Interview with Dan P. - 2.0
1. This past season was little different than previous seasons for you being that you jumped up to Ironman racing. Why the jump?
"Two years ago I had done a half ironman called, Toughman. There was a number I had set in my head and if I was able to break 5 hours and 15 minutes I would “reward” myself with the punishment of doing an Ironman. I was actually able to beat that time by 3 seconds. So last year I decided to pretty much do nothing but Sprints and Olympics to almost take the year not off but, focus on shorter more intense stuff rather than dealing with endurance racing. This year I just bit the big one and decided to tackle the ironman and it has been an amazing adventure and Im really glad that I did it. "
2. There are plenty of legendary ironman distance races in the United States so why is it that you chose Challenge Roth in Germany to be your first?
"There were a few different reasons. I wanted to do something special for my first one. I have been to Lake Placid and I think it's an incredible atmosphere, I get goose bumps at the finish line every year I'm up there volunteering. I had heard some amazing things about Challenge Roth. I had seen video of the Solarberg, the famous hill where over 100,000 people spectate on and cheer you up the hill. It just seemed that it would make the experience more of an adventure. I was really, really excited to take on, this almost mythical, larger than life race and I figured I would do the first one with a bang. It was an incredible experience and I wouldn’t trade it for the world."
3. Could you explain the Challenge experience as well as a couple of hi-lights and low-lights of your raceday?
"The challenge experience, the website, the company, the family, they really do stand by what they say when they treat every athlete like they are top level pros. Just as far as the the organisation, to the great amount of shwag you got at the event. It's just a very, very different experience from any Ironman or any triathlon that I have ever been to. The take wonderful care of you. The pros are very approachable, the race director is very approachable."
"Flying to Germnay my bike frame was cracked. There was an issue with the TSA inspecting my bike and they didn’t close my bike box the correct way. When I discovered the issue I was able to meet up with the race director and owner of Challenge, Felix Walchshöfer. We had never meet before and it was two days before the event so, he was a busy busy man. I just went up to him and told him that I was from NY and the circumstances with my bike. He literally spent the next half hour with me going to different booths, sponsors, and vendors and he was able to find a bike for me to ride. It is because of Felix and his efforts that I was able to do the event."
"The biggest issue with the entire race was when I opened up my bike. I noticed my bike frame was in fact broken. At that moment I realized that 7 months of training was almost thrown out the window and I would be in survival mode. The biggest issue during the race was about 10 miles into the run and I had the shakes, I coulnd’t feel my fingers, my teeth were chattering, I was dizzy, I wasn’t able to run, my HR was through the roof even though I was just walking. I had gone up to an ambulance on the side of the road and asked them if my lips were blue? They said,"you look fine, keep going." I said, "are you sure because I feel really cold." I was almost asking these question because I wanted them to pull me off the course. I really felt like I was going to drop dead, absolutely miserable. In the U.S. I would presume they would have pulled me off the course and given me an IV. In Germany, "no, you're good. We have other ambulances along the course, don’t worry we will catch you, keep going." With about a mile to ago before the 13 mile mark I ran into another American that was walking. We made an agreement to watch over one another and use the buddy support system for the remainder of the race. I would not have gotten through the race without him."
4. In terms of training could you explain some differences between half ironman and full ironman training?
"I think the biggest difference might just be the volume and maybe the intensity is a bit lighter until taper time. You have to be prepared to do those 5, 6, 7, hour rides. It's not really double the amount of half ironman training. Your weekends are really preoccupied with the sport. If you can find a good group of people to ride and run with then it's time well spent."
5. Shortly after Roth, I mean like 24 hours later, I received a phone call from you. You quickly told me about your race and then said you were thinking about doing another ironman possibly, Beach 2 Battleship. Why on earth did you want to tacklet another 140.6 mile race?
