TO: What about all the other stuff Pete used to do, like that huge Kona training block?
Did you have a lot of help with that? Did Nicole help you out with that?
TD: No. I mean it was, that’s where – it’s hard for me to look back at that spot, because you have to be selfish. And I think that’s probably why I haven’t had a great race in Kona recently, because I balance my life properly, the way it should be! Because to win those big events you have to be selfish, to sometimes be a dick. Your time is your time. So Nicole knew during those eight weeks – and she was training for it too, the years that I won. She just wasn’t as focused.
TO: When did you get married?
TD: We got married in ‘96.
TO: That’s right, you said it wasn’t long after you met.
TD: Honestly, it was the best thing that ever happened for my career. It gave me stability. I wasn’t going around to races looking at girls. I stayed focused. And she was my biggest supporter, someone to share everything with. That was huge. Even in the years I was so focused on the race, I was helping her get her bike ready, and it was just this nice little thing I could do to take my focus off me for a little bit. It was a benefit to have someone else there, and someone who was also racing. I mean look at Pete and Lori – even though they didn’t make it – and you know and Mark and Julie [Moss] raced years together. I think it can be a benefit. With your and Rinny’s personalities, I think that can be a huge benefit. But I didn’t let people into my life during that time – during those eight weeks. I wouldn’t do extraneous stuff. Even with the sponsor stuff, I kind of set it up with my sponsors. I’d say, “During these eight weeks, I can’t do diddly for you. It’s my time. But it will pay off.” And I had faith in myself to say that to them, where I think a lot of guys don’t. Especially when you get to Kona. If they’re a good sponsor and you have a good relationship, they’ll understand, and that’s the way it should be. I mean I always did one or two signings for sponsors, but that was it. You have to be vigilant with your time and the amount of energy you’re giving out. I had an agent at the time that was one of my best friends and he was a bulldog. He’d say, “Nope, you’re not going there”. And he’d get me home. It was good. That helped, to have someone there. And I had another friend with me who was kind of the comic relief. He’d take the pressure off. They knew – I’d be sitting in the corner kind of quiet and going through stuff in my head, and they knew that was the time to leave me alone. And then there was a time to watch some movies and keep things light. I think it’s always a fine balance between that.