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CUNNAMA COMES HOME, WILD EYES PRIZE
For Cunnama, this weekend's Ironman 70.3 World Championship marks a return to where it all began for the South African, who discovered triathlon in Nelson Mandela Bay back in 2004. "The challenge is what hooked me," James says. "It challenged me physically of course, that's what triathlons do. But it also challenged me to learn new skills. I had to learn biking and bike mechanics, and then I had to learn pacing and nutrition. There are no many things you have to get right."
James has been getting plenty of things right recently. After taking four months of paternity leave to care for his new son and his wife — fellow Cervélo athlete Jodie Cunnama — he punched his ticket to October’s Ironman World Championship with a third-place showing at Ironman Hamburg that included a personal-best bike split on his Cervélo P5X.
That impressive July podium was a very far cry from his early days in Nelson Mandela Bay. "I have vivid memories of going along the beachfront and cramping up. There are these little speed bumps at intersections along the way, and I couldn't get over them!" James recalls, laughing.
WILD FOR THE WIN
Switzerland's Ruedi Wild is also coming off a strong July performance. His silver medal at the ITU Long Distance Triathlon World Championships represents what he calls "one of the most successful achievements of my triathlon career, and also one of my best efforts...I would, of course, have liked to be on top of the World Cup podium, but I went all out and gave everything. The more one has to overcome in competition, the greater the satisfaction afterward."
With two Ironman 70.3 podiums already under his belt already this season — in Dubai and Austria — the P5 and P5X rider looks primed to perform, especially after weeks of training in the Swiss Alps.