When Dirk Bockel showed up in Kona in 2009 he flew kind of under the radar, but after his 7th place there and a runner-up spot in Abu Dhabi he won't be able to stay anonymous this year. He had a few words with slowtwitch.
Slowtwitch: Dirk, it must be about time for you to head to Kona. When exactly will you leave and how long will you stay?
Dirk: I actually just arrived on the Big Island. I still have some time until race day will be sneaking up on me, but I want to make sure I have enough time to adapt to the heat and train on the course before it gets too crowded out there on the Queen K. I am leaving Kona on the 11th of October, as I have to get back to Luxembourg for some appointments.
ST: You have been spending time in Boulder to get your to your final prep. How has that been going?
Dirk: It was my 1st time in Boulder this year—it was a great experience. We stayed a bit outside of Boulder, higher up in the mountains, but we spent most of the day in Boulder training with the groups that are there. To sum it up—it went very well and the big block is now complete and I can start focusing on race specific training in Hawaii. My wife and I both enjoyed Boulder so much that we are considering this option for next year too—but of course we will see how things go October 9th before we decide.
ST: Why did you pick Boulder over Clermont, San Diego, Bend or any other location?
Dirk: I wanted to try something new this year and Boulder seemed to be the best fit. Last year I chose to focus on heat and stayed in Playitas in Fuerteventura, Spain—but this year I wanted to focus on altitude and see where that would take me—we will find out very soon.
ST: Having finished 7th in Kona last year, your expectations going into this year's race must be different.
Dirk: Yes they are to a certain degree—I set high goals for myself last year and I accomplished them. Last year I found out that there is way more in me than a 7th place—so I took the prep very serious this year and dedicated the second half of the season specifically to Kona.
ST: Do you think your competitors will watch you more closely now?
Dirk: Maybe. Maybe not. I am not too concerned about what the other guys are thinking right now—I just want to do all I can to be in the best possible shape on race day. I believe that I am in the public eye much more than I was last year. This year will be different for me for sure.
ST: Most recently you finished 3rd at 70.3 Antwerp I believe. Did that race go as planned and are you fitness wise where you'd like to be?
Dirk: Antwerp was a race that I always wanted to do—my good friend Marc Herremans puts it on and I actually worked as a volunteer there and helped set up the swim course a few years ago. 3rd place was a fine result—but I was more specifically happy with my run there.
ST: At the beginning of the year you had a great race in Abu Dhabi. Would you consider that your highlight of the season so far?
Dirk: I defined my season by two races in the beginning and end of the season—Abu Dhabi and Kona. Those are the 2 races that I have focused on and I want to have the best possible results at those. It is understood that athletes need to race more than just two races per year though—so I threw in some other 70.3 races to represent my sponsors and keep my legs going, but I have planned to peak at Abu Dhabi and Kona specifically.
ST: Will you go back next year?
Dirk: I am not too sure yet—it will most likely depend on my Kona result. I liked the race and the race format in Abu Dhabi—but for now I am just planning till Kona—and everything else has time to be decided during the winter when I can put my feet up and relax a bit.
ST: What do you think is the future of events along those lines?
Dirk: With the new WTC series I am not sure what is going to happen. There may be a split between the different types of athletes into groups: “people who want to race Kona” and “people who want to make money.” For me personally—I am kind of sitting it out for the moment and focusing on the World Champs—even more now because of the new rules—the result there will determine what I do next year.
ST: Anything else new and exciting?
Dirk: As you guys captured in your Eurobike article—the new Ceepo Climax is about to hit the market and I am very excited about that—the bike looks phenomenal. The guys at Ceepo have designed it so that the Shimano Di2 is integrated into the frame. Apart from that—I have just been training my ass off—and don't know have time for too many exciting things. I do have a long list of what I will be doing starting October 10th and when we are back in Europe.
ST: Thank you so much Dirk.
Dirk: Thank you Mr. Krabel. Hope you enjoyed your trip to Europe these past few weeks and you got to practice your German, had some Weissbier, and some Pretzels. Looking forward to seeing you and the Slowtwitch guys in Kona in a couple of weeks—it is going to be a great one this year.
The website of Dirk Bockel is liveandlettri.com