Saturday, July 25, 2009

new website... new blog



Hey guys,

Check out www.liveandlettri.com to see what I am up to!

Yours Truly,
Dirk

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Winning by an ear at Florida Ironman 70.3 in Disney

Photo Courtesy of Clarke Rodgers

What a day! I finally have my first WTC victory after racing for such a short time at the new distance.

 

Coming off the tiring St Croix race, I struggled to get back into my training rhythm once I got back to Tampa. Not only did my blisters make it hard to do the biking and running but also the training itself took it’s toll.

 

Up until the last two days before the race I did not feel completely ready.  Race day proved to be quite different.

 

We stayed the last 3 nights before the race in Orlando and met up with Bryan Rhodes and his girlfriend Erin. We had a good time leding towards the race and Bryan used his experience in that race to show  us around. We strolled through the expo and spoke to various people and went through the long check in process. The day before I found out that I had some issues with my new wheels and I wasn’t really sure if I would use them or not. I didn’t have time to really try them out before the race and so I only rode them once before- well, I still decided to use the wheels! And of course there was no issue with them what so ever.

 

Once at the race, I got a colored cap to be more visible to the spectators due to my previous swimming performances. My race number was pretty high (31) but in transition it was “first come first serve” policy- which was good for me, since I was 2nd in line after Rhodsey.

 

I took the swim out hard and settled in after a few hundred meters- there was only one guy right next to me and I was happy to catch some feet, but once in the draft I felt that the pace was too slow and had to pass him again, and then led all the way till the finish.

 

First out of the water- again with 2-3 guys on my feet.

 

In transition, we dropped another one and then it was only Rhodsey and me alone in front. We pushed hard since we saw a group of about 15 guys that were 1 minute back. After a while Luke Bell joined us, which was a welcomed help.  We shared the work and that is how we arrived in T2.  We had about a 2:40min lead ahead of the big pack and so there was no time to waste and we stormed out of T2.  After just 2 miles, Rhodsey fell back but Luke was tailing me all the way.  I felt pretty comfortable and set the pace for nearly the entire run.  Three laps with some serious off road parts, plus the rising heat made the race course pretty tough for us.

 

The first and second loop I felt like I was in controlled and was able to just keep the pace, Luke seemed strong but his breathing was hard, so I knew he was suffering already.  In the last lap I threw in some surges and upped the pace to tire him out but he was hanging in there- on the last nutrition stop I didn’t take any drinks and saved a few seconds and attacked- so I kept a decent 15m distance between us for the remaining 1-2 miles. Alicia prepared some Mickey Mouse ears for me to wear in case I should win and so I grabbed them with 100m to go and put them on- while looking over my shoulders to make sure I kept distance between us.

I enjoyed the last few meters of the race and yelling out my happiness to the crowed.

This was my first major win after changing to the longer distance earlier this year- and the ears gave me a lot of laughs and attention.  I was very happy and have to say thanks to my coach Kr├╝ger and my wife Alicia who do all the necessary work in the background for me.

 

In addition, a big thanks goes out to my sponsors for supporting and believing in me.

 

So far this year I have competed in three races—finishing with a podium at IM New Zealand and a win in 70.3 Florida in Disney- that’s something to build on.

 

I am very satisfied and will take a few days to recover in St Augustine with my parents-in-law.

 

In just a few days I will return to Luxembourg, where I will stay for a while before starting my preparation for the ITU Long Distance European Championships and the grand finale in Hawaii and Clearwater.

 To check out more photos of the race, visit Clarke Rodger's site at Sportzfoto. 

Thanks again for your support and all the best to you guys!

 

Yours- on the top right now-

Dirk

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Liger vs. the Beast- St Croix race report.



This will be one of my last blog posts before my new webpage will be uploaded. We are finally close to the launch so my next post will be from there.

I am very happy with my race in St Croix, the whole trip was a great experience. I chose to have a home stay and that turned out to be such a great experience- we met lots of super nice people and I know for sure that I will return to the island at some point.
The build up to the race was pretty good, my swim and bike sessions went really well, so I knew I would be up there with the best guys. The last three running sessions before the race were the first in a long time without having any pain in my foot- how cool is that, after having trouble since early January? The only open question for the race was which pace I would be able to hold in the run- it turned out to be quite good considering the circumstances.

