by Chris Bagg and Sam Long, photos courtesy of Paul Higgins

Ed. Note—A race! On US soil! You can tell that we're excited, and even more excited by the fact that Wattie Ink. professional triathlete Sam Long took home the chicken dinner at last weekend's brutal Bear Lake Brawl. Dominating the field in frigid conditions, Long ran away with the win, still able to talk about his effort during the run.

How did you prepare for the cold? It was in the 40s all day and raining hard.

I didn't! Unless of course, you count skiing in cold winters my whole life. I actually was sitting in the sauna the whole week before to prepare for 70.3 Cozumel. I guess when it got tough I just went with it.

To what do you attribute your run split, the second fastest of the day?

Consistency and trusting the process with my coach. The run (and swim) have been the main focus over the past two years. On that note nobody is talking about the fact that I was only 1:30 behind Ben Kanute out of the water when I have typically lost around 4' to front pack swimmers. I was very confident I would show a big improvement in my run. With no races, I was waiting to show all the hard work I have done. I run around 55 miles per week--almost every week--it is mostly aerobic work with some nueromuscular work as well.

Have you made any large changes in your approach to racing and training this year?

Yes, I've gotten smarter. I'm able to check my ego at the door and go easy or take a session off when I need to. The training has also been modified as my coach has gotten to know me better. Consistency is the big focus. The long break in racing has actually been really useful in allowing me to figure out what works for me, how long of a base period I need, and then the quantity of hard training I need. It's surprised me how little 'truly high intensity' training I need. The lack of races took the pressure off and ironically gave me the head space to not force training and the result is I have improved more than ever!