Interview with Ironman Canada Winner Trevor Wurtele
Everyone is probably familiar with the story by now: how Trevor & Heather Wurtele left the creature comforts of home behind, live in a dedicated and focused life in a RV, travelling the globe in search of excellence in Triathlon. It's not only a great story, but both Trevor and Heather are excellent athletes, excellent people, and the results have been impressive. Trevor has been on the verge of an Ironman victory, and he executed a perfect race to secure his first W at the distance at Ironman Canada. We had a chance to chat with Trevor, and our conversation follows.
PowerTap: You've been knocking on the door of IM victory for a while now. What does this victory mean to you?
Trevor: It obviously feels great to get that win. Winning Ironman Canada makes it even more meaningful, being that I'm Canadian and grew up fairly close by. It was fun to race as the favorite and have many friends and family around. My dad has a bit of a history with Whistler when he was a ski coach with that men's National Downhill Team. So a lot of people knew my name. It was cool.
PowerTap: Can you tell us a little about your race and how it unfolded?
Trevor: It unfolded a little differently than I had hoped. Mainly because I wanted to just have a steady ride and ride the watts I had planned on ahead of time. But Matt Russell ended up having a decent swim, which saw him catch me by mile 60 or so. At that point I had to make the decision to either just stay with my own pacing strategy or go with him. I ended up going with him, but he was laying down some serious wattage. Just to stay in touch I was hitting 330-350 watts for extended periods of time. NOT ideal for a good run. But I knew he has one of the best Ironman marathons in his legs, as he's shown in Kona for the past couple years, so I didn't want to give him any buffer at the start of the run. Thankfully once we got to the lead, in a group of 6 or so, he calmed down a bit. That group really just kind of moseyed along for a while, nobody really wanting to give it any effort before the long climb back to T2. Thankfully I didn't go too far into the red too often and still had a bit in the tank for the final grind back to Whistler Village. I managed to get away there, but Matt Russell and Matt Lieto pulled me back before we got to the run.
On to the run, well, I went pretty well on that course and was able to get a gap on Matt by mile 6. From there I kept it moving to grab the win.
PowerTap: When did you know you had the race won?
Trevor: You know, everyone says that they're never sure until they cross the line. I'm not so sure I believe that in some cases. In my case, I'd say with about 4 miles to go I knew I would win (barring someone tripping me or something), I knew I had 5 minutes on 2nd. I still felt pretty good so I wasn't worried about my own body falling apart. And to close a gap of 5 minutes in 4 miles....not going to happen unless I were to have some serious issues.
PowerTap: Did you have any particular focus or use any particular mantras going into the race?
Trevor: I wanted to win. I put some pressure on myself to not accept anything else for this one. Normally I don't do that. Most of the time I just plan my day and try to execute it, without thinking about the end result. But for this race, I really just thought about doing what I needed to do in order to win. Still with a focus on executing a plan - but I had to be open to adjust that plan a bit. That made me a bit more nervous before the start, but it really helped me believe that I could do it.
PowerTap: What metrics do you pay attention to during the race for the bike? For the run?
Trevor: I always use current power and normalized avg. power on the bike. On a course like Ironman Canada (Whistler) the normalized power doesn't read quite as high as it would on a flat course like IM Arizona. Mainly because of the numerous downhills, where you ride hard, but the power numbers aren't that high. You'd think the uphills would make up for that, but I put on a bit of a power cap for the climbs so it doesn't bring the average back up quite as much. I was aiming for a normalized power of 265-285. Throughout the day I lap my Joule GPS every so often to reset that avg. and have a bit smaller time frame to focus on a certain number. There was one section on the flat out-and-back, for about 15 miles or so where the lead group of 6 or so really didn't put out much effort. At that point I used it as a bit of a rest and kept the power around 220-240 before the last climb where I tried to keep the power back up around 280-310.
On the run I don't use much in the way of tracking. I take some mile splits with a stop watch and that's about it. I don't like using a GPS in a race, especially on this course as it was quite twisty and forested. In training the GPS wasn't all together very accurate on that terrain. In the first few miles I use the mile splits to keep from running too hard. I don't want to see anything faster than 6:15 per mile, especially here because of the hilly first half of the loop. Later in the day, I like to see splits around 6:40 per mile. Then on to the last few miles I try to keep it below 7:00 per mile, even when there isn't much pressure coming from behind. Although, I think I let it slide a bit slower than that in the final few miles at this race.
PowerTap: To AG'ers who might be enduring a long journey towards a goal - whether it is winning their AG, qualifying for Kona, or perhaps a PR in a race - what advice would you give?
Trevor: It takes a long time to reach a goal of any importance. So if that goal is important to you, expect to have to work hard, non-stop, for at least a few years, and often much longer. So many people think they can achieve something special in one season, or even just a few months. Yes, that's possible, but the big goals take much longer.
PowerTap: What's next for you in terms of racing? In terms of race goals?
Trevor: I've still got some racing on tap for 2013. I'll do a couple 70.3 distance races, and then finish the year with Ironman Arizona in November. I'll be in Kona cheering on my wife, Heather, who I truly believe has a great shot at top 3. She's been one of the best all year long, so just needs it to come together again in Kona. That would be great to see!
My race goals - well, now that I've won one Ironman I have to win more!! :) Long term I'd like to get back to Kona, but I'll only go back there when I feel I can have a shot at top 10. Kona is such a commitment, and to go and race with the simple goal of participating, and knowing you won't be in contention at all - no thanks...I did that in 2012 and really didn't get any satisfaction from that.
PowerTap: Congrats again, and we'll see you in Kona and Arizona, where we'll certainly be rooting for both you & Heather!
Find out more about Trevor, Heather and their world on wheels via http://www.teamwurtele.com/ and follow them on Twitter @TeamWurtele. You'll be glad you did.