On the throttle with Trevor Wurtele

Trevor Wurtele is getting ready for IRONMAN 70.3 Oceanside and he already has a 3rd place finish at the recent 70.3 Campeche in Mexico to his name. The always entertaining Wurtele chatted with us about a variety of topics including the race in Campeche, the upcoming season and sponsor woes and love.

Slowtwitch: Thank you for your time.

Trevor Wurtele: My pleasure, thanks for the opportunity.

ST: With all those Canadians on the podium in Campeche (and other races) one has to think every Canadian Pro fled the colder Northern temps for some fun in the sun.

Trevor: I think it’s a testament to indoor training! If you do it right it’s very hard work and gets you in great early season shape. Heather and I started training for this season in early December, but managed to get outside by mid February. We can handle a good hard 11-12 weeks of trainer and treadmill sessions every day, but we were definitely aching for some real outside time by then.

ST: Fun may not be an accurate term, so how is your body feeling after this race?

Trevor: Yeah, ‘fun’ is a bad way to describe the race itself. I love racing, and I love the overall satisfaction of good races, but I definitely can’t say I’m whooping for joy out there on the course. I’m feeling pretty good today, Tuesday, post Sunday race and Monday travel. I generally take 3 days super easy, then get back into training on Wednesday and Thursday. My first hard session will probably be Saturday. I find if I hit it too hard early in the week, I really pay for that by the weekend. It’s best to be patient, even with another race coming up in two weeks. Post-race, I’m usually really motivated to train hard again right away. That strategy never works out well for me though.

ST: So how hard will you go on Saturday with the next race only a week out?

Trevor: Looks like Friday is a reasonably long day, with a 4.8 km swim, a 2.5 hour ride, and a 50 minute run, all cruise. Saturday has an hour morning run with 45 minutes building to solid. We use an easy, cruise, steady, solid, hard zone system. A swim with main set of 20 x 200m on 3:00. Then an evening 40 minute cruise run. Sunday is a 4.5 hour ride with nothing else.

ST: In Campeche your 1:14:40 closing run was very fast and I believe only Matt Hanson ran faster, but he was 10 minutes behind you. Were you happy with your run?

Trevor: Absolutely. I’ve had plenty of 1:13-1:15 run splits on flat courses, and opening the year with another is solid. Especially in some reasonably hot weather down in Campeche. It was a good winter of consistent run training. I personally don’t do much pure speed work. Mile repeats are pretty much as short as I go - though I do remember doing some 800’s a few years ago. More than anything you start to have to weigh the risk/reward of running fast on the track and getting an injury versus running not quite as fast but probably keeping the risk a lot lower. I’ve been really good about staying away from injuries during my 6 years with Paulo. Yeah, I’m not going to beat the guys who can run 1:10-1:11. But you can do a lot with a 1:14 run off a strong bike.

ST: In the end Cody Beals was barely a minute ahead of you. What was the closest you came to him during the run, and did you see him?

Trevor: Cody raced well. I honestly didn’t know he was ahead of me out the water until mile 20. I think if I had known he was just 30 seconds ahead out of the water I’d have ridden super hard to get up to him. Instead I played the patient and steady game. By mile 20 when I saw him at the U-turn I was with Jordan Rapp and we were riding well, so I figured I’d best just keep with the patient and steady plan. On to the run I got within 30 seconds at mile 10. From there he held it and with 1 mile to go I knew it wasn’t going to happen. He opened it up to a minute again by the end.

ST: Your biking was very solid and that allowed you to start the run in third. Talk about how the bike segment went for you.

Trevor: The bike course at Ironman 70.3 Campeche is pretty sweet. It starts off with a steep little climb and decent, then you hit rolling highway. Pretty solid rollers, really. With the wind on the day I was in my small ring for a couple of them. I rode with Jordan for most of the day. He’s the kind of guy that likes to just do his thing and ride steady watts. 65km in I was looking at 320 watts normalized average power. That’s ideal for me, and I know I can run well off that. Jordan, with Ironman Texas training in his legs, started to fade a bit on the final head wind section so I got up to Maurizio Mendez and a couple other Mexican guys on my own. Mendez wasn’t looking too hot so he was out the back door pretty quick, thankfully. I really didn’t want to start the run with him. Then hitting the run in 3rd, with Cody not far ahead - and him having ridden solo all day long - I figured I’d have a good chance to get him. Didn’t quite work out that way!

