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Interview with Ironman 70.3 Texas winner Lionel Sanders

Credit: Jay Prashun
Credit: Jay Prashun
Beating out former 70.3 world champ and Olympian Andy Potts, Lionel Sanders took his first win of the season in Galveston Texas this past weekend. TMC’s Taylor Reid interviewed his former McMaster Marauders teammate after the race.

Taylor Reid: How did the race unfold in Galveston?

Lionel Sanders: The race went well. It was a non-wetsuit swim, so I was happy to have come out of the water the same distance back as I usually do with a wetsuit. On the bike I intended on holding a particular power output, but my power meter did not work the morning of the race. I had to bike off of feel, so I am happy with how it turned out considering the circumstances. On the run, Cody Beals, Andy Potts and myself had a good battle. It was a ton of fun. Last year I got two flats at this race so it was very satisfying to come back and perform well.

TR: The swim has been your main focus lately, have you been seeing any drawbacks from putting so much emphasis on your swim training?

LS: I actually haven’t devoted any more time to swimming, I’ve just changed how I’ve been spending my time while in the pool.

TR: You raced Andy Potts a couple weeks ago. What did you change this time in order to improve your performance against him and the other big names?

LS: I biked a little too hard in Oceanside. This time round I biked more conservatively, which allowed me to put together a better half-marathon. It was also pretty hot and humid, which are conditions I love.

TR: What do you think about when you are smashing the pedals out there?

LS: I try not to think about anything. I look at racing as sort of a “walking meditation” in which I try and stay centred as best I can for as long as I can. When there are lots of thoughts going through my head, I’m usually having a bad race!

TR: I heard that your treadmill broke a few days before you left for the race, how did that affect your training and mindset going into the race?

LS: Yes, I went to turn it on one evening and nothing happened. Strangely, I went to turn it on the next day and it fired up. I haven’t turned it off since! But, I did have a technician come in and he says the console needs to be replaced, so I have to wait two to three weeks for that to arrive and be installed before I can turn it off again.

TR: What’s up next and what is your main goal for this year?

LS: My next race is Ironman Texas on May 16th. My big goal is to perform to the best of my ability in Kona this year. Everything I am doing now is in preparation for that day.

TR: Was this race a nice warm up for Ironman Texas?

LS: Yes, it gave me a good sense of how close my training room is to the Texas heat and humidity. I didn’t even really notice the heat or humidity at Texas 70.3 so I think my training room is decently close. But, I am still going to buy a space heater and humidifier to make the conditions even more extreme over the next 10 days of training.

TR: How does this race fit into the grand scheme of things this year?

LS: I think my real strength is the Ironman distance. I’m doing the 70.3s as “speed work” and to sharpen my skills, all so that I can perform better at the Ironman distance. I believe this race will prove useful to that end.