If you are an Ironman,
Or training to become one or know one or a tri geek, you know this Saturday is a big day. It is the 2006 Ironman World Championship at Kona, Haiwaii. The fittest, toughest and strongest athletes of our times are going to swim against the current, ride against the wind that are strong enough to pick you up and run through the lava heat.
My first memory of Ironman Kona was last year when Shelley made it to the lottery slot. I am a newbie then (still one now) so I didn't know what's the big fuss about Haiwaii.
I ain't much of a sport fan. But I have been keeping an ear up on who's who at the race this year. So this post will dedicated to that.
Too bad Tim Deboom had a stress fracture. And with Peter Reid retiring early, the field is still just as exciting.
You have young guys like Faris Al Sultan (last year's Champion) and Luke Bell making their mark. You have older (err more mature) pros like Cameron Brown (Mr Consistency) ready to push the limit when the pressure is on. Add in Norman Stadler (2004's Champion), with his last year's DNF (did not finish), I got a hunch he is eager to come back and show what the Normanitor is all about. Side note: Check out Norman's new ride. Also check out Chris Lieto's Equinox. :O
What I really like to see is different strategies at work. Can you imagine Norman blow by everyone on the bike and have fast runner like Cameron Brown playing catch up? :)
In the females, of course, there is Natasha Badmann (the Badmann Express). Being Canadian, I love to see Lisa Bentley rip the field apart. Last year, she DNF b/c of her appendix. Well, now that it is remove, it won't be a problem anymore. There is also Lori Bowden. I don't think the media cover much of her this year. She had a baby last year and is making a come back. Maybe she will show us a thing or two. Then there is new rising star like Kate Major.
Some people say the field is getting more competitive every year. It is. Then again, isn't what this sport is all about (from the pro's perspective)?
I don't have a particular favourite IM in mind. I don't have a prediction of who's going to win or not. With so many variables, you will never know. And this is what get my blood flowing.