By John Marsh
With two days to go before the big showdown here at Bussleton, there is a buzz of activity across the little town. For both professional athletes and age-groupers, this marks an interesting time: with all of the hard work done, it’s now a matter of crossing the i’s and dotting the t’s before the big show on Sunday.
This morning Trizone got along to the press conference, getting a feel for what is going through the minds of a few of the race favourites, as well as a couple of inspiring age-groupers. Here’s what we took away:
The men’s field is great. We wouldn’t be surprised if we see a few of these guys having a chat and sharing stories out there on the course. Both Pete Jacobs and Patrick Vernay were quick to share a joke and both seemed super relaxed. Pete is coming at this race with a seek-and-destroy approach for the run record, while Vernay has won here before, and is keen to redeem himself after a less than perfect result in Hawaii. Vernay also mentioned the new 12m distance rule between athletes on the bike – a first this year – noting that it may well play a role on how the race unfolds. While there was no sense of animosity between these two, Pete also pointed out that he’ll “be keeping an eye on Patrick!” and we will also be keeping an eye on the rest of the field including Luke Bell, who could well be a dark horse coming into the race – who we know is hungry for a win.
Bek (Rebekah) Keat is confident. When asked if her high racing volume this year may have played a part in her recent injuries, she was quick to note that she’s feeling good going into Sunday’s race. Keat notes that in recent weeks she’s backed off from coach Brett Sutton’s somewhat cut-throat schedule and is now “definitely not overdone.”
There will be some incredibly inspirational age-groupers out there on Sunday. When asked if he had any tips for the first timers, Patrick Vernay simply replied that the achievements of guys like Mt. Everest sumitter Ed Bradley and 12 year Pakistan service veteran Cameron James were monumental compared to what the pros had to do. Cameron James shared a few of the workouts he carried out when he was preparing for this Sunday’s race:
“We were doing desert navigation exercisesâ€¦ it was hot, dry… we would run in boots and t-shirts with uniform pants… [to get through it] I would tell myself “This hurts less than the 35k mark at Busso, so just pull your head in!”
Sunday’s dance is sure to be a cracker. Reports of an easing wind and mild temperatures could be just what is needed for a fast day!