"I did what is historically one of the fastest ironman courses in the world, Challenge Roth. Even though I was happy to just finish, my time was a little upsetting for me. I was able to just skate in under the 14 hour mark, I really wanted to do something closer to the 12 hour mark. I did realize when you have to worry about flying to a different country, different dietary needs and with the additional stress of a broken bike and then riding 112 miles on a bike you have never ridden before, I'm happy that I was just able to finish. I didn’t feel like I had the race my body was capable of. The reason I chose Beach 2 Battle ship because it was in the States and it was a different race. Because it wasn’t an Ironman branded race it had not sold out. And to be honest, with the cost of the European trip it was a much cheaper option. It was a vastly different race, the same distance but Roth and B2B couldn’t be more different. The organization of the event, the turn out , the course lay out .They are both great events and I'm really thrilled frankly that I was fortunate to experience both of them."
6. Was your preparation any different for B2B now that you had an iron distance race under your belt?
"I actually focused more on my run training than my bike training. I did feel that my running was neglected in some ways going into Roth and I was focusing more on the bike so for the most part I felt that I had the bike fitness there. So, I wanted to focus more on getting in longer runs and getting my legs into shape for B2B because at the 5 mile mark at Roth, its not because of my lack of run training, but using a bike I had never used, I was sick on the course etc, the wheels had come off. I wanted to make sure I felt better once I was off the bike in B2B. I definitely felt better with that. The other big difference was I didn’t actually have a tri bike of my own to use for B2B. Thankfully, being that I work at Sunrise Tri, the owner, Frank Tortino was kind enough to let me use his Cervelo P4. It wasn’t an exact fit but we made it fit the best that we could and I had a pretty damn aero bike to ride for 112. Despite only being able to ride it a week prior to the event at least I was able to ride on something I felt a lot more comfortable on."
7. Although the distance of your races has not changed, the bikes you rode this season certainly have. I have seen you on a non labeled carbon fiber bike, Blue, Cervelo, Felt and have seen pictures of a BMC. Can I get you to say on the record what your frame of choice will be for next race season?
"Im still working through a bike sponsor ship deal (lol). Actually if you are really interested I'm sure I will have a big announcement to make soon enough."
8. What, where and when can we expect to find you racing next year?
"I'm going to be racing local for the most part. If I do any races out of state it will be the Rev 3 Quassey Olympic rather than the half ironman distance. I'm going to be doing a lot of the local Long Island Sprint and Olympic races and some 5 and 10k's. Acutally the next race I will be doing will be the Bluepoint Brewery Run. It will be the longest run I will do all year. I'm actually looking forward to getting back to that short course speed, it's painful and it hurts in a different way. It almost feels like a different sport sometimes. I'm looking forward to giving my body a break, a change of pace. It's healthy to change it up. Im looking forward to racing frequently and being done by lunch."
9. Word association time. Tell me what first pops into your head.
"Small rant, Do I think he was a doper, Yes. Do I think everyone in the Peloton was doping, Yes. Do I think he is guilty? I think everyone is guilty at that level. I think that what we had was an amazingly gifted endurance athlete that did everything he could possible do to win, ethical or unethical. I think what he has done for cancer research is amazing. He has given people a lot of hope and inspiration that can never be replaced. In some ways he is a figure that has transcended the sport. I think it was good for cycling as whole and he helped a lot of poeople get healthy be it off the couch or through chemotherapy. I definitely think that were there is smoke there is fire."
"Fantastic idea. It had the potential to be something special."
"The Swiss miss. I can only hope that when I'm at her age to have half the talent and the amount of fun she has racing."
Off season training
"Well I've been in the pool a lot, thanks to my girlfriend Tanya. Tanya is a fromer competive swimmer and it has been really tough to keep up with her. She has also been doing her best to teach my flip turns. I just did yoga, we are going on a hike this afternoon. That’s my workout today. I'll be ready to get back to working hard when the time comes but right now I'm enjoying myself."
"Im the one person that gave up meat and put on weight."