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ST: Did the race generally go as you had imagined?
Andi: Let us say, one scenario that I had in my mind did indeed happen. “Sebastian [Kienle] catches me on the bike but he can’t really get away.” But I had not expected that it would be such a tight battle between us two.
ST: How did you feel on the bike?
Andi: At the beginning I was very cold. The first 10km my teeth were chattering and I could not really step on the gas. When my race kit dried and I slowly got warmer it went very well. But by that time Sebastian had already made up half of the swim disadvantage. The bike pace altogether was very high, but not crazy. It was good that we did not play any games along the way, otherwise that final time would not have been possible.
ST: When Sebi started the marathon so fast, were you at all worried what that means for you, or were you hoping he would crack?
Andi: My plan was to not let Sebi get more than 2 minutes during the first half of the marathon, so I could catch him again during the second half. But I actually felt well and at 21km he was only 30 seconds ahead. But he then found more speed and the gap increased instead of melting away. That was tough as I really had imagined it to be different. The pace however way crazy high and theoretically one of us should have blown up, but that sadly did not come true.
ST: What went through your mind when he pulled away?
Andi: That was a tough nut as I indeed had in my mind to catch him. But when he accelerated that was mentally very difficult. You have already been pushing for 6.5 hours and it is starting get hard.
ST: Was it not hard earlier?
Andi: I never got to the point where I had to wonder whether to let someone ride away. So, yes it was hard, but not beyond the red line.
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ST: Towards the end of the marathon you came closer once more. Did you know how close you were, and did you see him before the finish?
Andi: I received many splits and Frankfurt has a course with four laps up and down of the Main river. When I reached the last bridge I had reduced the gap from 1:40 back to 30 seconds, but there was only 1km left. I then slowed down, cleaned my face with a sponge and enjoyed what I had achieved. That is why I looked so fresh when I crossed the finish line. Many then wondered if I did not have enough gas in the tank to catch Sebastian. But in my defense I fell asleep when I filled out the anti doping papers.
ST: Talking about doping, how often do you get tested?
Andi: I think I have been tested 5-6 times in training plus almost at all races I did, because I like winning so much and winners get always tested.
ST: And how does it work when you are abroad?
Andi: Either the German NADA sends someone, which is common during training camps on the Canary Islands because they can test a bunch of people at once. Or they ask USADA to make a test. Plus I get tested in the USA by USADA assigned by IRONMAN.
ST: Lubos Bilek coaches you both, but do you still train together?
Andi: A few years back we manage to do that often, but in the last couple years not so much. Sebi usually goes to the USA in the spring while I do cross country skiing and start my season later.
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ST: What do you do between now and Kona?
Andi: I am spending 2 weeks in Thousand Oaks, CA where I live with a friend and neighbor of Jordan Rapp. About 2.5 weeks before the IRONMAN World Championships I will fly to the Big Island.
ST: I assume you two ride and run together?
Andi: Yes, we did some parts together, especially the less intensive stuff. It is fantastic to have someone local show you the area. Plus we already had some BBQs together, which was fun.
ST: Who is more of a geek, you or Jordan?
Andi: I guess we are both pretty authentic and comfortable with who and how we are. So we don´t even try to hide our geek sides.
ST: Do you go in hiding while there, or will you be in the public?
Andi: I much rather be out of sight and that is why I stay in Waikoloa Beach. I prefer it when it is more quiet.
ST: Kona 2015 did not go as planned. What would make you happy for 2016?
Andi: Anything better than my 8th place in 2011 would be super. Then I would no longer have to nostalgic about the good old times.
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ST: I think you already had a very great 2016 season with many excellent results. Would you agree with that?
Andi: Sure, I won all my races leading up to Frankfurt and most of all I had fun. I finally seemed to have found a balance of staying injury free and strong. Maybe I needed that accident to actually grow up and focus on things properly. 90% is the new 100%. [smiles]
ST: Before you left for the USA I think you won another event. Is it all really clicking now on 90%?
Andi: Yes, I won the XL Triathlon Gerardmer in France last weekend which has been on my bucket list for a while. It was a good test especially with Fredrik van Lierde on the start line. If it clicks in Kona one more time this year, I give you a 100%. But the most precious thing I discovered when I got nervous before Frankfurt is that nothing of the things that really matter to me are going to change depending on the result. I will try to carry that with me into Kona.
ST: How is your family?
Andi: They are very well. When I found two main sponsors with ROWE and SZ Water Treatment System GmbH last fall, my wife Corinna could stop working at the end of the year. Although she likes to work, she decided to set her own dreams aside, and I am very thankful for that. There is more of a cushion now, and I notice that not only in sport, but we all can enjoy life much more. I am super excited to pick up my girls in Kona at the airport. They arrive about 2 weeks before the race and we stay an extra week to have a vacation.
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ST: Is all well with other sponsors?
Andi: I am thankful and content with all that I have. I however always work on getting a few others on board.