In this annual compilation, Timothy Carlson found rich veins of talk from the Brownlees discussing their adventures in Cozumel and Gwen Jorgensen and Nicola Spirig recounting their duel in Rio. Fear of crocodiles, the temptation of a DNF, a humble apology from a Kona record breaker, an existential meditation on ego versus soul at an Ultra also made the cut for Favorite Tri Quotes of 2016.
“I thought about crocodiles consistently during the swim leg. I was terrified of dying a crocodile death. There were boats on course with guns to help out any competitors suffering attacks.” Jodie Swallow writing in her blog on swimming at Ironman Cairns.
“When we returned from our trip, I was sending the kids off to school, and out of nowhere, my 10-year-old son said, ‘Mom?’ ‘Yes, Connor?’ ‘When I heard you dropped out of the race, I just wanted to come find you at mile 23 and carry you the rest of the way.’ We both lost it.” – Ruth Brennan Morrey on what her son said after he heard a mistaken report that she had dropped out of the 2015 Ironman World Championship.
“If your partner decides to do Ultraman, best you move out of the house. Living under a bridge will probably seem quite appealing after living with someone preparing for an Ultraman. Haha.”- Guy Crawford joking about the moods striking fiancée Kate Bevilaqua while training hard for the 321–mile Ultraman Triathlon.
“I did want to give up three times actually. I wanted to pull off. I was thinking: I will make up some excuse. Make it sound good and go home. It was properly tough for me today and I guess that's what makes it all the sweeter when it works out and you end up with a healthy margin in time.” – Jan Frodeno on his temptation to quit during a painful moment during the run of his 2016 victory at Kona.
ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS…
When asked if she had overcome a significant injury in her young career: “I broke three teeth when I first started training to ride, but it did not make me give up because of fear. I thought if I choose to give up this time, I will have wasted three teeth. So I chose to continue to train and I told myself to get stronger.” Promising Taiwanese triathlete Chia-Chia Chang.
When asked if she had been contacted by any mainstream TV talk shows after becoming the first American woman since Desiree Ficker to make the Kona podium: “Haha, I was hoping to get a call from Ellen [DeGeneres] but unfortunately my phone hasn’t rung yet!”- Heather Jackson Ironman World Championship 3rd-place finisher.
SORRY, MR. ALLEN
“Mike Reilly announced that I broke the course record, and where I stood I looked Mark Allen straight into his eyes. So I said ‘I am so sorry,’ and I apologized, because I really look up to that man. I was very much overwhelmed.” - Patrick Lange after breaking Mark Allen’s 1989 Kona run record with a 2:39:45 clocking.
“You have to know that Austria’s bike is a little bit short. You can’t compare Roth. You can't compare Austria or any of the European races - they are absolute BS compared to Kona. In Kona you have to pedal the whole way by yourself. All of the European races, there is drafting. In Kona the pro men are not there. The age group men who are really good start 25 minutes behind you. It is fair for pro women especially. Kona is our one saving grace throughout the year.” - Mirinda Carfrae explaining why she thinks Kona is the one fair Ironman bike leg for pro women.
JORGENSEN v. SPIRIG IN RIO
“In my opinion, with Sarah [True], Helen [Jenkins] and Flora [Duffy] having problems, there weren't many athletes who could have been a lot of help. Of course some of the athletes have the tactic to avoid the lead to save energy for the run. Absolutely legitimate. Maybe with Gwen [Jorgensen] in the race, not the right tactics to win.” - Nicola Spirig Rio Olympic Triathlon silver medalist.
“Nicola kept attacking on the bike, attacked everyone, people didn’t want to attack on the bike, they were maybe scared. There weren’t many surges besides hers.” - Gwen Jorgensen Rio Olympic Triathlon gold medalist.
“As mental games are not common in triathlon, I also tried to destabilize her and get her out of her rhythm. There was a headwind on one side of the run course. After I ran in front in the tailwind I wanted her to lead in the headwind again as I was expecting her to attack afterwards and wanted to save my energy for the attack. She refused and I told her we should share the work. Gwen answered that she had led the first two laps. I responded that I had just done my share of the lead, too, and in the end I was the one who already had an Olympic gold medal, so she was the one who had to do the work to also win one.” – Nicola Spirig.
“She was with me for 2 laps. We were playing a little bit of cat-and-mouse, nobody wanted to lead. In my head, I didn’t want to make a move until the tailwind. It’s easier to get away in a tailwind than a headwind. She eventually took the lead, when we rounded the corner I decided to make a move. I thought she was with me. I had no idea I’d dropped her until a kilometer or so later.” – Gwen Jorgensen
REFLECTIONS ON THE M-DOT
“I have an M-Dot tattoo. Yes, because it means that much to me and I could give a shit about what the corporate views in the Slowtwitch forum are. Every sport has to have them I suppose and they are entitled to an opinion. But seriously enough with the elitist bull out there. This is a sport of inclusion and participation, we welcome everyone, even if you tattoo “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN” on your shaft, you are welcome to sign up and play. At the end of the day this is a hobby and should be fun and inclusive and hopefully we can find a way to make it affordable to everyone.” – B.J. Christenson
“To be honest about triathlon - it doesn’t attract me. It seems so non-adventurous, everything is about details and you have to be so serious - am I wrong? Will I get killed for saying this? Haha. You can all tease me forever if I end up doing an Ironman somewhere! In addition I really hate tarmac, so if I ever try, it will definitely be an XTERRA! I think adventure racing seems like much more fun.” - Otillo Swim-Run World Champion Maja Tesch on why she isn’t interested in triathlons.
