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ST: I think you dealt with tooth pain just before the Cairns race. Is that correct?
Callum: It is no secret I have a serious sweet tooth. I have had a tooth ache for a while now, which turns out I require wisdom tooth removal and a root canal so I am off to the hospital to sell a kidney to finance that. It is nothing serious and it didn't impact my race.
ST: What are you expecting to fetch for the kidney?
Callum: Depends on the market, currently its over saturated. No I am kidding, you can’t put a price on fixing tooth pain. I have been waking up during the night with tooth pain, but watching the Kiwis clean up Oracle in the Americas Cup has helped soothe the pain. I am off to the dentist today.
ST: What kind of goal did you have going into IM Cairns?
Callum: The primary goal was Kona qualification so I needed a 4th or better so that was where I was aiming. I believed this was realistic having raced the mainly Australian field regularly. There were plenty of athletes in the same boat, who had raced earlier this year and still required a result to tick that Kona box.
ST: Were you well prepared and ready?
Callum: I was well prepared and motivated. I had an injury from November to January - which forced a break, so I was light on my run mileage heading into Ironman Texas in April. I still managed a 2:53 marathon and 8:07 with 9th overall, but ultimately I fell short on a fast and very competitive day. I had managed more run mileage heading into Cairns and was confident I could have a faster run, which would put me in the mix.
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ST: I think your swim was solid but then something went wrong. And wrong might not be the proper term.
Callum: I had a solid swim and exited [the water] in the lead bunch. I took the time to put socks on in T1, which is something I have done recently, including IMTX. This always takes an extra 10-15 second, and I thus exited the change tent a touch behind the group, but still in touch. A small gap opened up through the first mile of the bike, and when Cam Wurf hit the ignition switch, the group tried to stay with him. I made the amateur mistake of sitting at the back of the group and missed this split. Joe Gambles had the initiative to quickly get across. I wrongly assumed it was such a small gap, that these guys were burning matches trying to go with Cam, and that I would sit with Cameron Brown and save some energy and that it would regroup within a few miles. Anyway, it didn’t and we didn't show enough urgency and chase the boys down, and we lost a whopping 9 minutes by the end of the bike. You don't have to work for Best Bike Split to realize this isn't a good situation to be in starting the run.
ST: After that long ride with Brownie, is there anything left to the imagination or did you talk about it all. Or were you too busy chasing?
Callum: We were chasing hard at times, and then at other times riding tempo. We were only 1 minute back at the first turn around at Port Douglas (45km). My power for the first hour was 70.3 power, so I figured we would ride back up or at the very least limit our losses. The group took off like a cut snake when they got the time check, because we lost a further 90s over the next 25km and I felt like we were riding well.
ST: At what point did you realize that the front bunch was well gone?
Callum: To be honest, not until we got to T2, as we didn't have any time checks for the last 90minutes as its a point to point final 60km’s and the media band and race officials were no longer focused on our group. Until that point I knew we were hemorrhaging small amounts of time, but when there are guys in that group attacking each other, that is when we lose big time.
ST: Talk about the run.
Callum: I began the run with Cam Brown, Jeff Symonds and Ukranian athlete Daniil Sapanov who was allergic to wind on the bike. Cam and I had a good battle at IMNZ in 2016 where I ran my best marathon of 2:48. Cam never gives up so we formed an alliance by default and got to chasing down the group of athletes, who I considered were the podium contenders. We ran hard, probably too hard going through half way in 1:22, and had only managed to catch Casey Munro and Clayton Fettel. We were getting splits to the leader of 20mins, and 9mins to Berkel, Dellow etc. Around 25km’s reality set in that we would likely only catch athletes who had over ridden.
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ST: Did you take it a notch back then?
Callum: A little, for a few reasons. You’re starting to fatigue as you've been racing for 7hrs already, and secondly, we’re now racing for 9th and 10th with little financial or KPR reward. But until that point, you're racing hard, trying to stay positive and in the race.
ST: Did you offer that wind allergic Daniil Sapanov a tissue, or maybe some medical advice?
