Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Built to Hurt! Interview with Travis Iverson

"Hard hat, punch the clock, back to work. I'm bigger, stronger, faster, built to hurt." For some reason that line from the old school Xzibit song "Multiply" is what kept coming to mind during this interview. Travis Iverson isn't B.J. Christenson tall, but he's a rare combination of size and speed who does nothing but get better every year.

Thanks for the time, Travis, and best of luck going forward!

What’s your athletic background and how did you get into triathlon?

I actually played football and basketball growing up. I played collegiate basketball in Iowa before moving to Utah. I was in Utah working with some coaches to go play overseas when I blew out my ankle. I needed to get reconstructive surgery in the winter of 2011 and that was the end of my basketball career. Being an athlete I needed to find something I could still be competitive in, and that fall I saw the Ironman World Championships on TV for the first time. After watching that I realized that was harder than all my years in college basketball, and I wanted to prove to myself that I could do what I thought was the hardest athletic event in the world.

It seems like you’ve improved a ton every year… to what do you attribute your steady results?

Honestly you can sum it up in one word: “consistency.” Just doing something every day you can. Even if it’s not the whole workout you were supposed to do, at least put in as much time as you can. Not to make his head any bigger as a coach, but Rory Duckworth also played a huge role in my ability to make such large gains so quickly. My first year having him as a coach was the perfect accountability partner and that is key to have. Most importantly, surrounding yourself with good friends who also love the sport makes it easy to keep working hard.

Rank the three disciplines from strength to (relative) weakness.

This is a hard one because it seems it changes each year. It used to be that biking was the weakest discipline for me because I had weak legs and a lot to pedal. Running was my strong point because I naturally had a lot of aerobic ability. Now I would say biking has become one of my greatest advantages while running is becoming what I need to work on most. This might be because as you make your way from sprints to Ironman 70.3s and eventually to an Ironman, being able to run the last 13 miles in the marathon is where it's won or lost.

You’re a taller, stronger dude than most triathletes… what are the pros and cons of your size, and what distance do you feel suits you best?

I don’t really like to talk about the pros and cons and size and whatnot. So many people focus on these as excuses or benefits. Some people will say you have long legs and arms therefore you should be a good runner because you have longer strides and swimmer because you have long arms to pull with. While us taller athletes would use it as an excuse like “we have a lot more surface area for the wind to hit on the bike so it affects us more than a smaller guy.” So really I don’t think an athlete's size and shape helps or hinders him or her in the grand scheme of things. It’s all about how you look at it too. Don’t ever use it as an excuse but rather use it as a benefit. Distances also are hard to pinpoint. I would think a longer race might be more beneficial to myself. Maybe not because of my size but because I have more time to make up on the bike or run if I'm facing a fast swimmer in a sprint race.

You just destroyed Coeur d'Alene, can you give us a quick recap of your day?

Ironman CDA was amazing like every Ironman event is. I’m sure I could go into details on times and transitions and whatnot, but I think anyone interested in that has already looked up Ironman tracker like we all do for our fellow athletes (editor's note: I'll brag for him, 10:17 and 41st overall in tough conditions). I'd like people to know how great the swim is there and how great the venue and local fans. That honestly was the highlight of my Ironman. The water is crystal clear and the trees and green scenery makes for a perfect bike course. The headwind that decided to come throughout the day wasn’t much fun as many of the other racers know, but we all got it done. I did have a hard time stomaching anything after mile 80 on the bike and that was a first, but after talking to other racers it doesn’t seem uncommon. Then the run was a perfect way to cap off a great race. Our local fan clubs of SLTC and BAM were great support on the run course and made for a memorable finish. 

After a tough bike, there was a lot of carnage on that run course… yet you ran a 3:45 marathon. How were you able to put it together like that when so many others weren’t?

Honestly having a game plan before the race and sticking to it is what made the difference. I told myself I was going to go out at an 8:30 pace and I did that. Last year I made the mistake of going out way too fast and before I knew what happened my legs and knees were out of the game. Although a few people passed me in the first 13 miles I made myself stay at 8:30's and trusted my training. I was able to hold that pace pretty much the whole race and actually was able to run my last 2 miles my fastest just as I planned. I would be lying to you though if I didn’t want to go faster out of the gate because my bike time was slower than anticipated. Also those guys that went out harder and faster seemed to fall apart around mile 20, which made me feel like I did the right thing.

What are your goals for the next few years… is Kona or 70.3 World Champs something that’s motivating to you?

I think that any of us athletes that take this sport seriously and put as much work and time into would be lying if those championships didn’t motivate us. I’ll be the first one to admit we all don’t like talking and focusing on it, but it’s something that I think we all strive for. I mean who doesn’t want to go to “the Big Dance?”

At the same time I think it’s important to not focus and train for just those larger goals and championships. The training and the “Process” to get to any level no matter where you’re at is even more important for athletes.
The friends and memories we make with the triathlon community is what we will remember, especially when we fall short of those large goals that so many triathletes strive for. 

What will it take in your AG to qualify for 70.3 Champs at SG?

I’m not so sure. It all depends on who shows up to the race and what the conditions are. Some hate the heat and some hate the cold. But I would say regardless you would need to go below 4:30 to have a shot, and with more and more guys getting faster in the 30-34 age group it could be even lower. St George is a tough course. I think instead of focusing on qualifying for this race we’re better off just embracing the great competition and enjoy the beautiful place of St George and let the Qualifying and results take care of themselves.

Do you have any friendly local rivalries?

Most of the triathlon community already knows the answer… Rory Duckworth, Xavier Lucio and I always have a good time when we're competing in the same event. We're all best friends so it’s more of a fun rivalry if anything. I’d say we almost root for each other instead. Rory Duckworth has been my coach and mentor my first few years in this sport, so I have always used his times and races as benchmarks I wanted to hit for myself. As a result I find myself chasing him and racing against him more than others ;)… I know he’ll love this response.

What’s your podium for favorite local races?

This is a hard one, with so many great races put on by RaceTri and TriUtah…. If I had to rank them though I would say Icebreaker 3rd, Echo 2nd, and the Toughman Utah Half 1st. The Utah Half has my top spot because of the distance it is and the local legends it brings out like BJ Christenson and others. Echo always has a good showing and great competition. And Icebreaker is just a fun and fast race that gets everyone back into the race scene to start off every year.

Any more races on the schedule this year? Thoughts for next year?

I may attempt a few short races this year. I had thought of doing another 70.3, but I think recovering and beginning the training process for next year is more important. I may attempt RaceTri's Yuba Olympic just because it’s such a fun race, but we'll see. As for next year I’ll have another full schedule with a few 70.3 races and maybe 2 Ironmans. Oceanside 70.3 and St. George 70.3 are always on the schedule. Maybe throw in a Boulder and Vineman race and who knows, maybe Coeur d'Alene just because it's such a beautiful venue and close to home for me... I may just have to keep that race on the list for life.

No comments:

Post a Comment