RaceMill 10 Q’s with Triathlete Taylor “Speedy” Spivey

The 2014 NCAA Triathlon Champ, Ocean Lifeguard, and ITU Worlds Hopefull

RaceMill 10 Q’s with Professional Triathlete Taylor “Speedy” Spivey

Where do you go after a successful NCAA swimming career, being a US National Champion in Surf Racing, and winning the 2014 NCAA Triathlon championships?  In Taylor Spivey’s case you turn pro and set your sights on representing the US in the ITU World Triathlon Series and hopefully the Olympics.  Taylor is a natural athlete - it’s in her genes.  Her mom, Bonnie Spivey, is a retired professional triathlete and former LA County Ocean Lifeguard, and her dad, Marc Spivey, is one of the local roadies in the South Bay.  Throw in some impressive ocean swims, a bit of international travel representing the US in surf lifesaving competitions, and following in her mom’s footsteps as an Ocean Lifeguard and Jr. Lifeguard Instructor, and you have Speedy Spivey - a rising star on the professional triathlon scene.  Here’s Taylor . . . 

Taylor Spivey

Hometown: Redondo Beach, CA
Age: 24

RM: How long have you been racing as a professional?
TS: I have been a professional triathlete for just over 1 year now.

RM: You finished college in 2014?
TS: I finished college in 2014 (although currently finishing my senior project) at California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo (or better known as Cal Poly SLO) with a BA Architecture Degree Cum Laude.

RM:What races are next up on your schedule? 
TS: My next races will be:
April 19 - ITU Bridgetown, Barbados, Sprint Continental Cup
May 1 - ITU Monterrey, Mexico, Continental American Cup Championships.

RM: What fuels your competitiveness?
TS: A recurring theme I find in my everyday life is self betterment. How can I be better than I was last year, last month, or even last week? Just like any athlete, I am competitive with others, but I am even more competitive with myself. I read books and articles, I listen to podcasts and coaches, and I push myself daily to be the best me that I can be.

RM: What is your pinnacle racing moment so far?
TS: Winning Collegiate Nationals Draft Legal race (Editor's note: it's hard to draft when you have a lead the entire race), and a 2nd and 3rd place in two ITU Continental Cups thus far this year. But many more to come!

RM: Who are some athletes that inspire you?
TS: I’m going to stick to Triathletes here who happen to all be ITU USA women:
Sarah Groff - because she is a swimmer turned amazing triathlete and always kicks butt.
Katie Hursey -  because she strives to be the best at all 3 disciplines of triathlon and has overcome bike crash injuries.
Gwen Jorgenson - because her run is Gwen-sane, and she currently is the best triathlete in the world.

RM: Do you like to be the lone wolf or have a training companion? 
TS: It depends.  Sometimes, the solitude that comes with training alone is quite bliss. When I feel good, or just want to escape from social or societal demands, there is nothing quite comparable to a lone swim, bike, or run. Just me, the water, road, or trail, and my thoughts.  Other times, however, when I'm tired or lack motivation, having a training companion is crucial. It helps to keep me accountable or push me just a little bit harder when I need it. I also enjoy the social aspect of biking and running that I never got to experience as a swimmer while chasing the black line.

RM: What are you training for now?
TS: I am training to one day achieve the pinnacle of Triathlon racing, to race on the ITU World Triathlon Series circuit, and maybe even in the Olympics. I wish to continue to improve my running and one day race at this level successfully. And perhaps qualify for Olympic Trials later on this year. But the ITU USA women are the strongest in the world, and have more depth than ever before. It will be tough, but completely worthwhile.

RM: Do you have a favorite local ride/run/workout?  Tell us a little about it?
TS: I love living and training in the quaint University town of San Luis Obispo, where I went to school. The trails are endless and rides are breath taking. If you’re ever in the area I suggest making a trip out to Montana De Oro State Park for a ride, run, or hike, the views are spectacular.

