Up close with Victor Del Corral

The 2014 season had plenty of highs and lows for Victor Del Corral and we had a few words with the Spanish pro. Del Corral is currently getting ready to start his season at the inaugural Challenge Dubai and then Ironman South Africa is the next big target.

ST: Thank you for you time Victor.

Victor: Itís a great pleasure for me have this chat with you Herbert.

ST: I think you have been busy as a mountain biker.

Victor: Actually, I have done that race several times, itís just for fun and itís good training.

ST: But you have always added a bit of variety to your calendar with XTERRA events and similar, and I believe in 2010 you were the Spanish Cross Tri and Duathlon champion.

Victor: Yes, I have always added XTERRA races because I come from an MTB background and I love them, itís triathlon cross and itís great to do MTB in triathlon. You are right, I won three Spanish championships in 2010: Duathlon Cross, Triathlon Cross and Duathlon (road). Moreover, I was European sub champion that year in the last two disciplines, and I have also won some XTERRA races in other years.

ST: Do you do these races now more so as a skill sharpener or because they just happen to fall well into your calendar?

Victor: I do these races because I like and enjoy them, and I like to break the routine - and I guess they are a good complement for my fitness routine. If these races didnít suit me I would do other races. I am thinking of returning to the XTERRA Worlds this October, where I finished 5th in 2012, and these races are helping me to prepare for it.

ST: Since we are talking about calendar, what is next for you?

Victor: My first race is Challenge Dubai. I am getting fit and ready to race. This race does not really suit me so I am not sure how it will go, but I will do my best and I will be better for having raced it, whatever happens. My next planned race is Ironman South Africa, although itís very likely I will be taking part in some races in the Canary Island before that date. After South Africa there are many possibilities, but I will probably participate in 70.3 Saint George and Ironman Texas.

ST: Looking back at 2014 you had quite a few 2nd place finishes, and among them were Ironman France, 70.3 Italy and 70.3 Lanzarote. Was there a point where that frustrated you?

Victor: No, nobody should be frustrated when they have done their best, races are races, sometimes you win and sometimes you don't, but if you did your best during the race you should be happy with the result. Of course, I work every day to try to win, but Iím not alone in the world in doing that, so itís normal that other guys will sometimes beat me.

ST: And it is certainly better than 3rd or nothing.

Victor: Yes of course! As I told you before, the finishing position isnít always the most important factor, sometimes you win and you arenít happy with your feelings or your performance, sometimes you finish 5th and you are pleased with everything.

ST: Talk about your 2014 Kona prep.

Victor: I could say that after my two Ironman victories in a row I had enough points to be in, so I spent all season working and thinking about Kona. But the season didnít start well. I had a hamstring injury at the beginning which dragged on for a few months. When my body had recovered, my mind wasnít as focused as I would have liked due to many family concerns. Even so, I was performing well, or at least I thought so.

ST: Family concerns?

Victor: My son was born and my mum died two days later, after months of sickness. Probably all of this didn't help my sporting success.

ST: Was your mom very ill, or was her death very surprising?

Victor: She had delicate health for several years, then she deteriorated very quickly after a fall.

ST: Did the birth of your son help you deal with your mom's death to some degree?

Victor: The birth of my son was the most wonderful thing that has happened in my life, but to handle my mom's death takes time. My son is helping me to deal with it, but I would have preferred it if she had been here a little bit longer to enjoy him.

ST: My mom died recently too, and I hear you loud and clear. As Kona got closer, did you feel good?

Victor: Yes, I felt good, I finished 2nd at Ironman 70.3 Lanzarote three weeks before Kona, during a busy week of training. I was confident and I was ready to give 110% in the race, but things do not always go as you would like.

ST: During the race things quickly seemed to go downhill fast. What happened?

Victor: Actually, a few meters after the starting shot I hit a brick wall. You know, you have problems but you look away and keep moving forward as if nothing is happening, then comes the day when it all gets too much, that day as usual is a big day on your calendar, that day was October 11th.

ST: Headed out to Hawi you were mixed in among the female Pros and seemed to make not much progress. Do I remember that correctly?

Victor: Thatís true, I was out of contention from the beginning of the swim and things didnít change much on the bike. I tried to quickly recover the time lost in the water, but after 30-40kms I saw that it wasnít happening.

ST: When did you decide to call it a day and focus on qualifying for 2015?

Victor: When I realized that I wasnít making progress on the bike, I decided to keep riding until T2 and stop there. I took a couple of weeks to recover, physically and mentally, enjoyed some time with the family and had time to think about everything that had happened during the season. It was then that I realized that it had been a really tough season and I should be satisfied with all that I had achieved. At the time, I was ready to start again and focus on winning a new Ironman and getting the qualification for Kona.

ST: Cozumel was next, but likely also did not go as desired.

Victor: I knew before Cozumel that I wasn't 100%, but as I love to compete and the winter is a long time without races, I decided to try my luck and race there. Although, the race wasnít going really well during the run I was fighting to be in the top 5, which would have been a good result, but after 30kms my feet were blistered and I couldnít run any more. I took off my socks and tried again, but my feet were so bad that I had to walk to the end.

ST: Was it tough after that to restart the engine for the new season?

Victor: Actually, as I love my job, I didnít stop after Cozumel, I was hungry to get fit and it wasnít so tough. I started to be coached by Bella Bayliss and her new plans also helped to make it easy.

ST: We saw you at Sands Beach Active and that I guess is your second home. How long have you been going there and how many months a year to spend there?

Victor: I would say that Sands Beach is now my first home and has been for the last 4 years. Iím spending most of the year there, Iím only away from it when Iím racing. I have all that I need only 2 steps from home, a swimming pool, roads and off road terrain for training, and a big group of people with whom I can share good training sessions under the guidance of my coach.

ST: In January they held a Duathlon at La Santa and it was a nice purse for a short race. Did it not fit in your schedule or were you not feeling up for it?

Victor: Actually both, I decided not to do it a long time ago, I preferred to train a bit a more and do the 4 stage MTB event the week after. There are many races in Lanzarote in winter and you canít do all of them. At the same time, if you remember, all of the week before the Duathlon I was sick with an intestinal virus which knocked me out for a week, so even if I had wanted to race I couldn't have done it.

ST: I think you just re-signed with Cannondale. Does that mean a new green bike for 2025, or have they come up with a different Pro paint scheme?

Victor: Yes, Iím super proud to continue being part of Cannondale, since I was a child it has always been my favorite brand and it was a dream when I signed with them. My new Slice will be riding on the Lanzarote roads in the next weeks, itís coming in Team colors (black, green and white) - itís awesome!