LESSON IN PACING
“When I was 15, I could not get into Ironman Hawaii because they had a minimum age of 18. So I did Ironman Canada in ’88. I talked to a few Ironman triathletes and they all said, ‘Don’t go hard at all.’ In my 15-year-old brain that meant don’t go 95 percent, just 90. I swam well and pushed the bike and I hit the turnaround in something like 5th place overall. I thought, ‘Uh-oh. All those guys told me to go easy!’ I backed off and cruised the last half but the damage was done. I jogged and walked to the run turnaround and on the way back I saw a really beautiful lawn with shade where I laid down and fell asleep.” – Jason Middleton
BROWNLEES ON CHAOS IN COZUMEL
“I saw Jonny start to veer off to the side [and] I thought: ‘He’s not looking good.’ I ran towards him, grabbed him and started dragging him towards the finish line, hurling profanities at him all the way.” - Alistair Brownlee speaking to the Telegraph newspaper.
“I couldn’t yell back – I was just trying to breathe! My first thought was: ‘Oh, just leave me alone.’ But I couldn’t do anything about it.” - Jonny Brownlee speaking to the Telegraph newspaper.
“First I was just thinking: 'What an idiot. He could have won this race so easily and he's been tactically so ridiculous. It serves him right really.’” - Alistair Brownlee speaking to The Independent.
“If I had sprinted past him, it would have been much worse. Plus, my mum wouldn’t have been happy with that.” - Alistair Brownlee speaking to The Telegraph.
Ed Brownlee, who is 21, texted brother Jonny after the weekend: "So you nearly died… that was stupid."
"I don't want to be remembered as the guy who looked like a wobbly horse down the finishing line, but hopefully for what I've done in the Olympics and other good races. At the end of the day, I'm a competitor and I wanted to win the world championship.” - Jonny Brownlee speaking to The Mirror.
"Sport is a beast with two heads. You have to be the most massively competitive person, but then there is the room to do special things as well. It was literally a spur of the moment decision to do the right thing.”- Alistair Brownlee quoted in BBC Sport about helping his dazed brother to the finish line.
ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE
“I did Ironman Louisville back in 2010 in 10:14:31. I couldn’t fathom going a second faster. Yesterday I had a lifetime best swim, bike and run, and was able to cross the finish in 7:44:29, a little over 2.5 hours faster than my race six years ago. If there is anything you take away from this performance I hope it is that ANYTHING is possible if you cultivate a love and passion for what you are doing, and you are willing to persevere.”– Lionel Sanders speaking about his record-setting time at 2016 Ironman Arizona - two and a half hours faster and six years after his Ironman debut.
SNOWBLIND AT EVEREST
“When I tried to open my eyes it was the most horrible pain you can imagine because those two organs have a lot of nerves. And the oxygen burned my eyes. Do I take the oxygen and spend 13-15 hours without oxygen at 27,300 feet? I was not feeling bad from altitude or headache. I was not conscious of anything but the pain of my eyes.... Without speaking the same language, my sherpa was pulling a rope attached to me. The signals were simple. Up. Down. Left or right. Every few steps I fell and he had to pick me up. That was very, very stressful without seeing and going backwards. I don’t know how I am here! Thanks God!” - On the descent after summiting Everest in May, famed Ironman Luis Alvarez developed snow blindness, which made his descent perilous and painful. He has fully recovered.
AMERICA THE TRIATHLETE
“A year ago, a friend of mine competed in her first triathlon. As I watched her train, I was equal parts enthralled and horrified. The running and biking seemed brutal enough, but the open-water swimming was unimaginable. When my husband decided he was going to join her in the next triathlon, the voice [in her head] returned with a vengeance: Don’t even think about it, America! You’re the fat kid. The procrastinator. The quitter. You have cellulite. YOU ARE NOT A TRIATHLETE. With every step, stroke and pedal, I turned ‘No, I can’t’ into ‘Yes, I can,’ and ‘I’m weak’ into ‘I am whole, healthy and strong.’ I finally got my answer to that question: Who do you think you are? ‘I am whoever I say I am. And I am a triathlete.’” – Actress America Ferrera writing in The New York Times about completing the Nautica Malibu Triathlon.
EGO OR SOUL?
“When you are humbled by a race, you realize what the purpose is here. In managing to dig so deep, you discover who you are. But that’s my ego talking. The ego wants a perfect race. You get in this to feed your ego or nourish your soul. The ego wants the bumper sticker. But the soul doesn’t need that.” – Fifty-eight year old Ultra triathlete Will Turnercompetitor in the Quintuple Anvil Triathlon – in a story in the New York Times.
“Dear Diary, I often have to pee in a cup while a stranger stares at my private parts. This is so the authorities can test for drug cheats. It is a good thing but sometimes I get stage fright and it takes hours. Then when the authorities leave, I have to pee every 10 min for the rest of the day. There is no logic in this place.” - Heather Wurtele: writing in her blog.
WILDFLOWER WILL RISE AGAIN
"When the drought is over and the water levels are normal, we hope to return The Wildflower Triathlon back to the iconic event that it was and is." – Tri California race director Terry Davis announcing the classic Wildflower triathlon would be canceled for 2017.