Just two weeks after finishing in the top three at the National Duathlon Championships, Patton Sims will travel to Louisville for the Cycling National Championships.
Patton Sims is having a more exciting summer than you are. And, it's only going to get better next summer.
Sims, 16, finished third in the 15-19 year-old age group last weekend at the USA Duathlon Championships in Bend, Oregon. By earning a spot on the Team USA national team, Sims qualified for the 2018 World Duathlon in Denmark next July.
A duathlon consists of running, cycling and more running. Last week's race included a 5-kilometer run, a 20k bike ride and a 2.5k run for a total of 16.5 miles on the metric scale. Sims recorded the third-fastest bike leg of the event for all ages en route to placing ninth overall. The top six finishers in each age group qualified to compete in Denmark.
Entering only his third duathlon, Sims began training for the event in January.
Sims gets his running in during the school year as a member of Sterlington High's cross country and track teams. In addition to earning All-State cross country honors last year as a sophomore, he qualified for the Class 2A State Track & Field Meet in both the 1600 and 3200 meters.
When he isn't running, he's usually riding.
"I normally try to get 150-200 miles per week in on the bike," Sims said.
Sims isn't taking any time off before his next race, the Cycling National Championships (ages 17-18) to be held June 29-July 2 in Louisville, Kentucky.
Although Sims considers the upcoming race to be his biggest event, he hasn't developed a preference between duathlons and bicycle racing.
"Probably the biggest event for me is the (Cycling) National Championship," Sims said. "It's hard to say which one I like best because they are both so different. Cycling is a totally different concept because you are racing with a team. Duathlon is more of an individual sport."
Sims rides for the Palmer Cspire team, a category II and III team based out of Jackson, Mississippi with riders from throughout the south.
Sims' interest in cycling has grown rapidly from its humble beginning.
"One of my really close friends, Tyler Fontana, started riding with his dad, Heath Fontana," Sims recalled. "Mr. Heath got my dad (Cole Sims) into cycling. All three of them were close to me, and I wanted to get in on the action, so I got a bike and started riding."
Dr. Lisa Colvin, Patton's coach, recognized his talent and ability early on and has been writing his training plans ever since.
He has no plans to stop riding anytime soon.
"The next big step would be to get a scholarship offer and to race in college," Sims said. "After college, the next step would be to get a pro contract and start racing professionally."