TO: She almost missed the swim start!
TD: That’s the smartest way to do it – she was really smart. You could go have a great race in Kona, then just check mark an ironman out of the way. Then focus on doing some early season half’s, get all the points you need. Hopefully you’ll win Kona and then you won’t have to worry about that – all you’ll have to do is check the box, and then you can focus on next year. The guys who’ve won it the past five years have a huge advantage. All they’ve got to do is get an ironman done – it’s a huge advantage.
TO: Do you think they’ll reevaluate the points system?
TD: Who knows? I think it was a terrible system to being with, and I think a lot of pros voiced that, but they didn’t care. Like I said, I think the biggest impact – I mean I like the idea of getting the best athletes there, but I think you’re going to see a lot of careers cut short, a lot of athletes burning out. You’re not going to get the best athletes at Kona.
TO: Do you think the smaller field will change the dynamic at all?
TD: No. It’s just going to get the guys out of the girls’ field. You’ll get the same guys up front.
TO: Having only done one, what’s the biggest difference I need to look out for in Kona?
TD: The hype leading into it. Depending on when you get over there and everything that’s going on. Sticking to your game plan. Turn your Internet off once you get over there. Watch bad movies or bad TV. Turn your Internet off. Don’t read anything. Focus on yourself. It’s not as big a deal as you think. You can just totally avoid it and treat it like a great race. Your first time, that’s what you need to do. Who knows what the hype around you will really be over there, but with Rinny, you’re going to see what she’s going through, and you’ll be like: I’m going to stay at home and watch some TV! And don’t feel bad about it – because that’s the way you get it done. Also, I think what you’ll notice is it might be more – think of that word “strong”. Strong on the bike and the run, more than fast. For me it was always just strong. I’d go do Austria or Frankfurt, and that was fast. Fast man, we were flying! But Kona, you just have to be strong. Mentally strong and physically strong. Constantly shoveling food down your mouth. And don’t get too skinny. That’s the thing I’ve noticed the past few years – I get over there and I look like a teeny guy, compared to most of the guys. I mean look at Marino. Look at Macca. These are big dudes. I felt like I should put on weight. But it’s hard, the more you do, the more years you race it’s hard to put the weight on. But whatever you do, just be strong over there.
TO: I remember you said before Texas, “It’s your first one, just have fun.” I guess it’s the same with your first Kona.
TD: Well you only get one first one!
TO: Yeah, that’s the one you remember the most.
TD: Exactly. Have fun with it. Nicole taught me that. She’d say, “Just smile. If you’re feeling rough, smile.” It makes everything better. I mean I had a shitty race last year, but I smiled a lot more than I ever have over there. That’s what made it a worthwhile day. Every picture you see of Macca he’s out there smiling away, grinning ear to ear. So there’s got to be something to that. Just have fun with it. And it will change you. You’ll want to do it again. No matter whether you cross the finish line first or last, it’s such a great accomplishment. It feels good.
TO: Thanks Tim. I appreciate it, man.
TD: Thank you.