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INTERVIEW WITH TRIATHLON PRODIGY THOR B. MADSEN
Thor B. Madsen is an aspiring triathlete and one of the young guns on the SAYSKY athlete team. He’s among one of the brightest talents in the sport, with a seriously hard-working attitude that’ll impress even the sturdiest of us. Last year he took a serious hit, when he had a terrible crash at 50km/h. However, he’s now back stronger and faster than ever. Below the picture you can read about his impressive recovery and comeback, determination of steel and prosperous future.
Congratulations on the impressive 2nd place at Karrebæksminde Tri, where you finished ahead of pro triathlete Patrick Nilsson. Did everything just go according to plan?
Yes, I really had one of those days, where you can push your body to the limit and put in my maximum effort in all disciplines. I’m especially proud of my biking, where I seriously put the hammer down on the 50k distance. I’m also really satisfied with showing that I can take on a distance of 1250m swim / 50k cycling / 10,5k run with great speed, as I believe that my future is on the half Ironman distance. Beating a triathlete at Patrick Nilsson’s level is just outright crazy too, especially on a day, where he gave his everything. This is a huge motivational boost for me going forward.
You had a mean crash last year, which resulted in quite some time on the sideline. Can you tell us some more about the crash, the extent of your injury and how you felt about it?
I crashed in April, 2017. It was a high-speed crash, where I was riding at 50km/h, so with that in mind, I got of lucky, considering how it could have ended. I broke my collarbone into three separate pieces, plus tore my deltoids and pecs. When the doctors told me this, my first thought was: “Shit, this doesn’t sound too good”. It was bad, but I just focused on my treatments and rehabilitation training.
The first four weeks, I’d walk 10k with my arm in a sling, ride my home trainer with one hand, plus walk up and down to the fourth floor 20 times – every single day. After four weeks, I could slowly run a little bit and then ten weeks after I was back in the pool. The doctors were all very positively surprised with the healing process of the fracture.
You’re now back from your injury, stronger and faster than before. What can others learn from this?
Sometimes the unfortunate ends up becoming fortunate. After fracturing my collarbone, I’d ride 500k a week on the home trainer in my basement. This really transformed me on the bike and I don’t believed that I would have been as strong on the bike today, if I hadn’t crashed back then. It’s a pretty crazy thought. Always try to get the best out of situation, regardless of how negative it might seem to be.
When did you get into triathlon and why this sport?
I first started with triathlon in 2015. Before that, I’d been running for two years in Sparta (the local athletics club in Copenhagen). I was drawn to the sport because of the vast amount of training that it requires, plus it really allowed me to push my body. My father used to be an elite triathlete and I’ve always been very inspired by him.
How many hours a week do you train and who do you train with?
On average, I’ll hit somewhere around 25 hours a week. Some weeks might be an “easy” 20 hours, whereas others can be a brutal 30 hours. It depends very much on the time of year or if I’m on a training camp. Generally, I tend to focus on a good balance between quality and quantity in my training. A typical week would consist of 25-30k swimming, 7-10 hours on the bike, 60-70k running and 2-3 strength sessions. I train a lot with my baby sister, Sif, and my coach Jens Petersen-Bach, who’s a pro triathlete. I also train a lot with my club, KTK86 and especially Esben Hovgaard is keeping me on my toes.
Sport is a huge part of your family, can you tell us some more about that?
Practically everything we do throughout the week is about sport and about the development of Sif and me. Our parents are very supportive and they help us a lot, which we really appreciate.
Your sister Sif is also a very talented triathlete. How’s the relationship between the two of you?
It’s really good. We’re each other’s best training buddies. We train together every day and we help each other a lot. Sif can really push me in the swimming and I can help her a lot on the bike and on the run.
What is your proudest moment as an athlete so far?
It’s really hard to tell. I’m probably most proud of the process and development I’ve gone through and is still going through. All the training that I do now is with a purpose. I want to become one of the best triathletes in the world within the next 8 years. Triathlon is a sport, which requires serious amounts of hard work, however, patience is also an important virtue. I’ve become a lot smarter when it comes to triathlon over the course of last year and that is probably my greatest achievement so far.
What are your ambitions in the near future, but also in the long run?
This year I want to show that I have a great future in triathlon. Plus, it’s important that I keep on developing, growing and learn as much as I can. In the long run, I dream of being among the best on the middle and long distances (half and full Ironman). In particular, I’d really like to do well at the World Championships on Hawaii. I’m really fascinated with the race and everything that it represents.
Favourite distance: sprint/Olympic
Keep up with Thor here: Strava, Facebook and Instagram
Pictures: Kongsgaard Foto and Karrebæksminde Tri
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