In early September, I had the opportunity to meet Ironman up-and-comer Chris McCormack – Macca – at a Los Angeles Triathlon Club dinner. It was only a few short weeks before he’d finally put his outspoken German critics to rest at Kona.
Here’s what I learned about him that night:
1. He’s been a tri geek since the age of 13.
2. He and his buddy used to watch Kona race videos over and over again – and dream of racing there one day.
3. When he actually got to Kona, he realized how desolate the bike portion was compared to the nice buttoned up NBC race coverage with the music.
4. His first few attempts at Kona were humbling and he had to drop out of the race a couple of times.
5. He went through lots of tests by some scientific institute in Australia to formulate the perfect nutrition plan at Kona. It proved to be imperfect in ’06, leaving him heaving on the bike until another athlete suggested he drink Coke at the next aid station. The fizzy stuff was just what he needed to get his second wind and overcome the nausea.
6. He did not understand why Normann Stadler and Faris Al-Sultan accused him of drafting in ’06. Especially when a.) he hadn’t and b.) he had beaten them both in plenty of other races.
7. He likes to play head games with his competitors, but in his case it seems more like boyish devilishness than mean spiritedness.
8. He has a soft-spoken Aussie accent that would drive Iron Wil and most red-blooded American women wild.
9. He’s superstitious about eating lasagna the night before a race.
10. It can be tough to find lasagna the night before a race in places like Japan.
11. He also likes to drink two cans of Ensure Plus the night before a race. And one can of Ensure Plus the morning of a race.
12. He is not sponsored by Ensure Plus.
13. He’s happily married with kids.
14. He’s also in love with his new Specialized S-Works bike.
15. He was exceptionally gracious about meeting folks, posing for pictures and signing autographs.
16. If you ever get the chance to meet him, bring your real camera not your cell phone camera.