Without question, Minnesota’s best triathlete over the last 8 years has been Gear West Bike and Tri’s own David Thompson, aka ‘DKT’, aka ‘Crash Thompson’. Since turning pro almost 7 years ago, he has carved his niche in the triathlon scene by dominating the bike leg in non-drafting races, and has since become a highly respected well-rounded triathlete. This season started off with some very strong performances, but nagging injuries kept him from performing to his ability. I decided to ask him a few questions about his training, racing, and plans for next year.
cw: So, first things first, are you all done for the season in terms of triathlons?
dkt: I am done for the season. Right now, I’m focused on finishing all my house projects before christmas when I start train seriously for 2010. I’m still doing one or two workouts a day right now, but I’m more focused on dry wall, plumbing, and framing.
cw: What’s going to be the focus for the rest of the year?
dkt:House projects are the primary focus for the rest of the year, but I still like to compete. Last week I did a cyclo-cross race. I’ll do a few more this fall. There are also a few running races and swim meets I’ll take part in too.
cw: What were some of your goals and expectations going into this year?
dkt:I wanted to race well at Escape from Alcatraz, Life Time, and Chicago. I was happy with my race at Alcatraz and Chicago. Life Time wasn’t a bad result just not what I hoped for. Specifically, I didn’t run well that day.
cw: What were the high points of the year?
dkt: Second at Escape from Alcatraz, winning at Philadelphia, and being done for the season were the high points for me. I also had some good local races, which are aways nice to keep you going during a long 23 event schedule.
cw: Low points?
dkt: I developed a case of para-tendonitis after hitting my left knee on my handlebars. The inflammation caused the tendonitis to develop. The injury wasn’t that depressing, but trying to race on limited training is a drag because you can’t perform at the level you expect of yourself. This is why I was ready to be done for the season. Normally, I am excited to race into November.
cw: I hear you’re planning on doing your first full ironman next year at the Rev 3 iron distance triathlon. Based on your half ironman resume as well as the short-lived oneoone races, the longer distance seems to suit you well. Is that how you see it? If so, why do you think that is?
dkt: My long distance performances have nothing to do with preference. I’d much rather race olympic distance, but I have done well at halfs and the One O One distances. The Full Rev3 race is in September, so I’ll have sometime to prepare over the summer. It will be hard to do an early half or longer race when I’ve been training in MN. Doing one long ride in cold conditions burns up all your motivation.
cw: Are you going to train any differently with the full ironman distance race as a focus?
dkt: Yes, I change my train plan, but not as much as you might expect. There will still be plenty of speed and tempo work aimed at olympic distance racing for most of the spring an early summer. Around the end of July, I’ll start to add in some specific endurance training for the Full Rev3 race. But, I will still keep the speed work in because I still want to race the event.
cw: From my perspective, it seems that triathletes who focus on Ironman races get a bigger chunk of the media exposure compared to Olympic Distance specialists. Do you agree? Do you think competing in iron distance races will help your exposure?
dkt: Iron distance athlete definitely get more exposure leading up to Kona, and I would say they probably get slightly more exposure over the entire year. But, I’m not doing it for the expose. I’m doing it to try and win, which wouldn’ t my exposure.
cw: So you’ve been a pro triathlete for almost 7 years. Has your perspective on being a pro-triathlete changed over time?
dkt: I think this coming season will be my 7th as a pro, and my perspective has definitely change from the 1st season until now. The first season I was full of energy and optimism, which I still have or I wouldn’t be racing. Now, racing is more of a fun job, but some days it’s more like work.
cw: If you had just one thing to say with an 21 yr old youngin’ wanting to be a pro triathlete, what would you tell him?
dkt: If you’re going to make it as a pro triathlete you need to be addicted to training and racing. You need to be addicted because if even if you are there will be days when you’ve had enough working out. Think of it as breaking a smoker of the addiction by forcing them to smoke a whole pack at once. There will be days your body and mind can’t take anymore, but you still need to execute your training plan.
cw: How are things going in terms of sponsorship?
dkt: I’m really happy about all my sponsors right now and always have been. I’ve had a work-sponsorship with Gear West Bike and Triathlon since 2004, which really allowed me to pursue a career as a professional triathlete. It also helped me build relationships with Zipp, Felt, Blue Seventy, 2Xu and Sram. Sponsorship was made easier with these companies because I had already been using their products and was informed about them from my shop experience.
cw: I’m impressed with your handiwork. A pretty impressive deck on the front of your house, some new wetsuit shelving in our basement at the shop. Do I see a future in carpentry?
dkt: Probably not, my body will be ready for a rest when I quite triathlon, but I do enjoy remodeling projects and working with power tools. Finishing a job provides instant satisfaction.
David puts in hours here at the store year round, but can be found here more frequently in the offseason. If he’s not fitting a bike, he likes to keep himself busy with projects around the shop and tinkering with just about everything. If you see him, make sure to say hi and ask him about his home projects (or triathlons if you’re lucky:).
Thanks to David for the interview, and y’all for readin’. 😉