Seasoned Pro cyclist Adam Hansen will move fully into the sport of triathlon when the current Giro d'Italia concludes, but he is not completely new to the sport. Late in 2019 he raced IRONMAN Florida somewhat under the radar and when he was a young man triathlon was his passion. He however lacked the cycling power back then and joined a road team to improve in that category. Improved he surely has and this smart and industrious Aussie ended up racing on the road for a long time and with the current Giro he has 29 Grand Tours on his resume - known as a hard working man for every team he raced for. He also runs the Hanseeno shoe business with a very clever shoe design and he hinted that a triathlon model might be forthcoming.
Slowtwitch: Thank you so much for your time Adam.
Adam Hansen: Pleasure. Thanks for having me here.
ST: You are currently fully occupied with the Giro and I think that is your 29th or 30th Grand Tour. Can you talk about how a typical day in such a stage race goes, from getting up to going to bed?
Adam: Usually I wake up about 30 minutes before the bus leaves to the start. This can be around 7:30 am sometimes. I skip breakfast and find a snack on the bus. Our suitcases must be packed before as they get taken directly to the next hotel.
We arrive at the race 1 hour before. We have a team meeting, pin our numbers on and prepare. We then have to go and sign on before the race. This can be a couple of kilometers away. Then back to the bus for a toilet stop and then race starts. Race, suffer, eat, try not to crash then back in the bus. Shower and get taken to our hotel. Sometimes it can be two hours to and from a race to the hotel. Upon arrival dinner is two hours away and we have a 1-hour massage first. Two riders for one massage person. You’re either first or second and the other has an hour break. Directly afterwards we have dinner and then we might do some interviews, make a few phone calls and some more interviews. Like this one at 1:47am in the morning
ST: Who prepares the dinner? Is it usually someone with the team and what do these dinners look like?
Adam: We have a team chef who is very young 19 years old. So it is good because we can mold him a little. Usually we have a 3-course meal, starting with a salad of some sorts, then a main dish, mine is more beans or lentils of some mix as I am vegan and then desert which for me is just fruit. It is not great as our chef has no experience with vegan food, but beggars can't be choosers.
ST: With these late interview chores how much sleep do you get?
Adam: Not much, I am not much of a sleeper. If I get 6 [hours] I am happy, 5 is ok, 4 is doable without stress and 7 and more is a pleasure.
ST: Is this race a bit more sentimental for you because you already announced it would be the last?
Adam: Not really. I've done enough of them and had some special ones along the way. But it is nice to leave at this race.
ST: Bob Roll a long time ago said that the difference between the Giro and the TOUR is that during the Giro you actually gain weight. While that was likely an exaggeration, how would you describe the differences between these 2 iconic events?
Adam: He is not wrong. I already have put on weight but the other thing about the Giro is that it is more passionate with the fans. Nicer food. Better views. The Tour is too commercialized. Too much about business and the love of the sport is a little gone.
ST: Maybe an IRONMAN in Italy might find you well.
Adam: I think next year because of COVID I will be racing primary in EU. I've already looked at some Italian races.
ST: Now that the cat is out of the bag in terms of you moving on to IRONMAN racing, what has been the reaction?
Adam: Very positive mostly. Some negative. People thinking just because you can do one doesn't mean you can do triathlon. But the people who know me better know it is really a sport for me and they will follow it.
ST: You however did triathlon way back before racing on the road. When exactly did you get started and what were some of your highlights then?
Adam: I started triathlons when I was 15. I was age school champion, FNQ champion, FNQ super Sprint Champion. I was fastest age grouper in Phuket Tri long course and won the Coral Coast Triathlon a few times in open men's event. I had a lot of nice memories.
ST: Were there any triathletes you looked up to then, and what about now? How well do you know the strengths of the various Pros?
