Winning Kona in 2007 changed my life – there is no doubt about it. But I never want to rest on my laurels. There is always room for improvement and I will not stop striving to be a better athlete. 2008 was a big test for me… could I cope with the additional responsibilities and pressure? Did I have what it takes to repeat the performances of the previous year, or would I be a one hit wonder? It was as much a mental as a physical challenge, and I would be lying if I said it was always easy. I am lucky to have the support of my wonderful family, friends, my sponsors, my (then) coach Brett Sutton, the other TeamTBB athletes and my manager, Ben Mansford. All of them helped me adjust to life as World Champion, and also enabled me to focus on what I love – training and racing as well as giving something back to the sport, through development work.
To be honest, I couldn’t have wished for a better 2008! We were based in Subic Bay, in the Philippines from February to May; the summer was spent in the beautiful Swiss Alps and then the month before Kona we shifted to Jeju Island, South Korea. Race wise, I won Ironman Australia, Ironman Germany (the European Ironman Championships), Alp D’Huez Long Course Triathlon, Timberman 70.3, the ITU World Long Course Championships in Almere, Holland and, the icing on the tasty cake was being crowned World Ironman Champion for the second year in a row. This time there was no doubt in my mind about the significance, importance and magnitude of the event. And to win the race was made even more special – for two reasons – firstly because I managed to overcome a 10minute deficit on the bike due to a flat tyre (thanks to Rebekah Keat!) and secondly because my family and friends were there in force to watch me cross the line. To be greeted by my mum and dad (Lin and Steve) is a memory that it is etched forever in my mind.
The end of 2008 saw considerable changes. I parted ways with Brett and TeamTBB, chose to be coached by Simon Lessing and Darren De Rueck at Boulder Coaching, put the wheels in motion to move to the US and lastly, headed off to Argentina to forget all about triathlon!