Simon Whitfield won the Gold medal at the 2000 Olympic games in Sydney, Australia, and added a Silver medal to his collection at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. The affable Canadian has recently been nominated to represent his country for the fourth time when the Oympic Games start in London in 2012. Slowtwitch had a few words with Simon Whitfield.
Slowtwitch: Are you well?
Simon: "Rolling along" with Coach Jon Brown at the helm and really enjoying it. Kids are great, it's play, play, play here at our house and training has been going extremely well with loads of running and time spent on the LeMond trainer (love that trainer so much I bought another one for my wife!).
ST: Not much training on the bike outside right now?
Simon: Basic ride schedule:
Monday: 90mins with some pick ups on the trainer watching Monday night football
Wednesday: long ride 3hrs on a gravel road that heads out of town (galloping goose), I try to make it a little further out the goose each ride. Afterwards you have "goose legs."
Friday: Solid trainer session 2 hours.
Saturday: Moderate trainer session 90 minutes.
Sunday: Same ride as Wednesday.
ST: Another Olympic year is coming up and it appears that you'll be there to represent Canada one more time.
Simon: Still some T's to cross and I's to dot but I'm working now solely with London on my mind and getting the work done to get the most out of myself in August. It's important to be selected early so you can focus on one race and be patient through the winter leading into the Olympic year as compared to peaking for April and again for August.
ST: But it isn't getting easier.
Simon: It is and it isn't. I'm just as driven as I ever was. I feel the same sense of "relentless pursuit" as I ever did. I wake up every morning with a list of tasks in my head, all focused on getting better, on preparing to compete. As Paulo puts it (whom I use as a sounding board), it's all about "chop wood and carry water", get the work done. It's irrelevant if it's easier or harder to do now, it's a task that doesn't care if it's hard to do....
ST: You seem to have the canny gift to fire on all cylinders when it really matters. Is that what is needed as we get older.
Simon: I believe in myself, and I understand how to prepare, how to focus on the task at hand and put one foot in front of the other without looking up too much and getting distracted or over whelmed by the Olympic circus. Besides that I love it, I love preparing, love doing the work and I love competing, maybe that's the key to firing on all cylinders.
ST: You got to spend quite a bit of time in Kona this year with the Specialized crew. Would you like to return to Big Island one day to actually do the race or is it too much fun just hanging out there?
Simon: Honestly I don't know, right now I'm focused on... right now. After London I'd like to apprentice with Crowie, learn from the record holder and possibly take a crack at Ironman but for now, it's all about here and now.
ST: Regarding here and now, Paula Findlay also got the call from the Canadian Olympic team. Have you given her any advice yet regarding that big trip to London next summer?
Simon: Fly business class, the pods are incredible. Besides that, again, to quote Paulo, who was quoting Kill Bill I believe, "carry water, chop wood."
ST: I guess it is fair to say that there are good chances for at least one medal in triathlon for Canada.
Simon: We shall see.
ST: What is your schedule like until then?
Simon: Training camp in NZL with the Kiwi's and the Dutch. Looking to connect with Matt Charbot (who's a terrific athlete and one driven dude) in March for a training camp hopefully in Sedona (anyone else who wants to come is welcome). Race Sydney and San Diego as part of my early season prep. Race either a 5150 or LTF race in June before heading hopefully to Boulder for a 3 week camp. Racing again in July and then heading off to London for some fun in Hyde Park with two Yorkshire brothers, some French dudes, an Aussie or two, those pesky Germans, that crazy Kiwi, hopefully my good friend Hunter and anyone else who want to play.
ST: You mean got nominated to play?
Simon: Yeah, those guys.
ST: Do you have many media and other public appearances before the Games?
Simon: I'd like to figure out how to get onto Jonathan Goldstein's "wire tap" (on CBC radio) and "this is that" another CBC show... other then that, not sure.
ST: Do you want us to call Jonathan Goldstein's people for you?
Simon: That in itself would make a great episode.
ST: Let's see what we can do along those lines. Meanwhile though, how is life at home?
Simon: Life at home is pink dresses, "daddy play music", dolls, 6pm-8pm being the longest 2hrs of my life, smooches, good bye kisses at the window, the sanctuary of my car, not enough sleep, a very, very patient wife, coffee dates with said wonderful wife, a house full of chores that never end, too many emails to respond too and each week waiting for the next episode of modern family.
ST: Family first?
ST: That beautiful wife of yours and those darling girls.
Simon: Oh yeah, them.
ST: Is it stunning to you that some age groupers put racing and training before their families?
Simon: Not really, it's a hard balance, being happy with yourself, feeling fulfilled and a solid sense of self worth often attained through the selfish pursuit of something, balanced with family needs, family time, parenting time. Easier said then done.
ST: Has your phone seen anything exciting recently?
Simon: Having fun with whatmyphonesaw.com, to be honest, it's for me, not really concerned if people like it or don't like it, it's my creative outlet, not sure exactly how creative I really am but it's an outlet, a subtle and easy distraction that I enjoy.
ST: Anything else new?
Simon: Nothing new but for Xmas I'd like a set of those Garmin power meter pedals!!! ! How awesome do they look, left/right power!! (Although I will say that my quarq is pretty badass).