John Polson

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There were a few things to get used to when Australian triathlete John Polson moved to Boulder earlier this year.

Driving on the "wrong" side of the road, the coffee and the altitude threw him at first. But as he prepares for the Boulder 70.3 triathlon race this weekend, Polson said he's getting used to all three.

The 26-year-old Gold Coast native won the Boulder Sprint earlier this summer, and withdrew from the Boulder Peak because of a stomach bug. Polson finished 3rd at Syracuse 70.3, and said he's hoping for another top finish at Boulder 70.3 to secure a spot at the 70.3 world championships in Las Vegas this September.

Polson grew up playing golf almost "obsessively," he said, and ran cross-country and track in high school. He only completed his first triathlon at age 20, while he was studying sport science at Bond University. Polson raced casually in college, but ultimately decided to go back to school in 2010 for a doctorate in physiotherapy.

"Triathlon's a sport where you do your first one and it sucks you in and doesn't let you go," he said.

So after a year of working full time as a "physio" in Australia, Polson decided to pursue triathlon as a career -- at least for a little while. He quit his job and moved to Boulder in May for a six-month stint of training and racing in the United States.


Though he's not working nine-to-five in an office this year, Polson said he's always striving to maintain a balance between triathlon and the other parts of his life. He works about 20 hours a week doing research and development for Scody, an Australian activewear company that also sponsors him as an athlete.

Because he's actually wearing Scody clothing and gear while training and racing, Polson knows first-hand how to change or improve it for other triathletes, said Scody managing director Bernard Schreiber.

For example: "(Polson) has been looking at trying to reduce body temperature in long course triathlon and has been experimenting with thinner fabric and mesh," said Schreiber.

The research keeps his mind busy when he's not training, said Polson, and makes him feel like he's putting his academic degrees to good use. It's all part of that balance he's seeking. He also isn't strict about what he eats, and he refuses to take naps during the day because he wants to maintain some "level of normality" in his life.

"I've always tried to maintain a level of balance in my life," he said. "I'm always careful not to become one of those obsessed triathletes. It's not the be all, end all, and I think that's really important for longevity."

While he trains with many of the other Australian triathletes in Boulder for the Northern Hemisphere summer, Polson said he's quietly confident in himself and doesn't mind training alone.

His friend and training partner Tyler Butterfield agrees. Butterfield, a Bermudan triathlete living in Boulder, met Polson in Gold Coast 10 years ago in a triathlon training group, and they have stayed friends ever since. When Polson decided to train in Boulder this summer, Butterfield said he was excited to have a close friend to train with.

Often, Butterfield will tag along and do Polson's workouts some days because he knows Polson trains smart.

"With the sport science background, he's not just going to beat his head against the wall by trying to go out every day and run, swim and bike as hard as he can," Butterfield said. "He's got a good head on his shoulders."

Watch for Polson and other pros at the Boulder 70. 3 race on Sunday. Race starts at the Boulder Reservoir at a little after 7 a.m. More information:


--Follow Sarah Kuta on Twitter: @SarahKuta.