Friday, October 12, 2007

Twas the night before Ironman Worlds...

So here we are, the evening before the race. Wow, it seems like it would never come. When I started this blog I wanted to give people a sense of the ride to get here. I think for the most part that has happened. I will admit though, I needed to be more consistent with the posts. I'll be working on that for next year. There are a lot of things for next year which will be better, I hope.

Let me tell you, over the past couple of days, things have really ramped up here. The underpants run started off my Thursday morning, followed by a bit of light working out and on the table with Dan again. Later it was off to the pro meeting, where I ironically ended up in a triangle of Michellie, Sam McGlone and Natasha. There was some conversation between many of the pro's, but it was still a bit tense of an atmosphere. They presented all the important info, and we dispersed. All in all, took about 45 mins.

The area of Dig Me Beach, the pier, Alii Drive, King Kam hotel, and even the water, is getting busier and becoming more of a staging area. There are scaffoldings going up, bleachers, lights, tents, carpets laid down, the finish line, etc. It's getting pretty crazy.

It really hit me when I went to check in the bike for the race today. I walk up, and there is a huge crowd assembled JUST TO WATCH PEOPLE AND THEIR BIKES CHECK-IN! We're talking a few hundred people or so. I'd never seen that before, so that was surprising. After getting past all the eyes scoping out the Look 496, I came to the first stop where they made me pull out my helmet and prove I have it.

After this was complete, I went to stop #2, where they did some checking of the bike, to make sure everything was secure and stable.

After this was stop #3, where Jay Prashun of Triathlete Magazine, (the gear guru), was there to get photos of the Look. As soon as I place it in front the back drop for the photo, a bunch of other media people come over and start taking a million photos.

The last stop was to actually get into the transition area, and there you were met with a personal guide. Their job was to take me to my spot, help me set everything up, then walk me thru the transition area, explain the routes, set-up for transition bags, etc. It was high security, but very attentive to details. You got the sense that this was more than just a race check-in, it was an event in itself!

Tomorrow morning, I will get into the water with 89 other pro men, and 42 pro women. It's the biggest pro field I've ever been in, which should make it interesting. I am feeling good in the water though, and think I will swim well. I predict coming out in the first, (or a close 2nd), chase pack.

The bike will be ridden rather conservatively, but how much so will depend on a lot of items, namely the weather, the swim, and how I'm feeling. The run will be a charge. No f-ing around. I guess we will see where that puts me in the overall. Honestly, I have no idea where I'll end up. Could be 20th, could be 120th.

So who is going to win tomorrow? My pick is Macca. Not because I like the guy, because I don't really. I don't really like Normann either, but I do like Faris. I think Macca has made the right maturation process, (as far as racing strategy here), and understands how to win this race now. Normann will not have 10 mins or more lead off the bike. I think Normann won't even be leading off the bike, as I believe it will be Sindballe.

I think there will be a surprise guy on the podium, possibly German Timo Bracht, if he can show the same form which won him Ironman Germany. My other surprise pick would be Eneko Llanos, and my heart is cheering for Tim DeBoom.

But be prepared for a Macca win. It won't be pretty, his attitude that is. 7 years ago he showed up here talking about being the best triathlete ever, winning this race 6 or 7 times. After a bunch of years struggling to even finish, he was quiet. Last year he broke thru and got 2nd, and it was back to the same old Macca, "I'm so awesome! I'll kick everyone's butt! I'm the greatest ever!" And this, after not even winning. I can't imagine how ugly it might get if he wins. But, I certainly don't wish him any ill will. He is extremely talented, and if he wins, I hope he does it with more class than Normann and he showed last year.

On the women's side, don't believe the Natasha hype. She's great, no doubt. But it's Michellie's race, the rest of the girls are just in it. Michellie comes out of the water about 3rd or 4th woman, but leads by mile 20 of the bike, and takes control. The other girls chase and close a little, but she wins by 5 mins plus. Sam McGlone will ride and run her way to a top 5 finish.

The most interesting aspect of the race won't be the race itself, but the weather. If the weather turns to cloudy, the intensity of the sun here is greatly diminished, helping the bigger athletes even more. Seriously, the sun makes a huge difference. This afternoon the sun was behind a huge cloud cover, and it was great race conditions, just in time for the run!

If it's windy on the Queen K, the bigger athletes will be advantaged as well.

Well, I may get up in the morning and give a last minute post. If any of you want to send me well-wishings here, or cheering for me during the race, feel free to leave a comment on the blog, as I will read them after the race.

I'm a little jealous of how many awesome parties I hear are going on with friends, plugging their computers into big screen tv's, stereo's, etc to watch the race live online. But I guess I probably get a better seat to the event than others. (For those of you who don't know, live coverage at http://www.ironman.com/ starting at 12:30PM EDT/9:30 AM PDT. Pro's start at 45 mins past the hour.)

In case you want even more insight into the race, check out the race coverage of the guys on the bike, showing their power output, heartrate, etc. http://2peak.com/srm/srm_kona_2007/hawaii.php

Mahalo!

Vance

4 comments:

Ramon said...

Jim,
Have fun out there tomorrow. I know you'll do well, your prepared dude. I'll be looking for you online. Don't forget the Epi pen...just in case! ;)
Later,
Ramon

Rick said...

Hey Jim,

Good luck out there!! I hope you enjoy every minute..its been great meeting you and following your journey. Take care Rick Floyd

moonpie said...

Jim,

It has been great following your journey - have an AWESOME day out there today, and don't fool around with posting your race report ;)

I appreciate your candor when giving your forecast on the race!

Go forth, and kick ass!

Dave P said...

Jim,
You are out there where you should be, with the best athletes in the world.
Have a great race and best of luck out there!!