As a writer I absolutely LOVE TO INTERVIEW. I love to learn about people, I love to tell their story, mostly because I know I can in a way they might not be able to. I love to highlight achievements, I love to give accolades….. it makes me feel like Santa Claus!!! The best part about it, I get to choose the people I interview. I always choose people who, I admire, who inspire me, because I know they have something to give this world.
I have known Curt Eggers for 15 years, and have been married to him for 10. Honestly he is the most inspiring person I know, and not just because we share a marriage and a family. He’s got a history in this sport unmatched by many. Not only has he done Kona, he’s a sub ten Ironman guy at the age of 53, he’s been to more world championships than I can even remember, and he’s taken home the National Champ age group title over five times.
He’s a man with incredible humility, incredible perspective and a grasp on reality and life that I wish many half his age could.
Last Sunday Curt won his age group at the USAT National Age Group Championships in Burlington Vermont…… and I got the chance to sit down and talk with him about his race!!!!
This is not the first time you have earned an age group national champion title…… what did this mean to you?
I find myself to be very lucky!!! When I turned 50 I won Du nationals and Tri Nationals in the same year, which was a dream come true. I was able to repeat the Du title the following year and got Bronze in Triathlon. I thought it was going to be a one shot deal with triathlon for Gold.
The remainder of the 50-54 years was another Bronze for Triathlon and then a discouraging 12th as a 53 year old. I decided to take a Nationals break for a year.
I made a hard push this year to have my best fitness going into the race as a 55-year-old. When I finished the race , I did not know I won, until Todd Smith a fellow triathlete from Rochester told me.
I broke down and teared up a bit…… I couldn’t believe I pulled it off against my competition, that included two past Nationals Champions and two World Medalists. Anyone in the top ten of the age group has a shot at pulling it off.
I am still pinching myself.
Tell us a little bit about your preparation. We know you are not a qualitative athlete, how do you measure progress?
Progress is usually off of perceived effort. I do timed intervals with running, such as 8 x 800 meters on 3:00 minutes (more like 3:10),usually on a trail. I stopped track workouts years ago.
Swimming is usually done with sets of 100’s done on effort. On the Bike, timed sets of perceived effort. I do take a peak at wattage with the computrainer and try to hit a certain number for all the sets, but not real strict.
Outside rides are only timed for the whole ride. No bike computer or heart rate monitor. A big help this year was training with my good friend Brian Emelson. It helped me greatly trying to keep up with a 45 year old, in all the disciplines. We really had some good runs, bricks and races against each other. Sometimes I have to take a break training with him (too fast for me) or I will end up broken.
What kind of taper do you follow for this event?
Probably not the best, I will have to pick a favorite QT2 coach of mine for a better plan next year (my hawt wife). My attempt was a two-week taper, 30 percent drop the first week with a 50 percent drop the second week. I think I might have overdid it going into the race with racing and training. It’s a fine line between peak performance and going over the edge with over-training. I felt my time could have been better, but we all feel that way, don’t we, after we race?
Do you think you get CRANKY during your taper?
I get cranky, by just getting up out of bed! YEA, my wife is never cranky during her taper. (She’s too much fun!). It’s also nerves going into the big race. Five years is a long time between titles. My wife knows how to push my button, she will say “Good morning!” and I will say “What the heck to you mean by that!” Lucky for me, she understands me and what this event means to me. She’s an angel!
Walk us through your race on Sunday…….
I was going to focus on 3 guys in the race, being ahead of anyone of them would put me in good position. Two were past national champions and the 3rd was 3rd at last year’s world’s. Good guys to focus on, eh?
Kevin, Mike and Doug (the medalists) were the guys I could key off of, if I could find them. Not so easy in the multiple waves starts. My swim is my weakest event so the objective was to keep up with the leaders going into transition, which I was able to do. Out on the bike , I noticed Doug just ahead of me and I passed him at about 2 miles in. Then it was keying off the younger folks (35-44 age group) in the race, pass one, go for the next. At mile of the bike 8, a 57-year-old rocket goes by me and its Mike doing his speciality at his best (uber-biker). I could not keep up, so I went back into my hurt locker trying to pick off the younger racers.
Things were going well into I got passed by a 56-year-old around mile 12. This time I could hang , we did a couple of passes on each other. With about 2 miles left I let him lead into transition, I was hoping my running legs would still be there. Running out of transition you have a monster hill of about a quarter-mile in length. I re-passed my fellow age grouper and at that time (I did not know) I was in 2nd place. Around 3 miles down, I see Mike the uber biker and I am gaining ground. I pass, and say , awesome bike, you went by me like a mailbox! He gave me some encouragement and said I got it and I pushed on trying to gain a gap. I checked on Mikes position with a look-see on a turn and I had some cushion. Now it was time to push harder and stay relaxed. STAY RELAXED. I locked down on a 42 year old and he paced me all the way in. I sprinted the last 100 yards, just to make sure I did not get outkicked by someone sneaking up on me. I had no idea I won. It was a great and pleasant surprise!!
Tell us a bit how you and your super awesome wife balance triathlon and family. How do you find balance?
I train, sleep, work , eat and let Mary do alllll the house work and most of the Luc duty.
Actually it is a bit of a juggle. Most of my bikes are done in the morning before Luc starts his day. These are done inside on the computrainer. I usually get one to two outside rides outside , for the road feel. Swim is at lunch time and the run is usually from 5 to 6. Just recently Luc is riding his bike with us on our runs, which is a big plus for all of us. Mary is much tougher, much of the time she gets a lot of her workouts done before I start mine (3am!!!!)
Your son has been racing throughout the season…. what are your thoughts on his triathlon career?
He likes doing it and we never forced it on him. Each race I progressively do less for him, he knows how to stage his gear in transition and go thru the events with little assistance now. I can keep up with him anyway, so he has to do it. Learning to ride his bike with Lose the Training Wheels was a big step forward. We want him to have fun and like being fit.
In our local races you are consistently right up there with guys half your age, you have been in this sport for 20 years…… what is the secret to your consistency and speed?
I think I have been blessed with the genes of longevity, similar to my friend Tom Dutton (65-69), who by the way won Silver this past weekend at Nationals. I think it comes down to moderation. I have completed in all the distances up to Ironman. I usually stay with sprint races and Olympic distance racing, it allows for faster recovery with less pounding. I take a big down season, with a big break from running and swimming. I replace that with hikes with my family, friends and dog Cocoa!
Cocoa cannot wait for my off season! I usually mountain bike, dabble at cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, use the rower and elliptical at the gym along with strength training. The official program usually starts up again in January. I love off-season, your hard-earned fitness lets you play. You cannot maintain your race fitness year round, you would blow up (overtraining).
Sometimes we hear in passing some of the younger guys in the sport claim “I beat Curt Eggers!!!!!!”. for years you have had a target on your back, and you are consistently finishing right up there with guys you could be the father of. How do you deal with that?
I take it as a huge compliment! I could be most of these guy’s dad, so being able to hold on to them by a few minutes is great for me.
I think as endurance athletes, our abilities (speed) starts a slow decent around 40 and decline increases at 50. My objective is to reduce my loss of speed each year. I cannot get faster only slower. My best times were at 40 years old when I did a 1:59:53 Olympic distance at the Canadian Nationals. Dennis Moriarity (50-54) in his prime, did times that would spin your head, consistently in the the low to mid 50′s ie 1:54:01. Dennis and I are now happy if we can do a 2:10. Too bad races were not age graded, if they were Tom Dutton (65-69) of Livonia would win all of them.
Congrats again Curt!!!!