August 4, 2011

Interview: Dan

It’s no secret, Dan Hugo is the real deal. A student of the game, a master of tactics and a possessor of all the traits of a real champion, I truly enjoy the moments I get to spend with him from time to time. His energy is one of constant inquisition, always wanting to know that little bit more. It’s a trait we should all adopt. I enjoy sharing his tales with you here as his journey goes to the top of the pile, where we will see him in the rainbow stripes at some point. His drive for perfection is fantastic. Perfection is the driver, excellence the goal and application the pudding.

I always feel pumped to be on the start line with him because as calm and nice as he is until the gun goes, I know that once the gun goes, he is there to be number 1 and that number only. It’s another trait I admire immensely. Before and after, best of mates. During the race – I will do everything to beat you.

And so, we catch up with Dan from abroad, where he is in Boulder, prepping for Xterra Worlds in October.

Wildlfower TT Nils Nilsen

1.       Quite a year so far. Success, injury, success, hectic travel/racing… If you had to summise it in 250 words for us, how would you tell the story?

Thanks mate. Think you summarise better than I could there. But agreed, its been a few things. Mostly feel like I keep making mistakes and keep learning. Perhaps thats just the way it’ll always be. For example, the travel over from South Africa before Wildflower could have been so different, and that would’ve initiated a different race block. So too at the end, I over cooked training at the end of the two months in the USA. When feeling good at altitude you need to hold back with patience and maturity. Seems I have neither, and as opposed to closing out with my best form in Texas at a 70.3, I was trying to salvage energy the days before. When I really break it down, they’re all valuable lessons and I’m stoked to be on the journey. The three Xterra’s here were all second to Stoltz, and again with each, feel there is more, more to learn and master. And until I’m crossing t’s and dotting i’s I cant be complaining.

2.       I know you got a stack of new toys this year – give us a run through of your new favourite toys.

No kidding, the toys have been incredible and keep getting bettered on. The biggest change was getting onto the two Specialized 29er’s I have in the Epic and HT. Both remarkable leaps forward for mountain bike engineering. Radical rides. Been interesting to run in the Puma Faas range as part of the minimalist movement. Oakley got involved this year and its made life far visually agreeable than before. Sometimes its the fine detail though, like the changes in the Prevail helmet, the plastic spacer for your ears, that make the biggest difference in comfort. Along those lines, having access to the Duesouth stocklist has been a really cool freedom. I’ve stolen camera gear, Petzl Tikka, Speedo googles, waterproof-ipod cases to name some favourites. Such a versatile store with some funky toys.

3.       What are the remaining goals for 2011 and which races will we see you at?

Trying to do less on the second half, and focus on the Xterra Worlds at Maui. I may hit one more 70.3, possibly Muskoka in Canada, and the the USA Xterra Finals in Ogden Utah, before getting set for Maui with three weeks on the islands.

4.       How different is the work you are doing with Sindballe vs what you used to do? I don’t expect the secrets, but just some general pointers.

Biggest difference has been that the big days are really big, and the rest days are very little. Its either on or off, but when on, its really on in both quality and volume. Problem is, unless prepared to simplify you just cant absorb the big days. So thats where it’s hinging at the moment for me, and with most athletes I think. Can you live like a monk?


Many thanks to Dan for taking the time to answer the questions for me and taking a real interest in his life, beyond the tarmac.

A few more interviews coming soon with some top quality pro guys, to provide motivation for us age groupers. If there are any specific questions you would like to have answered, please drop me an email in the contact page.

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