Mark Allen's Ironman predictions about the Germans

Mark Allen's Ironman predictions about the Germans

Post by Mark Linenbe » Sat, 21 Sep 1996 04:00:00


Outside magazine, October 1996

                          Sport: From Wurst to First

                          Propelled by Eastern Bloc training methods
and a zest for junk food, a
                          trio of Germans looks to sweep the Ironman

                          By Lolly Merrell

                          It's midnight in Worms, Germany, and
European Ironman champion Lothar Leder is in the midst
                          of his rest-and-recovery regimen: channel
surfing in his two-bedroom apartment. "We've got
                          Oprah now," he says flatly. "I'm not too
crazy about her." He reaches for a pint of ice cream,
                          which he spoons out in big dollops. "In
fact, I think German television is much better."

                          But then, the 25-year-old Leder and the rest
of his government-sponsored Deutsch Tri Union
                          squad feel much the same about their
approach to the sport: The German way is superior.
                          Indeed, with its focus on camaraderie,
patriotic fervor, and, surprisingly, a junk-food-laden
                          training table, the German take on triathlon
stands in stark contrast to the monasticism of the
                          American variety, as established by Dave
Scott and Mark Allen during the 1980s. And like it or
                          not, on the 26th of this month there may be
no avoiding the Germans, with Leder and
                          compatriots Thomas Hellriegel and Rainer
Mller all considered top contenders to win the 19th
                          annual Hawaii Ironman.

                          Hellriegel, 25, made his mark in last year's
race, finishing second, a mere two minutes behind
                          Allen. The 29-year-old Mller, something of
a showboat who spent the first ten minutes of the
                          running leg annoying Allen with nonstop
chatter, finished third, only five minutes out. Then there's
                          Leder, the eighth-place finisher in 1995,
who this July in Roth, Germany, not only bettered the
                          existing Ironman-distance world record set
by Scott in 1989, but broke through the sport's
                          mythic eight-hour barrier. With only two
past winners in the field--40-year-old two-time
                          champion Scott Tinley and 1994 victor Greg
Welch of Australia--it's not surprising that many
                          observers predict the Germans will finish
one-two-three. "Things are certainly different now,"
                          admits seven-time winner Allen, who retired
from competition after last year's race. "Frankly, the
                          Germans scare me."

                          Of course, there are those who say that a
good scare is just what the Ironman needs after more
                          than a decade of predictability. In winning
13 of the last 17 years, Allen and Scott did more than
                          simply dominate the event. They created
triathlon in their own image, establishing the standards
                          that thousands would mimic as the sport
caught on: obsessively monitored, carbohydrate-laden
                          diets; finely tuned, solitary training
regimens; and a soft-spoken, even-keeled demeanor. In the
                          early years, this cult of personality was a
great boon to the sport, but more recently, it had
                          become a bit stale.

                          Then the Germans burst onto the scene. "They
just don't do it like the Americans, or anyone else
                          for that matter," explains Tim Yount of
U.S.A. Triathlon. "They're of a different mindset, filled
                          with nationalistic pride." For example, the
squad enjoys 15 weeks of togetherness at DTU
                          training camps each year, sleeping in
dormitory bunks, singing team songs, and working out eight
                          hours a day. Here, under a veil of secrecy,
coach Steffen Grosse pokes, prods, and monitors his
                          charges, keeping tabs on everything from
resting heart rates to *** lactate levels.

                          But curiously, with so much science and
mystery behind their training ("I will not reveal anything,"
                          maintains Grosse, who honed his techniques
in the eighties as coach of East Germany's junior
                          national cycling team, "except to say that
we believe in working hard"), the German approach in
                          some areas seems haphazard to say the least.
While many extol the virtues of active rest, for
                          instance, their recovery program consists of
nothing more than couch time. As others bemoan
                          the effects of overtraining, Leder and
Hellriegel boast that they recently sneaked away from
                          training camp to log a few extra miles on
their bikes. And then there is the matter of the
                          Germans' infamous diet.

                          "They say they use a commonsense approach,"
says Ian Sweet, who covers triathlon for the
                          London Times. "And low-fat sausage is just
not part of the plan." Clearly. Leder's prerace meal
                          the day he broke the world record consisted
of two pepperoni pizzas and a plate of spaghetti,
                          washed down with a stein of pilsner. "I
wouldn't eat a PowerBar," says Leder, "unless I
                          absolutely had to."

                          While no one seems to question the Germans'
talent, it's precisely this sort of defiance that leaves
                          a few old-school triathletes skeptical. The
Germans may win, they say, but only because of the
                          vacuum left by the absence of the Great
Ones. Even Allen, who offers nothing but praise for the
                          German juggernaut, says that this year he'll
still put his money elsewhere. "I'd watch out for
                          Welch," Allen says. "After all, he's been on
the podium before, and in the Ironman, that counts
                          for a lot."

