After a spectacular start to the 2015 season Flora Duffy reflects on her season so far racing both Xterra ( off road triathlons involving a swim, mountain bike and cross country run) races and World Cup Series races (triathlons involving a swim, draft legal road bike and road run – as for Olympics and Commonwealth Games and known as WTS (World Triathlon Series) races.)
Are you surprised by your World Cup Triathlon Series performances so far and your world ranking of 5th ?
I am very surprised with my WTS performances! I knew I was in good form but my results exceeded my expectations. The dynamic of both races has played to my favor though- being a small group away, but my running has improved a lot so I can hold my own off the bike now.
Is the World Cup Series changing now with more women willing to lay it on the line in the swim and the bike ?
Yes, a lot of people are willing to work the swim and particularly bike portion now. Since Gwen (Ed : Jorgensen of the USA) is such a phenomenal runner, the only way to beat her is to work the bike hard. However, saying that, she can run up to 90 seconds quicker than anyone else so it needs to be a fair gap off the bike. But all in all, the bike is playing more of a role in each race.
You have had solid runs after such an effort on the bike in the World Cup Series ; is the run an area where you feel you can still improve ?
I still have loads of room for improvement ! This past winter, I worked really hard on my running while in Stellenbosch (Ed : South Africa). I have been working with a run specific coach, and running with a great bunch of speedy girls. I still need to run 45-60 seconds faster off the bike, but that will be a progression over the next year building into the Olympics.
How are you feeling going into the Xterra Asia Pacific Championships as “the one to beat” ? How are you handling the pressure ?
I have to admit that going into every Xterra as the favorite is getting a little old, but something I am coping with fine. You win the wold championships, and you must get comfortable with always being the favorite ; nothing new, and something that I am proud of. (Ed : Flora won the Xterra Asia Pacific Champs 2015 on the weekend by over 3 minutes to record her 10th victory out of 11 Xterra World Series races IN 2014-2015, including a commanding win in the 2014 World Championships in Hawaii)
Do you think Xterra racing along with racing World Cup Series races is helping you perform in both or are you concerned that it might all catch up with you especially with all the travelling ?
For me, Xterra and WTS racing go hand in hand ; that would not be the case for everyone but I’m able to train specifically for WTS racing, and still race Xterra. it is a lot of racing, so I never rest up or taper for Xterras (unless it is the World Championships). I’ll race less Xterra next year (2016) but for now it is a good mix which keeps me happy. And a happy athlete is a fast, successful athlete.
When do you hope to be back in Bermuda ?
I’m scheduled to be back in Bermuda for the Tokio Millennium Triathlon at the end of May. Tokio are a new sponsor of mine, so I am very keen to be in Bermuda to do the race and show my support. However, the London WTS race is the same weekend, and given that I am 5th in the series, I might have to go and race in London, but that has yet to be decided.
What are your observations generally on your season so far ?
Thoughts so far on the 2015 season: Very happy and excited to be moving in the right direction as Rio 2016 quickly approaches.