Once upon a time a young and beautiful professional triathlete got invited to race the Escape from Alcatraz. She accepted and asked if her boyfriend could be a plus one. At the race, no one knew the plus one including the Race Director who repeatedly asked his name because he kept forgetting it. The plus one shocked everyone by defeating six-time champion Andy Potts by two seconds. After crossing the finish line, the Race Director grabbed the newly crowned champion and asked, “OK, seriously who are you and what’s going on?”
On June 12, Eric Lagerstrom will defend his 2015 title in what promises to be an epic rematch with Andy Potts. Eric’s girlfriend, Magali Tisseyre will also be racing. According to Eric, “Our dream is to end up on the podium together.”
byteclay.com recently spoke with Eric so that our readers and the Race Director will know what is going on.
Mark Davis: Your “A” race this year will hopefully be the Olympics.
Eric Lagerstrom: I’m thinking about it that way. Racing is pretty unpredictable and sitting and thinking about all the possible eventualities puts me in a mental headlock. I do a lot better if I enjoy life and train and be in the process. I discovered a long time ago that no matter what happens as long as I am happy, then the race is going to go fine. It’s when I get all concerned about what might happen and think about it, things go in the other direction.
MD: You started triathlon at an early age.
EL: Yeah, I did my first triathlon when I was twelve. Andy Potts, Greg Bennett and Hunter Kemper were my heroes. I spent a fair amount of time watching them.
MD: How old are you?
EL: I’m twenty-six.
MD: Have you ever done an Ironman or half-Ironman?
MD: Do you ever use a CompuTrainer?
EL: As little as I possibly can. I moved to California from Portland, Oregon specifically to get out into the sunshine and train on the road every day. I understand the value and I’ll do a couple of workouts a year on the CompuTrainer but I’m pretty miserable every time I do it. I like feeling the wind in my face and going fast as the result of the power I put out. I think I put my trademark stamp on Alcatraz by utilizing the technical downhills to recover in the middle of the race as everyone else was using their brakes.
MD: Who do you see as your main rivals in this year’s Escape?
EL: Andy Potts, Ben Kanute also an Olympic hopeful, he’s also a good bike handler so that will pay off for him. Greg Bennett, at the Beijing Triathlon last year, it was not the fastest swim, he came out right with me and a couple of other guys and he put a big move on in the bike and came off the bike about a minute in front of us. I can see him doing that again on the Alcatraz course. He’s a real savvy guy, so we’ll see. Like I said, there’s so many scenarios that could play out with one person being off the front or one big group or whatever it’s going to be pretty fun. But I would expect the main part of the race that is happening is a group of four or so.
MD: How far out are we from the Olympic trials?
EL: The May 15 ITU World Triathlon Yokohama is the final points race for the U.S. Assuming I qualify for the Olympics, then I will shut it all down and just prepare for the Olympics. If I don’t then maybe, I’ll try some 70.3s with Magali.
MD: Then you should know before Alcatraz whether you made the Olympic team.
MD: Based on your point standing today, do you have a good shot?
EL: Yeah, if nothing changes, I’m on the team. The one person who has the potential to overtake me is Ben Kanute. It will come down to that Yokahama race. It’s a pretty intense process.
Next up: Eric’s chief rival, six-time Escape champion Andy Potts. Stay tuned…