Up close with Radka Vodičková

Czech Pro Radka Vodičková has spent most of the summer in North America and has now quite a few titles to her name. In the last few weeks alone she captured wins at the Los Angeles Triathlon, Rev3 Branson and the kelp famous Pacific Grove Triathlon. Slowtwitch.com checked in with this nomadic traveling Pro to see what she has been up to and what is still ahead.

Slowtwitch: Thank you for your time Radka.

Radka Vodičková: You are very welcome, Herbert. Slowtwitch.com is my favorite site about triathlon, so I feel pretty honored to chat with you.

ST: You have been very busy recently and racing well on a variety of distances. Is that a fair statement?

Radka: My fellow Czech colleague Petr Vabrousek and I are kind of famous as racing as crazy triathletes. There is one difference though – Petr is maybe the only monster in the world who can do it successfully on long distance races. (smiles) But back to your question – the last two week combination of four races was really big fun, switching from Olympic drafting to the Super Sprint format, then to Rev3 Half and eventually to Olympic non-drafting in just 15 days and I am very happy to have won three of these races plus I was 4th in the Las Vegas Super Sprint. For me, it was what I love. Training is boring, at least compared to racing, and racing is the best training.

ST: This past weekend you took the win at the Herbalife LA Triathlon and that was just a week after Rev3 Branson. It looks like you recovered well during that week.

Radka: Well, after Rev3 Branson it was possible – as it is on all Rev3 races – to use compression boots in Athletes tent, which was great! And then I had gorgeous swim in the lake, where the race was held. After that, we jumped in the car and we drove 1500 miles from Branson to Los Angeles. When I say we drove, that means my coach drove and I was sleeping on the back seats, eating Subway delicacies and sightseeing. Some people think we are crazy to drive these distances sometimes, but if you want get to know U.S.A., you can’t make it by flying from airport to airport. I think, best for us would be one day to be able to switch from this gypsy life on the road to the Wurtele style.

ST: So do you believe in compression boots and use them at home too?

Radka: I think it can’t replace cool down or good massage, but I believe compression boots do their job too. Or, at least, I feel good after using them. I have them in Europe, but when traveling, the possibility to use them – for example in the athletes’ tent like at Rev3 races – is great.

ST: Were you at all looking over your shoulders in LA to see if either Heather Jackson or Yvonne Van Vlerken were rolling up on you? Did you know where they were?

Radka: I do not need to do this – that is my coach’s job! It is much easier just to concentrate on technique and form and to have somebody reliable, who can read the race properly. I actually started the run kind of conservatively to save as much energy as possible for next races, but it was possible only thanks to all the information end experience of my coach.

ST: Well, who is your coach?

Radka: His name is Hary and I call his position ‘all in one.’ He is also my boyfriend, masseur, cook, hairstylist and so on. His is former national team water-polo player, later 29something 10K and 2:18 marathon runner, and he wrote two books about running. What more I could wish for.

ST: Where does that win in Los Angeles rank?

Radka: The race was not part of the Lifetime Fitness Series this year, so it was not so big as years before, but to beat great athletes like Heather Jackson or Yvonne van Vlerken is pretty cool!

ST: You apparently had an interesting experience after the LA race.

Radka: Yes! After the race, two great people from The Simpsons crew, our friend Karen Bauer and Rick Salonga drew me and my coach as Simpsons characters. It is just perfect for us, because we are big fans of the series!

ST: Who is your favorite Simpsons character and why?

Radka: Bart. I like bad boys. That’s why I chose Hary as my coach/boyfriend actually. (smiles)

ST: During Interbike week and just a few days before the Rev3 race you competed in the Super Sprint Tri GP. How did you enjoy that format?

Radka: I love it. Please, people here in U.S.A., start to come to watch these races. It is fun, it is hard and it is kind of crazy. You can witness almost every moment of the race!

ST: Did you also go to the Interbike show or were you trying to keep your legs rested for all these events ahead?

Radka: Well, I planned to visit the Interbike, but I had no time for this. We were staying in hotel with casino in famous Fremont part of Las Vegas and it was one of the biggest travel experiences of my life! And we also got a complimentary $5 voucher to play in the casino, so that was $10 together, and free drinks, so we played and played whole night and we had no power to visit Interbike after that.

ST: You had been close at Rev3 races before, but the title in Branson was your first Rev3 one. What do you think made this one click?

Radka: Sometimes it is question of luck, but this time I felt just great, which was good, because Revolution3 series is most important racing for me this year. I think the reason of my performance was so high in September was successful high altitude training in July and August. We have very good experience from last year before the London Olympic Games with training in 7,000 feet altitude, but this year we tested another method – first staying in 6,000 feet altitude in Italian Alps and later in 10,000 feet altitude, which was possible thanks to our nice friend and supporter Phillip McFall from Leadville.

ST: So where do you reside in the US when you are here or are you a constant nomad?

Radka: Depends what part of the season is. If we are here during off-season, we try to settle down a bit. We love Clermont during the winter, where it is great to stay at AAA Training Camp. Or we stay with Sara McLarty, if possible – she is great person and sparring-partner. When the race season starts, we rent a car and we are mostly pretty nomadic.

ST: Does that Rev3 experience make you want to return to more of their events or will you continue to be a non-discriminating race athlete?

Radka: I do not really care about the brand, but as I said, Revolution3 is most important for me this year. From my point of view, they prepare way the best races here in the U.S.A. Not only the races are in great locations, but the organizing team, especially Rev3 boss Charlie Patten and race director Eric Opdyke, but not only them, are doing just a great job both for age-group and Pro athletes. Small example – we came to Wisconsin Dells and we were surprised, that all hotels except the most expensive ones were fully booked. When Charlie Patten heard this, he offered us to sleep in one of Rev3 big trucks. We were excited like children to do this, but things turned to be still better, when one guy from the organizing team offered us to stay in his hotel room and he moved to the truck.

ST: What about returning to ITU racing?

Radka: ITU racing on highest level is very, I mean very, tough, as the competition is sometimes almost unbelievable. So, after the Olympic Games many ITU athletes need some mental break and more relaxed approach to racing or some girls start a family. But for sure I am not done with ITU racing and when next Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro will be closer, I will try to jump back to the ITU circus if I can find enough support from national federation and sponsors.

ST: So what is next?

Radka: The last two races on America continent - Lifetime Fitness Dallas and an ITU race in Puerto Rico, then we nomads are returning the rented car and then like every year we fly to Asia and Australia to finish the season with some of our most favorite races. It is kind of most important part of the season, as we love especially South-East Asia and we stay in Thailand and Malaysia mostly. The last race of the 2013 season is scheduled for December 1st, but we will stay in Thailand for another two weeks to enjoy short off-season.

ST: You mentioned sponsors and support before, how is that going for you?

Radka: It is pretty tough to be Czech Pro athlete. The Czech market is very small in general and for endurance sports it is even smaller, so it is pretty difficult to find any financial support. But I have some nice supporters, who give me top material. And in the U.S.A. it is also not too easy, if you are not U.S. citizen. But we try – right now I am ready for my first ‘business trip’ to Denver, hoping to test the bikes and to sign contract with the great bike company Sampson. But for potential sponsors, who are reading this article - I am open to any good offers for 2014 season!

ST: Anything else we should know?

Radka: I was doing many different sports when I was younger, tennis, track and field, cross-country skiing, road cycling, MTB cycling and duathlon. About age 17 or so, I had to choose, which sport I will do fulltime. I decided on triathlon and the reason was, that the guys in local triathlon club they were pretty handsome in their swimsuits. (smiles)