Ironwar, Pain and Doping

A decade before I did my first triathlon, I remember watching Mark and Dave duel on Wide World of Sports.

We never know where life will take us and my life took me to both Mark and Dave. Until some joker writes an unauthorized biography on me, I’m the only one that truly sees the irony.

Because Mark, Dave and Jane (Dave’s sis) took an interest in me, my life is better every single day. I use what they taught me throughout my life.

If there’s a lesson in coaching then it is the long-term impact we can have on our athletes. My life’s mission is to share the lessons that I’ve learned from working with great men and women, people like Mark and Dave.

The guys told us what they think about the book (fiction, fantasy and fabrication) and, initially, I had not planned on reading it.  However, Velopress is my publisher and, on reflection, I wanted to know what my business partners are up to.

I’ll cut to the chase.

Ironwar lacks honor.

The book has caused unnecessary stress and pain to the guys, and their families. The book is a long-term business mistake. People of quality want to work for companies with strong ethics.

It’s in every one’s interest to do the right thing.

I’d like to see the parties come together, rewrite the book and tell the real story of Mark and Dave’s careers.  My family has heard it from both of them.  It would be a product of which everyone could be proud.

You can reach the publisher of Velopress at: Ted Constantino ( and the investors behind Competitor Group at: Mitch Thrower (

Always be willing to make a little less money to do the right thing.


Athletes talk a lot about soaking up pain. Good, but not great, athletes are all about pain and depletion.

Here’s how going fast feels to a guy that’s gone 8:29 and won Ultraman.

If I feel pain in my body then I am feeling resistance, generally it’s a mental resistance to the way things are at the time. Whether I am experiencing physical pain, anger or fear – it all has the same root cause – resistance to the way things are.

The greats have a tremendous capacity to accept, endure and open themselves up to the experience of going fast.  Some folks call this Athletic Flow but the easiest way to explain it is a total physical relaxation with a mind that’s void, but completely open. It’s well documented in all spiritual, and sports psychology, texts.

This concept of flow is available to us all. It’s a mistake to focus on pain. Athletes that focus on pain, find it… …then end up chronically injured.

It’s the same with fear and anger, which are toxic to our lives outside of sport.


Seeing as I’m telling you what I really think this morning… doping.

A number of my pals are racing Ironman Hawaii and a few of them have been targeted by the haters.

As an insider, what can I tell you about doping? With certainty I can confirm:

  • Athletes that cheat have done very well at Ironman.
  • Athletes do not need to cheat to do very well at Ironman.

You are the only person that will ever know if you are clean. You can’t prove it, so live true to yourself and love your inner circle.

Where I’ve ended up with doping (other than John 8:7) is to acknowledge that energy spent trying to “fix” others would be better spent improving myself and helping the stars in my life.

In terms of racing, if you want to avoid cheaters then race your pals, locally, in events without prize money or championship slots. It’s why I went to Big Kahuna this year.

Cheaters are focused on winning, external recognition, sex and money – these are false gods of achievement.  Success, and meaning, is found by overcoming ourselves.

To end, I’ll paraphrase Chris McCormack, as it’s relevant to all three sections:

Just because you can’t sort yourself out, don’t try to pull down another.

Be Great,

gordo byrn