It was clear that I am was a 100% ready for the run but it didn’t bother me- my big goal is being ready in Hawaii and all the rest is on top of that. Training wise we aimed more towards Disney than St Croix, so I am even more satisfied with the outcome of my second important
race this year.
Let’s wait and see what we can expect in Orlando just 10 days from now.

I was leading the race from the gun- I love the beach start and I took the lead very early and never gave it back during the 1.3 mile swim. My point zero suit from Blue Seventy felt awesome (the first time I have ever worn a swimsuit for a race) and I took the swim prime- but I have to say that I was a bit upset that some athlete try to sprint me down on the last 20m while just sitting behind me letting me do all the work- you just don’t do that!

Anyways, I had a good T1 and lead out on the bike. We formed a group of 6 guys and took turns along the way. Before the race, everyone was talking about the “Beast” (a 1km climb with up to 21% elevation) but I found out that the ”Beast” has a lot of brothers and sisters on the island that made the bike course pretty hard and hillier than expected. Apart from the hills, the wind and the heat added some more spices for the athletes. I was very gald that had the chance to check out the bike course prior to the race...

Rhodsey did a good job on the bike and we came into T2 together. I ended up having the best bike split of the day again- thanks to the Liger!

After a quick T2, I ran out in front and led the race for quite a while, but I felt my legs were just not too well prepared for the long and tough run around the hilly golf course. I did my best but faded a bit towards the end of the first loop- so I had to let Tim O’Donnel , the Brasilian and Richy pass me.

Still finishing strong with an acceptable running time, I ended up in fourth place overall.
I really hope my plantar fascia problems are history now and I am finally able to put some running milage into my training.
My goal is to have a really good race in Disney 5/17 and then take some time off to recover again. I want to make sure that I don’t over-race and have enough energy left to put in the necessary work before Hawaii. Since I qualified for Clearwater World Championships 70.3, I will add this big event to my race calendar for 2009 as well- so it will be another long season. Either you love it or you hate it- and I LOVE IT!

With just two races, I fulfilled all my criteria for the FLTRI (Lux Tri federation) to qualify for ITU Championships, which I will race for Luxembourg in order to maintain my A level status.

So all seems to be going very well for me since the Olympics last year. I will enjoy the last month here in lovely Florida before Alicia and I will return to Luxembourg for a short while.

It’s a lot of traveling but that what I love to do, but of course I also miss being back home in Luxembourg with my friends. See you soon!

Check out my race pictures on flickr and let's get ready for another good race in a few days.

All the best out to you and watch for the launch of my new webpage! It’s gonna be awesome and just jammed packed with useful information!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Reflecting back on Beijing--and getting ready for a big racing month.



It's time for some more news. After the trip to Austin, we continued our trip to Tampa, Florida, where we have been staying with our good friends Vanessa and Simon. We had a really good time so far and training is going pretty good again. The time in Austin was planned to get me back into shape and since then I have gotten my feet back on the ground here in Florida. My swimming and especially biking is on a very high level and I am very surprised about how big the steps are that I take- cause, hey I am 32 and I have been doing this for a while already. But I have never before focused so much on riding--and man--I can only say: bring it on. Simon is a great help, he has so much knowledge from his past pro cycling career so we have a lot to talk about every day. I also did my first triathlon clinic here in Flroida with him and that was lots of fun for all of us.

About my foot: I did a scan when I got here since I wasn't sure if I am seriously hurt or what was going on, so I did another MRI. So I guess the bottom line is: doing all the little things to get better and keep running on a minimum. So I am doing some running, but 30 minutes a day just isn't doing the job. I start turning into a pro aquajogger though--and I dont like it too much. My first race here in the US is coming up and I will decide 2 days before the race if I will do it or not. So I will keep you posted as soon as have made up my mind. Three planned races in 4 weeks- so tough times are coming up. Number one goal is to get my last qualification for the ITU Euro Champs in August- but obviously I have some personal goals as well. St Anthonys, St Croix 70.3 and Disney 70.3- then I have a few days to recover before I get back to good old Luxembourg.

