David McNamee resides in Girona, Spain where the Covid 19 lock down has been stricter than in most other places, but he like many other athletes who live there had to adapt. McNamee who finished 3rd in Kona in 2017 and 2018 now entertains his neighbors with his workouts on his balcony, and shares his adventures on Twitter daily.
Like this one on April 21st.
"Day 38 Update:
- Had a shower with my swim goggles on. They still work.
- Happy to report my avator hasn’t put on any extra weight from my birthday cake feast
- Even happier my scales need a new battery and all the shops are still shut
We had a few words with the fast Scot to hear his thoughts on the current situation and what is next.
Slowtwitch: Thank you for your time David.
David McNamee: Thank you. Unfortunately time is something I find myself with a lot of right now.
ST: To the outside it appears you are holding up reasonably well in this current Covid situation, but it that true?
David: Overall I would say I have managed the situation well. There have been some low moments for sure. When my treadmill engine started smoking there was a lot of swearing. At the start of the lock down I tried to maintain my current training with some adaptations. That caused some frustration but as I grew to accept things and relaxed I started feeling better -focusing on being healthy and setting some small goals to achieve each day. I have spent a lot more time than usual communicating with my coach which has helped massively.
My girlfriend who is a wedding dress maker also makes face masks for people, so being able to help her out has given me some sense of purpose that I was lacking. She began by making masks for the hospital, but once that shortfall was filled she opened up to anyone who needed one.
ST: Do you have sewing skills we are maybe not aware of?
David: Sadly not. However I know how to cut fabric and I now know the shipping costs to every region in Spain. Also, this week I have been able to walk around delivering masks to people’s post boxes as restrictions have lifted a little.
ST: In early March you shared a Girona Tourism spot where you were featured among other sport celebrities and that spot was called “You Won’t Leave.” Seems kind of prophetic now.
David: Haha, very much so. When the Spanish lock down was called a lot of foreigners decided to leave but my home is here, and I never considered leaving for Britain.
ST: Living in Girona also means you are quite far from your family back home in Scotland. How do you deal with that?
David: Well I'm usually the type of guy who phones home once a week for a catch up but from the start of the lock down I have been phoning every day. It was tough hearing the worry in my mum’s voice especially during the worse moments here in Spain. If anything it has maybe made me feel closer to my family and I only hope I can get back to Scotland to see them this summer.
ST: But your partner is from Girona.
David: Yes, she is from here, so it is very much home. Her entire family lives here and are very close - so Girona will be home for the future.
ST: What is the current situation with lock down and social distancing there?
David: Outdoor exercise has been banned for the last 7 weeks here. Thankfully starting Saturday we will be allowed out however we will not find the exact rules out until this evening. Most businesses are still closed but we are in the phase when things are starting to slowly reopen.
ST: How difficult has it been getting food, or certain foods and products?
David: That has never been an issue here. There was never any panic buying. The only products that we ran out of were face masks and hand sanitizer.
ST: What are most excited about in terms of possibly training outside and what do you think will be the first activity?
David: Just the freedom to go out and enjoy the outdoors. I will run first as since my treadmill broke and I haven't run properly in 5 weeks. However, it will just be nice to be able to be outside. The last 7 weeks I have only been able to leave the flat to go supermarket shopping and to deliver face masks locally.
ST: With no races in sight, how do you motivate yourself each day to train?
David: Right now I am just counting down the days until I can go outside again. Motivation has varied during this time. I ended up setting myself some cycling goals during this period as that was the only thing I could properly do. A new max 8 second power and a 20-minute best power. I failed on the 8 seconds but recorded a new 20-minute best- 390 watts.
ST: I know you ride on Zwift, is it on your triathlon bike all the time or do you do some sets on the road bike?
David: I have just used my triathlon bike. I like being able to switch positions between being on the base bar and in the aero position. I still struggle with my wrist from a bike accident in 2014 and too much time holding the base bar isn't ideal for it.
ST: Does the wrist impact you otherwise?
David: I lack some strength which impacts the swim. At first it left me very unbalanced in the water but over time I have compensated for it.
ST: I know you did one of the IRONMAN VR events, but what about other virtual races?