ST: Tim Don put some serious time into all of you and his bike split was more than 4 minutes better than the next fastest time. Were you surprised when you got splits during the race?

Trevor: Yeah, I was surprised at the gap. I really like Tim and he’s truly one of the triathlon greats. In Campeche though, I do think he was lucky to have some press and official motorbikes around him for those cross wind sections. He’s very particular about his gear selection and aero position, and obviously an amazing athlete, but I just don’t think 4 minutes is possible with the numbers myself, Cody, and Jordan were putting out. Such is racing though. It’s nothing new, and it’s not possible to avoid it if you want media coverage on a course with side winds. I’m speculating here though. I know Tim’s CdA is ridiculously low, and I’m sure riding 4+w/kg is not a big deal for him. Could very well have been a completely legit ride.

ST: Were the race motos riding in proper distance from the athletes as far as you know?

Trevor: I don’t get much of a chance to see what’s happening. Just a split second when they are going the other way after U-turns.

ST: You have been on the new P5X for quite a while now. How easy was the transition to this bike for you?

Trevor: It’s a very easy bike to get set up from a position stand point. I transferred my P5 position over directly before Kona 2016 and really felt at home on it within a couple rides. Then, this past winter I really enjoyed the ability to raise and lower the front end with just a simple 4 mm hex wrench. It allowed me to play around with some lower aero positions and make small adjustments within seconds. There’s been a lot of speculation about how it handles in the wind and why anyone would put disk brakes on a TT bike. I seriously don’t notice any handling difference in cross winds, relative to the P5. Your front wheel depth and design is what’s going to affect your stability the most. I’m sure my 175 pounds helps with stability, and really, I have no issues at all in strong winds on the P5X. On the disk brakes - hopefully people are starting to realize they make the entire system faster (fork, rim design, etc). Plus, riding disk brakes in training is awesome.

ST: What do you like best about it?

Trevor: This bike was designed for long course triathletes. That is WHY they made this bike. If I had to pick one feature as my favorite it would be the ease of adjustment on the front end. It’s so simple.

ST: Which disc brakes are you running?

Trevor: At the moment there is not much choice for hydraulic TT disc brakes. To my knowledge, a full hydraulic system isn’t even available yet but I believe we should have one sometime this year. It sounds like Shimano is putting it together. Right now we have to run a cable actuated hydraulic brake from TRP, using Shimano levers. This means we have to use a pretty large rotor. Once the new system is ready everything will be a lot more compact.

ST: Do you still ride the old P5 here and there or have you found a new location or home for that bike?

Trevor: I still have a P5 at home in Canada. I really don’t see myself racing it again though. My position is now quite different I couldn’t match it on the P5 again without some serious shop work.

ST: The new race season apparently also brought a big sponsor change for you. Word has it that long time sponsor Saucony walked away from both you and Heather. Is that so and were you surprised?

Trevor: Yeah Saucony dropped us this year after 5 years. It was a bit of a hard hit to take after such a great string of results during our time with them. My understanding is that word came from their parent company that they needed to make some major cuts to the marketing budget. It seems like they axed almost everyone that didn’t already have a 2017 contract, across all sports and even in-house. Saucony is a great shoe and clothing company, and we understand cuts have to happen. Our biggest annoyance was they waited until so late in the year to tell us. Nobody has 2017 budget left in December.

ST: That is likely a big void to fill.

Trevor: Yikes. Yeah. After 5 great years and a building year over year contract, there’s no way we’d find anything in line with that financially. On the positive side it’s been a lot of fun, and eye opening, to really go out and test a lot of different shoes from other brands.

ST: I believe you now have Louis Garneau as a clothing sponsor but what are you doing running shoe wise?

Trevor: We also worked with Louis Garneau in 2016 as a cycling kit sponsor. But another positive is that we can now work with Louis Garneau and design our own race kits. With Saucony the deal was that they (Saucony) had control over the design. I really like our 2017 design with Louis Garneau, and we’ll be working with them over the next couple months to make a truly custom fit suit. I’m still torn on the sleeved race suits honestly, and generally prefer the feel of the sleeveless style. I really like the look, and supposed speed benefits from a sleeved kit though. We’ll see if I stick with sleeveless or not. Garneau does have a great in house design team and they’ll make up custom kits for anyone. Some truly great cycling clothing there. We also use their Tri-400 shoe and P-09 aero helmet. So far on the running shoe end of things, we’ve found that Adidas and New Balance work well for us. We’ve also been aiming towards higher drop shoes…in the 6mm-10mm offset range.

