Wednesday, January 27, 2010

JP Interviews Luke Mckenzie!

We’re here with 3x Ironman Champion and multiple podium finisher, Luke Mckenzie. He is an absolute shark in the water, hammerhead on the bike, and pops off sub 3 marathons like it is his job. Well, it is his job, and you could say he's good at it.

JP: Luke, thanks for taking the time to talk with us. First, can you tell us when and how you got started in Triathlon?

LM: I was always interested in triathlon from a young age. I watched Ironman Australia in Forster, which was right near where I spent my childhood. My family and I volunteered on the aid stations from about 1988 – 1994 before we moved to the Gold Coast. The Gold Coast was Australia’s epicenter for triathlon in the 90’s and after 8 years of competitive swimming I decided I wanted to try triathlon. I did my first race in 1995 and did quiet well and made the switch from swimming to full time triathlon soon after.

JP: It seems like you are leaning towards Ironman racing at this point in your career, When did you make that transition and how do you find it compared to short course racing?

LM: Basically it’s just been natural progression. I began in the junior ranks in ’95 and raced sprint distance for 2 years before moving up to the Olympic distance in ’97. I made my first Australian Junior team in ’98 and raced at the ITU World Junior & U/23 Championships on four occasions. At that stage of my career I was targeted for Olympic teams for 2004 and 2008 but I realized at the end of 2003 that longer distance was my strength and ultimately my passion after growing up watching the Forster Ironman. In 2003 I made my first trip to the US to compete in Half Ironmans and non-drafting Olympic distance and found I was more competitive than I had been in ITU racing. After my second season in the USA I was looking for some races to do at the end of the year in Australia and they were having the inaugural Ironman Western Australia and it was a perfect introduction to Ironman racing. I finished 3rd in that race and loved the experience. Since then I have dedicated myself to the Ironman distance.

JP: It seems like your swim/bike combo has been your bread and butter, but your running is coming along strong. Are there any changes you have made this year that have lead to the improvement?

LM: Definitely. It’s been finding the right mix of training and also getting strong enough to swim and bike to the level I would like and still remain strong on the run.

In 2009 my run training was focused on more “quality” running over “quantity” and this seems to have help with some improvements in racing.

On the racing side I really concentrated on “pacing” and found I was having more in the tank towards the end of the marathon as opposed to falling in a heap and groveling home like I had been.

JP: What does a basic training week look like for you?

LM: Usually somewhere between 30-35hrs of training. I always try and have one rest day or at least a very easy day per week.

JP: What is the highest volume week you have ever done?

LM: Well I used to swim 60+ km weeks as a swimmer but I wouldn’t count that as a “triathlete”. I know I have put away a few 30km weeks over the past few years.

My biggest ever bike week would have been a few seasons ago in Oregon when I cracked 900km and running I have ran up to 140km.

My highest volume week of 2009 was in Oregon in the beginning of August where I swam 22km, rode 670km and ran 120km. That was in the beginning of my Kona build up.

JP: Shifting gears into 2010, could you tell us a few training goals?

LM: I definitely have some target sessions I really want to nail with my running. The run is where I have the most room for improvement at the World Championship level. In saying that I want to keep building my bike strength and hopefully in the years to come I can separate myself from the “pack” in Hawaii.

JP: With wins at so many races it must be hard to pick a favorite… but do it anyway.

LM: I love so many races for different reasons but if I was going to pick one race it would have to be the Hawaii Ironman. There is nothing better than racing our sports biggest race against the best in the world on a brutally hard course!

Other favorites would include St. Croix 70.3, Wildflower, Escape from Alcatraz & Noosa triathlon in Australia

JP: What are your target races for 2010?

LM: Ironman Malaysia, Ironman Switzerland and of course Hawaii!

JP: Alright time for the lightning round

Favorite place to train: Bend, Oregon

Favorite food: Ribs

Favorite Candy: Lindt chocolate

Gear you can’t live without: Coffee machine

Funniest triathlete you’ve met: My wetsuit sponsor and my sister Jacque’s boyfriend, Guy Crawford. Anyone who knows him knows he is hilarious and I love having him around. He does a lot of training with me and always keeps me entertained.

