No Pain Big Gain
In October Anne Haug won the Ironman World Championship on Hawaii. We talked to her about her big day. Of course, we were especially curious how she liked her new saddle: the gebioMized Stride.
SSC: Anne, first of all congratulations on winning the World Championship. The most important question right at the beginning: How was the party after the race?
Anne Haug: What party :-)? I am actually not a party type of person and after an Ironman I feel just tired and exhausted. The next day Sabrina, Dan and I went to our favorite ice cream parlor and treated ourselves to a super large World Champion serving. I think my whole team and I are rather “quiet connoisseurs”. :-)
How does it feel to be world champion? Have you realized what happened – now that some time has passed since the race?
Of course, this is a huge dream that has come true and standing on top of the podium is simply indescribable. To achieve this, everything has to be perfect on the big day and that little bit of luck has to be on your side, too.
Please take us back on the racecourse with you: At what point did you realize that you were really going to win the race?
200 meters from the finish line. Ironman is a beast, you must never take anything for granted. You have to be extremely focused until you cross the finish line and you must not make any mistakes. Unfortunately, experience has shown that it can be all over 800 meters before the finish line and I myself already hit the wall twice on the very last kilometer.
“I am am totally thrilled. I didn’t think it was even possible to stay in the aero position painlessly for a longer period of time.”
Anne Haug, Ironman World Champion
What happens in your head in a situation like this? Do you feel pure euphoria? Or are you scared that something might still go wrong?
For me personally it is ideal to suppress such feelings until I cross the finish line. During the race I try to focus only on the here and now. I try not to waste mental energy on what happened 5 minutes ago or what could happen in the next 5 minutes.
Now, of course, we are especially curious how you liked your saddle? After all, it was the first really big race for our new gebioMized Stride.
I already rode the prototype in training and I was and still am totally thrilled. I didn’t think it was even possible to stay in the aero position painlessly for a longer period of time. But thanks to the new saddle I am able to not only hold my position for a long time, but I can also vary it when needed as well. That’s a big advantage.
Purely in terms of numbers, you lost a few minutes on the bike to Lucy Charles-Barclay in front of you. Apart from this, how did you benefit from the bike split in the final run?
Group dynamics is always different from riding constantly alone. But Lucy was just incredibly strong on the bike and we couldn’t catch up to her. A good bike split is of course essential to be competitive. At the same time, you have to listen very carefully to yourself and must not overdo it.
What do you generally think of bike fitting and riding position? Important or overrated?
Both are extremely important to me. I want to make sure that all my power is effectively transferred to the pedal in the best possible aerodynamic position. And, of course, a good riding position also helps to prevent injuries. When you do some 100,000 pedal turns, the leg axes should of course all stand correctly and match the pelvic position.
How much longer are you gonna give yourself to savor the triumph? Or are you already in 2020 mode?
As always, I took a two-week off-season break and then slowly started again. After the race is before the race and resting on your laurels is not a good idea if you want to perform well again in 2020. Of course, I have more additional events and appointments, which I try to integrate into my training schedule. But my sporting performance always comes first.
What are your plans for the upcoming season?
Become better. As a competitive athlete, I always carry this chronic dissatisfaction with my performance within me and see a lot of potential for improvement. That is my biggest motivation.