For the past two years, on the Big Island of Hawaii, Cam Wurf has broken the Ironman bike course record. By pushing the pace and racing to his strengths, he’s caused others to crack and has entertained the triathlon masses. “I want to be part of the show and put others under pressure,” says Wurf. “The past two years, I think we’ve seen that. By pushing myself and others, we’ve seen results never seen before.”
Wurf grew up in Hobart, Tasmania, and got his start in high-level sport through rowing. “I did many sports when I was young,” says Wurf. “I did a few tris, but honestly, I was pretty bad at them. I loved doing them, but I was last more often than I would’ve liked.” So, when Wurf entered high school and showed potential as a rower, he set his sights on the Olympics.
The Olympic dream
By the age of 16, around the time of the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Wurf decided to go all-in. “I went full gas,” says Wurf. “After watching rowing in Sydney my desire to make the Olympics grew even bigger.”
At the 2003 World Rowing U23 Championships, Wurf rowed in the coxless four-man team that won gold. “Winning U23s was part of the process and a stepping stone to the Olympic team,” says Wurf.
At the 2004 Athens Olympics, Wurf got his shot and competed in the men’s lightweight double scull – they finished 16th. “Looking back, I should’ve appreciated it a bit more,” says Wurf.
For the next two years, Wurf competed on the international stage, earning strong results, but also suffering many injuries. “In 2006, we finished fourth at worlds, but we could’ve been on the podium,” says Wurf. During the 2006 season, Wurf battled a tendonitis issue in his wrist, and it affected his performance. “I blame myself for our fourth place finish. I was my fault, and my injury held us back.”
Wurf’s transition to professional cycling
As a way to cross train, Wurf did a lot of cycling. “Being in Europe and living around some professional cyclist like Ivan Basso and Michael Rogers, I did some riding when I wasn’t rowing,” says Wurf. During some time away from rowing, Wurf jumped into the Australian National Cycling Championships and didn’t look back. “It all happened really quick,” says Wurf.
By 2008 Wurf had cracked the professional ranks and remained in pro cycling until 2015. “I never settled into the pro cycling lifestyle,” says Wurf. “I loved the training, but I struggled to get results and I wasn’t performing at the level I knew I could.”
Becoming a Kona contender
In 2015, Wurf was still on contract with Cannondale and got an opportunity to get back into triathlons. “One day someone at Cannondale said, ‘why don’t you do some triathlons?'” says Wurf. “So, I did Ironman 70.3 Oceanside and made my Ironman debut at Ironman Canada in Whistler.”
At Ironman Canada, Wurf finished ninth overall, won the 30-34 age group and qualified for Kona. “I have never been so excited to pay a grand for a race entry,” says Wurf.
Despite coming off of a foot fracture, Wurf competed at Kona. “It was an amazing experience. I remember seeing Jan (Frodeno) on the Queen K and being so impressed, but I wasn’t scared of him. That moment sparked something in me,” says Wurf. “I believed I could be a contender one day.”
Fast-forward to the 2017 Ironman World Championship, Wurf set the bike course record (4:12:54) on his Pinarello Bolide and finished 17th overall. In 2018, Wurf went faster (4:09:06), but the perfect race conditions put a wrench into his plans. “Everything I could control went well, but everything I couldn’t control didn’t go the way I was expecting,” says Wurf. “That mindset affected me and I learnt a lot from that experience.”
Related: The 10 best performances of 2018
So, what is the Kona bike course record holder up to now?
“Right now, I am training with G [Geraint Thomas, the 2018 Tour de France champion],” says Wurf. “It’s unreal. It doesn’t feel like work, it feels like a dream.” With a solid team surrounding him, Wurf has been putting extra time into his swim and run to match his bike. “This past year at Kona, my run got exposed more than it should’ve and I want to be ready in 2019.”
Related: Pinarello releases Bolide TR+
“I have the best support. My coach Tim Kerrison, my equipment – working with the Nike Breaking 2 Project and Pinarello Bolide TR+. I love the challenge of improving in all three sports,” says Wurf. The Australian also loves to race and train, and he doesn’t plan on changing that in 2019. “My progression has been pretty good. So, I’m not going to change my approach just because it’s a bit unorthodox.”
With his eyes on the top step at Kona in 2019, Wurf plans on starting his season in South Africa at the Ironman African Championship (April 7th).