The next training camp is already planned and will start on the 1. June down in the south of France. If I find a cycling team in Luxembourg I might even do some road racing during the summer- but thats not an easy task. Life is great and the nice warm climate here in North Tampa is doing a lot of good for me. I love this place for training and everything- it just doesn't get much better. Some more sponsorship news: I just signed with Selle Italia and I am proud to announce that I will be racing on their saddles for the next few years! That will give me an extra boost in the next weeks! Thanks Steven!

I have a lot of people asking when my new website will be live--well no need to wait much longer!! The site is just amazing and will have a lot of really cool features. The new blog will be much more focused on you guys, and will serve as a huge (free) information source in order to get your game up to speed and help you perform your best out there in your own races. I am really looking forward to the launch--watch this space in the next couple of weeks!

What do you guys think about this awesome Olympic video? Many thanks to Martin McCrossan for creating this footage and for helping me to reminisce about that amazing day back in August 2008. I got a little teary eyed while watching this as it brings back the memories and helps me realize exactly how far we have all come since the days of salad-bowl helmets and teeny tiny speedo racesuits. I am looking forward to seeing what the future holds for me as I approach another huge life goal--Ironman World Champs in Hawaii--bring it on.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Training in Lance Armstrongs' Territory


After a well deserved week off in San Francisco, I travelled to Austin, Texas for a two week “getting back into it” training camp. My buddy Brant Speed, a former college runner who now turned into a strong cyclist, accomodated us at his place. We did several rides together and he showed us the crowded but amazing SXSW music festival that was going on last weekend. I really like the city of Austin but also need some time to get used to the many stop signs and traffic lights around here.

I was also very sad to hear the news about Mr Lance Armstrong crashing- he is back here in Austin, so my dream of going for a ride with him has to wait a bit longer...

Some other triathletes are down here for some early season training but I wasn’t able to meet too many of them. So apart from the riding, my training is a bit boring at the moment. The first week was still very easy to get back into it but this week is already kinda normal again. So once I will continue my trip in Florida, I will be training the bigger volume again. As it seems right now, my legs recovered pretty well from my first Ironman experience 2.5 weeks ago.
Despite my plantar fasciitis issues- that seems to be more or less the same. I tried some additional approaches to get healthy but it just seems like an endless story to me. Luckily there is no stress for me- there are two more criteria I have to fulfill in order to keep my A level status in Luxembourg and that should be doable.

As planned, I will race 3 races during my stay in Florida and then enjoy another easy week before heading back to Europe for my summer prep camp.

Alicia is working quite a bit to get me situated and soon my new webpage will be launched- so we are both very excited about it and can’t wait until we can share it with you!
That’s it for now- I will keep you guys up to date with all my racing, training and traveling.
Sign up for my twitter- so you know right away what's happening in my life and get the latest news!

I will see you later,
Dirk

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A long day at Ironman New Zealand



After a pretty stressful last week in taupo it all came down to a great race.

My bike arrived a few days before the race and as you can see on youtuibe- we made it work in the shortest possible time. Also my suit from Santini came right in time- to be honest pretty late, but having it hand delivered Friday night at 8pm works for a early Saturady race, right? Last but not least, we had to move out from the place where we stayed in 2 Mile Bay and found a more quite place where there were no distractions for the race. All of that wasn’t really helpful, nor was my ongoing plantar facia issues leading up to the big day in Taupo.

I made the best out of it and focused on getting my first Ironman under my belt. The minimal goal was to get a Hawaii qualification, which finally rolled down to Top 13 or so. My game plan was to follow the best swimmers, but having Kieran Doe pulling out I was left alone in front with no one sharing the work for me. With Brent Foster coming out fist, I lead the main field, knowing that Foster wouldn’t play any role in the race after the swim. I was abit unsure if whether or not I would take of my wetsuit for the 500m run, but i did, so Terenzo passed me on the way to T1. I made sure I filled up my pockets with bars and gels and headed out of the tent, but then I realized my new personalized Oakleys were still in my transition bag, so I turned around and got them--I may have lost 10-15 seconds but it was worth it to have my eyes protected and I guess I owed it to the Oakley team as well. So very surprisingly Mr Brown passed me on the way to my bike and I had to swallow hard... then I remembered my coach telling me about him: “...in case if he shows up earlier as planned- don’t worry and stay cool.” So I did as told and got on my Liger bike. I was behind Terenzo and passed him on the first hill and opened a small gap, but decided to hold back. I might have thought it was a short cousre race or so...

