With the Ironman World Championship over for another year, we decided to catch up with some of the athletes to get an insight into how they prepared, what gear they used, and ultimately how the race unfolded. We also caught a look into what their family and friends got up to on the Big Island before and after the big day. Yes, there is plenty to do other than race or support someone racing; although it would be easy to miss this during race week!
We caught up with Caroline Steffen (Xena) of Switzerland.
Result: 5th professional female – 9:09:09
Swim: 54:10; Bike: 4:57:50; Run: 3:11:55
THE ATHLETE FILES:
Coached by: Brett Sutton (teamTBB) since 2010
Training base: Sunshine Coast, Australia; Leysin, Switzerland; Thailand
Training camp pre Kona: Cozumel, Mexico
Best activity outside of racing: We had a great beach day with Cervelo following the race, but I was pretty tired and sore!
Number of times drug tested whilst in Kona: Once
Families take on Kona: My dad traveled over from Switzerland to watch me race, being only the second time he has ever left the country. This was very special for me! Dave’s family also came over to watch from Australia, and we all spent a week in Kona after the race. It’s so nice to have some down time following the race, it is such a big lead up to Kona and a mental break is much needed.
Xena’s equipment of choice:
Bike: Cervelo P5 Six (size 56cm frame)
Wheels: 3T Mecurio 60
Aero bar: 3T Brezza II
Components: SRAM, Magura RT8, ROTOR 3D
Saddle: Cobb Cycling V Flow Plus
Drink System: XLab
Tyres: Schwalbe Ultremo HT
Helmet: Lazer Helium
Running shoes: On Cloud Racer
Inner shoe sole: CurrexSole
Sunglasses: Oakley Rader Path in pink
Swim Skin: Huub SKN1
Wetsuit: Huub Design aXena
Goggles: Sable Water Optic
Nutrition: Ignite Naturals
Trizone: The night before, did you get any sleep? Do you have any strategies useful for getting a good night’s sleep before a big race?
Xena: Yes I am lucky, I always sleep well before my races! I stop over-thinking things as soon as I’ve checked my bike in – bike check in is always the last time that I check my gear and go through my race strategy. After this, it’s time to relax and calm down. I always watch some TV, or some funny shows on my computer.
TZ: Race morning: Any superstitions, routines, favourite breakfast? Anything you specifically avoid?
Xena: I have rice and eggs for breakfast, and my mars bare before the swim start 🙂
TZ: Swim start: How do you decide where to position yourself?
Xena: I always try to position myself next to the fastest swimmer! I don’t want to miss out on some fast feet!
TZ: Transitions: any little tricks or tips for the age groupers?
Xena: I always have my first gel in T1 between changing tent and jumping onto my bike. You have to remember that you have already swam for 1 hour, so to wait a other 15-30 whilst pushing your bike can be an issue.
TZ: Please make a few general comments on each discipline, whether it is something that went wrong, things that went to plan, anything of interest that happened during the race?
Swim: This was my best swim ever, making the first pack easy!
Bike: I felt strong the first half, then my body shut down in the second half – I think this was due to missing my special needs in Hawi.
Run: I felt sick for the first 25km, with stomach pain. Despite this I had my strongest final 10km ever … but it was too late to run for a top 3 finish.
TZ: Nutrition: did it go to plan, if not what happened?
Xena: No, not really to plan at all. I am trying to figure this out 🙂
TZ: Post race recovery strategy:
Xena: Eat, sleep, rest. Very simple!
TZ: Hindsight is a fantastic thing; if there is one thing you could change about your race or preparation, what would it be?
Xena: My nutrition, I’m just not sure quite how yet!
TZ: What’s next on the training, racing or recovery calendar?
Xena: I’m having some time off now, to reflect on my race in Kona, and try to learn from it. My race calendar for 2014 is not set in stone yet – I’ll be sure to tell you when I know myself! 🙂
Thanks Xena, all the best in recovery and enjoy some down time at home in Australia.