German Olympian Svenja Bazlen recently got her feet wet at the 70.3 distance and liked what she experienced. It of course helped that she finished second at that San Juan event, but what is next for this fast German?
Slowtwitch: Thank you for your time Svenja.
Svenja Bazlen: You are welcome, good to talk to you, Herbert.
ST: What are you currently up to?
Svenja: I spent the days around Easter at home, unfortunately it felt like Christmas, but anyway, I trained well and now I have some days to recover.
ST: How much of a shock was it for your system to come back to cold Germany from sunny San Juan.
Svenja: It was hard of course, but I had such a good mood from staying in the sun of San Juan that it was easy to survive the cold and the darkness.
ST: How much time did you actually spend in San Juan?
Svenja: I went there for ten days. One week for the race and three days after the race for vacation.
ST: When you say vacation, what did you actually do, or not do?
Svenja: We went into the rainforest and to the beach. I did not train during these days, except for a short swimming session in the sea.
ST: Going in to that 70.3 race which athletes were on your mind as the toughest challengers, or were you not that familiar with many of them?
Svenja: I had only a few girls in my mind, like Leanda (Cave) and Mirinda (Carfrae) but the whole scene is new for me, so I did not make up my mind too much about the others.
ST: What kind of marching orders had you gotten from your coach going into the race?
Svenja: It was all about making experiences, so I did not have too many marching orders. Knowing that the longer races feel totally different compared to the Olympic distance, my coach told me to watch the other girls at the beginning of the bike course and only if I feel really good, he said, I could do my own stuff.
ST: How comfortable were you on the TT bike and how much time have you spent on it prior to this race?
Svenja: I love the TT bike position and fortunately I do not have any problems with it. I have spent around 5 sessions on it before the race - most of them have been indoors. I had one long session of about 2.5 hours already in Puerto Rico, on my training facility there, which was a 5km turning point course – now that was fun.
ST: Have you been fitted at all, and if so who helped you get dialed on your TT bike?
Svenja: Since I did not have too much time to do a complete bike fitting prior to my first race, I had to rely on my own feeling, my coach and some friends who helped me with that.
ST: Did Sebastian Kienle or Andi Bocherer give you any words of wisdom about bike fit and non-drafting racing?
Svenja: Yes, both of them gave me some advices about the challenges of the longer distances.
ST: As you started a run did you have an idea how close the main challengers were?
Svenja: I only saw Helle and it was my coach who gave me some information at mile 1.
At the first turning point I got an idea of where the others were but at that time I felt so bad, slow and tired that I thought ‘oh Svenja, just a couple of minutes then they are all passing you.’
ST: It appears that some others were slower or even more tired.
Svenja: Yes, if you knew that during the race, it would be much easier for the mind.
ST: Was there any surprise in terms of who was or who wasn’t near you?
Svenja: Well I am honest - I did not know who is who (except for Helle) so during the race I was just on my own.
ST: What does all that mean for you? Is this season a year of testing and roaming before getting back to the Olympic quest in 2014, or is this the beginning of a new path?
Svenja: As I sit here, I would say it is the beginning of a new path. The beginning was almost perfect but you never know what is coming up...
ST: We assume you slept while the live coverage from WTS Auckland occurred, but did you watch it the next day?
Svenja: Yes, I watched the results in the next morning and felt very happy for Anne.
In the evening before, when it was only a few hours for them until the start, I felt a bit nervous for the whole team.
ST: Any regrets in terms of not being there?
Svenja: To be honest again, no.
ST: So what is next?
Svenja: The upcoming events are the 5150 in St. Anthony and after that I race the 70.3 in St. George. During the summer I do some races in Germany like Heilbronn and Wiesbaden and I race for my German and French club in the triathlon league. And if everything goes well, I travel to the States again at the end of August to do Des Moines and Las Vegas.
ST: Of these races is there one you look particularly forward to, and if so why?
Svenja: I am looking forward to all of them.
ST: All well with sponsors?
Svenja: Yes and no. I lost my main sponsor at the beginning of the year, which was totally unexpected, but with the most of my former partners I am still working together. I am very happy to get a new sponsor Knecht Verwaltungen and my very first partners Das Fröhlich Band and USU keep on supporting me. My new material is from Airstreeem, Bioracer and Saucony, plus Casco, Lightweight, Adidas eyewear, Mako wetsuits and UltraSPORTS stayed with me.
ST: Is there anything else we should know?
Svenja: I guess, I told you everything important but there is always something to say. Life is good and I love my job....but I need a new main sponsor...I am well and training is going good...I love my new hometown Tübingen and I want to say a big thank you to all my sponsors, supporters and family!
ST: Why the move to Tübingen?
Svenja: There was only one plan for the time after the Olympics and that was to move together with my boyfriend. He got a new job next to Tübingen, that's why we moved.
The third image here was taken at Körperbau Balingen.