We are starting a new interview series on slowtwitch where we chat with random age groupers and Bob Schloegel from Kansas City is our very first guest along those lines. Bob races in M45-49 and actually happens to be quite fast. The idea with random age grouper interviews was to reach some more average folks, but coming home from Kona there was indeed a chance to stumble upon a speedy person. My goal for the trip home was to interview the first non Pro triathlete who would sit next to me on the flight home, and that happened to be Bob Schloegel.
Slowtwitch: Thanks for the chat Bob. We are glad to talk with you in our first random age grouper interview.
Bob: Thanks Herbert! It’s been a few days since coming back from Kona and finally getting back into the swing of things. It is a quick reality check coming home to three teenagers and going back to work the next day. Being a pediatrician in a busy practice keeps me on my feet all day and makes for a challenging and fun day.
ST: It is rare to have such nice company on a flight, or does that happen to you more often?
Bob: Flying to Hawaii for the Ironman is always fun. There are a bunch of friendly triathletes and folks in the industry on the plane who are willing to talk shop. Just have to look for the fit looking people wearing tri shirts.
ST: Bob, neither you, nor I wore a tri shirt on that flight. Where we the exceptions?
Bob: After seeing every triathlon brand shirt and finisher's shirt in Kona all week long, I think we opted for the subtle version of the "tri' shirt. Knowing how obnoxiously proud triathletes can be, my wife bought me the Endurance Conspiracy Man of Iron, It's a Freak Show shirt. I sported this on the way home and I believe you wore a shirt from the same company. The discriminating eye can still spot these shirts in the crowd, but they can usually help us blend into society better.
ST: Kona this year was quite good to you it seems. You finished 4th in your age group and got to go on stage.
Bob: My best finish ever in Hawaii! I was so excited to finally get on the greatest triathlon podium in the world. The competition is amazing and fighting my way into the top few spots has been a challenge. My experience at racing the Ironman distance is finally paying off. It has taken me literally years to hone my race strategy and nutrition.
ST: How many trips to Kona have you now done and when was your first one?
Bob: This year was my 11th trip to the Big Island to compete. My first trip was the famous Iron War year, 1989. I was just a rookie 25-year old medical student and didn’t really know what I was getting into. I finished with a time of 9:51 and was hooked. Life got busy with a residency, getting married, and starting a family. Finally got back to Kona in 2000 and I have been fortunate to race most of the last 10 years.
ST: So you saw Mark Allen and Dave Scott head towards you as you were running out the Queen K in 1989?
Bob: Yes, I do remember seeing the duo running back into town. I was in a bit of a haze at the time and only afterwards grasped the epic nature of that day. That was before we had gels and salt tabs, instead bananas and fig newtons had me running on empty.
ST: Is any of these events more important to you and could you share with us why?
Bob: 2003 was a special year for me. It was the 25th anniversary of the Ironman and I got to race with both my younger brother, Matt and my cousin, Ben. Not many families can boast having 3 in the race at once.
ST: Your cousin Ben is still involved in triathlon, but how about your brother Matt?
Bob: Matt still races the local short stuff, but with four girls under the age of 11 he has a pretty full plate at home, which prevents any race of distance. Although he and I, along with two other brothers got the opportunity to ride 300 miles from San Francisco to Truckee, CA this last summer. It was a fabulous route we completed in 3 days, with our father and 4th brother driving the sag van. Besides my finish in Hawaii, the highlight of my summer training.
ST: Is it Ironman all the time or are you doing shorter stuff too?
Bob: I am open to any triathlon distance but probably enjoy the 70.3 distance the best. Long enough to require significant training and experience to master but short enough to feel great afterwards and enjoy the afternoon with the family. I also love doing the short local triathlons, getting to race with all my friends and usually a few family members is always a blast.
ST: How good is the triathlon scene in Kansas City?
Bob: It is getting stronger each year. We have several top notch short distance races in town and the 70.3 Kansas race is just a short drive. Besides the popularity of the short races, I have seen an increasing number of triathletes entering the longer races in the last few years. We also have a couple of good bike shops in town and as well as a few local triathlete coaching companies. We have several fast guys in town, including my cousin Ben Schloegel. He was racing pro a few years ago and now is running one of the most innovative and biggest triathlon coaching services in KC.
ST: What does an average serious training week leading up to a big race look like?
Bob: During the summer I generally swim, bike, and run 3 sessions each. My life will allow building up to about 16-17 hours per week of training in the serious weeks leading to an Ironman. My training mostly occurs in the morning, with only one night per week set aside to train so I do not skip too much family time. I do the typical long ride Saturday morning, followed by the Sunday morning long run.
ST: Do you have a coach?
Bob: No….I have been doing this stuff long enough and know what needs to be done. I believe my success in the sport comes from my consistent training over the years.
ST: Do you think Ben likes your answer to this coaching question?
Bob: I got him started in the sport 10 years ago and taught him a few things about triathlon. He is probably more a student of the sport now and potentially could be helpful, but he knows I am too hard headed to listen to any advice.
ST: How many bikes are in your garage / house?
Bob: Way too many if you count my wife’s bikes and my kids. I have the usual collection, including one awesome Cannondale Slice provided by my LBS Leawood Bicycles, a mountain bike, two road bikes, and a back up tri bike.
ST: Would you mind sharing with us which foods you like?
Bob: My wife is an excellent cook so I eat very well on daily basis. She knows I have a sweet tooth and frequently will make my favorite, chocolate chip cookies. I start most days with a couple bowls of cereal and have a real weakness for the sugar variety. About anything healthy goes including the occasional famous KC BBQ. The night before leaving for Hawaii, I enjoyed a healthy portion of my brother’s ribs and pulled pork (washed down with a couple of cold beers of course).
ST: Anything else we should know about you?
Bob: I am a super proud dad and enjoy watching my kids do stuff. They have done a bunch of different sports, but my favorite to watch now are high school cross country races. So far my two oldest are running XC and my 16 year old son is cranking out 16 minute 5K’s and looks to be the fastest Schloegel yet.