The bubbly Dane has her sights set on Kona once more and hopes to be smiling all the way to the podium in 2018.

What does it take to win four Ironmans and crack the top six in Kona twice? For long-distance star Michelle Vesterby, it’s endless hours of training, lots of laughter, and plenty of chocolate. After a disappointing DNF in last year’s Ironman World Champs, the bubbly Dane has her sights set on Kona once more and hopes to be smiling all the way to the podium in 2018.

“My philosophy in life is to enjoy myself. I like to have fun. I don’t want to be on a diet. If I want a piece of cake, I’ll have it. A lot of my training is motivated by being able to eat more! I can’t really function if I deny myself what I love. “

“I was a party girl until I started triathlon at the age of 25. I grew up swimming until I was 18, but there were a few years there when I wasn’t doing much of anything. Then, I met my [now husband] Claus Andersen, and he got me into the sport. Before I knew it, I was a competitive athlete again. Now, I still like to party—but it’s mostly at the after-party.”

“Claus is my bike bitch! And he’s proud of it. Cleaning and taking care of my bike is a man’s job—at least in our house. He is supporting my dream, and he is happy to help me.”

“I recently moved back to my hometown, Herning, in Denmark, and my mom and dad live just around the corner. My mom does my laundry and makes me lunch and dinner. I’m not sure this is what they envisioned as parents to a 34-year-old daughter, but I honestly don’t know what they did when I wasn’t living here. Just kidding!”

Michelle Vesterby (DEN) is always smiling. Photo: Paul Phillips/Competitive Image

“Most triathletes take time off after Kona, but I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro last January. I needed a new challenge. To be honest, it was a bit boring because I wanted to run and pick up the pace of the hikes! But I had lots of time to reflect and gained a new perspective about my life and how lucky I am to get to do what I love.“

“I’m a slow Ironman turtle. I don’t like to be in the red zone. I like long and slow, so I can, you know, eat, drink, and relax out there. Lately, I’ve been doing some more intense work on the trainer, and it is so painful! I’ll call out to Claus in the middle of a workout just so he can come over and give me some sympathy.”

“Once during Ironman U.K., I took the lead on the bike and had the camera guy following me. I looked into the camera, smiled, and said, ‘Now, the party is starting!’ and then just put my head down and hammered. I wound up missing a turn on the course. When I started to suspect that I had gone the wrong way, the camera guy said he’d go check for me— and never came back! I had some not-so-nice words for the camera guy after that one. Yeah, I wasn’t really smiling then!”

Michelle Vesterby Really Likes…”

Color: Pink. I am proud to be a girly girl in this sport.

Food: Sweets! I’m always in the candy store.

Training: At Club La Santa in Lanzarote, Spain

Pump-Up Jams: Anything I can sing along to!

Tech: My Garmin 935. I’m a sucker for numbers and upload everything into Training Peaks.

Race: Ironman Copenhagen

Workout: I really love a long bike ride, like 120 miles plus.

Mantra: Keep smiling!

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