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Inside Triathlon’s Courtney Baird caught up with American Olympic hopeful Matt Chrabot as he prepares for the ITU World Championship Series Grand Final in Budapest. Chrabot finished fourth at the most recent World Championship Series event, in Kitzbühel, Austria. It was the best ITU finish by an American this year.
Written by: Courtney Baird
Triathlete.com: You’ve had a breakthrough season this year with a 9th place finish in Sydney and a fourth place finish in Kitzbühel. To what do you attribute to this recent breakthrough?
Chrabot: I guess you could say I got my act together. I stopped screwing around in between workouts and hard days. I also took myself less seriously. Sounds a bit more complicated than it really is.
Triathlete.com: I read that you’re living outside Paris while you prepare for Budapest. Is that true? If so, what’s the training like in France?
Chrabot: Yes, I’m living in Poissy. The training is good…except when you show up for a track workout and come to find that the gates are locked (which happened 10 minutes ago). Can’t stress over it though. There are some great running trails less than a mile away, so I’ll just do it in the woods and measure the distances with my GPS watch.
Triathlete.com: The Olympics are only two years away. How is your preparation going to change as we get closer and closer to the Games? And what would it mean to you if you qualified?
Chrabot: Well, basically, the course is currently set up to be a pure runner’s race. It’s pretty much a symbol of what the ITU racing has become in the past several years: a flat, boring bike then a runner’s race. Running is my main focus and has been for the past few years, whether my results have shown it or not.
Qualifying for the Olympics is huge! Racing in the Olympics is the very pinnacle of the sport—any sport for that matter. But simply padding my résumé is not why I want to compete. I’m all about racing at the highest level.
Triathlete.com: What’s your day-to-day life like as you live and train as an Olympic hopeful in Colorado Springs?
Chrabot: It’s fairly uneventful. Days and weeks blend together as one giant blur. It’s broken up by races and trips around the world. Living at the training center definitely has its advantages, though. Mixing it up with other athletes from different sports from around the world is a great way to share ideas on life and training as an elite athlete.
Triathlete.com: You’ve mentioned on your blog that ITU’s courses are too “easy.” Why is this? And what’s the perfect course for you and why?
Chrabot: From what I hear, these races are expensive and complicated to put together. The ITU and its organizers get so caught up in this that they tend to take the easy way out and just come up with a simple and convenient course in the end. The feedback on my blog I received from some of the athletes and ITU was very positive. They’re looking to include more difficult courses sometime in the future…it makes racing more exciting!
The perfect course for me would include an ocean swim with giant surf, hilly bike with steeper climbs that are over a mile long, some technical descents, and a rolling hill run course. I have no idea where to find a place like that. Maybe the Rio 2016 course?!
Triathlete.com: The pronunciation of your last name is a little confusing for some. How exactly do you pronounce it?
Chrabot: It’s “Matt Shär-bòt.”