Callum: To be honest, we (Cam Brown, Jeff Symonds and myself) dropped him a couple of times, well, maybe by a few hundred meters and I thought he was gone. I didn't realize who he was until the run and I am not a big fan of his or the company he keeps with convicted dopers. There is never an obligation to “pull” your turn in a legal group situation so its just one of those things.
ST: On that doping topic, a convicted doper should be…?
Callum: If I was CEO of WADA, lifetime ban for intentional doping. Period. However, it is not always black and white, with contamination issues of recent, and proven innocents, I am not sure how you address these.
ST: In late May you were still in The Woodlands in Texas and hanging out with Gemma Hollis and her very sweet pool setup. Are you a good push glide kicker?
Callum: Gemma has a great set up there. I admire her for chasing her dream, and building a successful business. I need all the help I can get with swimming, although race week isn't the time for stroke correction so I just used the pool for a few light swims. There were more than a few pros and serious interstate athletes who made the most of being in the Woodlands and dropped by during the week.
ST: These days how much time do you spend in North America and how much time in Noosa? And is there much time left for New Zealand other than racing there?
Callum: I was splitting my time fairly evenly between Noosa, Australia and Boulder, Colorado over the past 5 years. Most all of my sponsors are USA based so I keep up appearances as much as possible and I love Colorado. I have made life long friends in the US so feel lucky to call it my third home. This year I will be headed back to Boulder in late August early September and training with my Noosa training partner Mel Hauschildt pre Kona. I try to get back to New Zealand at least once a year, and coincide this with a race. My partner Alise Selsmark also races pro and has never experienced NZ, so I am eager to show her the land of the long white cloud.
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ST: What else makes New Zealand special?
Callum: One thing I am proud of as a New Zealander is their common sense approach to a lot of situations. People are generally very relaxed and humble. As a small island nation of 4.5million people, we do exceptionally well on the world sporting stage. The country itself has stunning natural landscape and is well worth visiting. Definitely head to the South Island and make your way up to the North Island and check out all the tourist hot spots. You wont be disappointed at our little south pacific paradise
ST: Talking about racing, what is next for you?
Callum: I’ll be racing 70.3 Philippines in August, and then Sunshine Coast 70.3 in September. I haven't raced either of these races, and part of my motivation for picking races in 2017 was to head to races I hadn't been to before. I’ll round out the year with an Ironman and 70.3 Taupo and 70.3 Asia Pac Champs in Western Sydney.
ST: What is the big A race now?
Callum: It is going to be a late season Ironman now. I don't plan on chasing my tail to get to Kona, it would be career suicide to try to fit in another Ironman pre Kona and expect to do well in Kona. I will focus on my 2018 Kona campaign and get a good point score underway, so I am currently looking at Ironman Louisville, KY.
ST: Are the Cupcake with Cal shows in hibernation or permanently retired?
Callum: They are in hibernation. I constantly get asked when another video is coming out. I am actually sitting on 4 unedited videos I filmed at Ironman 70.3 World Champs last year. I need to pull my finger out and edit them because Heather and Trevor Wurtele’s video is hilarious. I enjoy entertaining and it has been great for my brand. I am always thinking about better ways to provide entertainment or a concept that would resonate with fans. I also feel the need to grow our sport to swimmers, cyclists, runners, crossfitters, or anyone who is looking for a challenge and to better themselves physically and mentally, no matter what their ability level. I still feel we as a sport have the ability to grow and appeal to mainstream media. I would love to package our sport better from an entertainment/spectator standpoint. We are a 1980’s sport that, in my opinion isn't making the most of the current media channels. But this is a whole new conversation, and most likely better directed at my stunt double Ironman CEO Andrew Messick.
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ST: What else is new?
Callum: I am currently brainstorming custom paint job ideas. Quintana Roo has an in-house paint guru, which has me excited for my next PR6. Everything else is good on my front. If there are any entrepreneurs out there with a creative genius streak, shoot me a message, I am always up for ideas to spice up our sport or collaborate.