Very early start, up at 5:15 to eat then to meet Lloyd for short walk a few blocks to the bus pick up which was scheduled for 6:00, giving plenty of time to get to lake for swim practice. 70 mins later - no show. Two buff athletes with shaved legs on a dark street corner and not even a car horn or wolf whistle.... losing my touch.
Managed to get a lift from another team GB athlete and the day was saved.
The lake was 26.5°C (wetsuits being forbidden over 24.5). Murky shallow water. The murkiness being a blessing in disguise, as not seeing the lake bottom hid the fact that it was only about 5' deep in places and you could stand up. Water was choppy but this will suit me if conditions remain. ITU still insist we show up tomorrow with with wetsuits, I'm guessing in case it snows overnight? Or the race director has a neoprene fetish?
Back to the hotel for a race briefing from the ITU GB team manager. Bit confusing, generated more questions than it actually answered. We slag off the Ironman brand but they really know their shit when it comes to race organising and this has become really obvious here.
Another bus to get bikes to the lake for check in. Packed in like sardines but got there eventually. The race organisers paid lip service to checking bikes & helmets - another example of poor organisation.
Had brief chat with Jodie Swallow about her race and Kona before letting her grab a photo opportunity with me and my GB Age Grouper brethren.
Hopped back on the bus back to race registration to get race belt number swapped, (all athletes had the wrong name - another f**K up).
Also blagged some nice food from the VIP area which took the edge off my hunger - a bit.
Took a coffee stop on way home and topped up glycogen stores with chicken and bacon croissant. Then back to hotel to fill race nutrition bottles and prep gels etc...
Resisted the temptation to take an afternoon nap.
A bit of e-research highlighted 'Zio's' Italian restaurant as being a sure bet for a spot of light carb loading. Jackpot. Warm fresh salty white roll with herby olive oil. I gobbled it down and, bugger me, another one took its place. This was accompanied with Baked Chicken Cannelloni with bacon, onions and an artichoke dip. Whoa.
Wearing an Ironman T-shirt to an Okie restaurant in event week has its perks, better not tell them I'm a fireman, I will never fit out the door let alone race tomorrow!
Pretty confident I have over eaten today (ya think?) shouldn't need (or want) too much for breakfast.
Finally managed to escape and returned to the Holliday inn to settle down for an early night eased with a couple of podcasts.
Less nervous for tomorrow's race than races before. Really raring to go. 'Fired up' is an honest understatement!
I will give it everything tomorrow and I plan to cross that finish line totally empty. It's a foreign distance, sitting somewhere between half & full Ironman (except the swim, which exceeds iron distance). Pacing will be a gamble and I will risk going harder rather than going conservatively which may very well be a painful mistake. Ultimately though, the weather may have the final say. Here we go again!!!
As always, thanks for all the awesome support, see you on the other side!