Tim DeBoom unplugged

Tim DeBoom won the Ironman World Championships in 2001 and 2002 and after a few tough years he came back to finish in the top 5 in 2007. He sat down to chat with Slowtwitch.

ST: Tim, you had a great race in Kona this year. How did it match up with your expectations?

Tim: I was definitely in a little different spot heading into Kona this year. I had finally learned to appreciate some of my accomplishments and get past some of the harder times as well. After missing the race completely in 06, I had to step back and look at myself and my goals as a triathlete. I really have done more than I ever thought I would in the sport, so it was much easier to enjoy the whole process, training and racing. Being in the heat of the race again, with a chance to win, was very satisfying. The level of competition is higher than ever, and if a few more things had gone my way, I'm there. I dealt with the ramifications of my leg injury from the previous year in all of 07 as well. Not until my Kona training actually started, did I start to really feel like the leg was going to be 100%.

With all of that, it's taken me to this point to enjoy my 4th place this year. At first, I couldn't believe I didn't catch Torbjorn. He had an incredible race. I also started to rethink the way the race had unfolded and all the mistakes that I made. It's always woulda, coulda, shoulda... Now, I am happy and proud of my 4th place. I had great training for it, and raced well against the best in the world. It also feels great to be on top of the American list as well. I take pride in that.

ST: What have you actually done this year to get ready for Kona?

Tim: My Kona prep this year was more of a throw back to the way I did things in 01, 02. Early season Ironman, and some smaller, shorter races throughout the summer. I really limited my travel, as it has been a stress for me in the past. I had a nice long build up to Kona, and included some short running races to get the run feeling good again. It was a lot of solo efforts that got my confidence up for the challenges I would face in Kona.

ST: What are your plans in terms of racing for 2008?

Tim: I'm just starting to think about next year. My plans for 08 are really up in the air. The only races on my schedule for sure are the SkirtChaser 5k's that Nicole and the company are putting on around the country next year. Gotta have that speed work.

ST: Looking at the pics from Kona, you look very good on your Felt. Who has helped you with your fit?

Tim: At the beginning of my career, I always did the self fit thing and it seemed to work out okay. Then, as I began to change bikes and things didn't feel quite right, I got a great fit from Craig Turner at Nytro in Encinitas. I think that was back in 99 and I have used that fit ever since. The only thing that changed a bit, accidentally, was my seat height. Your crowd is going to love this, but for a while, my seat was too high and I lost a lot of power. This year things were feeling right on all year, and I think it showed in my riding results. I was one of the faster riders in all the races I did.

ST: How are things going for you in terms of sponsorship these days? What is new and exciting along those lines?

Tim: I have been lucky with my sponsors. I have had most for several years now, and enjoy working with all of them. All the people I deal with are great, and I really enjoy hanging out with them as friends. That's the way it should be, right? RedBull, PowerBar, Oakley, Craft, Wigwam, Zipp, Felt. They are all great. The first 5 have been with me forever, and they have been a big part of my successful career. Felt and Zipp were new to me this year, and I couldn't be happier. It was definitely time for a change for me, and I truly think I'm on the best product out there. Fast, Fast, Fast.

I also have to include my family, friends, and especially, Nicole in this list. Not the traditional sponsors, but definitely part of the support system that I couldn't do without. I'm always on the lookout for new companies to work with. I am picky when it comes to this stuff, because personal relationships are so important to me.

ST: You had some hard times in Kona but you also have won the race twice. Do you think it is the perfect place for the Ironman World championships?

Tim: There is no other race like Kona. I think it is the World Championships for a reason and it always should be. You could move the race anywhere and call it the World Champs, but all the athletes could care less. That race is about the island and not much more. As for the 70.3 World Champs, that one could move around, and I think it should. It will never gain the prestige and respect as a World Championship race staying in Clearwater.

ST: Tell us about how you spend the off-season.

Tim: The off-season has always been really important to me to refresh, not only my body, but my head too. I am definitely an active person, so I always like to keep the body moving. I just avoid the regular activities of swim, bike, run. I love to go hiking with Nicole and will be doing some skiing as soon as we get some good snow. I also get into the weight room sooner than later. As for non-active fun, this is usually the time of year to pack it in. We've been to some concerts lately. We just got back form seeing the English Beat up in Aspen, and that was great. Always one of my favorite bands. We try to get together with family and friends we don't get to see much during the season as well. I also try to help out my sponsors with any obligations they want me to do. I recently ran half the NYC marathon as a promotion for PowerBar. My friend Peter Reid paced the winner for the 2nd half. It was a really fun weekend.
I also try to travel with Nicole and some of her Skirt Sports responsibilities. She does an amazing job, and it is really inspiring for me to see her in action. I actually ran her first race in the SkirtChaser race series down in Austin a couple weeks ago. Had a blast. Skirts went off first, and then the men followed 3 minutes later. I think I still have a fast 5k in me.

