Andi Boecherer elevated himself to the upper echelon of the pro triathlon ranks in 2011 by winning three Ironman 70.3s and finishing eighth in Kona. Despite the breakthrough year, he continues to fly under the radar. Triathlete’s Aaron Hersh caught up with Boecherer the day before the 2012 Abu Dhabi International Triathlon.
Triathlete.com: You had a big breakthrough year in 2011, but it doesn’t seem like some of the other guys are talking about you being one of the top contenders yet. How do you feel about being below the radar?
Boecherer: It’s pretty good for racing. It helps me to relax before. If people don’t focus so much on you, everybody will be sitting on Chris Lieto’s bike, and they won’t be on my bike. If I’m able to ride away then maybe they won’t chase me like a “real” contender.
Triathlete.com: Do you plan to attack on the bike to use that advantage?
Boecherer: I don’t know yet. There could be a breakaway in the swim with Clayton Fettell racing. Then there are some strong bikers that don’t swim so fast. If they pull everybody up, there will be a big bunch.
Triathlete.com: Do you think it’s worthwhile to try and break away on the bike or is it simply too long?
Boecherer: I think an attack late on the bike could be helpful, even if you just make the others suffer so they can’t run so fast. But riding from the front for 200km is just too long.
Triathlete.com: Is Kona your biggest goal of the year?
Triathlete.com: What will it take to get to the next level in Hawaii?
Boecherer: Last year I had an injury in June so I only had two long runs going into Kona, so that’s why I suffered a lot the last 10K. Actually, I’ll do an early season IM in South Africa then take a long break and gear up for Las Vegas and Hawaii.
Triathlete.com: Is that division, early season racing followed by a break before the championship races, because of the new WTC Kona and Las Vegas qualifying rules? Do they change the way you train and race?
Boecherer: Yeah, and actually for me last year it was good. I knew I had to get to a new level and race more international races and I did really well, but if there wasn’t the pressure to qualify it would have taken longer to get to the next level. It helped me breakthrough. And I never thought I could win a 70.3, but by the end of the year I had three titles. For me, it was a kick at the right time.
Triathlete.com: What are your goals for Kona this year?
Boecherer: I plan to run sub three-hours. Last year I ran 3:01-something (3:01:43), and I think I can go five minutes quicker with serious training. It’s always different with weather and tactics, but I think I was in fifth place until the 37th kilometer of the marathon and maybe I can ask the organizers to cut the marathon short so I don’t have to train more, haha.