Thoughts from H & T Wurtele a few days out from the first race of the Triple Crown Series, Challenge Dubai (challenge-dubai.com), taking place on February 27, 2015:
1) What is it about this race that is so attractive?
H: It is the first event in the new Challenge Triple crown series, and with the great prize purse (possible $1 million if you can win all 3 races) it is attracting the best triathletes in the world. I love racing big, competitive races where you can really see where you stack up on a world-class level. Also, the 20m draft zone on the bike makes for a much more fair event, especially on flat courses like in the Middle East, so that is attractive to me as well.
T: Primarily, it’s an opportunity to race against the very best in the world in a very well organized event. The Challenge series is putting together some amazing races around the world, and this particular ‘Triple Crown’ series of 3 races is going to attract the very best this sport has to offer. The level of competiton in Dubai will be very high, which gives someone like myself the opportunity to have a breakthrough race. Winning is out of reach for me, but my goal is to be top 10. Secondly, as a professional athlete we can’t deny that having a nice prize purse is an attraction as well. This is one of the main reasons so many top triathletes will be in attendance.
2) From your experience, what can you tell us about Dubai that we have not read in other interviews/articles?
H: I’ve heard that with all of the construction of tall buildings in Dubai, 20% of the world’s cranes are operating there. There is also the Al Quadra Cycle Path – a cycle 50km cycle path in the middle of the desert, with a 18km and a 36km arms, that looks amazing!
T: That remains to be seen! I don’t know much about the area myself. I’ve been to nearby Abu Dhabi once before, in 2012. But really, I don’t have much experience with this part of the world. Obviously the buildings and infrastructure are amazing. They’re really in to sport and host some incredible events. Not just professional level either. Challenge Dubai is open to anyone, as are other events like the Dubai Marathon and local masters swim and cycling races.
3) How will you incorporate the new EFS Pro into your fueling plan?
H: I’m really excited about the new EFSPro, because most of my big races this year will be in potentially hot, humid environments, and I have a really high sweat rate which can make staying on top of hydration while getting adequate electrolytes tricky. I have always used a mix of Liquid Shot at EFS drink for my fueling in half-ironman-distance races (3 bottles at ~200calories on the bike + sips of Liquid Shot, and Liquid Shot + on-course water on the run), but have been testing more concentrated EFSPro on the run because it is so digestible, high in electrolytes and the non-sweet flavour makes it easier to swallow for me at the end of a long race. I’m really excited to have it as part of my race nutrition arsenal!
T: I follow a pretty similar fueling plan for every half distance event I enter. Though, I will adjust slightly based on the temperature and difficulty of the course. For Challenge Dubai I expect the race to be fast and probably take around 3 hours and 40 minutes or so. That can vary dependent on wind and heat, but given how flat it is I think that’ll be pretty accurate, no matter what. I’ll be using EFSPro on both the bike and run. Most likely 700 calories worth on the bike, which i expect to take just over 2hrs. I’ll also use another 150 calories of EFSPro on the run which I mix as a very strong concentration in a small hand held flask. On occasion I’ll use EFS Liquid shot on the run instead, but my trials of using a strong concentration of EFSPro while running have gone very well, so that’s probably the option I’ll use for Dubai and the rest of 2015. The only other addition is some on course water and maybe a cup or two of cola in the final couple miles of the run.