As I rode towards Kailua today for an early morning meeting at the famous coffee shop meeting point, Lava Java, my shadow stretched 100 feet over the lava rock down towards the ocean. I started to think about what would transpire on the Queen K tomorrow. The athletes have their strategies. Tomorrow the tactics will be played out.
Stadler, will he be able to repeat? I have seen Norman everywhere over the past week; more than a super model’s legs on a Parisian runway. Will he crush the field or maybe have another meltdown on the lava rocks like 2005? Everyone says he is looking "bigger" and that he has a build that should suit him in the water. Can he put the necessary time advantage on the bike into the runners like Tim "has one more in him" DeBoom, Craig "wildcard" Alexander, or Chris "has to be my year" McCormick?
As for the women, can Desiree Ficker build on last year's performance and pull back the 6 minutes that Michellie Jones swam out of her, or will it be Canadian newcomer, Samantha McGlone, the rookie in the field who will pull something to surprise the veterans?
All these athletes have put together their personal strategies and maybe even a contingency plan. But during-the-race tactics is a whole different matter! How will an athlete react when his or her competition throws a wrench into the mix and does something out of the ordinary? Could it become personal with “Macca” and Norman and someone else sneaks in there (a la CA)?
By the end of my ride, my shadow was only slightly larger than my frame. The dreaming was over. Now it's race time!