Three months ago we met NZ Triathlete Josh Hemara on a rainy day in Wellington (NZ), and introduced Negative Split's vision to him over lunch at Wagamama, hoping we'd join us in our journey, and dreaming to be a small part of his.
It was an important day for us, and one that whatever happens, we’ll always remember as it marked our very first step as a company and gave us the strength to believe that anything was possible.
Witnessing how Josh unlocks his full potential is an inspiration and the reason why we do what we do. We can’t wait to see Josh’s 2019 season debut at the National Sprint Championships at Kinloch next February 10th, and all the racing ahead this year both at his home country and internationally.
During this interview, Josh speaks about his past and present, not just as an athlete, but as one of us, chasing a dream and working day in and day out to make it a reality.
About JOSH //
NS: When did you know triathlon was going to be an important part of your life?
Josh: After my first standard distance triathlon, I was offered a spot on the NZL age group team heading to the ITU World Championship. While I didn’t take up the opportunity that year, I was committed from there on out to make the team again and compete with the best age group athletes in the World.
We didn’t have a family car so I rode my BMX everywhere; to school, to the supermarket for groceries and to church
NS: Could you tell us a bit about your first memories of hopping on a bike?
Josh: My earliest memories of hopping on a bike go back to when I was only four or five. My father purchased two second hand bmx frames. He worked at a bike shop at the time and so he built them up so that my sister and I had a bike to ride. We didn’t have a family car so I rode it everywhere; to school, to the supermarket for groceries (we didn’t have a car) and to church.
NS: A moment that shaped who you are today.
Josh: I don’t think there is just one moment that has helped shape me. I’ve been molded into who I am from experiences every day; decisions I make, people I meet, things that I witness. They’ve all helped me find out more about myself and who I am as a son, brother, friend and athlete.
NS: Someone you look up to?
Josh: My parents. For everything they’ve done for me and my sisters.
While I’ve been lucky to race at ITU level before, I’m ready to put on a much better performance and be up with the big boys this year
NS: A race you'll always remember.
Josh: I have two actually.
The first is my first ITU World Championship standard distance race in Chicago, USA. I held a lead out of the swim, lost a few spots on the bike and gained a few on the run before passing out 15 meters short of the finishing line. I learnt a lot about how important nutrition is but also how mentally strong I was to push my body to its absolute limit.
The second is my most recent race at the ITU World Championship sprint distance race on the Gold Coast, Australia. After thinking I was in the lead after the swim, off the bike and into the run, I ended up catching 1st place with only 50m left in the race. In shock I sprinted for the finish line neck and neck for an age group world championship, only to lose in a photo finish after crossing the line with the same time.
NS: What's your next big race?
Josh: My next big event(s) are all focused towards competing in three ITU Continental Cup races in Australia in 2019. While I’ve been lucky to race at this level before, I’m ready to put on a much better performance and be up with the big boys.
On Performance //
Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard
NS: What's your tactic to concentrate when you race? That trick that helps getting to and staying in the zone.
Josh: I’ve taken advice from seeing interviews from the pros. They always say they focus on technique and this helps distract from the pain but also ensure they’re not becoming inefficient throughout a race.
NS: Mental or physical resilience, what's more important?
Josh: I think in Triathlon mental is key. The hardest part of my training and racing is overcoming when my mind tells my body to stop or give up or not push as hard. I feel that when I make mental improvements my physical ability goes with it.
Don't be afraid to try and don't be afraid to fail
NS: Is potential something you're born with or something you can develop?
Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.
This is the perfect example that potential is something you can develop.
NS: Once on the bike, what's one thing that could make all the difference, for the good?
Josh: A proper bike fit. Finding a good position that works for you is the best thing you can do to ensure you’re as comfortable as you can be, you’re efficient and then you can add speed, distance, watts etc. on top of this.
A word of ADVICE //
NS: What advice would you give to the new generation of athletes?
Josh: Don't be afraid to try and don't be afraid to fail.
NS: Ok, last one, promise!
You cross the finish line first in THAT race you’ve been dreaming about. What would be the first thing you would do? –You still have the finish line ribbon in your hands.
I look to the sky and thank God for my talents and then go to celebrate with my family.
Josh Hemara is an NZL Triathlete. He rides a Giant TCR Advanced Pro 0 and his preferred combination of front and rear carbon width is 60mm for draft legal sprint and standard distance racing.