The Weekly Webstey with your Ironman Cozumel Champions

©, printed with permission
If you liked last week’s inaugural Weekly Webstey with Brent McMahon, I have good news and bad news for you. The good news: due to moderate demand, the Weekly Webstey is back! This week I flew to Mexico to conduct heartfelt, face-to-face interviews with Corinne Abraham and Stefan Schmid, last weekend’s Ironman Cozumel champions. Unfortunately, they had already left – so I sat around drinking Mai Tais while they answered my questions from their respective steel chariots in the sky.
The bad news, if you enjoyed last week’s interview, is that the format has changed somewhat. In an effort to maintain my own sanity, and allow you to read about Corinne and Stefan in less than a single trip to the washroom, the following conversations are considerably shorter. When you consider all the in-flight wifi data we’ve saved these 2 with our brevity, it’s almost like they’ve found 50,000* new #sponsors. You may congratulate yourselves now.
* Predicted readership of this article, once you have all hit the ‘share’ buttons above to tell your friends and family about the great article you read on your coffee break today.

Corinne Abraham – 2015 Ironman Cozumel Champion in 9:06:40

websteyHello Corinne, and congratulations on your victory at IM Cozumel! Thank you so much for taking time to chat.
Your website says you trained with the Welsh Judo squad in your teens. This raises multiple questions:

  • are you, in fact, Welsh? If so, do you employ a translator to speak with your Uplace-BMC teammates?
  • how often are you tempted to throw down a nage waza on coach Sutto?
corinne-twitter Yes, I am in fact Welsh. Most definitely Welsh. There were no communication problems in the team, mostly my team mates & I communicated with hand signals and gestures across the dinner table (pass the salt please etc). That, and pie charts and histograms to compare our daily training data. Food and triathlon have fairly common vernacular between languages 🙂
You know Coach Sutto is of a boxing background right?! Pretty sure our fighting days are over. No, no nage waza from me any more. Having said that, when I was at home visiting my parents, I did go back to my old judo club and spend a couple of hours on the mat. Best to keep the skills there just incase they are needed again one day…
websteyYou had a solid season this year, with a 5th at IMTX and 3rd a few weeks ago at 70.3 Austin. However, this women’s field was very strong, and you had an operation just 10 weeks prior. Were you 100% racing for a win here, or just testing yourself and hoping for the best? Do you think your coach expected you to win?
corinne-twitterI was just happy to be fit & well, on the start line and ready to race. No curve balls, just training and racing for the 9 weeks of gradual preparation for Cozumel. I certainly wasn’t expecting to win, & I’m pretty sure Brett wasn’t either. Also, when can you ever ‘expect’ the win? You never know what the other athletes are going to bring to the table on race day and to expect anything would be to underestimate them as athletes I think.
websteyThis victory sets you up pretty well for next year, points-wise. Will Kona be your main focus in 2016? If so, what will you expect from yourself in your 2nd pro Kona appearance?
corinne-twitterI don’t know yet, I’ve not decided on the plan for next season.
websteyA friend who raced Cozumel reported that she “missed the current” on the swim, and kept getting forced off course. Did you have any issues with the Cozumel currents, or is 6 minutes a normal deficit for you heading onto the bike?
corinne-twitterI’m not sure to be honest. I’m not experienced in swimming that course or that stretch of water so I’m not familiar with where the current should or shouldn’t be, and whether it was or wasn’t there! One day I hope to be closer to the front girls in the swim, but based on previous race performances, this was a fairly ‘normal’ deficit for me starting the bike.
websteyWhich is harder: running a 3:07 in the Mexican sun, or breaking out of a well-placed Juji gatame (cross-lock)?
corinne-twitterHard is hard is hard – you can make it as hard or as easy as you like 🙂
websteyWould you like to thank any of your sponsors, without whom this victory would have been impossible?
corinne-twitterI would never have gotten into this sport were it not for Rob my boyfriend, & so I have much to thank him for. There have been countless people who have supported me emotionally and through coaching, advice giving or financial and product support and I wouldn’t have made it to the end of 2015 without their support either. Of course I’ve had the amazing opportunity to race with the UPlace-BMC team for the past two years and that has been an invaluable experience.
websteyThank you so much for your time Corinne. Enjoy your off-season, and all the best in 2016!
corinne-twitterNo worries! Thanks again for getting in touch.

