After a slightly more restless sleep than would have been ideal, I woke up a 7:15am – a little later than normal. I went for a 10 minute spin on the bike to double (and triple) check that everything was working properly. I then had a very short run with some short strides, before relaxing for a few hours over breakfast. I’ve learned over the last two years that the pier is bedlam the day before the race, so I waited until the masses had left before going for my 10 minute swim. This was my final session before the race – there really is nothing more to do now.
Later that morning I had a 30 minute massage with Todd, which was a gentle flush just to loosen up the muscles before tomorrow. I had a large early lunch of white rice, chicken, egg and hoisin sauce, with lots of salt. With this being my 8th Ironman race, I’ve learned how to get by with the minimum amount of stuff in transition bags. In the swim-to-bike bag I had a headband, sunnies and race number belt. In the bike-to-run bag was my watch and salt tablets in a zip-lock bag and of course, shoes and socks. Simple.
I’m stoked to be riding such a great bike for this race, and knowing that I’m on the fastest bike out there is a big confidence boost. All the Cervelo staff here have been great and super helpful in ensuring that everything was perfect. Here’s a couple of obligatory pre-race snaps:
Around 1:30pm I went to bike and bag check-in and bumped into Nick from TriRig who took a few shots of the bike. As always, the numerous volunteers here ensure that the check-in process in as slick as possible, so after picking up my Cervelo Kona 2012 t-shirt I racked the bike and bags and within minutes was out of transition.
I spent the afternoon relaxing with my Aunt who arrived just in time to watch the race. We went for an early relaxing dinner overlooking the pier – where in less than 12 hours all hell will break loose.
I said in yesterday’s blog that I’d talk about my aims for the day. In terms of predicting a finish time, it’s particularly difficult to do that with any accuracy in this race. Conditions will dictate the finishing times. No matter what we’re served, I hope to leave everything out on the course and walk (or crawl) away knowing that I’d given it my all. Last year I came in somewhat under the radar and came away with 2nd. After that result and my results this year, I won’t be lying quite as low. Guys will have looked at the splits from Las Vegas and think my strategy will be the same. It won’t. If I try to bike away from the field as I did in Vegas there will be no story book ending for me. You’ve got to be smart here. Patience is key. My prediction: this race isn’t going to pan out the same way that Vegas did. If I’m going to come away with the result I want, the saying ride for show and run for dough has never been more appropriate.
The competition in the 18-24 age-group is serious this year, in fact, I’m not sure it’s ever been so deep. Multiple guys have qualified with sub-9 hour times and sub 3-hour marathons. It’s not a case of looking out for a few guys, but more like a dozen as the talent here runs deep. After all, it’s a World Championship. The 18-24 age-group course record here is 8:55 which was set 18 years ago in 1994. Records are there to be broken.