us use that opportunity to race overseas and seek some sun during the winter months. Since winters in Australia aren’t quite the same extreme as they are over in Europe, we race during the winter right through to summer. It does make things pretty grim sometimes when you are lined up in the middle of July in a rural Victorian town with every piece of winter item you own on and the garmin reading 0 degrees. Compare that to lining up for our national championships in January in 40 plus degrees and you get the most out of you cycling wardrobe!
What is your favourite story of racing bikes in Belgium?
If you are on form and love racing, Belgium is the place to be. Unfortunately, for most of us this isn’t the case year around but I’ve always said it’s good to get your head kicked in a couple times. There are a couple stories I can’t share, one of which involves a multiple monument winners house, an intoxicated World Tour pro, his director sportif and a row of toilet cubicles.
One of my managers happened to run a bike store but put nicely, wasn’t the best mechanic in the world...even if he thought he was. He thought the best idea to install a bottom bracket was with a hammer and was shocked when I came back a couple days later with a seized bottom bracket which barely turned. He was adamant it was fine and with a bit of degreaser thought he’d solved the problem. Turned up to the race the next day and the entire bottom bracket fell out with the cranks and pedals attached. Apparently, it was still somehow my fault.
What made you step over to Triathlon? How has the switch been? What are your 3 biggest goals?
I loved riding my bike and racing just wasn’t for me anymore. The stress of a European bunch and a plateau in form meant I was searching for something different and that’s when I found triathlon. It started off as a bit of a joke as I always made fun of my girlfriend for being an ex-triathlete but after a few runs and swims I got hooked.
The switch has actually been pretty smooth. Having a good group of mates to train with on the bike certainly helps keep me pushing out watts but I find myself having to limit the time spent at the coffee shop with them in order to get a few more sessions done.
I have some pretty set goals in mind when it comes to triathlon. I would like to do a full ironman within the next 5 years and qualify for the professional race at Kona. It’s the holy grail in triathlon and something my heart is set on doing. Shorter term however, I’d like to perfect my 70.3 races and go to the World Championships for that distance. A professional win in that discipline is a big dream of mine as well as a national championship. Most of all, I’d like to just get the most out of myself and really see how far I can push my body. I constantly want to improve and make the most of the opportunity to not only reward myself, but the people who have supported me so much.
What were your first impressions of the Milltag Tri suit?
Stylish, comfortable and fast! Some features that really stood out for me where the aerodynamic pockets with the side walls. It was still super easy to reach into them and actually stores your gels better which means you can sneak a few in your pockets before the swim to save a bit of time in transition. It was also super comfortable during the swim which is a vital aspect in a tri suit and usually you can feel tight around the shoulders with the material but none of this was experienced with the Milltag suit.
Where can people keep track of how you’re doing?
I try to keep everyone updated on my instagram account @devroet41. I’m actually studying journalism at university so I’ve been meaning to get a blog going for a couple months now and I’m sure I’ll share that through my insta handle as well.