An always smiling and friendly fixture on the Challenge Family race scene, Olympian and three-time Laguna Phuket Triathlon champion Radka Vodickova of the Czech Republic is preparing to race the inaugural Challenge Philippines event on Saturday. She’ll face off against a handful of top half iron-distance talents including reigning Ironman 70.3 World Champion Melissa Hauschildt, Annabel Luxford and Laura Bennett. I caught up with Vodickova on Thursday morning to learn how she’s feeling in advance of the race and what she’s been up to since the 2013 Challenge Laguna Phuket in December, where she finished second to Hauschildt.
Triathlete.com: Last time I saw you we were in Phuket. What have you been up to since then? Have you been home in the cold weather or did you escape to the sunshine to train?
Vodickova: I spent three days in cold weather back home, and then I had one week relaxation spa time in Hungary with my mom and my sister, as the off-season. And then because I don’t like really cold weather I went to the south part of Spain for training camp for one month. And because I signed on to race here and I couldn’t stay in the cold weather I moved to Malaysia. I’ve been there training with Team Time Malaysia for one month. It was a great time there, and so I feel very acclimatized to the heat here. But I haven’t seen the bike course [rumored to be quite difficult] so I feel very nervous!
Triathlete.com: How do you feel about the rest of the women’s field set to race on Saturday?
Vodickova: I was just hoping some of the girls would not show up! But I met them already at breakfast and they all look good. It’s the beginning of the season and everybody has had different off-seasons and different times of starting to train, but also they are all coming from summer in Australia. So we will see. It’s the beginning of the season for me. This will be the first real hard hill training on the bike for me, but I’m very looking forward to it. I have a new bike sponsor and a new bike–a Culprit, it’s a pink and black bike–so I will see if it helps on the hills. I think it will!