ST: Which Adidas and New Balance models?

Trevor: I raced in the New Balance Zante (6mm drop), which I really liked in training, but it got kinda heavy when wet in Campeche. For Oceanside I’m going to try the Adidas Boston (10mm drop) which I would have used in Campeche, but the store we bought from were out of my size. I like racing in new shoes, or near new anyway. Also going to try the NB 1500 (6mm) or try to find some older NB 1400 (10mm) which should be a bit lighter than the Zante.

ST: You mentioned running in races with new shoes or near new shoes. Can you go into more detail here as in when is a shoe no longer race worthy and once "punted from first class" do they turn into training shoes?

Trevor: Yeah, new shoes just have a little bit more pop in them. I'll do 3, maybe 4 half distance races in the same shoe, but after that it gets downgraded to training.

ST: And how do you keep track of the shoes and their mileage? Especially once you are set on a specific model?

Trevor: As for training mileage and when to chuck 'em, or give to goodwill, that just kinda comes down to a feel thing. I don't keep track, aside from what Strava does. A shoe will last longer for me if I run a lot on soft dirt, keep it away from rocks, and swap between two or three different pairs during the training week. I don't run insane mileage, but still 85-100 km per week during training weeks not around a race. I'd say 300 km or so per pair, then they're done for proper running. I usually have an old pair on hand just in case I feel like going on gnarly trails or muddy runs though. When I was with Saucony I used 4 different models in training. Zealot, Triumph, TypeA, Kinvara. I still run in a couple of those, but this past month have mainly gravitated to the New Balance and Adidas models for the higher drops - trying to find what I wanted to race in. Those Saucony models are all 4mm, with the exception of the Triumph at 8mm. But that one is a tank. Lasts forever though! The Triumph was my 'oh, man I'm tired and sore' slow training shoe.

ST: So what is next for you?

Trevor: I’ll be doing Oceanside again. As always, I’m sure it will be very stacked. I really like that race, though I never really seem to crush it. I’d really like to be top 5 there this year. My best was 7th, last year. After that, on to the North American Championships in St. George. A solid 6th place last year, so getting top 5 would be sweet in 2017. For the summer we’re heading over to Europe for a bunch of Challenge Family races. We’ll be setting up our base with The Triathlon Squad in Banyoles, Spain and I’ll be racing: Salou, Spain, Heilbronn, Germany, Gerraardsbergen, Belgium and Challenge Iceland. Heather will be in Slovakia at The Championship, then Germany for both Heilbronn and Roth, then Iceland. No plans for Kona 2017. At the moment I really hate that race and the routine needed to qualify. I want to experience some other venues and organizations around the world. I figure I’ve got 3 or 4 years left in this sport and this was the perfect time to go to Europe and race with Challenge. I also have issues with mid-season Ironmans, in that I have a hard time racing well late in the year when I do them. I’ll do ITU long course worlds in Penticton BC, then assess the final couple months of the year and see what I want to do.

ST: No Roth for you?

Trevor: No. It would be a great experience, but I don’t feel I can be top 3 there. I think top 3 were all sub 8:00 hours last year! I’d rather stay at the half distance for those couple months. I’ll be there supporting Heather though.

ST: Is there anything else we should know?

Trevor: I’d love to give a shout out to our long terms sponsors if I could. First Endurance Nutrition has been so critical to our success since 2010. They’re always improving and ensuring they make very high quality products. They’re really help anyone, personally, with setting up their nutrition plans for racing. If you need help, I’d recommend checking out their team.firstendurance.com forum. So much information there, plus on their main site firstendurance.com you can find all of their pro athletes nutrition plans. Also Aqua Sphere who’ve been with us since 2009, Power Tap, whose power meters and cycleops trainers we’ve been using since 2010. Cervelo who are also amazing at innovation and have made us feel like part of the family since 2013.

You can follow Trevor Wurtele (and Heather Wurtele) on Twitter via @TeamWurtele