Five years after moving from the Czech Republic in 2000, Karel Sumbal rediscovered his love for cycling (he grew up in a cycling family, racing since he was 12-years-old) – and wasted no time assimilating to the competitive lifestyle he missed back in his hometown. Karel quickly moved up the ranks, racing as a Cat1 cyclist and eventually getting involved in triathlon. As he prepares to compete in his second Ironman World Championships in Kona, the HOTSHOT influencer shares his journey from racing bikes to accomplished triathlete with six Ironman finishes to his name.
- How did you first get into triathlon? In the summer of 2012, I decided to stop racing bikes and wanted to see what other sport challenges were out there for me. I did my first Half Ironman that fall (Branson 70.3) and first Ironman the next year (IM Placid). I was hooked. I qualified for Kona in my second full year as a triathlete and I raced on the Big Island at the IM World Championship.
- How have muscle cramps impacted your performance? Throughout my training and racing years, I would often suffer from muscle cramps. They would come without warning and were a big performance limiter. I did everything I could in my training prep but I could never control if the cramp would happen in race day or not ‑ until I discovered and tried HOTSHOT.
- Can you describe how HOTSHOT has helped you? I was first introduced to HOTSHOT (#ITSTHENERVE) last year at the 2015 Ironman World Championship. It made an immediate difference: I was able to keep on pushing and the cramp never came. This sold me on HOTSHOT and it’s now a part of my training and racing routine.
- How do you use HOTSHOT during your last Ironman? I used four bottles at Ironman Mount Tremblant; one before the swim, one in T1, one in T2 and one in the second half of the run, when I was getting some muscle tightness and the pre-cramp warning. It worked well and I was able to finish the race strong and even qualified for my second Ironman World championship! I also clocked the fastest amateur run of the day as a bonus.
- Motivation: You say, “You are never good enough.” How do you stay motivated? I never like to settle with “good enough.” I believe I can get better and I’m willing to put in the work. I enjoy training to improve my fitness but race day allows me to push my limits.
As a triathlon coach, can you share some of your training tips? One of the best tips I have is to stay consistent with the training development and build from one season to another. When muscle cramps happen, it stops my training and prevents the consistency. That’s why I really like to use HOTSHOT as a part of my training routine.
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