                          Copyright 1996, Outside magazine

 
 
 

Mark Allen's Ironman predictions about the Germans

Post by Paulo Ferreira de Sous » Mon, 23 Sep 1996 04:00:00

Outside magazine, October 1996

Sport: From Wurst to First

Propelled by Eastern Bloc training methods and a zest for junk food, a
trio of Germans looks to sweep the Ironman

By Lolly Merrell

It's midnight in Worms, Germany, and European Ironman champion Lothar
Leder is in the midst of his rest-and-recovery regimen: channel surfing
in his two-bedroom apartment. "We've got Oprah now," he says flatly.
"I'm not too crazy about her." He reaches for a pint of ice cream, which
he spoons out in big dollops. "In fact, I think German television is
much better." But then, the 25-year-old Leder and the rest of his
government-sponsored Deutsch Tri Union squad feel much the same about
their approach to the sport: The German way is superior. Indeed, with
its focus on camaraderie, patriotic fervor, and, surprisingly, a
junk-food-laden training table, the German take on triathlon stands in
stark contrast to the monasticism of the American variety, as
established by Dave Scott and Mark Allen during the 1980s. And like it
or not, on the 26th of this month there may be no avoiding the Germans,
with Leder and compatriots Thomas Hellriegel and Rainer Mller all
considered top contenders to win the 19th annual Hawaii Ironman.
Hellriegel, 25, made his mark in last year's race, finishing second, a
mere two minutes behind Allen. The 29-year-old Mller, something of a
showboat who spent the first ten minutes of the running leg annoying
Allen with nonstop chatter, finished third, only five minutes out. Then
there's Leder, the eighth-place finisher in 1995, who this July in Roth,
Germany, not only bettered the existing Ironman-distance world record
set by Scott in 1989, but broke through the sport's mythic eight-hour
barrier. With only two past winners in the field--40-year-old two-time
champion Scott Tinley and 1994 victor Greg Welch of Australia--it's not
surprising that many observers predict the Germans will finish
one-two-three. "Things are certainly different now," admits seven-time
winner Allen, who retired from competition after last year's race.
"Frankly, the Germans scare me." Of course, there are those who say that
a good scare is just what the Ironman needs after more than a decade of
predictability. In winning 13 of the last 17 years, Allen and Scott did
more than simply dominate the event. They created triathlon in their own
image, establishing the standards that thousands would mimic as the
sport caught on: obsessively monitored, carbohydrate-laden diets; finely
tuned, solitary training regimens; and a soft-spoken, even-keeled
demeanor. In the early years, this cult of personality was a great boon
to the sport, but more recently, it had become a bit stale. Then the
Germans burst onto the scene. "Theyjust don't do it like the Americans,
or anyone else for that matter," explains Tim Yount of U.S.A. Triathlon.
"They're of a different mindset, filled with nationalistic pride." For
example, the squad enjoys 15 weeks of togetherness at DTU training camps
each year, sleeping in dormitory bunks, singing team songs, and working
out eight hours a day. Here, under a veil of secrecy, coach Steffen
Grosse pokes, prods, and monitors his charges, keeping tabs on
everything from resting heart rates to *** lactate levels. But
curiously, with so much science and mystery behind their training ("I
will not reveal anything," maintains Grosse, who honed his techniques in
the eighties as coach of East Germany's junior national cycling team,
"except to say that we believe in working hard"), the German approach in
 some areas seems haphazard to say the least. While many extol the
virtues of active rest, for instance, their recovery program consists of
nothing more than couch time. As others bemoan the effects of
overtraining, Leder and Hellriegel boast that they recently sneaked away
from training camp to log a few extra miles on their bikes. And then
there is the matter of the Germans' infamous diet. "They say they use a
commonsense approach," says Ian Sweet, who covers triathlon for the
London Times. "And low-fat sausage is just not part of the plan."
Clearly. Leder's prerace meal the day he broke the world record
consisted of two pepperoni pizzas and a plate of spaghetti, washed down
with a stein of pilsner. "I wouldn't eat a PowerBar," says Leder,
"unless I absolutely had to." While no one seems to question the
Germans' talent, it's precisely this sort of defiance that leaves a few
old-school triathletes skeptical. The Germans may win, they say, but
only because of the vacuum left by the absence of the Great Ones. Even
Allen, who offers nothing but praise for the German juggernaut, says
that this year he'll still put his money elsewhere. "I'd watch out for
Welch," Allen says. "After all, he's been on the podium before, and in
the Ironman, that counts for a lot."

                          Copyright 1996, Outside magazine

 
 
 

Mark Allen's Ironman predictions about the Germans

Post by TUCKERN » Wed, 25 Sep 1996 04:00:00


Quote:

>Outside magazine, October 1996

>Sport: From Wurst to First

>Propelled by Eastern Bloc training methods and a zest for junk food, a
>trio of Germans looks to sweep the Ironman

>By Lolly Merrell

Although Lolly's review is a fresh look at Ironman compared to Outside's
Marty DuGard, she unfortunately does not make any predictions about the
women's race.  How about Karen Smyers-Isabelle Mouthon-Gina Derks!

Tucker Newberry