For many triathletes the spiritual lure of racing at the IRONMAN World Championship in Kona is the pinnacle of the sport – Gustav Iden is not one of them yet.
Hawaii is set to welcome the event back to its shores on October 8, 2022 after a two-year absence caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Iden would be a major player were he to rock up on the ‘Big Island’ after a stunning full-distance debut at IRONMAN Florida earlier this month. But right now he is uncertain about whether he’ll make the trip.
All about St George for Iden
Instead the brilliant Norwegian may concentrate on the two huge races in St George, Utah next year – the delayed 2021 IRONMAN World Championship in May and the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship at the end of October.
Iden had said in the countdown to Florida that he would only go all in on Ironman racing in 2022 if he enjoyed it – and the jury is still at least to an extent out.
Speaking in a video on his brother and coach Mikal’s YouTube channel, he said: “It is a hard one, I am not 100 percent sold on long distance yet.
“It was fun racing in Florida but I think it was mostly fun because I won and had a good race and for me I had about the same fun during a race in Super League.
“I think I still enjoy short-course racing more than long-course racing even though I am not winning there as often.”
Kona no-go for Gustav?
Iden then went on to outline his thinking around Kona – and particularly the difficulty posed by next year’s schedule. Going to Kona would mean he would then have to bid for a third world title at 70.3 on the back of a hard season and just three weeks after Hawaii.
“I think maybe this is controversial, but I think I am going to do both St George races and maybe skip Kona because I am not drawn into the legendary Kona island kind of thing, I am drawn to racing the others,” he reasoned.
“The reason why I don’t want to do both is because I picture it’s gonna be be hard to come back to short-course racing if I have such a long campaign of full distance, but I am not decided on this. But in my mind right now – St George and St George.”
With Florida and that full-distance debut now successfully completed, Iden will allow himself a little relaxation – even though it doesn’t mean he’ll stop training.
“I have given myself November to do whatever I want,” he explained.
“I am a guy who wants to train, so there is not going to be no training. I am still going to train and still probably train quite some hours, but it is not going to be structured and I am just going to train how I feel.
“The big difference for me is that I don’t have to perform in my off-season. I really want to perform in every session and have a plan for every session and what I want to improve, but for the off-season I am going to do a session and from the outside it looks maybe I am training the same, but my mentality is not there at all and I am just having a break. “