What: USA Triathlon Age Group Nationals
When: Aug. 10-11
Where: Milwaukee, Wis.
More info: usatriathlon.org/
At the Boulder Peak triathlon in July, Davide Giardini blew away the amateur field, winning the age group division in 1 hour, 55 minutes and 35 seconds. Giardini, 25, is studying at the University of Colorado’s Leeds School of Business and working toward his MBA.
Giardini earned his pro card for triathlon, but hasn’t claimed it yet. He’ll be racing at USA Triathlon Age Group Nationals this weekend in Milwaukee, Wis., and said he hopes to be the top amateur in the sport before he starts racing pro.
You grew up in Europe. What brought you to the United States?
I’m originally from Italy. I started swimming when I was really young, and I did that until I was 18 years old. Then I did a year of foreign exchange at a boarding school in Massachusetts. There I was skiing as well. I raced for the boarding school in New England and then they recommended that I apply for college in the states, so I went to school in Rhode Island and I was swimming there Division III at Roger Williams University.
You moved to Boulder last year to pursue your MBA at CU. What led to that decision?
I decided to come to Colorado just because I heard of the CU Tri Team that was doing so well. I moved to Boulder last year. Before that I was living in Honolulu. I moved there for surfing and I had a little bit of a career in kite surfing and wind surfing. I did a few stand-up paddling races, some freestyle windsurfing. My job in Honolulu ended and I wanted to earn my master’s degree at the same time, so I decided to come to Boulder and join the CU Tri Team. (I wanted to) combine things, join the triathlon team, earn a graduate degree, do well at nationals and then go pro from there.
When was your first triathlon? What led you to try out the sport?
It was in the summer of 2011. I got into the sport because of my full-time job that I had. I didn’t really like my job. I’ve always been really energetic, so it was really hard for me to have a 9-to-5 job, sitting at a desk for eight hours. The traffic is really bad (in Honolulu), so I would bike all the time to work, and I would swim before that in the ocean. Then I would bike back home and then I would still have energy so I would want to go running. I heard there was a good local triathlon community in Honolulu so I started racing over there. I raced one season there, didn’t know what I was doing. And then the summer of 2012, I was a bit more serious, but still kind of playing around with it. I got fourth at the Honolulu Triathlon, which was a big international race.
What are your goals for age group nationals this weekend?
I want to earn an amateur title before going pro. I would like to be a top amateur before making the move (to pro racing), just because I don’t want to be middle of the pack.
You earned your pro card after you won the Boulder Peak age group division. When will you start racing pro?
You have to qualify (for the pro card) and then you claim it. I did qualify, but I haven’t claimed it yet. I will after these two races. You have to place top three amateur in a race that’s got $20,000 or more in a prize purse in the same course among the pros. So that’s why — the Boulder Peak had $35,000. I’ll be going to age group nationals and then Hyvee, and then hopefully I’ll do my first pro race the end of September and then do it the whole next season.
You’re also pursuing your MBA, what are your career plans?
I’ve always been a business-minded, entrepreneurial guy. One of the reasons I came to Boulder was also to connect with the companies in the outdoor industry, so I’m kind of pursuing that route. I’ve been putting a lot of time in triathlon and I got really involved into it and I like it. It takes a lot of dedication, but I really enjoy it. It’s actually been good for networking with business professionals as well. I would like to continue that and get better at triathlon as a foot in the door as well and continue my education, get my MBA next year and eventually I will have to get a full-time job. But I would like to continue triathlon. As far as career objectives, I have a few entrepreneurial ideas in mind, so I’ll probably pursue those. I’ll definitely avoid the 9-to-5 for as long as I can.
–Follow Sarah Kuta on Twitter: @SarahKuta.