Interview with Meaghan Harris

How many years have you been involved in the multi sport world?
“I started in August of 2010 so, I guess a year in a half.”

What sparked your interest in triathlon?
“I was always a runner and got injured so I bought a bike because I couldn’t not do anything.  Then a former math teacher of mine, who was a triathlete, saw I had a bike and knew I would recover eventually from the running injury. He suggested I do a triathlon and did I one.”

Everyone has their guilty pleasure when it comes to gear. For some of us it’s shoes, others sunglasses.  What is your guilty pleasure?
“This is hard because I definitely have more than one. (laugh) Well, bicycles I guess but, does that count as gear? Definitely bicycles.  For smaller things, sunglasses, and shirts with thumb holes.”

Just recently you decided to switch jobs, could you speak about this move?
“I use to be a math teacher and taught High School math for 7 years. This past summer I went riding in Montauk and when I came back I had a letter in my mailbox from school. I just saw it and became upset and didn’t want to go back. I didn’t want to have a job that I was disappointed to go back to. I contacted the clothing company that sponsors me, he also owns a bike shop, and I interviewed with him.  We also rode together one day and he suggested that I help manage his bike store. I then put in my two weeks notice at work. Actually, the reason that I definitely thought it was OK to make the move was because, everyone else in my life was like; you’re nuts, you can’t just lose your teaching job because you have been there for 7 years, what about your pension? retirement?.And the one person that made it seem OK was you.  YEAAAHHHH You said something like, quality of life man is so important. And I was saying those things but I needed someone to help me believe it and you were right there.”

I know I’m very envious of your career switch so could you make me more jealous and explain what your role is at Bicycle Planet?
“I was really hired to help bring in and facilitate the sport of triathlon. Bicycle Planet and most of  the people working there were geared towards mountain biking and some high end road biking. No one knew much about triathlon and no one really cared that much about it, like I do. It was kind of  thrown to the side and there was limited respect for the sport or energy to help push people in the right direction.”

What is your goal or mission at Bicycle Planet when it comes to triathlon?
“Mine are pretty big.  To be able to start and help facilitate triathlon is such a huge thing but it something I love and want to do. So my goal is to create a better team atmosphere.  Team has been a topic of conversation with a lot of people from you to Wontz to Jayme, and all around. So I want to create the ultimate team experience for people and I want people to be excited for the sport in general. We are really looking to get involved more We are currently talking to EventPower since they don’t have an official bike sponsor and we have been feeling our way around that. The guys I work with are really into mountain biking, more so then road racing and tri, and one of them wants to get a cross race going. Even if it then became an off road triathlon, that would be great. I'm realizing that  everything is very involved and that  things are a lot more complicated then they seem.  I also want to make things happen right away yet, it’s hard because I want to make sure everything is in place. I don’t want to jump the gun on something and not have it be set so, I’m trying to find a balance between that.”

Where and when can people find you at BP?
“I’m there every day except, Tuesdays and Sundays. The shop is on 340 Robbins Lane in Syosset. It’s located in the Lifetime Fitness Plaza, right off the Expressway.”

Shoe of choice? Bike of Choice?
"Oooh, I have to pick one? The Specialized Shiv. Yeah, if could choose anything, yeah!"

How about out of your stable of bikes here?
"I have a close relationship with my road bike Scott. We travel to a lot of places so if I were to pick up and go somewhere I'd have to bring Scott, he has been very loyal." 

And what about the shoes?
"The Giro Espadas and Giro Sicas for biking. For running, the Asics Trainer 2160’s and for racing, Saucony Kinarva II’s." 

What was the biggest or most embarrassing noob mistake you have made?
"My first triathlon my Mom had the opportunity to see me race, which was cool but, she brought the camera that showed me my biggest mistake was spending 7 minutes in transition.  I came out of the water and took my wetsuit off really fast but then proceeded to sit down on a towel and put socks on and then my shoes and then get out of transition.  There were like fifteen pictures of me in transition. Ooh! Can I change that? Yeah, go ahead. In my first Half. . . it was the first time I considered taking something from an aid station, it was the first time there was an aide station on the bike and there were three of them. I missed the hand off for a water bottle or Gatorade because I didn’t know you had to slow down, so I went through every station at a good 22-24 miles an hour and never gripped the bottle and it always slipped out of my hands."

We train pretty often together and I could speak of your “hammer it” mentality at length.  Do you think your “hammer it” mentality is a strength for you as a triathlete?
"Honestly I really do. To me it symbolizes hard work and I just thrive on that. Easy days are hard for me to handle because I don’t feel it."

Speaking of strengths of athletes, do you admire, follow or enjoy watching any pro triathletes?
"I admire and enjoy watching Lyndsey Corbin because she is very humble. The men? I think Matty Reed is fun to watch." I've been surprised at who people choose.

Regarding training, we both have experience with being coached, so what advice could you give others when selecting a coach? 
"Make sure that you understand what you want to get out of the experience and what you are being offered, in terms of what you are suppose to get from this coach.   It's also important to know and have an understanding of each other. Have a good rapport and communication is key"

You have accomplished a lot last season, you pretty much podiumed at every race, you qualified for the 70.3 World Championships, what are your goals for this upcoming season?
"I'm really looking forward to the World Championships. Eagleman is going to be a very different race for me because it's flat and I don’t know how I'm going to fair on that course so it's another challenge. Swimming has always been my biggest weakness so I'm really trying to work on it this year. I don’t know how that is going to go but? The World Championships are really my goal."

Any crazy dreams at the World Championships? 
Well, yeah, of course, but none that I'm going to say out loud though." (laugh) 

Fair enough.

Being probably one of the top female age groupers on Long Island, what advice would you have for other females looking to jump into triathlon?
You don’t because they will be your competition?
"I was going to say…I don’t need any more competition but bring it on! Seriously though, not really, just make sure you are putting time and energy into all three sports. And get out of my way on the bike, stay to the right!"


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