Behind the Wheel with Tony Kanaan

Behind the Wheel with Tony Kanaan

At first glance, racing Indycars and racing triathlon have little in common, but for Tony Kanaan, they are the perfect compliment to one another. Here’s why.

Tony Kanaan is a force to be reckoned with. Not only has he dedicated his life to Indycar racing for the past 23 years, but he is also a triathlete with an insatiable dedication to his training.

From pulling massive TSS weeks to carving out triathlon racing time between a 17-week car racing season, there is no doubt that Tony is addicted to competition and driving to greatness. Listen as Dirk dives deep with Tony to discuss motivation, time management and what the future holds for this athletic all-arounder.

Stand-out Quotes

  • “You have to train if you want to be a race car driver. Otherwise, what’s going to happen there is, you’re driving the car, you start getting tired, you start worrying about what’s cramping, what’s hurting and then one little mistake at 240 miles an hour, can cost you quite a bit. And you’re surrounded by walls, so there is no room for mistakes.”
  • “I’ll give you an example, in the 70.3 that I was doing, [there were] very few transition areas on the bike. And out of the two of them, I was going too fast and I couldn’t grab a bottle …And I was just fine. And some people would struggle with that. You know? So those are the things that sometimes are beneficial to me because I’m used to going three hours, drinking probably 17 ounces of water.”
  • “Santiago yells at me all the time because I train quite a bit more than I should, but we definitely track the TSS. Like I’ll give you an example, on an average week my TSS will be 900…. it’s three times a day, pretty intense. We try to keep [it] under a thousand and he yells at me because the last week the plan was 745 and I did 925.”
  • “[For] people that don’t know me, if it’s not recorded on TrainingPeaks, and I don’t have a power meter, I’m not going for a ride because the ride didn’t happen.”
  • “I’m like, ‘Well, I’m going to keep going and just feel good today.’ And I hammered on the bike and I remember coming into transition when I unclipped, when I went to do the little movement to swing your foot to unclip, I cramped right away… the entire half marathon. There was not one time that I didn’t feel the impact.”

Resources

Tony Kanaan’s Instagram

Tony Kanaan’s Twitter

Tony Kanaan’s Facebook

Episode Transcript

Dirk Friel:

In this episode, I interviewed legendary Indianapolis 500 winner, Tony Kanaan. Tony is not only a past Indy car series winner, but he’s also a passionate triathlete who has finished Ironman, Hawaii, and many other 70.3 events. This year is Tony’s final season as a racecar driver. So it’s likely you will see him toe the line in more triathlons starting in 2021 and beyond. Join me in learning how this Brazilian racecar driver got started in the sport of triathlon, found a coach to help him reach his goals and never looked in the rearview mirror.

Tony, thank you so much for joining me today.

Tony Kanaan:

Oh, you’re welcome. My pleasure.

Dirk Friel:

Yeah. You know, I was born in Indianapolis. I know you live there now. And obviously you’re a legend in the sport of Indy car racing, having won the Indy 500 and the overall race series, so this is definitely special for me. It’s also, you’re my very first guest that has been interviewed on David Letterman. So you’re setting a really high bar for future guests. 

Tony Kanaan:

We liked that we like to set the bar high. You know you guys set the bar high, so I had to.

Dirk Friel:

Thank you so much. I think a lot of folks listening really have no idea of the demands of racing, you know, a race like the Indy 500. So I’d love to start with just the physical, even the mental side, but you know, that physical side of racing Indy car. I mean just first of all, how long is the race? And we know it’s 500 miles, but how many hours does that take and kind of walk us through some of the physical demands of racing Indy.

Tony Kanaan:

I mean Dirk, there is such a myth that people think that racecar drivers are not athletes, right? So when you talk about, you know, you’re sitting inside a car that has two radiators because it’s an open-wheel. So you kind of sit in the middle between two radiators at work at 120 degrees each. You’re going at 230, 240 miles an hour, pulling 5G’s into the corner. That is a lot of stress on your body. You know, like for the listeners that are familiar with heart rates and the TSS and all this stuff. My max heart rate, it’s between 165-172. I average on a 500 mile race, which lasts three and a half hours, 258, sorry, 158. So it’s quite high.

