2013 Ironman World Champion Frederik Van Lierde is going to race this weekend IM 70.3 Barcelona. Lucky me I had the great oportunity to share some impressions (english version) with 2015 IM South Africa Champ and maybe one of the best Long Distance Triathletes on the scenary.
VC: Hi Fred, it’s a pleasure to have a little chat with an IM World Champ! Really pleased for your time!
FVL: Hola Vicenç, the pleasure is mine! I love Spain and the Spanish people 😉
VC: Well, it seems you start the season in very good shape! You had a great victory in IM South Africa and qualified for Kona 2015. Is becoming 2015 IM WC your main season goal?
FVL: Yes, it will stay my main goal for the rest of my career. The victory in 2013 in Kona felt so good that I want to win it again. Great feeling and emotions I had never experienced before, when I won other (big) races.
But next to Hawaii I want to win as many big races as possible in my career. IM RSA was another big win for me.
VC: A part from 70.3 or 5150 distances, you will race one IM more before Kona. European Champs in Frankfurt will be a good test to check how you and your rivals are. But is this point really important for you? Or you have other goals there… what about becoming a Below-8-hours IM-Triathlete? Last year you get so closed… are you trying to attempt for it this year in Frankfurt or you just care about winning the race?
FVL: Ironman Frankfurt is the biggest Ironman race next to Kona, that’s for sure! Kienle, Frodeno and myself (next to bunch of other world class triathletes) at the start line on a fast course with an amazing crowd! So yes, I want to race the best in the world and I want to win big races. Last year I became 2nd in 8h00’25” so it’s clear that I have 2 goals in Frankfurt in 2015 … 😉
VC: Some days ago I was reading and interview from Laurent Vidal who says that competing is an art. He believes that all PROS are very similar in a physiological way, they use same gear, not so different train sessions ones from others… but the way you got out there and race is so important for being a champion or just being one on the start-list. I agree him on that point, so knowing how to race is something difficult to teach… What do you think?
FVL: I agree. It’s all about making choices and relying on your personal experience. In my case, I don’t race too many times in a season but I want to perform every single time I show up at a race. In my 2015 plan I have 3 big races (IM South Africa – IM Frankfurt – IM Hawaii) where I want to be in my best possible shape. That means March – July – October and gives me time enough to build up, recover and build up again.
When I was younger I wanted to race almost every week … impossible to be in your best shape every single time. Now, when I’m a little bit oIder, I know better!
VC: Technology helps us to improve in a scientific way but I chat to many PROS who love to kill himself just by their feelings and not even following HR or Power. Is there too much technology in triathlon or do you think the more tech we have, the better will perform?
FVL: I think it ‘s all about making choices and combining those things you find important. I work with Polar (heart rate monitor) and Rotor (power meter). But next to the numbers, my feeling is at least equal important! Most of the time, when I talk to my coach Luc, he wants to know how I feel. So use the technology in a good way 😉
VC: It seems you will stay a long period in Europe this spring/summer. Will it be a High altitude Camp like you made years before in Font Romeu? Do you think this kind of training really makes a difference? There are many discussions about it and it’s difficult to judge whether or not it works. Tell us your impressions about this type of training please.
FVL: My preparation for Frankfurt and Hawaii will be in Font Romeu (1850m) again. Some people (not everyone) respond really well to training on altitude and I’m one of them. It works for me, I’ve proved to myself in the past and that gives me a lot of confidence. The CNEA is a great triathlon training facility in Font Romeu, so it’s not only the altitude that matters.
VC: I will be happy to know a few Power Bike numbers of FVL: Which are yours FTP and W/kg near to race day?
FVL: In a test at the Bakala institute (Leuven, BEL) my FTP was 375 Watts and meant 5,0 W/kg. But, I’m not the best in test numbers … I prefer racing! In IM South Africa I averaged 310 Watts for 4h32’ . That’s what really counts.
VC: This year for the first time IM 70.3 WC are moving to Europe. If there are no last time changes, you won’t be in that race… Why? It’s because it’s one month and a half from Kona?
FVL: Correct, I won’t be racing in Zell am See. My best distance is full Ironman, that’s for sure. So trying to race with the best on half distance would not fit in my lead up to Kona. And as we mentioned above, just being on the start list is not what I’m looking for so I better focus on Hawaii for 100%.
VC: Which is the toughest part of being a PRO Triathlete?
FVL: Hard to find a tough part J It’s a way of life and I love what I’m doing. True, it’s a lot more busy since I won Hawaii in 2013, but who doesn’t love to get some more attention? For me it’s a dream come true so I have no complaints at all. I’m almost 36 years old, at my best level ever, so I would love to continue as long as possible as a pro.
VC: This season you will be an IRONMAN Ambassador. Does that mean you will only race on MDOT brand races mainly? Which “job” are you asked for?
FVL: I’m really proud that IRONMAN wants me to be their ambassador. It’s not really a job it’s just that I’ll be racing and communicating IRONMAN as a triathlete. Competing and performing is my job and I do so together with IM. At the inaugural IRONMAN Maastricht, on 2nd of August, I’ll be there to mentor and give advice to some of the participants e.g.
VC: Your next race is IM 70.3 Barcelona. I know the course very well as long as I frequently ride my bike for those roads… Have you ridden there before? It’s a hilly bike profile… so, do you prefer long climbs as you did in IM France or you like more the rolling hills and flats typical of Frankfurt or even Kona?
FVL: No, I’ve never ridden the course before but … I spent training camps in Calonge and Tossa de Mar … And a victory in Salou 2013 ! So I hope it looks a little bit similar. I’ll have a good look at the course the days before the race.
I don’t really have I preference but there’s always one thing on my mind:
After my career I want to be remembered as a triathlete who could handle every different course type. With victories in Kona, Nice, Abu Dhabi and Port Elizabeth I’m heading in the good direction.
VC: Well Fred, thanks for this little interview and I really whish you all the best for the season. I’ll be cheering you up in Calella!
FVL: Thanks so much for the opportunity. Looking forward to see everyone next week! Starting on Friday 08.00 AM with the Compressport Run (8km with me) in Calella!
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