Two-time ITU world champion Javier Gomez of Spain recently won the Nautica South Beach Triathlon in Florida by crushing the field. Here, he talks about his win and the upcoming London Olympics with Inside Triathlon magazine editor-in-chief Courtney Baird.
Triathlete.com: Hey Javi. Congrats on your dominating win in South Beach. How’d you feel out there, and how did the race go for you?
Javier Gomez: I felt good. I was pretty excited about this non-drafting race, as it is something different than what I usually do. It was my first race of the year and it went great. Good swim, stronger than I expected on bike and a solid run, but not 100 percent. I was second out of the water, and after a bad first transition I just focused to try to keep up when Cameron Dye, who is a very strong cyclist, caught me. And so I did. Then, after 4K of the run, I passed [Ben] Collins, who was leading, and I made a gap big enough to win the race while saving some energy on the run.
Triathlete.com: You’ve raced some non-draft events before and done really well in them—do you think you’ll do some more non-draft racing once the Olympics are over?
JG: I think the non-drafting races suit me very well—I feel comfortable on these races even though I’ve never worked specifically for them. So it’s an option in the near future, after the Olympics. But I’ll decide then.
Triathlete.com: A lot of people think you’re the perfect athlete for a race like Kona. Do you ever think you’ll step up to Ironman?
JG: As I said, I like non-drafting. But the Ironman distance is something different—to be honest I have no idea about how would I perform there. The guys dominating right now are very strong. I would love to do more of Olympic non-drafting, 70.3— but step-by-step. Right now my focus is ITU and London 2012.
Triathlete.com: How has your training been going in preparation for London?
JG: It’s been going well. Lots of base training, good miles, very good gym workouts— no injuries yet, which is something very positive itself! I’m feeling good for this time of the year, but I know there is a lot of work ahead. Lots of quality sessions. There are four months until the Olympics—it’s a long way. The most important thing is to stay healthy and injury free.
Triathlete.com: You mentioned when I last saw you that you like to travel during your offseason break. Did you go anywhere fun this offseason?
JG: Oh yes, I spent a couple of weeks in Costa Rica, which was great. The country is absolutely beautiful, and the people are really kind and friendly. I had a great time exploring the volcanoes and the amazing beaches.
Triathlete.com: Since you’ve already been to one Olympics, will you approach this Olympics differently than you did in Beijing? Did you learn anything in Beijing that you think will help you this time around?
JG: Well, I’ll try to prepare myself the best I can, but not getting obsessed. I got injured a couple of months before Beijing and it was a tough time—definitely not the best way to prepare for such a big race. So, of course, I learned from that and just don’t want to make the same mistakes again. Unfortunately, you can always get injured anyway, but I will try to minimize the chances.
Triathlete.com: Being as you’re one of the medal favorites, what do you think it’s going to take to get on the podium in London?
JG: You need to have a great day, be fit, and smart during the race. And, of course, a bit lucky. Or not unlucky, at least. A one-day race is always complicated, but if you are in the best shape of your life, the chances to get the medal will be higher.
Triathlete.com: Other than the Brownlees, who are some of the other guys who you think could end up on the podium in London?
JG: There are so many. Obviously the Brownlees are the favorite ones, but guys like Frodeno, Vidal, Hauss, Docherty, Whitfield, Kahlefeldt, Riederer and many others are always very dangerous. So plenty of them!