When you think about, you’re sitting down pretty much, you’re moving your feet and your arms, and you’re trying to hang on at your core, so extremely demanding. I lose between 2-4 pounds per race, as far as hydration goes. We don’t have a lot to hydrate because the car doesn’t have a lot of space for you to put anything, or you’re wearing your helmet. Obviously it’s an open-wheel, so that is not a lot of refrigeration. So, it’s quite tough. I mean, it’s definitely… you know, you have to train if you want to be a racecar driver. Otherwise, what’s going to happen there is, you’re driving the car, you start getting tired, you start worrying about what’s cramping, what’s hurting and then one little mistake at 240 miles an hour, can cost you quite a bit. And you’re surrounded by walls, so there is no room for mistakes.

Dirk Friel:

Yeah. So your max is around 170. You’re holding around 158 average for three and a half hours?

Tony Kanaan:

Yeah, that’s 88% of my, you know… so basically we can talk about it later on, but that’s basically how I try to actually use my training. And that’s where, by recording that stuff, I try to kind of match that in training. So I can actually be a better racecar driver because obviously, the best way to become a better driver is driving the cars every day. But we don’t do that, it’s so expensive. We never test, the tests are limited. So you have to find all the ways to do it. So that’s how I try to develop my training. 

I also love triathlons. We’re going to talk about it a little bit too. That’s my passion. So between those two, we’ll try to simulate what’s going on. And by recording that, I record the race on my heart rate monitor, so we can log on to TP and then kinda like evaluate and then try with my coach, try to simulate some of that stuff outside the car, basically get in a room with a trainer and a heater on and try to get the heat with the thermometer.

Well, what’s the hottest day that I had in a racecar? And just basically go on Zwift and burn yourself down pretty much, trying to do intervals like that to try to acclimate,

Dirk Friel:

Right? So this actually hinders your triathlon performance in many ways, which people may not realize. By training for the race, the Indy 500, you actually are putting some limits on your triathlon, progress, because do you limit water intake, fuel intake within triathlon?

Tony Kanaan:

Well, actually [it] gives me an advantage on triathlons if you think about it, because when you talk to pros, pro triathletes, the biggest thing, because they’re running at the limit the entire time to hydration, nutrition, it’s one of the key factors for them to perform well. For me, I kind of go against that, unfortunately, because in the racecar, the only thing I can do in the racecar for three hours, is to drink a little bit of water. That’s all we have. So I do train for that. So what happens is… this is my experience and I have to say, I’m not recommending that because on the triathlons, I actually tried to hydrate as much as I can because I can, but because I train like that, I can actually, if something happens…

I’ll give you an example, in the 70.3 that I was doing, [there were] very few transition areas on the bike. And out of the two of them, I was going too fast and I couldn’t grab a bottle because, you’re trying to grab it. The guy didn’t hand it to you. I couldn’t grab it. And I was just fine. And some people would struggle with that. You know? So those are the things that sometimes are beneficial to me because I’m used to going three hours drinking, probably 17 ounces of water. Because even though we have a little Camelbak in the car with a little tube that goes to the helmet, but it’s not the most comfortable thing to drink at 230 miles an hour. There is not a lot of space.

So I am more accustomed to it. It gives me an advantage. If I’m in trouble on the triathlons, like the heat, when I did Kona in 2011, I saw so many people complaining about the heat and I was like, that’s just fine with me. So those are the things that [are] benefiting me in a way, to do my triathlons. But honestly, it’s not a very healthy way to do it. But the thing is, the racecar doesn’t allow you to do any of that. So you gotta adapt, right? Like every, every hour your body will adapt to anything if you put the stress into it.

Dirk Friel:

Right. Right. And when did you start doing triathlon?

