With five Kona wins between them, Wellington and Alexander chat about the pressures, pleasures and pursuit of perfection at triathlon’s top level.
CA: Congratulations on Roth, another awesome, career defining and sport defining performance. Tell me about it. How was your day?
CW: I was so proud of my performance in Roth. I guess not just because of the performance and because of the time, but because the preparation going in wasn’t perfect. I did the best with Roth with the preparation that I’d had. And also with the pressure. The pressure in Roth I think is comparable, if not more, than in Kona for me. Because I haven’t just got to win. People expect me to win and they also expect me to break a record. If I had a dollar for every time I was told I was going to break the record – not even asked, but told – I was gong to break the record beforehand, I’d be a very rich person! But it was a great race. It’s nice to improve year on year, that’s why I love going back to that race. And I think I just finally had the run that I’ve wanted in an ironman, that I’ve always known is in me. So it was really good to get the run I knew I had, or that I knew I was capable of. It was a great race, and it was great sharing the stage with Andy [Andreas Raelert] as well. It was altogether a great weekend. And how do you feel about Coeur D’Alene?
CA: I was happy. I was happy to punch my ticket to Kona. Obviously that wasn’t on the schedule at the start of the year, but like you say, things don’t always go exactly to plan. I picked up the virus, but I’m not going to whinge about it. I haven’t been sick in almost a decade of racing, so I’ve had a pretty good run. But you know when you have kids, you have a lot of sponsor commitments, you’re coming into contact with people all the time – particularly when you’re training hard – I guess your immune system is a little depleted. You’re always at risk of getting something. I guess the main disappointment to me was not getting to race Ironman Australia. I don’t get the opportunity to race that much at home anymore. I’ve done the Australian 70.3 the last couple of years but it would have been nice to do the ironman there. And also to validate my Kona spot earlier in the season. But yeah, I got sick. It took me a good seven or eight weeks to shake the virus, and because I coughed so much I damaged a rib. I cracked a rib. Similar to an injury you had except you crashed your bike – I just coughed! I wish I could tell people I crashed my bike. “How’d you crack your rib?” I just coughed. So when we arrived here I still didn’t know what race I was going to do. I sort of had Coeur D’Alene penciled in but I also had Frankfurt. With the rib thing I thought I might need an extra four weeks of training and just time to let it heal. As you know those things don’t heal very quickly. I tested the water at Alcatraz and that was a disaster – I ended up having to walk in the run. But you know I didn’t get too despondent – I felt my fitness was good, I just wasn’t healthy. Once I could get healthy I’d be able to go and knock the qualification over. The rib did seem to respond well to some good treatment so I just decided to go to Coeur D’Alene the Monday before. Nothing like last minute planning! But it worked well. I did a good time I thought, on that course, and it was a beautiful race. I hadn’t done an Ironman outside of Kona for four years, so it was a different experience, but a good one.