Tri Talk 2017

Culled from newspapers, magazines, webzines, blogs, podcasts and multiple triathlon sources for your consideration, Timothy Carlson’s favorite tri quotes of 2017.

“Hey guys, I’m in Kona A&E, just getting the finishing touches for my Kona race on Saturday, going for a new aero look. I’ve heard that’s the way to beat Jan, Sebi, and Patrick, the podium guys from last year. No, unfortunately I got hit by a car this morning, and I’ve got a fracture in my C2 vertebrae up high. The good news is I don’t have to have an operation and fly to Honolulu in a helicopter—that would have been pretty cool—no, but that’s the good news. The bad news is I’m out for the best part of five/six weeks in a brace and can’t be back.” – Tim Don Instagram post on his injury crash just before Ironman Hawaii.”

“Yeah, he is fierce. I know him as a really humble, nice guy. But I also know in a race, he is not humble and nice. He will kick your ass! And he won’t be shy for that.” - Lionel Sanders explained what lay beneath Patrick Lange’s mild-mannered demeanor.

“I’m a bad runner. I am a very ugly runner. I’ve been ugly since Grade 3. I’m not going to try and change that now.” – Lionel Sanders on his not-so-silky-smooth run form.

“It is an historical point. It is where all internal voices are screaming: ‘It is time to walk! It is time to walk now!’ Everyone at Kona hears the screaming. A lot of the limitations of this race are heat. The human body can only do so much to cool itself off. We wonder how much faster can we go on this island? Patrick has proven all of us wrong. Under eight hours once seemed so far away. Now it is just around the corner.” - Lionel Sanders talking about Mile 23 of the Kona run, the place where Mark Allen left Dave Scott in the 1989 Iron War, where Luc Van Lierde passed Thomas Hellriegel in 1996, where Lange passed Sanders in 2017.

After their exhausting three-day battle at the Ultraman World Championship, winner Rob Gray gave Jeremy Howard a half-joking compliment. “He told me, ‘I love you - and I hate you,’” laughed Howard.

“The bike course at Ironman Los Cabos was TOUGH. I think there was nearly 7k feet of climbing and it was hot, hot, hot out there… and that’s coming from someone who has spent time living in Mississippi where it’s disgustingly hot in the summer. Even though I knew it was going to be a slower than usual day with all the climbing, I just felt like I was in a really positive place mentally and never panicked... even when I projectile vomited halfway through lap two. Leaving T2, I was still in 5th but I felt awful. The self-pep talk there was to just keep moving forward (the inner voice in my head probably sounded like Dory from Finding Nemo).”– Samantha Mazer

“It’s a huge risk to switch sports right now, when I’m arguably at the top and could make more money than I’ve ever made in triathlon… Which seems ridiculous, but at the same time, I think I can do it. It’s risky, and I think some people can look at it and probably think I’m being silly. But, for me, I’m really motivated right now by trying something new and doing this running thing and seeing if I can do it.” - Gwen Jorgensen

Interviewer: So many things can go wrong. In the blink of an eye, you can make a mistake. Get sick. Crash. “It is funny you should say that. When we were coming into the race this morning [Sarah Crowley’s coach] Cameron [Watt] said: ‘You've done all the work. But one punch can knock you out.’ When I was lying on the ground after the crash, I was thinking: ‘Oh. I think I just got my one punch.’ [Chuckles.] But that was not how I expected it. Then I thought. ‘No. I’m not out of it. The bike is OK. It is time for me to get up.’” – Sarah Crowley, on her 3rd place finish at Kona.

“ALS is a slow painful way to die. Every muscle and joint in my body hurts. In my current state, my breathing resembles a fish out of water and eating is a challenge while trying not to choke. ALS is a disease that deserves awareness and a cure. As identical twins, Mike and I will continue to do everything we can for ALS research. Our hope is that someday our contributions will help solve a piece or two of the ALS puzzle for others. That is way more important than being mad or sad at Medicare or the insurance companies.” - John Madzin of Chattanooga, who died December 29 at age 47.