Tony Kanaan:

It’s quite funny because I started racing cars—well go-carts, but racing—I was eight years old and I was very short and a little boy for my age. I’m not tall. I’m 5’5”, but so I was really scrawny and dad was extremely worried because go-karts are quite tough. We don’t have power steering and I had to be able to drive. So he [had me] swim because obviously at eight, nine years old, you cannot take your kid to the gym and say, “You got to lift some weights.” So the best way was to swim. I started swimming. I used to swim every day, like 3000 meters a day. And as I grew up, I was 12, 13, I started running as well and swimming and bik[ing]. Obviously every kid rides a bike. 

So fast forward, I don’t know, I was probably 20. I had a coach, a friend of mine that said, “Hey man, you do all three. You need a little motivation. Why don’t you sign up to do a triathlon?” And that’s how it started. So 25 years ago for fun. I would not recommend the way I started it because I had no idea what I was doing and I went in the signed up for a 70.3, and that was my first triathlon ever. But I guess what you don’t know, you don’t know. So it was like, “Well, this race is quite long, man.” But that’s what I did. And then my passion, it clicked. It’s something that I really love doing it. I do it every day. I train, the minimum is actually three workouts a day maximum of four. Because remember, apart from the triathlon that I have, the running, the cycling and the swimming, I still got to go to the gym and work on the muscles that I use in the racecar, shoulders, neck core. Obviously I have time, that’s what I do for a living. So, I’m very fortunate to do that.

Dirk Friel:

Yeah. And this is all being guided by your coach, Santiago, is it Ascenso?

Tony Kanaan:

Santiago Ascenso? Yep. Yep.

Dirk Friel:

And how did you find him? How long have you been working with him?

Tony Kanaan:

Santiago, we’ve known each other for a long time. We’d been working together for 11 or 12 years now. Santiago is one of the top coaches of triathletes, pro triathletes in Brazil. So to me, obviously I met so many great people around the world, because of my status, obviously but I really liked Santiago. Second of all, being from Brazil, I wanted to support triathlon down there. I think it needs to grow. So I felt like me being associated with them, I would help that as well. So we start basically like that before Ironman in Kona. I think it was a year before I think I needed a proper coach. And then, I got in and Santiago, the first thing that he did obviously, it was like, “Okay, so you’re a driver. You love data. This is what you gotta do.”

And we started downloading obviously TrainingPeaks and all this stuff. And we started working together. So he became a personal friend because we worked so closely. I mean, we joke because I think I speak to Santiago more than I speak to my wife or any member of my family every day. We talk pretty much every day. I do have a special program with him. It’s more than one-on-one stuff, but we help each other a lot. I try to help him as much as I can, as far as some of my contacts for sponsorship. And we share some funding because I’m not a pro triathlete, but actually, the majority of my endorsements nowadays are in the triathlon industry, which is quite cool.

It’s a demographic that I think the sponsors look [for] that they can get. Now, we’ll talk about Trek, we’ll talk about Hoka, Zip wheels, SRAM…. I think I reach a demographic that they are looking for. For people to get bikes. It’s not like the fan of triathlon, it’s the fan of racing cars. 

Santiago kinda got to know these people and got some of the perks. And so it’s a really cool relationship. I think it’s extremely important to actually like your coach, right? Because there are days that you hate your coach. And, last Tuesday I hated him. And it was funny because we do workouts together. 

Although we don’t live in the same country, nowadays with technology, and especially with the pandemic, it kind of bought a lot of people together. I got him, in contact with Zwift. So he’s actually the only Brazilian coach that has a ride on Zwift, a workout, right? 

So last Tuesday, he put a ride on that, he actually bonked on his own. Right? So that’s how hard it was. And I made fun of him. And I told him [I] was going to mention [it] on the podcast, just to put him on the spot.

Dirk Friel:

He bonked?

Tony Kanaan:

He bonked on his own.

Dirk Friel:

On his own ride?

Tony Kanaan:

It was so hard that he actually bonked, which is fine, because think about it, Dirk. When he bonked, even him bonking, I couldn’t even pull the power that he was doing, my max power. It was not even close to what he has. We had 110% for 15 minutes and even him doing 90%, it was 130 for me anyways. So it didn’t matter. 

Dirk Friel:

Oh my Lord. Wow! You mentioned Zwift. You have your own rides on Zwift? Is that right?