David: I have done a mixture of races on Zwift. Some longer events of 90-110k and al-so shorter time trial ones - Newbury TT (17.7K) where I set my 20-minute power best.
ST: What level are you on Zwift and do you also run on Zwift?
David: Level 22 and rising which is surprising as the first time Richard Melik (my manager but whose main job is with Zwift) set me up on the platform I told him it was a little shit. I wanted to start running on Zwift but then the 300 Euro treadmill blew up.
ST: How is your bike set up now in training, and how is it different from racing? Other than being attached to a trainer on your balcony.
David: I have kept it the same. The only difference being is that I now no longer need to store a repair kit and food in the bento box. I just stop riding and go for a coffee and cake when I am hungry.
ST: Talk about your bike.
David: I have been riding the Cervelo PX for the last 4 months. I was on the P5 last year which is very aero but I just find the PX more comfortable to ride. I had great success on the P5X and in hindsight I probably should have stuck to the PX series.
ST: Tell us about the components please and especially your arm pads.
David: I have been riding DT SWISS wheels now for 3 years and have benefited greatly with their expertise in aerodynamics. I run a 56/44 Rotor crank set and have CeramicSpeed BB and OSPW system. Come race day it is their UFO chain.
The arm pads are from Speedbar and are 100% custom to my arms. They help both from an aerodynamic side but I feel more importantly from a comfort standpoint. I was fortunate to be put in contact with the company just as they were starting into triathlon and actually they wanted me to debut the bars in Kona 2017 when Patrick used his custom bars for the first time. Unfortunately there were some delays in the process which meant it wasn't possible.
ST: And what is your weekly total training volume right now running wise and cycling wise?
David: Well running I do some strides on the balcony. I do a lot of skipping to keep weight bearing. Cycling I have been doing 17-20 hours a week. It has moved my cycling ability on and hopefully as I reintroduce running I will be able to maintain the new cycling fitness.
ST: What do you do about swimming?
David: It has been a lot of swim bands and press ups. I have missed the pool and it looks like they won't open up here before June. Fortunately soon I will be able to visit my partner’s uncle who has a small pool. That and a swim chord and I will be good to go.
ST: When things go back to normal, how much of your swimming is open water, and how much is in the pool?
David: Over the winter it is all pool based but in the summer I like to swim in the sea once per week. Sunday is usually my easy day so sometimes my partner and I will camp next to the beach Saturday night and I will swim Sunday morning. Then as the wind picks up she will go kite surfing.
ST: And what is the hardest swim workout you do?
David: 9x300 best average as 3 off 4.05/ 3 off 4.00/ 3 off 3.55. When I am swimming well I can average 3.40s in a short course meter pool.
ST: When and where do you think the first races will happen?
David: I think I would need a magic ball for that one. However I would say its logical that my first race will be in Spain. Even if races in other countries start, I don't know how easy the travel situation will be.
ST: What about Kona?
David: Sadly I doubt it. I can't even get to France right now and it is only 50km away. So the idea of getting to Hawaii from here in October I find unlikely.
ST: The Covid situation is clearly not just about inconvenience, but there have been many deaths and even more people are financially in serious trouble. With no income coming in from races and bonuses where does that put you financially?
David: Very thankful that I saved money when I could. However of course it is difficult. I am grateful to still be paid from some sponsors who can. With other sponsors we have frozen payments which I completely understand. Our sport is in a very difficult moment and we have to work together and adapt to find the best path through it.
ST: Is there anything else we should know?
David: I part own a coffee shop here in Girona. Unfortunately with the current crisis we are closed but hopefully we can reopen soon. I think this has helped me to understand the situation the sporting brands currently face.
ST: What is the name of the coffee shop, and if I were to visit it, considering I have a sweet tooth, what should I get?
David: It is called Blend. We are a mixture of nationalities involved in the project so the name seems right. Well we have a wide selection of cakes to go with the coffee however I am also a fellow sweet toothed person so I very much suggest the cheesecake.
ST: Thank you David, that sounds like a winner.
David: If you come visit I will give you the entire cake on the house.
ST: Now I am the winner, cheers.
You can follow David McNamee on Twitter via @DavidMcNameetri