Richie Cunningham, a native of Australia but a long-time Boulder local, is primed and ready to race on Sunday at the inaugural Ironman Boulder.
“I feel good,” says Cunningham. “I’ve trained well. I’ve got a couple little niggles that won’t go away–things you just sort of deal with on race day–but everybody has something going on, so hopefully it all comes good. It’s just hard sitting around waiting!”
Cunningham looks forward to competing in his own backyard, although race day proximity to the comforts of home can be both a blessing and a curse, he says. “The same as with the Boulder 70.3, it will be nice to sleep in my own bed and get up and do my own routine. That’s always an advantage. The only problem is that I ride past my house twice. So if you have a bad swim and are feeling angry it’s hard not to just duck in and call it quits; or on the last part of the bike, when you’re feeling really tired and if you’re off the back for some reason, it’s hard when your bed is right there and you just want to take a nap!”
While Cunningham’s 2013 season was derailed at its peak by a car vs. bike road rage incident in which he suffered a broken elbow, he’s proven he’s back in fighting form with a slew of successes in 2014, including second at Ironman 70.3 Auckland, first at Ironman 70.3 Texas and third at Ironman 70.3 Boulder. A relative rookie to the iron-distance, however, Boulder will mark only his third go at the full 140.6 miles. Cunningham raced Ironman New Zealand in 1999 when he first acquired a pro license and “didn’t know what he was doing”; then he finished an impressive fourth at Ironman Arizona 2009 in his second attempt at the distance.
“I’m a novice at this. People keep asking me questions and I’m like, ‘Uh…I might not be the best person to answer that question!’” he laughs. “I’m hitting up Crowie and [Ben] Hoffman and Barny [Paul Matthews] and all these guys. But I’m looking forward to it.”
Regardless of Cunningham’s Ironman inexperience, he’s intimately familiar with the Boulder course, having swam countless times in the Boulder Reservoir and trained extensively on every stretch of the bike and run routes. Here he shares his tips for each leg of the race; out-of-towners, take note!