1. How did you get into triathlon?
I got started in triathlon very casually back when we lived on Guam in 2011. The tri community on Guam is so welcoming to beginners. Guam Triathlon Federation would host several sprint and super sprint triathlons throughout the year. At that point in time I would use a race as an excuse to go get brunch with my friends afterwards. That being said, I seriously started with triathlon back in 2018, when I had some friends on Guam from my CrossFit gym talk me into signing up for a 70.3.
2. You are competing in your first full ironman in less than 2 weeks. What has your preparation been like? How are you feeling about it?
Oh, man—I was not prepared for the amount of food I’d be consuming and the daily naps I’d be taking! I’ve always been a napper, but these naps are next level! Outside of eating and sleeping, it’s really been mostly long days in the saddle. I should probably buy stock in chamois butter. All jokes aside, it’s been really enjoyable, and I’ve used it as an opportunity to explore my new home of Virginia.
3. As one of our first international athletes, how did you find us and what has made you stick with us?
When I decided I was going to buy my first kit I naturally went on the hunt for something pineapple themed. It’s not an obsession, it’s a passion! One of the first prints that popped up in my search was Catfish Designs Fineapples! I NEEDED IT! I remember being so clueless about everything triathlon. Having worked in customer service and sales for many years, I am a sucker for excellent customer service. Lana was amazing and helped me sort out all my questions.
Like I said, customer service is very important to me. But quality is too! Triathlon is already such an expensive sport and Catfish Designs offers sensibly priced, fun, high quality products. It was an easy decision to stick with.
4. What is your all-time favourite print we have done?
Although I’m a massive fan of the new Neon Tropics print, my loyalty lies with Fineapples.
5. You move around a lot with your husband in the US Military, how do you manage this and what challenges do you face (and overcome) with training as well as general life?
I absolutely love this lifestyle. It’s certainly not for everyone, but I love moving and exploring new places. One of the first things I do when we move is to connect with the local triathlon community and find out the best places to train. It has also opened up so many opportunities to travel and race in some very unique locations like Thailand, New Zealand, and the Philippines. Triathlon and this lifestyle mesh really well, I think.
The hardest part for me is the lack of work. When you move every couple years it is very difficult to keep a steady job. This is actually a constant struggle for me. That being said, I am VERY fortunate in that this has let me put my time and energy towards things I’m passionate about.
6. Your Instagram handle is pineapple_lyss – is there a story?
Everyone always asks me, why pineapples? I really can’t explain it or when it started. My best guess is from my time spent living on the Big Island of Hawaii—yes, where Kona is! That was long before I developed my love for triathlon so I had no appreciation for where I was, outside of it being stunning Hawaii. That being said, I think it was just something I took back with me from Hawaii and my love for all things tropical. Pineapples also symbolize warmth, hospitality, and friendship — which I love. Lyss is just a nickname people have always called me.
7. We’ve loved following the antics of banana man feature in triathlons you’ve done – how often does he come out and race?
Haha! He’s such a celebrity. Guam Triathlon Federation even went so far as to put his name as Dave “Bananaman” Bernhardt on the race results.
He was dreamt up over a night of many beers and a random banana costume that my friend had hanging on her door. The on-base Navy Recreation Center rented out adult sized tricycles, and Bananaman was born!
I’ll have to get a pair of custom Catfish DTS and PEEL 🍌 him away from work for a local triathlon next year. Stay tuned!