The return of Spencer Smith

Spencer Smith won the ITU World Championships in 1993 and 1994 and also has a couple of Ironman titles to his name. He has finished as high as 5th in Kona but more recently it has been fairly quiet around this charismatic athlete. A 3rd place at 70.3 Florida last weekend though showed that he is far from gone.

ST: Spencer, it has been very quiet around you. Where have you been recently?

Spencer: Last year I raced only one 70.3 event (Timberman) where I qualified for the worlds in November but unfortunately got a penalty whilst in contention on the bike so that put pay to that day. Overall though I have been busy away from the racing as well I have a clothing line S2 that I have been working on and I am helping a few athletes in the training arena. The new range of S2 clothing is called the Private Collection, this is low key and classy, but we also do general training stuff for team kit etc. Although we have not launched yet in the US, we are the clothing provider for St Anthony's triathlon.

ST: I noticed your bike stood alone in the T1 all morning at the Gulfcoast Tri. Can you let us know what happened?

Spencer: Yes, last week was VERY frustrating. I was informed that the USAT license that I held was not sufficient for racing in the elite/pro division without an accompanying letter from my federation which was a very simple and quick thing to get my hands on. The fact that they (the USAT) told me at 9PM on Friday the night before the race was I believe a complete lack of professionalism on their part. I did apply for an elite license but that is what the USAT gave me so why would I believe I would need anything else. Anyway it turned out to be a blessing and I would actually like to thank the USAT as I went to Florida 70.3 and came 3rd in a fairly competitive field so it worked out very well for me in the end. A negative start to the 08 season turns into something very positive!!!

ST: What else is on schedule for you for 2008?

Spencer: Triathy Olympic Distance in Ireland / 70.3 UK, Morton Plant Sprint Triathlon FL / Vineman, CA / 70.3 Steelhead, MI / Little Woody UK (Middle Distance) / BTA Long Distance Championships / Disney Olympic Distance, FL / 70.3 Austin, TX and FIWC 70.3 Clearwater FL

ST: Can you describe a typical mid season training week for you?

Spencer: I generally do anywhere between 20 to 25 hours a week. My long rides are around 4 hours with intensity my long runs are around 2hours w/u intensity. I swim 3 to 4 times a week 4 to 5g at a time. Also included are the usual (running wise) one speed session and one tempo run a week both done on the treadmill to save my legs, as I am not getting any younger.

ST: Has your bike fit changed much since over the last few years?

Spencer: Not too much really I have been riding the Planet X Carbon Stealth for 3 years now, which I really do like of course. I sit fairly forward at around 76 degrees BUT not as far forward as I used to when I was doing the shorter distance events where it was more like 78 degrees. In terms of equipment I am using new bars and wheels this year - Xentis. I believe the bars have lowered my position quite a bit and the wheels are absolutely super!!!

ST: How you recover from a Half Ironman race?

Spencer: Active Rest. I like to keep the limbs moving after the race and I listen to my body. Some races take a little longer than others due to the terrain, the heat, the level of competition and also as the season draws on I need MORE time to recover, of course age has to be factored in now unfortunately.

ST: Do you train with anyone on a regular basis?

Spencer: Not too much… I do train with some bike groups near where I live in Florida and Tucson but generally, I train by myself, like I always have.

ST: Do you have an off-season at all, and if so, what do you do during that time?

Spencer: Not train that is for sure. I do let my body and mind recover and I tend NOT to put myself on a schedule like I am the rest of the year. The last race for me is normally late November.

ST: What sports did you take part when you grew up?

Spencer: Swimming from the age of 4 until 15, I reached a national level of competition in England…

ST: What or who inspired you to race triathlons?

Spencer: Mark Allen really was my big inspiration growing up. The Mark and Dave Hawaii Ironman, was I believe the best race ever to be seen on that Island. True passion and a real battle!!!

ST: What is your favorite race and why?

Spencer: Now it would be impossible to say I have done so many that I enjoy and love over my 18 years of racing. I’m saying that the ones you win are always special!!!

ST: What is going on for you in terms of sponsorships?

Spencer: I'm lucky that I've still got some great sponsors. Planet X are one of my biggest and it's great to work with them, Dave from Planet X has been instrumental in helping me develop my S2 clothing line, I could not have done it without him. I'm also working with and Motor tabs. I really enjoy the personal touch of working with smaller companies rather than big corporations.

ST: Do you follow any other sports?

Spencer: Football (sorry soccer) of course…Come on the Gunners!!!!

ST: What is your favorite and least favorite food?

Spencer: Most favorite: French Fries, least favorite: Indian food

ST: Do you have a favorite band or artist?

Spencer: At the moment I love the Kaiser Chiefs but I do listen to a broad spectrum of music and artists…I have Sirius radio which is great and I do listen to Howard Stern….

ST: What is the last book you read?

Spencer: The Chamber by John Grisham

ST: Where do you think you’ll be in 5 years?

Spencer: I realize that I cannot race forever, so it is important that I start building things for the future, for when I do retire. The clothing company is a great opportunity to start building something, as is the training of athletes. It is a passion of mine which is the key I believe for success!!!

ST: Is there anything else we should know about you?

Spencer: I am named after Spencer Tracey the movie star.