Duffy reveals weakness for burgers and fries
Champion triathlete Flora Duffy has a weakness for burgers and fries and likes to indulge a little bit after a race.
The current world champion of three events, ITU, XTERRA and ITU Cross, knows the importance of good nutrition and usually eats the same thing before every race ... rice, avocado and banana. But once the competition is over she splurges a little.
“Lately I've been craving burgers and fries after races,” Duffy revealed in an interview on trizone.com.au, an Australian website dedicated to triathlon. “At the Maui Xterra, there's a great burger bar on the beach. Me and [boyfriend] Dan got burgers and milkshakes. I always crave really good burgers.”
After her most successful year in triathlon, Duffy is gearing up to defend her titles in 2017. Tritone caught up with her to talk about her success and her plans for the year. Despite being top of her game, Duffy has remained humble, appreciating her home country and the support she gets back home.
“I spent one and a half years as a typical college kid that liked to party, then I had an epiphany and realised I wanted to get back into triathlon in 2010,” Duffy told Trizone. After competing at the Beijing Olympics in “a horrible race within a horrible year” in 2008, she moved back to Bermuda, took up a job in a retail shop, and started at the University of Colorado in Boulder before returning to the sport.
“My first race back was the High V in Des Moines,” she recalled. “All the big names were there. It went pretty well and propelled me back into racing.
“Now I'm racing full time, I have no idea how I finished university while I was training, but I did it. Until I finished school, though, I didn't fully realise the time and effort you need to put into training to get the most out of it.”
Bermudians were rooting for Duffy to bring home a medal from the Rio de Janeiro Olympics last year, but it did not materialise. Even so she remains the country's most successful international athlete, right up there with the best in the world.
“I felt a bit blah in the race,” Duffy said in the interview. “You want to have your greatest day at the Olympics. If I'd had my greatest day and finished eighth I'd be OK, but it wasn't the race I visualised having.”
Duffy charged into the swim with a strong start, but Nicola Spirig Hug of Switzerland was in good form.
“I wasn't expecting Nicola to swim so well,” Duffy said. “In the first lap of the bike I saw her next to me and I was like ‘hang on a minute, I didn't think this was going to happen!' I knew if I didn't get away in the first lap of the bike, I'd be a target — and I was.
“When I'd move there were five girls on me. Gwen and Nicola were truly amazing on the day. I went into Rio as a medal contender so everyone in Bermuda watched,” Duffy noted.
“When I went home in November, the reception I got was incredible. I'm a bit of an introvert, so at first I was like ‘oh my gosh!'”
Recognised everywhere in Bermuda from the supermarket to her favourite coffee shop, Duffy's eighth place finish was still appreciated, though it meant another four-year wait for a medal to add to the bronze Clarence Hill brought home in 1976.
“People came up and said ‘you don't realise the effect you've had on the island, it was incredible we could watch someone from Bermuda compete at that level in contention for Bermuda's first medal in 40 years',” explained Duffy who feels honoured by her new popularity.
“When I'm at the local coffee shop and people come up and say congratulations, it's very cool and pretty special,” she admitted.
Duffy's success last year and more this year could mean more interest from potential sponsors. Her main rival, Gwen Jorgensen, knows she has her work cut out trying to stay ahead of the Bermudian.
“Whenever I see Bermuda's little flag alongside the flag of a huge country like the US, I think ‘we're here, holding our own!',” Duffy said.
She attributed her three world titles — the only person to have won all three Xterra, ITU and ITU Cross races — to her approach to racing. “I got on the podium in 2016 with a very particular style of racing,” she revealed. “I'd attack the swim and bike, then run pretty well off the bike.”
After reaching the ultimate goal of becoming world champion in every discipline, Duffy is keen to keep improving by expanding her skill set. “I want to know that if I come off the bike with five girls, that I can outrun them,” she said. “Maybe not Gwen,” she added laughing.
“I don't want to just have one trick up my sleeve. I need to adapt and learn different tactics.”
Duffy will race a mix of Xterra and ITU this year. At the end of February, she will compete in Xterra, South Africa, and will then head to WTS Abu Dhabi in March. “From March to September, my season will be road-based with ITU,” she confirmed. “I'm excited to do Alcatraz [Escape from Alcatraz]. It's always been a bucket list race for me, so I'm really looking forward to that.
“Holly Lawrence and I share the same manager and when he suggested the two of us as reigning ITU and 70.3 World Champions go head-to-head, it added to the buzz of doing such an iconic race. I will also be racing Beijing International the week prior to Rotterdam which will be a new and exciting experience for me. Near the end of the year, following the ITU Grand Final in Rotterdam, I'll transition and prepare for Xterra in Maui.”
With all the successes and exposure of 2016 Duffy is certain to be a big attraction for sponsors this year. It is, after all, an important part of what helps pay the bills.
“Yes, we're professional athletes and we need to pay the bills so I'll never say no to getting more money, of course!” she said. “But one priority my management at BPM Sport and I talk about is the importance of a good fit and a true belief in the sponsors I work with.
“I'm lucky that I have a manager that can look after the nitty gritty details and the legal side of things so I can focus on being the best athlete I can be,” added Duffy. “But he gets me involved in the decision-making process and like he says to me, I'm the boss that will always make the final decision. We agreed that I have been extremely fortunate to have the support of my existing brands like ROKA, Scott, Shimano, Pearl Izumi and Oakley so they were all given priority.”