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American Linsey Corbin is entering 2012 with a new bike sponsor and a new outlook on racing. Triathlete.com caught up with Corbin to talk about the move to Trek, her racing plans for 2012 (which include her first-ever European race) and her thoughts on Chrissie Wellington’s decision to take a break from Ironman racing.
Triathlete.com: Are you enjoying your off-season so far?
Linsey Corbin: Very much so. Last year I didn’t take enough of an off-season. I didn’t take it seriously and I learned from my mistakes. It’s been fun. In November I really enjoyed time with my family and enjoyed being an aunt, since my sister had just had a baby. In December I really enjoyed Montana. I tried to spend time in the snow and mountains with no training at all. I actually didn’t ride a bike for the whole month of December. In January we came out to Tucson and I’ve been getting in lots of base miles. I’m just getting my fitness under my legs and getting used to some new bikes. Last year I did Pucon and I didn’t give myself a break. I did Ironman Arizona and started training again pretty much right away and got injured in May. I wanted to change that this year. It’s been nice to relax and not have the stress of training.
Triathlete.com: What’s the winter training scene in Tucson like?
Corbin: I’ve been coming back and forth to Tucson. Last year we came for two months and this year we came for three. The weather has been amazing. It’s basically guaranteed that you can ride your bike outside everyday. There’s a great group of people out here. You can easily train on your own or mix it up with other pro triathletes. I also have friends from Montana down here at the Cycling House. It’s a good balance down here.
PHOTOS: Linsey Corbin Gets Fit To Her Speed Concept At Retul
Triathlete.com: Tell me about the choice to transition to Trek?
Corbin: The end of last year I started to look at other opportunities because my Scott contract was up. I’ve always had my eye on Trek. You look at the fastest riders in our sport and see what they’re doing and a lot of them are riding Trek. Trek was the first bike I rode. We approached them and the more I learned, the more I liked the idea. I spent December talking to them and went out for a visit and came to the conclusion that it would be a good fit.
Triathlete.com: You visited the guys at Retul (see photos here) in Boulder yesterday. Did you make any significant adjustments to your fit?
Corbin: Obviously the bike feels a lot different. The biggest change we made was on my saddle. Last year I was riding with my saddle too low. I was losing power at the bottom of my pedal stroke. I also had tightness in my right hip, which is where my injury came from. We also changed my position in the aerobars. Overall being fit to a different bike was the biggest change.
Triathlete.com: What will be your first big race of the year?
Corbin: I’m going to be racing Ironman 70.3 San Juan in March.
Triathlete.com: It looks like you have Ironman Austria on your schedule for 2012. Why Austria?
Corbin: I’ve done a lot of North American Ironmans. They are awesome, but I wanted to try something out of my comfort zone. I’ve never been to Europe before. There’s no time like the present. I might as well take the bull by the horns. I’m going to race Arizona at the end of the year and hopefully I’ll be back at Hawaii again. Between those two I’ll have a good balance of racing in North America. I’ve heard nothing but amazing things about racing in Europe, and this race has been on my bucket list. I figured I might as well give it a go.
Triathlete.com: You’ve raced at the Ironman World Championship six times now. How will you approach the build into this year’s race?
Corbin: I need to keep improving on the swim. I had my personal worst swim in 2011. It’s tough because you are working overtime if you come out of the swim behind. My pool times are fast. My pool times are where they should be. I’ve also learned you can’t live and die by Kona. I’ve put less pressure on that race. I’m going to go back to loving racing and racing a lot. Racing where I want takes away the pressure of having an “A” race. That’s not to say I don’t want to win Kona. I just want to focus on on other goals I have also. Hopefully it will lead to success in Kona. I also want to continue focusing on becoming a stronger cyclist. It’s already my strength and I’d like to keep building on it.
Triathlete.com: Obviously Chrissie Wellington won’t be on the start line in Kona this year. As a top female pro on the Ironman scene, what do you think of her decision?
Corbin: I can’t say that I’m shocked. She has taken a different career path than everyone else by winning every Ironman she’s done. I can understand her wanting to take a break or step away while she’s got a great legacy. I can see where she’s coming from. I think she’s caused all of us to step up our game. Everyone is producing stronger results than they were in the past. She set a bar for us and we’ll be chasing that bar whether she’s racing or not. It’s going to make the race more exciting. There’s going to be a new Ironman world champion next year. We know it’s going to be a race. Look at women like Mirinda and Julie, who are willing to take more of a risk to get the win.
Triathlete.com: You’ve finished second at Ironman Arizona three years in a row. Is it a goal of yours to win that race?
Corbin: Definitely. The first time I raced there it was like, ‘Oh, I didn’t have a good race in Kona so I’ll go there.’ I never thought I’d have a tie to Ironman Arizona, but I’ve found that I really love that race. I’m going to keep going back until I get the win. I don’t take no for an answer. For sure Arizona is on the list for this year.