Sebastian Kienle is a top rated long distance triathlete from Karlsruhe in Germany. Here, he talks to The Global Herald from the United States about his preparation for Challenge Kraichgau as part of the European Championships on 10 June 2012.
How is your preparation for Challenge Kraichgau going?
“The first race this year was very good and better than expected. I am in Tucson, Arizona right now. The weather is just perfect. I think I’m on a very good way to the start of the European season. I learned from my mistakes last year, where I was in good shape way too early and could not hold it until the main races.”
How well prepared do you feel compared to 2009 when you won Challenge Kraichgau?
“I’m on a whole diffrent level than 2009, but in 2009 I was very focused on Kraichgau. Now I also have the Ironman Frankfurt and Hawaii in my mind. And the whole sport is getting faster every year, it is still a young sport so the athletes are developing fast. The field is way stronger than 2009.”
How do you rate your chances against Andreas Raelert and Timo Bracht?
“Of course Andreas is the top favorite. But I race on home soil and I know every stone on the course. I nearly won the race last year. So there is some unfinished business. I think I have a good chance.”
You have said that Frankfurt is your focus for this year, will Kraichgau be used as a training race?
“I can’t do training races. I could not stay cool and I don’t want to. The thrill before the start is one of the reasons why I do the sport and why I’m good at it.”
Do you prefer to compete abroad or in front of a home audience?
“Home, I love to have the chance to train on the race course and play some mindgames. And I have a realy cool fanclub, when I see them on the course it always gives me the extra boost.”
With so much international competition, do you find that jet lag affects your training?
“It is funny that you ask that because right now I have some troubles with sleeping. I’m not traveling that much. I like to see the world, it is one of the nice things about beeing a pro. But I always try to avoid usless traveling. Like after the 70.3 in Galveston, Texas, I just stayed in the states for training instead of flying home and then to the Canaries or to Mallorca.”
What equipment and products are you currently using?
“A Scott Plasma3 Bike with Shimano DI2 electric gearing system. When it comes to bikes I’m still like a little boy and really care about every detail. NewBalance shoes, 2XU Fabrics.”
What are your plans for the Olympics?
“I’m not fast enough for the Olympics. If the Olympics were nondrafting then I think I would have a good chance to be in the front quarter. But my swim talent is average. And my dream was always to become the best long distance athlete in the world – and it is a long way. But I have big respect for the short course athletes.”
With more than 3000 participants, Challenge Kraichgau is one of the most popular triathlon races in Germany over the 1.9km swim, 90km bike and 21km run distance. The Challenge Famil series features 12 triathlons throughout Europe and Australasia, including the world’s largest iron distance event, Challenge Roth in Germany.