The fast and furious Iván Raña
Written by: Herbert Krabel
Date: Wed Dec 05 2012
ST: Thank you for the chat.
Ivan: It's a pleasure for me talking to slowtwitch
ST: Did you get a nice welcome when you returned to Spain?
Ivan: Yes! I had some friends waiting for me to have a dinner together, all of them long distance triathletes, but I also have some friends from the Olympic distance who called me.
ST: How popular is triathlon in Spain?
Ivan: When I started with triathlon in 94, I remember did some race with just 50 starters. Now everything is changing. I did good Olympic distance races and Javier Gomez is on the top at this time. Eneko Llanos, Clemente Alonso, Alex Santamaria and Marcel Zamora have some podiums in Ironman and we have young people training hard and the future will be nice for the Spanish triathlon. All of this helps to make a more popular sport in Spain. And now we have more races and more news in the media.
ST: What about Ironman?
Ivan: Ironman is getting better. The people started to understand what it is and lost the fear to do it. Lot of triathletes are traveling around the world to race in Ironman, and we have one in Spain. Lanzarote is a great race - I think one of the hardest Ironman events.
ST: What were your expectations going into Cozumel?
Ivan: I had a great respect for the distance and for the rest of competitors. My first intention was to finish the race even if I have to walk, but I knew I was in a good moment and I thought if I'm going in the front I'm not going to stop. What happened during the swim and on the bike wasn’t too different from what I expected it going to be. The swim is hard in Cozumel, last weekend the ocean was rough, not good for swim fast. Then on the bike it was windy and the tarmac is not the best. The run course is flat, and you can think would be a fast race, but the humidity and the heat were high, so probably it is not the best race to do an amazing time. But I like this conditions, because must be similar in Kona. On the run, the last kilometers were crazy! What a pain! The legs hurt a lot.
Ivan: I thought 8 hours isn't the time to go full gas, but also they were too fast to go with them. I know something about the other athletes, and these two guys are so good on the bike.
ST: Both Bockel and McKenzie ended up struggling on the run, but with Cunnama you had another dangerous runner near you.
Ivan: Cunnama and I were running together for 15 kilometers and in the beginning of the run I didn't want to show all of my cards. I didn't really know how fast he could be run. I had some reference about Bockel and McKenzie at the turnaround point. I knew they were running slower than Cunnama and I. I wanted to save my energy and go hard after 20km. My friend Alex Santamaria, a good runner in Ironman distances, told to me "wait, wait, be patient" and I did it. I felt good at 30km, and I started to be confident.
ST: It sounds like your experience has served you well.
Ivan: I did about 115 ITU races, and a lot of triathlons near home. I usually compete in bike races too and raced as a Pro on the road in 2009. I did running races too, and I was swimmer when I was a kid, so I have a great experience in the sport. Ironman is different, but I did some changes during my career - which can help me to have a better adaptation to the long distance. But I need to get more experience in Ironman.
ST: Talk about you racing professionally on the road.
Ivan: I did it for just one year, but it was amazing! After that I came back to triathlon and spent 2 years to get my running legs back. My team was Xacabeo Galicia - the politicians and government wanted a team in my region, Galicia.
ST: Why only one year?
Ivan: I would have liked to do another year. In cycling the experience is very important and at the end of my year I started to feel confident in the big group. You need the technique and skills to go fast and be relaxed. The problem was that the main director Pino said that I did not have the level to stay there. I was absolutely disappointed. The other 2 sport directors in the team wanted me racing another year. They thought I improved my performance fast, and I was moving well in the group during races. After this I had some other offers, but they weren't interesting. I was thinking a lot about triathlon and cycling and at the end I decided on tri, because I don't want to have a "boss" and want to feel free.
Ivan: I read about long distance triathlons and I know they are so fast on the bike. When I watch the races I can see a professional sport. Everybody wants to have the best material and the best coaches, just to improve their sport level. But now I have more friends who I didn't really know then. That is one of the best things when you change the distance, new faces, and new things. Good motivation.
ST: Talk to us about Cesar Varela.
Ivan: At the age of 15 I moved to Santiago de Compostela with my coach Cesar Varela. He offered that I could live with him to train hard. In my hometown there weren't pools and tracks, and I needed better conditions to improve my performance. Cesar also bought me a new bike, new clothes and the paid for the travels around Spain. After I started to be pro I return that help. For me he is a very important person in my life.
ST: Do you still speak much with him?
Ivan: Yes. I handle things myself and organize my seasons now, but sometimes I need help and then I ask him. He really likes the sport and you can feel that when you talk to him.
ST: Who was first to congratulate you in Cozumel?
Ivan: My friend Alex Santamaria was very happy. I was training so hard some years, and a lot of people call us crazy. Now I can say if you want to win, prepare yourself for training as hard as you can.
ST: You won both longer distance events you entered this fall, so what is next?
Ivan: I am just thinking about my qualification for Kona and working in the races to do it. I think I will star competing again in Mach, but I need a couple of weeks for planning everything.
ST: Your sponsors surely must be happy.
Ivan: Yes and I want to say thanks to all of them. Spiuk, Hed, Massi, Arcade Inforhouse, Northwave, Speedplay, Powerbar, Powertap Spain and Nineteen. They helped me even in the bad moments.
Ivan: I was born in a small town in Galicia, North Spain called Ordes. I have two brothers and 2 sisters and all of them practice some sports and my parents like to run too. My brothers usually were racing in rally cars races. I also did 3 rallies - I was the driver and my old brother the co-driver. My younger brother competed in mountain bike and road races. My older sister is triathlete and my younger sister likes running and gym.
ST: Do you still like to drive fast and what kind of car do you have?
Ivan: I have a Mitsubishi Evo X. I also have a Lancia Deltona Integrale (classic car) and a Sierra Cosworth. The Sierra is just for fun. When I have time I go to some track and have fun drifting. I like to drive fast, but never on an open road and I know very well that I am a triathlete and not a pro driver.
Learn more about Iván Raña on his site ivanraña.es and you can follow him on twitter @ivanranafuentes
Former ITU Pro Ivan Rana stormed to the title at the 2012 Ironman Cozumel as other favorites started to fade. Mary Beth Ellis grabbed the women's title with a balanced effort all day but in the end by a narrow margin. 11.25.12
Ivan Rana of Spain earned the men’s victory on the swim and the run while Danne Boterenbrood of the Netherlands won the women’s title with a superior swim at Ironman 70.3 Lanzarote. 11.10.12