I don’t have any favorites for the win this year, but I am hoping to see a few racers recover to good performances. Specifically, I’d like to see Faris Al-Sultan and Normann Stadler put in some good races on the men’s side (particularly during the bike split). It’d be cool if Desiree Ficker put in a good race this year too, but she might need to wait for one more year to really get in the mix. (She’s had to do a lot of racing this year.)
The truth is that Ironman really provides entertainment for the base-building period of my year. See, the race will happen this Saturday, the NBC special will hit the TV screen in December, and I’ll record it and use it for entertainment while I’m riding the trainer during the winter months. (I should mention that the weather report is calling for snow tonight here.)
You know, odd as this may sound, I think triathlon makes for good base training. You ride and swim and sometimes run (if you’re into that) all below 85% of your maximum HR, and you can usually come out pretty healthy. Swimming strengthens your back and your breathing muscles (some of which do double duty in both mechanical and respiratory functions when you swim). You just have to watch for the injuries with regard to running. Of course, because I’m a cyclist, I keep the swimming to one or two recovery sessions during the week and avoid running unless it’s immediately after a ride. There’s no need to be working on my 100m sprint time when my primary goal is to get faster on the bike.
One way or another, it looks like Saturday’s race will be at least moderately exciting. Who knows, maybe someone will win it off the bike again.