Kevin Petty is a retired US Army Major turned full-time triathlete. He trains year round, with this mantra: “I’m training for my next triathlon, whenever it may be.” The 54-year-old athlete’s love for triathlon is strong not only because it “slows down the aging process” —(most people he meets think he’s in his 30s), but also because it provides a way for him to give back. Over the years, Petty has coached and trained many new triathletes. With his year-round training, coaching and racing, Petty is consistently plagued with muscle cramps. Since discovering HOTSHOT during it’s beta phase as #ITSTHENERVE, Petty shares how eliminating cramps from the picture has made more room for improvement for both himself, and the athletes he trains.
You recently raced ToughMan Indiana, 1.2 Mile Swim/56 Mile Bike Aquabike, Tri-Louisville Sprint Tri and the Muncie Ironman 70.3. Have you ever had to stop during a race to calm a muscle cramp?
Last year at the Muncie 70.3, I cramped up both at the end of the bike ride and at mile two of the run. The cramps were so bad that I had to stop for a bit before they subsided enough that I could walk, and then gingerly run/walk the rest of the way. I somehow managed a decent 5:27 finish. This year, however, I was armed with HOTSHOT and not only didn’t cramp, but I was eight minutes faster and set a new PR of 5:19:28.
You first tried HOTSHOT at Kona, when it was #ITSTHENERVE.
I was part of the #ITSTHENERVE test group at Kona. It literally saved my race because for as brutal as the heat and wind was, I would have been in serious trouble had I had to deal with cramping. I spent 25 minutes in T2 just cooling off after the hardest and hottest ride I’ve ever had! For a guy who normally has significant cramping at some point during 140.6 races, it was great to go the distance without them. They ‘tried’ to set in, but #ITSTHENERVE completely killed them. I’ve used HOTSHOT in all of my races thus far this year, and have had no issues and great results including two podiums, second overall at Toughman Aquabike and an age group win at Tri-Louisville, and a PR at Muncie 70.3.
As an athlete and a coach, how do you keep a positive mindset on the end goal?
I train hard. I do most of my damage on the bike; I ride hundreds of miles a week on my trainer with maximum resistance and 26 MPH majority of the time. That translates into some pretty fast bike splits. My mindset is that if I train hard, I should have decent race results. That’s been the case since I’ve turned 50. I’ve made the age group podium in every sprint or Olympic distance triathlon, including a first place overall in a sprint in 2014, at age 52. I’ve also finished in the top-3 of every Aquabike race I’ve entered regardless of distance. You could call me competitive, and now with HOTSHOT in my arsenal of race day weapons, I am very excited about moving up to the 55-59 age group next year and seeing if I can hang tough with the really old guys!
You’re clearly competitive athlete who likes to keep things exciting. We heard about your “Tour de Stupidity” — what kind of training does this require?
Ah yes, the Tour de Stupidity. USAT has the National Challenge Competition over the winter to keep athletes engaged in training. It’s three months long and each month has its own discipline. December is Swim, January is Bike, and February is Run. But mileage of any type counts regardless of month. My first year, I decided that I wanted to win Bike month. What I didn’t know was that I was going up against Chuck Kemeny, who I believe holds the UltraMan World Record. I just knew I’d have to put up stupid miles to win, so I called it the Tour de Stupidity. I did win Bike month that year, and have gone on to win the overall Championship the following two years!
Would you recommend HOTSHOT to your fellow athletes?
No way! If they don’t use it, advantage me. Seriously though, I absolutely would because in the long run it would level the playing field for those of us who are cramp prone.
MORE ON THE HOTSHOT BLOG
Crowie Alexander: 5 Tips for Ironman
HOTSHOT Science: What causes a muscle cramp? Read here.
HOTSHOT Science: Why does HOTSHOT have a kick? It’s all about activating the TRP Channels.