Just days after claiming a podium at an Olympics test event Hayden Wilde's focus has already shifted as he continues to chase selection for the Tokyo Olympics.
In challenging heat and humidity, the Tauranga-based, Whakatāne-raised world-class triathlete claimed the bronze medal at the Tokyo 2020 Triathlon Test Event last week. Wilde says the run leg that led to his third placing was a war of nutrition.
"I was the first into transition two which I was extremely happy about. It pretty much set up my run as I was the third out of transition. The run wasn't about how fast you ran but more of a survival of nutrition. Every aid station you grab water with every opportunity you got or you would pay for it in the long run," Wilde says.
Wilde finished behind Canadian Tyler Mislawchu and Norwegian Casper Stornes. The significance of the event is obvious, as teams and athletes vie for spots at next year's Tokyo Olympics.
"It was all about testing the course, how the body feels in the extreme heat and also gaining some extremely important points towards Olympic selection," Wilde says.
"From the gun it was full on, only losing 18 seconds on the first lap of the swim. That was fantastic for me but then the fighting started, and I started to lose a lot of time.
"I still have a lot of work to do on the bike. The course was very flat but one of the hardest courses I've ridden on due to all the turns and tight corners. You are consistently powering out as hard as you can, after a few laps it takes its toll but that's how I like to race, aggressively, so it suited me."
Wilde did not take part in the relay on Sunday as other New Zealand team members had their chance to show their form.
Wilde says he is "fizzing" about the result and his focus now turns to the grand final of the World Triathlon Series in Switzerland in two weeks.
Wilde's coach Craig Kirwkood says there is not a lot of time before the August 31 elite race in Switzerland, so the key was to not overdo it.
"He has recovered really well and we will do nothing special in preparation for Switzerland. There is not much time, so it is about making sure you don't overdo it. We have been working for this for 12 months and there are not a lot of changes you can make in two weeks," Kirkwood says.
He says a podium result in Switzerland, or Abu Dhabi next year, could mean automatic selection for the Olympics, but the result in Tokyo was massive.
"It sets him up really well to push to be in Tokyo next year. He had a really good race, he was just a minute down in the swim, closed the gap on the bike and stayed with the fast group on the run where it came down to the three of them."