TO: Twice, yeah. I was in one of the cars for the men’s race so I got to see the bike unfold.
TD: That’s huge – it’s almost like you’ve done the race, getting to see it that close up. When I went through it I made six years of mistakes before I figured it out!
TO: What was the first year you did Kona as an age-grouper?
TO: ‘92 – so did you do three straight years as an age-grouper and then turn pro in ‘95?
TD: Yeah. And those years, you know it was very different than it is now. I raced as an age-grouper and I did it at the end of the year. It was just kind of a workout. I never trained for it; I just did it. And I didn’t do well, but I had fun. I knew that was where I wanted to go, and then the first year I trained for it in ‘95, my first pro year, that was where I really began to learn more. But I think doing it then as a pro was different. The point system now, in my eyes it changes everything. That’s what I was watching more than anything, is how you handle the points. And so far it’s been great. You talked about that a few weeks ago when you had a good race at Boulder Peak. But then what happened at Vineman – were you just flat?
TD: That’s where you’ve got to be careful. Hopefully you’ll learn from that. You’re one of the rare guys that I’m watching that has the right schedule. I mean guys are still racing, chasing points. But you know that you’re going, you’ve got your slot, you can focus on that.
TO: I’ve decided that I’m putting 70.3 World’s aside and not racing that this year.
TD: Thank god! I don’t think guys know how much that’s going to take out of them. Those temperatures and that race four weeks before Kona is going to kill them.
TO: Yeah, 100, 115 degrees. Also, the field at Vineman was an unbelievable field, and when I finished that race, I had had a bad run. I was flat. But I was 80 seconds off the previous course record and I was sixth.
TO: So I think I realized then that in Vegas, there are going to be a lot of guys throwing down.
That takes a lot out of you.