Fresh of her ITU Long Course World Title in Spain, Trizone had a relaxed chat with Caroline Steffen in Cebu. The popular Suisse star is not surprisingly an instant hit with the fans in the Philippines and we watch her spend plenty of time posing for photos, answering questions and signing autographs. First up we had to ask Caroline how she was feeling following some big recent races such as Ironman Frankfurt and the ITU World Champs.
Caroline Steffen: I just arrived from Europe via Manila this morning so yes I’m pretty tired but events like this wake you up. There sure are a lot of fans here. After this race I’ll have a bit of a break before the final build for Kona.
Trizone: So what will be the plan for that final training block?
Caroline Steffen: Well you never quite know what Brett has planned but I’ll be in Europe at the team training base and we will train together in the weeks leading up to Kona. My partner David Dellow is also racing Kona and he is keen to arrive two weeks out and Brett is happy with this so we will depart Europe and head straight to Kona for the final two weeks. Obviously I will have sponsor and media commitments but this year I will want to be a bit quieter in the final few days. That was one of my big learning experiences last year. Relax more in those last days, not just the body but the mind.
Trizone: Can you give away any secrets from what you will be doing in Switzerland training wise?
Caroline Steffen: Well you will have to ask the coach that, and follow us on twitter as we’ll no doubt be complaining about his tough sets at times. But it will be all good and if we feel the need to throw in a race before hand there are plenty of options in Europe. I love racing and it can be great training so we will see, but at this stage it will be all about training and recovering. I’m very lucky as I have someone like Brett who is the best coach for me and he knows how to get people up for big races. I’m where I am today thanks to being in Team TBB and especially having the guidance of Brett Sutton as my coach.
Trizone: Can you tell us more about your comment of learnings from last year?
Caroline Steffen: I think a factor for me last year was being generally tired in terms of my mindset. 2011 was a big year for me and I had a lot more commitments not only with training and racing but also with sponsors, media and the like. It is not a complaint at all, I just needed to work out how to manage it all and the experience was good for me that I feel this year I am lot better prepared and will be throughout the year.
Trizone: You have been continually building on your success and obviously getting more prominent in the sport. Where to from here?
Caroline Steffen: Well it is all about October and Kona, after that Noosa Triathlon as both David and I love it there. We have both taken a win at that race so we’d like to do it together and both win on the same day. It’s like the Noosa World Champs right?
Trizone: So speaking of Dave, he’s also had a great year so far, is their rivalry between you two?
Caroline Steffen: Oh yes definitely, but in a fun way. We do some races together and some apart, it all depends on the schedule we work out. It’s funny in a way, I used to be referred to as “David Dellow’s girlfriend” now he is referred to as “Xena’s boyfriend” sometimes which is a lot of fun for me! We have some fun with it and it is great seeing your partner get the results when you know how hard each of you train.
Trizone: Does it get tense between you all before races?
Caroline Steffen: No not really, we have each other worked out. Each of us can get a bit grumpy in those final days leading up to a race and we understand that of each other so that helps.
Trizone: Any bets between you both for Kona? Like time gaps for washing up duty?
Caroline Steffen: (Laughs) We have thought about that but it could be a good idea!
Trizone: So how about this race, what brought you here?
Caroline Steffen: Team TBB were very fortunate to get the support of Alaska Milk as a sponsor. They are big supporters of local sport here and obviously were keen for me to come and race as well as helping motivate the Philippines athletes by having international pro’s on the start line. After visiting the Philippines before I was very happy to come here and race. It is such a beautiful location and the people are so friendly. I think it will become one of those “Destination Races” that many people talk about.
Trizone: What are your predictions for the race?
Caroline Steffen: Well apart from being a bit tired today I actually feel quite good and have recovered well from Spain. So I’ll definitely be trying my best. The heat will take its toll for sure and the wind here will make it a challenging bike course. There are some strong women here racing and I think it will take a lot of mental as well as physical strength with the heat and humidity. Obviously I’ll be hoping to come away with a win.
Trizone: Do you feel that conditions like this can be a good preparation for Kona?
Caroline Steffen: Kona is a very unique race but in terms of heat and humidity there is definitely similarities.
Trizone: What are the plans post race?
Caroline Steffen: Put my feet up with a very cold drink!
With her big smile and friendly nature, Caroline headed off through the crowd to her next engagement in Cebu. We wish her well for Cebu and Kona.