A lot of people don’t know but between Bejing and London, your carrer was in doubt, can you tell us more about this?
People tend to remember the negative and then Budapest stands out. You could also say it was a really good year and I stuffed it up in one race… As for the London Games I almost had to retire because of an unknown injury that turned out to be a damaged nerve. Overall there was a lot of injury in this time and I’m glad to be better now.
I guess, it was hard to not be able to race at the level we excepct from an olympic champion…
For sure, but maybe I lost a bit of hunger too. The level is getting better all the time and ’09 and ’10 I was running really well, but all in all my dedication was not 100%.
You finally qualify for London and did really well with almost no running volume, then, what make you decided you to make the move and not projecting you in Rio? Some people think that, The Brownlee brothers and Javier Gomez make you give up since the are seen like unbeatable…
The biggest thing is that I realized something needs to change. Whether I would get to the very top again or not, I had to change something drastic. The Olympics are and will always be the greatest sporting event, but in between lye 4 long years. So far, I’ve really enjoyed the different training and getting my body ‘bulletproof’ again- like it was before 2008.
Also, I am 33 and I would like to race Kona when I have the best chance of winning.
You really seems to enjoy your new family in long distance and seems happier because you can now express yourself. We seems to discover now the real Frodeno, no?
I have really enjoyed taking the last step of professionalism and moving away from the federation. I am grateful for what I learned but it’s way more fun when you can build your own team, express yourself and have dinner with or without whomever you want.
Are you still following ITU? What missed you more and what doesn’t?
I follow it closely and enjoy it. But for now, there is not much I am missing.
How different your training is now from ITU? You seems to enjoy it even more now than before but shouldn’t be harder on your body?
I now train to be the best I can be. Before I was training to beat someone else or to get to their level. It’s a big difference and I think it’s self explanatory that it’s better to do this way…
So, 2014 was your first year totally dedicated to long distance (70.3 & IM), it was really a succesfull and a long season… winning all your 70.3 (continental championship) except the world championship. Athletes generally says that it’s not possible to stay competitive for that much time… you know that?
It much of a question of motivation. The important thing is my coach, Dan Lorang, plans races well, so I have a long time in between to rest and get ready again.
Can you tell us more about your planification in 2014, have you been in a progressive build up after all?
Yes. I slowly stepped up the distance then intensity and more distance again, getting ready for either a full IM or a half. It worked well because you need to keep some speed and also get more economic, and I will do it similarly in 2015.
So in Mont-Tremblant (70.3 WC), you finished 2nd behind Gomez, did you feel that you lost the race on strategy? Even if Gomez is really strong on bike he wasn’t able to optimize his training for the 70.3.
Yes, this is why I was upset straight after. I had more left on the bike but took a chance and saved some for the run. Afterwards you are always smarter…
With this quality of field, some people have called the 70.3 the new long olympic distance since we see group dynamic (race by elimination) and it’s less about the athlete pacing himself. What’s your takes on this?
The difference is still that you race yourself and go mostly your own pace, whereas Olympic you race other guys.
You were upset to finish 2nd, right?
And then, you have to prepare for Kona. It’s my personal feeling but I though people were disrespectful with the ITU athletes. Gomez and you were constantly questionning what it would means for you to win Kona, like your carrer will not accomplished if you don’t win Kona. Did that bother you?
You get used to that, especially racing in America. If it didn’t happen in America, it didn’t happen. Of course everyone wants to hear Kona is bigger than the Olympics but trust me, as far as Sport goes, nothing is bigger than the Games. In our sport however, Kona is a bit like Wimbledon in Tennis.
The funny part, is an active athlete can never fell like acomplished, Stupid question. If you need to choose between Kona and your olympic gold medal, which one do you pick?
Ok, laugh at me, but when I watch you in Ironman Frankfurt, you gave the impression that it was impossible to run at a marathon pace. You were just on or off due to cramping problem. How confident were you to execute a perfect race… ?
Very. I took lots of positives from Frankfurt and part of my plan was to walk at the aid stations. I never walked anywhere else! Of course I knew I need to be more economic, but I thought 2:43 for a first time was ok.
From my point of view, you were the only one, maybe after Starky to call you a potential winner. All the others were shy to make prediction and rejecting the pressure. It’s ironic, but it’s something we need to make a show and create interest! Do you regret to have been that vocal?
No! People ask me and I say I train to win. This is why I do it. I also said I want to win in 2015 and will take 2014 as it comes. I am just stating my long term goal and I think I had a worthy performance. I think I would only regret it if I gave up.
So, the race, I was surprised during the swimming, since you have to impose the rhythm… Andy Potts did try to outsprint you in the end, it wasn’t really classy no?
No, I knew he had a prime, but he did nothing for the race, all day. I was hoping to work with him and put more time into the field. Instead I swam a medium pace the whole way to conserve energy. When he then came around it was a pure ego thing- no way I would give it to him after a swim like that.
You were in front on the bike, I guess you were waiting for the Starky effect… but it didn’t happen… can you tell us what was your plan for you since it was important to bike hard so Kienle can’t come back quickly…
Starky was shouting too much before the race and really didn’t even try. Of course I wanted to keep the pace high enough to stay within touch at the end. I knew we’d also have to do some damage to some of the Spanish run legs…
And then you flat, got a really quick wheel change and got a drafting call, can you tell us about this penalty, it was hard to take I guess…
For sure. When you get a flat and then a penalty because of making your way into the pack it’s tough! A penalty to me is for cheating and this was the furthest from me- I just wanted to get back to the group and then the front as soon as possible because I felt this is necessary to keep the race under control. So was I maybe too close to the next guy? Obviously yes if the referee says so, even if only for a short time. But was I cheating, trying to get an advantage? No, I was trying to get back from a mechanical…
You finally enter in T2, 12 minutes after Kienle, i think… what was your mind at this moment?
I just thought don’t quit. You can’t go to Hawaii and quit!
Can you tell us about your marathon, you seems to find a second speed at the end…
The first half was all about finishing. I didn’t care. But then I had my usual mind set. Run as hard as possible without getting a cramp. Of course there were lots of guys coming back but the first time I counted was in the Energy lab…
Your 3rd place is really encouraging for the future… Right?
For sure. I know my body can do it, I had a positive experience and I’m very hungry!
You were really happy for Sebastian Kienle, you seems to have a friendly relationship with him…
He’s a good and honest guy. He motivates me to be better but I would always go for a beer with him because he also has something to say outside of Sport.
But we need you to hate him for the show :p