“ I have three medals from the Swedish cycling TT national championships. My last medal is from 2014, a silver. I have never tried to become a cyclist, I just love the TT. And it is really funny if you also can go really fast!” Funny? “Yes it’s funny when you are in shape and ride your bike really, really fast. It is funny!” Eva Nystrom, who teamed with Adriel Young to win the 2016 Ötillo women’s World Championship while five months pregnant.

“The way I like to phrase it, when Michael Phelps won his eight gold medals, he had to beat me to make the Olympic team.”– William Jones, 2017 USAT Age Group National Champion, recalling his 51st place finish in the first round of the 2008 US Olympic Trials in the 100 meter butterfly.

“Because of recent attacks and sightings in Alaska we are supplying bear bells out of T2 for any athletes that would like to use them, just as more of an alert to wildlife that the athletes are around to hopefully avoid startling them. As for bear spray, we certainly recommend it very strongly, but are not making it mandatory. The trails we are using on the run are perhaps a little less prone to wildlife than the areas higher up in the mountains and those a bit more off the beaten path but that's the thing about Alaska, wildlife can really be anywhere at any time.” - Aaron Palaian Alaskaman Race Director.

The Incredible Crashing Lead Runner Cyclists

“I felt great, ran on clouds and won Ironman Florida leading from the front. There was only one tricky moment during the marathon. My lead cyclist who was heavy set and wore all black had trouble with the heat, collapsed and fell into a front yard. I did not know what to do and where to go.”

“Something similar happened to me during the 2006 IRONMAN Germany when it was very hot along the Main River. The cameraman of the Hessischen Rundfunk sat on the back of a motorbike in full leathers, and he too collapsed and fell off the bike. But that actually worked out for me as the exhaust fumes from that moto were terrible in that heat.” - Timo Bracht, who retired this year.

“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.” So what were are you expecting to fetch for the kidney? “Depends on the market, currently it’s 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.” – Callum Millward

“I had my fiancé Reece Barclay ahead of me for a few parts of the bike. He is in the men’s 25-29 age group. There were some points where I thought I might slightly edge ahead of him on the bike. But I thought better of that.” [Laughs.] - Lucy Charles after winning the women’s title at Ironman Lanzarote.

“Hawaii was much more complex to win. The heat, wind, humidity and the energy of the Island. It did more to reveal me to myself than any other race. So the lessons learned on any given day were more intense than in Nice. That said, Nice had its own complexity. Winning it ten years in ten starts surpasses anything I did in Kona. Those years In Nice taught me more about racing than anywhere else. Nice forced me to learn me how to keep going even with a complete meltdown, as in 1983 when I walked, fell to the ground late in the run, with a charging Dave Scott closing in.“ - Mark Allen, six-time Ironman World Champion and 10-time Nice International Triathlon winner.

“I gave the speech after winning Ironman Texas in 2015 and immediately left. It was a 17 hour drive and I pulled into town at 7:30 a.m. and went straight to the college, showered there, and taught an 8:00 a.m. class. Obviously that takes a huge toll. I decided then that I couldn’t reach my full potential in the sport burning the candle at both ends. So I decided to stop moonlighting as a triathlete and give it my full attention.” - Matt Hanson.

“I saw a quote recently: ‘Wisdom has been replaced by knowledge and knowledge has been replaced by information and information has been replaced by data.’ What does this have to do what it takes to run toe-to-toe with the best? I've noticed that the best athletes are also the most intuitive. Coaches too. With all the devices and data that we have, the art of training and coaching has been lost. However, you still see it at the top level.” - 2000 Triathlon Olympian and current running coach Ryan Bolton.

“I think it’s a terrible decision. Triathlon appealed to me because it’s really freaking tough, and I think the sprint distance takes some of that toughness away. I think of Julie Moss crawling across the finish line, of Jonny Brownlee forcing the London Olympic medal ceremony to be delayed because he couldn’t stand up, of Gwen and Nicola slowing to a ridiculous walk during a tactical chess match in Rio. These moments are uniquely ‘triathlon’ and I think you get away from the sport’s spirit by moving to a sprint distance.” – Joe Maloy speaking about the ITU decision to emphasize Sprint triathlons instead of Olympic distance events.

