Hottest and Fastest couple in Triathlon: teamTBB's Xena and DD
For those who haven't been paying attention, there is a new fastest Ironman couple in triathlon. Now that Chrissy has retired, Caroline Steffen, aka Xena, has stepped up winning IM Melbourne in dominating fasion as has her partner Aussie strongman Dave Dellow who had a breakthrough last year at Noosa Triathlon and followed that up with a 5th at Ironman Melbourne and win at Koh Samui. While everyone has been looking at those other high profile couples, Xena, CS, and Dave, DD, have been putting in the hard yards and building up their training and results. Anyone not watching results and just watching magazines might not realize that this pair are already taking the Ironman world by storm. We talked to Xena and Dave about triathlon, love, and more. Catch up with them here cause you certainly won't catch them on the race course, they'll be miles down the road.
How did you get into triathlon?
CS: A two days adventure race in 2005 brought me closer to the triathlon, specifically to the long distance. I raced my first Ironman 1 year later in 2006 and got qualified for Kona where I finished on the 3th place AK 25-30. I've always said I would come back to Kona but next time as a PRO. I came back 4 years later, as a PRO and finished 2nd.
DD: My older sister was the first in our family to do triathlon. I watched her race a few times and then decided to give it a go myself.
Tell us about your first race?
CS: Oh, it was a little Olympic Distance race in Switzerland. The race felt long and never ending. I got pretty sore on the bike and really fatigued and exhausted in the run.
DD: My first race was so long ago I can barley remember, I think it would have been one of the the old Milo triathlons at Sutton's Beach near Redcliffe Brisbane.
What advice would you give to anyone trying to make the move into triathlon from a single discipline sport?
CS: Do not neglect the discipline which you think you`re good in. I made this mistake at it took me years to get my swim stroke back.
DD: Trying to learn 2 new disciples at any age let alone if your in your 30's or even older id very difficult so my advise would be a) it's going to take time so have a some patience and b) work with an experienced triathlon coach, this will prevent you from falling into many of the traps that can hinder a new athlete.
How did you guys meet? Was it love at first triathlon?
CS: We meet each other in Australia where I was based for a 3 month trainings camp.
DD: We actually met pretty late in the night at a triathlon after party, it was at the 70.3 world champs in Clearwater 2008. I was pretty impressed when I saw Caroline for the first time.
What is it that you love about the sport that keeps you going, especially during hard times of injury, constant travel etc?
CS: Passion. I can do what I love and get paid for it, how great and unique is this?!
DD: Avoiding the 'real world' has probably been one of the major motivators with staying in triathlon over the years, I think I would really struggle sitting at a computer all day. There defiantly has been some downs over the years but I still love the training, the people you meet and I've been to places with triathlon that I never would have visited otherwise.
You‘ve obviously traveled the world a lot, where are your favorite places to live and train?
CS: Mooloolaba and Leysin. The places could not be more opposites. It`s a privilege to have both options.
DD: my favourite place to live and train is at my home in Mooloolaba. The team stays in Leysin, Switzerland a few months of the year as well in the Swiss alps and that's just awesome up there.
What are your favorite training sessions?
CS: Depends of fitness and mood. At the moment I like my long runs and listening to my music.
DD: I love the long run. I like doing it by myself so I can just cruise along some trails and take in the scenery.
Both being professional triathletes. What are the benefits of being able to understand you're partners job and stress, and do you both ever find it hard to switch off from ‘work’?
CS: We are having the same daily schedule, it make it of course much easier. I know what he is going through everyday as so does he, it means we dont have to explain each other. For me, it is hard to switch off. I know I should do better.
DD: It defiantly helps having a partner who understands triathlon, I've had some girl friends in the past who didn't know the first thing about triathlon and it was a bit of a nightmare. I never find it hard to switch off from triathlon, Caroline and I have a good time together and we actually never talk about training or racing.
Going into IM Melbourne did you have a race plan? Did it work to plan?
CS: Yes, I stick precisely to coach Brett’s plan this time. Did it work? It looks like yes it did.
DD: I didn't have much of a plan going into Melbourne, I'm still new to long course so my plan was to go with the flow and pace myself.
Did you see one another during the race?
CS: I watched out for him on the bike and I saw he is in the front group. The way he was riding, he looked concentrated and quite confident, gave myself a boost as well.
DD: I saw Caroline on the 2nd lap of the bike and I'd barley taking anytime out of her. I started to get worried then because I couldn't live with myself if i got chicked by my own girlfriend.
How sweet was it seeing each other at the finish and both having such amazing days?
CS: I never expected to see him as fresh he was. We both had a perfect day and it was nice to celebrate at the finish line together. Daves performance was just sensational. He showed a remarkably strong and very smart race. I`m convinced there is way much more to come.
DD: It was great to see Caroline after the finish in Melbourne, she put in an awesome performance and I could tell she was really happy.
What have you learned from each other as far as training and racing triathlons?
CS: He changed my life and teach me how I have to live the life of an professional.
DD: I've learnt a lot from Caroline over the past 3 years. She is very professional with her training and also the other side of the sport like how she deals with sponsors etc.
At Kona, will you both be racing? Will you be looking for each other out in the lava fields?
CS: I really hope we can do the whole preparation together and race in Kona. Oh, how could I not.
DD: We'll both be in Kona for 2012 and I'll defiantly be looking out for Caroline on race day.
What skills/qualities do you think you’ve gained from being a full-time athlete that you could take into the next stage of your life, and what do you think you will do when you retire from triathlon?
CS: Discipline, unique emotions, determination, mental strength and a lot of friends for lifetime
DD: Triathlon is an individual sport so I think training for tri's full time instils a discipline in you that makes you take responsibility for yourself. In triathlon you can't rely on other team mates to put in a good performance like Rugby or soccer, it's all up to you in Triathlon. I have no plans yet for life after triathlon.