Triathlete.com: Are you giving Greg [Bennett] some advice for his very first Ironman?
MC: He’s so thorough; I’m so impressed. There are athletes that come into Ironman and they don’t have a respect for the distance, and they’re the athletes that fail because they haven’t researched how their stomach responds to eating x amount of carbs—you know they just don’t respect the distance enough. But he has been so thorough. He’s been testing his nutrition, talking to all the experts, he’s got his bike position dialed in—I think he’s going to be a fantastic Ironman athlete. He’ll carry the talent he has for the short course into the long course because of the respect he has for the distance. He has random questions now and then and I give him information as I can, but I feel like at this point he’s spoken to every person who could possibly have any information for him and taken that and got on board and filtered out what he thinks is rubbish.
Triathlete.com: Have you spent much time on the new Melbourne course?
MC: We went down for the launch four weeks ago and had a trip from hell getting down there. Our original plan was to get there early enough to drive the course, but it took us 11 hours to get from the Sunshine Coast to Melbourne because of the crazy weather. Our flight was re-directed and we didn’t get there until much later. That wasn’t ideal. We had a look at the transition area and drove one-way on the bike course in the car. We weren’t really able to train on it.
Triathlete.com: How much do you study the competition before a race?
MC: Most athletes will have an idea of what shape everyone else is in and who else is racing. We’ve got most of the best women in the world lining up [in Melbourne]. I certainly watched Abu Dhabi to see what shape the girls are in. You just focus on preparing yourself as best as possible for an early-season Ironman and then what will be will be on race day. The competition is going to be there and it’s going to take a great performance to win. I keep an eye on the competition but try not to think about them too much.
Triathlete.com: At the recent Endurance Live awards, the new Team Refuel “My After” chocolate milk campaign—of which you’re a part—was unveiled. What kind of feedback have you been getting?
MC: Really positive. People seem pumped that triathlon is getting into the mainstream media a bit with a national ad campaign. Apolo Ohno, Dara Torres, Carmelo Anthony—they’re household names in the U.S., so for Chris Lieto and myself to now be associated with those names…triathlon is now growing at a crazy rate every year but it’s never really jumped across in marketing, so I hope that this will be the first step in getting some of the top triathletes better recognition and hopefully better sponsorship deals down the road. It will be interesting once the ads are on TV this summer; I think a chocolate milk ad will be on during the Olympics, and that will be really cool.
Triathlete.com: When does your season kick off stateside?
MC: My first race in the U.S. is 70.3 New Orleans, so I’m planning on staying in Australia through Easter and then flying out to California for about 10 days of training, then to New Orleans and then to Boulder right after that. I get to reconnect with all my friends there I’ve met over the years. It’s cool that there are other pro triathletes in town but contrary to popular belief you don’t really see everyone all that often. You may see them on the road or at Flatirons, where most people swim… To me, Australia doesn’t feel like home anymore—I’ve been living in Boulder for so long now, since ‘05. And obviously it’s where Tim is—‘home is where the heart is’ as they say. Boulder is definitely home for me.