Hardly surprising after the last 11 months, but Kristian Blummenfelt says he feels “maybe a little bit unbeatable” heading into Sunday’s SUB7 showdown with Joe Skipper in Germany.
The Norwegian megastar has claimed Olympic gold, WTCS glory, the IRONMAN World Championship AND the fastest ever time over the Ironman distance – all since July 2021.
In St George last month the 28-year-old from Bergen was still recovering from a respiratory infection when he produced that terrific run to become the sport’s king over the full distance.
‘Big Blu’ full of confidence
He said afterwards: “I was thinking two weeks ago that If I’m able to win here in St George, then nobody has a chance in Hawaii”.
Before Kona in October comes this SUB7 clash with Skipper in Germany on Sunday, and Blummenfelt is high on confidence, despite forecasting a 7:00 finish time – some 13 minutes slower than Skipper’s target of 6:47. He has to be trolling us, right?
Thursday saw Blummenfelt and late stand-in Skipper take centre stage for the final press conference – complete with boxing-style staredown (see above).
‘Big Blu’ was in typically confident mood, admitting: “It’s all good, coming here and seeing the team coming together, gives me confidence – I would say I’m more confident in this than heading into St George, so maybe yes, a little bit, in long distance!”
SUB7 bid is a team game
While Skipper was only announced as the replacement for the injured Alistair Brownlee on Monday, Blummenfelt has preparing for this challenge for a long time. He has an elite team behind him, and the work in the background has been long and intensive.
He admitted: “It’s a combination of a lot of things, a two-year journey first of all to find a good pacing team, the bike is the crucial part in the race.
“Getting in contact with Matt (Bottrill), who has been building the team, and we’ve had a lot of support from Cadex – we have a special bike for this event. Also all the testing we do, we have had almost a year of long-distance training, we are learning almost week by week.”
Blummenfelt was quick to emphasise the team aspect of this challenge – the pacers involved and the way they all gel as a group will be crucial to the end results. Throw in the scientific research and fine-tuning and it is a monstrous effort by all.
“It’s not just about me and Joe, it is about having really good people around you. Having the science on our side, been working with Olav (Aleksander Bu) for years now, really trying to understand what we can do to prepare for an Ironman distance and how to fine-tune the engine to really be able to be racing for seven hours instead of just finishing the distance. So yeah, it’s been crucial.”
The appliance of science
That appliance of science has been a feature of the rise of Blummenfelt and compatriot Gustav Iden, and Kristian had no doubts about the answer when asked what was the strangest thing Bu had asked him to do.
“We haven’t done it yet but he wants to collect my poo to measure how much of the calories is left after I’ve eaten them, and combined with measuring the pee to see how much I’ve been burning over the night.
“So far we’ve just been measuring the pee over a two-week period.”
Blummenfelt has raised eyebrows by saying he believes a 2:20 marathon is possible on Sunday, and he maintains it remains in scope.
“I think 2:25 is the safe zone, I did 3:45 pace in St George, a very hilly one, I think if I kind of equal that to a flat course it’s closer to 3:30 per k. I think we can even drop that with the help of the bike team, so hopefully we’re looking at 3:25 per k. If I’m feeling fresh and good maybe we can drop it down to 3:20 per k.”