Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Jordan Rapp Preps for A 2nd Attempt at #1 at November’s Ironman Arizona

Jordan Rapp sure has been busy since we’ve last spoken. In that time, he’s gone to China for the Olympics (to cheer THIS TIME, but who knows what the future holds!), raced the US open Triathlon in Dallas, and saw his very own Felt bike become the center of attention in Triathlete Mag’s October edition. All that AND deal with the pressure of being True-Motion’s professional spokesman??? It’s a rough life, but somebody’s gotta do it. Here’s the skinny from Jordan in his own words (while wearing his super-cool True-Motion polo of course!) on how he’s fit training for this November’s Ironman Arizona in, and how he plans on moving up 2 places from last April’s 3rd place finish:

1. You decided to pass on Hawaii b/c you traveled over to Beijing to watch the summer olympics. How was that experience? Do you have a newfound respect for Olympic distance athletes after watching the triathlon?

Honestly, after watching the Olympics I wanted to do nothing but swim until I either got fast enough to race in the ITU or until my arms fell off. Coach Joel managed to talk me out that plan, but I still hope I can at least race a World Cup at some point. The one Continental Cup I've done was awesome. The race in Beijing was actually the second high-level ITU event I'd seen live, as I also watched the Vancouver World Championships. But this race was infinitely more special. It's a rare thing to get to see two of your best friends - Simon Whitfield and Colin Jenkins - compete in such a momentous event, and it's even more rare to get to see one of them succeed in such spectacular fashion. It was an amazing thing to be a part of that group. Simon obviously earned and won the medal, but we all felt like we had a part in that. I train with those guys every day, so I have the utmost respect for Olympic distance athletes. I'm not sure I could really have any more, but it certainly gave me a newfound respect for the idea of the Olympics and for what it means to have triathlon included as a sport. Kona, deservedly, gets a lot of press, but I think regardless of what happens this year on the Big Island, the Olympic triathlon is certainly the most important race that will happen in 2008.

Jordan with Simon Whitfield and that coveted Silver Medal

2. How was the food in China?

Varied. And cheap. We had some incredible meals for less than what you'd pay at McDonald's. And then there were some pretty blah ones. My mother came equipped with several good guidebooks, and we were taken to some restaurants by locals or people that knew the right folks to ask, so there were no disastrous meals. We ate a lot of local yogurt, which apparently helps your stomach acclimate, so I made it through basically unscathed. Best food was the deep fried bamboo worms [photo attached] from the Yunan province. There a lots of different varieties of bamboo worms; I enjoyed them all. Worst food was the beef lung. The most spectacular meal was at Made In China, which some people consider the best restaurant in China. We had Peking Duck, apparently the best in the city, which is saying something considering it is the "house specialty," as it were, of Beijing (aka "Peking").

3. Ironman Arizona is next on the list for you. Will you do any short races from now until then to test your top speed?

I'll actually do two. I just got back from the Toyota US Open in Dallas, which was okay considering it was my first race in two months. Then I go to Jamaica to go head-to-head with Greg Bennett at the Rosehall Triathlon. I'm planning to slash his tires en route to the swim. Or to get some sort of lasso to make sure I stay on his feet. Should be fun though. It's a new race, so I'm excited to be a part of it.

4. We've seen your tri bike in the recent Triathlete magazine, how much of your training is done on this bike or do you use a road bike in training?

I usually ride that bike once a week, maybe twice, during a normal training week, and always for hard workouts. I do probably 80% of my riding on my road bike. I've done enough work on getting my position really dialed in that I don't feel like I need to make sure I'm going to be comfortable. I know I'm going to be comfortable. But it's good to keep in touch with riding hard at a steep seat angle, handling in the aerobars, etc.

5. You had an outstanding performance in IMAZ in April, what parts of the race do you think you can improve on this time around to take your performance one step further?

I'd like to swim a lot better, which I think I can. I'm not looking for much more on the bike, just a small improvement reflective of my fitness and also a slightly more consistent effort. And on the run, I'd like to run pretty similarly, just with a small uptick in speed across the board. If I could shave two minutes off each lap of the run, or roughly 15 seconds per mile, I'd be happy. Weather of course will be a big factor in all of that, both in terms of the race itself and how it compares to April, so I'm not going to try to recreate the race in terms of splits or anything. The similarity will come from approach. My plan is to race the same way that I did last time, and hopefully the improvement in fitness between April and November will make the difference. Of course, the race, especially on the run, could unfold quite differently, and I'm certainly not going to shy away from a gunfight at the O.K. Corral if that's what it comes down to on the run. But until the run, I'm racing my race.

6. How early will you arrive in Tempe for the race to acclimate to the warm weather?

I'll arrive in Tempe on Thursday before the race. Until then, I'll just stay consistent with a place I know works for me. If the weather is consistently hot through early November, or just if Coach Joel decides it is appropriate, I will do the standard heat adaptation training that I did before the April version and also this summer before I raced Lifetime Fitness and New York City. Generally the weather is pretty nice that time of year, but it also can't hurt to be prepared, as much I'm dreading have to acclimatize myself again.

7. I know this is a tough one, but if you are awarded a slot for Hawaii in
Arizona, will you take it?

I think probably, though I'm not in a rush to get to the Big Island. I'd like to go when I feel like I can do well. I don't want to for the experience or anything like that. When I go, it will be because Joel thinks I'm ready to go. I'd be 29 in Kona next year, which is already older than when Faris won it and still younger than Chris McCormack was the first time he ever raced. So I see that it's about being prepared for yourself, not about abiding by the timeline that other people might try to impose on you.

8. Do you believe in Santa Claus? (sorry, I'm playing Christmas music
already in my office at's almost time!)

I believe in Santa Claus in the sense that I believe Christmas is about giving things away, not receiving. I believe that we all ought to believe in being a Santa Claus to someone else, not hoping that Santa exists for each of us. If Santa does exist, I'm pretty sure he works for the Heifer Project -

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