Tony Kanaan:

Yeah. Every, every Monday night at 7:00 PM. Some people complain about the time, but this is the time that I can. I have four kids. We’re really busy. So we started that. I have a really good relationship with them. 

Funny enough, because it’s all related to the racing cars as well, their headquarters, they can see the race that we do in Long Beach, the street race, IndyCar race from their window. So basically all the guys are big fans. So we met a few years back. It’s been awesome. 

I mean, we average 150 people per ride. Every Monday night. We have a lot of fun. I chat with fans. We play little races inside the ride, and then I give perks, like they get a hat. It’s some stuff [from] sponsors getting in. We’re donating some hydration products from Infinite. I mean, Zip is actually gonna put [on] a big event. I shouldn’t even be giving you guys all that info because it’s still under wraps, but we’re probably gonna try to donate a set of wheels in one of the rides. We get to come up with a formula or a little race. And so it’s awesome. And Santiago joins and a bunch of others, like the other day, we had seven Indy 500 winners on the ride. So that was actually pretty cool.

Dirk Friel:

Wow. Get them all on TrainingPeaks!

Tony Kanaan:

Yeah, they actually are. Which, it’s good and bad, Dirk because TrainingPeaks was my little secret, and us racecar drivers getting into the topic. I mean, the car, the racecars nowadays, it’s all about data, everything. I mean, the engineers, we have live telemetry, they know exactly what’s happening in the car, while I drive the car. So you can imagine how important data is for us. 

I don’t know if people gonna think, I’m trying to give you guys props. I told you before the broadcast, I’m a big fan. I was so excited when I got the message to be part of the podcast because I am a huge [fan] and I’m saying from the heart. I only endorsed things that I really like. I wouldn’t do it, thank God just for the money. And just a disclaimer for people that are listening, I have no deals with TrainingPeaks at all. I just love the product. I love to see my fitness. I got crazy, crazy fit in the beginning of the year. I looked at my fatigue, which I don’t like a lot. I look at my form, the form is something that [has] really helped me in the racecar. 

Dirk Friel:

Right. Let’s go dig into some of those numbers. You talk about fatigue and form. I mean, you’re referring to chronic training load, the CTL, kind of all based around training stress score. Do you track TSS by week or what kind of TSS numbers are you seeing right now?

Tony Kanaan:

So, Santiago yells at me all the time because I train quite a bit more than I should, but we definitely track the TSS. Like I’ll give you an example, on an average week my TSS will be 900. 

Dirk Friel: 

Yeah?

Tony Kanaan:

So we can talk about [it], but like I said, it’s three times a day, pretty intense. We try to keep [it] under a thousand and he yells at me because the last week the plan was 745 and I did 925.

Dirk Friel:

Oh Lord!

Tony Kanaan:

This week, probably this is recording, we’re three days into the week. The plan for the week is 450. I’m already at 445 today, and we still have four days left. So we do track it, but sometimes Santiago has a hard time keeping me under.

Dirk Friel:

Right. I actually saw you on TV. What two weeks ago? Was it the Texas Indy? 

Tony Kanaan: 

Yes, Texas, right.

Dirk Friel:

You were your 10th, but you got a penalty. You have to do an extra lap in the pit. 

Tony Kanaan:

Yeah. 

Dirk Friel:

Yep. That kept you a bit back, but talk about going into a race week. What is that like? 

Tony Kanaan:

So, the Indy car races are always on the weekends, right? So basically our normal weekend, not right now because of COVID, but I would say it’s Friday we test, Saturday we qualify, and Sunday we race. So getting ready for an Indy car race that week would probably consist of… It will be, let’s say I had the weekend off, so the long ride will start on Sunday with a really long ride, like probably 60, 70, 80 miles. Right? 

Then Monday will be kind of an easy day, just an active recovery. Just like, I would say, a little running, a little bike ride, but keeping it, like, I don’t know the run, like even like 52 TSS, sorry, 152 TSS, nothing crazy. Then a bike ride, really easy. I’ll give an example: I did an hour ride the other day [and] my TSS was 25, just trying to keep things really, really low. Tuesday it’s time trial day. I start to kind of just maintaining until because Wednesday and Thursday, Thursday, I travel. I try to do [it] easy. So it’s really an easy week, right. It’s no different than preparing for a triathlon. 

