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Ten pros gathered at the King Kamehameha hotel in Kona for the 2012 Ironman World Championship pro press conference. Here are a few snippets from the event.
It was a fast 12 months; it was an honor to wear the crown. It was enlightening; it wasn’t a burden.
Chris [McCormack] and I won the last five times…but it’s not a two-horse race. I think the astute followers of the sport know that. It’s a great field. The Lance thing was taken away, but I’m still glad I’m here. I love this race. You need a reason to get up in the morning and train hard, and originally that was a catalyst for me, but it doesn’t take long to get your juices flowing just thinking about racing here. Like every year people try to play favorites…the race doesn’t play favorites; you have to be prepared well, you have to be mentally ready. There’s 10 guys who could win it. We’ll find out on Saturday who that is.
I’ve had a bit of a mixed bag. I certainly got hammered earlier in the year with Caroline and Rachel’s great performances in Melbourne, but this is a different race.
I’ve never been a great swimmer; I’ve been better on the bike and then would have to run people down. So that’s been my mentality.
I’m not exactly sure how much better my bike is. Certainly in training I’ve been better. Sometimes those results don’t always come in races right away. All I know is that I’ve improved and hope to do that on Saturday. I feel like I’m in great shape and I just hope that I continue to have good luck on the island.
Last year I didn’t feel like I was in fantastic shape; I was very nervous. Winning the world title in 2012, you have extra obligations when people are pulling you in different directions and sometimes training take a little bit of a backseat. So I felt a little nervous going into last year… Anything’s possible in this race, and it shows you can never give up.
Every pro woman has been asking for this [separate start]—to be able to separate ourselves from the guys. I think the five minute delay is a fantastic step in the right direction; I don’t think it’s enough. I’d like to see 8-10 minutes. I don’t know why we can’t have a few more minutes. I don’t think the guys would argue with that.
I am here, that is already a great achievement. What worked in Vegas wouldn’t work here; if I had done the same thing here I think [I’d] have an nice little walk in the Energy Lab. I’m not here for breaking the bike record or having the fastest bike split; I just want to have a good finish. If it’s being more patient on the bike than [I was] in Vegas, then I hope I could hold a little bit back.
I’m going to keep everyone guessing including myself. Vegas was a good surprise, a good indication that what I’ve done for most of the year has been in the right direction. I feel that I’m ready to go.
On why he’s racing Kona this year
I think more than anything I wanted to come and be respectful of the history of the race and other competitors and not come have a glorified vacation. I wanted to come when I thought I could put down a performance that was worthy of showing up. It’s a world championship, you want to show up when you feel you can present a world championship caliber performance.
I’ve been building up for this race a lot longer than in previous years. I pushed myself right to the edge a month ago while these guys were racing Vegas. I’m really happy with where I’m at for Saturday.
On having his brother, Michael, in the field this year
It doesn’t make it easier. We have 50 professional athletes on the start line, one of these guys is my friend and my brother so it helps me, the pressure is on four shoulders instead of two.
For more from Kona visit Triathlete.com/Kona2012.