I will give you two contrasting examples. The contrast between the two is relevant and germane to this conversation. Last weekend one of our former world champions validated for Kona at the largest triathlon in one of the world’s five financial centers. And that athlete went 11:42 with a 51 minute swim, 5 hour and 37 minute bike and a 4:56 run. [Messick was referencing 2012 Ironman World Champion Pete Jacobs of Australia who was validating his 2014 Kona entry at Ironman Switzerland in Zurich] There was never any doubt that this was simply punching a ticket.
When I ran the Tour of California, Tom Boonen came almost every year. Boonen organized his year around the cobble classics, the Tour de France and at times the world championships. But he was a two peak [per year] guy. He was in phenomenal shape on April 10. He then did not get on a bike for 3 weeks. He came to the Tour of California [in May] and he was not fit. But he knew it. We knew it. Patrick Lefevere, who ran that team, sent Boonen, with 10 kilometers left in the sprint stages, to go to the front with his guys. If you look at the pictures of Tour of California sprint finishes, there was Boonen getting beat by Mark Cavendish. There was Boonen getting beat by other top sprinters. Tom Boonen is a professional. He was not in [peak] shape but he goes to a race and he tries. And there is the contrast.
As per the WTC Ironman rules, I had to validate for Kona by completing an Ironman. The only time I could now fit this in, after the depressing bout of fatigue and the troubling inability to race or train at an elite level for many months, was to complete Ironman Zurich one week after Challenge Roth. This was the event that was after my bout of fatigue had cleared, had the minimal amount of travel involved, and the minimal time away from preparing for your marquee race, and my main goal, of the Ironman World Championship.But whatever race it is, you have no idea how I feel about not being able to race for the win. This year has been full of hard times, disappointments, and days I could barely think straight. In Zurich I did irreversible damage to my body to push to a point of stressful pain and still have 12km’s left to walk. It was no fun at all. It was a very long, very stressful, hard and tiring day.Not once have I ever spoken up against your validation rule. Even in Zurich I accepted it for what I had to do and did not complain, but respected it was the rule that I had to abide by. I have never said a bad word against this rule.