Triathlon Magazine Canada: How happy were you with your race at Challenge Melbourne (Symonds took fourth)?
Jeff Symonds: I was pretty stoked. I took some serious down time after Challenge Bahrain and like most of triathletes, I worried I had lost a lot of fitness. I was thrilled to see my fitness was still good and that I am in great position to build upon it. It was fun to be out racing against other guys and pushing hard. I got ugly the last few km’s and passed Todd Skipworth with about 500m to go. Anytime you can pass someone that late in the race you leaves feeling stoked! The weather was absolutely awful. Which made the day that much more amazing! It hammered down rain on the bike and the swim was ridiculously wavy. I think most Canadian races would have cancelled the swim. But the Australian Pros and age groupers were both completely unfazed by it. Their attitude was like “Yep were doing this. It is what it is”
Triathlon Magazine Canada: What made you decide to come down to Australia for this block of races? What’s your goal(s) for this trip to Australia?
Jeff Symonds: The reason for the trip is to race Ironman Melbourne on March 22nd. I wanted to race in a super competitive and deep field over what I feel is my best distance. Melbourne seemed like the perfect option. I wanted to prepare for the race by getting here early to get some solid outdoor training in before the race. My coach Kevin Cutjar is from Australia and he suggested that if I might as well do a couple more races while I am here to enhance my preparation. Even if I wasn’t 100% ready, there is still a lot to be learned by racing. I learned a ton at Challenge Melbourne, so I am glad I did. Just having that pressure of a race, forced me to get a lot logistics sorted out that I otherwise would have left until the last minute. Racing also lets you know exactly where you are at and what you need to work on. It’s my first time in Australia. However, Melbourne reminds me a lot of Vancouver back home. The sporting atmosphere here is incredible. I have been here a week and already have seen Craig Mottram out crushing a run, and Novak Djokovic sipping a coffee!
Triathlon Magazine Canada: What’s the plan/focus for the rest of the year? Racing at home again in Penticton?
Jeff Symonds: I am not sure yet what the rest of the year will bring. I would love to race in Kona. The course really suits me and I seem to have my best races on the biggest stages. I would love to go back and race Ironman Canada and Challenge Penticton but I haven’t thought that far ahead. Right now I am all in for Melbourne!
Triathlon Magazine Canada: How are you liking your new ride?
Jeff Symonds: My Argon 18 E-118 Next is awesome! They have made some great upgrades to the front end of the bike. It’s easy to travel with, super comfortable and deadly fast. Leon Griffin rode the same Shimano equipped bike to win at Challenge Melbourne. It was pretty cool to be involved with testing the prototypes. I even took the prototype to Kona in April and rode it on the course. I get really patriotic about my Canadian bike when I am racing abroad!