We had a nice 5 man group on the bike and we rolled out towards the first turn around. All was good and I was able to focus on my nutrition and positioning on my bike till I realized that my bottle cage was loose and I was about to lose my bottle. I called the race marshalls and they caled the technical support. They handed me a allan key and I tried for 3km to fix it. I did but I also dropped a bottle. I was able to get back to the group with a fixed cage which was pretty impressive. Thanks to the technical support out on the course for those tools!

In the second loop I was leading up the hill again and pulled a 45 sec lead, but also decided to slow down again and wait for the group. I chatted with Jan Raphael on the way and exchanged a few words with some others. Everyone did some fair share in front except one guy--which upset me and of course I had to make a few comments to him about that. Anyway, the 2nd time we hit the turn-around I started to pull away and it felt really good. So I continued all the way and opened a 4:45min lead to Mr Brown and Terenzo.

In T2 everything went smooth and I started the run- unfortunately a bit too fast. Well, we all know I payed for it but it just felt good and the first 23 km went by fast and easy. Then I met the guy with the hammer- and he did hit me hard. So I had to slow down and lost my 4 min pace for a while, Cam Brown passed me and later I had to walk for a bit to avoid cramping. So I also decided not to fight for second but instead to secure my podium spot and so I stopped again. All in all I had to walk 3-4 times for a minute or so. I also stopped at the nutrition stations to get more Coke in. And after that point I knew what it meant to race an Ironman with a not so ideal running prep. There was nothing that I could have done better except for next time staying healthy and running more, because 40-50km per week won’t do much in Ironman training,,right? The last 2km was really brutal to finish and I wished I could have stopped again but I was able to slow jog the rest to the finsh line and finished very exhaused in 3rd.

My first podium in my first Ironman race. So I have to admit that I am very happy and I know what can happen in the future races... I took my Kona slot and can’t wait to be back on the Island- this time no World Cup but THE real Ironman race.


At this point I woud like to send out special thanks to a few guys that helped me a lot to be able to finish my race:

Thanks to the guys out at Top Gear Cycles, to Duncan Milnes and Oyvind Johannessen for the good training, to Nigel and Jarrod for the awesome pre-Ironman accomodation, my friends John and Maureen for the good times in Taupo, Jonty from Pilates Body Dynamics and Dick Dutton both for getting me back on track with my messed up foot, Martin McCrossan for his work with new sponsors, and last but not least my wife for her endless support and all the managing work she has been doing to set me up to race Ironman NZL.

Also to all my sponsors to make the success happen:
Triathl’Aix, Santini, Max Lelli-Liger, Blueseventy, SIS

Friday, March 6, 2009

THE NIGHT BEFORE MY FIRST IRONMAN



The adrenaline is pumping and I am very excited to step up and race my first Ironman tomorrow: All is well and i am feeling really good and relaxed at the moment. There are quite some changes compared to ITU racing but it should be no problem to adapt here. Some rules are strange-but its the same for everyone.

The past days went by fast and the training effort has been on recovery mode for some time. We just changed our accommodation in a more quiet place and that will give me the necessary space I need before the competition. My friends Chris and Natasha came all the way from Germany/Luxembourg to support me and give me a hand in the days leading up to the race. Alicia is doing all the organization and planing every day, which turns out to be quite a bit of work.

Finally my new Liger bike from MaxLelli arrived and I found a great position which will assure me a good bike split out there.

You can follow me on Friday night at 18:45 (MEZ) on Ironman.com. (It is local Taupo/NZL time 6:45 am) My race number will be 28 and I will wear a fancy white custom-made suit from my sponsor Santini SMS.

Thanks to Triathl’Aix for the support in 2009.

I better get some rest- it will be a long but successful day tomorrow.

Over and out

Yours,
Dirk

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The latest from Taupo, New Zealand


I have tons of news--where should I start? I have been training really well and as it looks, I will get in really good shape for my first race in a few weeks. The race is soon approaching, so right now is the time to put the big volume in.