ST: How many bikes might we find at your house if we came by and looked?

Tim: Way too many right now. I am in the process of purging the house of equipment at this moment. I think Nicole and I have around 20 bikes still in the garage, and don't ask about the wheels. You name it, I've got it. I haven't really sold anything for a few years. The only thing I'm keeping are the Felts and Zipps, so it all must go. I should actually ask the ST crowd if they are interested in me posting this stuff on the classifieds. I have always loved my equipment, and have all types of bikes that get used, but I have reached my limit. It's hard to let myself get rid of the custom stuff, but I would love to see some other people get some use out of it. I will always hang on to my winning Kona bikes though. Both frames are pretty special to me.

ST: I know that you like fast cars. Can you share with us what you drive these days?

Tim: Well, I do like fast cars, but I have downsized lately. I had a BMW M coupe for a while and I think you had one of those. A race car for the road. That is definitely the car I regret letting go of. It was the most fun to drive, but not as practical as I'd like. Couldn't get up my driveway in the winter with it. I thought I'd solve all that with a Mercedes E55 AMG. Again not as practical as I thought, and it ate an unbelievable amount of gas with every trip to town. Luckily, that was a sponsorship car, so it wasn't that big of loss. I also got rid of my Ducati motorcycle last summer. I miss it, but I know I'll have another soon. As for my current cars, I share two with Nicole. We have a Volkswagen diesel wagon, that is great. We are going to run it on bio diesel now. Of course we are, we live in Boulder so we also have one of the new Volkswagen GTI's. Love it, can drive it hard, and it's really practical.

ST: Can you share with us some of your food likes and dislikes?

Tim: You know, I'm not really a picky eater. Just recently, I've made a conscious decision to have no preconceived notions about food and be open to trying anything at least once. I have always loved breakfast food. French toast has been a favorite since I was a kid and this year it became my morning race food along with the normal lead up days. I am also a peanut butter lover. That is probably my desert island food. PB&J. I can't think of anything I would put in the dislike category. Most things can be spruced up to the like category. I like food and I like to cook. I do eat pretty healthy as well. I indulge, but in general, we have a healthy diet. The off-season is always fun. Most days consist of lots of coffee, cheese, and chocolate in some form or other.

ST: What about music? Anything you listen to more often?

Tim: I am definitely into my music. Again, I am open to just about everything. The only genre I don't really know much about is country. That doesn't mean I'm not willing to try it though. I love my Willie Nelson. Some of the bands I've been really listening to lately are: Radiohead, Ryan Adams, Eddie Vedder, Paulo Nutini, Jose Gonzalez, Beck, and Donavon Frankenreiter. All great stuff. I've also been enjoying Pandora.com and woxy.com. They are both good for introducing me to bands I might not hear otherwise. Seeing bands live is great as well. Nicole and I saw Ryan Adams on Halloween in NYC this year, and the English Beat a couple weeks ago in Aspen. We're also seeing Aimee Mann this weekend in Boulder.

ST: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Tim: I'm definitely at a funny point in my life to be looking 5 years down the road. 10 years ago it was easy to see myself as an athlete forever. Now I'm looking at one year ahead and wondering what I'll be doing. In 5 years I hope to have a larger role in Nicole's and my business, SkirtSports. What she is doing is incredibly motivating and inspiring to so many people, including myself. I also hope to continue speaking to groups, writing to tell my story and share my experiences, and coaching and guiding people through the DeBoom Sports Mecca. I also really hope to stay involved with all my sponsors on one level or another. I thoroughly enjoy all of them and I think I will always be a benefit to them in some way. I'm also, for the first time, able to imagine myself as a father. I'm not sure if I'll get that chance, but it's never too late.

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

Tim: It hasn't been till just this time in my life that I can look back and appreciate things that I've accomplished. It's also very easy to look back and have some regrets about things I've done or the way I've acted. It's never too late to make changes, grow up and live a better, more balanced, life.