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Ready to Rumble in 2022 - Rudy Von Berg

Currently on training camp on the beautiful island of Maui in Hawaii, American Triathlete Rudy von Berg is quietly building towards a big season of 70.3 and Ironman racing. After being struck down by mononucleosis at The Collins Cup in 2021, and then contracting COVID-19 later in the year, Rudy has been patiently biding his time over the winter and is building back to compete with the best in the world. We spoke to Rudy shortly after he arrived in Maui to discuss his ambitions for 2022, his thoughts on the PTO Tour & how he will crack the Top 3 again in the World Rankings.


We kicked off the conversation with a chat about training, and how things are going heading into Oceanside 70.3, Rudy has been in Boulder over the winter and recently touched down in Maui for a warm weather training camp: “Training has been going pretty well,” Rudy started, “obviously Oceanside isn’t the main objective for the season so I will probably be around 90% fitness by then if I want to do well, but I doubt any of the other guys will be in 100% shape there either so it will be a good race.”


I’m starting to feel the power coming back in the legs as I’ve ramped the volume up in Maui,” continued Rudy, referring to the fact he had mono last year which meant he couldn’t train for an extended period and hence lost some of the muscle in his legs, “on camp I’m aiming for about 30 hours a week, which will be composed of about 330 miles of riding, 50 miles of running and between 20 and 25km of Swimming.”


After Oceanside, Rudy will be staying in California to have another crack at a Gravel cycling race, the Belgian Waffle Ride. Intrigued by the concept of gravel racing, we asked him how this fit into his Triathlon season: “Belgian Waffle is solid race where I can do a long endurance day with plenty of high intensity and threshold efforts as well,” explained Rudy, “obviously Triathlon remains the priority but since the race isn’t too technical it will allow me to have a great day’s training in a different situation to normal.


After his stint in California, Rudy will turn his attention towards the main objective of the season which is Ironman France in Nice. Taking place on his ‘home’ roads, Rudy already proved how much of an advantage he has on that course when he raced to 2nd place at 70.3 Worlds in Nice in 2019. Currently coached by Luke van Lierde, Rudy explains that his training is already well adapted to Ironman prep: “When you’re training 30-hour weeks and it already includes some 100-mile rides and 18 mile runs I feel it’s already quite well adapted for Ironman training. I’m adding some 200km rides in Maui which is perhaps longer than what I’ve done in the past, otherwise the more specific Ironman prep will come later.


I’m working on my nutrition plan though with my partner NeverSecond,” adds Rudy, “we are calculating my sweat rate and trialling the nutrition plan. I’ve already got quite a good idea of the carbohydrate requirements for the race.” Speaking briefly about aerodynamics after this, Rudy explained that he’s already done Wind Tunnel testing with his partner DT Swiss in Germany, and that he’s happy with his CDA for the moment and unlikely to return to the wind tunnel before the Ironman.

Photo by Kenny Withrow


Quizzed on why Ironman France is the perfect debut race for him, Rudy refers to the atmosphere and home roads which he feels will give him an advantage, “I’m deeply excited for this race, I grew up here and the Long Distance race was always a part of the local summer events. I know the climbs and roads by heart so that should give me an edge on the competition on top of all the local support I’ll get from my friends and family.


If I want to qualify for Kona I’ll probably have to win in Nice, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself. I’m not one of those persons who says that his first Ironman will just be for experience, I truly think you can do well on your first time. The Norwegians have proven this, as did my coach Luke Van Lierde when he won in Kona.” Rudy went on to explain that he’s not putting too much pressure on himself but that he will be doing all the preparation required to have a solid performance on his Ironman debut.


Turning our attention to the PTO Tour, Rudy acknowledged it’s a game changer for the athletes: “Let’s be honest,” he exclaimed, “it’s a ton of money for us professionals so that big paycheck is a big boost to the motivation. On top of that though, it’s about having the big races where you race the best guys, it’s exciting to be able to compare yourself to your rivals. Most 70.3s or Ironmans only have a few really strong athletes, so the density of competition is quite weak.”


The PTO Tour events will feature the Top 40 ranked athletes and certain wildcards as well to spice it up. The TV Coverage and social media hype surrounding the events is guaranteed to be next-level as well! “I’d love to go back to the Collins Cup as well,” finished Rudy, “and not get sick this time so I can actually race the event this time.”


To finish the interview we asked Rudy what he thinks it will take for him to get back in the Top 3 in the World Rankings, he proved quite open about his strengths and weaknesses and what needs to be done to improve, “I feel that I am always up there after the Swim and the Bike, so the main improvement has to be my run if I want to consistently be in the Top 3. But you know it’s not that easy because you can’t just work on your run you have to keep working on everything together. I’m not the best swimmer, so I have to work in the pool, and after getting Mono I’ve had lots of work to do to get my bike legs back. I think to be amongst the best it will just be about doing consistent work on all three and racing well when it matters.


Stay tuned on Social Media if you want to see Rudy’s new race suit soon, he’s going to using an Ekoi trisuit for the first time and said at the end of the interview that the new materials and new suit are look sleek and aerodynamic! Rudy will come up against some big competition at his season opener in Oceanside, on top of the already confirmed Sam Long and Lionel Sanders, double Olympic Champion Alistair Brownlee has just confirmed his participation as well!

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