Caroline Steffen (nicknamed “Xena”) described her future plans in an interview with NZZ:
The „Neue Zürcher Zeitung“ (or NZZ for short) is a respectable Swiss newspaper (some more info about NZZ on wikipedia). As the tweet and the interview were published in German, it seems that the interesting points have not been picked up by the mainly English speaking triathlon press. Here is a quick translation of the main points.
Q: [What happened in Kona?] You started as the favourite and finished 5th.
A: Everything went bad. I don’t know why. I have to take some time to analyse the race.
Q: After the swim you were in the lead group on the bike. Then you had stomach problems.
A: I vomited multiple times on the second half of the bike and also on the run. I don’t know why. Some other top athletes were affected as well. Maybe we picked up something from the ocean? I don’t know.
Q: So you don’t believe it was because of nutrition problem? After all you didn’t get your special needs bag with your own drink after 90k on the bike.
A: That’s right, but it’s not important. In an Ironman, there are 2000 athletes who want to get their special needs, and it’s normal if things go wrong. I don’t rely on it and always have a plan B.
Q: What’s your plan B in this situation?
A: To use the drink that is supplied by the race organisers. I’ll try it in training to be safe. Of course my own mix would have been ideal, but what else could I do? Stop? I was in the lead group, so that was impossible. Turning around? I don’t know if that would have been legal.
Q: You felt better towards the end of the marathon, overtook some others and finished fifth. What would have been possible without the stomach problems?
A: Second or third, but certainly not winning. Mirinda Carfrae was unbeatable on race day, just look at her marathon time 2:50, faster than the men’s winner.
Plans for 2014
Q: You are 35. How much more time do you give yourself for the big goal of winning Kona?
A: Two years.
Q: Are you going to change anything for next season?
A: I will no longer start for Team TBB but under my own name. I’ll have better opportunities to acquire sponsors. I’m in the middle of negotiations.
Q: Will you also leave TBB-coach Brett Sutton?
A: At the moment, I can’t say anything to that.