Julie Dibens stormed to the top of the podium at the 2007 XTERRA Triathlon World Championships in Maui, Hawaii and she is currently getting ready to repeat that feat. We talked to Julie to find out more about this quiet British athlete.
ST: Julie, with the 2008 XTERRA Worlds not that far away, how are your preparations going?
Julie: Yeah not too bad. I raced XTERRA Austria a couple of weeks ago, which was a tough course, and raced well there. It was a last minute addition to my schedule, but I was really glad to have raced, as the course was quite technical in parts and a good test for me against some of the best European XTERRA athletes on the tour.
ST: Can you tell us how winning the 2007 XTERRA World Championships impacted your life?
Julie: It was fantastic to win my first major World Championships. I think the most valuable thing about it was that it has given me renewed confidence in my decision to leave behind the Olympics and drafting races. It has also added a whole new lease of life and enjoyment to my training and racing. Every XTERRA race I have done so far has been a total blast – from the race to all the social shenanagans that goes on before and after. Being a world champion has also helped a bit with sponsorship, but XTERRA is still all so new to the UK, so I wouldn’t say things have been life changing, but every bit helps.
ST: We now want to know more about the shenanagans that go on before and after the XTERRA races.
Julie: At the XTERRA races I have done, everyone in general seems incredibly relaxed and chilled before the race. Athletes from many different countries and all kinds of ability all hang out together and it creates for a great atmosphere. The post race parties at both XTERRA Maui, and Saipan are legendary. Maui obviously has its famous Halloween costume party, where everyone is judged and the winners are given a free flight back the following year. Some people take this more seriously than the race! Sam Gardner and I gave it a good go last year making it into the top ten with our XTERRA swim buoys. For those looking for a good time, a challenging race, and relaxed atmosphere - give XTERRA a try, you might be pleasantly surprised.
ST: Will we see you at various road triathlons again?
Julie: For sure! I still see myself as a road triathlete who does a bit of XTERRA. I guess I have being doing road triathlons for so long. I did my first pro road triathlon in 1999, and focused on the Olympics all the way up to last year really. I have focused most of my year on the road racing. I think I have raced 7 times on the road and 2’ce off road. My main focus for the year has really been on trying to win the 70.3 world champs in Clearwater. I would obviously love to win in Maui again, but after my disappointment last year in Clearwater, that is the one I really want. I have pretty much left drafting races in the past though.
ST: What about Ironman Hawaii? Is that still of interest to you?
Julie: Ironman ... have you been talking to Dave at Planet X by any chance??? At the moment I would like to continue focusing on XTERRA and 70.3 and the Lifetime fitness series. It is something I would like to (I think) do before I retire, but the prospect of running 26.2miles in one go sends chills down my spine! Lets get through this year first, and then I can start looking at next year.
ST: Please describe a typical hard training week for us.
Julie: Nothing earth shattering. I really just try to put consistent weeks back to back, week to week and month to month. I average about 20-25km in the pool, about 300km-400km on the bike, and 70-90km running. Of course at times I may focus on one element more than others, but for the most part I think I have a pretty balanced training schedule.
ST: What do you do to overcome a disappointing race?
Julie: It usually eats away at me for a good week or so. Usually up until I manage to get it out of my system in a good training session. Either that or I take a day or so off, and enjoy life with my Mike and Lucky (husband and dog).
ST: Does following Jamie Whitmore battle with cancer put it all a bit into perspective for you?
Julie: For sure. What Jamie has been going through and how she seems to be dealing with it all is incredible. She is such a fighter, and an incredibly positive and bubbly person, and it is heart breaking to see her struggle through this. Jamie’s battle with cancer, along with the loss of a great friend of mine, Becky Lavelle’s twin sister Jenny (www.jennyslight.org), really makes us all realize how fragile life is, and how we should all make the most of the time we have today, as who knows how tomorrow will look. Jamie is such a big part of XTERRA and what it is today, and I know she has sorely been missed throughout the US XTERRA circuit. I am sure being in Maui won’t feel the same without her either.
ST: How are things going for you in terms of sponsorship?
Julie: Planet X / On-one are my main sponsor for the year and have been fantastic. Whatever bit of equipment I need they seem to deliver in the blink of an eye. I am loving riding there Stealth, and there Pro carbon SL road bike. On-one are also custom building me a full suspension bike specifically for Maui, which I can’t wait to see. I also have some great equipment sponsors in Blue Seventy, Oakley, Powerbar, Computrainer, Schwalbe, Brooks, Giro and Autoglass have very kindly given me a car to use.
ST: How do you typically spend the off-season?
Julie: I think last year was the first year I really felt like I had an off season. All the others I have been battling with getting some fitness back after injuries or surgeries. After Clearwater last year I took 2 weeks off after which I am normally chomping at the bit to get back into something. I keep training pretty light for the next month though. The race season can start so early now that I think a lot of people struggle to really take much time off, especially when they don’t stop racing til early November. It also makes for a very long season! I hope that this year I might be able to squeeze in a bit of skiing during the off season.
ST: Do you follow any other sports?
Julie: I pretty much love watching any sport. I was glued to the TV during the Olympics. Coming from a swimming background, obviously the swimming at the Olympics was a major highlight. I also love to watch athletics (or track and field for you guys over the pond), cycling, rugby, basketball, college football (geaux tigers)….pretty much anything really.
ST: Can you share with us some of your food likes and dislikes?
Julie: Likes – peanuts, peanut butter, wine gums, Tex mex (you can’t get good Mexican food in the Uk for love nor money!). Dislikes – Chocolate, bananas, and raisins.
ST: What about music? Anything you listen to more often?
Julie: Pretty mixed really. Really into the Kooks at the moment. If in doubt I can always listen to Coldplay though.
ST: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Julie: Wow, who knows. I struggle to even look past next week let alone 5 years from now. I am a big believer in whatever will happen will happen, and don’t like to plan to far ahead. Whenever I do they always end up changing anyhow. I would love to still be involved in triathlon, if not still racing then coaching athletes, which I have already started doing with Driven to tri (www.driventotri.com)
ST: Is there anything else we should know about you?
Julie: I am on the front cover of a CD!...its yet to really hit the charts…but look out for it soon ☺
Julie's website is juliedibens.com