Local triathlon star Matt Slee has his eye on becoming a full-time, professional athlete after proving his talent on the local stage.
So far this year Matt has a second place at the recent Byron Bay event, building on a win in the Tweed Enduro and third at the Kingscliff Triathlon.
Considering this good form it is hard to believe that Matt has been racing competitively in triathlons for a little more than six months.
He came to the world of elite athletics as a cyclist.
When he was at Byron Bay High School his dad introduced him to the Byron Bay Cycling Club and his interest in sport blossomed.
The major turning point was being selected for a week-long cycling camp at the Australian Institute of Sport.
‘Training with some of the best cyclists in Australia I realised how hard it is. This is the sort of training I have to do,’ he said. ‘It was a real eye-opener’.
Matt then raced with a Sydney–based cycling team in Australia’s top domestic competition before spending a couple of years riding in Europe.
After last season Matt ‘felt a bit flat’ and as he had never let go of his love of running he decided he would have a go at triathlons, when his friends suggested it.
His recent form has helped focus his attention on his childhood dream of being a successful, full-time athlete.
‘I just got my professional licence and for the next few years I will try to make a living out of it,’ he said.
Matt’s advice to anyone thinking of taking up endurance sport seriously is to ‘realise that the more you put in the more you get out’.
‘You just have to want it. Pain is only temporary.’