JP: How are things in terms of sponsorship for you?

LM: I am fortunate to have a really awesome team of sponsors. I can honestly say I wouldn’t rather be anywhere else right now! They are all producing what I believe are the best products in the triathlon market and have shown me such amazing support.

K-Swiss have been backing me for 2 years now and our relationship is more than I could have ever hoped for. They are like family and it’s been so much fun being part of their push into triathlon.

PowerBar are really supportive and I work with a lot of great people between both America and Australia.

The guys at Scott are a fun bunch and I love hanging out with them when I get a chance. The bikes are the best I have ever ridden and there are definitely some exciting things coming towards the end of 2010!

Other great companies I get to work with are Zipp, Sram, BlueSeventy, Nuun, Fuelbelt, Vision, Fi’zi:k, Smith and Computrainer.

JP: Thanks again for the time…but before we go, do you have any training tips for the age grouper out there, specifically for this time of year?

LM: Thanks for the chat. Some training tips I could share are: This is you’re opportunity to build a solid base of strength and fitness leading into the racing season. Pay attention to the small things like core strength, flexibility and nutrition. This is the time to plan your season and prepare your training accordingly.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Crowie on Training, Nutrition, and Kona

Simply Stu talks to Craig "Crowie" Alexander, the Aussie two-time Ironman world champion about his tricks of the trade -- click here to listen now!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

JP Interviews Heather Wurtele!

After three short years as a pro, Heather Wurtele is an Ironman Champion (IM Coeur d’Alene 2008), the Canadian Long Course Champion, and all around axe of a triathlete. 2009 was her first year as a full time pro and with her pro triathlete husband, Trevor, Team Wurtele has taken their show on the road. Let’s find out how things are back at the ranch.

JP: Heather, how would you describe your first year as a full time athlete? How have things changed for you?

HW: It has been a fantastic year. It is hard to believe that we were both still at our full-time jobs in Victoria until the end of January last year. When we got on the ferry in our new home - a 22 ft RV - and headed towards the border for our training grounds in California, our smiles reached to the broadening horizon! We have learned a lot about ourselves and what it takes to be happy in general - not much. Training has been incredible and challenging, as it should be. The biggest bonus has been having proper time to recover (way more sleep), so we have been able to absorb the workload better. Ironman training is a long term process, though, and we still have a lot of room to improve over the next several years.

JP: What is it like being married to another pro Triathlete (Husband Trevor Wurtele) and do you train together?

HW: Other than when we both have low blood sugar, it is fantastic! We understand the peaks and valleys that come with training and racing, and we both are so passionate about the sport that we motivate each other on a daily basis. We usually train together in the pool and do a fair bit of riding together as well - Trevor is a great carrot. For higher intensity efforts, we may head out at the same time, to the same area, but do our own workouts.

JP: I know your 2009 season had a bit of a rough ending. Could you walk us through your season and exactly what happened with your injury?

HW: I was actually pretty happy with my season overall. 5th at Wildflower, 3rd at Ironman Coeur d'Alene (a bit disappointing that I didn't manage to win again, but still improved my time, which counts for something!). I also won the Canadian Long Course Championships at the Osyoos Half Iron, as you mentioned. The highlight for me was when I finally found my run legs and placed a close second at the Lake Stevens 70.3, ahead of some pretty speedy and famous women! I was feeling the the best I ever had fitness wise heading into Kona, but I managed to seriously sprain my adductor magnus insertion (basically deep in my butt) and my leg hurt so much on race day I couldn't even turn the peddles over after Hawi. I had to stop and get a ride back in the medical van.

JP: How is your rehab going?

HW: I am close to 100% again, though I need to be careful with my long runs. The injury helped me identify some muscle imbalances, and I have a great lateral stability/core routine now that will hopefully help me prevent this sort of thing in the future.

JP: What are your plans for the offseason / holidays or are you back into the swing of training already?

