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ST: Are you mostly in Girona now?
Nick: Mudgee will always be considered “home” but i am trying my best to live in Girona all year round.
ST: Do you go back to Australia regularly?
Nick: I try to! It is hard to stay away from an Aussie flat white and banana bread.
ST: What do you say to Starbucks who claim to offer an “Aussie flat white?”
Nick: Thats a debate I'm not going to start.
ST: You are now an IRONMAN champion. Has it sunk in yet?
Nick: Nope! But if you say it enough times, I might start to believe you. (laughs)
ST: Whom did you first call?
Nick: My brother, Adam, back in Australia. We have raced together for many years and I knew he would have sat in front of the computer for all 8 hours 13 minutes of my race feeding stats to friends and family.
ST: Talk about your day at IRONMAN Switzerland. Did it simply fall into place?
Nick: You always have an idea of what your perfect day would look like before the race. Ironman Switzerland wasn’t my perfect race and I am fairly new to the Ironman game so I am happy to continue learning. I never anticipated that I would have such a gap on the bike, as it has been something that I have struggled to develop. If I had the opportunity, the plan was to never dig too deep mentally as the race is a lot closer to Kona than I would have preferred. Fortunately for me, I had some time to play with as I started the marathon so I could relax and race myself instead of the competition - which helps a lot!
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ST: What went through your mind when you ran towards that finish arch in Zurich?
Nick: Our manager, Felix, was out on course and he made a point of telling me to enjoy the final moments. It is such an unbelievable feeling of emotions - made extra special, as it was my first professional victory! I wanted to make sure I appreciated the moment and showed the crowd how much it meant to me.
ST: Your parents were there?
Nick: My dad actually flew from Australia to be in Zurich with me. He has been there since day 1 and to have him there for my first victory is something you cannot put a price on. Although I do believe he gets more nervous before a race than anyone I have ever met before.
ST: So is that your race highlight?
Nick: Yeah it has to be. My dad and I have such a good relationship. He has been there with me for so many bad years so it was only right that he was there for my first win.
ST: Going into the race, what was the goal and strategy?
Nick: I believe triathlon, and sport in general, is simple to predict sometimes. You know the guys who will swim ride and run well. But I can only do what my body is capable of and for that reason I focused on my own feelings and performance.
My coach set me numbers for the bike and run and when I read them before the race, I thought to myself that if I can go close to what the numbers he has given me, it will be a great day. I hit my numbers but only for the first half of the bike and run before fading hard. To answer your question, I was just trying to do what my coach told me. Nothing more.
ST: Who is your coach and how long have you been with that coach?
Nick: Dan Lorang. He is a very smart and genuine guy and has shown a lot of patience with me. We have been together long enough that I owe my development and recent success largely to him.
ST: What did Ronnie Schildknecht say to you after the race?
Nick: Unfortunately I never saw Ronnie after the race. He is a legend in Switzerland and I would have loved to meet him! It was such a shame that we couldn't duke it out on the run but I hope he makes a full recovery.
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ST: I think you had some collarbone issues earlier this year. What happened and is it all well now?
Nick: Well…. Due to bad bike handling skills, I crashed on the final corner of the bike at Barcelona 70.3 in May. The result was a broken collarbone that needed to be pinned and plated. This was by far my biggest test of my career, which required a lot of patience and reorganizing of my year. Recovery went well and my coach and I changed focus from Ironman Austria to Ironman Zurich. That gave me an extra 4 weeks to prepare… making it 10 weeks after the initial accident.
ST: You were second on that day behind World and Olympic Champion Jan Frodeno. Where does that result rank for you?
Nick: It was such a special day. We always talk about hypothetic race situations in training and to finish 1-2 in a local race was incredible. The result was great, but finishing behind someone who I consider a very good mate meant more to me than the actual result itself.
ST: I believe he waited for you at the finish and he appeared very happy for you. Were you surprised how much attention he gave you?
Nick: Not really. As everyone knows, Jan is a great athlete and even better person. Sometimes I think he is happier for my achievements than his own.
ST: How did that relationship with him get started and when was that?
Nick: We both moved to Girona roughly 3 years ago and met at the local pool by pure coincidence. I obviously knew who he was and didn’t pass on the opportunity when he invited me to swim with him. 3 years later and I'm still here!
ST: Do you guys match up well swimming?
Nick: When we first met and started swimming together, I could struggle through the easier sessions and “fake it” a little bit. Nowadays, we match up a lot better but he always seems to have that extra gear when the going gets tough.
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ST: What about cycling and running?
Nick: This has taken a lot longer for me to develop and there are still some areas where I struggle. Generally we can do most sessions together - the difference being he still recovers a lot better than me. Must be all those miles in his old legs. (laughs)
ST: Have you had any disagreements with him or has it been smooth and easy?
Nick: Never! …Actually, that is a lie. We disagree daily about the starting times for the next days training. He is a morning person and I am an early riser, I am not! He generally wins that battle though. (laughs)
ST: So what is next for you, between now and Kona?
Nick: I would love to race again soon as I haven’t done a lot of it this year. It looks like it will be all training between now and Kona - which I don't mind either!
ST: How early will you arrive?
Nick: I’ve been lucky enough to travel with the champ champ for the past 2 years and learn from him. We will plan to arrive 2 weeks before race day and start the countdown.
ST: What do you think will be a realistic target for you there?
Nick: I know enough about Kona to know it is hard to predict. Regardless of the outcome, I will be making a mental note during the race of all the good, the bad and the things I can improve on.
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ST: Anything else we should know?
Nick: I am just so thankful to everyone who put faith in me. I know IRONMAN Zurich isn’t a World Championship or even a Continental Championship but it s step in the right direction and I want to thank everyone who invested time and/or energy into me years ago.