But then, you get over the weekend, the stress in the car is quite high, like I told you the races average between two to three and a half hours and, and you get a TSS there. If you’re going to talk about it, like 180, 190, just on race day. So, I mean you add that to the weekend. I try to get there, pretty fresh. I mean, my form, we actually go over and then start like, basically on Thursday, we try to average that the form is kind of like, not at zero yet, but you like above and then, cause you’re obviously gonna freshen up and then for Sunday should be the number that you want to be, you know? And then I’m really, really freaked out about numbers. So it has to be zero.

Dirk Friel:

You’re planning ahead. 

Tony Kanaan:

Yes. Always. And then obviously I’ve been training with Santiago and using the app for the program for so long that we know exactly how we’re going to get there. You know?

Dirk Friel:

Right, so you have previous year’s data that you’re referring back to.

Tony Kanaan:

All the time. I mean, we have data from the past. I would say we don’t look back because obviously you get it. People have to understand that I’m much fitter now than I was a year ago and then so on. So you gotta like…I record the IndyCar races on my heart rate monitor. So with my watch, so we go back and look, so last year was that, but it was much hotter, obviously, conditions change and all that stuff like Texas. We’ve never raced in Texas this time of the year. We did the first time it was so hot. But we have some data that we know and with my experience and using the triathlon and the training, I know not exactly, but close enough to know my body and what I can take and what I cannot. 

Dirk Friel:

Right. Okay. So let’s jump from three-and-a-half-hour car racing to Kona, your Kona experience. I’m sure a lot of people want to hear about that. You did it in 2011, you finished, tell us about, was this always a goal for you?

Tony Kanaan:

Kona? I can’t say Kona was a goal because Kona for me was something so far away because,  people have to understand, I love triathlons, but I’m a racecar driver. So I don’t have the time. I cannot dedicate myself to becoming an age grouper [so that] I probably would be able to qualify because that will be hurting my driving. I need to pull up muscles that I have to have it for the racecar and to be a triathlete, I can’t be that heavy. I’m 5’5” nowadays. I’m much lighter, but I mean, I’m, on average, not by any means I’m a heavy guy, but for my height, I was at 155 people in my height at 5’5”, a good triathlete, 135, 130, I have to be fast.

Right. So Kona wasn’t even on my dreams because I’m like, I can never make that. I’m never going to qualify. So yeah, actually I go there every year to watch the race. But in 2011, Ironman got me an invitation because I am who I am, I guess. And I was like, “No way!”

And then it was on, I actually had promised myself, I was never going to do a full Ironman if it was not going to be Kona because it’s so much effort to train. Just so people understand. I did Kona in between two Indy Car races. So I raced the Indy Car race one weekend, Kona, and came back from Kona and did an Indy car race the following weekend.

Dirk Friel:

That second race, you probably felt a bit, 

Tony Kanaan:

Oh, I hopped in the car and I had to press the brake pedal, my leg hurt so bad. I was like we’re going to be in trouble. So that’s how Kona happened. Ironman invited me. I did it in 12 hours and 40 minutes or something. I did not look at the time. I was not looking for anything like that. I went there to enjoy, I trained as much as I could without putting in jeopardy my racing car career, or my driving because I can’t get to the race tired. So like I said, you imagine we race 17 weekends a year, out of those 17 weekends, Kona was the race before my last race. So 16 weekends or 16 weeks, I couldn’t do hard training, because I had to prepare for the race.

But then you raced Sunday, Monday, I couldn’t do hard training either. So you count those days and you’ve compressed Ironman training, You’re pretty limited [in] what you could do. Right?

Dirk Friel:

Right. 

