More and more professional athletes establish their residence in Lanzarote or spend long periods on our island in order to be able to train in the best conditions and achieve their annual competitive challenges. A clear example of this is the Dutch triathlete Tessa Kortekaas, based in Lanzarote, who in 2019 achieved her greatest sporting victory by proclaiming herself the winner of the Malaysian Ironman, thus achieving her classification for theMundial de Kona de 2020.
Tessa shares with us the 10 reasons that made her become a professional triathlete last season and how living and training in Lanzarote have contributed to the achievement of her professional successes:
1. THE CLIMATE
The climate is one of the fundamental factors that facilitates her workouts. The temperature helps her recover faster, not injure herself and above all feel happy, motivated and full of energy.
I don’t have to worry about time here, whether I can train outside or if I have to train indoors” says Tessa.
2. A TOP LEVEL SPORTS CALENDAR
Tessa highlights the 4 Stage MTB and the Ultra Bike Lanzarote at the beginning of the year, that they allowed her to go on, building up endurance little by little. Her participation in the Eighth Island Challenge was the prelude to her professional debut at the Ironman in South Africa where she came sixth place. The Volcano Triathlon served as training for the great Lanzarote Ironman. In this test she had mechanical problems and finished in eighth place with a bittersweet feeling. The Vegueta Trail and the Wine Run also served her as training and she was able to enjoy the great beauty of the routes. She finished her season in Lanzarote with the Ironman 70.3 which was key in the preparation for her triumph in the Malaysian Ironman.
3. LOCATIONS SIMILAR TO THE COMPETITION ROUTES
From the point of view of a triathlete it is important when training for an important test, to have spaces that are similar to the routes of the events. For Tessa the road from Tahiche to Órzola was a perfect route for training for the Malaysian Ironman.
4. SPECIFIC TRAINING
Training in Lanzarote in the middle of the day, especially during the race, helped her adapt to the heat and humidity in Malasia: 40ºC with no clouds or wind. Tessa tells us that hydration and nutrition are 2 very important factors for being able to run properly.
5. SWIMMING IN OPEN WATERS ALL YEAR ROUND
In Lanzarote you can swim in open water throughout the whole year. T essa says that swimming trips helped her a lot to gain more strength in the water. In Malaysia the temperature was 27ºC and she adapted perfectly to swimming without a wetsuit since she was used to swimming like this during the summer in Lanzarote.
The island has excellent roads for cycling and traffic is good with cyclists. Tessa states that athletes come to Lanzarote to train because they know the conditions are excellent and there is great respect for athletes who train on the road.
7. GREAT WELCOME FOR TRIATHLETES
The triathlon community in Lanzarote is like a big family and all the professionals who move to the island to live, train or compete feel they have great support and impressive respect.
8. WORK AND TRAINING COMPATIBILITY
Tessa feels privileged as she can make her work as a massage therapist and children’s trainer in the Fariones Sports Centre compatible with her training. In addition, she will soon start working as a Triathlon coach.
9. BALANCED NUTRITION
It is important to maintain a good diet before, during and after training. You have to know what the body needs so you don’t have problems in terms of a lack or excess of energy. Nutritional counseling is important when preparing for a test as hard as an Ironman. Tessa tells us that she loves the Gastronomy of the Canary Islands such as wrinkly potatoes, sweet potatoes and the excellent wines of Lanzarote.
10. TRANQUILITY AND MOTIVATION
“Lanzarote is heaven on earth for me” says Tessa. It is a quiet place where I can always find my rest if I need it. Here I can focus 100% on my goals.
Tessa is looking forward to her preparation for the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii and her first big challenge will be the IRONMAN St. George, North American Championship on 2 May. She confesses that “winning the Lanzarote Ironman” is her big dream and that although she needs more time to become a stronger athlete, maybe 2021 will her great year!