Spencer Smith & Peter Kotland are all buddy buddy before the race.
Ironman Coeur D'Alene is shaping up.Well the countdown has begun in Idaho for the inaugral Ironman Coeur D'Alene. It was the day for press conferences, meetings and the carbo dinner. The weather has been beautiful and conditions are calling for temperatures to get well into the 80's on race day, and maybe even higher. There is seems to be this very regular wind that picks up early in the day which could make for some tough stretches out on the flatter parts of the bike course.
The pro's were out and about and making their 'appropriate' comments about the possibilities of race day. There is no doubt that on the men's side Spencer Smith is the clear favorite, and has every intention of getting out there and setting the pace. The other pro's seem intent on letting him do just that, and using him to set the tempo. A mistake perhaps because Spencer is in pretty great running form right now - and this is a run course that suits him to perfection.
Chuckie V is making a come back to racing after spending 6 months hiking the Pacific Crest Trail all the way up from Mexico. He is certainly nervous (a good sign for him) and feels like he has done the work. He is ready to go fast on the bike he says. Then there is South African Raynard Tissink the current Ironman Korea Champion who has been training in Boulder. He is looking to make a name for himself here in the US.
My own dark horses for the event on the mens side are Kerry Classen, and Michael Lovato. Kerry is better know for his Xterra racing and adventure events. However he is exuding confidence and is ready to 'just sit on Spencer' for the day and see what comes down on the run. Michael Lovato has shown amazing form over the half ironman distance with devastating bike and run speed - so it will be very interesting to see if he can carry that the full distance.
On the womens side Heather Gollnick is the clear favorite and she is looking that way. She has been all smiles and super relaxed over the past 2 days activities. She promises to do do 2 full cartwheels down the finish chute is she is winning. Melissa Spooner is looking extremely fit and is using this as her comeback race after a hiatus of 2 years, due to a back injury. Her goal is to nab one of the qualifying slots, so she can return to Kona this year. Lynley Allison of New Zealand - who has also been training up in Boulder is looking to make things tough on the bike after her fastest bike split in New Zealand this year.
There is no doubt the X factor on the womens side will be Monica Caplan. She had an amazing performance at the half ironman Utah, leading the womens field until 10 miles in the run. Look for her to be out the swim alonside the top pro men and to put the hammer down on the bike. I honestly think that the womens field will spend a good portion of the day chasing her down - that's if they ever catch her. This is her first ironman, and without the uber runners Lori Bowden, Heather Fuhr, Lisa Bentley in the field - she may just hold on.
The start of the race will be covered live on the ABC affiliates up in the Northwest, with live updates throughout the day. A TV show will be edited and put together throughout the day, so that a full hour show, will be ready to air on the jumbotron by 7.00pm race evening......whilst the race is still going on. The show will then air the next day on the local TV stations, with a later date on OLN.
A first time event, IM Morth Americs's first ironman of 2003.....things are looking set for a great season of Ironman racing here in the US.