Tony Kanaan:

So I went there to enjoy, I enjoyed the race a lot. I was, swimming on my own time. I enjoyed the bike ride and I enjoyed the run every aid station instead of thinking about, I had 26 miles to run I counted the aid stations. So 25 to go, 24, 23. And then I stopped had a drink, ate something kept running. So I wasn’t kinda like, “Oh my God.” So basically I probably lost, I dunno, 15, 20 seconds every mile. But I enjoyed it. I haven’t done it ever since. It’s been a rumor. I don’t know if people know this, but I actually announced, this year is my last year in Indy car. I’m retiring from a full-time role after 23 years. So maybe you guys will see me in Kona.

Dirk Friel:

Yeah. A little more focused on triathlon. You can give it a full focus.

Tony Kanaan:

And then I will have no excuse, Dirk. I’m going to have to improve my time. 

Dirk Friel:

You’re going to get super skinny. What was the hardest part of Kona training? Training?

Tony Kanaan:

Training! Yeah, the race itself was not hard. I’m not trying to… I did it at my own pace, but once you have the right data, like I told you, we followed TrainingPeaks. Santiago says, “How fast you want to go?” I’m like, “No, what can my body take [so that] I’m not going to be destroyed, first of all. Second of all, I’m going to finish the race. Third of all, I’m going to be okay [for] the weekend after.” 

It’s a lovely sport, but we have to go out and run 20 miles and ride a hundred miles on the same day. It’s quite tough. So the training was the toughest sport.

Dirk Friel:

Yeah. You obviously love the equipment side of things. Talk to us, have you ever been to a wind tunnel or gotten to that level of…

Tony Kanaan:

I actually have not been to a wind tunnel myself. I’ve watched guys in the wind tunnel, but it’s still one of the things that I want to do in my life. Obviously, aerodynamics has everything to do with the racecar. The bike itself, it has everything to do, you know, carbon fiber, aerodynamics and position. Which, you know, I hate myself for it, but being built as a racecar driver, we’re not extremely flexible. Like every other athlete that does a sport for a living, you have consequences of your own sport. So we have back issues. We’re all our posture, it’s terrible because you’re sitting in the car, your back is curved. And so I struggled quite a bit in the aero position. So I’ve done my fitting plenty of times. I mean, my relationship with Trek goes back 13 years and they built one of the fastest bikes in the game. If I have to ride the most aero position [so] that I would be faster. I can’t physically.

Dirk Friel:

I think that’s the case for so many people, it’s the balance between aerodynamics and what can you maintain? And that’s the ideal position, not the most aero position possible, it’s what can you actually maintain for the longest time period. What about pacing on the bike? You have a power meter, obviously.

Tony Kanaan:

So we’ll give you guys a tip [for] people that don’t know me, if it’s not recorded on TrainingPeaks, and I don’t have a power meter, I’m not going for a ride because the ride didn’t happen. So, plenty of times I came home and swapped bikes, because if for some reason, you know, you get on the ride and the power meters aren’t working or out of battery. Nowadays obviously you can change them pretty quickly, but before, back in the day, you remember you had to charge them at home and blah, blah, blah. So anyway, yeah, I do have a power meter. I feel really like, I got so hooked on it that sometimes I don’t think it’s even a good thing, but I feel completely lost if I don’t have it.

Dirk Friel:

Right. What about your bike pacing in 70.3s? Are you looking at trying to target a number or are you just going off feel?

Tony Kanaan:

Obviously, depending on your fitness. Right? So for me, because I’m a numbers guy and I’m not going for… again, I’m not a pro, right? The pros, I mean, I see the pros racing without even… I’m like, “You’re not looking at the power?” They’re like, “No, man, you’re racing! You’re going!” I’m like, “Wow, okay.” If I do that, I’ll probably bonk by mile 15, because I’m going to go all I can, you know what I mean? So, I’m really dependent, I would say on my numbers. So what I, what we do with Santiago before the race, you know your FTP, you know your fitness, but also depending on the day. So I set a goal, which sometimes I have to say is not the healthiest thing, because sometimes you feel better sometimes if you feel worse, and if you feel worse that can be pretty depressing.

