Magical Madagascar Rider Interview: NYC’s Jeanine Hartnett
We are half way through the 2019 Madagascar tour and it’s honestly surprising how fast time goes by. At the beginning it feels like forever, in the middle it feels like the beginning is a far distant memory and the end is too close to comprehend. So to sort of get myself out of this stupor, I sat down and had a conversation with Jeanine on how she found herself on a bicycle traveling across Madagascar… early warning I had a major jaw drop by the end of our conversation.
How about we start of by you telling us your name and where you’re from?
My name is Jeanine Hartnett, and I am from New York City
So what brings you to Madagascar?
Well, I did a TDA tour last year and loved it. Baba, our mechanic, recommended the Madagascar trip. The shorter length of time and time of the year worked for me.
I had the pleasure of finding out from you during one of the lunch breaks that you have 17 Ironman Races under your belt! Which is an outstanding accomplishment. Could you tell us how you got into Iron man races?
I started as a runner/marathoner in the 80’s and did cross training for injury prevention. I’m competitive by nature, and it was logical for me to do try triathlons since I was doing all three sports. I was better suited for long distances so the Ironman distance made sense and was a particular challenge.
I’m not sure if this is appropriate but how old were you when you did your last Ironman?
Let me see it was 2005 in Hawaii and I was 55 then I’m not sure I can even process what you’ve just said. 17 Iron-mans… and here I am dreaming of just getting across my first full marathon…
Could you give us an insight of what goes through your mind when you take up such challenges?
It became a lifestyle for me. Work 45-50 hours/week, train about 17 hours/week (3-4x biking and running/week and 2/3x swim workouts/week), eat, sleep, and still have some time for theatre, movies, and dinner with friends. A typical long brick workout on a Saturday was a 2 mile swim, 80-112 mile bike, followed by a 5 mile run. The next day a short bike followed by 12-17 mile run. My body got so used to this routine that it wasn’t overly taxing for me. It was enjoyable and I had good training partners. Of course you can’t do this every week. Every 3-4 weeks I would have a recovery week of shorter distances. Also I had to work around other races. In the years I did my 17 IM’s (1994-2005), I also competed in about 25-30 Half IM’s and numerous Olympic distances. Those races helped me work on speed and forced me to recover and taper.
With such tough races under your belt, how are you finding TDA’s 2000 km tour across Madagascar?
Ever since I retired three years ago, I have traveled about four months of the year, usually on bike trips. Other than a ride across the U. S. two years ago which was 3700 miles, most rides are similar to the Madagascar distance and don’t require too much training in advance. I’m really enjoying learning about different cultures and history while cycling.
Madagascar is a land of incredible vistas, diverse landscapes, humid rainforests, high plateaus, dry deciduous forests, endless savannah, secluded...
This year’s TDA has more women than men does that surprise you? Or is it a common occurrence on similar tours or challenges you’ve undertaken?
I think it’s very common. Not for triathlons but certainly for cycling and other adventure trips.
So what next for you after the Madagascar Cycling Tour?
I’m signed up for the Korea/Japan TDA trip in 2020. So excited because I love Japan. Looking at possibly doing the first month of Tour d’Afrique in 2020 as well