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Reigning Ironman 70.3 world champion Melissa Hauschildt has dominated the half-iron distance, most recently taking the Challenge Laguna Phuket title in December despite a bout of food poisoning a few days prior to the race. On Saturday she’ll tackle the decidedly tough bike course at Challenge Philippines (sandwiched between the swim and an equally tough run). I caught up with Hauschildt to hear what her 2014 season holds and how she’s feeling about Saturday’s race.
Triathlete.com: You had a great race at Challenge Laguna Phuket–what have you been up to since?
Hauschildt: I had a break after Phuket and then got back into it. I’m training for Abu Dhabi so I’m doing big miles. I wanted a little hit out before Abu Dhabi, which is why I decided to come here, although I thought this was going to be a little hit out–not a really hilly hit out! But the main focus has been Abu Dhabi.
Triathlete.com: Did you get out on the bike course today?
Hauschildt: I rode 23K. It’s just straight up as soon as you come out of transition. I think we did two of the big climbs. It just goes up and down and it’s bumpy. If I had my road bike I’d be absolutely loving it. I prefer that, the up and down hills.
Triathlete.com: Are you excited for the chance to race against a professional cyclist [Emma Pooley]?
Hauschildt: Yeah! I was saying to Jared, “Can she swim? Can we ride together? Or will she just blow me away?” It will be interesting.
Triathlete.com: Did you get onto the run course as well?
Hauschildt: We went for a run just before dinner and it’s pretty awesome! It will be pretty cool, through these narrow trails. It was getting dark on the way back and you could hear all these weird noises going on in the jungle!
Triathlete.com: What’s your main focus for the rest of the season after Abu Dhabi–70.3 worlds or Kona or both?
Hauschildt: I haven’t quite decided yet if I’m going to do Ironman. If I do Ironman, I’ll do another one early on. I’ll decide after Abu Dhabi. I’ll do one early on and then I won’t race as much, obviously. And then the main focus will be Kona and 70.3 worlds. But if I don’t do Ironman I’ll do something similar to last year–head over around June to the States, do the 70.3s and then ITU [long distance] world champs is a couple weeks after 70.3 worlds. So I will do two world champs–I’m just not sure which two!