It’s been an extraordinary 12 months for triathlete Hayden Wilde.
“Having a year like this was better than I ever could have imagined,” said Wilde.
“It’s pretty cool that I’m punching up there with the biggest names in New Zealand men’s triathlon.”
To say it’s been a breakthrough season for the 22-year-old athlete would be an understatement.
In just his second year on the circuit Wilde claimed three top five finishes on the World Triathlon Series, before taking bronze at the Olympic Test Event in Tokyo.
“That was massive for me.
“I knew I had the potential to have a good race, it was just putting it all together. I’m not the strongest swimmer but I know if I have a good swim my bike skills can usually get me back up there and luckily it all came together.”
It’s exactly that style of race, attacking from behind, which earned Wilde the nickname ‘the falcon’.
And the falcon puts his strong form down to consistency.
“I haven’t been injured in three years so you can just see that progression, I’m just getting better and better thanks to consistent training weeks.
“I feel like I can definitely improve way more as well which is pretty exciting.”
After five months on the road the Whakatane athlete is now back home for the New Zealand summer where he’s working on each individual discipline.
“I flew 58 times within that five months away so it’s nice to be in one place for a bit,” said Wilde.
“I’m really looking forward to pre-season racing now, I’ve got a whole heap of events I’ll be competing in around New Zealand over summer and hopefully I can make some good gains.”
Tokyo 2020 is on the radar for Wilde but he says the team must come first.
“At the moment we’ve only got two spots for male triathletes in Tokyo, I’d love to get one of those spots but there’s going to be some hard mahi before then,” said Wilde.
“My goals are just to be committed to the triathlon team. It’s awesome having the mixed team relay there, we’ve got great potential so I’ll be working on my speed for that.”
Wilde will be back in action on the international circuit at the Abu Dhabi World Triathlon Series in early March.