Patrick Dirksmeier normally is a middle distance specialist. Last year he won the European middle distance championships in Herning, Denmark. Now he will be entering the Ironman Hamburg over the full distance of 3,8km swimming, 180km cycling and 42.2km running. In this interview he talks about his preparation and what significance STEVENS Bikes had in choosing this competition.
Patrick, until now you focussed on middle-distance and 70.3-Ironmans, the upcoming Sunday you will start your first Ironman in Hamburg. Was your long-distance debut a long-term plan?
“After a couple of mid-distance races last year I had originally planned to compete in the ITU (International Triathlon Union) world championships with a 3km swim, 120km cycling leg and 30km running. For several reasons I considered the effort to high and I began looking for other competitions.
The Ironman Hamburg was a good opportunity since it fit my schedule well, also my bike sponsor STEVENS Bikes is located in Hamburg therefore I had already visited Hamburg, and I liked it very much. The city is not too far from where I live and Northern Germany is usually not that hot at this time of the year – except for this year (laughs). Since I am quite tall and heavy I prefer competitions at moderate temperatures.
You already competed in several mid-distance races this year, among others you finished the Challenge Lisbon in second and you won the Indeland Triathlon. Now there is a competition coming up over twice the distance – what are your expectations and do you have a game plan for the race?
Of course I have laid out a plan, which is important especially for my first long distance. All in all I will compete very conservatively, meaning I will use my power measurements for pacing, watch my body and try not to get in to the red which would blow back on me the final ten to fifteen kilometres. On the other hand I am nervously but gladly looking forward to my first long distance. I did the work, now all I can do is to rest and prepare myself mentally for the upcoming challenge.
The cycling leg along the dyke is mostly flat and straight. Do you like such a course made for high speed? How important is the STEVEN Volt going to be here with all of its aero features?
I have been working with Gebiomized from my home town Münster, when it’s about my seating position. At first we determined my optimum position on the STEVENS Volt in the lab, then on the track and refined the aerodynamics. This is especially important on a flat cycling course like that of the Ironman Hamburg.
What I like in the Volt is the fact that there are so many possibilities to adapt your position and adjust so many parts accordingly. The Volt is really versatile. In addition you have features like the hydration system which enables me to stay in the aero position and not unnecessarily waste any energy.
I have, of course, already tested to stay in aero tuck the whole time during a very long training ride. That went well, even though it’s also nice to sometimes get out of the aero tuck and stretch your back, but we’ll see how it goes.
How did your training look like the last few weeks? Did you have a dedicated long-distance work-out? How were you able to combine your training with your work as a lawyer?
For my mid-distance races this year I already did a lot of work, in volume as well as in intensity. I tried to gain as much high-speed endurance as possible, only then I started to include longer units in my training. The last five weeks were dedicated to long-distance training and they were really exhausting. The extreme heat made it even harder and of course I also work in my profession as a lawyer and lecturer. Those last weeks were indeed intense. But I would not want to miss my job, it’s rewarding and gives me financial security. It takes the pressure off me to having to perform in races to make my living by competing in this sport.
What kind of work-out have you scheduled for the final days before the big race?
The actual training is already done at this time, I will just do some easier units, maybe some short sprints to keep my quickness. Other things have to be taken care of I just need to attend the pro athletes’ briefing and there’s also a photo shoot.
To wrap it all up: What are you most eagerly looking forward to?
The finish-line sprint! This is always the moment when all the tension is gone and I can be just happy to have lived up to the challenge. And of course to the holidays I will take right after the Ironman.
Thanks a lot for the interview and good luck for the Ironman on Sunday.
The interview was conducted by Lisa Schröder-Ott