Get to Know Pro-Triathlete Lionel Sanders

Get to Know Pro-Triathlete Lionel Sanders

Lionel Sanders gets his first Oceanside victory. Photo: Paul Phillips/Competitive Image.

Last weekend Canadian pro-triathlete Lionel Sanders broke the tape at the 2016 Ironman 70.3 California in Oceanside. Lionel is a new addition to our list of power meter sponsored athletes this year, and for good reason. This win at Oceanside was Lionel's second victory for the season, an impressive accolade considering it's only April, and he's off to Galveston 70.3 this weekend to see if he can grab a 3rd.

We caught up with him to learn more about our newest pro-athlete, and to hear his thoughts on his bike split at Oceanside. Here's what you need to know:

You just won Oceanside. Can you tell us a little bit about your effort, how it stands apart from your 2015 Oceanside bike split and what it was like to race against such a deep field in 2016?
Last year in Oceanside I made the mistake of riding too sporadically, pushing my variability index (VI) very high, and ultimately frying my run legs. This time round my goal was to ride a lot steadier. Last year I was a bit ambitious and pushed my best 1 hour power ever, in the first hour. This time round I wanted to practice a bit more self-control. I think I succeeded at this despite having to pass a lot more people this time, and having a lot stronger bikers around me as well (Sebeastien Keinle and Jordan Rapp, for example).

In the first hour I averaged 368w, with a normalized power of 376w and a VI of 1.02. It was during this time when I was starting to catch some of the stronger bikers (Joe Gambles and Eneko Llanos, for instance) and so things started to become a bit more tactical. In the next half hour I averaged 356w with a normalized of 375w and a VI of 1.05. I definitely burned a few matches in this period, passing people, as well as trying to shed the pack. With about 12 miles to go I started to catch the athletes I thought to be the main contenders in the race (Andy Potts, Tim Reed, Sam Appleton). I went to the front of the pack and then I shut things down significantly.

Lionel Sanders Bike Performance from Ironman 70.3 California, Oceanside
Lionel Sanders Cycling Power Meter Data from Ironman 70.3 California, Oceanside.

I knew Andreas Dreitz would be putting time in to me if I did this, but I thought things were mostly likely going to be settled on the run course. No one in the pack came by me and they allowed me to set the pace. In the final 30 minutes I averaged only 302w with a normalized of 317w and a VI 1.05. This felt very easy and controlled and allowed me to get some necessary fuel in, as well as psychologically prepare myself for a tough run. In the end, this may have been a poor tactical decision, because I likely gave up a significant amount of time to Dreitz, and as a result, didn't end up catching him until 9 miles into the run. Lessons are still being learned with regards to good race tactics.

Enough about Oceanside, let's get down to the basics. Where did you grow up?
I grew up in a small town called Harrow in Ontario, Canada.

Where do you live now?
I now live about 30 minutes from my home town in Windsor, Ontario.

What is your sporting background?
I started running at a young age in Grade 4.I tried to play every sport that was available to me but my favourite was basketball.I also rode the BMX bike as a mode of transportation.

What is your favorite piece of triathlon equipment?
It's a 3-way tie for my favourite piece of triathlon equipment: treadmill, CompuTrainer, power meter.

Favorite triathlon discipline?
My favourite discipline is definitely the run.This is where the race is won or lost.

Favorite race?
My favourite race would have to be Muskoka 70.3.It was my first professional race and it is the closest race to home for me.

What motivates you to train?
My motivation for training is pushing the limits of what is humanly possible.

If you could sing one song on American Idol (or other talent show), what would it be?
I would come down with an illness the morning of the show and spare the audience and judge's eardrums.

What's your favorite thing to do when you're not training or racing?
My favourite thing to do when I am not training/racing is sitting in the sun.

Biggest guilty pleasure?
My biggest guilty pleasure is pizza.Windsor is home to some of the best pizza in the world!

Who's your biggest inspiration in sport or outside of sport?
My biggest inspiration is, if we're being completely honest, Jan Frodeno.Not a training session goes by where he doesn't enter my mind.

One thing that most people don't know about you but would find interesting?
Something that not everyone knows about me is that I do ALL of my training on the treadmill and the CompuTrainer.

Stay Up to Date with Lionel Sanders
You can read more about Lionel's Oceanside reactions over on his blog, or follow him on Twitter @LSandersTri.

Join Our Newsletter