Locally, in Southern Los Angeles, it’s tough to get that same sort of escape feeling when surrounded by such a densely populated community. As often as possible, I try to run in Palos Verdes. My favorite trail begins at Malaga Cove and winds up the hill bordering the coast. 
Riding is even more difficult because safety is a huge factor with cars, and stop signs and lights. I am fortunate enough to have my father, Marc Spivey, who is a local with the avid roadies (and can still kick my butt riding on any given day). I enjoy his crew of “old” guys who come from all walks of life. But don’t be fooled by the term “old”, these men are stud-ly both in their active and professional lives. I attribute my improved climbing and group riding tactics to them. They push my limits on every ride. My favorite ride with these studs is our “relaxed” Sunday ride, called the “Wheatgrass Ride”. Like all PV rides, it involves a lot of climbing. But if you make it to the top, we stop for a treat, a wheatgrass shot of course (courtesy of the super fit and generous lawyer Mike Norris).

RM: Weekend trip... where to?  What’s in/on your car?
TS: Anywhere with an adventure. Somewhere with a clear waves and fun sea caves. Somewhere with endless dirt trails and a view from above. Somewhere with adventure and in a remote location. I haven't found this place yet, but I hope to find many in my lifetime. And when I do, I will pack my favorite bikinis, running shoes, a long board, sunscreen, a hat, and an appetite to explore

RM: Who are your sponsors?
  • Team Innovative Endurance - Coach Greg Mueller
  • Positive Energy Physical Therapy - Sean Ryan has magical powers
  • Sketchers Performance - race and casual shoes for comfort, speed, and style
  • BlueSeventy - slick wetsuits and all your swim gear needs
  • SPY - the happiest thing to sit on your face
  • USA Triathlon - the strongest women's team in the world
  • Hammer Nutrition - to fuel my speedy-ness
  • Champion Systems - to comfortably cloth my sweaty bod
  • Profile Design - cycling wheels and components
  • Stages - cycling power meter
RM: Are you planning on returning to JG's this summer? 
TS: Of course, I couldn’t see my summers spent any other way.  This summer I plan to work as a part time JG instructor at Torrance Beach. This will be my 7th year as an LA County Ocean Lifeguard, and 4th summer as an instructor in the JG program. Like many other locals in the South Bay, I grew up in the Junior Guard program. I was fortunate to have my mother Bonnie Spivey  (speedy swimmer and local swim instructor of Swim Kids), gift me with talent and knowledge to be a great swimmer. From then on, I began my JG voyage at the age of 9 and continued all the way through Cadets (MVP). 

Once my time ran out as a JG, naturally, with some hard work, I earned the position as an LA County Ocean Lifeguard. Here, I proudly graduated the training academy with a Most Outstanding Award.  In an occupation dominated by (much taller) stud male athletes, this was quite an honorable feat (especially as a petite female).  I paid my dues on the beach, and learned what it truly meant to be an Ocean Lifeguard: vigilant, proactive, prepared, and of course, super fit.  However, being an Ocean Lifeguard is not only a job, it’s a lifestyle.  A lifestyle, a family, a community that keeps growing and growing.  A lifestyle that has positively affected the public and generations of Junior Guards in many aspects of their lives. A lifestyle that has translated into my a profession for many, or for a few even evolve into becoming a “Professional (Tri)athlete”. 

Looking back, without the Junior Lifeguard program my life would be quite different. From my first JG instructor, Heidi Nelson (the only female on the Taplin Bell) to my last Jason May (a stud triathlete and Redondo Beach Fire Captain), I can honestly say, I wouldn’t be the athlete nor the person I am today. 

RM: Last but not least, we always like to think about new races - do you have a dream race you want to create?
TS: My dream race would be a Triathlon equally splits all 3 disciplines (time wise) as evenly as possible. As a former collegiate swimmer, I often wish for a longer swim and shorter bike/run.

Thank you Taylor!
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