This morning at breakfast I had the pleasure of bumping into Eneko Llanos and his lovely girlfriend Ruth Brito. Llanos will be one of the top contenders in Sunday’s Ironman Melbourne. Brito is here to support her partner and to enjoy some training as she prepares for her own Ironman debut in the age-group ranks at Ironman Lanzarote in May. Llanos gave us an update on his preparation for Melbourne and his thoughts on the highly competitive field.
Triathlete.com: You raced just a few weeks ago in Abu Dhabi. Where have you been since then?
EL: Yes, we went from Abu Dhabi to Sydney. We’ve been in Wollongong, which is 60-70km south of Sydney. We were two weeks there, then we came here to Melbourne yesterday.
Triathlete.com: How is your fitness heading into this race?
EL: I’m feeling good! I did a good race in Abu Dhabi and I had a good recovery. I had one week of recovery, then one good week of training, so I feel very good.
Triathlete.com: Do you do anything specific in terms of fancy recovery tactics?
EL: No, just rest and no training. I have coffee, things like that!
Triathlete.com: Has it been difficult to peak this early in the season?
EL: No. I like it because early season races are usually pretty good for me. I get in shape pretty fast. I finished my last season very late because I did Ironman Arizona, so I’ve been training for this race two and a half months only, but I get in shape pretty fast and I usually have good races at the beginning of the season. And this early, it’s always good to know if you have any problem with the race – like a mechanical or something – you can adapt your schedule and race again.
Triathlete.com: How do you feel about the competition here in Melbourne? Who are you most concerned about?
EL: Obviously for me it’s Crowie. He’s World Champion, one of the best triathletes in the world. And he’s racing at home in Australia. I’m sure he’s had a good preparation for this race and he’s going to be very motivated. But also Cameron Brown, Luke McKenzie – there are 5 or 10 guys who are really good triathletes and who on a good day could get the win. It’s really a good competition here. You can’t discard anyone!
Triathlete.com: What about on the women’s side – who do you see as the favorite?
EL: The competition for the girls is also really good. It’s going to be nice to watch it! Mirinda is also racing at home, so she’s definitely the favorite.