Canadian pro triathlete couple Heather and Trevor Wurtele, a.k.a. Team Wurtele, enjoyed a stellar 2013 season, with Heather setting a new course record at Ironman Coeur d’Alene and Trevor netting his first Ironman title in Canada. The couple is known for their strong biking skills, their decision to forgo all their worldly possessions and live full-time in a motor home, as well as their strong and often comical social media presence. We caught up with them at a training camp in San Diego as they discussed their 2014 race schedule, supporting Canadian races, and the risks and rewards of putting themselves out there on social media. For the full interview, check out the February/March 2014 issue of LAVA Magazine.
Heather Wurtele: So what do you think the best part of your 2013 season was?
Trevor Wurtele: Oh I think winning Ironman Canada. It was what I focused a lot of my year on, so accomplishing that was big for me. How about you?
Heather: You know, it’s funny. Even though I probably had one of my best years in terms of personal results, I mean I had four wins and was on the podium in most of my races, I think the highlight of my year was watching you win Ironman Canada. I had so much fun at that race, and seeing you achieve that goal was so exciting. I think sometimes because we both compete we actually get more excitement in one another’s victories.
Trevor: It was a lot of fun having my family and having you there. I definitely get enjoyment out of watching you win as well. And now we’re here gearing up for 2014. So what are your focuses for next year?
Heather: Well everyone wants to talk about how your off season was. And we don’t really take very much time off to be honest. December is a key time to work on our weaknesses and get in a good base for early season racing. We’re at this training camp here in San Diego now, and it’s pretty intense actually.
Trevor: What type of early season races are you setting your sights on right now? Where are we headed?
Heather: Well I’d like to defend my title at Ironman 70.3 Panama. We’ll be at that one I hope. And then I’m headed to Abu Dhabi, and of course you can come and do that one too!
Trevor: Yeah, we’ll see. I’m kind of thinking I’m not going to race Abu Dhabi. But I still think you should go.
Heather: [Heather laughs.] Okay. I’m probably doing Los Cabos, because I’d like to make sure I can validate my spot in Kona before Ironman Canada, which I’m hoping we’ll both be racing this year and is a key race for us.
Trevor: It would be great to have a duel-win there. But that’s kind of my dilemma for next season. If I’m having a really good early season in the half-Ironman category, do I skip Ironman Canada and focus more on Ironman 70.3 Worlds? But at the same time, I can’t just skip Ironman Canada because I’d love a chance to defend an Ironman title.
Heather: I feel like we could do both. I mean that’s what I was thinking. I don’t want to miss Ironman Canada, but having Ironman 70.3 Worlds in Mont-Tremblant is going to be so exciting. The recovery is a bit tricky, but I think it’s doable.
Trevor: Yeah, it’s five or six weeks. We’ve got to look at that and plan that one out.
Heather: We’ve got to support our Canadian races! There’s also the whole spotlight right now on flat courses and women going sub-9 in Ironman races. That’s great and all, but personally I prefer the challenging courses. Maybe the time isn’t as fast but the terrain is more honest and you don’t have a lot of the same problems with people getting stuck together and drafting. It was frustrating at Ironman Arizona this year, and just races where it’s so hard to separate yourself because the terrain is so flat.
Trevor: There’s definitely a bit of a tactical game going on at those types of courses. And if some people want to go a little bit easier on the bike and just hang on, they’re able to do that. I like tough courses too.
Heather: Speaking of challenging, everyone has been challenging you to keep on making those funny video race reports. There not as easy to make as I think you make it seem, huh?
Trevor: No, they get a little tedious. They get a little old after while. I mean, you know, you help me with them. Usually, I end up working on one for so long and seeing it over and over again that I’m sick of it and I’ve decided its horrible and I don’t want to post it. And every time you convince me it’s still funny and sure enough, once its up they seem to get attention, which is great.
Heather: They are pretty fun to make when you start though. I enjoy that. It’s more the finding all the little pictures and video clips that get a little bit tiresome, but I love seeing how it all turns out.
Trevor: I think they are fun to watch. And relatively short. How they got started is that I get sick of reading two-page race reports that were just a play-by-play of one person’s race or the pro race or whatever. I thought there could be a better way for me to do it. I wanted to be different with it.
Heather: I think you’re unique in your ability to do it. I mean, you don’t have a problem taking the piss out of yourself. You’re honest and you are funny about it. I think that resonates with people.
Trevor: You have to be able to make fun of yourself. I think. It’s not degrading to point out the things that were funny or the things that didn’t go well. I think people are afraid of doing that sometimes and I don’t think there’s any reason for that.
Heather: I think honest self-reflection is important. And also, being able to put yourself out there and call a spade a spade. But to that point, we’ve been rather vocal about Michael Weiss’ win at Ironman Cozumel.
Trevor: I think a lot of people were calling him out, to be fair, but they weren’t coming out and saying him by name. They were being tongue in cheek about it and saying things like “Way to win Cozumel Tyler Butterfield,” and he actually got second place. People knew what they meant by that, but I think I was just the first one to actually use his name and called him out directly. Hopefully that encouraged other people to do the same. I mean, he just came off a two-year ban, and I think it should be discussed.
Heather: Yeah, I mean when you first wrote some of the stuff that you did I think I was like “Ugh. Don’t stir the pot. It’s not doing us any good to make enemies with anyone.” But once I started thinking about it I began to realize that that’s the real problem: people are afraid to be vocal and take a stance on doping in this sport. They just don’t want to talk about it or skirt the issue. They don’t want to call anyone out. They don’t want to attack the person, but the person is who made those decisions. It’s about personal choices.
Trevor: I think people need to be more vocal. When they see people cheating or see people hurting the sport, we all need to feel comfortable and able to call them out. It’s silly to think that by speaking up you’re going to get in trouble. If that’s the case, then it’s ridiculous. Then we will fall into the same trap that cycling did for so long.
Heather: Yeah, that’s exactly it. People are afraid that they will lose sponsors or supporters if they even bring it up, and that’s not okay. It was great for us because our sponsors appreciated us taking a stance on it. It’s great having such good relationships with them like that. They let us make goofy videos and speak out. It’s all about being who you are and being true to yourself. I think people respond to that.