But, yeah, I do. So basically, on a 70.3 say, “Okay, you’re going to ride at 90% of your EF, and that’s it.” So the last Ironman half that I did, because I love the bike, Santiago’s like, “You cannot ride at 90% because you’re probably going to jeopardize your run.” And I said, “I don’t care. I want to ride fast. I’ll figure out on the run.” And it actually worked out pretty good because I still ran the pace that I was supposed to run. So it worked out for me, according to Santiago, probably because I was stronger on the bike than my FTP was. We had to do another FTP, which we didn’t, but whatever the reason was, but yes, we always set a goal. So obviously, especially for me, because I don’t have that experience, a lot of the pro guys and the top age groupers know their body well enough. They know what they can do. I grew up by the numbers quite a bit.

Dirk Friel:

Yeah. What’s maybe the, maybe it’s Kona, I don’t know, but what is a race where you had the worst experience and a lesson learned from it? Do you have a 70.3 or something?

Tony Kanaan:

Clearwater 70.3, the World’s. I got an invitation from Ironman that same year to do it in preparation for Kona in 2011. Remember they used to do it in Clearwater, then they changed it. I think it was two years before they changed.

So anyway, I got out of the water. Like I said, I’ve been swimming since I was a little kid. So the swimming for me is nothing. And I decided that I was going to actually, I felt good [for] the first half of it, I was like, probably 0.1 up on my EF but I felt good. I’m like, “Well, I’m going to keep going and just feel good today.” And I hammered on the bike and I remember coming into transition when I unclipped, when I went to do the little movement to swing your foot to unclip, I cramped right away.

So, I mean, you’re talking about cramping right before your run. That was probably the worst experience because from then on, I ran, but I was cramping. My thighs were cramping. Both of them, the entire run, the entire half marathon. There was not one time that I didn’t feel the impact. Obviously I wasn’t running as fast as I was hoping for, because of that too. But I said, I was not going to walk. Pretty much I cramped the entire time, which was manageable because obviously it wasn’t as bad as a cramp that made me stop or seize my muscle that I fall, but it was definitely the worst experience and a lesson was learned from there. 

Dirk Friel:

Did you go too hard on the bike? 

Tony Kanaan:

I mean, I finished the ride at 105% of my FTP, which, you don’t want to do that.

Dirk Friel:

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Hey, you are wrapping up your racing career, but hopefully starting a new one, let’s say, so will we see more races starting next year?

Tony Kanaan:

A hundred percent. I mean, I will still be doing some car racing, not at the intensity that I’ve been doing for 23 years. And then, my goal is to do at least three 70.3 and actually Kona. So, good thing about it. I would say if you want to take a positive thing about COVID, we have Kona twice next year. So I might pick one, hopefully, I would say I need an invitation from Ironman, but I have plenty of sponsors, Hoka is a sponsor. And I can ask to see if I can be there. It’s winter here in Indiana. A good excuse to go to Hawaiian in the beginning of the year and go away to a training camp in December. So hopefully that’s the goal. You guys will see me at a lot more races for sure. And that’s something that I’d be wanting to do for quite some time, but because of my racing schedule, it didn’t allow me.

Dirk Friel:

Whether you’re racing or not in Kona, hopefully, we see you twice on the island.

Tony Kanaan:

Well, that is a fact, I go every year and I’ll be there. We rent the same house for the past six years. The house is rented already for February and is rented for next October too. So we will be there for sure.

Dirk Friel:

Awesome. Got something to look forward to. Hey, Tony, any last words from you?

Tony Kanaan:

Dirk? I want to thank you guys, honestly. I think you guys do an awesome job with the app, if we’re going to call it an app, but I would call it program. It’s something that, if people have not experienced [it], I want to thank you guys, because that helped me quite a bit, in my racing career. I’m not even talking about my triathlon career, so it helps me quite a bit on what I do for a living. So great job. I’m a big fan. Thanks for the interview. I mean, I love to talk about triathlon and racing. This is the two passions of my life and hopefully, you know, it’ll go well. We’ll see each other soon.

Dirk Friel:

Yeah. Thank you so much. And for me being an Indiana boy, a little special place in my heart. So thank you so much for that. Thanks. Thanks again, Tony.

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