I’ve read a dozen interviews with Gwen Jorgensen over the past few months that have been nothing but baby talk. I get that. People like babies. But I don’t. So when I got Gwen on the phone for 10 minutes yesterday, I wanted to talk about her real passion: food.
TRS: So you and Pat just bought your first home in Portland. It’s not exactly known as a training Mecca, so how’d you guys end up buying there?
Gwen: I love it there. Pat and I felt like if we didn’t leave Minnesota now then we never would. We visited a few different places that we thought we’d enjoy and had the things that are important to us, like being able to get outside and having great food. We just really loved Portland when we visited. Like you said, it’s not a big triathlon Mecca like Denver or Boulder, but that just wasn’t a place that really appealed to us the way that Portland did.
TRS: So now that you guys are homeowners, what are the first things on Pat’s to-do list?
Gwen: We currently have no furniture. We have two Sleep Number beds, so we at least have a place to sleep, but we have no places to sit or eat. So getting furniture is the most immediate thing on the to-do list. After that it’ll be time for Pat to paint the baby room and get the baby room ready.
TRS: Whether it’s something that Pat has cooked or something you’ve had at a restaurant, what’s the best meal you’ve had during the past year?
Gwen: The past year—you’re going to make me decide that right now? I guess it would have to be when we went to this Michelin-starred restaurant in Spain called Asador Etxebarri. They made absolutely everything on this wood grill. Even the deserts were made on it—they roasted cocoa beans right on it. So everything came out with this amazing smoky flavor. It was very unique. Definitely something I’d never experienced before.
TRS: You guys post all these pictures of the meals Pat makes and everything looks perfect. But I know he doesn’t hit it out of the park every time. Tell me about a time that he just blew it in the kitchen.
Gwen: He is amazing at cooking. We actually had a Michelin-starred Chef come and teach him how to cook for a few weeks. He was a big triathlon fan, so he got to spend some time with our training group and Pat got to learn from him. But there was one time when we were in Spain and I got home from a workout and Pat had made something with absolutely no spices or no extras. It was basically just rice and vegetables. But that kind of thing doesn’t happen very often. His biggest thing is struggling to come up with ideas. So he just asks me what I want, and if I give him an idea, he is always game for doing it. I’d say he knocks it out of the park 99.9 percent of the time.
TRS: What was the name of the chef who came in to teach Pat?
Gwen: Alan Murchison from the UK. [Editor’s note: Murchison is the chef at Michelin-starred L’Ortolan in Shinfield.]
TRS: Last food question…have you had any weird food cravings during the pregnancy?
Gwen: Yes—I’ve been craving a lot of empty carbs, like white pasta and white bread, and also cheese. Usually I always crave a lot of meat and vegetables, but there have been a few times recently where all I want is something like mac and cheese or fettuccine alfredo.
TRS: Have you thought ahead to your race schedule for next season? Do you feel like you have a little more flexibility now that you have a gold medal in your pocket and might we see you at some non-drafting races?
Gwen: I haven’t thought too much about what my race schedule will look like. For me that will just depend on how training is going. I’ll need to do a few months of real training and then see where I’m at. But I don’t see myself branching out and doing non-draft races. What keeps me motivated is the Olympic dream and wanting to go back and get another gold medal.
TRS: What do you miss most about being on the ITU tour and bouncing between training camps in Australia and Spain, and what don’t miss about that nomadic lifestyle?
Gwen: One thing I really miss is all my training partners at the Wollogong Wizards. I’ve formed some really strong friendships with all of them and they’re some of my best friends. I just miss being around them and having them to train with. And then I just really, really miss racing. I love racing and I really want to be out there competing. That’s what keeps me motivated and it’s why I do this. Something I enjoy right now is having a little more flexibility. Now I just wake up and train based on how I feel, which isn’t normal for me. I have nothing to prepare for, so if I’m feeling a little tired I just take it easy.
TRS: Do you have any kind of training plan from Jamie Turner right now or are you going entirely by feel?
Gwen: Nope—nothing. It’s just waking up and doing what feels right. I have no goals right now except for staying relatively fit and healthy. Staying healthy is the big thing.
TRS: What do you think you’ll miss most about the Twin Cities now that you’ve made the move to Portland?
Gwen: Pat just asked me that the other day. I’ll definitely miss the people. I’ve formed a lot of really good friendships there, and I’ll miss being closer to my family. I also like familiarity and it’s a place that’s really familiar to me. And there are definitely a few restaurants that I’ll really miss.