Member Profile: Drew Balfour

by: Brittany Bevis

Gulf Winds Triathletes has gained quite a few members over the past several months.
This infusion of new blood is serving to up the game in many of the younger, more
competitive, age groups. One of these newcomers is 30-year-old Drew Balfour of
Thomasville, Georgia, who just competed in his first triathlon- the Red Hills Sprint in
April 2021.

With no formal background in swimming, cycling, or running, to speak of, Drew started
his triathlon journey on the advice of his wife, Melanie. “My beautiful wife got me into
cycling last summer and eventually all of this triathlon stuff,” Drew says. “I was never a
runner or cyclist, and I was definitely no swimmer. I played football in high school and
college, and I’ve always enjoyed cross fit type workouts.”

In January, Drew enlisted the guidance of Jeff Bowman of Rev Tri Coaching to help
prepare for his first race. “I took the advice of my friend, Daniel, and got Jeff to coach me
in January,” Drew says. “Jeff is an awesome coach and really takes the time to check in
and see how you’re doing. He personalizes your week depending on how you feel and
what kind of event you’re training for.”

Throughout the process, Drew has learned a number of valuable lessons- the first of
which being that every workout doesn’t need to be full gas all the time. “I think I’ve
learned that every workout doesn’t have to be all out,” he says. “It’s almost the opposite,
and now I just try to stay consistent every week.”

Of the three disciplines, Drew enjoys running the most, because of its simplicity. “Biking
has caught on though, recently,” he says. “Swimming is usually my least favorite, not
because it’s my worst discipline, but because the pool I have to swim at in Thomasville is
hot and indoor. Swimming at Trousdell in Tallahassee is the best, and I look forward to
going down there when I can.”

The swim leg of Red Hills was the only part of the race that had Drew feeling a bit
anxious, simply because he has little open water experience. “I hadn’t swam in open
water, or in a wetsuit, until the weekend before the race, and I kind of freaked out,” he
says. “It was way harder than I expected, since I had only been swimming in a pool. I
was nervous about the swim, but I ended up swimming okay in the race. I think I was
most stoked on that.”

Drew won the competitive Male 30-34 age group with a time of 1:24:33.

“The bike was tough, but I felt good about it, and the run killed me! I definitely need
more brick workouts in the future. I had my friend, Daniel, right behind me on the run, so
he definitely made me step up!”

Now that his first race is complete, Drew is looking forward to Ironman 70.3 Oregon,
which will take place in July 2021. He originally had plans to compete at 70.3 St. George,
but he had a very important reason for the last minute race change.

“It was too close to Melanie’s due date, and I didn’t want to go if she couldn’t. Ironman
let me transfer my entry to 70.3 Coeur d’Alene next year, which is cool. I signed up for
70.3 Oregon in July, so that’s what I’m training for right now. I’m a couple of weeks
away from being a dad. I’m super stoked!”

Looking to the future, Drew would like to complete a 70.3 and a full Ironman race this
year. As a professional photographer, Drew is excited to travel to scenic race venues and
hopes to compete internationally. “I think the traveling aspect of doing Ironman races is
cool,” he says. “It would be awesome to go to different countries for the experience and
then to race in them as well. The main goal though is to stay healthy, and this is just a
more fun way to do it!”