Passport Series: Kelly Kosmo

UCLA Triathlete

  • Hometown:  Goleta, Ca.
  • Facebook.com/Kelly Kosmo
  • Instagram.com/hashtagkellyk
  • RM:  What is the farthest you have traveled for an event?
    Sarasota, Florida takes the cake by a mere 90 miles—just slightly further than Clermont, Florida. Coming in hot for third farthest is Clemson, South Carolina, where I recently travelled for Collegiate Nationals


  • RM:  How does your packing change for destination events?
    As a true SoCal native, it is difficult to remember that there are some places in the world that aren’t temperate every single day of the year. To protect myself from my ignorance of other climates, I’ve gotten my packing down to a science. Basically, I bring everything that says “UCLA Triathlon” on it so I’m prepared for anything. That way I don’t really have to vary my packing from place to place. I also make sure to bring an abundance of Picky Bars and oatmeal whenever I travel, just in case! But although I tend to be a very comprehensive packer, I also tend to adhere to the advice of the man, the legend, Brady O’Bryan: “Prepare to be unprepared.” As long as I’ve got my faith, I’m ready to race. 
  • RM:  What is your favorite destination event? Why?
    Regardless of location, Collegiate Nationals is consistently my favorite destination event every year. Traveling with my friends and teammates and being able to see all of our hard work pay off as we work towards a common goal is pretty unbeatable. Wildflower is also one of my favorites because it has an all-around awesome vibe. The volunteers are fantastic, and you're just surrounded by a bunch of people who enjoy camping, cheering, racing, and having a good time, which is totally rad. 
  • RM:  Sponsors? Who are they and how do they help with destinations events?
    My favorite bike shop and the UCLA Triathlon Team’s local sponsor, Bike Improve, is a huge help when it comes to destination events! They generously provide bike boxes, race wheels, and the best traveling bike mechanic in town (who also happens to be our assistant coach, Dylan).
  • RM:  What is the toughest destination event you have participated in? Why?
    Well, the Challenge Florida half Ironman certainly lived up to its name by being a challenge, but for reasons other than the race itself.  One of the strongest athletes I know defeated death that day. The challenge of the race itself cripples in comparison to everything that he overcame over the ensuing months. Unfortunately, Taylor Swift was right: “It’ll leave you breathless, and leave a nasty scar.” But ultimately, he is one of only two people I know who have disproved Lil’ Wayne’s conjecture that “you only live once” (the other, of course, being Jesus). This is one of those things that’s pretty good. 
  • RM:  Did anything get weird, odd or sketchy on that adventure?
    A lot of funny things happened during that race which now may be appropriate to mention, with the previous story having been resolved. For starters, while toeing the line just a minute before the swim start, the lady next to me turned to me and asked, “Are you a fast swimmer?” Baffled, I replied, “Umm…I’m not sure...” In truth, that’s an impossible question to answer. I mean, compared to Michael Phelps, I can hardly swim. But compared to people who don’t swim, I’m pretty good. Just like physics, I suppose it’s all relative. Struck by the hilarity of her audacity and the vagueness of my reply, I swallowed massive quantities of the Gulf during the swim because I was laughing so hard about it. Also, my pedal flew off my bike mid-race. It was pretty funny. 
  • RM:  Do you have a dream race you want to race in? What makes it so desirable?
    The Mars Triathlon!!! (See Emma McCune’s RaceMill interview for reference). It will be a triathlon on Mars. The support for this race from the scientific community is truly astounding; many scientists dedicate their lives to finding water on Mars, presumably because they are looking for a place to host the swim. (Joking, of course, though it would be pretty KOSMIC!). Alternatively, Norseman would be awesome and perhaps more feasible. The scenery and the need for incredible mental fortitude rank it very high on my bucket list! 
  • RM:  Training secrets for Destination Events? Care to share?
    Well, on the way to Tempe, Arizona for Collegiate Nationals a few years ago, my friends Ella, Monica, and J decided it would be beneficial to heat train in order to prepare for how hot the race would be. So they spent six hours driving through the desert with the air conditioner off and the windows rolled up. Although it was hilarious to see them pour out of the car absolutely drenched in sweat upon arrival, I would probably suggest that this is not the best training secret. However, I actually think that there is a lot to be said for this story because they had fun, and they had a lot of good laughs. I think smiling is the real secret to training, traveling, and racing, and they really embraced that.
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