Eric Lagerstom won his first ITU event this weekend, beating Hunter Kemper and 36 others at the Sarasota CAMTRI Sprint Triathlon American Cup in Nathan Benderson Park. The last notable win for Lagerstrom, who trains with Paulo Sousa’s Triathlon Squad in California, was the 2013 Super Sprint National Championship. This rising star is not only winning races, but also producing some of the coolest race videos you’ll ever see, complete with his power numbers and commentary in real time.
TRS: Eric, thank you for agreeing to talk. May I call you Stifler for the rest of this interview?
EL: Sure. I got style, I got culture, I’m sophisticated…
TRS: Stifmeister, you are from Portland, OR. How does it feel to be only man or woman from that city with shaved legs?
EL: Actually most of the men have shaved legs. Between the cyclists and the lumbersexuals they’re definitely keeping the hair levels in balance.
TRS: Tell us how the Sarasota race unfolded and how you were able to get the win?
EL: I had a pretty rough trip to the first buoy, spent the rest of the 750 running people over, came out of the water 10 seconds down on the leaders, rode strong and tactically on the bike (see the video) and then just went HAM on the run. Honestly I just wanted to outrun everyone, especially Hunter. I’ve shown I can swim and ride, but this year I set out to run fast.
TRS: Why was it so important to outrun Kemper? Is he someone that you would like to punch in the face?
EL: Hunter is a known quantity, especially on the run, and honestly, I just thought it would be bad ass. I actually had envisioned it coming down to a sprint and yelling, “Are you not entertained?!” (Gladiator) after crossing the line, but this was still cool. I don’t have any vendetta against Hunter, I’ve got a lot of respect for him.. He’s just beaten me a lot and I don’t like being beaten. Especially by old dudes with children who are way too nice to not like 🙂
TRS: How many more months or years will you work with Paulo before you get into a fight and quit? How would you compare his tactics to Terence Fletcher, the abusive jazz conductor from the movie Whiplash?
EL: We’ve had our fights already. Or at least Paulo has had a fight with me and I listened. I’m a fan of the “shut up and do what I tell you” approach. It gets me fired up knowing my coach has unflinching belief in what we’re doing.
TRS: What are your thoughts on Lifetime cutting the prize purses for all but one of their races. Historically, this was a great opportunity for short course athletes. How will this affect your career decisions moving forward?
EL: Dude, I have no idea what my next race will be. St. Anthony’s is the next “sure thing”. I had planned on racing every Lifetime race this year and really building my brand there. Now I am looking at ITU, Challenge, races like Alcatraz and St. Anthony’s… hell I even had my Dad bring my mountain bike pedals to me in Florida.. If there’s money and the opportunity to put on a show, I’ll check it out. Except for WTC stuff, I’ll have to be super broke to got that route.
TRS: Are you saying that you are considering stepping down to 70.3 because there aren’t enough opportunities to race for cash at the sprint and Olympic distances? Doesn’t this negatively affect your goal of Olympic qualification?
EL: I’m saying I’m open to it. I’ve done well so far this year feeling in control of my season and knowing what races I’m going to do. The last couple years altering my schedule every couple of weeks depending on ITU points and funding was stressful and I couldn’t get into a rhythm. My approach this year was to race Lifetime, but start with Clermont-Sarasota and if by some miracle I was in sub-15 5k shape and won one of the them, I’d think about ITU and maybe pick some more races out. The beauty of Paulo’s system of training is that it makes us incredibly fit and we can take and do with it what we want. I’ll be training the same whether I do non-draft or draft legal, the bottom line is I just need to get faster. Hunter Kemper has shown you can pretty much do what you want for three years, show up, beat everyone, and get on the team. If you can smash everyone when you show up, you’ll be fine.
TRS: You are dating the stunning “Mighty” Magali Tisseyre who just won Ironman 70.3 Monterrey. How were you able to pull this off? Give us your courtship race report and please include video footage.
EL: Yeah I’m dating Magali and she’s a stone cold fox. The first team dinner we went to, I just looked her straight in the eye and told her that. I could probably throw together a video recap with heart rate and blood-alcohol content readouts… But seriously, I just told her point blank I thought she was gorgeous and the coolest chick ever. Straight to the point is the way to go.