Adam: Brad Bevin was my idol. I raced him as a kid. He used to do a lot of races locally, so I came against him a lot. I could get out of the water with him, but then he would blow me away on the bike. I only follow Cam Wurf because he is a friend. I have no idea about anyone in the IM world. It is not going to be a bad thing. I can't fear something or someone I do not know who exists. I'll just focus on myself and improve from month to month.
ST: A bit under the radar you started in the Ironman Florida last November and ended up with a time of 9:05:54. Was that done to see if you really wanted to go down that path?
Adam: I always knew I did, I just knew nothing about it. So that was just a holiday race and wanting to see how it works. It was actually hard to find information on the web about feed zones and how everything works. It was more of an introduction, a learning curve. My goal was to finish and not look at the results.
ST: And what did you learn?
Adam: A lot. I know with better training I can cut off 40 minutes with ease on the same course. I blew up during the run. I did some of the last parts at 8 to 10min km pace and I spent almost 9 minutes in T1. I held back a little on the bike because of fear of the run and my bike setup was not the best. But I was super proud of my swim with the little effort. I do not expect my next IM to be much faster because of timing after Giro plus the bike course is super hard. That will benefit me compared to others but create a slower time overall.
ST: What did you find hardest on that day?
Adam: Running with so little training. It killed me. I was doing 10min/km towards the end.
ST: At what pace did you start?
Adam: I have no idea I just went on feel. I didn't want to follow anything because I had nothing to gauge off. I do not believe that if I went slower at the start I would have run faster. Energy metabolism is fine with me, it is the distance of the running impact on the muscles I am not used to. I think it was just unavoidable at that time when my body said that is enough.
ST: Since you mentioned little training, leading up to Florida how much swimming and running did you do, and independent of triathlon did you cross train before and if so - how much?
Adam: Almost nothing.16km was longest run and I did mostly 4 to 5 km runs and very rarely. Maybe 25km a week swimming - just what I could. Should have done more.
ST: How many folks recognized you there?
Adam: A lot actually. The day before someone spotted my bike and said someone must have bought my bike and when he saw that I picked it up he was like what the F Bomb are you doing here. Then people took notice and a few photos later I got out of there. Also, on the run course a few athletes were saying hi. It was super nice
ST: You wore your own brand cycling shoes during the bike leg. How is that venture going, and will we see more of a triathlon focused edition?
Adam: Yes, my shoes are extremely slow to put on and my T1 was over 8 minutes and 40 seconds. I will have a better tri shoe coming up soon.
ST: Will you get input from other triathletes before you go down that path?
Adam: A little from Cam Wurf, but I have a lot of belief from taking this whole project and training regime from a different angle. I would like to keep a lot to myself because I really believe for these longer distances - things can be done very different.
ST: Once the Giro is over will you take a break before you prepare for the next Ironman? And how is that typically after a Grand Tour?
Adam: Two weeks after the Giro I have IRONMAN Portugal. I also won't be in the best running or swimming shape, but it is to gain more experience.
ST: What do you think it will take to be competitive?
Adam: 4 months and I really believe I can be in the top 10, and 6 months more around the top 5 places.
ST: How much indoor training do you do right now, and will that change moving forward?
Adam: I do a lot, but I might increase it even more.
ST: What is your indoor setup like and which platform do you use?
Adam: All I have are rollers from Tacx and an SRM indoor bike, but I'm building an endless pool with clear flow, meaning no white water.
ST: Will a treadmill be added?
Adam: Of course.
ST: Pro cyclists have often come to triathlon with a black doping cloud hovering over them. Clearly that is also happening in triathlon, but what would you say to critics that bring up the doping concern?
Adam: Part of the sport, you just have to ignore it otherwise it gets in your head and being you down. Naive is bliss in a way.
ST: Does not thinking about it really make it go away?
Adam: I know when we race and you see guys go so fast it is easy to say they dope and it is an excuse we use to why we are having a bad day. But if you keep saying it over and over then you start to believe in it, then it really plays with your head.
ST: Is there anything else we should know?
Adam: If you have other questions, please ask!
You can follow Adam Hansen on Instagram via @adamhanseeno