Following the pre race conference trizone.com.au sat down with Michael Raelert to talk through the race and the year ahead.
We started by asking him about Phuket and his plans for the Asia Pacific Championships.
“Before the start I will think through my strategy and also consider what can go wrong and how I will handle such things. I can’t control what others do, only what I can do. But my plan will be to stay close to the front group but if there is a break off the front during the bike and I am not in it I will not stress too much as I have plenty of confidence in my run. I just hope that I handle the heat and humidity well. I expect Lieto to attack us through the hills as he will want to start the run with a good start on myself and the other strong runners. I feel really good right now and am feeling a different kind of tension to usual pre-race tension due to Phuket being such a relaxed atmosphere but my confidence is high. I was a little surprised at how hot and humid it is here but I won’t change my nutrition plans. Ultimately it will come down to about 75 minutes of running hard and I expect I’ll hang on OK.”
Your biggest dangers for Asia Pacific 70.3 Champs?
“Each and every pro on the start line can have their day. I will purely focus on my race and given it is the end of the year you can have people that have bodies that have had enough and others that will be well rested and ready to fire…I hope to be the later.”
Your plans for 2012?
“For next year I am working on my schedule over the next 2 weeks with my brother Andy and we will plan out my year but it all comes down to Vegas and Kona which will be my two targets. Everything else will be purely preparing myself for those two races. My dream would be to win both and hopefully finish one and two with my brother Andy in Kona.” When asked who he felt will be the danger men for Kona in 2012 the German didn’t hesitate. “Andy and I both feel that whilst there are many danger men in Kona it will be hard to go past Crowie and Pete Jacobs. Crowie will be the defending champion and he showed how strong he is but if people think Jacobs will not be at the front they will be wrong. He swims with ease at the front, has proved he is the fastest runner twice and look at his bike improvement. He will just get better.”
What did it feel like to be on course and watching your brother in Kona. What did you learnt from it if anything?
“I’ve been on course and watched Kona the last two years and learnt a lot about the race. My brother has prepared so well the last 2 years yet that 1% has made the difference and you can do all you can but if that 1% doesn’t go your way there is nothing you can do. This year Crowie had the perfect race and Andy did all he could but could not get the better of two of the world’s best triathletes. It is still an honour to be on the podium behind two great athletes especially when one is a three time champion and the fastest ever in Kona and the other one of the fastest runners of all time in Kona who will probably be a future Kona champion as well.”
Hypothetical situation, Kona 2012, you and your brother are leading the race running side by side. What happens?
“This is our dream, for my brother and I to get to the last few hundred metres side by side and then we will show people what will happen. What we would do in that situation will be a surprise but we have spoken of it and know what we would do in that dream situation. Hopefully you will get to see but like I said, it all comes down to that extra 1% that makes the difference and there are also things you cannot control. I think that in future years you will see more of us pro’s together towards the end of the race. It is becoming more competitive and more strategic. This year it became very hot on the run and that made a big difference, some guys seemed strong but the heat hurt them and you can see how the sun and humidity got to them as others that handled it better ran through the field so well.”
Your plans post race in Phuket and the year ahead.
“I would like to stay here for a week and enjoy more of a holiday but I have a commitment in Germany that I need to get back for mid week. Next year hopefully I can come back, do this race and enjoy the Thailand people’s hospitality and the beautiful scenery here. I can get used to the lifestyle here and it would be a great way to finish the year. As for next year, we’ll see what Andy and I come up with but I will want to do European and US races to prepare me for Vegas and Kona. I don’t know which ironman I will race to qualify my spot for Kona but I will probably just do one and compete in 70.3’s and shorter for the rest of the year. I will have to make sure I stay healthy and injury free.”