Getting pretty real now.
To say that there are a few triathletes around town nervously looking at weather forecasts would be an understatement. I have certainly had a few conversations about it today. As I have written about a bit this week though, you can only race in what turns up. Certainly consider it and plan for it, but don't be overwhelmed by it. Consider the weather, accept it and get on with it.
We are nearly at the point where we will be heading down to Busselton ourselves. For us the road trip south is tomorrow and we should be there around lunchtime or so. I am quite looking forward to the trip. I suspect this is going to be a race day where I don't mind being on the sidelines, and I am quite looking forward to seeing how it all unfolds.
For me I have 8 athletes racing this weekend, and the larger Front Runner team has 31 people rolling around the course on Sunday. For me these guys and my mates from Break Your Limits and the athletes I coach from Stadium Tri Club are all going to be my top priority. Writing it like that makes me think it is going to be a pretty busy morning of spectating. In that group there is a range of people from tip top speedy people, to first timers, to people who just want to finish. Watching them all chase their chosen goals is going to be great, no matter what the weather.
Besides all those that I have a vested interest in, it is also looking like it is going to be a pretty compelling pro race this year too. This year there is a massive pro field on the books, with quite a large local contingent. You never know how many of the entered pros will actually turn up, actually I just noticed that Alexander Polizzi is on the list, but as far as I know he is still at home in Noosa, so I don't think he will be starting, I am not sure Steve McKenna is coming either. There are always a few no shows in the pro field, people who enter and then forget to officially withdraw (there is no penalty for doing so in the pro field as the entry is free), it drives race organisers batty as far as I know, but that is a topic for another day. Anyway, even with a few no-shows the field is pretty darn large and strong with 22 men entered and 15 women. Getting pretty close to parity there, which is very nice to see.
Names like Terrenzo, Craig Alexander, Callum Millward are always going to make the front end very interesting. To be honest I can't see anyone taking it to Terrenzo, he has been in slightly ridiculous form this year. You never know what will happen, particularly with the weather, but I can't see the others guys quite being up to Terrenzo's currently stratospheric speed. I think the race for the other places on the podium and places from 3rd to 10th is going to be very interesting to see though, there are loads of guys who could be in the mix for that. In particular I am keen to watch Oli Stenning go around. Oli is a young local WA guy and this is going to be his first pro 70.3 on the big stage. He might be young, but this guy has the goods, he can swim, he can run, but he can really, really, really ride. He has already been well under 4 hours for a half and so I am very keen to see what he can do when he has a whole field of fast guys to play with. I also think he might be one to watch for the future. There are a whole bunch of other local WA guys that it will be fun to watch too, Matt Duncan (first pro race), Brett Johnson (first pro race that I know of), Blake Kappler (2nd pro race), Nick Baldwin (not an Aussie but we are happy to adopt him), Guy Crawford (another non Aussie that we like to have around). It will great to watch these guys, particularly those new to the pro ranks and see how they can mix it up with some of the world class athletes out there.
For me, the women's race is all about Emily Loughnan, although I am pretty keen to see how Kirby Diaz does too. Emily is a superstar and this is her first pro race. Being a first time pro nobody is looking at her, but after the demolition job she did in Kona last year they really should be. This is a strong Women's field, but I think Emily has what it takes to be top 5 for sure and I actually think she has what it takes to podium on Sunday. My big call is that she will be the first placed Western Australian woman (although I think Felicity Sheedy-Ryan will have something to say about it). I shall be cheering very loudly.
Kirby is a really interesting prospect. She has been a junior and under 23 triathlon super star here in WA and is ridicously fast over short distance, with a withering run leg. I haven't seen her race over longer distance and wasn't aware that she was making the switch. She has talent though and ITU bred swim and run speed and so I think she will make a good account of herself here. Her usual race practice is to be a bit back in the swim, bike pretty strong and then run the house down and I will interested to see how that goes in this longer course.
As always there are a host of other WA girls that will be great to watch too, Kerrry Morris, Alise Selsmark, Kate Bevilaqua, Lisa Tyack, Felicity Sheedy-Ryan. One of the bigger local pro fields we have seen for a while. By all accounts Kerry Morris has been training the house down in QLD. She was a bit unfortunate at Challenge Melbourne recently, but I hopefully this can be something of a break out race for her. Same goes for Alise Selsmark after her very good quality 4th at Ironman New Zealand. Felicity Sheedy Ryan is all class and is always quick. It will be great to watch these guys mix it up with the likes of Sarah Crowley and Liz Blatchford. Similar to Terrenzo I don't think anyone is going to touch Sarah Crowley (she is also in crazy good form) but I do think the WA girls will be in the mix behind her. I expect most of the locals will feature in the top 10 and several also to be in the top 5. Will be a great race.
That is all to come though. For me the next 24 hours is about packing and driving. Once I am down there I will be without meaningful internet, which means I won't be doing a post tomorrow. I will hopefully be getting one up on Sunday though to talk about all the great racing I have just watched.