My little foot injury is getting better each day and I had a few days of running up to an hour, and have had some pain afterwards–-but it has mostly been fine during the sessions. So that could be better--but no need to worry. My swim is awesome and my biking skills seem to get better each day as well so I am very confident at the moment.

But let me ask you a question: What’s the worst part about changing from Olympic Distance to Ironman distance? And my answer is: Sitting for hours on the saddle without moving too much (and in that aero position)--all I can say is "ouch". Anyway, I thought I needed to share that with you. Thanks to my new clothing sponsor Santini SMS, it’s really not as bad as it could be--because they have a brilliant gel patch in the seat area of all of their tri suits.

Just a few weeks away from my first Ironman race, I still haven’t received 3/4 of my gear, so Alicia is working very hard to get everything sorted, from material shipments up to race entries and all that. I am so glad I finally have someone who does this stuff for me. It helps me so much because I am able to focus on my real training and not worry too much about all of the other necessary stuff outside of that. I am sure this caused a lot of distractions for me in the past—so it is awesome to have my mind clear.

In other news: Last week I had an off day followed by a easier day and so we had the chance to drive to the Coromandel Peninsula and stay there for two nights. It is the most amazing place I have been to in a long time--so beautiful and peaceful. We went out on a boat to do some serious fishing and we just had a blast. I am like a little kid when it comes down to going out on a boat--I LOVE IT SO MUCH. It is really fun and so relaxing, and boy--once I got my first Snapper we smoked and cooked up all the fish and had some nice New Zealand wine with it. What a great time to get a change for weekend.

My longest training day has been close to eight hours, so you guys can imagine how tired I am once I am done with the load. Apart from some minor exciting things, it is all about training right now:

We have met some world travellers from Belgium and had a chance to have a nice picnic on the lake shore (see photo above).

Vinny, a Norwegian triathlete who is a strong cyclist, just lives around the corner from where I am staying and we have done some good sessions out here.

I have also put in some hard efforts with a very promising athlete from Taupo, Duncan Milne who just won the New Zealand Half Ironman Champs. He is a guy to watch for the big race…

It has been a lot of fun training with and hanging out with the athletes here. Life is just great--and it is really quite stress free and it makes training very enjoyable.

Before I forget, tomorrow I was going to race the Kinloch triathlon here in Taupo as a last check up before the Ironman, but I decided to give my foot a bit more time before I put it to the test. So I changed my plans a bit and will be a part of Relay Team "Bockel Up” (do you get it?) meaning I will swim and bike and John (my world travelling buddy) will do the running section—and that should be lots of fun. This triathlon series is a big deal down here and lots of good athletes will be out there: Bevan Docherty is the one to watch for that race.

Well, that’s it for now. I better go out in sun (with loads of sunscreen) and have a coffee on the lake during my precious half day off.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Me, New Zealand, and my foot...


It's about time for an update on my blog. Lots of stuff has happened in the past few days.
Well, first off I have to say that I have one of my first homestays ever and the Docherty's have been unbelievably nice to us and they make the stay a real pleasure. We are so thankful for that.

New Zealand is a beautiful country and the Kiwis are extremely nice in general, as long as they don't sit in a car and pass cyclists... man I could tell you stories about that.

Anyway, all is well--starting from the amazing weather and finishing with Alicia's great work to set up my future. She is a full time sport consultant and handles all my sporting matters, from managing to marketing. And on the sponsoring side, I also get support from Martin Mc Crossan from the UK. So Team Bockel gets bigger and more effective each day.

Most of my sponsor are sorted for this year and should be officially in place shortly--so I am very eager to fill you in on all the cool new stuff that I have lined up for the next year.

About two weeks ago, my foot started hurting a bit and I had to reduce my running. I had some minor inflammation on my plantar fascia and running wasn't too much fun so I replaced it with aqua jogging and elliptical machine workouts. Despite these efforts, it didn't go away so I went to Auckland and Bevan referred me to some specialists--where I got a complete down to the bone tissue massage on my left side--man that was pain like I have never had before in my life. But, I just said to the physio, "whatever helps me, mate..."

