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iwilltri Triathlon Weekend Preview for May 17th-19th 2008

As we leave our spring ways behind and the summer we have all been longing for approaches, the sport of triathlon is entering a historic summer – this weekend is Ironman 70.3 Florida, the Corus Elite Series, and the Gear West Duathlon. While I’d love to recap for you all the momentous events we will see this summer – Beijing Olympics, Chris McCormack’s Iron double of Frankfurt and Roth, the possible repeat of Greg Bennett winning Lifetime, and the list goes on – but let’s just begin with this weekened’s action:

Top billing goes to Ironman 70.3 Florida. This Walt Disney World triathlon, while not as stacked as St. Anthony’s in April, attracts the second deepest field of any Florida race (Ironman Florida is late, post-Kona, not really a focus). This year is no different as we will see a host of Half Ironman and Ironman specialists battle it out – but then again that line is blurred and only applies to a few triathletes. Let’s start with the fairer sex:

*I am using the NAS list as of Friday am – so some of my predictions are different than those in the ironman.com race preview…maybe they know more/less than me about who is actually racing.

While only 13 here, there are some regular poodum finishers that will make it interesting. Lisa Bentley and Heather Gollnick can come back and scare you on the run, while Leanda and Dede have also proven themselves. I’ll pass on Nina and let the non-biased folks comment on her. The other one to look out for is Katja, and at 40 she is the oldest triathlete but has notched quite a few victories. At the inaugural Clearwater 70.3 World Champs I tried sticking behind her (she was on 2nd lap to my first) – but that rubber band broke faster than you can spell check SCHUMACHER.

Alright on to the men’s field which also has a mix of veterans and younger folks. The favorite has to be Craig Alexander. No man has won more 70.3s than Crowie since that series began in 2006 and he will be itching to get another first after barely losing to Andy Pott’s at Oceanside (yes I know he won St. Croix 70.3, but athletes get pumped up by losses more than wins in my opinion). The other two podium spots though get VERY interesting. We have some uber bikers: Chris Lieto, David DKT Thompson, TJ Tollakson, and Big Zach Ruble. Each of these guys will have no issue with going off the front. Depending on how the swim goes, the first 20k of this race could be a watt-defying exercise in “trying to put some distance” on Crowie so he can’t come back to haunt you on the run.
But that is not all, we have Courtney Ogden (I think he’s the powercranks dude that won an IM on those cranks), Bryan Rhodes, and Victor Zyemtsev. The ironman.com guys give big props to Victor, and while he has proven himself at Ironman, I personally think this shorter race will straddle the 3:50 barrier and lend itself to the shorter focused guys.

I think Lieto will hold off a bit since he’d probably rather have a better run than he had at Wildflower, while I think that TJ and David could make a for an interesting midwest smackdown by the 40k mark. I think the way Crowie wins this is by not losing too much ground on the bike and doing his thing on the run. This will not be a multi-minute separation between 1-5th. Frankly, we could easily have a repeat of Oceanside.

Ironman.com will have regular updates and I am sure slowtwitch will be abuzz with a big thread to keep you company. I won’t be able to keep you informed as I am racing the Gear West Duathlon, but you’ll see a report by the end of the day.

Official Ironman 70.3 Pro Starting List (with ages after names):
Men:
1 ALEXANDER CRAIG 34
14 AMEY PAUL 34
3 ASCENCO SANTIAGO 27
16 DYKE STEPHEN 45
11 FOLMER SVEN 30
15 HAY MICHAEL 40
12 HODGES ANDREW 24
7 LIETO CHRIS 36
22 LISSKA KEVIN 28
13 LONDON SCOTT 25
9 OGDEN COURTNEY 35
17 OLIVEIRA REINALDO 30
5 ORNELLAS MARCUS 37
20 POULSEN BRENT 25
2 RHODES BRYAN 34
24 RUBLE ZACH 25
23 SENG BRAD 38
26 SMITH BRENT 25
25 THOMPSON DAVID 30
4 TOLLAKSON TJ 27
8 VALDERRABANO UZZIEL 40
10 ZAPATA JUAN 35
21 ZYEMTSEV VICTOR 35
Women:
39 ALBERTAZZI TERI 35
42 BALDING AMANDA 31
33 BENTLEY LISA 39
38 CAVE LEANDA 30
32 GOLLNICK HEATHER 38
37 GRIESBAUER DEDE 37
36 JONES STEPHANIE 29
41 JONGSTRA SIONE 32
35 KRAFT NINA 39
43 LEBLANC MICHELLE 33
40 LOEFFLER KIM 35
31 SCHUMACHER KATJA 40
34 SULLIVAN DANIELLE 31

Ok the other two races I care about this weekend:
The Corus Elite Series at corustriathlon.com over the pond will see some pretty big ITU names duke it out – including Tim Don and Kris Gemmell. Tri247.com should have that race pretty well covered.

And of course our local Minnesota multisport opening season party – the Gear West Duathlon. Some of the CRAZY givewaways: 1 Ironman slot to an NAS race, one Quintana Roo Lucero Frameset and QR Wetsuit, one pair of Zipp 808 racewheels, Gear West Gear Pack, Kurt Kinetic Road Machine Trainer, Spinervals DVDs and 2 Pairs of Running Shoes.

As always, keep it real at the races, help your fellow triathletes, and thank at least three volunteers.

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May 16, 2008 at 12:47 pm
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