Fraser Cartmell joined the Trek / K-Swiss team in 2010 and already had some nice performances for them. The Scot very narrowly missed the podium at the inaugural Abu Dhabi Triathlon, and just returned from 70.3 St. Croix.
Slowtwitch: Fraser, you have been very busy recently. Do you have a bit of time to relax now?
Fraser: Well, I haven’t been racing too much. I mean my last race prior to the weekend was back in mid March, so in that respect I feel ok. This weekend however has been a little bit stressful as I had a cancelled flight out of St Croix which has had a knock on effect on my return home to Scotland, and that’s been disruptive, so fingers crossed once I get home I can settle into a routine again.
ST: Well in St. Croix you took fifth place, and I believe you found it to be a tough experience. Can you elaborate?
Fraser: For sure, I would say it was probably the toughest race that I have completed yet. I knew it would be hot and humid, but I guess I just didn’t appreciate how hot and humid. The bike course gets a lot of attention because of the infamous Beast, and yet I felt that although it was a hard climb, the final 20miles of the bike course - where the wind and heat really took its toll - was the killer. To cap it all off the run course is by no means flat and has next to no shade! I was as glad to reach the finish as I have ever been!
ST: So do you think you will go back?
Fraser: I’m not sure just yet! Maybe ask me in a few months. I certainly enjoyed the wonderful hospitality and am glad that I have raced in St Croix at least this once, as it is certainly one of those iconic races around the world to tick off your list if you can.
ST: Why did you opt for St. Croix versus Wildflower to begin with? Not that there is anything wrong with that choice.
Fraser: The past 2 years I have been staying with friends in San Diego, and therefore Wildflower was the obvious choice. This year I was at home in Scotland after racing in Abu Dhabi, and the trip all the way over to California just seemed a bit too far. I had intended on racing at St Anthony’s the week previous (but the volcano in Iceland cancelled my flight) so the combined trip to St Croix just seemed to make more sense this year. I love racing at Wildflower however, and I hope to be back there next year.
ST: You narrowly missed out on the podium in Abu Dhabi. Talk about that experience.
Fraser: I am going to race Ironman UK later this year so my coach and I decided that racing Abu Dhabi made sense to get a feel for a longer race and to go out and learn some stuff about myself. I also believed I could cope pretty well with the race format, which ultimately I seemed to manage to do. Therefore Abu Dhabi was a great confidence boost for me. I never really realized I was so close to Rasmus Henning till the finish line, when it was too late to do anything about it. I was only concerned with holding off Fred Van Lierde for the 4th spot, and I was delighted to have done so. Podium would have been fantastic, but given the field on that day, I was over the moon.
ST: Do you see a future for races such as Abu Dhabi and that type of format in general?
Fraser: I don't see why not - anything that brings extra interest into the sport is a good thing, and giving us some alternatives to the standard distances is refreshing. I would imagine these types of races will grow and grow in the future.
ST: You joined the Trek / K-Swiss team this year. How did all that come about?
Fraser: I would say I was in the right place at the right time! My contract was up with my previous bike sponsor and so my good buddy Julie Dibens kindly put me in touch with Nick at Trek, and really one thing led to another from there on in. It has been a fantastic opportunity for me and I feel awfully lucky to get to be a part of this superb set up. The professionalism is second to none and I could not hope for more help from either of these great brands.
ST: It looks like a good time was had by all in that early season team camp.
Fraser: The camp was great fun for sure. Everyone got along really well and that made it very easy going. I would safely say that we were all amazed by the attention to detail with which everything was conducted – we learned a lot about the companies and equipment from the people who actually designed them and that for me was extremely interesting. I came away from the whole trip very motivated and excited about the season ahead of me and the team.
ST: Do you have personal sponsors outside of the Team?
Fraser: Yes, I am lucky to be working with Blue Seventy wetsuits, Max Gear helmets, Genr8 nutrition, Compex, Smith Optics and I am very fortunate to have financial help from Norwell Engineering based in Aberdeen.
ST: Is that difficult to incorporate?
Fraser: No, not at all. I have started working with Wattie Ink Sports Management who are helping me out on the sponsorship side, which is really great.
ST: With sponsorship incorporation I actually meant if there is any trouble incorporating other sponsors when you have 2 such dominating ones.
Fraser: No no, I get fantastic support from Trek, Bontrager and Sram on all things bike, wheels and components and K-Swiss look after me more than I could ever have hoped for with footwear and clothing. Other than that I am free to work with other companies easily.
ST: What race is next?
Fraser: The Outrageous Half in Kent, UK on May 30th. It is a new event and I am excited to give it a go. The field is looking very strong and the course is supposed to be tough and challenging, which is what I like. To have a new Half distance event at home is good news and I am glad to be able to support it.
ST: What about the rest of the season?
Fraser: The UK Ironman 70.3 on June 20th and then the Ironman UK on August 1st are my major targets for this year. I would love to race at Kona this year so should I qualify in Bolton, that will be the plan. I already have my spot for Clearwater secured.
ST: Anything else we should know about you?
Fraser: My website is www.frasercartmell.com