Stefan Schmid – 2015 Ironman Cozumel Champion in 8:12:27

websteyHi Stefan. Congratulations on your first professional Ironman victory – you must be begeistert! 
Another Ironman, another German winner – do you think we (Germany and Canada) should let the USA win some races next year? Follow-up: how many times have you heard the term “German uber-biker” over the past 24 hours?
schmid-twitter-thumbHi Aaron, thanks a lot. Yes, I am very happy! I dreamed about winning an Ironman for many years. Last Sunday this dream finally came true! (I did my first triathlon in 1998, my first Ironman in 2007). As I already have some US fans and I really want to keep them and get more I should probably say yes, we should let the USA win some races. As long as it is a race where I am not on the startline I am fine with that.
To be honest this is the first time I hear the term “German uber-biker”. My bike performance is improving every race but there still is a lot of work to do to call myself an uber-biker.
websteyIt looked like American uber-patriot Matt Russell was gaining pretty quickly for a while on the run.  How worried were you about getting run down and passed by the star-spangled shorts? When were you sure you had it in the bag?
schmid-twitter-thumbMatt’s run was impressive! Every time I saw him at the turnarounds I thought holy crap, this might get a really close one. It was somewhere around 40k where I knew I had it in the bag. And I was very happy to make that left turn onto the finish-line alone. I still have nightmares thinking about Ironman Chattanooga. A sprint finish after more then 8hrs of racing is something nobody wants!
websteyYour 3rd place in Chattanooga this year must have been a great confidence builder. Even so, this was a strong field – especially for such a late-season race. Would you have been happy with another podium, or was victory the only definition of success for you in Cozumel?
schmid-twitter-thumbAfter 3 Ironman podiums (2nd Wisconsin 2011 / 3rd Brasil 2013 / 3rd Chattanooga 2015) the goal definitely was the victory. I knew that on paper I don’t have a big chance but the season was long for everyone of us and the conditions in Cozumel are brutal.
websteyOn your website, you say (according to Google Translate), “I want to be in Hawaii at the top of the podium also in the pros.”  Assuming all Germans behave exactly like this story I heard once, in precisely what year will you win your first Ironman World Championship?  Should you at least wait until you’re 30, to make it fair for everybody else?
schmid-twitter-thumbPuh… hard to say! Top10 in 2016, Top5 in 2017 and the Kona win in 2018 sounds like a plan. No, I really don’t know. It is a big dream to win Kona but you never know. On the one hand there is still a hell of a lot of work to do, especially in the first discipline. On the other side there are so many world class triathletes who never won Kona. It is the World Championship, everybody is in his best shape and you only have one chance a year. 
websteyFinally, it wouldn’t be a TRS Triathlon interview if I didn’t ask – who is your triathlon backpfeifengesicht?  Follow-up: isn’t it actually Matt Curbeau, and isn’t that why he “mysteriously” got 3 or more flats in Cozumel?
schmid-twitter-thumbYeah. I love that question! You might be surprised but it is not Matt. My triathlon backpfeifengesicht is a guy I saw in Cozumel. I don’t know his name. It was 2 days before the race. I had dinner in the italian buffet restaurant in my hotel. This guy grabbed noodles from the pasta buffet with his fingers and ate them right away. That is disgusting. An absolute no go. There are big spoons at every buffet and they are there for a reason.
websteyWould you like to thank any or all of your sponsors who helped make this possible?
schmid-twitter-thumbYes, of course! My main sponsor is “Forever Living Products”, the worldwide largest producer of Aloe Vera Products. Their main product for endurance athletes and triathletes is ARGI+, an supplement with the amino acid L-Arginine. It definitely shortens my recovery time. A big thank you also goes to Scott and Profile Design for providing me with top material. And not to forget Weckerle Companies (global leader in Cosmetic Machine Manufacturing). Thomas, the CEO of the company is a massive sports fan and supports me since many years! Without their support this would not have been possible.
websteyThank you very much for your time Stefan, and herzliche glückwünsche once again.
schmid-twitter-thumbVielen Dank!

About the Author

Aaron 'King of All Technology' Webstey is a former ITU triathlete and current dadbod owner. If your social media posts have been 'liked' by @AaronWebstey, you might be a triathlete.