Brad Kahlefeldt had a very successful 20-year triathlon career and this very quiet Aussie who recently became a father now decided it was time to move on. I chatted with him to to see what is up next and talk a bit about the past.
Slowtwitch: Thank you for your time.
Brad Kahlefeldt: No problem Herbert. Thank you for having me.
ST: You recently announced your retirement from racing as a professional triathlete, but somehow I doubt that you now have a lot of free time on your hand.
Brad: Yes, I officially announced my retirement a couple weeks ago but since late last year we have been quite busy. The birth of our Ruby was one of the best experiences of our lives and wouldn’t change anything. Life has changed a lot the past few months and I’m adjusting to the normal life what ever that is.
ST: Is a family of three sufficient?
Brad: At the moment we are doing our best to take care of Ruby, who knows later on.
ST: Your career spanned 20 years and you grabbed 6 Australian Championships and a Commonwealth Title along the way. Is there a result or an event you look most fondly back upon?
Brad: There are a number of events that I can look back on as highlights and events that were stepping stones through my career, the first one being 2002 Cancun U23 World Championships, my first World Cup win in Doha, Commonwealth Games and my first win in long course (Busselton 70.3). They’re all special moments for me that ill never forget and set me up for the years to come. There were also some races that I really wanted to win and tried for many years, as I just loved the race and the environment. I’d say Mooloolaba ITU World Cup and Hamburg World Series were my favorite races and events that I targeted each year.
ST: What about that Hy-Vee race back in 2009 with that wild sprint at the end?
Brad: Yes, that was a nice race. All 6 guys sprinting for $200,000 first place. Simon was just too fast in that sprint!
ST: What do you think you will miss the most?
Brad: I’ll miss many things. The travel I really enjoyed and visiting new places. I was fortunate to travel to many places in the past 20 or so years and I’d like to keep traveling in the years to come but family and business commitments takes priority. So we will plan trips as a family and for the time being Ruby and I will try to be there for when Radka is racing. I’ll certainly miss the feeling you get when you’re in peak shape and seems to feel as though you can go all day. But I won’t miss being very tired everyday.
ST: Good sponsors are hard to come by, but you had great relationships with your sponsors.
Brad: Yes certainly without the support of my sponsors it would be almost impossible to be a professional triathlete. I was fortunate to be partnered with some very loyal sponsors. I was with Mavic since 2003 and Giant, Asics and Oakley since 2005. They were always there for support and backed me along the way. It certainly wasn’t all roses and champagne and plenty of injuries and illness along the way but it was always a long term commitment we made together. I was always proud to represent them the best I could. I feel It’s important to be loyal as athletes and sponsors, for one reason or another us athletes/sponsors quickly change athletes/companies based on nothing more than a few extra dollars. But to build that relationship over many years is imperative for future growth for both.
ST: You mentioned on social media that you are looking forward to support Radka, and she recently stepped up with a nice win at 70.3 Davao.
Brad: Yes I was very proud of her. There is actually a lot that went into that performance than what some people think. She was contacted by a number of moms out there post race who were inspired by what she did. She maintained good fitness during her pregnancy and returned back to training when we were given the green light from the doctors. She was itching to return to racing. For those that know Radka knows she loves to racing, so it was just holding her back a little and getting the advice to go ahead from the doctors.
A lot of the bike sessions she had Ruby in the basket next to her on the wind trainer and also beside the pool. Some swim sessions took 4 hours, as she wanted to be fed half way through. It’s certainly not easy to be a professional athlete and take care of a newborn while your husband is away studying/working all day but we are managing and making the most of the time we see each other. She is excited to be back racing again and has plenty of races coming up. She’s had great support from her big sponsors LIV and Rotor.
ST: And you are you coaching her?
Brad: Yes I’ve been coaching Radka for past couple years.
ST: Did you travel with her, or did you stay home with the baby?
Brad: I wanted to travel but I simple couldn’t. I was in Sydney on a course. The Sunrise team up there in the Philippines were a great help and we had nanny waiting at the hotel to help out. Ruby was happy to be getting some stamps in her new passport already.
ST: How big is the group you are coaching under the BKR Coaching banner?
Brad: We have around 12 athletes, both men and women. Radka is building up the BKR women’s team and I have only a couple slots left for this year. I’ve had a passion for coaching over many years and enjoy helping my athletes achieve their goals. It’s nice to be able to help and share some knowledge and try not to let my athletes make the same mistakes I made when I was younger and inexperienced.
ST: Are you coaching folks over all distances?
Brad: Yes I’m coaching and mentoring athletes from sprint all the way to Ironman.
ST: Rumor also has it that you have something else brewing. Is that ready for prime time?
Brad: Yes along with the coaching I believe it’s important to have something else planned for life after sport and wanted to avoid just floating from professional athlete to normal work life. I spent the past 3 years starting the long process and currently training and studying roughly 40hrs per week. Once I get through that later this year I’ll announce what I’ll be up to.
I want to provide for the family best I possible can so my goals have changed now from just sport focused to business focused.
ST: What about other hobbies? Is there something you imply did not have the time for or were worried about possibly getting injured?
Brad: Well my hobby if you can call that is keeping fit! I always wanted to do a marathon and my family are big marathon runners. Mum and Dad have both done over 40 marathons each and all my 5 siblings have completed many. So I’m currently training for Gold Coast Marathon in July with the small amount of time that I have available. Along with some easy swims and rides it keeps me fit and a great reset after a hard day. I’ve also enjoyed some mountain biking and one day jump back on some skis which I’ve avoided most of my career as I’m hopeless skier (and I was a toboggan specialist) as I twisted one too many knees and ankles to warrant doing it again during my career with the risk of injury.
ST: Do you have a goal time for that marathon?
Brad: We will see how the training progresses closer to the event.