HW: We stayed in California for the holidays this year because we were enjoying the warmth so much. We actually trained a fair bit, but it was an un-structured, do what you feel like sort of training. Since skiing wasn't an option we usually felt like swimming, riding and running!

JP: Walk us through your plan for 2010.

HW: Our race season will start with the Oceanside 70.3 as an early season, no pressure warm up then it looks like we will both be doing the inaugural St. George Ironman in May. After that, depending on how that race goes we may do Ironman Coeur d'Alene, some 70.3's Ironman Canada and then the World Championships. I really love Ironman Canada, and it is a course that suits my strengths, so I'd like to do it again, even though the timing is bad for Kona.

JP: Any off season tips for the age groupers out there?

HW: If you are building a good solid aerobic base with a lot of low HR training (which is generally a good idea) then keep your ego in check, especially on group rides! Yes it may be annoying when people pass you that you know you can beat - damn commuters with Panniers - you have a long term plan. It does you no good to train in the red zone all the time.

JP: Time for the lightning round…
Favorite training session-

  • River swimming in the Suswap, cycling hill repeats on the back side of Mt. Figeroa, and a long uphill run to Broadcast Peak
Favorite food-
  • Pomegranates
Favorite place to train-
  • The Okanagan Valley in BC, in the summer, for all the open-water lake and river swimming. The Santa Ynez valley in CA, in the winter, for the amazing riding.
Favorite book-
  • I read a lot so this is hard... probably Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
Favorite movie-
  • The Station Agent (also the surfing documentary Riding Giants)

JP: Anything else we should know about you or Team Wurtele?

HW: Yes, I am 6'2" inches tall. Trevor is 6'3"
A travel tip: When driving through LA traffic, in your RV, on your way to a race, pretend you're a retired couple and that you own the center lane. Own it, my friend, own it! This will allow merging traffic on the right to do their thing, and allow the Porches, Ferraries and family vans to blow by you on the left. Make sure you've done all the necessary bathroom and stretch breaks before entering the mayhem that is Intersate 405. Stopping is not an option.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Note from Our Newest Recruit, JP Severin

About a year and a half ago, I was blessed with being able to join the Evotri family. I pinch myself literally every day to have been able to meet the incredible people and to be challenged to make a difference in the multisport community. Being linked into the triathlon community is something that is so integral to my life and my happiness. It has afforded me so many opportunities. However, I have found that giving back can be difficult in a sport that is very much selfish in a lot of ways. I have struggled with this self absorption that seems to be a mark of our sport.

BUT….. I totally channeled my inner Kevin Spacey and figured out a concrete way to share some of the gifts that both Evotri and triathlon have given to me.

I have been meeting a lot of Dominicans recently and being a part of the triathlon community in Santo Domingo has been incredibly interesting. A friendly Dominican named Jonathan has been particularly nice to me, inviting me to all sorts of events and has introduced me to everyone he knows despite our having to struggle with my rubbish (but improving mainly thanks to him) Spanish. He is very poor. He had no water bottle, no bike, no pump, and no shoes. He struggles to get to races and has to borrow pretty much everything. However, he is cut from the cloth of Natascha Badman and Chrissie Wellington and I have never seen him without a smile.

After letting him borrow some small stuff I realized I could help the way that Evotri helped me and deck him out with some stuff that I now have duplicates of thanks to Evotri. I paid it forward and gave him my old bike, shoes, pump, water bottles, clothing, and some chocolate to top it off. It was cool to see his reaction as it was the same as mine a year and a half ago. His response, “pellízqueme”. My confused response was, “Que significa esto?” He pinched me and I understood. It was almost exactly like when Stu and the team called me to let me know I had made it. He bounced up and down and kind of had a awestruck look on his face. We fit him to the bike and he was off around the block with his patented smile.

My challenge to you is to find a small way to pay it forward as triathlon has given so much to us. Think of a way it has helped you and try to share that with someone else.

My challenge to you is to find a small way to pay it forward as triathlon has given so much to us. Think of a way it has helped you and try to share that with someone else.