Chuckie gives the competition a preview of what they have to deal with!
The weather and the action heats up in the Ironman Village!Well - just to give us all a little tease, the sun was out and it was a picture perfect day down in the athlete village at Camp Pendelton. As predicted the lines to register were long, but no-one seemed to care. There was a very upbeat mood developing and lots of the usual smiles and hugs (some fake, some real).
The first official event was the press conference for the pro's and special interest stories. First news of note for the day was that top male contender Olivier Bernhard from Switzerland would not be coming for the event. His wife is due at any moment and he doesn't want to be stuck on the other side of the world if she delivers - Good Man!!! Chuckie V made no bones about being pleased that he does not have to contend with the fleet footed Swiss. Representing at the conference were Craig Walton, Peter Kotland, Chuckie V, Heather, myself, Beth Zinkand, Brian Heiss and Eric Kapituli a Marine Corps Captain. The De Boom family was noticeably absent, Chris Legh got his times mixed up and Natascha had a prior conflict.
There were much of the ususal questions - 'what is it going to take to win?'. I can't figure out why the media has realised that going the fastest is what it takes to win! It's not that hard to figure out. Heather had to answer the question of making up ground on the run for the quadillionth time. She is very patient I must say. Interestingly enough both Chuckie and Craig Walton have not seen the bike course - they are going to wait for race day to check it out. Craig 'Waldo' Walton told the media that his decision to step up to the Ironman distance was because he needed a break away from the ITU, drafting, Olympic 'thing'. He said that he had always wanted to do Ironman and that it was what true triathlon was all about. He felt that the lack of drafting meant that the best man on the day would win.
Beth Zinkand, unlike the guys had come down to Southern California about 6 weeks ago and ridden the course. She feels that it is a course very suited to her biking strengths, with the hills, and is ready to go. There was no doubt amongst anyone that the race would be fast and furious, and as Peter Kotland noted - one will have to be much faster this year to get up in the top places. That's right - go faster than the others and you will win!
As a resident of Southern Cal I was very interested by the story of Eric, our Marine Corps Captain. It was a story I remembered well and a great tragedy in our neck of the woods. He is racing to raise awareness, and funds for a scholarship set up for the children of Marines from the Force Recon division, that were killed in Dec of 1999. Their helicopter caught a wheel as it was coming into land on a carrier, flipped upside down and plunged into the Pacific Ocean. Only 4 of the 11 aboard survived. They were a month shy of heading over to the Persian Gulf. Most of those killed left behind families and he is working to raise funds for the education of the children. If you want any further info you can contact Eric at Kapituli@usma.edu
Other than that athletes were out enjoying the sunshine,eating and watching reruns of Ironman races on the big screen. It is also amazing how many folks are frantically buying last minute wetsuits, outfits and even test riding bikes. Myself, I tend to like to have those things squared away within the last 48 hours before the race.
Roch and Paul - finally showed their paint splattered faces in the early afternoon. They had had a strenuous morning of sweeping the course and marking as many potholes as possible. So all is well - and the storm continues to roll up the coast from Mexico!!