“One of the best compliments I ever received was from Simon Whitfield. After I won Lifetime Minneapolis he wrote on Twitter that I was the Craig Walton of my generation. I remember seeing videos of Walton in ITU races riding away from the group. That was the tactic I tried every chance I got. Those guys were great motivators for me because they showed you didn't have to run the fastest if you had the swim/bike to get away.” - Cameron Dye.

“You hear things like ‘nobody has ever died during the Iditarod’ and I feel truly like if things were just a tad different, I would’ve been swept down a rushing river and been the first. Honestly, falling through the ice happened so damn fast that it was just a matter of reaction and the need to survive. I truly don’t know how long it took me to get out of the water. My best guess was that it was 2 minutes, which felt like 20 minutes. Very luckily, the next checkpoint was only 3 or 4 miles away and I knew exactly where I was from previous years. Within 45 minutes of falling in, I was warming myself near a wood-burning stove. All in all, it could’ve been much worse. It was 20 above, but it could have been - 40. It was 6 pm with some light left and it could’ve been 3am and pitch dark. I have a beautiful wife and two awesome little girls. I wasn’t going let this river take me from them. God still has plans for me, that’s the way I look at it.” Peter Ripmaster on falling through ice while running the Iditarod.

“There was another turnaround at around 20km [of a 21.1 km run]. I was about 400m ahead, but I still felt like Kienle could somehow close the gap, so I needed to keep pressing. As we were going by each other, Kienle reached over the fence to give me a high five. He didn’t need to say anything. I knew exactly what this gesture meant: ‘You got me. Great battle. I am not pressing. Enjoy that finish line.’ What a great gesture this was, as I would have blown through that finish line with fear driving my every movement. Sebastian is a great champion, and I have learned so much from him over the years. This was another great lesson on humility and the spirit of competition that I will add to my arsenal.” - Lionel Sanders on his duel with Sebastian Kienle at Challenge The Championship in Samorin, Slovakia.

“Being a solo Dad for a week while my wife was on a business trip while I was preparing [for] an Ironman.” - Two-time Ironman World Champion and Olympic gold medal winner Jan Frodeno when asked what he considers his greatest accomplishment.

“I was trying to get my name out there and because of that I raced an ironman and a half-ironman with a massive pain in my leg before I decided it was so sore that I needed to get a scan. The experts told me that, if I had done one more race, I probably would have cleanly snapped the bone in my leg. They couldn’t believe I was even running. That’s probably one of my downfalls – I can’t give up, no matter how bad it gets. Sometimes I need to listen to my body more.” – Lucy Charles in an interview with The Guardian regarding suffering a stress fracture in her leg soon after winning the 18-24 division at Kona and receiving a pro contract.

“Where's Mick Fanning when you need him? Clearly the sharks in Busso did not get the message to buzz off this weekend. And what about the kangaroos tackling a couple of internationals off their bikes? C'mon Roos, that's not how we treat our guests. And then the bush fire that started due to the sweltering Aussie heat! Welcome to Straya - what doesn't kill you makes you stronger!” – Melissa Hauschildt writing in her blog about her win at Ironman Western Australia.

Hauschildt’s blog was the superb in 2017 – articulate, exciting race coverage with great turns of phrase, enthralling accounts of about her life-threatening iliac artery surgery, recovery and comeback to form.

“14k: I run into 3rd and it dawns on me that I am now on a podium spot at one of the biggest Ironmans of the year. This is cool. Painful but cool. 20k: My quads hate me. Maybe I should stop and stretch for 30 seconds and see if it helps? Actually let’s not be stupid, if I stop the rhythm might go and I may find myself being the guy who runs onto the podium only to give it up. 30k: Shit. I have went from feeling like I was the hunter to being the guy ‘running’ for his life, even if now the running is a lot slower than an hour earlier. I am destroyed but I try and keep looking relaxed on and out and back sections. 38k: I know I am 2 minutes 30 seconds ahead of 4th place but my head is such a mess I cannot calculate how many seconds a kilometer I can afford to lose and still stay on the podium. Spectators at the side of the road congratulate me on coming 3rd but I know I haven’t made it yet and my head is now so irrational I am convinced I will get caught and end up walking till the end.” – David McNamee writing in his blog about late race fears of collapse during his 3rd-place finish at Kona.