So now I am back in lovely Taupo and continue with my daily training routine. The running is a bit behind schedule but that won't stop me from racing with the best in a few weeks. I just enjoyed my recovery week (see photo above from one of my favorite off day spots on lake Taupo--where I always have a big coffee and watch the world pass by)...next Monday I will start the last 6 weeks of preparation before Ironman New Zealand--which consists of big volume with some quality sessions mixed in.

Life down here is great- thanks to all the nice people that support me and make my life comfortable!

My new web page will be launched shortly! It is going to be really cool and has lots of new features--check back soon!

All the best and big thanks to my sponsors and my team who all help me to get better and stronger each day!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Happy New Year & Welcome to my Blog!

Hi everyone and welcome to my new blog!

This is one of the many surprises that I have in store for you this year. I will keep this blog updated regularly–so please feel free to subscribe in order to be the first to read my latest updates about my training, travel, and triathlon.
As for now: It is travel time again for me.

I left Luxembourg for the winter and have started my first long term training camp in New Zealand.

Alicia is now working as a sport consultant and is doing most of my day-to-day management as well as organizing my life in general. That is a huge help as I know that I can finally fully focus just on my job.

Once we decided to do the next few camps together, we put our house and all of our belongings up for sale in order to remain more flexible. We set off to join several good training groups in a few triathlon hotspots across the globe, while still keeping our downscaled base in Luxembourg. This is the only way for me to stay competitive and get better. Quite a few things were limiting my training possibilities back home, so therefore we decided to go in a new direction–finally together.

Our first stop over was in Bangkok for just a few hours. We found a training facility and I was able to get a 2 hour solid workout in. Afterwards we had some really good Thai food and of course a nice long massage to help me deal with the travel stress a bit better.

Once we got to Auckland, the weather was great and I knew that we had made the right choice to leave the European winter for the moment. Training back home was so tough due to the weather conditions–but that’s over for me now.

I am sitting in the “Naked Bus” from Auckland down to Taupo. At first I was a be anxious to travel naked, but once I got on the bus I realized that it was just a marketing scheme and everyone was fully clothed. I had a great New Years Eve at a trendy bar in downtown Auckland, where I met my friend and fellow triathlete, Luke Dragstra from Canada. Nothing wild, but a few drinks a heaps of fun with our ladies.

Once we get to Taupo, we will be all set and will stay at one place for the next 2 months. I am really excited to be here and to meet a few other training buddies to get the big training volume in.

My shape is ok for the moment, even though the past week was pretty easy due to the big changes that we have been going through. I still have 9 weeks left and I believe it should be enough for me to get in solid racing shape. I have some big goals for this year and so I need to make sure I get up there.

A few big deals have gone through in the past few weeks as well, and I am very proud to announce the following new sponsors for the next season:

Triathl’Aix: one of the best long distance teams in the world. Thanks Caroline for making it all happen.- on va se voir bientot a Aix!

Santini SMS: a leading bike clothing sponsor where I will be part of the product development team in order to ensure that their triathlon wear is optimized. I will race a custom made race suit with my own design and logo–so watch out for me. Thanks to Monika and Martin for this great new relationship.

Max Lelli bikes: I am glad to announce that Team Liger USA with Marco Bonelli will continue to grow with me and I will be owning my first real time trial machine shortly! Thanks for your great support and your belief in me.

HED wheels: a dream come true–I will be racing the same wheels as Lance Armstrong. It was a pleasure to met Anne and Steve, the father of aerodynamics. The wheels will bring me another step closer to my first ironman victory.

SIS Science in Sport: who will supply me with the best existing sport nutrition on the market. Thanks Pete for bringing me on board.

Last but not least I want to say thanks to Martin McCrossan who has been working wonders in managing my sponsors and everything that goes along with that. He is a good friend who is motivated to help me succeed. As the manager of Maggy Backstead, he knows the business very well and we will continue to work together in order to make my product even more professional. Thanks for your help buddy.

So that is all for now. Please feel free to make comments and give me some feedback as to how you like the blog. I look forward to hearing what you all have to say.
The first Ironman in Taupo, New Zealand is fast approaching–so I better start training.
Take care and Happy New Year to all of you!

Best,
Dirk