Andreas Raelert is an exceptionally gracious person. He allowed TriRig to come in during his final pre-race ride, just before checking in his bike, and give me an exclusive interview and photo shoot with his BMC TM01 bike.
And what a bike! This TM01 is the same frame he rode to an all-time Iron-distance World Record at Challenge Roth this past July. And now, one year after taking second in place to Chris McCormack, the German phenomenon is poised to take his first Ironman World Title in Kona, Hawaii. This is the bike he'll be using during the race tomorrow.
His TM01 is set up almost exactly the way I'd set mine up - a single bottle between the arms and one on the downtube will keep Raelert hydrated during the long, hot day. Both cages are standard, and will accept whatever course bottles Andreas wants to take on board. The Shimano Di2 drivetrain keeps things working beautifully, and the TM01 routes all the cables cleanly and out of the way. The bike is truly a work of art.
Q & A with the Champ
Raelert graciously let me observe his final pre-race ride just before racking his bike at the transition check-in. After a few photos, I asked Andreas just a couple questions about his bike and position.
TriRig: Andreas, thanks for letting us do this interview. Before we get to the bike itself, can you tell us what you're thinking in general about tomorrow's race?
Andreas Raelert: Well, tomorrow's the big day. Really, after twelve months of training, all I can say is that I hope I'm ready for it.
TR: Yeah, no kidding. You've got a brand new bike here, looks like it suits you quite well. Looking back at photos over the year, it seems like your position has changed a little bit on this bike versus your previous one. Is that right?
Andreas Raelert: Well, I did change some small things, but it's pretty much the same position I was riding last year. It's always just a matter of changing little things over time. I went to the wind tunnel earlier this year with the bike to fine-tune the position and find the right combination of aero and comfort.
TR: I noticed your hands are up a little higher and your elbows lower, is that meant for better aerodynamics?
Andreas Raelert: Yeah, kindof. It helps keep your head down between your shoulders. But at the end of the day, you have to be comfortable. If you can't ride a radical position, then don't do it. The run is the key.
TR: Is it more comfortable for you to ride with your hands on top of the shifters? I've seen pictures with you riding with them on top, and also scooped underneath them a bit. But this year your shifter pods are closer together, making the hands-on-top position a little easier.
Andreas Raelert: Yeah, the shifers closer together is one of the things I changed, but I'm always shifting around a little bit. Sometimes I have my hands on top, sometimes underneath.
TR: So in the end, sounds like you've got a pretty similar formula to last year - just run your program and go all out?
Andreas Raelert: Absolutely, just like all the other 49 guys. (Laughs).
Thanks again, Andreas, and good luck out there!