The Norseman Of Triathlon – Kristian Blummenfelt’s Road To Jersey
Kristian Blummenfelt hit Jersey 2017 with a bang and dominated the weekend in impressive style, now he returns with a single minded focus to replicate the form he showed last year and bring the noise when the gun goes off!
Can Kristian, who had a slow start to 2018, replicate the success he saw in Jersey 2017 or will his competitors have risen to meet the level he set? You’d be hard pushed to meet an athlete as driven and goal focused as this man and, at the expense of all else, he will be looking to win.
We wanted to probe a little more into what makes Kristian tick and get his thoughts, not only on Jersey, but the series ahead.
So Kristian how has the year been going; how are you feeling?
Well the summer has been good, I had a tough start to the season with mechanicals, crashes and punctures, but I’m building on the form now and looking forward to the next few weeks peaking for the last time. I’m feeling closer to the shape I should have been in earlier in the season.
So now we are heading into the first full season of SLT, what expectations do you have of yourself going in?
I obviously want to win the Jersey race. When you’re coming back to a place where you have won before you always want to do it at least as well. Going in having won in Jersey, I want to perform well and be in great shape.
How about keeping the engine revving – do you think you can stretch your form across the series?
I think with the racing, positioned as it is with a break between, is perfect as I can get a winter training period in. It’s really demanding to race every second week for 12 months so you need to have a place where you can put in a proper training block – ideally 4 – 6 weeks without breaking it with a competition.
How disruptive to the form guide is the SLT series?
I think it should be fairly similar to the ITU races but I think you may see people who are stronger on the bike as in the ITU you can often hide on the bike and still have a great race as long as you can run well. In SLT you need to have an even spread of talents with bike handling skills and the run being more critical than the swim. Even though SLT racing is over shorter distances it is still very demanding when it comes to endurance as you’re racing over multiple days sometimes multiple times a day.
Can you just hang on in the swim as it’s so short?
Before SLT started people were talking about how important the swim would be, that you’d need to be in the top three or four, but I think we’ve seen both in Hamilton and in Jersey it was more the transition and then the bike that puts you in the right position.
So you put a lot of importance on the transition in SLT?
That is what surprised me about Richard Murray at the last SLT race, he’d be behind me out the swim then in the first pack immediately as he was like the fastest person in T1 in every race – which was a bit frustrating!
So are you expecting the same sort of faces up there in Jersey or do you think there’ll be any surprises?
You will have to be solid on the swim and really strong on the bike and run. If you’re good enough to be on the podium in SLT then you will either be known for racing well in ITU or being really fast at the 70.3 distance.
So with SLT being different to anything else on the calendar what changes do you make to your training leading into the weekends?
Well I have recently added into my training some hard bike to run sessions with high intensity and long durations and I think that is helping me a lot in SLT. It also helps you understand how to pace yourself as you are racing at a very high intensity but you still have another round to go then another day to go. This is a mistake I think many might make the first time they do something like people are so used to just going all out then it’s done but in SLT you have to remember there is a second and third round as well! It is about measuring your efforts and learning how to pace yourself properly.
Does SLT test you in any ways that a standard triathlon doesn’t?
The fun part of it is that you have a few days of racing and it feels more like a stage race, you know, like in cycling. It is so testing on the endurance and recovery in between with the ability to back it up the following day. I really enjoy the weekend – it is fun, especially as in Jersey last year we were able to see more of the island than just the airport, the hotel and the race course.
So talking about recovery we’re interested to know about recovery between the races and between the multiple days, how do you approach it?
After the racing I like to go for an hours easy spinning around whilst getting some calories in. It’s also important to get a good nights sleep and that is something I often struggle with after the races as you can be high on adrenalin and caffeine etc so that is a big challenge in itself. I remember before the second day in Jersey last year I was really tired and more keen to go back to bed than race because of the lack of sleep the night before.
So what do you think SLT is going to add to triathlon to lift the sport?
It adds new flavour for the athletes and the audience you know, something new, something different and its a new challenge. I think many athletes get into triathlon because it is new and different but then after racing swim, bike, run for five or ten years you think it might be interesting to try something new. SLT is exactly that, it makes it new again and its also great television.
What do you think was special about Jersey and what are you looking forward to this year?
The crowd was special, especially on such a tight course, I could feel the crowd around the whole loop so the environment on course was amazing. Also the rain on the second day on such a challenging course really changed the dynamic and totally mixed everything up, I loved that.
Kristian certainly has the mindset and desire going into Jersey that could see him top the podium again. Questions will hang over his 2018 form, add to this an improved field and a deeper understanding from all involved of the demands of SLT, and we will have a race on our hands.
Can Kristian rise to meet the new challenge of a new series and the strongest field SLT has ever seen? The racing will be frantic and the conditions optimised so strap in and enjoy as it unfolds in front of you!