Monday, March 1, 2010

One on One with Trevor Wurtele!

By: JP Severin

We’re here with Trevor Wurtele, a wicked fast triathlete with numerous top 10’s in the Ironman and 70.3 distance and some ridiculously quick times. He and his wife Heather are full time professional triathletes. They sold their home back about a year ago and bought an RV with the idea of committing fully to becoming world class. Let’s find out what life is like for the other half of Team Wurtele.

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

TW: I had raced road bikes for a handful of years through my teens. Then for 4 years I simply enjoyed a variety of sports from run races, mtn bike races, and adventure racing. By 2004, I wanted to try something new and had always wondered about triathlon. My complete inability to swim kept me away. But, thankfully Heather got me going in the water that winter and I managed to enter my first race as a triathlete. Later that year I did Ironman Canada by grabbing a spot through a local qualifier. 11hrs later I knew I needed to go faster.

JP: It seems like you have your eyes on Ironman with a smattering of 70.3’s. Have you thought about having a crack at short course racing?

TW: I focus on the Ironman and IM 70.3 stuff for sure. My swim is getting better, but it's definitely not in the league of being able to compete in anything draft legal. With Ironman you've got to have some speed, but it really comes down to strength. On the run, if you can hold a 6:40 mile pace for 26 miles off the bike you'll be in contention. I can see that coming my way in a few years, but a 31 min 10k in short course is another matter.

JP: Can you walk us through the decision that you and Heather made to commit to being full-time professional triathletes?

TW: It was definitely something we thought about for a few years. We got very lucky with the way things worked out on the sale of our condo, the incredible deal we found on a livable RV, and of course our mutual desire to turn our lives upside down. Really, that was the only way to do what we wanted to do. Had we had to pay a mortgage or even rent somewhere it would have been impossible financially. Actually, it still is nearly impossible financially but we get by.

JP: How have things changed in terms of your training since going full-time?

TW: The first couple years as an age grouper (2004-2006) I had one speed in training - hard. Hard in the pool, hard on the bike, hard on the run. Even on long 30km runs I would aim to break old records every time I went out. Painful way to train and injuries followed.
Slowly I started reading about Mark Allen and Peter Reid's approach and their use of a lot of slower aerobic work - especially running. I stayed in that vein for 2 more years as an age grouper with great results. Now, as a full time athlete the biggest change is overall volume, as well as the difference between a hard day and an easy day. Hard is hard, easy is 'why am I doing this' - it's a difficult thing for me get used to, I often find myself going too hard on the easy days.
JP: Where would you say your biggest improvement has come over the past year?

TW: 2009 was a year of adaptation and learning, but I saw gains across all three sports at various times through the year. Those gains just never really came out all at the same time during a race! I've now sorted out a lot of issues so hopefully 2010 is the year to lay down a complete race.

JP: Could you describe a basic week for us?

TW: Like everyone, it's always different. January, February, and March always have the biggest weekly volume - around 30 hours for me. As the race season approaches we get a little bit more specific and throw out the extra grey zone volume. Making the weeks feel harder, but the volume edges down closer to 25 hrs. You really have to listen to your own body and can't just pound out miles for the sake of trying to get to 30 hrs for the week. Prime example - this past week I had to take 2 days totally off because things were falling apart. That was not in 'the plan'. It makes the week on paper look horrible, but it really was the best thing for next block of training.

JP: Your RV gives you tons of flexibility in training. Where is your favorite place to train?

TW: I would love to explore Flagstaff a bit more. We've really only ever put in long training blocks in Solvang, California and up in our home of the Okanagan Valley, BC, Canada. Out of the two I prefer the Okanagan Valley, however, if Solvang had a lake that was swimmable I would rate it higher because of the general lack of vehicles on the beautiful (yet very rough) roads. I also like to run off road a fair bit - Solvang doesn't have much to choose from on that end. I think we'll try Tucson next winter, I'd also like to see why everyone loves Boulder so much.

JP: Moving forward into 2010, what are your goals as a developing pro?

TW: Definitely putting together a little bit more consistency and some higher placings. I had a decent 6th place finish at Ironman Coeur d'Alene last year and I want to step that up for 2010 to include some solid results inside the top 5. But, I don't rule out having one of those freaky days where you shatter all expectations.

JP: Which races are you targeting in 2010 and why?

TW: Ironman St. George and Ironman Canada are the two biggies. Ironman St. George because it's close to our winter training area. I hear it's a hilly course and that suits me as well. Especially after training down south for the winter. We'll most likely drive the RV to the race site a few weeks before hand to make sure we know the course well.
Ironman Canada because the timing works great if you do an early season Ironman, and it's close to our home base for the summer. I love that course too. After that we'll see what happens, perhaps a 3rd Ironman later in the year, but if not I'll keep racing shorter distances through November.

JP: Excellent… Time for the lightning round!

Favorite Candy? Trader Joes Peanut Butter Cups
Favorite Movie? Kill Bill II
Favorite Meal? Sushi -but that never fills me up, so I'd need to top it off with a Burrito.
Favorite Workout? Anything with a long climb. Be it running or riding, I love going up big hills. Hopefully one day I can go back to France and ride the epic climbs.

JP: How are things in terms of sponsorship?

TW: Heather and I are both really happy with the companies we're working with. Our newest sponsor is First Endurance - considering some of the past issues I've had with severe dehydration during long races I am extremely excited to be using their products this year. I've really made some great nutritional changes for race day.
Blue Competition Cycles - Started with them in 2008 and have loved every bike we've been on.
AVIA -was the first sponsor we ever had, they actually managed to get a jersey and shoes on Heather before she won IM coeur d'Alene in 2008, two weeks after joining their crew.

JP: Trevor, thanks for taking the time. Before we go, what is your best tip for the age group athlete out there?

TW: Set goals -small attainable goals on your way to where you want to go. Without them your training and racing won't give you the same satisfaction.