Such is the lure of triathlon and outdoor, individual sports generally, there is always constant growth and evolution.
The local triathlon scene is no exception, experiencing a steady expansion in 2015 and the evolution of a new multi-sport team – a collective of athletes with a shared ethos toward training, racing and overall well-being.
Daniel Cummings is one of the co-founders of this evolution – the Breakaway Squad Multisport Team.
“The Wolves” debuted at last month’s Cayman triathlon and, besides Cummings, featured triathletes and co-founders Darrel Evans Jr. and Gareth Van Den Bergh.
“It was an idea that grew from a passion to not only develop personally but also develop the sport locally,” Cummings said. Now up to a membership of 14 athletes, they train at Breakaway Squad sessions and individually.
Cummings said there is “no elitism, just the sharing of information and experiences for the benefit of everyone.”
He added, “Look out for the pack, hunting on the sporting scene next year. Long-term, we want to aid in the growth and development of the local triathlon and sporting community anyway we can.”
“Every member is passionate about their sport and we hope that by fostering a team based, information-sharing environment, everyone on the team and in the local multi-sport compass can benefit.”
Cummings insists that the Wolves are not in competition with the longer established Flashy Nation Sports Club, created by Kendall “Flash” Ebanks.
“We are not a team in the sense of competing against other teams or groups – instead our goals and achievements are personal ones. There is no hierarchy, no coaching and no set programs to follow.”
“Discipline and integrity proceed performance” is Breakaway Squad’s motto. “We are all ambassadors for triathlon, and sports in the broader sense, locally and Internationally,” said Cummings. “We want to promote an environment of inclusiveness and non-elitism, traits that can only help draw newcomers and help to keep them involved.”
So far, the athletes are centered around the triathlon disciplines but there are single sports members too. Other Breakaway Squad members include Amilkar Torres, Arcie De La Cruz, Chris Bailey, Chris Smith, Daniel Cummings, Ian Comins, Jonathan Webster, Graham Blyth, Matt “Sticks” Volkwyn, Nora Balderamos and Wendy Clarke.
Many of the Breakaway Squad are in this Sunday’s Cayman marathon. Cummings is running the half-marathon. He was focusing on the shorter distances for the Cayman triathlon, so has not been able to put in the right type of training to beat his personal record this year.
“I am actually pacing a couple of my training partners, Nora Balderamos and Wendy Clarke, to help them reach their targets,” Cummings said.
In general, it has been a good year for him, competing in many more of the local sporting events, with some success.
Highlights were breakthrough performances with a third place finish overall in September’s 10 mile cycling time trial and third overall in the sprint category in the triathlon.
“I tailored my training plan and sessions specifically for those races and I think the focused approach really paid dividends.”
Failing to finish at Ironman Florida 140.6 in April was definitely the low point for Cummings. Physically he was ready but mentally, his psyche “packed it in eight miles into the marathon (26.2 mile) run.”
Extremely disappointed, he turned the experience into a positive “as it allowed me to know that dark place and how to prepare to push through it.”
Next year the ambition is to crack the code for the half-Ironman distance.
“I haven’t had a breakthrough performance at that distance and will be training solidly for my three 70.3 triathlons scheduled for next year – Mercuryman here in January, Ironman Florida 70.3 in Tampa in April and Ironman Durban 70.3 in South Africa in July.”
After that, Cummings, who has already completed a full Ironman, will set his sights on another one late in the year.
A relative newcomer to triathlon after a lifetime in football and martial arts, Cummings has noticed how much cycling and triathlon has grown recently.
“There are quite a few factors involved in that. Everything from the quality of the events put on by the cycling and triathlon associations is a big factor, as well as the welcoming attitudes of athletes towards newbies, to and the amazing coverage and exposure given to the sports by the local media.”